Clerics add longevity to any adventuring party, but Wizards bring the heat, and one of the newest legendary creatures from Zendikar Resurgent is here to make sure your party packs a punch with a plethora of potent spells. Kaza, Roil Chaser is the perfect intersection of tribal synergy and spellslinging to really get me excited, similar to Adeliz, the Cinder Wind from Dominaria, but in a way that also supports casting some of the really big spells that I come to Commander to cast.
Our new favorite staff-surfing wizard encourages two specific things when building a deck: going wide with Wizards, and going tall with instants and sorceries. This deck in particular uses that spellslinging aspect to additionally feed more synergies across your different wizards.
So, to kick off the party are a plethora of smaller wizards to quickly start building up a board to supercharge Kaza’s ability right off the bat. Cursecatcher and Siren Stormtamer both sit on the board and help protect your key pieces, either by making your opponent’s stumble on mana or simply outright denying their interaction in the first place. Faerie Seer and Overwhelmed Apprentice smooth out your early draws, and the Apprentice can even slot into an engine we’ll get to later to mill out an entire table at once. Benthic Biomancer is mostly just a body but can also provide some early filtering in a pinch. Grim Lavamancer converts extra cards in the bin into more damage, damage that Soul-Scar Mage can make permanent on opposing creatures.
Soul-Scar Mage is more relevant for his body, though. At least, for what his body can become as more and more spells are cast. Umara Mystic has a pretty impressive Wee Dragonauts impression, while also triggering off your casts of your Wizard creatures. Stormchaser Mage and Burning Prophet both come down a turn earlier and can start chipping away or adding to Kaza’s creature count. Adeliz doesn’t just pump herself, but the entire team when you cast instants and sorceries, and when every other creature in the deck is a Wizard, that adds up quickly.
What tribal deck is complete without a few Lords? In addition to Adeliz, who definitely functions as a lord with the density of spells in the list, Sage of Fables hands off a permanent buff to every Wizard you play after it, while letting you cash in those buffs to keep your hand stocked and ready. Naru Meha is a more traditional lord, offering a pretty standard +1/+1 to the team at instant speed, while having some powerful utility with most of the spells in the deck. One of the MVPs of the list, though, Docent of Perfection. It turns out, short of horrendously inefficient cards (looking at you, Riptide Replicator) there aren’t many ways to make Wizard tokens to really get your army built up and get a massive discount with Kaza. Docent of Perfection, though, pays you with a Wizard every time you cast a spell, while also flipping and making all of them into fairly sizable flying threats. If there were a few more cards like this, the deck would be truly monstrous.
That isn’t to say there aren’t a few other ways to make tokens in the deck. Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor also spits out a few Wizards, while also helping keep your board safe from targeted removal and offering another way to turn on the pair of powerful Legendary Sorceries the deck runs. Saheeli, Sublime Artificer does as well, though her tokens are a bit less arcane, as are the tokens made by Talrand, Sky Summoner and Murmuring Mystic. While they don’t make Wizards, they do make tokens to run offence or defense for you, and give another angle of attack. Goblin Wizardry does make Wizard tokens, but just a pair, but it being on a spell actually makes it a nice little include, being able to be tossed out on the third turn with Kaza and a couple one- and two-drops.
While some Wizards turn your spells into creatures, a few others have a different take on the arcane arts. Jori En, Ruin Diver helps keep your hand stocked, triggering off any two casts, but working particularly well with all the cheap creatures, instants, and sorceries the deck has to offer. Gadwick, the Wizened not only gives you a potential restock when your stores are getting low, but also keeps large threats from swinging your way or opens the door for lethal combats of your own. Niv-Mizzet not only keeps cards flowing in his own way, but also dishes out some pretty impressive damage. Like any good Wizard, though, Kaza never leaves home without a wand, and a Sphinx-Bone Wand is a pretty hefty one to have. It doesn’t take many casts before you’re blasting huge chunks out of the board or players’ life totals.
Sometimes casting a spell once just isn’t enough, and Dreadhorde Arcanist does a fantastic job at getting extra uses out of some of your cheap (and even less cheap, with a little help) spells. Snapcaster Mage also does the trick, especially because of the synergy between it, Kaza, and the big X-spells we’ll get to later. Spellseeker fits in a similar vein, helping to find those cheap spells, and most of the big game-ending X-spells as well.
The build of the deck really leans toward playing a bit more of a tempo strategy, deploying a few cheap creatures and using Kaza’s ability to double spell and keep your opponents on the back foot while you press the attack. That’s not always an option, though, and when you need to just sit back, flip through your spellbook, and prepare something big, it’s nice if your wizard’s have a little something to do. Azami, Lady of Scrolls helps you burn through that library, finding just what you need to finish off your foes. Patron Wizard makes every Wizard in play a Force Spike, keeping your board and your plans safe from meddlesome opponents. Galecaster Colossus teaches all your Wizards a fun little rendition of Disperse to slow down your opponents or, my favorite, simply encourage them to swing elsewhere.
