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Budget Magic: Izzet Tutelage (Standard)


Здравствуйте! Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, thanks to last week's surprise banned list update, we're finally getting to play a deck I've been trying to make work since Core Set 2021 was released: Izzet Tutelage. If you've been following Budget Magic for a while, you'll probably remember that back during Magic Origins Standard, we played a ton of decks built around Sphinx's Tutelage. Well now, thanks to Core Set 2021, we have Teferi's Tutelage, which does almost the same thing—it mills our opponent whenever we draw cards—which means we can build a deck that's based on doing the best thing in all of Magic (drawing cards) and actually have our card draw be our win condition! Probably the easiest way to think about Izzet Tutelage is as a combo-control deck. In the early game, we mostly try to stay alive and play a copy of Teferi's Tutelage or two. Once we get our namesake enchantment on the battlefield, we switch into mill-combo mode, hopefully milling our opponent's entire deck in just a couple of turns while drawing a bunch of cards along the way. Does the recent banned list update mean its finally time for a competitive, budget-friendly mill deck in Standard? How good can Teferi's Tutelage be? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Izzet Tutelage

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The Deck

Izzet Tutelage is hard to describe. It's definitely a mill deck, but it plays like a strange hybrid of control and combo. The main goal is to stay alive in the early game, find and play a couple of copies of Teferi's Tutelage, and then draw as many cards as possible to mill our opponent's entire library in just a couple of turns!

Tutelage

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Teferi's Tutelage is the reason our deck exists and our primary finisher. The twist on Sphinx's Tutelage allows us to mill our opponent for two cards whenever we draw a card, with the upside of looting when it enters the battlefield (which triggers itself to start the milling). The idea is to get at least one and hopefully two copies of Teferi's Tutelage on the battlefield and then draw as many cards as possible as quickly as possible. With a bit of luck, our deck can consistently draw five, 10, or, in some extreme cases, even 20 cards in a turn, which means in the mid- to late game, Teferi's Tutelage is actually an extremely fast clock, milling huge chunks of our opponent's library each turn until they lose to drawing on an empty library.

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While our primary plan for winning the game is Teferi's Tutelage mill, we have a solid backup plan as well in Ominous Seas. Ominous Seas cares about the same thing as Teferi's Tutelage does—us drawing lots of cards—but rather than milling our opponent, our card draw builds up foreshadow counters on Ominous Seas until we get up to eight and start making 8/8 Krakens, which can kill our opponent by beating down or at worst block and buy us some time to finish milling our opponent's deck with Teferi's Tutelage. The biggest upside of using Ominous Seas as our backup finisher is that it's never a dead card. If we are close to winning with Teferi's Tutelage and top deck Ominous Seas, we can always cycle it away instead of casting it, triggering Teferi's Tutelage and milling more cards. While drawing a single card for two mana isn't especially efficient, being a good backup plan if we don't have Teferi's Tutelage and a live draw when we are on the turbo-mill plan makes Ominous Seas the perfect backup win condition for our deck.

Card Draw

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Next up, we have an insane number of card-draw spells. While it is nice that Teferi's Tutelage triggers once on our draw step, it isn't especially likely that milling two cards a turn will be enough to win us the game. Cards like Opt and Frantic Inventory help to speed up the process by drawing us extra cards, which will not only trigger Teferi's Tutelage for more milling but also help us dig through our deck to find more copies of Teferi's Tutelage, removal, and more card draw. Maybe the biggest upside of Izzet Tutelage is that thanks to our endless card-draw spells, the deck is super consistent, and we almost always have a hand full of cards. Opt is actually one of our least powerful card-draw spells, only drawing a single card, but it makes up for this by giving us something to do on Turn 1. Meanwhile, while the first copy of Frantic Inventory isn't great, the second is solid (drawing two cards for two mana at instant speed), and the third and fourth copies—which we are fairly likely to find since we draw so many cards—are absurd. 

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Rounding out our card-draw package are Thrill of Possibility, Cathartic Reunion, and Thirst for Meaning, all of which draw two or three cards for the low, low price of two or three mana. While having to discard a card is technically a downside, in reality, we generate so much card advantage that we usually have something to discard that isn't all that important, like an extra land. More importantly, in the late game, chaining together cards like Cathartic Reunion, Thrill of Possibility, and Thirst for Meaning allows us to mill massive chunks of cards each turn with Teferi's Tutelage. Even without extra help, something like Cathartic Reunion, Cathartic Reunion into Thrill of Possibility in the same turn only costs six mana, and we end up drawing eight cards, which is a massive 16 cards milled. It doesn't take that many card-draw-chaining turns to get our opponent's library entirely empty after we get to the mid-game! Plus, while all of our card-draw spells are fine or even powerful on their own, we have a way to make them even better...

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Teferi's Ageless Insight is just a two-of in our deck since it's legendary, but thanks to our endless cantrips and card draw, we can usually find a copy without a problem. Things get insane once we untap with a Teferi's Ageless Insight on the battlefield. All of our card draw is doubled up, which means a single Cathartic Reunion or Thirst for Meaning draws us six cards (which in turn mills 12 with a Teferi's Tutelage and 24 with two copies of Teferi's Tutelage), and—at least, in theory—we can draw us to eight cards for just two mana at instant speed with a single copy of Frantic Inventory. Normally, if we actually get to resolve and untap with a Teferi's Ageless Insight and even just a single copy of Teferi's Tutelage, we should be able to win the game by milling our opponent's entire deck in two turns or, with a bit of luck, in a single turn.

