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March 15, 2011


Whispers of the Muse: Ed G’s ‘Izzet Gizmometry’

by Dredd77

Welcome to another installment of Whispers of the Muse, the occasional feature where a reader submits their tinkering of a precon deck and look for constructive criticism and feedback from the community. Today we’ve got a letter from Ed G, who has a rather unusual proposition. In lieu of a decklist, he has this to say:

[This is] probably the “worst” (in terms of being able to win games) pre-con I have ever come across…

Izzet Gizmometry!

The whole point of the Izzet guild is that it is meant to have a “mad scientist” feel. Which in truth it does, as it is completely random and rarely works 😉 What I would like is to build a solid deck from the precon, but one that still has a “scientific” (in a magic sense) feel to it. Rather than suggest my own opinion of what that should be, I’d like to see how other people can interpret that.

One thing that has always frustrated me about this deck is the fact that the two Izzet “themes”, Replicate and “the gelectrode effect” fail to interact. The only restriction I would like to place on the deck is that is it not to consist of 4 Gelectrode, 4 Wee Dragonauts, + instants/sorceries + land. Anyone can throw that deck together and its pretty dull to play (with and against) in friendly/casual/non-competitive games.

It would be nice to see replicate “abused” in some way, I haven’t found anything yet that i enjoy doing with it. Also it would be nice for the deck to stick to cards within Ravnica block, home to the guild of course, but if anyone has inspired suggestions for cards from elsewhere then I would love to hear those too.

For those of us not playing during Ravnica block, this might send us to Gatherer, but all suggestions welcome! Leave any and all comments below!

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. troacctid
    Mar 15 2011

    Peel From Reality/Mark of Eviction + Izzet Chronarch is a cute trick. Could be fun to put in some more enters-the-battlefield effects to play with that interaction. So, like, Steamcore Weird, whatnot.

    It would probably help a lot to get rid of the crappy spells like Runeboggle, Frazzle, Rain of Embers, and Reroute and just put in generic better spells like Electrolyze. Some Izzet Signets for acceleration would probably be useful as well, to help with those replicate costs.

    Also, interesting interaction: Izzet Guildmage can copy kickers. So, if you had something like Into the Roil or Burst Lightning or Jilt, that’s some synergy right there.

  2. mart
    Mar 15 2011

    awesome! i’ve been on the verge of getting this precon for weeks. i’ll get mine next week. i love RU so this looks fun despite your thinking it’s terrible as is. i love terrible decks i think…

  3. Jon David
    Mar 15 2011

    I found that, while not exactly related to Replicate, Flashback and Retrace are fun with izzet…

    Also, if we are going an instant sorcery route (albeit withough Gelectrode and Dragonauts, and using something more original) then Nucklavee is a good one…

    The problem with replicate however, is that really, it’s on some pretty inneficiant Mechanic. Gigadrowse is kind of a worse version of sleep (though perhaps more flexible) Pyromatic begs to be Fireball or Incinerate, etc…

    I guess what I would do would be an infinite mana combo going off with Pyromatics.

  4. Diennea
    Mar 15 2011

    Don’t you think that maybe Niv-Mizzet is a card to play around with? So much combo potential…

  5. Prophylaxis
    Mar 15 2011

    This will be the first in a series of posts.

    1. Initial Cuts

    Gelectrode – gets to stay. Good combo potential.
    Wee Dragonauts – gets to stay also.
    Tibor and Lumia – get to stay for first round of cuts.
    Izzet Chronarch – Those are just too expensive. Cut.
    Izzet Guildmage -One of the better guildmages – he’ll stay.
    Petrahydrox – is out. I don’t like it. He’s a horrible blocker.
    Mark of Eviction – Stalling potential – stay.
    Peel from Reality – I’d cut these – Unsummons are better.
    Telling Time – Keep, keep, keep.
    Train of Thought – these are good. Keep them.
    Convolute – Are out.
    Runeboggle – sucks so much… Cut.
    Thunderheads – I love the Thunderheads combat trickery. Keep them.
    Vaccumelt – See h.
    Frazzle – Cut these, please. I’m frazzled that you left them in.
    Repeal – Bad bounce. Cut.
    Pyromatics – Bad burn. Cut.
    Rain of Embers – There is more than this. Cut.
    Reroute – I love this card, but I admit it’s crummy. This is good for planeswalkers. I would keep this card.
    Leyline of Lightning – There are better spells. Cut.
    Electrolyze – Great. Don’t cut. You might want to run some of the more standard burn spells, though.
    Island – 13 Island if you’re only running basic land.
    Mountain – Run 13 of these.
    Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind – Cut!

