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Izzet the best deck in Standard? PPTQ Win

On Tuesday 9th of May I went on MTGGoldfish and found this Blue-Red Dynavolt Tower control list. I decided I’d build it and give it a go. There was a local standard event that night at NLG Moonee Ponds and the first time I ever picked up the deck I went 4-0 with it, beating Mardu Vehicles, Mono-Black Zombies, Green-Black Delirium and Red-Green Monsters. Straight away I thought to myself: “This deck has a lot of potential!”, but quickly identified it had some weaknesses too.

UR Dynavolt

Creatures: (4)
Torrential Gearhulk

Spells: (31)
Magma Spray
Censor
Essence Scatter
Harnessed Lightning
Negate
Pull from Tomorrow
Disallow
Dynavolt Tower
Void Shatter
Commit // Memory
Glimmer of Genius
Lands: (25)
Aether Hub
Island
Mountain
Spirebluff Canal
Wandering Fumarole

Sideboard: (15)
Dragonmaster Outcast
Glorybringer
By Force
Dispel
Magma Spray
Essence Scatter
Negate
Dynavolt Tower
Sweltering Suns

Deck Changes

Immediately I swapped one Glimmer of Genius for one Hieroglyphic Illumination. This was just to spend a little bit of extra mana alongside countering a spell on turns t3-6. Also, if your deck is working well and you’ve countered or killed everything while working your way up the curve, you often don’t have a chance to have cast a glimmer before your Torrential Gearhulk. Cycling the card then drawing two from it later seemed like something the deck wanted access too. The Dynavault Towers were very lacklustre, they weren’t well positioned against Heart of Kiran, Gideon, Ulamog, Marvel, opposing Gearhulks and so on. It was a very slow win condition that was vulnerable to cards like Manglehorn, Dispossess and other cards that are good against this deck. It also altered the play pattern of what this deck typically wants to do, which is keep control for the first 5-8 turns. The card is great when you can get it out as early as possible to start generating energy and also start killing creatures (or your opponent). The problem is tapping out that early leaves you open to cards like Gideon, Marvel etc. resolving, which is obviously disastrous. Playing it on turn seven or so had me thinking that surely there’s a better card to play at that stage of the game. So I swapped out one for a Chandra, Torch of Defiance and the other for a second Hieroglyphic Illumination. I did some testing with this new configuration on Cockatrice, and learnt two new things about the deck:

1. Chandra was really bad and suffered the same issues as Dynavault in regards to tapping out early, leaving you open and vulnerable. She also wasn’t very good against go wide strategies, and looked embarrassing against Gideon or Ishkana, Grafwidow. She can often only kill one thing and then die straight away.
2. The second Pull from Tomorrow and Commit//Memory were both very slow. Often you’re forced to use a crappy Pull (for 1 or 2) vs. aggro decks and bouncing a small creature vs. Zombies for four mana was terrible. I made some changes to accommodate and hedge for that matchup. I changed one Pull from Tomorrow to the first Anticipate. You never really need to Pull more than once to win the game, and there’s a tension between Torrential Gearhulk and Pull from Tomorrow anyways. I also changed one Commit // Memory into the fourth Magma Spray. These two changes felt great vs. Mardu and Zombies as these cards were realistic to cast and impactful in the matchups that were a little unfavourable.

I still had to fill in the hole caused by Tower and Chandra. I thought and thought, and then I came up with the idea of playing Chandra, Flamecaller. She’s higher up the curve so avoids the issue caused by her smaller counterpart, and can also wipe the board which is something this deck needs if it misses countering an Ishkana or is a little bit behind against go wide decks. Chandra can come in and wipe out a bunch of small creatures including all the aggressive decks small creatures, Grim Flayers, and a number of different tokens. That, alongside the sequence of end step Gearhulk, untap, play Chandra and deal eleven damage, was a sequence that would let you turn the corner quickly out of nowhere and end the game.

I then bought this new version of the deck on MtGO and played a competitive league with it. I made a really simple misplay (it was about 2:00am) which cost me a game that I would’ve won the next turn otherwise. I also clicked the wrong card with Torrential Gearhulk due to my mouse moving… Other than those two small issues, I went 3-2, but in my mind those results would’ve very easily been a 5-0. I then entered another league and went 4-1 with it. I’m at this point for testing purposes almost 15-1 with this deck. I was fighting Mardu, Zombies, Marvel and a number of aggro decks, so the results were relevant to the predicted upcoming metagame. Like sure, I’m really good at Magic, funny as hell and really good looking, but this was getting ridiculous for even me. I made a few changes to the sideboard including adding two Incendiary Flow for a large number of exile effects in the deck, and also as extra ways to deal with Serpopard in case that card started to pick up steam. The Glorybringers and Dragonmaster Outcast were in the board as extra threats against Dispossess decks and Dragonmaster Outcast was good against Marvel decks too.

I was sure I was onto a hit and locked it in for the upcoming PPTQ on Sunday.

UR control.dec

Creatures: (4)
Torrential Gearhulk

Spells: (31)
Magma Spray
Anticipate
Censor
Essence Scatter
Harnessed Lightning
Negate
Pull from Tomorrow
Disallow
Void Shatter
Commit // Memory
Glimmer of Genius
Hieroglyphic Illumination
Chandra, Flamecaller
Lands: (25)
Aether Hub
Island
Mountain
Spirebluff Canal
Wandering Fumarole

Sideboard: (15)
Dragonmaster Outcast
Glorybringer
By Force
Dispel
Essence Scatter
Incendiary Flow
Negate
Fevered Visions
Sweltering Suns

I had to make some last minute changes due to card availability (swapping the fourth [v]Void Shatter[/c] for a second Disallow) but other than that I felt pretty confident for the event.

Round 1 – Loss 1-2: Andrew on Green-Black Delirium
Had an excellent game against Andrew. I was on the draw and was just one turn too slow, being very reactive and losing to a resolved Ishkana. Game two I won relatively easily. Game two I had a line where I knew about his Ob Nixilis, Reignited in hand due to Vessel, and it was my turn five. I had five lands and a number of cards in my hand. I took the greedy line of trying to Glimmer for my 6th land because I had a Negate alongside it for the Ob and figured even if I miss I can keep up with the advantage from Ob. I missed on the land and he untapped and played Nissa, Vital force. Andrew played very well and I lost to that resolved Nissa.

Sideboarding:
+1 Negate
+1 Essence Scatter
+2 Glorybringer

(Coming out on the play)
-3 Magma Spray
-1 Harnessed Lightning

(On the draw)
-3 Censor
-1 Magma Spray

Adding Glorybringer gives you outs if they resolve Dispossess and Magma Spray is weaker than trying to keep their creatures off the field in the first place. Censor is still good but a bit worse on the draw so cutting 2-3 of them is good as they tend to be bad later in the game.

Record: 0-1

Round 2 – Win 2-0: Caleb on New Perspectives
This matchup seems unwinnable for the combo deck. I play fifteen main deck counterspells, four Gearhulks and two more in the board. Alongside copies of Dragonmaster Outcast for added pressure the matchup was won with relative ease.
Sideboarding
+1 Negate
+1 Dispel
+2 Dragonmaster Outcast
+2 Glorybringer
+2 Incendiary Flow
+2 Fevered Visions

-3 Essence scatter
-4 Magma Spray
-3 Harnessed Lightning

I just want resolve a threat in this matchup and put pressure on. I have so many dead cards in all my creature removal so I just swapped it all for more win conditions and more non creature counter magic.

Record: 1-1

Round 3 – Win 2-0: John on UW control
This matchup had a number of nuances but the inclusion of man lands and Chandra on my end helped to close out the game of draw-go. Cast Out was also very weak against Wandering Fumaroles so they were able to force him to try and react and then get hit by my countermagic. It was very much about making land drops and denying your opponents Glimmers and Pulls from resolving.

Sideboarding:
+1 Dispel
+1 Negate
+2 Fevered Visions
+2 Dragonmaster Outcast

-4 Magma spray
-2 Harnessed Lightning

The creature removal is very bad in this matchup of draw-go. So I swapped those for cards that aid in counter wars or cheap threats that can finish the game

Record: 2-1

Round 4 – Loss 2-0: Christian on Mono-Black Zombies
I kept a greedy six on the draw. I knew Christian was on Zombies and my keep was two Harnessed Lightning, two Essence Scatter, one Void Shatter, one Aether Hub. I had a scry and a draw, and thought if I can draw a land or two this hand will help me catchup quite easily. I didn’t draw a land till turn four though, so that wasn’t a game.
Game two I stumbled again and had to kill some creatures on my turn four. He Dispossessed me and just ran me over.

