We continue with Standard this week. In the last article, we looked at the new set’s impact on the format by seeing which decks have been improved and which have lost some appeal. This week we’re analyzing Izzet Dragons — a deck that has intrigued me and is the right compromise between fun and competitiveness.
IZZET DRAGONS – DECKLIST
Let’s begin with the deck’s eponymous creature — dragons!
Since it made its arrival in Standard, the Goldspan Dragon has taken a central place in the format. It’s a strong card that is functional for this deck thanks to its ability to create treasures and accelerate plays. It’s harmonious with Galazeth Prismari and plugs treasures to draw mana if you want to play instant or sorcery, which is almost the whole deck. Galzeth Prismari is perhaps the deck’s most impactful card and made it competitive.
Iymrith, Desert Doom integrates well in this deck. Although Izzet Dragons is not an aggro deck, it tends to run out of resources quickly, and you often run out of cards. This dragon protects itself with its Ward 4 ability when untapped, and when you attack with it, you’ll protect it with other spells. It lets you draw a card, and if you have fewer than three in hand, you draw cards equal to the difference.
As mentioned before, the rest of this deck mainly consists of instants and sorcery.
We have six single removals, two of which are the well-known Frost Bite. They have always been present since their debut in Khaldeim with the snow lands because doing 3 damage to a creature with 1 mana is very strong.
Dragon’s Fire is added to the removal pool and replaces Scorching Dragonfire. It reveals a dragon to do damage to a creature or planeswalker equal to the strength of the one we revealed. If we do not reveal anything (in some cases, you may not want to give information to your opponent), it still does 3 damage. It’s a perfect card for this deck, which provides solutions to things that before couldn’t easily be solved, such as Lovestruck Beast, Questing Beast, and Torbrand.
We close the package with Draconic Intervention, which is a mass removal only for your opponent since you just have dragons as creatures. This will be useful against aggro decks or decks that focus on developing the board, like Naya/Monogreen Midrange.
Going forward, Expressive Iteration is such a strong card that it has conquered practically any format. It’s played in Legacy and is essential in Modern and Standard. It’s advantageous for any deck to see three cards and take two in one turn.
Saw It Coming is a versatile counter that can often be removed during turn two, so it doesn’t go into discard, and you can find it when necessary.
When analyzing Strixhaven, I was most enthusiastic for Prismari Command. For such a strong card, it hasn’t picked up as much play as it deserves, but it will when the long-awaited rotation arrives. In this deck it does it all — removal, card quality, smashes Embercleave and The Great Henge, and provides a crucial treasure that can be used for 2 damage to a creature and to create a treasure, untap, and land Goldspan Dragon. What more could you want from a card?
Alrund’s Epiphany is the classic Time Warp that also gives two 1/1 flying. It’s strong in this deck because a lot of mana is created through treasures, which closes the game because it makes two attacks or gives enough advantage that your opponent can’t close the gap.
We close the spell analysis with Orb of Dragonkind, which is the real novelty of this deck. It can enact an important sprint if it’s in your opening hand and played on turn two. It’s advantageous to play Galazeth turn three or Goldspan Dragon or Iymrith a turn earlier. While its speed is important, it also lets you look at seven cards and take a dragon, which is good for a resource shortage. In short, this card should be tried and played.
IZZET DRAGONS – SIDEBOARD
This is a bad match-up. In the first game you have many bad, useless cards. Your opponent has many removals and your three counters aren’t enough to stop their combo. You need everything to win and your opponent needs a streak of bad luck.
As seen from the number of cards, the situation improves post-side but is still not great. We pull out all the useless removal and put in a lot of counters. Roiling Vortex is your opponent’s nightmare. Inferno is uncounterable and will force your opponent to stay open for a removal if they don’t want to take 6 damage.
This is a good match-up. During game one, you have a lot of removals, threats that your opponent can’t easily remove (all their removals are fights so you have to play well around them), and solutions to almost everything. You have to be careful with The Great Henge, so don’t use Prismari Command to cycle if not needed.
Post-side you add two removals and remove two counters that are likely to remain in your hand.
This match-up used to be bad, but the new cards have created an even or, possibly, favorable match-up.
The situation improves post-side when four removals are added to further fix the situation, and you take out an expensive card at 7 mana and 3 counters to make room for cheaper interaction spells.
I recommend this Izzet Dragons to fans of this archetype. I like UR a lot, and we have seen several decks. This may not be the strongest, but it is still fun and can be competitive if played a lot.
There are a lot of choices to make. My advice is to play it as much as possible so you can play it effectively.