It feels a little unusual when we have a Blue/White Planeswalker that incentivizes aggression. Of the 8 or so U/W options, only a couple even offer anything resembling a reason to attack on an early turn. 

Dovin, Grand Arbiter is one of those U/W options. At only 3 mana, he hits the board quickly. His Plus loyalty ability wants us to attack, his Minus ability makes a Thopter token, and his Ultimate Digs Through Time. We can do that multiple times in a game if we attack enough, so okay, let's attack and be aggressive!

Because of the Thopter hint, I wanted that aggression to take the form of artifact creatures. I must have had some Modern Masters 2015 on the brain, or maybe I was just thinking of the Esper Shard, but the siren song of Ethercaste Knight called out to me, and I just had to answer. Also, of the various artifact themed Planeswalkers we've dealt with, Blue/White is a pretty interesting and new space that warrants exploration. 

Here's what we'll be using to take over the Azorius Senate:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Dovin, Grand Arbiter by Andy Hurst

'Dovin, Grand Arbiter' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $19.68

Cards

Ethersworn Shieldmage

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/37123_200w.jpg

Flash
When Ethersworn Shieldmage enters the battlefield, prevent all damage that would be dealt to artifact creatures this turn.

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Desert of the Mindful

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236225_200w.jpg

Desert of the Mindful enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
Cycling {1}{U} ({1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Shield of the Righteous

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31801_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +0/+2 and has vigilance.
Whenever equipped creature blocks a creature, that creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
Equip {2}

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Esperzoa

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219563_200w.jpg

Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, return an artifact you control to its owner's hand.

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Sarcomite Myr

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233754_200w.jpg

{2}: Sarcomite Myr gains flying until end of turn.
{2}, Sacrifice Sarcomite Myr: Draw a card.

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Desert of the True

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212377_200w.jpg

Desert of the True enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W}.
Cycling {1}{W} ({1}{W}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Depose // Deploy

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182961_200w.jpg

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Scourglass

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $6.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/27790_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Scourglass: Destroy all permanents except for artifacts and lands. Activate only during your upkeep.

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Assert Authority

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11353_200w.jpg

Affinity for artifacts (This spell costs {1} less to cast for each artifact you control.)
Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, exile it instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.

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Ethercaste Knight

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98864_200w.jpg

Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)

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Thunderstaff

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132195_200w.jpg

As long as Thunderstaff is untapped, if a creature would deal combat damage to you, prevent 1 of that damage.
{2}, {T}: Attacking creatures get +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164099_200w.jpg

Flash
Flying
You may cast historic spells as though they had flash. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)

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Shefet Dunes

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135093_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {W}.
{2}{W}{W}, {T}, Sacrifice a Desert: Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. Activate only as a sorcery.

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Sharding Sphinx

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216191_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever an artifact creature you control deals combat damage to a player, you may create a 1/1 blue Thopter artifact creature token with flying.

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Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162209_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cast a historic spell, return target creature card with mana value 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)

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Court Homunculus

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98740_200w.jpg

Court Homunculus gets +1/+1 as long as you control another artifact.

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Metallurgeon

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/37184_200w.jpg

{W}, {T}: Regenerate target artifact.

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Martyred Rusalka

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13729_200w.jpg

{W}, Sacrifice a creature: Target creature can't attack this turn.

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Pilgrim's Eye

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236101_200w.jpg

Flying
When Pilgrim's Eye enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/242996_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Dovin, Grand Arbiter

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254008_200w.jpg

+1: Until end of turn, whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, put a loyalty counter on Dovin, Grand Arbiter.
−1: Create a 1/1 colorless Thopter artifact creature token with flying. You gain 1 life.
−7: Look at the top ten cards of your library. Put three of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Forsake the Worldly

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130222_200w.jpg

Exile target artifact or enchantment.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Thopter Arrest

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126532_200w.jpg

When Thopter Arrest enters the battlefield, exile target artifact or creature an opponent controls until Thopter Arrest leaves the battlefield.

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All That Glitters

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198548_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 for each artifact and/or enchantment you control.

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Glass Casket

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199004_200w.jpg

When Glass Casket enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls with mana value 3 or less until Glass Casket leaves the battlefield.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215718_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Dovin's Veto

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $1.94

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187186_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Counter target noncreature spell.

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Dispatch

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $2.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236107_200w.jpg

Tap target creature.
Metalcraft — If you control three or more artifacts, exile that creature.

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Bottle Gnomes

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/166746_200w.jpg

Sacrifice Bottle Gnomes: You gain 3 life.

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Dovin's Automaton

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183305_200w.jpg

As long as you control a Dovin planeswalker, Dovin's Automaton gets +2/+2 and has vigilance. (Attacking doesn't cause it to tap.)

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Azorius Charm

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145459_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Creatures you control gain lifelink until end of turn.
• Draw a card.
• Put target attacking or blocking creature on top of its owner's library.

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Dispeller's Capsule

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236118_200w.jpg

{2}{W}, {T}, Sacrifice Dispeller's Capsule: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

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Thoughtcast

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98776_200w.jpg

Affinity for artifacts (This spell costs {1} less to cast for each artifact you control.)
Draw two cards.

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Altar's Light

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11325_200w.jpg

Exile target artifact or enchantment.

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Azorius Ploy

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13826_200w.jpg

Prevent all combat damage target creature would deal this turn.
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn.

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Glassdust Hulk

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219598_200w.jpg

Whenever another artifact enters the battlefield under your control, Glassdust Hulk gets +1/+1 until end of turn and can't be blocked this turn.
Cycling {W/U} ({W/U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Master of Etherium

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218625_200w.jpg

Master of Etherium's power and toughness are each equal to the number of artifacts you control.
Other artifact creatures you control get +1/+1.

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Sanctum Gargoyle

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236096_200w.jpg

Flying
When Sanctum Gargoyle enters the battlefield, you may return target artifact card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Arcanist's Owl

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198553_200w.jpg

Flying
When Arcanist's Owl enters the battlefield, look at the top four cards of your library. You may reveal an artifact or enchantment card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Sanctum Plowbeast

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31796_200w.jpg

Defender
Plainscycling {2}, islandcycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Search your library for a Plains or Island card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.)

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The Game Plan

We're trying to maximize synergies from artifacts (AKA Historic spells) while also presenting some aggressive bodies that can apply pressure either early or through evasion. 

Esperzoa can get up to some really funky shenanigans here. Sure, it can tie up our mana, but resetting things like Pilgrim's Eye, Ethersworn Shieldmate, Arcanist's Owl, or Sanctum Gargoyle can put us way ahead on cards. (That is, as long as we're mindful to not give up too much of our board.) Remember not to get too cute with it and also that it's a 4/3 flying beatstick. 

Historic spells thankfully include artifacts, so Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage allows us to deploy almost any of our threats at Instant speed. Glassdust Hulk can shut the door quickly with only a few attack steps, with the various means of triggering its unblockability. Metallurgeon will tie up some mana and make us play a turn behind, but on-board regeneration provides a massive advantage that shouldn't be overlooked. 

The removal is pretty decent! Assuming we can hit the metalcraft, which is likely although not a given in this deck, Dispatch is one of the strongest removal spells ever printed. Glass Casket is also a spicy inclusion, and can be reset via Esperzoa or rebought with Sanctum Gargoyle. Azorius Charm can wreak havoc in a combat step, put you way ahead in a damage race, or simply cycle as the worst case scenario. Dovin's Veto and Assert Authority provide some handy spell protection. 

The Rares

If anyone reading has played Modern with or against Affinity before, the Master's potency should come as no surprise. At only 3-mana, it's not inconceivable that this is not only our largest creature, but also the most important threat on the board. Pretty much exactly what we're hoping for from one of our Rares! Just remember that its stats are dependent on the rest of your board, so there could be some combats where it gets shrunk enough to die and cause some serious problems. Basically, be mindful of when it gets into fights. I know it stinks to leave your biggest creature at home, but sometimes the Lord aspect is more important. 

Much like Raff, Teshar here isn't an artifact himself, but his Historic trigger hits very nicely and combos well with some of our cards. I'm quite partial to the Bottle Gnomes interaction, where basically every spell we cast gains us 3 life. If we get that engine going, it will be difficult to lose. Martyred Rusalka is another solid target to bring back, as is Sarcomite Myr. There might be some spicy combats where Teshar and Raff combine to allow Ethersworn Shieldmate to come back from the grave at instant speed. The value engine is solid! 

I don't know if I've seen this played much since Shards of Alara came out, and I was almost certainly drafting Red/Green, so I haven't had much experience playing it myself. Having said that, this card is an absolute bomb and can dominate a board in short order. It's large, it's likely in charge, and it triggers for ALL of our artifact creatures, so get ready for a windfall!

We're playing a ton of artifacts. Reset buttons are typically powerful, but only if we can break the symmetry, which usually involves playing in a certain way to let the opponent overextend. Because most of our stuff is artifacts, we're choosing to build the deck in a certain way to break said symmetry this time, and I suspect it will be highly effective. Remember that unlike many reset buttons, Scourglass can only be activated on our upkeep, so play accordingly. 

Unsung Hero

Thunderstaff

Thunderstaff is a cool card that explores an interesting space we don't see enough: wildly diverging modes for aggression and defense. It's very handy in both modes, and can protect our troops or help get in for more damage. It requires both us and our opponents to keep it in mind at all times, which I suppose makes it too complicated for most current sets. I recommend shouting Kurt Russell's lines from Tombstone when you play or activate it, especially if your opponent forgets about it at an inopportune time!