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By: kelvinmai, Kelvin Mai
Nov 25 2013 11:05am
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 Izzet Control


Last time I wrote about a multitude of decks all built around Young Pyromancer. But there was one deck that i left out because it wasn't anywhere near done. And so I bring it to you today. So what's the deck you may ask? Well what's the one thing a deck revolving around the pyromancer wants lots of? Spells! And what kind of decks is built with almost all spells? A control deck! So naturally I started working on an izzet control list. It was really rough during it's inception though, it had some crazy things that just ended up not working like the legendary dragon Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius and eventually even the Young Pyromancer had to go. The deck sure has come a long way since it's inception and it is no longer pyromancer control. So what does it look like? Well see for yourself, it's down below.

A little while ago before rotation people starting describing control decks with the term 'flash'. It was just a flashy way of saying the deck was draw-go instead of the more midrange tap-out control decks. And this is my concoction with that playstyle in mind, in fact this has more potential of playing at instant speed than even Esper right now. The only sorceries in the deck are of course the sweepers, Anger of the Gods and Mizzium Mortars. But every other spell is an instant which includes a handful of counterspells and burn and of course rounding it out are the drawspells. And then beyond the spells of the deck there are the difficult to deal with finishers in the form of Aetherling and Prognostic Sphinx. Aetherling needs no explanation but the sphinx hasn't gotten as much love because it doesn't have the ability to close out the game, but it does make up for it by being able to set up every single turn with it's scry ability. 

What in the World?

Thespian's Stage

But of course it's not one of my brews without something spicy and strange. And the first thing you'll notice is that I have Spellheart Chimera in the forefront of creatures. Why this guy? Well he's actually a great finisher in a deck like this, notice the amount of spells that we'll toss into our bin. On top of that he only cost 3 so that means we are able to protect him from a lot of removal barring Supreme Verdict with our hand full of counterspells. And at the very least he'll be a target with a bulls-eye for the opponent to waste their removal while we set up for the Aetherling assault. Another spice that sticks out like a sore thumb would have to be my choice for utility land. Thespian's Stage is a card that has not had any time in the limelight and I would love to change that. But why even run that? Well the best land for the position is Mutavault, but that one card could buy roughly half of this deck, if not more. So instead my plan is to just copy enemy Mutavaults so we don't have to spend 30 tickets. Of course if you're more afraid of the devotion decks Encroaching Wastes is also a great utility land in this slot. And the last anomaly is that I have 1 Dispel mainboard. Count how many instants are being used today, Selesnya Charm, Advent of the Wurm, Hero's Downfall, Sphinx's Revelation, Magma Jet, Cyclonic Rift, Brave the Elements and Boros Charm have all seen some usage, hell even Spark Jolt has been shown some light. So that single dispel can do wonders and the best part is no one will see it coming. 

The Missing Piece?

Looking through this list you may be wondering where's Steam Augury. I mean the deck is blue-red and control, so it has to have the new Fact or Fiction right? Well not quite, I'll admit that I love that card as much as the next izzet player but it just doesn't fit into the deck and trust me, I have tried my hardest to make it work. But why? It comes down to the fact that this is a control deck and it suffers, like many other control decks, from the lack of consistency. You only have 2 Aetherlings or perhaps you're looking for that final burn to close the game but what if you turn over only one of these win conditions in your 5 cards? Your opponent is definitely not going to give it to you. In the tempo deck that I wrote about, it's completely ok to use this card because you have multiple copies of everything. After all it's pretty easy to get a burn spell into your hand when you run 12 cards for that sole reason. But of course we make up for this lack of consistency with card draw and instead of the Augury we are running Thoughtflare, Opportunity, Quicken and even Izzet Charm, all of which eliminates the variance of our opponent's choice.

Matchups and Sideboard

This deck's game one isn't tailored for any particular deck out in the meta game. That doesn't mean it doesn't win game ones, instead it just means it can only get better after you sideboard. Think of your sideboard as a swiss army knife and that it has a tool for every possible situation.

