The post-Omnath pillars of Standard have formed and are currently Edgewall Innkeeper decks, Yorion, Sky Nomad decks, Rakdos Midrange, and Rogues. Now that we know our enemies, it’s time we plan on how to attack them and topple the pillars, and I think I have just the deck for the job! But I have just 1 question before we start:
WHAT TIME IZZET?!?!?!?!
So how do we go about attacking such a power-creeped Standard? After all, almost all of the decks have key cards that have become staples in the superpowered formats of Modern and Pioneer. Well, that train of thought led me to examine a deck near and dear to my heart: Izzet Blitz. I noticed that some of the key cards, which helped skyrocket that deck to tier 1 in Modern, were available in Standard.
First, how do these threats line up against Standard’s answers? Well, among the most played removal spells is Heartless Act, which Sprite Dragon doesn’t die to after you cast a single spell. Stormwing Entity falls to Hearless Act, but dodges an unkicked Bloodchief’s Thirst, Eliminate, Shock, and Roil Eruption after a single spell, and coming down on turn 3 as a 5-drop means that in a lot of situations you can avoid Drown in the Loch, as only a few of the best Rogue hands can put 5 in the yard by turn 3, and still have 2 mana up to cast Drown on your turn. That often means they’re forced them to tap on their turn or risk a counterspell post-board. Both creatures are saved from other damage-based removal thanks to Infuriate, which is a powerful combat trick and potentially game ending spell when used on one of our fliers. For these reasons, I think it is safe to say that the threats this deck uses are more than reasonably placed in the meta.
I began to brew the most efficient way to build around these powerful threats. While I didn’t have access to the 1 drop prowess threats, I was able to make up for it by playing, in my opinion, the 2 most powerful adventure creatures in Bonecrusher Giant and Brazen Borrower. These cards are important because they’re your primary tools in taking over the board. Bonecrusher’s Stomp adventure takes out a creature, and then the next turn I have a 4/3 blocker or threat. Brazen Borrower always feels fantastic when my opponent taps out to cast something expensive, only for it to be bounced and basically skip their turn, like a “Time Walk” effect. The other side of it being an evasive 3 power attacker is just as great.
After I’d filled thoes slots, I added in Mono Red’s tried and true combo of Shock and Lightning Strike effects. While Roil Eruption is sorcery speed, a lot of the threats in Standard have 3 toughness like Ruin Crab, Soaring Thought-Thief, Kazandu Mammoth, opposing Bonecrusher Giants, etc. So, I think this spell is needed as removal and to act as fine burn on its own. I have only used the kicker a handful of times, but the added text is welcome anyway.
Sea Gate Stormcaller is a card I think everyone is sleeping on. It does a pretty good poor man’s interpretation of Snapcaster Mage, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended games, removed a huge threat, or taken out multiple problematic creatures by combining Stormcaller with Roil Eruption, Shock, and Infuriate. It should also be noted that you can copy the spell modes of the Adventure creatures to get a Lucky Clover-style effect. Like Roil Eruption, I have only used her kicker a few times, but just casting and following her up with any spell is fantastic.
Other than that, the only cards in the main that need explanation are Crash Through and Opt, which are necessary as cantrips and to bulk your spell count. The instant Speed on Opt allows for some sneaky plays with Sprite Dragon and Stormwing, while Crash Through gives us Trample, which makes our creatures harder to block and for us to push through damage. You can also pair these cards with Stormcaller to draw 2 cards, in a Divination-style effect that leaves you with a creature.
Cards I considered
Gadwick is a powerful card. I think you could find room for 1 or 2 copies of it, but I don’t play it because I find it dreadfully slow. Any threat I play, I want it to be able to win the game quickly, but I think Gadwick has its place in a slightly different build, since it’s good in a lot of spots.
I think Stern Dismissal is better than Unsummon, which you can use in Bo1. Since it can hit enchantments, I would maybe have a split of 3 copies and 1 copy of Unsummon if you want this effect and for that rare occasion where you want to save one of your creatures or reuse an adventure creature. I don’t play it because we already have Borrower, and I board it out in a lot of match-ups, so more copies that aren’t stapled to a creature don’t appeal to me.
