Saturday, 26 January 2019
Izzet Drakes .dec
This is my cube variation on the standard deck doing well presently. Or indeed, pre Allegiances. I write this as it is released on Arena and so have no idea how the meta is shaping up. This list translates very well into cube with so many cheap red and blue instants and sorceries you can use to fill up the bin with. In many ways it is just a different slant on the prowess based Izzet tempo decks. You simply invert the balance, in those you try and make a cheap prowess threat and use your instants and sorceries after it to support them, pump them, keep them alive and force them through. In this deck you use your cards to setup and fill your bin while staying alive and then attempt to burst down in one or two hits with your preemtively buffed threats. It isn't threats at the bottom but threats at the top of the curve. Obviously there are pros and cons to both. This list felt impressively powerful but it is typically unsupported in cube draft and is likely much more of a constructed thing anyway. The synergies are too important. You also really need the tools that provide haste else you become very weak to too much disruption. This version of the list is a little pure and setup to goldfish rather than properly play. In reality you are going to want things like Force of Will and Spellskite so as to afford some protection for your drakes. You have some reasonable redundancy in threats but a removal heavy deck is going to destroy you if you run this exact list;
Visions of Beyond
Fire / Ice
Chart a Course
You should also be running a bit more in the way of defensive spells. Sweltering Suns and Pyroclasm are perhaps a little full on as they kill a few of your own things but they would massively improve your matchup against the aggressive decks. Arc Trail or perhaps Fiery Confluence would be a solid compromise on such things. Despite being so similar to the Izzet prowess decks this list is really a lot more of a combo deck in practice. You fill up the bin, flop out an X/3 or X/4 which in turn one or two shots them. If they get stopped you are really going to struggle winning the game. Given the deck is a combo deck I quite wanted Intuition in it for the double Phoenix Faithless Looting combo. You even have Maximize Velocity to find when you inevitably draw one of those other three. The thing is that the Phoenix are very much just backup dorks. They are there to give you a bit of low cost presence, chip down those life totals to make one shotting more like, perhaps just control some planeswalkers. You are rarely winning with your fixed stat dorks. They are too slow of a clock and the deck isn't sufficiently survivable to support that long clock.
There are a bunch of other cards I looked at such as more tools to give haste of which there are many like Reckless Charge and Expedite. They are pretty poor without a Drake to hand however and you have so much draw and dig that going a little lighter on these effects is wise despite them being a potent part of the combo. Saheeli was a cute potential allowing for a Fork like effect on your combo as well as the haste with it. She didn't make the cut as she isn't a spell and she protects herself poorly. Thud and Fling effects also do a bit of that extra combo burst but like the haste spells they do nothing on their own and this lowers consistency. Crash Through is a nice tool to force through damage against a team of flying token blockers. Gelectrode solves that problem as well to some degree but it is rather less reliable at it but does rather more on its own. I looked at Gut Shot and Manamorphose for some bonus free spell action. The latter is likely worth it but the former feels too low impact to be worth a card. We are not an Arclight Phoenix deck and that is what the Gut Shot is best for. Stormchaser Mage was another consideration as a cheaper Wee Dragonaughts style option. The thing is it is pretty minor damage output compared to your other threats and not really a defensive dork. Really Stormchaser Mage is an Izzet tempo card.
There is not much more to say about this list. You need the Drakes and the Chimera. You need a high count of cheap instants and sorceries for which the best options are pretty well understood. You have a few options after that as to how aggressive, all in, defensive, etc you want to be. You potentially have some directional or sub-synergy (like my Phoenix package) based choices to make too. The play is option dense but it is surprisingly easy. You know what you are trying to do and your game plan. Your cards provide lots of choices both by being cheap and having lots of them to play but also because they are high option density cards, this usually translates into a complicated deck but as so many of your cards are the same it is quite simple what to do for the most part. You are just efficiently trying to fill up the bin without becoming dead. Then you are trying to make and connect with a massively high powered flier. The deck actually felt more like a Splinter Twin cmbo deck than it did an Izzet tempo deck. Just find the parts, do the thing and hope that was enough and in time.
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I would like to support the archetype of "spell matter" in izzet, but in a cube powered like mine, I feel that it would be difficult to compete.