Essence Scatter  Dispel

So first up in the swiss army knife's selection are cards for the aggro matchup. Essence Scatter, Lightning Strike and the last copy of Anger of the Gods are all a must have. Depending on what kind of deck it is you may consider other cards, like I would definitely side in the extra Dispel against white weenie and Boros aggro because you want to turn off their Brave the Elements and Boros Charm. Cards that you would consider siding out in this matchup would include Mizzium Mortars because of it's sorcery speed and nothing in aggro has a 4 butt, Opportunity and Aetherling because this is a game where you want to win before hitting 6 mana. Don't worry about your Aetherling sitting on the sidelines, the chimera and sphinx can definitely bring you to victory.

Pithing Needle Burning Earth Negate Cyclonic Rift

Up next is control. Pithing Needle is a catch all tool because they'll have something with an activated ability, whether it be a planeswalker, a creature or even a land. Yes, you can name swamp to prevent them from activating Underworld Connections. Next you'll want to bring in the Dispel, Swan Song and Negate. These counterspells are all better than those useless burn here because we can now get rid of their spells when they don't have creatures for us to remove. Aside from Anger of the Gods and Mizzium Mortars being taken out, I'd also get rid of Syncopate because they'll likely have enough land to pay X every time, control decks love their land drops after all. And Cyclonic Rift is something that may come in handy. Being blue red limits us to what kind of destruction we have, we can't kill like black or white so instead we can return everything to their hand at the very least. Finally Burning Earth is worth a mention, control decks are usually three or more colors so as long as you have more basic lands than they do this can be a win condition all on it's own. I only have 1 because I am running 10 nonbasics, but it's up to you to add more if you think it's lacking.


Jace, Architect of Thought

This deck is fine and all but it's still under a budget. What happens when you remove that restriction? Well there are a couple things you can do to make things better. The first thing is something I already mentioned, Mutavault. I've already mentioned my super secret tech about Thespian's Stage but if you want to improve the deck just use the real man land instead of the copycat. It will make the deck much more devastating as you have power to actually be proactive in the earlier games. I'd even suggest a whole playset of the land but of course this would also mean you should maybe take Burning Earth out of the sideboard. The next inclusion should come as no surprise and that would be the planeswalker Jace. He does everything you want him to do in this deck. He'll blunt an aggro assault with his plus, dig deeper into the deck with his minus and his ultimate will probably summon 2 Aetherlings but that usually doesn't happen. It is probably why he's being played in every control deck featuring blue. Why not Ral Zarek of the izzet league? Well Ral is cool and all but he really doesn't do anything to further our plans. Untapping permanents can be cool, except we're not stocked in any of those what about his Lightning Bolt ability? We have actual Lightning Strikes, so sorry Ral maybe next time. There are some options at which slot you should replace with Jace, I'd say replace the sphinx with him because both do the same thing, dig 3 cards deeper into the deck. But if you want to keep the sphinx than maybe replace the chimera. However if you like the entire threat suite you can try to replace the Quicken with Jace because that was originally my slot for Steam Augury.

And there you have it, Izzet Control in all it's glory. I hope this was an interesting read and that it's something different for you to play. Unlike some of my other casual and fun deck ideas this one has had more time to develop and I would even say it's ready to be played competitively, in fact it is my current deck. But if you were more interested in something fun and whacky I'm sorry I disappointed but you can always browse my past articles for some of them. As always I will see you next time with something brand new and hopefully as crazy as this one.


Nice article ! This Izzet by Pikace at Tue, 11/26/2013 - 04:13
Pikace's picture

Nice article ! This Izzet Spellheart Chimera deck is what I'm currently building in T2.
I'm not so sure about Steam Augury too.
I tried 4 Frostburn Weird to slowdown aggro, it works well. Anger do the job and the weird can do the first damages.

What d'you think about Jace M14 ?
"+1" do the drawing et "0" can mill down your opponent OR yourself if you have the chimera in play.
That's a third victory condition (after chimera & aetherling)
Haven't tested it yet but it could be effective.

I like Curse of the Swine too, with Anger it works very well.
But I'm very affraid of the miscutter hydra, almost game when in play !

Mill Jace is an interesting by kelvinmai at Tue, 11/26/2013 - 14:10
kelvinmai's picture

Mill Jace is an interesting choice, I like it. I don't really like curse of the swine, but that may just be a personal preference.