    I may or may not do a part two, as I’m usually busy…

    By the way, here are the cards left –

    Wee Dragonauts
    Tibor and Lumia
    Izzet Guildmage
    Mark of Eviction
    Telling Time
    Train of Thought

  6. Ed G
    Mar 23 2011

    Hey guys! Feel bad cos this was posted over a week ago but ive only just seen it. Thanks for your thoughts so far, its really interesting to see ideas being kicked around and hopefully it will help others interested in this sort of deck too.
    Btw, this is how my “Izzet” deck currently looks:
    I decided to go down the ~highlander-ish RU awesome stuff route 😀

  7. umbralAeronaut
    Dec 29 2011

    Bit late to the game so I’m sure nobody will see this post, but just in case it helps…

    I’d like to add my two cents as somebody who snagged one of these decks along with four Guildpact boosters and a Ravnica booster one week ago and made a fun side-project out of it. What I discovered is that played with a sufficiently mana-heavy strategy (something the Ravnica block makes easy with it’s lands and artifacts) the Replicate mechanic can make for a very powerful and versatile Tempo deck. It has so far successfully confounded (in casual play with various friends and family) a blue Lord of the Unreal illusions deck, a black aggro/discard deck, green-white horde and blue mill. Here’s the decklist I have been using:

    — 24 Land (25 if you count an artifact) —
    10 Mountain
    10 Island
    4 Izzet Boilerworks
    1 Khalni Gem (Would be replaced with Izzet Signets in a heartbeat of course but just what I had out of a random booster and it seems to get the job done when played carefully)

    — 20 Spells (2 multicolor, 9 Red, 9 Blue) —
    2 Electrolyze (would be 4 if I had them!)

    2 Burst Lightning (Like so much else about this deck, obviously Lightning Bolt would be the “better” card but the difference between 3 damage and that kicked 4 damage by mid-late game can be so huge that these have stayed in)
    2 Flame Slash (These more then did the job I used them for but I have since swapped these for the 2 Pyromatics that originally came with the deck, it should become obvious why quickly)
    2 Leyline of Lightning (Yes! With a deck this land-heavy, even if I don’t have a Replicate card in hand I’m still making the most of all my spare mana to nickel-and-dime the opponent’s health total. If I DO have a Replicate card, I can potentially stack 1 Mana=1 Damage effects on ALL of the replicated copies. Remember that they are each treated as a distinct spell that fill up the stack right above the original)
    3 Fireball (It’s no Replicate spell BUT it works perfectly alongside them. Like the other spells in the deck it is definitely not as “mana-efficient” as a host of other options, but it’s the perfect mana-sink sorcery for a land heavy deck like this and it can be just as useful on turn three, or turn fifteen… or anywhere in between. The variability is just immense. In spite of that I would probably trade these on a one-for-one basis with Invoke the Fireminds if I had them)

    2 Thunderheads (Probably on their way to depart the deck in exchange for, say, Gigadrowses if I can find them. Red’s instantaneous removal seems to work just as well or better as these for what they do while affording more options)
    3 Train of Thought (Having Replicate on these is much better for this deck I believe, then the static effects of Telling Time or Preordain. I regularly double- and triple-replicate this card in order to make a hand out of nothing and utterly reverse the Card Advantage situation)
    3 Repeal (Better then Unsummon for the purposes of this deck, due to that critical card draw to keep your CA-tempo game going and also the ability to target _any_ permanent and not just creatures!)
    1 Into the Roil (Another booster draw and honestly the “better” card, although Repeal can easily be the cheaper option early-game and by late game I usually don’t notice the mana difference as much as you’d expect. If I need the Repeal, I can generally play it. This is going to leave in favor of a fourth Repeal in all likelihood)

    — 15 Creatures (2 multicolored, 6 Red, 6 Blue) —
    2 Petrahydrox (I’m biased by all the Blues and Blacks I’ve played against, but these guys have usually been incredible. They’re just a big dumb 3/3 body that make denial-based opponents scratch their heads. It can be hilarious how easily some decks will bounce them back to your hand though, so in the end they may have to go)
    2 Gelectrodes (Oh my god yes, sure Replicate doesn’t play quite as nice with them as it might but that’s hardly a dealbreaker. With all of the Instants and Sorceries zipping about in this deck they can easily cause 3 or 4 damage a turn to all manner of juicy targets)

