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Budget Izzet Control Artisan Deck Guide – Izzet League Upgrade


As a lead up to the Festival of the Fae Standard Artisan event starting this Sunday, I wanted to share with you a budget Izzet Control / Tempo deck that only consists of commons and uncommons that you can try out. If you enjoy countering spells, burning your opponent’s creatures, and then swinging with your large flying creatures – then this is the deck for you!

If you are not using this deck for the Artisan event, of course you can add whatever rares and mythic rares you have to the deck. For a sample guide on upgrades, check the appropriate section below.

Check out our full MTG Arena Standard Budget Deck line up!


4 Pteramander (RNA) 47
4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50
4 Crackling Drake (GRN) 163
1 Essence Capture (RNA) 37
1 Evolving Wilds (M20) 246
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
1 Negate (RIX) 44
4 Opt (XLN) 65
3 Quench (RNA) 48
4 Ral's Outburst (WAR) 212
4 Shock (M19) 156
1 Mystic Sanctuary (ELD) 247
9 Island (ELD) 254
5 Mountain (ELD) 262
4 Swiftwater Cliffs (M20) 252
4 Izzet Guildgate (GRN) 251
1 Maximize Velocity (GRN) 111
4 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139

Deck Strategy

The deck’s primary goal is to counter your opponent’s key spells, or killing their creatures via burn spells. At the same time, you want to ensure you can establish your board presence with your powerful flying creatures Pteramander and Crackling Drake, or Brineborn Cutthroat.

It is crucial you try and make every land drop this deck (similar to Simic Flash), as you will need to cast more than one spell per turn! It is even more important that you leave mana up whenever you play your creatures (remember, we are only playing 12) so you can protect them with a counterspell.

As stated above, your primary method of victory would be with your creatures. Ideally, it shouldn’t take more than a turn or two to finish off your opponent. Brineborn Cutthroat is your best threat played at the end of your opponent’s turn on an empty board, where you are able to initiate the attack and endlessly counter your opponent’s creatures or removal spells.

Pteramander and Crackling Drake are more late game threats, when you will have built up a decent sized graveyard filled with your spells. Maximize Velocity is included as a single copy in the deck as a surprise factor that has the potential to combo with Crackling Drake(s) for a one-turn kill in a pinch.

Having said all that, the deck’s weakness is definitely the late game. Sometimes, your opponents will have too many spells that you cannot keep up with and your creatures will not be sufficient to fend them off. Your decision making will be important in balancing dealing damage and being proactive or being reactive as you wait to counter your opponent’s spells.

Card Substitutions

  • Flame Sweep: If aggressive decks become an issue, this card is your best bet.
  • Improbable Alliance: This card may add some late game strength to the deck as a one or two of, mostly relying on its own ability.
  • Saheeli, Sublime Artificer: A more defensive planeswalker that can create chump blockers, or copy a Crackling Drake to double your damage.
  • Murmuring Mystic: Another defensive option, similar to Saheeli. It can be used as a solid blocker on its own, even out of Lava Coil range.
  • Unsummon: If you need more non-burn interaction.
  • Beacon Bolt or Lava Coil: If you need more creature interaction, you can’t go wrong with these solid options.
  • Chemister’s Insight: If you feel you need more card draw.

Upgrading the Deck

If you enjoyed the deck and wish to further play it in more competitive matches such as the ranked ladder, then you are also covered! This deck is actually based on a deck archetype that has some proven results:

You will find that the deck is actually quite close to the real deal. Your main upgrades will be, in approximate order of importance:

  • 4 Brazen Borrower: This card is a relatively safe craft that fits into many blue decks, and helps you cast spells during your opponent’s turn. Substitute for Pteramander
  • 4 Bonecrusher Giant: This card is a relatively safe craft that fits into many red decks and can generate value. Substitute for burn spells such as Shock and Scorching Dragonfire
  • 4 Steam Vents: Substitute as soon as feasible for Izzet Guildgate
  • 3 Gadwick, the Wizened: This will be your best late game card and allows your Brineborn Cutthroat to run past your opponent’s blockers. Substitute for Crackling Drake
  • 4 Ionize: Swap out for 1 or 2 copies of spells in the deck depending on personal preference
  • 2 Castle Vantress: Substitute for Mystic Sanctuary and Evolving Wilds
  • 3 Fabled Passage: Substitute for Swifwater Cliffs

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