Today we’re going to have a look at the evolving Standard, specifically Izzet Dragons, a promising deck in development. Before we start, I’d like to mention how the article will look: I’ll present 2 takes on building the deck in general and then go over the potential candidates.
The reason for this is, in my opinion, control decks require a personal touch, if you just net deck a list, some card choices made by the author may be unclear, meaning your deck won’t function at its full capacity.
However, if you swap them for the cards you think you are well familiar with, that’ll unlock the deck’s potential(at least for you). If your favorites won’t prove worthy you can always get back to the old build, knowledge of what doesn’t work eventually will lead you to know what does. I think learning from your own mistakes is more fun and way quicker.
The second approach is more control, with 《Iymrith, Desert Doom》 as a win condition.
《Smoldering Egg》 is well-positioned thanks to 3 is the most popular power in the current Standard. Aggro decks don’t play much removal so 《Smoldering Egg》 is likely to stay alive. Keep in mind it adds counters equal to the mana spent, not CMC.
Despite my affinity for the card I have to admit it has become obsolete at the moment, 3/4 stats are too low for the current format.
A perfect finisher for the mirror, uncounterability plus 6 toughness means the opponent will have to waste at least 2 cards to take care of it. Dimir Control has some ways to deal with it, but we’re more creature-heavy after sideboard, they’re going to need a lot of removal spells.
Another anti-control sideboard option. Both 《Mana Leak》 and Disturb are extremely useful, and it puts some pressure on turn 2. Even if they have removal for him, it still brings you profit. 《Malevolent Hermit》 is fine on the play versus Selesnya as well, on the draw, not so much.
I’ve tried it first as a sideboard against control decks, but it turned out to be better versus Midrange ones, especially on the play. You do not want to play anything on your turn, and removal can be played on their upkeep (except for 《Murasa Rootgrazer》).
That gives you an unblockable card drawing engine on turn 4 for sure, probably even turn 3 if you’re lucky and they have a slow start. 《Suspicious Stowaway》 rocks on the play so far, but is it good enough to be brought in on the draw remains to be seen. The night ends only if a player played 2 spells on THEIR turn.
Covering your mana base in snow doesn’t affect anything in your deck(《Reidane, God of the Worthy》 appears in sideboards from time to time, though), but the difference between 2 and 3 damage is significant in the new standard, 3 damage can take care of any unflipped werewolf, 《Briarbridge Tracker》, and Adversaries.
3 Damage is not bad by itself, but we’re playing Dragons. 《Goldspan Dragon》 can take out flipped Werewolves, 《Esika’s Chariot》, 《Yasharn, Implacable Earth》, and itself. 《Iymrith, Desert Doom》 is enough for a Treefolk from 《Wrenn and Seven》. Remember it doesn’t automatically count the Dragon in play, you have to declare it both offline and online.
Now this card has some potential. It kills any creature in the Green and Red-Green decks as well as a <=6 lands Treefolk or 《Wrenn and Seven》 if the opponent plays it safe and pluses it first(which I don’t recommend under most circumstances). I’ll play 4 on my sideboard.
A relatively cheap sweeper is worth keeping in mind when you configure your deck, but generally, UR prefers to take out creatures individually, and this isn’t even a solid sweeper. It’s going to have some consistency on turn 4 if you play 《Prismari Command》 and 《Magma Opus》, but I can hardly see it in the list right now. The same goes for 《Burn Down the House》 and 《Battle of Frost and Fire》, 5 mana is a lot, and 《Esika’s Chariot》 survives it.
The card is cheap, versatile, and effective enough to be useful against the Weenie kind of decks, the only question is their share of the meta.
I’m not into playing tapped lands in this deck, and 1 damage is way too low, the only reason I see to play 《Spikefield Hazard》 is if you play a full set of 《Smoldering Egg》 main deck, they can turn it into something useful. 《Shatterskull Smashing》 earned its place because if you play it for 8 mana, it deals 12 divided damage, it’ll be enough to burn a Treefolk + something else.
As I write this article, the dominance of aggro decks is clear, which puts countermagic in a tough spot, but the meta is still evolving, and 《Wrenn and Seven》 and 《Showdown of the Skalds》 can justify having Counterspells in the list. Now to the interesting thing, what do we want to counter?
