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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 06 2023 12:04pm

It seems no matter what format you play, you can’t escape the Izzet menace. Today I want to talk about Izzet Murktide. The deck is a low to the ground Izzet Tempo deck that plays just about all the best cards in the format. It has removal, stupid creatures such as Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, counter magic, card draw and removal. Pretty much the deck is the total package of having it all. We can all thank Modern Horizons 2 for this.

The list we will talk about today was piloted by the player qbturtle to a 7th place finish in the Modern Challenge that took place on 2/10/2023. If you are a fan of Izzet in Pauper, you will take a liking to this deck. I won’t waste any more of your time. Let’s Rock!


Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer – Possibly the best 1 drop creature of all time. This card can literally snowball a game in your favor without even trying. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets banned at some point.

Dragon's Rage Channeler – This creature as actually extremely powerful and basically the new Delver of Secrets (It is true, they made a better Delver, it is okay to be upset by that). It starts out as only a 1/1, but its Surveil ability helps keep the gas flowing and once you get Delirium going, it becomes a 3 power creature with flying. It does have to attack every turn so keep that in mind.

Ledger Shredder – Not only does this help you do a bit of looting, but it also has the potential to grow bigger and has the possibility of being able to trigger multiple times a turn. Remember that its ability says, “Whenever a player casts their second spell for the turn”. It doesn’t just see count you.

Murktide Regent – Ah yes, the big end game creature of the deck. I have seen players cast this card on turn 4, with counter magic back up and have it be as big as a 6/6. This card is just stupid powerful and can end the game rather quickly. The reason not to play 4 is because you don’t want to draw 2 within the first few turns and have it just sit in your hand doing nothing.

Counterspell – That is right, Counterspell is in Modern. Do not play less than 4 in this deck in my opinion.

Spell Pierce – Having a way to counter spells for only 1 mana is very crucial and in this format, Pierce goes a long way.

Consider – This card is just awesome for a deck like this. It is a cantrip that gives you a Scry which is already good. However where this card shines is that it can put 2 cards in your graveyard for Murktide Regent and still draw you a card.

Lightning Bolt – I don’t think seeing this should surprise anyone.

Unholy Heat – Getting Delirium in this deck isn’t too hard and once it is turned on, Unholy Heat becomes the closest thing to Swords to Plowshares that red could ever hope for. Keep in mind, this can hit Planeswalkers as well.

Expressive Iteration – This is a big amount of card advantage/selection, You will regularly get 2 cards that you can play off of this card and remember you can play lands you exile with it. I suggest not playing this on turn 2 almost ever and remember to play it before you play a land just in case.

Mishra’s Bauble – This is a crucial part to the deck as it helps get Delirium online. It also slowly draws you a card and costs nothing to play. As a bonus you can also see what your opponent draws for more information or it can help you determine whether or not you should crack a fetch land.

The Manabase

First up we see 7 fetches mixed up but you will notice that all of them are blue fetches. The reason not to max out on any 1 fetch is so that you don’t get caught by cards such as Pithing Needle or Anointed Peacekeepr. They are also all Blue, because that is the main way your deck functions.

We then see Spirebluff Canal and Steam Vents as your dual lands. It might not seem like it matters, but your life total matters a ton and the extra damage you might take from Steam Vents can come back to haunt you. Canal coming into play tapped later in the game won’t usually matter as much as your opening hand being as good as it can be does.

Fiery Islet and Otawara, Soaring City – Here are some tech lands for the deck. Iselt is good, but not good enough that you want more than 1. Otawara is actually quite a good utility land as being able to bounce something might not seem all that powerful, but it can come up in a lot of games.

We don’t see any Mountains here because red is more of a splash color and if you or your opponent happens to go Blood Moon, you have access to red anyway. In the end I like this manabase and would be hard pressed to change it.

The Sideboard

Abrade – A great and flexible removal spell. In Modern being able to hit artifacts is huge.

Alpine Moon – Hi there Urza’s Saga. This can also be good against other lands I am sure.

Blood Moon – Against certain matchups like Amulet Titan or Urza Tron, not only is this a really good card to have, it can sometimes win the game all on its own. I understand why you have 1 copy here as you only need 1. I however like having 2 just in case the first is answered, but there is a point in most games where the window to stick a Moon and have it be good enough to help you win the game will go by fairly fast. Keep that in mind.

Dress Down – I love this card. First off this draws a card, if it didn’t it might not be as good, second of all, there are tons of creatures with enter play abilities you want to counter. The good thing is you can play this at the end of your turn or your opponents turn and it will stick around till the next end step.

Engineered Explosives – Although you can only put 2 counters usually, popping it for 1 or 2 can do a lot against a plethora of decks you come across. With Ragavan possibly making Treasure Tokens, you could theoretically do the Sunburst for more.

Flusterstorm – A powerful piece of counter magic that can be good against a number of different decks.

Fury – This can be devastating against creature decks and can win the game on its own if you are able to cast it.

Mystical Dispute – Against blue decks this can usually be a 1 mana version of Counterspell.

Seasoned Pyromancer – This can be a good creature against slower matchups. It can draw you some cards while putting cards in the graveyard to help cast Murktide Regent and it can produce 4 power on the board. It can also make 2 tokens at instant speed later in the game. I admit I am not a huge fan of this card but I think it has its uses.

Subtlety – This can help you against heavy creature matchups where you may need to tap out a lot and do things on your own turn. I personally am not a fan of this card no matter what deck I play it in but that is just me.

Unlicensed Hearse – A fantastic piece of graveyard hate that can also kill your opponent and win you the game.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

While I find this deck very boring to play, I can’t argue with the fact that it is an extremely good deck in the format. I don’t find it boring because the deck isn’t hard to play, it actually is quite hard to pilot. I find it boring because you don’t do many exciting things.

The deck is very straight forward to the point. Play a good aggro creature, get under the opponents plan, control the game, land a big Murktide and win. It is a very consistent deck and that is a good thing because it rewards players who put in the time to learn the deck. There isn’t really much to say passed that as the deck isn’t really overly complicated.

Should you play this deck? Yes, this deck is very good. If you are a big fan of Delver in Legacy, you will find this deck will come very familiar to you. As for this list I like starting here as its a very stock/basic build for the main deck. The sideboard you can adjust according to the meta you expect to face.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!