Wow. So many people are loving the Izzet Blitz deck that I decided to work on it for a second consecutive week, and you can probably expect me to go a third. I think the deck is not only fantastically powerful, but incredibly fun, and many of you apparently feel the same way. For those of you playing it in tournaments this season, I will be working on the deck for you. I want to see tournament victories, and I believe we can do it.
After finishing in the Top 8 of a PTQ last weekend, I played it again this past weekend in a 263-person PTQ in Seattle. I finished in 37th place, while a friend finished 9th. These are good results, and great results will follow.
So, what is it about the deck that makes it so desirable?
It could be that each of our Charms has 3 common modes. Most decks that use Charms have two primary modes. This gives us tremendous flexibility to choose our role and position in the game.
It could be the power of [card]Faithless Looting[/card]. I really believe in this card. Sure, giving up a physical card for selection means being down a card, but if we are pitching flashback spells or useless extra lands, we are basically going up cards.
With [card]Faithless Looting[/card], we are rarely flooded or screwed. I think this card is what makes the deck so great.
Updating the Deck
With so many minds now working on the deck, it is evolving more quickly. Ideas are coming in, and being put to the test in tournaments everywhere. The deck is growing stronger.
I found myself constantly discarding this card to Lootings. It’s not good against Bant Hexproof. It’s not good against Aristocrats. It’s not good against control. Sometimes it kills [card]Boros Reckoner[/card]. Sometimes it kills [card]Hellrider[/card]. Sometimes it kills [card]Fiend Hunter[/card]. Most of the time it gets discarded or goes to the face. I’m ready to cut this card.
I also found myself constantly discarding [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]. Well, game 1s tend to be races. A 2/1 body rarely effects the math of a tight race, and 2 mana is a LOT to grant one card flashback. I found myself wishing Snapcaster Mage was something else.
We loot so much and dig so much. All we want is to flip [card]Artful Dodge[/card]s into the graveyard. It’s free value. Every time we loot and discard a flashback spell, we are up a card. Everytime we loot and discard [card]Searing Spear[/card] and [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], we learn that our deck is perhaps built incorrectly.
What if we played more flashback spells?
[draft]Feeling of Dread[/draft]
[card]Feeling of Dread[/card] is slowly creeping its way into the deck. It clears the way as a pseudo-[card]Artful Dodge[/card]. It stops blockers as a pseudo-fog. Most importantly, it beefs up our [card]Thought Scours[/card], [card]Faithless Lootings[/card], and [card]Izzet Charms[/card].
Right now I am only playing 1 [card]Feeling of Dread[/card], but I will be trying out more. Expect that number to go up!
One of the most common ways I found myself losing was going through a bucket of cards without finding one of our 3-drops to put pressure on the opponent. The burn plan never worked, so it was stick a threat or scoop ‘em up. I looked for other comparable 3-drops, and fortunately there’s another one out there!
[draft]Geist of Saint Traft[/draft]
Geist packs less punch than [card]Guttersnipe[/card] or [card]Nivix Cyclops[/card], but it is easier to protect. We don’t need to worry about it getting killed immediately by targeted spot removal.
It also represents a LOT of damage. An [card]Artful Dodge[/card] can push through 12, and we can use our imagination to get the last 8.
I like the card, and I’m happy to have the extra threat. Sometimes we have too many guys and have to discard them now—but it’s better than having none.
We adjusted the mana to maximize untapped lands and colored mana. This means 12 shocklands and no basics. This works to prevent as many games as possible of all tapped lands or miscolored mana. The cost is giving up additional life, and having no basics against the rare [card]Ghost Quarter[/card].
I have been playing a maindeck [card]Faith’s Shield[/card] mostly to keep my opponents guessing. The card is okay—I’m rarely unhappy to see one. Two is a lot to draw, so I think 1 in the main, 1 in the board is plenty.
