I guess it’s just Izzet day for me today. My column deals with the various potential Izzet decks unlocked by Eldritch Moon and I thought I’d continue that theme by showing yet another variation that doesn’t need much from the new set, if anything, to start contending.
Counter-burn is a classic Izzet strategy, but this deck takes more from the red half of that equation than the blue half. You may only have eight true burn spells in the maindeck, but all the creatures can function as burn spells as well, increasing your damage output tremendously. Thunderbreak Regent is going to deal your opponent at least three damage, provided they don’t have a sweeper of some kind, while Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Goblin Dark-Dwellers threaten to re-cast your burn spells from the graveyard.
With all that pressure, Sin Prodder’s ability effectively gives your opponent an irrelevant decision, since either option will lead to your opponent taking a significant chunk of damage. Even Chandra, Flamecaller can function like a six-point burn spell with its +1 ability.
But the real all-star here is Fevered Visions since it contributes to the plan in two ways. First, the extra cards you draw dig you to more and more burn, ensuring you don’t end up sweating the top of your deck, while the secondary ability is just another burn spell. Given the amount of pressure you have, it’s unlikely your opponent is able to empty their hand in a reasonable amount of time, so the extra cards they gain have less value and the damage they take is devastating. I’m surprised to not see the full four copies in the maindeck, but they are weak against Dromoka’s Command and hyper-aggressive decks, even if they fit the plan in the abstract.
The sideboard has a typical assortment of cheap removal, sweepers, and counterspells, but the one card that I find most interesting is Scab-Clan Berserker. Both Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Sin Prodder incentivize your opponent to tap out to answer them on their own turn, leaving the battlefield clear for you to land the haste creature and immediately trigger renown. At that point, your opponent is going to take a minimum of two damage answering it, making the Berserker a reliable Exquisite Firecraft with incredible upside against removal-heavy decks.
Maybe it’s a little insensitive to feature a burn deck while you’re in bed recovering from your idiot uncle’s ill-fated attempt at a fireworks display, but it’s good, honest Magic, and more importantly, I think it’s just plain good.