We are knee-deep in Innistrad: Crimson Vow previews! There’s a ton of great new cards, including a fan favorite in Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. But there’s a big bad boogie man in the format that’s only getting scarier, Izzet Epiphany.
Izzet Epiphany Today
Izzet Epiphany has been a major player in the format basically since Innistrad: Midnight Hunt‘s release a couple months ago. Between it and Mono Green, the format has been pretty 2 dimensional. Here’s a currently, winning list of Izzet Epiphany. This is Corey Baumeister’s 1st place list from the SCG Invitational, where the deck took 5 spots in the top 8 of the event.
This deck really is a control deck with a combo finish. There are zero creatures in the deck, and it relies on taking enough turns with Galvanic Iteration and Alrund’s Epiphany to win off the back of the birds from Epiphany and Hall of Storm Giants. There is a ton of removal and counter magic and draw to back that plan up, so the longevity that this has makes it a tier 1 strategy in Standard.
There are some who believe that the reprinting of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is going to be what the format needs to help fight against the Izzet Epiphany menace. Thalia might help, but she by herself will not get the job done. She definitely needs some help from other “tax” cards to really have a chance. Epiphany has so much cheap removal that no matter wherever you play Thalia in the game, she can very easy die.
It Gets Worse
There’s a brand new card that’s coming in Innistrad: Crimson Vow that is going to make Izzet Epiphany even better.
Wizards of the Coast is printing another Extra Turn spell, in Alchemist’s Gambit. On it’s face, it costs 3 mana, but has the downside of losing the game at the end of that turn. You can also pay the Cleave cost, which is the same mana value as Alrund’s Epiphany.
This gives the deck extra turn spells 5-8, increasing the consistency of the deck. This is also powers up the combo finish, because this allows the deck to take the one last turn of the game while keeping up counter back up to ensure the win.
What Needs to Happen
The card that really should be banned here is Galvanic Iteration. Now that there will be a critical mass of extra turn spells in the deck, it feels useless to try and attack those spells specifically. The real strength of the deck comes from Galvanic Iteration letting you cheat on mana by giving you a copy of the extra turn. The fact that you can also utilize this spell twice for additional benefit makes it the real problem.
With this being banned, the deck needs to not only draw the extra turn spells, but they need to spend the turns chaining the extra turn spells together, and not doing very much else on those turns. Usually on one of the extra turns, you’re able to get an attack in with Hall of Storm Giants, because you have another turn in the queue and can afford to spend the mana. I think that this brings the power of the deck dramatically, and may force the deck to run a boss monster to help seal the deal.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that banning Galvanic Iteration is enough to bring the deck down in power enough that the rest of the format can thrive? We’ll have to see if there’s more coming in Crimson Vow that can help this situation. Make sure to stay tuned to our Crimson Vow Preview Gallery to stay up to date with all of the new cards!