Throughout Pioneer’s history, Izzet Phoenix has always been a big player. It’s gone through several iterations over the last few years, but the formula of dumping a lot of cards into the yard and casting some powerful delve spells while bringing back some birds is a tried and true strategy. Last month, I wrote a Deck Guide discussing the archetype and the deck’s big upgrade Ledger Shredder. You can find that article here and if you’re interested in becoming a Phoenix pilot in Pioneer, I recommend reading through it.
As you’re probably aware, there were recently a couple of bannings in Pioneer; both Expressive Iteration and Winota, Joiner of Forces have been excised out of the format. This shakeup has left Izzet players of all archetypes wondering how to replace the powerful card draw spell. Thankfully for Phoenix, the deck is still full of card advantage and selection as the engine of Pieces of the Puzzle and delve spells (in this case, Treasure Cruise and Temporal Trespass) is still very much intact and gives Phoenix more card advantage than almost any other deck while also giving the deck a huge degree of inevitability. I’ve seen a lot of players post-ban playing only four or five delve spells, but in my opinion, this deck is the best in the format at exploiting the powerful sorceries and you should maximize your draws that contain them. I don’t even think playing a seventh delve spell is out of the question, but six has felt like the sweet spot so far.
I’ve been playing a lot of the deck post-banning and it’s still felt like a force to be reckoned with and seems to be a great metagame choice in these early days post ban. If there’s one thing that I think you should take away from this guide, it’s that Ledger Shredder was a bigger buff to the Phoenix deck than the banning of Expressive Iteration was a nerf, and after the dust has settled, the deck will be better positioned in the metagame overall.
Here’s the list that I currently recommend. Compared to the last list, we’ve gone: