Izzet Ingenuity

by Jackson Haime

I don’t know about everyone, but I have personally been noticing a disturbing trend along within Magic. No, I’m not talking about the fact that Craterhoof Behemoth has gotten his time in the spotlight. Nor am I talking about the fact that with the combination of Thragtusk and Da Hoof, I have to splash green or just pour my tournament entry fees down the drain.

I’m talking about how damn expensive it is getting to beat the cards in each block as they come along.

Let’s take a count shall we?

The Bant Control deck that was run by Jacob Thiessen at the Starcitygames Standard open ran 9 creatures.

3 Angel of Serenity

2 Snapcaster Mage

4 Thragtusk

Each of those creatures is within the 23.00- 23.99 dollar range. At lowest that is going to run you 207$ of cold hard cash to just fill up the creature slots. That’s a hefty price to pay for less than 1/6th of a full deck. I digress, let’s look further into the list.

1 Garruk, Primal Hunter

4 Jace, Architect of Thought

Alright, so 5 planeswalkers in a single deck. Garruk isn’t much of a price hog, (At only 9.50) meanwhile you are dropping 35-40 on a single Jace. Four of our little Architect is going to run you a cool 152$. 161 if you count Garruk.

Take note kids: we are paying 368$ for this deck so far. It’s not about to get cheaper any time soon. Onto one of the cheapest parts of Magic: the land! That’s how it works right? You can pick up 200 forests for 10$.

1 Cavern of Souls: 19.50$


4 Hinterland Harbor: 40.00$

Wait… my wallet is already empty!

4 Hallowed Fountains: 62$

4 Temple Gardens: 60$

Total price for the land (Not counting the ones that cost 5$ or less): 181.50$

We are currently at 549$

Luckily, Jacob didn’t have a huge taste for expensive spells and is only going to cost us 105$ for all of the instants and sorceries. Just in case everyone has the money to buy a brand new booster box on hand.

654$ For the deck. That’s not even counting the sideboard, which will set you back: 188$ Meaning a total of 842$ for the entire deck, sideboard and all. That is only counting the more expensive cards. Seeing as you can buy 10,000 magic cards for less than that. [Link]http://www.ebay.com/itm/HUGE-MAGIC-GATHERING-LOT-OVER-10-000-CARDS-YARD-SALE-FIND-LOOK-/170937928758?pt=Trading_Card_Games_US&hash=item27ccb1cc36 [/link] (I wasn’t joking) I am starting to feel like decks are becoming a little expensive to play for the “average joe”.

Sure, I could copy a net deck and clean house at Friday Night Magic. Then again, I don’t think my girlfriend wants me to blow anymore pay cheques on Magic cards.

What can we, the common Planeswalkers do against this sort of cash having? Surely not everyone can buy their way into victory? Well, I welcome you all to the Izzet guild.

It’s time for some Izzet Ingenuity.


10 Mountains

10 Islands


4 Goblin Electromancer

1 Nivmagus Elemental

1 Nivix Guildmage

1 Niv-Mizzet Dracogenius

2 Mercurial Chemister

1 Charmbreaker Devils

1 Talrand, Sky Summoner

1 Guttersnipe


2 Dual Casting

3 Brimstone Volley

2 Teleportal

2 Reforge the Soul

2 Izzet Charm

4 Index

3 Thunderous Wrath

2 Mizzium Mortars

2 Cyclonic Rift

2 Talrand’s Invocation

1 Devastation Tide

2 Spelltwine

1 Epic Experiment

Okay, so this isn’t exactly the most conventional decklist that one expects to see in Standard play. In fact, I can confidently say that I have never played against anything close to this deck, but hell, it works. It just isn’t the easiest boy to steer.

Part 1: Take notes.

I’m not kidding when I say this, take notes. Or get really good at keeping numbers in your head, because this deck counts on being able to predict when a miracle is coming and not spoil it.

Take for example, Thunderous Wrath.

Thunderous Wrath

It dishes out 5 damage for 6 mana. Sure it can counter the Thragtusk life-gain, but for more mana than it took them to PLAY the Thragtusk. The opponent just got mana advantage and a 5/3 creature. Even if you are going first, hard casting this spell means that you are going to be a sitting duck while Thragtusk can take a swing at you. (Either this or you are going to be facing down a 3/3 and an opponent with more life.)

The other way to play this? Use your Index and keep notes. If you play an Index you should know exactly when you can smash the opponent with a “miracle” that you saw coming from 5 cards away. If you’re paying 1 mana for the sake of slashing the opponent’s life total down by 5, you just showed Lightning Bolt that thunder can beat it.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a lot of card draw in this deck  as well as a lot of discarding. Between the Mercurial Chemister’s 2 draw, Niv-Mizzet’s free cards, Reforge the Soul, and the cute little Nivix Guildmage. You are bound to spoil a miracle aren’t you?

Not if you don’t keep track of those cards you won’t.

Let’s say a Thunderous Wrath is within the 5 cards you index and you place it 3rd. This turn you have to make sure that you aren’t going to spoil that miracle. You can use effects to draw up to 2 cards, but no more unless you want to spoil the surprise. The way that you win with this deck is by knowing that the miracles are coming. In fact, you win by not making them miracles at all, they are all just part of the grand plan that is the Izzet mind.

** A special note about the Devastation Tide.

In this deck there are actually 3 in my personal sideboard (I didn’t include this as it is simply made of cards that I happen to own.) They aren’t the best cards out there, but do include cards such as Cyclonic Rift’s that can shatter the opponent’s field and not your own. That being said, unless it is terribly late game and you have the biggest creatures your deck can muster out there, this deck doesn’t exactly use many permanents. Kicking everything that an aggressive deck is throwing at you back to their hand is often worth the cost in this deck, and dropping it against an army of tokens is simply hilarious.

Part 2: Why am I paying?

One of my favourite parts about this deck is that I never seem to be paying as much as my opponent in any given Arcane Melee. Of course, a great amount of this comes from the Goblin Electromancers that are in this deck.

Goblin Electromancer

Only having to pay 5 for an overloaded Devastation Tide can make it a game changer way earlier than it should be. That isn’t the only way that this deck avoids paying the costs that your opponents will have to. We already spoke about the fact that you are going to know when miracles are coming, and that you should be able to whip out your biggest spells without having to pay the biggest costs, but there are three ways of saving left:

1. The Epic Experiment:

Epic Experiment

Sure, this card is a gamble, I know.

I have both won and basically lost a match by whipping this thing out in order to bring down heavy hitters. That being said, with the combination of Goblin Electromancers and knowing what is coming (hopefully) most of the time, you should be able to destroy an opponent with a turn 6 Epic Experiment that allows you to play anything in your deck.

Turning up three Thunderous Wraths and rocking the opponent for 15?

Thunderous Wrath Thunderous Wrath Thunderous Wrath

Yes please!

Being able to combo that Brimstone Volley with the one in your hand?


Emptying your hand and dropping a reforge the soul for free?


There is only one of this card in the deck because in a deck based around drawing you should be able to find it.Also, comboing Epic Experiment into itself is a really stupid idea. (X = 0)

2. I’ll take that back please

There are two things in this deck that allow you to snatch your powerful cards back from the graveyard and hit the opponent again.:

The most prominent of these is the Spelltwine, which allows you to raid you and your opponent’s graveyards. Whether that involves stealing a mana-ramp decks’ Farseek , or adding more burn spells to the might of your own to finish off a longer game.

The more chaotic of the two grave-saves is the Charmbreaker Devils.

At the beginning of each one of your upkeeps you can make your opponent grab one of the cards that hit them earlier in the round and hand it right back to you.

Almost more fun than it is useful, but a Thunderous Wrath at that point in the game is a way to end it.

3. Dual cast EVERYTHING:

This one is of course more obvious than the rest, but only having to pay a single Red mana to whip out a burn spell a second time is a game changer (especially for Miracles).

Dual Casting

Alright, I am going to be honest, this deck could use some improving for those who are willing to drop a decent amount of money.It is more of a budget deck. The point of a budget deck is notto make it so that you replace the Snapcaster Mage, but making sure that you build a deck that doesn’t NEED him. The Izzet guild might be improved with him on their side, but they are doing fine on their own.

All for less than one tenth of the price!