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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Apr 27 2021 12:00pm
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Izzet Blitz is an old favorite among the combo players of Pauper. The deck revolves around the creature Kiln Fiend. The way the deck works is, you play 3 spells, making the Fiend have 10 power, then you play Temur Battle Rage on Kiln Fiend and swing for 20 damage. The deck can win as fast as turn 3 when left unchecked, but this list requires an extremely specific draw.

The archetype has gone through a few different builds over the years, but it has seen little to no play recently from what I could see. I will discuss why I think this later, but the short answer is that archetype is easily disrupted, as killing a Kiln Fiend requires only a Shock to deal with.

However, I think the deck can be extremely fun and can still do decent in the format. The list we will be looking at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 3/24/2021 and was piloted by GaussianSporocarp. Let’s not waste anymore time and get right into it!


Kiln Fiend – This is the main win condition of the deck. Protect Kiln Fiend at all costs. It isn’t very hard to deal with this one, as it only has 2 toughness. However, once you resolve the Fiend, if you get to untap with it in play, you usually win the game.

Delver of Secrets – I am usually not a fan of this card in this archetype, but I do understand why it is here. Flipping a Delver on turn 2 can usually end the game quickly as well. In this build, you also have a fair amount of burn potential and counter magic, so the damage you deal with a flipped Delver of Secrets will add up quickly over time.

Firebrand Archer – In the past, you would see Nivix Cyclops here. The Pauper format has sped up a bit and so I can see the argument for Cyclops being a turn too slow. I like the Archer though, because it isn’t hard for you to chain so many spells together that you can burn your opponent out from a good amount of life and this makes it so that if you can’t get through in the red zone, you still have a way to win. It also helps you win the game when you are able to get in a non lethal Kiln Fiend attack or when you are chipping away with Delver of Secrets.

Temur Battle Rage – This is your combo card with Kiln Fiend. In the past, you would use Assault Strobe to be able to win as fast as turn 3 consistently. However, these days that is very hard to do in the Pauper format, so the added bonus of Trample that Battle Rage gives is enough to delay your win a turn.

Brainstorm and Ponder – While I usually say, if you do not have a good amount of shuffle effects, Brainstorm is bad, in this deck that isn’t exactly the case. Brainstorm putting 2 or 3 spells in your hand for only 1 mana is huge when you are trying to chain together spells so 4 copies is definitely good here.

Ponder – Is also great here because you are always trying to dig for specific spells in a specific order. You are not trying to play a long game as you would with Preordain.

Preordain and Serum VisionsPreordain is great, but there are only so many spots you can dedicate to draw spells, which is why you don’t see 4 copies. As far as Serum Visions, I honestly don’t know why it is here as I personally believe Preordain is just a better card in every way.

Lightning Bolt and Rift BoltLightning Bolt of course makes an appearance here because it can be removal or reach. Rift Bolt is basically the 5th copy of Lightning Bolt. Although slow, if you have a Kiln Fiend in play while it is coming off Suspend, it is a free pump for the Fiend, which is great.

Snap – A free bounce spell for opposing blockers. I am a fan of this card here, but I am unsure if it is the best you can do.

Spell PierceDispel is great, but there are sorcery's, such as Chainer's Edict that you will need to counter and Spell Pierce helps with that.

Mutagenic Growth – I love this spell, especially in this archetype. Not only does it give Kiln Fiend +5 power for a turn, but it can also save the Fiend from a Lightning Bolt in the process and all for basically free (the 2 life is usually very minor). Growth also helps you to be able to win on turn 3, but you will need quite a bit of luck to pull it off.

Dispel – Can’t go wrong with a couple of Dispel to counter removal and pump your Kiln Fiend or deal a damage with Archer in the process.

Apostle's Blessing – Not only is this a counter spell to removal, but it can also help you win the game by making your Kiln Fiend unblockable. It is extremely possible to win the game by just chaining spells together and using Blessing to get Kiln Fiend through.

The manabase is fairly straightforward. You have 1 copy of Volatile Fjord, which should probably be a Swiftwater Cliffs because the 1 life could matter, as where the Snow aspect doesn’t. Then you have 3 copies of Ash Barrens to help fix mana and be a shuffle effect for Brainstorm. Then the rest are just basic lands.

The Sideboard

Apostle's Blessing – While this spell can be good against almost anything, it really shines against other aggro decks where you won’t be dealing with a ton of counter spells or removal spells. Against those types of decks, you just want to play a solitaire type of game and win as quickly as possible without fear.

Spell Pierce – For when you need just a bit more counter magic against removal heavy decks.

Blue Elemental Blast – For those pesky red mages.

Reckless Charge – I like this one a lot. It helps you become just a bit faster against the control decks of the meta where you need the game over as quickly as possible. Against most archetypes, the longer the game goes, the more your chances to win go down.

Red Elemental Blast – For any blue mage that comes your way.

Smash to Smithereens – This is good against Tron because it can destroy their mana artifacts. It also deals 3 damage which is a bonus. It can help against Affinity and some others as well.

Snapback – Against other aggro decks, having a free bounce spell is great when trying to chain spells together for a Kiln Fiend kill.

Verdict and Conclusion

I will always love this deck. I love combo decks throughout Magic history and this one is no exception. I just love how simple and effective this archetype can be.

While I do love this deck, it does have flaws. The 2 biggest are being weak to both Pyroblast and Hydroblast (or their elemental counter parts) and with those spells being extremely popular, it makes it hard for this deck to compete. Another problem is that if you don’t win in the early turns, the game can easily go past the point of be able to win quickly.

Do I think you should play this deck? For the leagues, I think this a fun choice, but might not bring you a huge win rate. For the challenges, I personally wouldn’t play this archetype. I think that one of (if not, your worst) matchups is the Izzet Faeries archetype. Since this archetype is extremely popular, you probably are gonna have a hard time.

Tron can be difficult as well, but there is a good chance you can beat Tron before they set up. I am not saying you are weak to everything, but most matchups will be an uphill battle and not for much gain in the long run.

At the end of the day, there are good reasons that this particular archetype isn’t heavily represented. It is because there are just so many good sideboard options for it, that most of the decks you will run into, are well prepared without even actively trying to be.

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 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 Gatherling.com 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!