It has 3 modes: protect a creature from removal, send an attacker through, and work as a fog with fateful hour. The final effect has been the most common use for me. Every time I am in a tight race I think about how I can use a single white mana to buy a whole new turn. This means sometimes even taking unnecessary damage from lands or spells in order to set it up.
One of the main consequences of moving away from Searing Spear is how it affects our matchup against [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card] decks. To date, I have only lost to the RG or Naya Blitz decks twice in over a dozen matches. This is an incredible win rate, perhaps buoyed by luck, but certainly controlled by deck construction.
With [card]Searing Spear[/card], we have just enough cards in our list to morph our 60 into a kill-everything control deck. I’ve ended games with a single-digit number of cards in my deck. This strategy doesn’t necessarily work anymore if we dip below a critical mass of control.
[card]Feeling of Dread[/card] and [card]Faith’s Shield[/card] are sweet tempo cards in a matchup like this, but our matchup is better when we play control than when we race. This means we might be forced to play the red matchups as traditional races, which means a post-board dip versus those decks. This is probably worth it.
I’ve seen some people cut this card, but I adamantly stand behind it. The card is a sweet flex slot. It is our biggest kill spell versus any aggro deck. In the late game it can kill a [card]Volcanic Strength[/card]’d [card]Ghor Clan-Rampager[/card]. Against control decks, it allows us to attack from an entirely different angle with a surprise blast to [card]Boros Reckoner[/card]. I have won some pretty difficult games this way.
This card is awesome! Don’t cut it!
With the addition of Geists, I found myself trimming 1-2 of these versus control decks. Control decks present instant speed ways to break up our combo kill, so we can avoid blowouts by going away from that. Between Geist, Guttersnipe, Boros Reckoner, and Ral Zarek, we have LOTS of threats, and trimming Cyclops is okay here.
The deck will continue to evolve as more people start to grind with it. The metagame shift really determines the type of cards we run in our main for a particular week. It might be [card]Electrickery[/card] one week, it might be back to [card]Searing Spear[/card] the next.
I’m excited to see where this goes, as I know many of you are passionate about the deck and have your own version. Let’s keep at it!
Budget Izzet Blitz
I know a lot of you don’t want to dump a ton of money into a deck right now, but you want to play. I’ve been there. I understand.
For you, I have been working on a budget version of the Izzet Blitz deck. One of the great things about the deck is how well it abuses commons and uncommons, so we really don’t even need to give up too much.
You can build a version of this deck for TEN DOLLARS, and be competitive as well. TEN DOLLARS is DIRT CHEAP. I can’t remember a time when a no-rare deck like this even existed.
[card]Armed // Dangerous[/card] is our substitute for [card]Boros Charm[/card] which allows us to be straight blue/red. Armed is actually more powerful than the Charm, although it is less flexible. The extra 2 damage from Armed makes adding to 20 much easier, especially if we only have three mana to operate with.
[card]Dream Twist[/card] really powers our deck in the budget version. With [card]Thought Scour[/card], [card]Faithless Looting[/card], [card]Artful Dodge[/card], and [card]Feeling of Dread[/card] we generate LOTS of value on flashback spells. Each of these flashback spells is cheap and can do a ton of damage when teamed up with [card]Guttersnipe[/card] and [card]Nivix Cyclops[/card].
[card]Burning Vengeance[/card] is our additional threat. With [card]Dream Twist[/card], [card]Artful Dodge[/card], [card]Faithless Looting[/card], and [card]Feeling of Dread[/card], [card]Burning Vengeance[/card] can clear the way, clear the board, or go straight for the jugular.
For a while I was running Delver in this spot, but I found Delver extremely unreliable, and much less fun. Burning Vengeance is sweet here.
Izzet Blitz Continues
Much love to everyone who has helped put in work on the deck. Bonus shoutout to Alex’s Alters for the sweet Nivix Cyclops!
Questions! Comments! Think there’s something I forgot?!