Removal

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Last but not least, we have some removal to help make sure we stay alive long enough to draw a bunch of cards, find our Teferi's Tutelages, and win the game. Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor starts out slow. But thanks to all of our cheap spells and rummaging effects like Cathartic Reunion and Thrill of Possibility, after a few turns, it is normally a two-mana red Hero's Downfall, with the upside of exiling things like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. Meanwhile, Storm's Wrath is essential to staying alive against go-wide aggro decks by sweeping away the board, and in some cases, it's helpful against planeswalkers as well. Plus, thanks to all of our discard-and-draw cards, if we end up in a matchup where our removal isn't good, we can always turn it into a new card with the help of Thirst for Meaning, Thrill of Possibility, and Cathartic Reunion

The Mana

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There isn't a ton to say about the mana of Izzet Tutelage—it's a bunch of Izzet dual lands, one Castle Vantress, and basic lands. However, I did want to mention how these cards impact the deck's price. In sum, Izzet Tutelage costs 18 rares (and zero mythics) on Arena and $74 in paper, but much of this cost is in the mana. On Arena, a full half of the rares in our entire deck are four copies of Steam Vents, four copies of Temple of Epiphany, and the one Castle Vantress, so if you already have a tier Standard mana base, you should be able to put together the deck for just nine rare wildcards. Meanwhile, the deck costs $74 in paper, but $48 of this is the playset of Steam Vents. If you already have Steam Vents (or replace it with something like Izzet Guildgate, which wouldn't be the end of the world since we can always discard the tapped lands to things like Thrill of Possibility and Cathartic Reunion when they are bad), the cost of the deck drops down close to $25, which is absurdly cheap.

The Sideboard

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Most of our sideboard is self-explanatory: removal and sweepers for aggro, counters for control, and Ashiok, Dream Render to fight graveyard decks (which is important since our Teferi's Tutelage mill can actually help our opponent escape things like Woe Strider, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, or Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger). But I did want to take a minute to talk about Irencrag Pyromancer because it is one of the best cards in our entire 75. If you look at our main deck, we have zero creatures, which means most opponents sideboard out our all of their removal spells and bring in a bunch of Mystical Disputes, Dovin's Vetos, and Negates to try to fight our card draw and Teferi's Tutelage. This means that if we sideboard in Irencrag Pyromancer, many opponents simply can't kill it, and it will sit on the battlefield for the entire game. Thanks to all of our card-draw spells (many of which are instant speed), this means we essentially get at least one (and sometimes two, with our instant-speed card draw) Lightning Bolts every turn cycle (along with a 0/4 blocker), which beats most creature decks and other aggressive brews almost by itself. Across our matches, we had several opponents scoop not to our mill but to an Irencrag Pyromancer that they couldn't kill shooting down every creature they played. Basically, don't underestimate Irencrag Pyromancer—it wins a lot of games by itself after sideboarding. 

Playing the Deck

Not a ton to say about playing Izzet Tutelage, really: draw cards, use removal to stay alive, mill them out, and don't underrate Irencrag Pyromancer from the sideboard!

Wrap-Up

All in all, we finished 5-0 at platinum on Arena with Izzet Tutelage, which is especially impressive because when I tried to build the deck a month ago pre-bannings, I went 0-5! While we did play a couple of brews along the way, like the Death's Oasis deck we played for Against the Odds a while ago, we also beat Bant Ramp, Mardu Winota, UW Fliers, and Izzet Control, all of which range from top tier to at a minimum competitive decks, so it's not like we just feasted on a bunch of janky brews. 

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I'm super happy with where it landed. I'm not sure I'd change anything. It felt solid, was extremely fun to play, and was surprisingly competitive! If you love milling people out or—like me—just want to draw cards, give Izzet Tutelage a shot. While I don't think it's a top-tier deck in our new post-banning Standard, it did feel competitive and is an absolute blast to play!

Ultra-Budget Izzet Tutelage

As we talked about in the land section, the only way to really make Izzet Tutelage cheaper is by switching around the mana base. Steam Vents accounts for something like 67% of the deck's cost in paper. If you trade it in for Izzet Guildgate, you'll drop the deck price from $75 to under $30 without losing that much in terms of power and playability. The same thing is true on Arena, except since Temple of Epiphany and Steam Vents technically cost the same (one rare wildcard), if you don't already have the lands to build the deck, you should start by replacing Temple of Epiphany with Izzet Guildgate and Castle Vantress with an Island. Then, if you need to cut even more, you can drop Steam Vents for more Swiftwater Cliffs and basic lands, which would bring the total deck price down to just nine rares and zero mythics!

Non-Budget Izzet Tutelage

No non-budget build this week. Other than adding Ketria Triome to the mana base over Swiftwater Cliffs, there really isn't much to add to the deck. There might be an argument for adding Teferi, Master of Time to the sideboard, but I'm not sure we want slower, grindier card draw over our faster combo-ish card draw. It could be worth considering, but for now, I'm happy to keep the deck as-is even in non-budget form. Izzet Tutelage one of those decks that just happens to be cheap. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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