This is not a burn deck, but rather an aggressive tempo deck, and like most aggressive tempo lists, you must play tight and disciplined. Don’t just cast burn or a bounce effect on creatures that aren’t a real threat. If my opponent controls a weak creature that can’t block my Sprite Dragon, then I am not going to waste a spell on it just because I can. I also won’t waste a spell just to sneak in extra damage, when I know there are cards in their deck that would be troublesome that those spells can remove.
Creatures that you should remove are cards like Edgewall Innkeeper, mana dorks in the early game, and creatures that pose a real threat if unanswered like Kazandu Mammoth and Lurrus. Don’t be greedy and let a Gilded Goose live, just because you want to get fancy and Sea Gate Stormcaller your spell to MAYBE get a 2 for 1. Saving your Brazen Borrower is also fantastic, because it is a card that really shines in out-tempoing your opponent in the midgame, when they’re casting more expensive stuff. Saving it for when they swing all in and cast an Embercleave, only for you to bounce it back, is fantastic
Try to think at least 2 turns ahead and prepare for the worst-case scenario. For example, if I have a creature in play and just drew a Stormwing Entity with Crash Through and Infuriate in hand, and need to get past their last blocker, I will think of my opponent’s deck. If they are a color/colors that have access to removal, then I will use Infuriate to do so even though I am sacrificing the combat trick that I could have used later on, because my opponent can always have a removal spell in hand or on top of their deck and I could be left without targets for Infuriate, and therefore unable to cast Stormwing next turn. If they are mono green, then it is unlikely that they have a removal spell that isn’t Primal Might, so Infuriate could win me that exchange, or at worst I could target their creature with the Infuriate next turn and still cast Stormwing, so casting Crash Through is better.
Make sure to check out the video above to see this deck in action!
- Stormcaller works with adventure spells so you can use it with Borrower’s bounce to remove 2 threats and really set an opponent behind. Same with Bonecrusher’s Stomp: kill 2 creatures or double up to remove a Questing Beast or other large threat.
- Remember that Brazen Borrower can only bounce opposing nonland permanents. I sometimes forget this myself and attempt to use it to save one of my creatures without success…
- Saving 1 mana spells for turn 3 is smart, in case you draw a Stormwing Entity, or to cast after Sprite Dragon. If you can cast Entity on turn 3, it’s almost always right to do so.
- Don’t be afraid to use Crash Through on turn 1 to find another land or a creature if you need to, but save it if you don’t have a compelling reason to cast it.
Dimir Control (No Rogues)
|+3 Miscast||-4 Infuriate|
This matchup comes down to the 1-for-1 trades. We only have so many threats and they play a ton of removal, but as we discussed earlier, our creatures can avoid specific spells, requiring the Dimir Control player to have the right spells at the right times.
We cut Infuriate because it just opens us up to 2-for-1s. Crash Through might look like the cut, but at worst it’s a cantrip and at best it’s a spell we can copy with Sea Gate Stormcaller to draw 2 and get us back in the game after a big sweeper, or use to cast our Stormwing on turn 3.
To answer the removal and sweepers, we bring in Miscast and Negate. I like the 3-1 mix because, if the game goes long, Negate can tag an Ugin or Ashiok, or stop a spell even if our opponent has open mana.
|+3 Miscast||-4 Infuriate|
|+1 Negate||-3 Brazen Borrower|
|+3 Scorching Dragonfire|
This matchup gets rough if our opponent sticks an unanswered Innkeeper, so kill it on sight if possible. They also have a lot of removal, so Infuriate becomes a liability again. Borrower gets trimmed because we almost never want to return an adventure creature to their hand to be reused. In their place, we bring in Miscast and Negate to take care of removal, and because countering an adventure spell sends it to the graveyard so they lose the ability to cast the creature half later. We bring in Scorching Dragonfire because it’s a powerful removal spell that kills everything in their deck that isn’t Lovestruck Beast or Questing Beast.
|+3 Redcap Melee||-3 Brazen Borrower|
|+3 Scorching Dragonfire||-3 Opt|
This match up can be tough if the red player plays a lot of burn. Luckily few do outside of Bonecrusher Giant and a couple of Shocks, so we have the removal advantage. Infuriate is basically only to be used to save a creature from a burn spell, or to end the game if our creature is big enough to survive a burn spell already. Do not get 2-for-1ed. Redcap Melee is a nice instant speed answer to Torbran, and Scorching Dragonfire exiles Anax/whatever it targets so they don’t get the tokens. The real important thing to think about is how many creatures your opponent will have/attack with, because of Embercleave. Anax can make this a bit tricky for inexperienced players, so just be cautious and don’t get blown out by Embercleave.
