Previous Guilds of Ravnica Reviews
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Boros | Dimir | Golgari | Izzet | Selesnya | Artifacts, Lands, and Guild Ranking
Before I introduce the grading scale, I offer the usual caveat—the grades don’t tell the whole story, and what I write about each card provides context.
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Radiant Flames. Shambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat. Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Anticipate. Transgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
If you have enough spells in your deck that this is sorcery-speed Murder with jump-start, it’s worth a couple of slots. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the decks that fit that classification really want burn that goes to the fact, so Beacon Bolt will be played a little less as a result.
There has to be something really wild you can do with this, but I’m not sure what it is yet. It does require Beamsplitter, another creature, and whatever you are casting, so there are a lot of pieces involved.
Enigma Drake’s big brother is quite a beating—not only is Crackling Drake gigantic, but it replaces itself, making it a fantastic threat. Izzet’s theme is really coming through in Standard, and between Crackling Drake, Arclight Phoenix, and Goblin Electromancer, spells decks have a lot of great enablers and payoffs. I like this style of deck, and a 4/4 flyer for 4 that draws a card would be good in it, so getting a 7/4 or greater some of the time is just awesome.
Firemind’s Research will draw a bunch of extra cards if the game goes long enough, even if it is a lot more work than Search for Azcanta. You eventually can build toward dealing 5 (perhaps multiple times), and I like that this fuels itself by drawing extra cards. It looks like a solid engine for a control deck, and could be awesome out of the board against decks like U/B Control that can’t interact with it well.
Besides being a mainstay in Modern Storm, Electromancer actually will make an impact on Standard this time around. There are enough good jump-start cards that you’re getting double value off this, and making 25+ cards in your deck cheaper is a really powerful ability even without jump-start. The decks that use this best will be aggressive, as the 2/2 body matters a lot more there, but there is potentially a controlling path as well.
Add another 3-mana counter with upside to the list. Ionize is good when you care about the opponent’s life total, and 1UR is actually an easier mana cost than 1UU in a 2-color deck. Ionize gives a lot of support to aggressive/combo Izzet decks that are looking to burn out the opponent, and plays well with Risk Factor too. Leaving mana up for a counter, then using it on Risk Factor is a sweet way to spend a turn.
Niv-Mizzet is the real deal. It’s not the easiest card to cast, but it is worth it when you do. Just play more tapped lands and deal with it—Niv-Mizzet will reward you. The only things that really gets Niv-Mizzet are removal spells that come in the form of enchantments (Conclave Tribunal) or creatures (Ravenous Chupacabra), as any other spell draws you a card. If Niv ever survives and you get to untap, you get to go off hard, drawing 2-4 cards and wiping the opponent’s board. If that wasn’t enough, Niv is uncounterable, and a huge threat against control. I really like this card, and despite the challenging mana cost, foresee a lot of Dragoning in our future.
Ral, Izzet Viceroy
It’s always funny evaluating the nuances between the different 5 loyalty planeswalkers that -3 to kill something and +1 to draw a card. As it turns out, Ral is a good one, and will see a fair bit of play as a result. He’s no Teferi, but I can still see room for him in spell-heavy decks, as he becomes a better Ob Nixilis at that point (and Ob was a solid planeswalker). I even saw him peek his head into Modern, which is pretty funny—I guess Teferi has paved the way there too.
I don’t care how ambitious it is—this looks insanely fun. Going off with this sounds awesome in Standard (in older formats, you can just play storm cards), so if you find a good way to generate mana, this could be a great finisher for a nonsense deck.
Expansion // Explosion
Some have called this the new Sphinx’s Revelation, which is high praise indeed. Killing a threat (or an opponent) and drawing a bunch of cards is a great way to win the long game, and being a split card is quite relevant. Expansion is key in a counter war, as you can copy the opponent’s counterspell and counter their counter, and can help you double up on cheap removal against aggro. Having your 7+ mana finisher also act as a 2-mana removal or counterspell is absurdly good, and that gives me a lot of hope for this. Standard may turn into a Michael Bay film, and the combination of power level and flexibility on this would be the reason why.
Invert // Invent
Using this as a finisher in Omniscience + Cunning Wish decks is cute, but a minor upgrade at best. It’s too expensive and not powerful enough to displace Expansion // Explosion as a card draw engine, though it is cute that it can snipe 0-power creatures.
Top 3 Izzet Cards
As is only appropriate, Izzet got a slew of controlling cards and aggressive ones, all of which play together nicely. There are a lot of sweet ways to draw cards here, and plenty of ways to deal damage, which is also a very Izzet place to land.