Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Return to Ravnica EDH Set Review, Part 2: Izzet

Izzet time for puns yet?


The Firemind Dracogenius has no time for such foolishness.

Some folks are let down that the new Niv-Mizzet is such an obvious throw-back to the original; his abilities are merely flip-flopped, in a sense.

What those folks fail to realize is that the original Niv-Mizzet basically NEVER attacked. At 4/4, he often wasn't big enough to attack safely, and furthermore, he has that sweet, sweet Tap ability, so even if you could attack, usually you'd rather just draw a card.

This incarnation fixes that problem. He's bigger, making him more combat-worthy, and his ability is no longer a Tap ability so you need not choose between attacking and drawing a card. You can do both. In fact, this version strongly encourages attacking!

The only downside is that at least the original design was a little more "build around me". Had that cool interaction with Wheel of Fortune effects.

Sleep, but at Instant speed? Sure. There aren't a lot of applications for this in EDH, simply because most decks with Blue in them aren't likely to care much about this effect, but I've had a deck or two that caused me to wish Sleep was an Instant... I can see this getting niche play.

Now is also a good time to bring up the interaction between Overload and Horobi, Death's Wail. Horobi + Blustersquall = Destroy every creature you don't control for 3U. Just throwin' that out there...
Absurd. Nevermind the awkwardness of leaving 7 open at the end of your turn - yeah, that's definitely a drawback to consider when playing this. You really have to put a little thought into when and where to use this. But, casting this at the EOT of the person right before your turn, and well... you should probably be winning in short order.

This should easily approach Rite of Replication, Bribery and Consecrated Sphinx levels of ubiquity.

I kill a lot of relevant things with FTK, so 4 damage is definitely viable removal in EDH. 4 to everything will often leave some survivors though. This is a far cry from Wrath of God, but on the other hand, it will not harm your own guys. Seems like a solid roleplayer, especially for decks just plain desperate for some big removal spells.
Like a bad, uncommon Bonfire of the Damned. Seems fine in R/G Ramp decks were Overloading this for 6 or more is reasonably feasible. Then again the non-Flyer clause does exclude a hell of a lot of relevant threats. That may be more of a dealbreaker than the mana cost.
Meh. There are much better options out there. Shattering Pulse comes to mind.

EDIT: By now, it's pretty much tradition that I go full retard on one card from a set review. This time I completely blanked on how Overload worked... I was thinking the Overloaded version was a 5-mana Shatterstorm, which would be pretty "meh". But obviously, as this will never touch YOUR artifacts, it is sooooo much better than that. In artifact-heavy metas, this should rate pretty highly.

Holy shit.

Let's get this straight right now. You can't just throw this into any old deck with the right colors. You really need to be pushing the Instant and Sorcery count way up, and minimize the number of permanents this could whiff on.

It's easier to build a deck with all permanents than one with none, so this requires a lot more finesse than Genesis Wave.

But, if you build around this, and manage to cast it for a high enough X value, it WILL win games. It is exceptionally powerful, of that there can be no doubt. Will doubtless inspire more than a few deck ideas.

Four mana countermagic better be pretty damned awesome to see play in EDH. This is no Mystic Snake or Cryptic Command, but I think it stands a reasonable chance of being playable. Countering a giant threat is always good. Adding some damage in for extra value is just gravy.
Huh, weird. A big, EDH-looking spell, but it tutors up a bunch of little spells. They have to be Instants, that cost 1, 2 and 3 respectively. I personally can't think of any deck I've ever seen that would want to tap 7 for this effect.

I still want a foil copy though... DAT ART!

Remember that theoretical "Instants and Sorceries matter" deck that will inevitably designed to break Epic Experiment? It'll definitely be running this guy. Yeah, he's a little creature, and thus not likely to stick around long, but he does a great job of speeding up your game plan while he does stick.

Very playable, but not very reliable. I think that perfectly captures the Izzet flavor.
I find myself significantly less thrilled about this guy than most. Oh, sure, there are clearly decks out there where he'll shine, but very few lists I see run enough Sorceries for this guy to really, truly make an impact. That said, in a R/W/U deck, this guy makes the threat of Instant-speed Wrath of God very, very real.
Seems a bit weak for EDH. It's one of the sexiest charms in 60-card Magic, in my opinion, but for EDH purposes it's one of the worst.

This guy is a bomb. He might not look like much, but he provides very cheap, repeatable card draw, or cheap, repeatable removal. Anything that lets you draw two cards for U is worth a look. Hate all you want, but I'll be over here playing the shit out of this guy.

Man. That's some sweet Guildmage action there. Desolate Lighthouse is already proving to be an exceptionally good late-game utility land. The first ability is basically Lighthouse for one less mana. Then there's that copy ability. As of right now, I firmly believe that this guy is the 2nd best Guildmage, right behind Azorius (the hybrid one, not the New Prahv version in this set).

Seriously, this guy is the shit.
Cool card, but not EDH material, unless you have some weird U/R Tokens build.
Man, I really like this card a lot, but if you're in Blue you already have access to flat out better card draw. If stuff being in your graveyard matters, though, then this gets drastically more appealing. Niche playable - small niche, but very sexy within that niche.
Uncounterable counterspell. Yawn. Better than Suffocating Blast, though.
For an uncommon, this seems extremely good. Screws over token decks like a boss. Beyond that limited application, though, it's usefulness in EDH depends almost entirely on whether or not she has a Basilisk Collar equipped.

Definitely not meant for EDH play. Terrible, even.

Same as above. Really cool, weird card. Tons of build-around potential, But likely to be horrible in EDH.


  1. I disagree on your assessment of Vandalblast. This seems like one of the best artifact destruction variants Wizards have printed, probably right after Pulse. It's much more splash-able than something like Shattering Spree, and though it doesn't have the re-usability of Pulse it knocks out everything that you don't control, setting back people's mana.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking about it like a 5-mana Shatterstorm. Obviously I was a bit off the mark, there. I still would rather have Shattering Pulse in a vacuum, but there are definitely times when Vandalblast would completely blow someone out.

  2. As I understand Overload, since it changes "target" with "each", the spell no longer targets and is a non-bo with Horobi, Death's Wail which says "Whenever a creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, destroy that creature."