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Budget Commander: $20 "Seize Control" Upgrade

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Welcome to the first of a five part series where we go over each Commander 2015 decklists and analyze what works, what can be replaced, and what upgrades we can make on a $20 budget. We kick off the series with Seize Control, led by Mizzix of the Izmagnus. Let's take a look at the deck list:

Seize Control looks solid even without changes. We have the right amount of lands, plenty of mana-fixing, removal, card draw, and utility. There’s plenty of ways to close out the game, including Talrand, Sky Summoner, Psychosis Crawler, Blatant Thievery, or a big ol’ kicked Rite of Replication / Comet Storm. I’m impressed at how much power is available here. And that's true for all Commander 2015 decks. However, Wizards does deliberately leave each preconstructed deck with room for improvement.


Led by Mizzix of the IzmagnusSeize Control is a deck focused on instant and sorcery cards, which I call the "Spellslinging" archetype. Mizzix rewards us for playing instants / sorceries by making future instants / sorceries cheaper to cast. We start the ball rolling with cheaper spells like Preordain and work our way up to glorious bombs like Epic Experiment for X = 15!

For those wondering what spells Mizzix offers a discount for, the total cost of a spell is:

  • The mana cost (including the chosen value for X) or the chosen alternative cost (e.g. Overload, Flashback)
  • Plus all additional costs (e.g. KickerBuyback)
  • Plus all cost increases (e.g. Sphere of Resistance)
  • Minus all cost reductions (e.g. Mizzix of the Izmagnus)
  • Apply Trinisphere if there's one in play

If you have Mizzix of the Izmagnus on the field with four experience counters:

Those are some mighty fine discounts! Going forward with our deck tuning, we're going to want lots of instants / sorceries to take advantage of this discount.

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Mizzix or Melek?

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I believe Mizzix is the new best Spellslinger commander in Blue / Red, dethroning Melek, Izzet Paragon. While she can’t pull off the explosive plays like Melek can, she makes up for it by being a cheaper, more consistent commander to extract value from.

Compare Mizzix to Melek in this scenario: your commander has died once and you’re looking to cast it again. You have eight mana available and Fact or Fiction, Arcane Denial, and Brainstorm in hand. If your commander is Melek, Izzet Paragon, you can spend 8 mana casting him and pass the turn, hoping he survives to gain value next turn. But if your commander is Mizzix of the Izmagnus, you can pay 6 mana to cast her and Arcane Denial to protect her and Brainstorm as well, which would make that Fact or Fiction cost either 1U or U next turn. Talk about payoff!

It's not to say Mizzix isn’t capable of insane plays like Melek either. It’s not long until you’re tapping two Islands and Braingeyser for X = 8 without spending mana, or tapping one Island to cast an Overloaded Cyclonic Rift. That’s crazy!

What to Remove

While a big chunk of the deck works nicely with Mizzix of the Izmagnus, some parts of the deck aren’t focused on the Spellslinger plan. We’ve got a sub-theme of Wheel of Fortune effects with Arjun, the Shifting Flame as a alternative option for the deck. There’s also a few odd inclusions like Warchief Giant that don’t fit the theme at all. We’re going to take out those cards and steer the deck into a more dedicated Spellslinger list.

Here are the first cards I would look to cut from the deck to make room for more optimal choices:


$20 Upgrade

Here are a bunch of great budget cards that either synergize with Mizzix of the Izmagnus or are simply too good to leave out. Add cards based on what you feel the deck needs more of, or use the sample $20 list I've provided.

For ramp cards, you'll want to include cards that can tap for Red or Blue and not just Colorless mana. Mizzix gives a discount to Colorless mana already. 

There's also a budget combo available here: Mizzix of the Izmagnus with four experience counters + Reiterate + Seething Song or Inner Fire (with five or more other cards in hand) or Mana Geyser (with six or more opposing lands tapped). You can either make an infinite loop of casting Song / Fire / Geyser and Reiterate'ing it with Buyback, which you can use to make an arbitrarily large Storm count to cast a giant Mind's Desire, Temporal Fissure, or Ignite Memories. Or you can generate mana with Song / Geyser and sink that into a lethal Comet Storm or Stroke of Genius.

Put those suggestions together and here's a sample $20 list of upgrades:

Here's what a sample final deck could look like:

If I Were A Rich Man

Money not an issue? Here's some $$$ suggestions to take Mizzix of the Izmagnus to the next level:

Here's another combo for you: Reiterate + Reset + Lightning Bolt. Cast Reset and Reiterate it with Buyback to generate infinite mana. Cast Lightning Bolt, copying it with Reiterate, to burn out your opponents. All the pieces are fetchable with Firemind's Foresight!

I won't always do this, but here's a blinged out version for you folks:

One Down, Four to Go!

That's it for upgrading Seize Control! Hope you guys enjoyed it. The other four Commander 2015 articles are on their way!

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