Can Anything Stop Izzet Midrange’s Dominance In Modern?

Izzet Midrange has continued its Modern success despite the addition of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Can anything stop it? Five SCG minds share their thoughts.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, illustrated by Simon Dominic

Welcome to What We’d Play! With the arrival of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, many are unsure what they’d play in Modern. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this advice aids in your decision making for your next Modern event.

Todd Anderson — Izzet Midrange

I’m a big proponent of “playing what you know” in formats as big as Modern. It certainly helps when your pet deck just so happens to be one of the best decks in the format. My Izzet Midrange updates are as follows:

More Copies of Consider


I wanted to give this one a try. Serum Visions never really did much for me, and at least Consider puts an extra card into the graveyard for Murktide Regent. I think Consider is S-Tier card manipulation, and I’m flabbergasted more people haven’t tried it in all forms of Izzet. Serum Visions being a sorcery gives you a few more ways to hit delirium, but Consider binning that extra card really goes a bit further if you ask me.

Trying out Gut Shot

Gut Shot

With a rise in popularity of some Ignoble and Noble Hierarch decks, as well as Ragavan’s presence, I wanted to include something in the sideboard that could give us some help. Gut Shot being a free spell is so important for mana consumption in the early turns. Taking that single mana to cast Lightning Bolt can mean the difference between turning on delirium or even casting Murktide Regent a turn earlier than you might have previously been able. Gut Shot has always been a good card, but it just fills an incredibly specific role.

Four copies of Flusterstorm


Flusterstorm is a great answer for any deck trying to fight cascade spells. One of their most explosive draws features Violent Outburst on your turn backed up by Force of Negation. Flusterstorm helps get around that easily, but can do so much more. Flusterstorm has long been one of my favorite tools for blue decks to fend off combo. It has applications in a lot of different matchups, meaning it can enter the fray whenever Unholy Heat is bad. Because creatures are so important in Modern right now, everyone has a ton of removal in their deck, including us. For matchups without creatures, we need some generically good cards to side in that also happen to be daggers against cascade, one of the strongest archetypes in the format.

Ross Merriam — Four-Color Indomitable Creativity

I’ve liked this deck for some time and I’m not sure why it’s not more popular. It has great early interaction, some of the most powerful planeswalkers in Modern, and a win condition that can punish players for stumbling or catch you up from behind. The old versions with Velomachus Lorehold and a bunch of Time Warps may have been flashier, but the deck now functions much more smoothly as a control deck, and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is just as good at ending games as it always has been.

I like this list for the current metagame for two reasons. One is the use of some extra counterspells in the maindeck to help counter Living Ends or win counter wars against other blue decks. Spell Pierce and Force of Negation are more mana efficient than Remand, which hasn’t been an effective Modern card in years.

Second is the inclusion of Serra’s Emissary as a secondary creature. Solitude is one of the best answers to Emrakul available, and conveniently dodges both Spell Pierce and Force of Negation. With Elementals experiencing a resurgence recently, I prefer to maindeck the Emissary rather than leave it in the sideboard. This makes a four-mana Indomitable Creativity a bit of a crap shoot but you often wait until you can cast it for more than that anyway, since there’s no reason to rush when you have so much good interaction to deplete your opponent’s resources.

It’s time this deck started getting its due. No better time than this weekend.

Ari Lax — Boros Burn

Last week’s answer was the generic try hard one. This week is more lining up a called shot.

Boros Burn is for some reason the deck among the top tiers of Modern that people refuse to actively show up with hate for (or at least my top tiers per this week’s Dominaria’s Judgment). I don’t get it. The Burn matchup is always somewhere between tough and unbeatable for people not packing good interaction, and people just aren’t. It shouldn’t take long for people to give me a good reason not to Burn them, but “shouldn’t take long” isn’t “won’t take long”. I’m in for Lava Spike-ing people until they show some respect. The only thing I might consider is a bit more and cheaper graveyard hate against Esper Reanimator and similar strategies.

Corey Baumeister — Izzet Midrange

There hasn’t been a ton of changes since the last time we did one of these articles so my deck remains the same, but there are a few changes that I’m keeping my eye on. Mainly it’s the slight uptick in Temur Crashcade, Mono-White Hammer (Lurrus), and control decks that are starting to make a shift in suppressing Boros Burn and Mono-Green Tron. If this trend keeps up for too much longer, it will be time to dust off my digital Death Shadows once again!

That being said, the Izzet Midrange matchup against those three decks isn’t bad or anything; it’s just very favorable from the Grixis Death Shadow side. Izzet Midrange continues to be a deck that you can’t go wrong with. The combination of Ragavan, Dragon’s Rage Channeler, and Murktide Regent paired with a large amount of disruption will always give you game against the field.

Another thing that really draws me to this deck is the sideboard. You have such powerful options in so many different matchups that you really get to bring in an A+ hate card in every matchup.

Shaheen Soorani — Azorius Control (Kaheera)

The evolution of Azorius Control in Modern fascinates me and seems to shift the hardest when a horizons set is produced.  You will notice that Solitude has bailed out this archetype, as it depends on Chalice of the Void to lock out the bulk of the format.  Path to Exile is not conducive to this plan, making a free removal spell, with late-game upside, save the day.  The initial lists that ran off the Chalice of the Void plan had one copy of Solitude in them, so every updated list I wrote about added two to three additional.  I’m happy to say that this player got it right and has the arsenal to handle early-game pressure.

The rest of the deck is a work of art, nearly identical to my current build.  It has the correct number of each planeswalker and has Memory Deluge as its catchup mechanism in the card advantage category.  The only area where we divert from each other some is with Spreading Seas, as I still lean on Field of Ruin as my answer to problematic lands.  Outside of that difference, this is a dynamic control deck in its core, with the ability to stop an opponent from playing the game on Turn 2.  In a volatile Modern, this is exactly where I want to be.