Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Aug 29 2022 10:54am

Throughout the history of Pauper, we have seen Izzet Control decks come in many forms. We have seen win conditions such as Fury of the Horns, Serpentine Curve and there are many more. The deck list I want to talk about today isn’t anything crazy, but I think it is pretty solid.

The list we will be looking at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 8/17/2022 and was piloted by Kampo. It is time for fire to meet ice in today’s episode of lets rock!


Augur of Bolas – Great blocker and you play a ton of spells to find so it can end up being card advantage as well. I still hate this card but I digress.

Crimson Fleet Commodore – Here is your main win condition of the deck. It is easy to remove since it only has 2 toughness, but it hits hard and can end the game quickly. It also makes you the Monarch, giving you card advantage in the process.

Counterspell – If you are a blue control deck that can support the mana cost easily, you should be playing 4 copies of this card. Keep in mind, this does not apply to every blue deck.

Exclude – It is a little slow for the meta of today, but it does draw a card, giving you a bit card advantage so you can get ahead of your opponent.

Izzet Charm – I was pretty happy to see this make it into the Pauper format and I am happy to see it getting some play. It isn’t the best as it doesn’t counter creatures, it only deals 2 damage to a creature and it isn’t pure card advantage as its a looting effect. However, I still think it has the potential to be pretty powerful.

Brainstorm and Preordain – You have a few ways to shuffle so Brainstorm is a fine 2 of, while Preordain is great at helping you make the game go late. I like the ratio here.

Fire // Ice – One of my favorite cards ever. It can often be a 2 for 1 in many different ways and I love seeing 3 copies. Depending on the meta you might want less copies in your deck but I don’t think you would ever want 4 unless special circumstances present themselves.

Frantic Inventory – Has good synergy with Izzet Charms looting effect and just a good way to draw a lot of cards overall.

Clear the Mind – Here is your other way to win the game. When the game has gone extremely late and your opponent is completely out of gas but you are about to run out of cards, you can essentially reset your game plan and win by decking them or replaying your Commodores. This is similar to the Elixir of Immortality strategies we saw years ago. This isn’t the greatest strategy ever, but it is certainly fun for someone.

Lightning Bolt and Skred – 2 of the best removal spells in the format and it should be no surprise they make an appearance here.

Fiery Cannonade – Every control decks need a board wipe and this is one of the best. Do remember, this does not hit your Commodores because they are Pirates.

Hypothesizzle – I never would have thought I’d see this played. It costs a lot, but it also does a good bit as well. Moving forward I think I would cut this card personally.

The Manabase

The manabase isn’t anything to special and it shouldn’t be. You have 3 Evolving Wilds and 3 Ash Barrens to help with mana fixing. They also help by being shuffle effects for Brainstorm. Then the rest is just basic lands. You don’t want many come into play tapped lands because you don’t want to be slow. I like the manabase.

I will say that while 22 lands is a high count, you are a mana hungry control deck. You aren’t as low to the ground as the Faeries archetype and need a good amount of mana to function. These are my opinions.

The Sideboard

Fiery Cannonade – An extra board wipe just in case.

Blue Elemental Blast and Hydroblast – Don’t like losing to red decks? Here you go!

Gorilla Shaman – Say no to our robot overlords! I have also seen Shaman brought in to combat the Rakdos Burn decks. It does kill their artifact lands and keep them off tokens which is a big part of their game plan. I don’t think Shaman is the best plan in the world, but it can steal some games.

Red Elemental Blast – Don’t like losing to blue decks? Here is the solution!

Underworld Rage-Hound – This is also another win condition we have seen in Izzet control decks. It is annoying for many archetypes as this creature can keep coming back over and over while also being a decent clock. I am not sure this is the best option available, but I can’t think of anything that stands out as “better”.

You could play something like Stormbound Geist, but it only comes back from the grave once. You could also playing Flurry of Horns, but again the creatures do not come back and you don’t have something like Mnemonic Wall and Ghostly Flicker to take advantage.

Verdict and Conclusion

I love my control decks and this one is no exception. I like what is going on here as you are straight to the point control. I am less of a fan of it for Magic Online because it might take too much time to complete a game, let alone a match and you need to remember the chess clock is a thing. Keep this in mind.

I wish we saw a few copies of Swirling Sandstorm here, but I understand Fiery Cannonade doesn’t kill either of your creatures and that is the advantage of it. I really only have one gripe with this list and that is the lack of ways you have to deal with bigger creatures. Unlike Faeries where you have a quick clock to take advantage of Skred and counterspells, this list doesn’t really have that. I would consider adding a few copies of something like Flame Slash somewhere just in case. Other than that I think the list is built fairly well for what it is trying to accomplish.

In regards to the sideboard. I can understand the 6 blue blasts. Burn can be a scary matchup for a deck like this because you don’t have enough to really combat it and even the Kiln Fiend matchups can be a bit of a worry. The 6 blasts are especially good if you expect a lot of red based strategies which in the leagues that could very well be the case. I am also not a huge fan of Gorilla Shaman since it does not deal with the indestructible lands from Affinity, however, it does do work and does keep tokens in check. It is also good against the Rakdos Burn decks for the same reason. At the end of the day, you don’t really have all that great of options these days. Cards like Annul don’t do enough and are slow in my opinion so Gorilla Shaman is the best in the slot it goes in.

I would like to note I have never spoken about Gorilla Shaman being good against Rakdos Burn. I really have no excuse for never discussing it and I apologies for forgetting. I will try to be better moving forward about details like this.

Should you play this deck? For leagues I think it is alright but you will have to adjust your list according to what you will see. Decks like this can often get split very thin on answers and you may have to much for one matchup but not enough for another. I also don’t think your win rate for the leagues will be positive over time, but still something fun to try out.

For challenges I personally would stay away as I don’t think this deck is good enough to compete with the well known established archetypes you will run into and while I am sure you can beat them, I personally don’t think you will be able to do it consistently.

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!