Of the Top 8 Standard decks at last weekend's SCG Invitational, eight were blue control decks. That's what number crunchers like to call "all of them."

  1. Izzet Epiphany
  2. Dimir Control
  3. Dimir Control
  4. Izzet Epiphany
  5. Izzet Epiphany
  6. Grixis Control
  7. Izzet Epiphany
  8. Izzet Epiphany

While Izzet control decks with Alrund's Epiphany dominated at the World Championship early last month, in the past few weeks it looked like Mono-Green Aggro and Mono-White Aggro had risen to balance the meta. The SCG Invitational, the first major in-person Magic event in months, was a chance to prove that concerns about Alrund's Epiphany were overblown.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Izzet Epiphany by Corey Baumeister

'Izzet Epiphany' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Corey Baumeister

Event: Star City Games Invitational (Standard)

Rank: 1st

Standard

Market Price: $189.64

Cards

Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196580_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/196580/magic-commander-2019-mountain-298

Cyclone Summoner

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230494_200w.jpg

When Cyclone Summoner enters the battlefield, if you cast it from your hand, return all permanents to their owners' hands except for Giants, Wizards, and lands.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230494/magic-kaldheim-cyclone-summoner

Mascot Exhibition

Market Price: $1.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235914_200w.jpg

Create a 2/1 white and black Inkling creature token with flying, a 3/2 red and white Spirit creature token, and a 4/4 blue and red Elemental creature token.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235914/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-mascot-exhibition

Spikefield Hazard

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221957_200w.jpg

Spikefield Hazard deals 1 damage to any target. If a permanent dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/spikefield-hazard

Thundering Rebuke

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222195_200w.jpg

Thundering Rebuke deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/222195/magic-zendikar-rising-thundering-rebuke

Divide by Zero

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235990_200w.jpg

Return target spell or permanent with mana value 1 or greater to its owner's hand.
Learn. (You may reveal a Lesson card you own from outside the game and put it into your hand, or discard a card to draw a card.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235990/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-divide-by-zero

Fading Hope

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248204_200w.jpg

Return target creature to its owner's hand. If its mana value was 3 or less, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248204/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-fading-hope

Prismari Command

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233273_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Prismari Command deals 2 damage to any target.
• Target player draws two cards, then discards two cards.
• Target player creates a Treasure token.
• Destroy target artifact.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/233273/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-prismari-command

Environmental Sciences

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235526_200w.jpg

Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle. You gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235526/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-environmental-sciences

Hall of Storm Giants

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243193_200w.jpg

If you control two or more other lands, Hall of Storm Giants enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
{5}{U}: Until end of turn, Hall of Storm Giants becomes a 7/7 blue Giant creature with ward {3}. It's still a land. (Whenever it becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter it unless that player pays {3}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243193/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-hall-of-storm-giants

Field of Ruin

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248181_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Field of Ruin: Destroy target nonbasic land an opponent controls. Each player searches their library for a basic land card, puts it onto the battlefield, then shuffles.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248181/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-field-of-ruin

Unexpected Windfall

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243382_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, discard a card.
Draw two cards and create two Treasure tokens. (They're artifacts with "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.")

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243382/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-unexpected-windfall

Riverglide Pathway

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221822_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/riverglide-pathway

Jwari Disruption

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222101_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/jwari-disruption

Alrund's Epiphany

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $10.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230097_200w.jpg

Create two 1/1 blue Bird creature tokens with flying. Take an extra turn after this one. Exile Alrund's Epiphany.
Foretell {4}{U}{U} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230097/magic-kaldheim-alrunds-epiphany

Goldspan Dragon

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $31.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230161_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever Goldspan Dragon attacks or becomes the target of a spell, create a Treasure token.
Treasures you control have "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add two mana of any one color."

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230161/magic-kaldheim-goldspan-dragon

Battle of Frost and Fire

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230454_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Battle of Frost and Fire deals 4 damage to each non-Giant creature and each planeswalker.
II — Scry 3.
III — Whenever you cast a spell with mana value 5 or greater this turn, draw two cards, then discard a card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230454/magic-kaldheim-battle-of-frost-and-fire

Dragon's Fire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243575_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may reveal a Dragon card from your hand or choose a Dragon you control.
Dragon's Fire deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If you revealed a Dragon card or chose a Dragon as you cast this spell, Dragon's Fire deals damage equal to the power of that card or creature instead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243575/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-dragons-fire

Burning Hands

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243397_200w.jpg

Burning Hands deals 2 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If that permanent is green, Burning Hands deals 6 damage instead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243397/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-burning-hands

Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215718_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215718/magic-core-set-2021-island-265

Behold the Multiverse

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230140_200w.jpg

Scry 2, then draw two cards.
Foretell {1}{U} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230140/magic-kaldheim-behold-the-multiverse

Demon Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230444_200w.jpg

Demon Bolt deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker.
Foretell {R} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230444/magic-kaldheim-demon-bolt

Frostboil Snarl

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $3.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235151_200w.jpg

As Frostboil Snarl enters the battlefield, you may reveal an Island or Mountain card from your hand. If you don't, Frostboil Snarl enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U} or {R}.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235151/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-frostboil-snarl

Teachings of the Archaics

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235680_200w.jpg

If an opponent has more cards in hand than you, draw two cards. Draw three cards instead if an opponent has at least four more cards in hand than you.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235680/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-teachings-of-the-archaics

Expressive Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235845_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand, put one of them on the bottom of your library, and exile one of them. You may play the exiled card this turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235845/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-expressive-iteration

Test of Talents

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235929_200w.jpg

Counter target instant or sorcery spell. Search its controller's graveyard, hand, and library for any number of cards with the same name as that spell and exile them. That player shuffles, then draws a card for each card exiled from their hand this way.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235929/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-test-of-talents

Galvanic Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $0.98

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247815_200w.jpg

When you cast your next instant or sorcery spell this turn, copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.
Flashback {1}{U}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/247815/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-galvanic-iteration

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $10.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248104_200w.jpg

Spells can't be countered.
Each instant and sorcery card in your graveyard has flashback. The flashback cost is equal to that card's mana cost.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248104/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-lier-disciple-of-the-drowned

Smoldering Egg

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/249493_200w.jpg

Defender
Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, put a number of ember counters on Smoldering Egg equal to the amount of mana spent to cast that spell. Then if Smoldering Egg has seven or more ember counters on it, remove them and transform Smoldering Egg.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/249493/magic-prerelease-cards-smoldering-egg

Instead, mono-color aggro decks couldn't crack the Top 8. Between the top decks, there were 19 copies of Alrund's Epiphany, 26 copies of Fading Hope, 30 copies of Divide by Zero, and 38 Islands. Plains? Zero. Forests? Zero. The Invitational was split-format, with rounds of both Standard and Modern, so the Top 8 isn't an unadulterated look at the format. But it's still the highest-profile event we've had since the World Championship, and by the numbers, blue control is dominating.

Why Is Blue So Good?

The obvious culprit is Alrund's Epiphany.

With eight mana available, Galvanic Iteration and Alrund's Epiphany give you two free turns, which is usually good enough to end the game. Even if you can't kill your opponent after taking three consecutive turns, as long as you find a second copy of Alrund's Epiphany, you can flash back Galvanic Iteration and take two extra turns again. The combo is so strong that Izzet Epiphany decks can kill their opponents with the 1/1 Bird tokens they get from Alrund. No other win condition necessary. That's nuts for a Standard deck in 2021.

Seth Manfield recently argued that the Alrund's Epiphany combo is simply too strong for Standard. WotC seems to agree—they're already primed to ban it if it's still a problem after Crimson Vow releases later this month. But the other big Seth in Magic, Saffron Olive, has a different take: the problem isn't Alrund's Epiphany per se, but that the best answers to it are also blue.

There are two ways to stop an Epiphany deck. The first is to beat them before they can cast Alrund's Epiphany. The second is to fight Alrund's Epiphany on the stack with countermagic or similar effects. Monocolored aggro decks take the first approach, while multicolored blue control decks take the second approach. Guess which decks made Top 8 at the Invitational? Just kidding, you already know.

Not only is blue the best answer to blue—it's also the best answer to those answers. And to those answers.

In the lead up to the World Championship, Izzet Epiphany decks started packing countermagic like Negate and Dissipate to shut down opposing copies of Alrund's Epiphany. In response, a few top players teched to win the mirror by running Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, whose first ability makes Alrund's Epiphany (and every other spell) uncounterable.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Grixis Epiphany by Gabriel Nassif

'Grixis Epiphany' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Gabriel Nassif

Event: World Championship XXVII

Rank: 9th-16th

Standard

Market Price: $286.10

Cards

Go Blank

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235576_200w.jpg

Target player discards two cards. Then exile that player's graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235576/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-go-blank

Hall of Storm Giants

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243193_200w.jpg

If you control two or more other lands, Hall of Storm Giants enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
{5}{U}: Until end of turn, Hall of Storm Giants becomes a 7/7 blue Giant creature with ward {3}. It's still a land. (Whenever it becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter it unless that player pays {3}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243193/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-hall-of-storm-giants