《Saw It Coming》 is useful on the play to counter 3 drops like 《Tovolar, Dire Overlord》 or 《Reckless Stormseeker》, but the bad thing is if you’re sitting on it turn 3, you’d probably throw it away on virtually anything. On the draw, it’s terrible versus aggro.
The perfect contingency of events looks like you take out creatures with your removal spells and save countermagic for some beef. That said, I don’t want to pay an extra mana for it, and 《Disdainful Stroke》 seems more flexible than 《Negate》. For now, 《Disdainful Stroke》 is my card of choice, but that’s not set in stone yet.
《Consider》 doesn’t appear in all of the lists, and it makes sense – there is no card advantage, but I like it nonetheless. Surveil instead of Scry provides a nice synergy with 《Memory Deluge》, 《Malevolent Hermit》, or even 《Demilich》.
《Consider》 is probably one of the best spells to exile with 《Expressive Iteration》. It goes along with 《Smoldering Egg》 being either a cheap bullet or a precise way to reach 7 counters. The trick with cards like this is you don’t have to cast them right away, the further the game goes, the more confident you’ll become about what you’re seeking.
Drawing 2 for 2 mana with selection is awesome, but it being sorcery poses a question: which turn would you like to play it? I’d say turn 4 is the time since you can play 2cc spell if you miss the land in the 3 cards. 《Goldspan Dragon》 takes it to another level, but I still have doubts if sorcery speed cantrip is what the control deck needs.
+ You can stash it cheap, so your 《Iymrith, Desert Doom》 draws more.
– If you Foretell it, 《Smoldering Egg》 gets only 2 counters.
– Scry 2 may look similar enough to the “look at the top 4”, but it’s considerably worse.
+ Digs deeper.
+ Can be discarded with 《Prismari Command》 to get some profit off the flashback.
All modes are great, the abundance of 《Esika’s Chariot》 makes this card a perfect candidate for the main deck. Apart from the 《Esika’s Chariot》, the 《Shatter》 mode can take out 《Maul of the Skyclaves》, a Clue, or a Treasure Token. The Treasure mode ramps you into a turn 4 《Iymrith, Desert Doom》 or 《Goldspan Dragon》, on the play that may be the backbreaker. 《Shock》 mode is the weakest on the list, the most dangerous creatures are out of the 2 damage range.
《Magma Opus》 goes for the 《Goldspan Dragon》 build of the deck, the effect is devastating, but you’d better have some treasures to play it consistently. Trading a showdown spell for a Treasure seems strange, but that option is exactly what makes this card good, it can ramp you into turn 3 《Galazeth Prismari》 or turn 4 《Goldspan Dragon》 or it’s going to threaten the game if you’re in no rush. I saw people playing up to the whole set, which looked too much, I’d rather go with 2.
《Alrund’s Epiphany》. Maybe I’m not playing this card properly. It was bonkers in Sultai Ultimatum only thanks to the second showdown spell coming along. It’s awesome to have 《Time Walk》 with 《Iymrith, Desert Doom》 or 《Goldspan Dragon》 installed, but it means you already have it rolling, and if you’re playing it with an empty table, 2 birds are not what you’re looking for(but I have to admit double bird token puts some line of defense).
It can flip 《Smoldering Egg》 in one hit(unless Foretold), but you shouldn’t have trouble with that by turn 6-7. the format is poor on High-impact cards, which defines this card seeing much play- there is simply nothing better. I’m going to try 《Inferno of the Star Mounts》 in its place one day.
I like to play a couple, it’s a perfect mana dump, full treasury makes it even better.
They appear in the lists sometimes, I don’t recommend either. The impact on the mana is not that heavy, that’s just not the kind of creatures we want to attack with.
《Field of Ruin》 is better than it looks, 《Hall of Storm Giants》 and 《Lair of the Hydra》 can be problematic. It doesn’t mess with the snow land base since it fetches an untapped mountain to play a 《Frost Bite》.
That’s all for now, explore, build and have fun attacking with Dragons!
Thanks for the reading, and see you online,
Dmitriy Butakov (Twitter)