The blue cantrips help speed through your deck, smooth draws, and trigger your Wizards on the cheap. It’s these combined with the relatively low curve of the deck that makes me comfortable running on the lower range of the land count I prefer.
Along with the cantrips, the rocks help make up for a few lands as well, and unlike some low curve decks, this one has plenty of mana sinks and large spells to soak up any flood.
Cheap interaction that packs extra value goes way up in a deck like this, so while I would normally leave the Lightning Bolts at home, using them to snag tokens and cards from all the different spellslinger goodies the deck has to offer helps the damage-based removal make the cut, while Abrade also gets the nod by picking off artifacts. Reality Shift and Chaos Warp are a little more all-purpose, and Scour from Existence is an odd include, but with Kaza in play, it becomes anywhere from cheap to completely free.
The deck is looking to be proactive more than reactive most of the time, without a lot of spaces to leave up countermagic, so the only pieces that make the cut are the classic Counterspell and it’s Wizard-themed cousin, Wizard’s Retort, based on simple effectiveness, and then Izzet Charm for its flexibility. A few of these in your pocket never hurt.
Kaza’s niche lies in converting all that latent spell power lying around in your different Wizards into a potent cost-reduction effect that can be applied to some big spells, the kind that make Fireball seem like chump change. There are plenty of Legendary Creatures and Planeswalkers to make Jaya’s Immolating Inferno castable, and it can shred apart a board or life totals easily. The same can be said of Comet Storm and Fall of the Titans. Expansion // Explosion might need a bit more help to end multiple other players, but again, flexibility is worth a lot. Same reason Electrodominance slips into the list. Pull from Eternity can dig for that game ending blast of spell damage you need to finish a particularly sticky opponent, and for some games, that spell might be Insult // Injury. While it doesn’t benefit from Kaza as much as the others, it has a powerful effect and being two cast triggers for something like Adeliz or Docent can be a big swing on top of the damage doubling.
Both of your big sweeper effects are one-sided, and even have the added bonus of being cheap enough to pick up with a Spellseeker should the need arise. Curse of the Swine and Cyclonic Rift both are more than happy to accrue a hefty discount from Kaza to open the way for your Wizard’s to swoop in and seal the deal.
Both of the flickering spells are useful in their own right, setting up tricky board states, saving important creatures from spot removal, or reusing important ETBs. Where they shine, though, are in conjunction with Dualcaster Mage or Naru Meha. If you cast either of them, then copy them with the creatures, you can create an infinite loop by continually targeting the copy creature with the fresh spell. When it enters, the original spell is still on the stack, and still waiting to be copied. With Ghostly Flicker, this can generate infinite mana by choosing a land as the second target each loop and tapping it in response. The Stratagem requires a little more finesse, but it allows you to draw your deck. At that point, if you can’t craft a way to win, you either made a mistake or were going to lose anyway. Dualcaster and Naru Meha also both function very well at copying some of the large X-spells, using just a little mana to make them go a much longer way. The engine can also be used in conjunction with a few creatures, such as Overwhelmed Apprentice, to mill the entire table out on the spot.
Now, the manabase is fairly straightforward, coming in at my personal low end of 38 lands.
These five form the core of ways you can gain card advantage through your mana base. Path of Ancestry gets the nod as the only land that has to come into play tapped thanks to its color-fixing and the consistent scry it gets, since every single creature in the deck fits its clause. The rest either dig or set up your draws in various ways, or in the case of Castle Embereth, just gives an option to help dump your mana and set up a haymaker finish with a wide board.
Just because you aren’t packing Gaea’s Cradle and Cabal Coffers doesn’t mean you should let other players get away with them unscathed. Picking off other utility lands is good too, I suppose, but I try never to leave home without these, even in a deck like this where untapped colored sources are actually at a premium.
The newest iteration of a dual land cycle gives up flexibility late for the early option of either color coming into play untapped. That alone helps it make the cut in a deck where you want to curve out quick, so the tap lands are kept to a strict minimum.
The rest of your manabase are just a good selection of duals and enough basics to round it out, giving you what should be a smooth early game every time. Put it all together and you’ve got a fantastic source of magical firepower to make sure your party knows who the real brains of the operation is. If you haven’t been jotting it all down as we’ve gone, the full decklist is below. Tweet @TheLeoRiser with any tweaks you’d make, or new Wizards you’d add, and come back next time to see Eric’s take on another member of the party!
Commander: Kaza, Roil Chaser
Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
Sage of Fables
Docent of Perfection // Final Iteration
Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Jori En, Ruin Diver
Gadwick, the Wizened
Azami, Lady of Scrolls
Scour from Existence
Jaya’s Immolating Inferno
Expansion // Explosion
Fall of the Titans
Pull from Eternity
Insult // Injury
Curse of Swine
Talisman of Creativity
Path of Ancestry
Lavaglide Pathway // Riverglide Pathway