The Celestus

Market Price: $3.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247961_200w.jpg

If it's neither day nor night, it becomes day as The Celestus enters the battlefield.
{T}: Add one mana of any color.
{3}, {T}: If it's night, it becomes day. Otherwise, it becomes night. Activate only as a sorcery.
Whenever day becomes night or night becomes day, you gain 1 life. You may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/247961/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-the-celestus

Cathartic Pyre

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248209_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Cathartic Pyre deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker.
• Discard up to two cards, then draw that many cards.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248209/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-cathartic-pyre

Smoldering Egg

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/249493_200w.jpg

Defender
Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, put a number of ember counters on Smoldering Egg equal to the amount of mana spent to cast that spell. Then if Smoldering Egg has seven or more ember counters on it, remove them and transform Smoldering Egg.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/249493/magic-prerelease-cards-smoldering-egg

Jwari Disruption

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222101_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/jwari-disruption

Fading Hope

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248204_200w.jpg

Return target creature to its owner's hand. If its mana value was 3 or less, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248204/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-fading-hope

Clearwater Pathway

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $5.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221830_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/clearwater-pathway

Cinderclasm

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222044_200w.jpg

Kicker {R} (You may pay an additional {R} as you cast this spell.)
Cinderclasm deals 1 damage to each creature. If it was kicked, it deals 2 damage to each creature instead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/222044/magic-zendikar-rising-cinderclasm

Alrund's Epiphany

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $10.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230097_200w.jpg

Create two 1/1 blue Bird creature tokens with flying. Take an extra turn after this one. Exile Alrund's Epiphany.
Foretell {4}{U}{U} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230097/magic-kaldheim-alrunds-epiphany

Shipwreck Marsh

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $8.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247826_200w.jpg

Shipwreck Marsh enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more other lands.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/247826/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-shipwreck-marsh

Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215718_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215718/magic-core-set-2021-island-265

Blightstep Pathway

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $5.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/229209_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {B}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/blightstep-pathway

Expressive Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235845_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand, put one of them on the bottom of your library, and exile one of them. You may play the exiled card this turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/235845/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-expressive-iteration

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $10.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248104_200w.jpg

Spells can't be countered.
Each instant and sorcery card in your graveyard has flashback. The flashback cost is equal to that card's mana cost.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248104/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-lier-disciple-of-the-drowned

Riverglide Pathway

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221822_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/riverglide-pathway

Galvanic Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $0.98

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247815_200w.jpg

When you cast your next instant or sorcery spell this turn, copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.
Flashback {1}{U}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/247815/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-galvanic-iteration

Malevolent Hermit

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/249435_200w.jpg

{U}, Sacrifice Malevolent Hermit: Counter target noncreature spell unless its controller pays {3}.
Disturb {2}{U} (You may cast this card from your graveyard transformed for its disturb cost.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/249435/magic-prerelease-cards-malevolent-hermit

Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248314_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248314/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-duress

Unexpected Windfall

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243382_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, discard a card.
Draw two cards and create two Treasure tokens. (They're artifacts with "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.")

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243382/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-unexpected-windfall

Burn Down the House

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248215_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Burn Down the House deals 5 damage to each creature and each planeswalker.
• Create three 1/1 red Devil creature tokens with "When this creature dies, it deals 1 damage to any target." They gain haste until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248215/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-burn-down-the-house

Memory Deluge

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $6.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248210_200w.jpg

Look at the top X cards of your library, where X is the amount of mana spent to cast this spell. Put two of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.
Flashback {5}{U}{U} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248210/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-memory-deluge

Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196580_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/196580/magic-commander-2019-mountain-298

Soul Shatter

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221926_200w.jpg

Each opponent sacrifices a creature or planeswalker with the highest mana value among creatures and planeswalkers they control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/221926/magic-zendikar-rising-soul-shatter

Spikefield Hazard

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221957_200w.jpg

Spikefield Hazard deals 1 damage to any target. If a permanent dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/spikefield-hazard

Demon Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230444_200w.jpg

Demon Bolt deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker.
Foretell {R} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230444/magic-kaldheim-demon-bolt

Power Word Kill

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/239193_200w.jpg

Destroy target non-Angel, non-Demon, non-Devil, non-Dragon creature.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/239193/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-power-word-kill

Bloodchief's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221776_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target creature or planeswalker with mana value 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, instead destroy target creature or planeswalker.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/221776/magic-zendikar-rising-bloodchiefs-thirst

Prismari Command

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233273_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Prismari Command deals 2 damage to any target.
• Target player draws two cards, then discards two cards.
• Target player creates a Treasure token.
• Destroy target artifact.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/233273/magic-strixhaven-school-of-mages-prismari-command

Mind Flayer

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243361_200w.jpg

Dominate Monster — When Mind Flayer enters the battlefield, gain control of target creature for as long as you control Mind Flayer.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243361/magic-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-mind-flayer

Haunted Ridge

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $7.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247828_200w.jpg

Haunted Ridge enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more other lands.
{T}: Add {B} or {R}.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/247828/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-haunted-ridge

Cyclone Summoner

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230494_200w.jpg

When Cyclone Summoner enters the battlefield, if you cast it from your hand, return all permanents to their owners' hands except for Giants, Wizards, and lands.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/230494/magic-kaldheim-cyclone-summoner

These players broke the symmetry on Lier by dipping into black for Duress, so they could answer opposing Epiphanies while their own were uncounterable.

Well, it's been a month, so the Lier, Disciple of the Drowned tech has caught on. Every Top 8 deck at the Invitational ran at least two copies of Lier, either in the maindeck or sideboard. Divide by Zero has become the counter-counter-counter-tech of choice, since Lier's ability doesn't prevent spells on the stack from being returned to hand. Duress still sees play, but at 10 copies across the Top 8 decks, it doesn't hold a candle to Divide by Zero's 30.

Alrund's Epiphany, to Negate, to Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, to Divide by Zero. Notice a pattern?

What Will It Take to Stop Blue?

Blue needs to stop getting the best answers to blue cards. If countering spells is going to be primary in blue, tertiary in white, and nonexistent in other colors, then other colors need ways to answer blue instants and sorceries.

I've been a blue mage since 2001, so it pains me to make this argument. I'm not asking for a return to the days of Boil and Choke. But red and green need viable strategies for dealing with spells like Alrund's Epiphany, besides just racing it. And when WotC designs anti-blue tech cards, they should go in colors outside of blue. No more spells like Mystical Dispute and Thryx, the Sudden Storm.

What should we have instead? I don't know, probably nonblue cards that can fight on the stack? Of course, that violates the color pie. WotC loves flavor, see, and hates it when nonblue wizards feel like wizards in a game about wizards fighting wizards. Unfortunately though, the existing anti-blue tech in other colors ranges from mediocre to irrelevant.

Black gets discard, which is useless against topdecks. White gets taxing effects, which at best delay the inevitable. Red and green get midrange creatures with protection from blue that do nothing in the face of unlimited turns. In theory and in practice, if you want to beat a big blue sorcery like Alrund's Epiphany or Emergent Ultimatum or Expropriate (hi Commander players), you gotta play blue.

What About Crimson Vow?

The next Standard-legal Magic set releases in just a few weeks. Will a new or returning card temper blue control?

It's still early in preview season, but it looks like the answer is "no." Red and green are both getting more aggressively costed creatures like Kessig Wolfrider and Ulvenwald Oddity, but we haven't seen any cards that can stop Alrund's Epiphany from running away with the game. Halana and Alena, Partners can block bird tokens if they stay in play, but that's it.

White fares a bit better with the return of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, which makes pure control decks much harder to play. Thalia slots neatly into existing Mono-White Aggro decks, and with backup from Elite Spellbinder and Reidane, God of the Worthy she should give Epiphany decks a tough matchup. The only question is whether Mono-White will stand up to Mono-Green, or if the latter will keep the former out of the format.

Meanwhile, blue is getting even better answers to big sorceries, like Overcharged Amalgam. And if Alrund's Epiphany does get the ban hammer, Izzet decks can turn to Alchemist's Gambit instead. We haven't seen any color hate, or any nonblue ways to answer instants and sorceries on the stack. Magic still lacks a cheap, narrow hate card for extra turn effects, the way Grafdigger's Cage hates on the graveyard and Shadowspear hates on hexproof and indestructible.

Feeling Blue

Given how far in advance the Magic R&D team works, we won't know what lessons they've taken from Midnight Hunt Standard for at least a year. In the meantime, there's still plenty to like about Standard. Say what you will about blue-dominated metas, at least they feature a lot of interaction.

tweet:1454832567153307652

Blue has been the strongest color in Magic more often than any other color. Better creatures and card draw in other colors have helped balance the color pie, but blue remains indispensable for combo and control decks, thanks to its monopoly on countermagic and (consequently) its superiority at counter-countermagic. If that's ever going to be rectified, the other colors need to learn more tricks, or blue needs to share its toys.

If it were up to me, I'd pick the latter. Fighting on the stack is fun. Why shouldn't everyone get to enjoy that?