    1 Plated Geopede (More if I had them. Considering the deck composition and Izzet Boilerworks/Khalni bouncing basic lands it’s a rare turn I’m not putting down lands)
    2 Kiln Fiends (4 if I had them. Replicate is INSANE with these guys, they can crash in for 7 damage on a lazy off-turn if the opponent has had all his blockers zapped. Gigadrowse would be the perfect companion for them as well)
    2 Molten Ravagers (a great Red tempo card in my opinion, these start out as big dumb cheap 0/4 blockers with a bite, but late game are a wonderful mana-sink to keep spare mountains busy and threaten much larger creatures)
    1 Dragon Whelp (viewed from the perspective of this deck, it’s a flying Ravager with 2 Power built-in so it provides some stable damage even when all the mana is going towards sorceries. Even so I’d strongly consider letting it go)

    1 Reckless Scholar (fits the Izzet theme perfectly! Oh also he cycles cards through your hand and provides a 2/1 body. More if I had them.)
    2 Wind Zendikon (these are Enchantments that really belong in the Creature camp. After you get past the technicalities it is more or less a 2/2 blocker with flying for 1 mana (hastened if you play it right) and it provides immense help in the early-game tempo war. There are better options then this that won’t tie up your lands naturally but I’m still looking for them)
    1 Soratami Cloudskater (works well with the land bounce theme)
    1 Water Servant (a big blue counterpart to the Molten Ravagers with better Toughness potential but less limitless Power potential)
    1 Tempest Owl (yet another variable effect card, an early game flying blocker and a late game poor man’s Sleep, this deck loves cards like this)

    So yeah, not really a competitive deck by any stretch of the imagination I’m sure but it’s given a lot of powerful deck themes trouble. Why? As best as could be done with a limited card pool, I tried to ensure that each card is brimming with potential. It might not be cheap or elegantly efficient and it might involve having the occasional mana-clogged game where nothing much useful happens (hence all the card draw), but each sorcery or instant spell is as useful in the early, middle, or late game as can be possible. The strategy is one of card advantage and building up to overcharged variability spells. When it comes down to it, yes, a five times replicated Pyromatics is just as inefficient for the mana as it sounds. Same for Repeal and Train of Thought compared to other options. But they will always give just as much as you can put into them no matter what phase of the game it is. And of course Counter decks will have conniption fits trying to put down all of the Replicated spells clogging up the stack.

    Things I want to work into the deck:
    – Izzet Chronarch is certainly expensive but it _might_ be the better option then Call to Mind for this deck. Maybe if I added some Peel from Realities. Still not sure how to go about it, but that sort of effect would definitely be a welcome addition considering how well all of the spells scale with the length of the game.

    – Izzet Signets, seriously. At this point I should probably trade down a pair of basic lands for each of these that I can find. But that’s the wonder of this deck, that drowning in lands is rarely a problem for more then a turn or two. All it takes is one Train of Thought and it’s off to the races again.

    – Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. Such a great card, I hope I can find it one of these days. He would be comboed with Reckless Scholars and Train of Thoughts for endless laughs, and his flavor text is always a fun topic of discussion.

    – Gigadrowse. Gigadrowse + Kiln Fiend, all day every day. And consider that if Sleep would turn out to be the more mana-efficient option for napping attackers on any given turn then your removal has probably failed. Of course Sleep’s untap effect is another story but this deck is not really trying to be denial, it’s about a mid-game tempo attack strategy.

    – Tibor and Lumia will make it in at some point once I’m satisfied with where the rest of the deck stands. They’re a great card that offer some sweep ability which will probably be needed against the infamous token-builder decks, but played without some consideration can dismantle the whole red zone and not in a good way.

    – Negate. The red side of the deck has zapping creatures locked down and Repeal can delay some other things, but easy countering options for Sorceries and Instants is lacking and absolutely necessary. The trick will be balancing the need for saving mana to counter with the temptations of infinitely-replicated spells.

    Things I don’t care to work into the deck:

    – Izzet Guildmage is shrug-worthy at best in my opinion. All of my spells already more or less do what he does for cheaper. One of the worst-designed Guildmages in my opinion (relative to the rest of his guild’s cards), which is sad because I love the concept of the overall cycle and the art for him. If he just followed the theme of the other Guildmages and rather then trying to be all complex, offered simple card ability versions of a shock and a card draw, I’d be in love with him.

