The birth of the new format has included many new archetypes and established decks. We’ve seen the general evolution of the new Standard’s early days. Today we get more specific and analyze the deck that is doing best so far and is once again at the top — Izzet Control!
IZZET CONTROL – DECKLIST
We’ve been talking a lot about Goldspan Dragon, which is one of the strongest cards printed in recent years. Without its presence, this deck wouldn’t be at the top of the charts constantly. It’s a significant threat by being a 4/4 flying with haste, and its ability to produce treasures that give double the mana allows you to play expensive spells like Alrund’s Epiphany without feeling too much weight. It gains more value with the arrival of a strong card like Memory Deluge.
Smoldering Egg is the first new addition to this deck. I’ve mentioned before that this card is vaguely reminiscent of an iconic card like Thing in the Ice. It’s a blocker for the first few turns and a threat when it manages to become a dragon. Unlike Thing in the Ice, it doesn’t bounce all over the board and isn’t a 7/8. However, it’s still a great win condition by being a flying 4/4 that does two damage every time you play a spell.
When we first saw Burning Hands, I said that if the format became green dominant, this spell would be almost mandatory to play in the main deck. The format is rich in green. Wrenn and Seven is one of the most played and highest powered cards. Three of the top five most played decks are green based, so four copies of this removal are played. Dragon’s Fire acts as a support and, in combination with Goldspan Dragon, can be a good solution to many threats, including planeswalkers.
Expressive Iteration is a fantastic card. It has established itself in a format as high powered as Modern. It’s a fundamental card in Standard for this archetype and combines both quality and quantity.
How much have we talked about Prismari Command and its strength? It’s now established in the format. It’s essential in the archetype for the amount of choices it provides. Its winning play is to deal two damage on turn three and create a treasure that will let you play Goldspan Dragon on turn four.
Burn Down the House gives the mass removal the deck needs in a format like this. It’s not the greatest ever, and you can think of replacing it with Battle of Frost and Fire, but it’s still necessary.
Memory Deluge is a catch that the deck needed, especially for its Flashback ability that in late game allows you to make a Dig Through Time, which is not exactly the ugliest of cards.
We close with a well-played card that has changed this archetype a bit: Alrund’s Epiphany. It’s a little more expensive Time Warp that gives two 1/1 tokens with flying. Goldspan Dragon makes it less heavy. This card allows you to win the game or at least to accumulate an advantage so that you can’t lose it anymore.
IZZET CONTROL – SIDEBOARD GUIDE
Being a mirror, the one who manages resources best usually wins.
The composition of the side can be an important factor. There are 10 cards that must be put in, so hope that your opponent has less. Stroke, Negate and Test of Talents offer lots of counter, with Malevolent Hermit also an option since it can work as a counterspell when needed. Inferno can make a big difference, as your opponent shouldn’t have a way to take it out.
This is a good match-up overall. There is plenty of removal and Burning Hand kills everything with only two mana. Burning Down the House will be very strong in this match-up.
Post-side there are two Into the Roil that give you a lot of time if played well. Memory Deluge can often be slow in this type of game because there is always removal to do, so keeping two in is a good compromise.
This isn’t a beautiful match-up. Unlike other aggressive decks, this one has strong late-game plays, like Wrenn and Seven, Emeria’s Call or Storm the Festival, so we might struggle more.
The format is still in constant evolution, but Izzet seems ready to establish itself as one of the best for another year, much to the happiness of this archetype’s fans, like myself.