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Much Abrew: Risky Izzet Wizards (Standard)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we had Guilds week for our Instant Deck Techs, and in the end, Risky Izzet Wizards came out on top. As a result, we're heading to Standard today to see if the addition of Risk Factor (of all cards) can make Wizards into a real deck in the format. Izzet Wizards is basically a very aggressive take on the Izzet spellslinger archetype, looking to stick a Goblin Electromancer and an Adeliz, the Cinder Wind along with some other random Wizards, cast a bunch of spells to trigger Adeliz, pump our Wizards, and hopefully win with a huge chunk of combat damage out of nowhere. If that isn't enough, we have Risk Factor to finish the job. If we can pressure our opponent enough with our Wizards, that Risk Factor turns into a draw three for just three mana, since our opponent will be too worried about their life total to take the damage, and then we can jump-start it from the graveyard for even more cards! Just how good are Wizards in Guilds of Ravnica Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Risky Izzet Wizards (Standard)


  • As for our record, we finished our league 2-3, which obviously isn't ideal, although the matchups do tell us a lot about the deck. We managed to beat two control decks, while losing twice to Mono-Red Aggro and once to Selesnya Tokens. While the endless card draw (and Risk Factor) seems to make Wizards' matchup against slower decks very good, the tribe struggles against the more aggressive decks in the format. 
  • First, let's talk about the upside of Wizards: the combination of Adeliz, the Cinder Wind and Goblin Electromancer (combined with all of our cheap cantrips) allows for some really explosive turns if we manage to get our Wizards to stick around on the battlefield. In some ways, this build of Wizards is a combo deck, looking to resolve a couple of key creatures, cast a bunch of spells in one turn, and kill our opponent (or at least get our opponent low enough that Risk Factor can finish the job) in one big Adeliz, the Cinder Wind-pumping-filled attack. Unfortunately, this plan is hard to realize against decks with a lot of cheap removal, since both Goblin Electromancer and Adeliz, the Cinder Wind die to everything. 
  • As for the downside of Risky Izzet Wizards, the deck is filled with a lot of fluff. If we don't manage to stick Adeliz, the Cinder Wind or Wee Dragonauts, we have a lot of turns where we just cast random card-draw spells (and draw into even more random card-draw spells) without really pressuring our opponent. 
  • As for Risk Factor, in hindsight, this doesn't actually seem like a great shell for the card. While it's better than in a control deck, Risky Izzet Wizards isn't really that great at pressuring the opponent's life total, with only a couple of good attackers and just Wizard's Lightning as burn. Risk Factor is best in decks that can take the choice away from the opponent by putting a ton of damage into their draws. If the three cards you draw from Risk Factor end up being at least four damage (with Lightning Strikes, Shocks, Viashino Pyromancers, and the like), you win no matter what the opponent chooses. They either take four damage right away or take four damage (or more) later from the cards you draw. In our deck, Risk Factor isn't that scary because chances are we'll draw a bunch of Radical Ideas and Chart a Courses that don't really threaten our opponent's life total. While Risk Factor was still insane in the control matchups, even in our deck, against the aggro and tokens decks, we simply couldn't attack our opponent's life total enough to make the instant work. As weird as it sounds, I really wish the deck had less card draw and more burn spells.
  • On the Selesnya Tokens matchup: for the time being in Guilds of Ravnica Standard, you really need to have a plan to beat an instant-speed March of the Multitudes. While counterspells can help, it's a bit awkward to bring in a bunch of Negates, since most of the deck's threats are creatures. Disdainful Stroke seems like a solid possibility, but if you're playing a red deck, you probably need some number of Fiery Cannonades in the sideboard to have a realistic chance in the matchup. 
  • Meanwhile, against Mono-Red, Risky Izzet Wizards mostly felt like a slower, less consistent version of aggro. Thanks to all of our opponent's aggressive creatures, we often start off on the back foot, making our Risk Factor less effective, and all of the Shock sand Lightning Strikes give Mono-Red endless answers to our Wizards. I'm not sure there's really any way of fixing the matchup; we just have to hope we run really well. 
  • So, should you play Risky Izzet Wizards in Standard? I think the answer is not this version. However, a more aggressive burn-spell-heavy version of Wizards might have some potential. Here's an updated list that represents what I would play if I were going to play another league with the deck:

  • The basic idea of the updated version is to make the deck more consistent and aggressive, cutting back on some of the extra card-draw spells and Goblin Electromancers for more consistent sources of damage in Viashino Pyromancer, Lightning Strike, and Shock. This should not only improve our matchup against the other aggro decks in the format but also make our Risk Factor much more powerful, since we'll be drawing into damage rather than drawing into more card-draw spells. We also get to tune up the sideboard with Disdainful Stroke and Fiery Cannonade, while adding in more copies of Experimental Frenzy, which are much better in this version of the deck, which has more burn spells and less card-draw spells (since card draw is sort of a nonbo with Experimental Frenzy). Whether or not these changes are enough to make Wizards into a real deck in Guilds of Ravnica Standard remains to be seen, but it should be mostly improved over the version we played. Perhaps we'll give the new version a try in the future, if not for videos, then at least on the stream.


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at


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