Guilds of Ravnica Limited Set Review: Izzet

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White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts, and Lands


Before I introduce the grading scale, I offer the usual caveat—the grades don’t tell the whole story, and what I write about each card provides context.

Ratings Scale

Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. The Scarab God.
5.0: The best of the best. (Bolas’s Clutches. Icy Manipulator. Lyra Dawnbringer.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Josu Vess, Lich Knight. Tatyova, Benthic Druid. Slimefoot the Stowaway.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Cast Down. Time of Ice. Adeliz, the Cinder Wind.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Vicious Offering. Blessed Light. Shivan Fire.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Cloudreader Sphinx. Caligo Skin-Witch. Grow from the Ashes.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Fungal Infection. Academy Journeymage. Mammoth Spider.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Krosan Druid. Soul Salvage. Ghitu Journeymage.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Relic Runner. Ancient Animus. Deep Freeze.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Divest. Homarid Explorer. Arbor Armament.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Rescue. Cabal Evangel. Drudge Sentinel.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Kamahl’s Druidic Vow. One with Nothing.)


Beacon Bolt

Limited: 3.0

Not every Izzet deck will want this (I’d want 9+ spells and some card draw first), but if you can support it, Beacon Bolt will be quite powerful. Killing two creatures for 6 mana and your worst card is a great deal, and this scales up nicely. Sometimes the first Bolt takes out a 2/2 and the second kills a 6/6, so it’s great that you can use this while waiting for it to power up.

Beamsplitter Mage

Limited: 1.5

I expect more out of my gold 2-drops, and unless you’re casting Quasiduplicate, you aren’t getting insane value here. Copying a Maximize Altitude is decent, but not busted, so this is more of a curve-filler for aggressive Izzet decks than a build-around.

Crackling Drake

Limited: 3.5

A huge flying threat that also replaces itself is very relevant to my interests. This does get docked some for being both hard to cast and requiring spell support, but that is Izzet’s jam, and having to take a Guildgate a little higher is well worth what you’re getting here. Later in the Draft this can easily move to 4.0, as it is truly awesome when you are in the deck that wants it.

Firemind’s Research

Limited: 1.0 // 3.0

This is certainly a build-around, and one you have to really go hard on to see benefits. Like most R&D departments, there are a lot of costs before you get a payoff, though the payoff is quite big. It’s also great that it fuels itself, as once you start drawing cards, you find more spells, and so on, with each jump-start spell counting twice (that, I believe, is the joke).

Eventually you’ll have enough cards that you just start building a bomb, as most respectable research does, and this ends the game nicely too. I will enjoy playing with this, though I’d want 10+ spells, and for a few of them to have jump-start, before I started getting really excited.

Goblin Electromancer

Limited: 3.0

This is closer to a 3.5 than you might think, because Izzet is aggressive enough to want all the different parts of the card. Being a 2-drop is important, and Izzet is very much into big double-spell turns, where you do something like Sonic Assault twice and smash for 8. I still think it lands where I rated it, but don’t sleep on Electromancer—it’s much better than it was in RtR, and it wasn’t bad there.


Limited: 3.0

There’s nothing hypothetical about my love for this card. It’s a card draw spell that also impacts the board—think of it as a 5-mana Divination that draws you a 0-mana deal 4. That’s a very good deal, even if you have to discard an actual card instead of just a land. Note that this doesn’t target when you initially cast it, and only does once you’ve discarded a nonland card (thanks to some rules trickery I won’t go into). I really like this card, and think it’s quite powerful. Any Izzet deck will want multiple copies, and I bet it’s worth splashing in Dimir sometimes.


Limited: 2.0

Sealed: 3.0

Attaching a face-only Shock to Cancel is more exciting in Constructed than Limited, but counterspells tend to be better in Constructed to begin with (the plays the opponent makes tend to be more scripted, so it’s easier to anticipate and leave up mana on critical turns). I’d run this in most Izzet decks, but it’s not a high priority, and certainly not a busted rare.

League Guildmage

Limited: 3.5

Even without the red ability, this would be a great 2-drop in any sort of long game. Luckily, the red ability stacks nicely with the blue one, as drawing extra cards will find you sweet spells to copy. I like League Guildmage, and would happily take it early regardless of what my deck looked like.

Niv-Mizzet, Parun

Limited: 4.5

Once you have three Izzet Guildgates, you can move Niv-Mizzet to a flat 5.0—the mana cost is all that’s keeping this back, since it is a harsh one. Niv checks all the boxes I look for in a bomb:

  • Good against removal, drawing you a card in just about every instance (Conclave Tribunal aside).
  • Crushing when ahead and great at comebacks (drawing extra cards and pinging cleans up boards quickly).
  • Powerful by itself and even more powerful with the right synergies.

Niv-Mizzet may be the best card in the set, assuming you can cast it, so slam this and go looking for Guildgates and Lockets.

Ral, Izzet Viceroy

Limited: 4.5

Ral follows the standard planeswalker recipe these days (5 loyalty, +1 draw a card, -3 kill a thing), and that makes him quite powerful. You should make sure your deck is heavy on spells to power up the -3 ability but once you do, you will have no complaints about Ral’s effectiveness.

Sonic Assault

Limited: 3.0

Sonic Assault encapsulates what Izzet is trying to do more than any other card. Jump-start could have been a controlling mechanic but this card file makes it a very aggressive one, and tapping down multiple creatures while dealing incidental damage is exactly what Izzet is in for. You can use this across two turns to push through repeated damage or save it up for one big turn, and either way it does its job very well. Sonic Assault is great in aggressive decks and mediocre otherwise, so ensure that you’re attacking to get full value here.

Thousand-Year Storm

Limited: 1.0 // 2.0

This is a lot of mana and setup to get a payoff, though it can do some pretty wild stuff given enough time. Casting three spells in the same turn will often win you the game, but that’s not going to happen all that easily, and you have to play a 6-drop that doesn’t affect the board to set it up. I’m low on this, though obviously I’ll try and go wild if I open one.

Wee Dragonauts

Limited: 3.5


Izzet decks can’t do much better than a 3/3 (or even 5/3) flyer for 3 mana, and it’s not hard for this to play that part. Left unchecked, this will end the game very quickly, and have fun doing so.

Piston-Fist Cyclops

Limited: 3.0

It’s nice for Izzet that their hybrid common is a blank in Boros and not all that appealing in Dimir, as nobody else is likely to take it. Piston-Fist Cyclops attacks for a lot of damage, and does so on the very turns you are going to have an opening, thanks to cards like Sonic Assault and Maximize Altitude.

Expansion // Explosion

Limited: 3.5

Both sides of this are fairly situational (I count needing 7+ mana as situational in the case of Explosion), but that’s why split cards are great. Note that you can copy opposing spells with Expansion, so sniping a removal spell is an excellent use of this card. This is a little clunky, but two powerful sides are enough to make me interested, and if you can Explode for 3 or more you should just win the game.

Invert // Invent

Limited: 1.0

Templating: 0.0

This card is confusing, narrow, and too expensive when it comes to the card draw part. I’d avoid including it, even if you do understand it. There is even errata, as Invert only lasts until the end of turn, which isn’t stated on the card.

Most Important Izzet Common

Sonic Assault

Unsurprisingly, the common I said represented Izzet best is the key one. Sonic Assault is the Izzet deck in card form, so draft with that in mind.



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