Sideboarding:
+2 Incendiary Flow
+1 Essence Scatter
+3 Sweltering Suns

-2 Negate
-1 Disallow
-3 Censor

I need as much creature removal in this matchup as I can get my hands on. Exile effects are very powerful too vs their recursive threats. All of their creatures are too mana efficient for censor to stop them and you want access to minimal countermagic to stop Dispossess. The only reason to keep in Commit//Memory is as a way to fight a flipped Westvale Abbey as that is a huge pain to deal with.

Record: 2-2

Round 5 – Win 2-1: Coen on Jund Energy/Delirium
The GBx decks are a favourable matchup for this deck. I won game one quite easily.
Game two Coen stuck a Chandra, Torch of Defiance and managed to get the Emblem. I didn’t last very long after that.
Game three I managed to keep control of the board and countered his Lost Legacy (not sure why I did, I think I assumed it was Dispossess). Gearhulk just went way over the top in this matchup.

Sideboarding:
+1 Negate
+1 Essence Scatter
+2 Glorybringer

(Coming out on the play)
-3 Magma Spray
-2 Harnessed Lightning

(On the draw)
-2 Censor
-1 Magma Spray

This was pretty much the same as the other GB deck except I left in 1 Censor because this deck is a little bit greedier and tries to play on curve or even earlier (T3 Chandra through Servant of the Conduit) catching them off guard with a miser Censor forces them to slow down.

Record: 3-2

Swiss standings 5th place.

Top 8

Quarterfinals – Win 2-0: Christian on Red-White aggro
My opponent mulled to five game 1 and I mulled to six. His deck needed to be aggressive to get under me, but his turn two Thalia’s Lieutenant wasn’t as aggressive as he’d like and gave me plenty of time to setup. Game two Sweltering Suns was an all-star and a steady chain of counter spells kept his Gideons and Always Watching off the board.

Sideboarding:
+1 Essence Scatter
+2 Incendiary Flow
+3 Sweltering Suns

-3 Censor
-1 Commit//Memory
-2 Void Shatter

Similar to the Zombies matchup you need to streamline your deck to fight their cheap threats and try to make it to the late game.

Semi Finals – Win 2-0: Ben on Turbo Fog Ramp
This deck was also a very favourable matchup as this deck wants to play the long game and outside of Sphinx of the Final Word out of the board, I have a much stronger late game than the deck. They have so many dead cards in their Fogs, Primal Druids and even Commit // Memory is beneficial to me. The game ended with me having six counterspells in hand and two Gearhulks on the field. I have a much higher density of countermagic and playing my creatures at instant speed is an advantage in comparison to sorcery speed Tireless Trackers.

Sideboarding:
+1 Negate
+1 Dispel
+2 Dragonmaster Outcast
+2 Glorybringer
+2 Incendiary Flow
+2 Fevered Visions

-3 Essence Scatter
-4 Magma Spray[c/]
-3 [c]Censor

Very similar to the New Perspectives matchup, except they specialise in mana so Censor is terrible in the matchup. They also play Tireless Tracker and Weaver of Currents so the removal has some targets.

Finals – Win 2-0: Coen on Jund Energy/Delirium
Once again this matchup is very favourable and my cards line up very well. Censor is a bomb in this matchup as they just play rares and mythics at every slot of the curve. All they want to do is curve out with their powerful cards so Censor keeps them very honest which means they either have to play off curve or have their stuff countered. Either is good for me because the Blue-Red late game is better than their late game.

Sideboarding:
+1 Negate
+1 Essence Scatter
+2 Glorybringer

(Coming out on the play)
-3 Magma Spray
-2 Harnessed Lightning

(On the draw)
-2 Censor
-1 Magma Spray
Same as before, worked well enough so just did the same thing.

Final Thoughts

Overall the deck played very well, I played very well and just felt like we were doing things way more powerful than any of our opponents. It was a great day all up and fellow Jerry and local legend Brennan Garcia came in third place which was awesome too. The deck also has a fantastic Aetherworks Marvel matchup and so if the Pro Tour is anything to go by, I’d recommend familiarising yourself with this deck to get an early edge against people just picking up the popular lists from the PT.

About me

My name is Saher. I’m 23 and I’ve been playing Magic for just over two years now. I play a number of formats, including Standard, Modern, Legucci, Commander, Draft and Sealed. The local nights I play at are NLG Moonee Ponds and Games Lab for Legucci. I’m part of the Jerryboree team from Sunbury and you may recognise me via my dreadlocks. If you have any questions feel free to approach me for a chat or message me on Facebook/The Gray Merchants page.

  • danielctw

    I am hoping that someone can get the list for that turbo fog ramp.

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