Monday 1 February 2016

Gatewatch Izzet

Jori En, Ruin DiverAlthough I have recently done some articles covering decks like this I do this kind of deck a lot. This version is by no means one of the better ways to do this kind of deck, indeed this list has some shortcomings. This was built entirely to house as many new cards as possible on one place to satisfy my impatience to play with them all! Oath gave us a lot of new cards but it also did a somewhat rare thing in that it gave us two top quality cheap cards that go together so perfectly in an existing cube archetype. Those two cards are of course Stormchaser Mage and Ruin Diver but we got some other bits and bobs we can throw in such a deck too. Here is the mess I ended up with, very powerful and capable of winning but not as cohesive as it should be due to the extra ramming in of cards for no specific reason other than wanting to play with them!

Lava Dart24 Spells

Gitaxian Probe
Monastery Swiftspear
Delver of Secrets
Lightning Bolt

Grim Lavamancer
Burst Lightning

Goblin Guide
Lava Dart

Abbot of Keral Keep
Looter il-Kor
Grip of the RoilStormchaser Mage
Fire / Ice

Young Pyromancer
Snapcaster Mage
Dimensional Infiltrator
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh
Jori En, Ruin Diver
Grip of the Roil
Eldrazi Obligator

Stoke the Flames

Treasure Cruise

16 Land (including 3 colourless sources)

Dimensional InfiltratorThe list is a little light on ways to win. If you face life gain you are unlikely to burn them out. If you don't get a one drop to stick for a few turns from turn one you likely won't have the tempo to make a lot of your other cards that dangerous. Short of burn and one drops doing out of hand damage this deck needs to win with something like Young Pyromancer, Chandra or Stormchaser Mage. All slow clocks and quite vulnerable. I like to pack a couple of things like Thundermaw and True-Name Nemesis in this kind of deck where possible as they are so good at single handedly winning a game reasonably fast.

Jori En impressed immensely in this list. First cast he came out or turn three after making three one drop dorks the previous two turns. This gave exactly enough dorks to throw down a Stoke the Flame on a Courser of Kruphix and immediately draw a card. From my next turn he drew an extra card every turn and comfortably sealed the game. It was essentially a two mana 2/3 that instantly replaced itself with a card. It then drew another 3 and dealt 4 damage due to the tempo lead I had secured. In later games he continued to perform well, one of the premium dorks, too gold to compare to Courser levels of goodness but certainly of that power level.

Stormchaser MageDimensional Infiltrator was much better as a 2/1 flying flash than I expected which is useful because I didn't once use the other ability. That is not a huge surprise given this list, the activation is more for control decks. It turns out a 2/1 flying flash probably is enough to make the cube on its own, just. It would mean however it was only for the more aggressive decks. Good news all round for the Infiltrator.

Stormchaser Mage outperformed Infiltrator but again this was expected. This deck is built around the Mage while the Infiltrator is just rammed in to get some testing done. The Stormchaser Mage felt somewhere between Mantis Rider and Monastery Swiftspear, which having written that now seems pretty obvious given that it pretty much is the average of those two cards! Stormchaser was hitting hard when you wanted it to and felt much more worthwhile triggering the prowess as it was much more able to apply that damage where you wanted it than the walking dorks. This kind of list still seems like the best place for Stormchaser but I feel he will still be decent in almost any Izzet deck.

Eldrazi Obligator
Grip of the Roil was fine, a tiny bit too fiddly perhaps for a deck so cheap but very nice when you were in a position to cast it. It made decisions pretty hard just because there were more distinct options than usual. A great filler card for many types of deck but rarely a card that will be awesome.

Eldrazi Obligator is starting to feel a bit like the red Containment Priest in that it is generally OK but in the right matchups it is your golden ticket. I tend not to love cards that wildly vary in their power depending on what you face but I do still like the Obligator. It does generally aggressive red things acceptably and gives you some outs against awkward matchups that are otherwise hard to come by for the red mage.

It was Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh that stole the show in this list and a big part of that is probably down to it being one of the most effective cards at winning the game in this list. She was laughably easy to flip in this deck which gave a lot of options to you, she was also fairly good at living due to the importance of killing most of the cheaper creatures in this list on sight for a lot of decks. Her damage output is huge and surprisingly tenacious. Although I still rate her as the weakest flipwalker she is closing on Kytheon fast! All the flipwalkers are top rate cards so being the worst is no bad thing. She is much much easier to build with than Liliana too, perhaps even than Nissa.

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