Apr. 29th, 2019

New Additions to Izzet Phoenix in War of the Spark

Competitive Edge
New Additions to Izzet Phoenix in War of the Spark

Izzet Phoenix has taken off over the past few months, going from a fun deck that seemed to be making waves, to now the powerhouse of the Modern Format, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. For players that love the archetype, this is great news. I'll go as far to say that even though I'm a huge fan of the archetype in Legacy (though it is not nearly as good there), I don't think the deck's dominance is particularly healthy for Modern. I recognize how good the deck is, but having a deck revolve so strongly on graveyard mechanics be the top dog in the format means that main deck graveyard hate is certainly a thing. But with that aside, the deck is obviously good, and I'm here to say that it's about to get better, with some new cards from War of the Spark.

Potential New Additions to the List

Izzet Phoenix has always been a pretty interesting deck, since it utilizes a lot of Standard Legal cards. With , , , and even sideboard options like and , there's a big chunk of the deck that looks similar to the Standard version of this deck. Maybe this is a testament to Wizards of the Coast's new R&D philosophies that have been in place since Ixalan. I think yes, and I think that these are some new cards from War of the Spark that are going to see some play in these decks.

This card has been making headlines in older formats ever since it was spoiled. Mainly because it turns off fetch lands. It also turns off , , lots of ramp cards, , and a heck of a lot more. That alone seems pretty good. But it has two other key pieces of text on it as well. First, it feeds a graveyard. In Izzet Phoenix, this means you'll be able to add to your own graveyard as much as you want. If it doesn't get dealt with, you're going to add 20 cards from your deck to your yard. There's bound to be some in there, as well as some fodder for . On top of that, the second part of their -1 ability is that it exiles opponent's graveyards. This is so good in the mirror, as well as against so many decks in Modern right now. It gets rid of stuff for opposing , and . You might be able to hit a Phoenix. You can turn off a preemptively. I'd say that that aspect isn't good enough on it's own to warrant a spot in Modern, since it definitely can be a bit clunky. But stapled to the fact that your opponent's can't search decks, and you get to feed your own graveyard, it seems like the perfect fit for Izzet Phoenix. I can see it as a two or three-of, maybe even replacing main deck (or maybe not).

This card is one that is almost tailor made for Phoenix decks I feel. Let's run through it. So you get to cast an instant AND/OR a sorcery with converted mana cost X or less. This is so flexible in Izzet Phoenix, especially late game. And, I'll say this again, you get to cast them. This one card can return your to the battlefield, since it resolving counts as three spells total. It also does some absolutely bananas stuff with if it's active. You get to copy the , as well as each spell cast with the as well. It ends up being like a million spells and the most convoluted stack ever, but it's kinda hard to lose after casting like seven free cantrips. Izzet Phoenix already has had good staying-power, where it can go from little to many resources very quickly. And this card does exactly that, but all on it's own.

This is more of a Sideboard card, for sure, but I think it can take the spot of other cards in Izzet Phoenix Sideboards. I've felt like the boards of these decks are way more nebulous than other archetypes, mainly because of how relatively new the archetype is. I've seen all sorts of nonsense as "fun-of's" in the 75. This card I think might be perfect for the deck though. It's ability to ping over time is something that can deal with planeswalkers, like in the UW Control matchup, and it's -2 ability makes counter magic a lot worse, since they'll have to dump a lot of mana into your cantrips or what have you.

Wrapping Up

It's hard to know how War of the Spark will end up affecting Modern, but I will say that with an influx of so many unique planeswalkers, I can almost guarantee that it will make a splash in the format. The set feels very powerful, and especially for Izzet Phoenix, I think that there's going to be a lot of testing with some of these new cards. Who knows, these new additions might be what make Izzet Phoenix a tier 0 deck, which is something that we haven't seen in a little while. Until next time.

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