    – Wee Dragonauts. I dunno, the flavor of having cute little fairy kite-fliers as your heavy hitters doesn’t particularly sing to me and Kiln Fiends are just cheaper. Plus, sometimes I simply won’t have the spells lying around. At that point it’s time for the Dragon Whelp and the Molten Ravagers to soak up my spare mana. I’m sure others will use these to their full potential though, I’m just interested in finding other ways.

    – All of the various mana-efficient options to replace the Izzet spells. Replicate has a few wonderful rule echoes in things like the Kiln Fiends and so forth but more then that it allows for a very fun form of tempo play where each card can be scaled perfectly to match how much it needs to do for you in any given turn of play.

    Anyway, that’s my perspective. It’s a fun, totally unique deck that AND it gives opponents trouble, what more could a Johnny like me ask for?

    • Seuss
      Jun 24 2012

      Why does everyone think that replicating a spell=casting a spell? Replicates won’t be able to trigger Leyline of Lightning and anything else that says ‘cast’, because you only cast one spell and that’s original, others are just copies which you haven’t cast.

  8. Limbonic_Art
    May 2 2012

    Taking the intitial decklist as a base, and adding only cards from within ravnica block, this is what I came up with. I added a total of 3 new rares to the deck, but both have low secondary-market values. I have something very close to this deck as I had a project of doing similar decks for every guild, starting from the theme deck for each.

    1 Gelectrode
    4 Wee Dragonauts
    2 Tibor and Lumia

    Other Spells:(29)
    4 Mark of Eviction
    4 Telling Time
    4 Train of Thought
    2 Thunderheads
    3 Pyromatics
    1 Reroute
    1 Leyline of Lightning
    4 Electrolyze
    2 Invoke the Firemind
    4 Izzet Signet

    4 Izzet Boilerworks
    10 Mountain
    11 Island

    Invoke the Firemind: Although its a rare, I added 2 because it offers nice flexibility. At 3 converted mana cost and X, with alot of mana in the late game, it can be cards or burn. It is here instead of Fireball/blaze etc etc due to Izzet flavour, since it is a primarily casual deck only.

    Izzet Signet: The only form of acceleration that I could find for the deck, and it also fixes colors to boot. At common rarirty, you should include 4 of these due to the large spells you wish to be casting after replicate. I only wish there could be some more acceleration to add…

    Tibor and Lumia: Added one more because they are the beaters of the deck, and one of the win conditions. It you can cast enough red spells, you can clear the board of weenies. Many of your spells are both colors, so the side damage should be a problem for them.

    Wee Dragonauts : Added 2 more. They are some of the most fun izzet creatures, and go well with so many instants and sorceries. They are also another win condition for you. As a bonus, with flying they survive tibor and lumia.

    Mark of Eviction: Added 3 more, even though its not an instant or sorcery. It is quite cheap in the secondary market, and very useful to keep creatures off the board. Since all of our spells will want to wait and get big, it is needed to have to form of stall to get to the mid-late game.

    Telling Time: Added 2 more to get to 4. With its scry-ish effect and cantrip, it would be foolish not to include it. Early game you need to get signets and lands online, as well as some removal if you need to. Later in the game get those juicy replicate spells or invoke the firemind.

    Train of Thought: Kept this because it will net at least some cards, depending on when you can cast it. If you are desperate for options, use it, but keep in mind these spells are intended to be used in the later game when you can draw at least 3 cards from it. Most of the spells in the deck lack cantrips and there are few ways to keep going without draw.

    Pyromatics: The red version of train of thought, this time a ping instead of a card. Although inneficient, it is a fun spell. Use it to remove threats off the board without limiting your mana development too much. I kept these for flavour only and due to lack of other burn spells with replicate or the Izzet symbol, that weren’t already here.

    Electrolyze: Although it might be the most expensive card in the deck, in terms of secondary market value, it is still optimal to have 4. A shock and cantrip will be extremely useful in keeping yourself alive from small creatures, and the cantrip is quite useful. Compared to Zap, you are paying U instead of a colorless mana for one more damage and option to divide it.

    Thunderheads: Nice surprise for the opponent, and an option to keep yourself alive. You don’t need to replicate this for it to serve its purpuse. It can be removal too for attackers.

    Leyline of Lightning: Kept it as a mana-sink. But not intended to be used as a detriment to your development, pay only if you have an extra mana that can’t be used for another replicate.


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