I trim 3 Brazen Borrower because bouncing their creatures or Embercleave is mediocre in most spots, and a creature that can’t block is a liability. That being said, there are situations where it is just grand and wins you the game so I do leave in 1. I trim Opt because it is just a cantrip with no board impact. Crash Through at least lets a Bonecrusher or other creature come through for more damage, especially with Infuriate.
UW Yorion/Yorion Doom*
|+3 Miscast||-4 Brazen Borrower|
This match up is close to Dimir, but it is somewhat easier because they don’t have instant speed removal. Since most of their deck works at sorcery speed, you are safe to keep in Infuriate and go for fast kills.
We cut Brazen Borrower because we don’t want to bounce enchantments for them to get more value. The counterspells take care of sweepers. Miscast doesn’t stop enchantments, but Negate does, so try to save Negate to counter an Elspeth Conquers Death and save your Stormwing or Bonecrusher Giant if possible.
|+3 Scorching Dragonfire||-3 Opt|
This matchup is pretty straightforward – we are the control deck and want to kill any creature that looks like a threat on the spot. Most of our big threats have flying, so as long as we can keep reach creatures like Feasting Troll King off the board, then we are in good shape.
Here we look to Tempo them out. We cut Opt for the same reason as we do against mono red. Scorching Dragonfire kills most of their creatures and works great with Stormcaller, and it has the upside of exiling which means they can’t grow Scavenging Ooze. Brazen Borrower shines here, because you can get free turns bouncing large threats.
|+3 Scorching Dragonfire||-4 Infuriate|
|+3 Miscast||-4 Brazen Borrower|
|+1 Negate||-1 Opt|
|+2 Ox of Agonas|
This matchup can be tricky. Creatures like Thieves' Guild Enforcer and Ruin Crab need to be removed on the spot. Their flying creatures can be hard to break past as well, but in the long run we outclass their creatures. If they beat us, it is mostly with mill.
I board out Infuriate for the same reason as always – they have too much removal, and the risk of getting 2 for 1ed or it being stuck in your hand is too high. I also cut Brazen Borrower, because we never want to bounce anything they have, and it is a bad threat as a flier, because some of their threats also fly. We bring in Scorching Dragonfire to remove creatures and exile them permanently. The counterspells are there to stop their removal and counters. Ox of Agonas comes in to decrease the cards in our grave, and gives us a fantastic threat that refuels us in the mid to late game.
Some people bring in Soul-Guide Lantern, but this is wrong. Exiling your own grave is just poor. Ox is so much better and does more for us, and turns the game around.
|+3 Soul-Guide Lantern||-3 Infuriate|
Okay so I have to say you need to change boarding based on their configuration – sideboard by what you see. Since they mill themselves so much, you can see a good portion of their deck. There are so many different builds for this deck currently – if they play Robber of the Rich and Magmatic Channeler, then I think you are safe to bring in Scorching Dragonfire as more removal, but if you don’t see Robber then I wouldn’t bring it in just to exile Kroxa to its sac trigger. If you see sweepers or any other problematic cards, you can bring in the counter spells. I don’t auto include the counters, because most of the time they are casting enchantments and Kroxa, which our counters just don’t affect.
They have too much removal for Infuriate once again. Soul-Guide Lantern always comes in because it shuts them down until it is removed. Based on what you see, the 4th Infuriate and Opts are the next to go to bring in the other cards.
This is one of my favorite “off-meta” decks, and I hope you enjoyed the article and video. If you haven’t yet, consider subscribing to my Youtube channel for more MTG Arena content. You can also follow me on Twitch to see when I go live to play this deck and many other great decks. Finally, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook for memes and updates, or to ask me about my builds. Until next time, Hero out!