Fate of Izzet
What Happened to Izzet in Standard After the Epiphany Ban
Remember the combo of Galvanic Iteration, and Alrund’s Epiphany? Yeah, it was totally dominant in Standard for quite a while, that is until Alrund’s Epiphany was banned a few months back. So, what sort of strategies have the Izzet based decks turned to as a result?
Let’s talk about Jeskai Combo to start, because I do believe this is the natural evolution in many ways to Izzet Turns. This deck is indeed able to take extra turns with Alchemist’s Gambit, but is much more focused on getting a high impact creature into play, compared to the old Izzet Turns deck:
Goldspan Dragon and Lier, Disciple of the Drowned really fuel what this deck is capable of. Gaining extra mana through targeting your own Goldspan Dragon is a big deal, because it means being able to cast a number of spells out of the graveyard, once Lier is on the battlefield. Show of Confidence is what gives the deck a storm element, as you can really abuse the card, and potentially make a Goldspan Dragon large enough for a lethal attack all in a single turn.
This deck has a lot of the same cards we saw played alongside Alrund’s Epiphany, utilizing card filtering effects like Unexpected Windfall, and Expressive Iteration. Big Score is actually an upgrade to Unexected Windfall, and allows the deck to have up to 8 copies of that effect if it wants. We also see Galvanic Iteration, as there are so many high impact noncreature spells worth copying in the deck. In terms of the Standard metagame I would say this is a tier one deck at the moment, though it may be a bit less popular than Esper Midrange and Naya Runes.
Izzet Land Destruction Control
Now I want to move over to an Izzet deck that hasn’t been around for very long, but has gotten some early traction in this New Capenna Standard format. This is a more controlling direction you can take the Izzet colors, with Arcane Bombardment as a top end play, and way to easily close games out:
This deck isn’t focused on creatures, and it doesn’t need to be. The Izzet colors have access to enough powerful noncreature spells, that the inclusion of Goldspan Dragon isn’t mandatory. In fact, if we look back to when the Izzet Epiphany deck was popular they often had few or even zero creatures in the maindeck. Then, after sideboard there is the opportunity to bring in additional threats, and we see that with the Smoldering Eggs in this list.
The land destruction package is a new element of this strategy but being that the deck is two colors Field of Ruin is an inclusion that makes sense to deal with the powerful nonbasic lands running around. The deck goes one step further though and includes Cleansing Wildfire as well. The idea here is that many decks don’t play many basic lands, and you can copy Cleansing Wildfire with Arcane Bombardment later in the game to really hurt the opponent’s manabase.
Even after the ban of Alrund’s Epiphany the Izzet decks have been able to adapt and find new ways to close out the game. In my opinion, this is a positive after a ban, as you can still use many of the cards that were in the Izzet Turns deck in today’s Standard environment.
Thanks for reading,