Do you like experimentation? Do you like making things explode? Then the Izzet League is for you! They don’t waste any time, and neither should we, so let’s Jump-start our look into the cards in Guilds of Ravnica for Izzet.
The Izzet League
Followed by those who seek greater knowledge, or those who choose to become part of an experiment, the Izzet League are the inventors on Ravnica. Led, until recently, by the Dracogenius Niv-Mizzet this blue and red mana guild is currently being ran by Ral Zarek.
The mechanic this time around for these inventors is Jump-start. While this is a name better suited for the Kaladesh setting this mechanic feels like a take on the Flashback and Retrace mechanics blended together. In order to cast a spell with Jump-start from your graveyard you have to discard a card, and in the late game when you draw an unnecessary land this could be beneficial.
When a new set enters Standard one thing we look for are replacements for cards that have rotated out of the format. So as Glimmer of Genius leaves a replacement is warranted, and in this case it’s Chemister’s Insight. In recent years Wizards of the Coast has tried to provide players a card like Inspiration feeling that drawing two cards for four mana at instant speed is fair (and in Standard it is), but they have juiced it up a bit this time. Allowing you to draw four cards for eight mana, and discarding a card, will make this a card for us control players to use. I can’t wait to play this card.
Punisher cards, where you give your opponent a choice on how the spell resolves, are a topic of strategy that has happened for many years. In the case of the Jump-start mechanic Risk Factor puts the advantage slightly back into your favor. If you play with multiples of these your chances of the opponent taking four damage is minimized over time. This card is a better version of Browbeat, and is my pick for FNM card from this guild.
This card seems interesting. While walls in control strategies are sometimes needed in aggressive metagames they usually provide something upon coming into play. This card provides an advantage the longer it remains in play with a control deck. Those decks usually play a lot of instants in the form of counterspells or spot removal, and even in the event you have to cast a sweeper at sorcery speed you still get the trigger from this upon casting before the spell resolves. Having two of these in play can really pressure your opponent. I wouldn’t mind trying this card.
Runaway Steam-Kin is the most hyped card in red, and honestly I can see applications for this in Modern. As people look at this card they think primarily of burn spells, and rightfully so. However I am thinking of other cards that have red in their casting cost, especially in Modern:
That’s just to name a few. Those cards can do things other than burn your opponent, which can be more beneficial in a game, and can help grow the Steam-Kin. Speaking of grow couple this with the following cards, and you may have a sweet aggressive Jund aggro deck:
This might be one to watch.
Of any card in this set to make me play Jeskai it is Ionize. Having a card that only costs a single blue in it’s cost be able to counter a spell is pretty strong, and the fact this card is in Standard tells me that there should be plenty of ways to counter a spell for anyone wishing to play a control deck. If you look at this card close enough it’s an Instant speed Blightning. The card you are countering is essentially discarded, and the 2 damage is nothing to sneeze at either. This card will be seen a lot in Standard, and some mages may play it in Modern as well.
All control decks need a finisher, and Niv-Mizzet, Parun is indeed just that. A creature that can’t be countered the only downside to this card is that it ties up your available mana. However if you untap with him anytime you draw a card you are doing damage. Dealing more than five damage a turn can help end games quickly, and this guy partners with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria quite well.
Now we arrive at the other planeswalker in the set in Ral, Izzet Viceroy. A very main character in the story, and minion of Nicol Bolas. While this card has the same template many planeswalker cards have had before it the second ability is quite interesting as it counts cards in exile, Those in exile may be the ones you cast with the Jump-start ability giving them a use beyond their second casting. Otherwise he is competing for a spot currently occupied by the time mage Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.
The Izzet League always has something up it’s sleeve, and this time it’s no different. Their designs are usually simplistic, and straight to the point (draw cards, do damage to something, etc), but that efficiency is where their guild shines. For them the only way to succeed is through trial and error, even if that means dealing with a lot of errors.
Was this article quick? You bet. Izzet mages waste no time so neither should I when covering them. Are you also sad the charm cycle did not come back in this set? Izzet Charm was a sweet card. Leave a comment below, and make sure to follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter. Tomorrow I will cover the last guild the Selesnya Conclave.
TAP MORE MANA!!!
Scott Campbell, better known as MTGPackFoils, has been playing Magic since he was 17 (which was in 1993). He’s known for loving decks such as Azorius Control, Jund, and others (especially in Modern). He is a husband, father, and a former nightclub DJ.