Tamiyo Seasoned Scholar | Modern Horizons 3
15, Jun, 24

Breakout Izzet Deck Crushes Competition with Wonderful Wizard Synergies!

Article at a Glance

Modern Horizons 3 cards have been available for use on Magic Online for a few days at this point, and it’s clear that the set is having a massive impact on the Modern metagame. The combination of Nadu, Winged Wisdom and Shuko has quickly proven to be an elite combo. Meanwhile, mono-red Storm abusing the power of Ruby Medallion and Ral, Monsoon Mage has been putting up plenty of results in recent tournaments.

While MH3 may seem a bit tame compared to the broken nature of MH2, there are still a ton of powerful new toys for players to utilize. Today, we’re going to focus on an intriguing Izzet shell that features five different MH3 cards in the maindeck. This Izzet control variant managed to make top eight of two Magic Online Modern Challenges this week, and there’s a lot to like about its position in the current metagame.

Maximizing Flame of Anor

Flame of Anor

Back when Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth first came out, an Izzet control deck with a Wizards subtheme emerged with the goal of enabling Flame of Anor. Flame of Anor is an exceptionally flexible card, but is at its strongest in decks that can reliably choose two modes at a time. Alongside Wizards like Snapcaster Mage, Flame of Anor acted as a powerful card in attrition battles while also answering problematic artifacts like Amulet of Vigor.

This new Izzet shell borrows a lot of the same concepts and cards from the Wizards decks of old, but with some important upgrades. By far, the most essential innovation is the addition of Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student. When Tamiyo was initially spoiled, there were many debates about how the card would end up performing in Izzet decks. While repeatedly making Clues can help you win the resource battle, Tamiyo doesn’t provide the same level of pressure or mana production that [Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer does.

That being said, in a deck like this that is prepared to play a long game, Tamiyo looks like an all-star. The Clue tokens produced ensure you never run out of gas. Tamiyo is indeed a Wizard, which makes it more likely you’ll get the most out of Flame of Anor. On top of that, being able to draw two cards off Flame of Anor makes flipping Tamiyo trivial. From there, you get a potent Planeswalker that can buy back Flame of Anor in short order. In some games, you may even be able to race to the ultimate and bury your opponent in card advantage.

As things currently stand, both Flame of Anor and Tamiyo have a lot of appeal in the Modern metagame. Flame is a solid answer to either Ral or Ruby Medallion from red Storm decks. Similarly, it can clean up both Nadu and Shuko at once. Thanks to its evasion, Tamiyo lines up well against Nadu combo and Golgari Yawgmoth. Tamiyo gets to soar right past Wall of Roots or Young Wolf, an area where Ragavan falls short. Tamiyo dodges Lava Dart and Unholy Heat early on, too, which is a huge boon.

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Interactive Additions

Invert Polarity

Most of the rest of the deck is filled with various forms of disruption to help keep your opponent off-balance. Izzet control staples like Lightning Bolt and Counterspell obviously make an appearance. Cantrips like Preordain are also worthy inclusions, especially with Tamiyo in the mix.

Interestingly, though, a large number of spells in the deck are new MH3 inclusions. Galvanic Discharge is another cheap answer to three-toughness threats by itself. However, unlike Lightning Bolt, Galvanic Discharge has the potential to kill larger creatures if you can build up some extra Energy. Energy isn’t a major focal point of this strategy, but the deck does play a playset of Tune the Narrative as a low cost cantrip that fuels Galvanic Discharge. Considering how important it is to answer four-toughness creatures like Nadu, this makes a lot of sense.

In the counter magic department, both Invert Polarity and Flare of Denial can have a backbreaking effect on the game. Invert Polarity certainly has an element of randomness associated with it, but the card’s upside is incredible. Worst case scenario, you ended up casting an inefficient Counterspell. Best case, you steal Primeval Titan or The One Ring and completely run away with the game. Running a couple copies to help you close games seems worthwhile since Tamiyo and Snapcaster can give you multiple cracks at gaining control of something big.

Flare of Denial can also function as a three-mana Counterspell when necessary, but it gives you the lxuruy of sometimes countering an opposing haymaker for free. Sacrificing Snapcaster Mage after it already generated value is a nice option to have and can allow you to tap out in some instances without feeling vulnerable to your opponent’s follow up.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Nadu, Winged Wisdom

Overall, Izzet control seems to be decently positioned in Modern at the moment. We mentioned that Flame of Anor lines up quite well against Nadu combo and Storm, which are both extremely popular. The deck’s vast array of counter magic gives you a strong chance against other combo decks as well. This deck is chock full of ways to get ahead on resources, so if you can keep Orcish Bowmasters and Grief at bay, you’re well set up to play a long game against Scam strategies.

Likely the biggest weakness this deck has is with its ability to close games in a timely manner. Outside of Murktide Regent or a timely Invert Polarity, this deck relies on dragging the game out and winning with Snapcaster beats and the like. Against big mana decks like Tron, this won’t always fly. Letting a single huge bomb resolve can spell doom, and you still have to compete with cast triggers from cards like Devourer of Destiny. Harbinger of the Seas out of the sideboard can help, but otherwise you risk getting outclassed fast.

Cavern of Souls is also a bit of a frustrating card to play against, as this deck relies heavily on its suite of counter magic. In this sense, the deck is not foolproof. Nonetheless, Izzet control is a very strong choice right now. There’s plenty of room for the archetype to adapt to metagame shifts, and being able to match up with Nadu combo and Storm is great at a baseline. If you’re a fan of slinging spells and fighting attrition battles, this deck could be a great fit.

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