Let's talk about Izzet Dragons in Standard. Some players call it Izzet Midrange, but personally I prefer the name Izzet Dragons—not only does it sound cool, but the deck has two very important Dragons in it. This is the deck I played this past weekend for the MPL League Play, and it performed quite well for me. I was also one of the main voices behind the list I ended up playing.

The Deck

Right now, I don't have changes to make to my list of Izzet Dragons, because it doesn't feel like the format has shifted much. If you find yourself in a metagame where Rogues becomes more popular, you may want an additional Ox of Agonas, or if the mirror becomes super popular you could add a Redcap Melee. If blue decks become less popular maybe we want one less Mystical Dispute in the maindeck. Some teammates suggested adding one more land, but I believe 25 is the right number. This is my recommended version of Izzet Dragons:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Izzet Dragons by Seth Manfield

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

Created By: Seth Manfield

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $426.23

Cards

Disdainful Stroke

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230900_200w.jpg

Counter target spell with mana value 4 or greater.

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Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.59

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Soul Sear

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215536_200w.jpg

Soul Sear deals 5 damage to target creature or planeswalker. That permanent loses indestructible until end of turn.

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Riverglide Pathway

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.76

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

{T}: Add {U}.

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Expressive Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $4.72

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.

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Redcap Melee

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199300_200w.jpg

Redcap Melee deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If a nonred permanent is dealt damage this way, you sacrifice a land.

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Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $20.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199387_200w.jpg

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Shark Typhoon

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $8.73

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212133_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying, where X is that spell's mana value.
Cycling {X}{1}{U} ({X}{1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Shark Typhoon, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying.

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Fire Prophecy

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212611_200w.jpg

Fire Prophecy deals 3 damage to target creature. You may put a card from your hand on the bottom of your library. If you do, draw a card.

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Alrund's Epiphany

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $9.01

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.)

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Goldspan Dragon

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $43.76

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."

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Cinderclasm

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

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.

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Volatile Fjord

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230112_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
Volatile Fjord enters the battlefield tapped.

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Saw It Coming

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230170_200w.jpg

Counter target spell.
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.)

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Ox of Agonas

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $4.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206651_200w.jpg

When Ox of Agonas enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.
Escape—{R}{R}, Exile eight other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Ox of Agonas escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

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The Akroan War

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206150_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Gain control of target creature for as long as The Akroan War remains on the battlefield.
II — Until your next turn, creatures your opponents control attack each combat if able.
III — Each tapped creature deals damage to itself equal to its power.

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Negate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222130_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell.

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Snow-Covered Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230148_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Mazemind Tome

Market Price: $1.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215519_200w.jpg

{T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Scry 1.
{2}, {T}, Put a page counter on Mazemind Tome: Draw a card.
When there are four or more page counters on Mazemind Tome, exile it. If you do, you gain 4 life.

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Magma Opus

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $1.85

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235600_200w.jpg

Magma Opus deals 4 damage divided as you choose among any number of targets. Tap two target permanents. Create a 4/4 blue and red Elemental creature token. Draw two cards.
{U/R}{U/R}, Discard Magma Opus: Create a Treasure token.

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Galazeth Prismari

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235852_200w.jpg

Flying
When Galazeth Prismari enters the battlefield, create a Treasure token.
Artifacts you control have "{T}: Add one mana of any color. Spend this mana only to cast an instant or sorcery spell."

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Snow-Covered Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230150_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Frost Bite

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230127_200w.jpg

Frost Bite deals 2 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If you control three or more snow permanents, it deals 3 damage instead.

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Faceless Haven

Market Price: $5.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230188_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{S}{S}{S}: Faceless Haven becomes a 4/3 creature with vigilance and all creature types until end of turn. It's still a land. ({S} can be paid with one mana from a snow source.)

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The deck has a lot going for it. There isn't a matchup in the format I'm truly scared of playing against. It's capable of beating everything.

Creatures

I think when people see four copies of each of these in a deck titled Izzet Dragons, they get nervous. We aren't playing these in an Edgewall Innkeeper deck, but both cards are generically strong. The adventure creatures have such a high power level that even in decks where they aren't at their best, they're still good enough. We often play on the opponent's turn by holding up countermagic, so having a versatile threat with flash—like Brazen Borrower—forces them to play into our counters. Bonecrusher Giant gives us another removal spell that'll still be serviceable against control decks.

Galazath Prismari

Being able to make a ton of mana is a big part of how this deck closes out games. While Galazeth Prismari is the less important of the two dragons in the deck, it does quite a bit. You can ramp off a Mazemind Tome if Galazeth Prismari is on the battlefield, and four toughness also means this blocks pretty well.

There's a good argument for Goldspan Dragon being the single most important creature in the format. A large percentage of your wins involve playing and attacking with Goldspan Dragon, which then allows for enough mana to play pretty much whatever you want. The key is having a reasonably stable board when you cast this.

Non-Creature Spells

These are my counterspells of choice. Some people play Lofty Denial instead, but then you have to rely even more on having a threat already in play. Both Mystical Dispute and Saw It Coming are important cards to have access to against the control strategies, like the Sultai Ultimatum deck.

This deck has a strong late game, because of the card advantage. Expressive Iteration is the card from Strixhaven that's really taken this sort of strategy to the next level. Expressive Iteration often enables hitting a land drop by exiling a land. This is part of the reason why I like only 25 lands—most of the time you can count on this card for a land drop. Mazemind Tome will be good in longer games when you have time to draw a bunch of cards off it.

This is the card you're normally casting and closing out games with. Having two different cards with foretell is great, because the opponent won't always know whether you've set up an Alrund's Epiphany. This card, of course, will look especially good if you already have some threats in play to pressure the opponent with.

I kept shaving Magma Opus from the list, and eventually ended up playing only one copy. This is a versatile card, since the treasure it generates can be pretty important. However, it'll look most impressive when you're actually able to pay eight mana to cast it. This is definitely a card that can swing a game.

Paying one mana to deal three damage to a creature is an awesome deal. By having four Frost Bite, the deck won't fall too far behind against the aggressive decks since you can trade up on mana with these. The only issue is this will be your worst card in some matchups, like if the opponent is playing a slower deck without many creatures.

The Manabase

Incorporating the snow lands isn't particularly difficult. It's not just Frost Bite as a payoff either—getting to play with Faceless Haven is really nice. This gives you another threat to help close out games with. Riverglide Pathway is a must play, just beware it's your only non-snow land when counting Frost Bite damage. Fabled Passage is, of course, always going to turn itself into snow mana.

Sideboarding

Now I'll break down some matchups and how to sideboard. This sideboard won't always be easy to use because of how many different options there are.

VS Sultai Ultimatum

IN:
2 The Akroan War
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Shark Typhoon
1 Negate

OUT:
4 Frost Bite
2 Bonecrusher Giant

For this matchup, our removal isn't great. After sideboard, around turn three or so, the priority is to try and have mana available on the opponent's turn. Even if you don't actually have a counterspell in hand, they may respect the potential that you do. Having a card like Mazemind Tome in play actually lets you gain more resources than the Sultai player.

The Akroan War comes in, because one of the scariest cards against us is Koma, Cosmos Serpent. This is the one card we can't counter, but The Akroan War will be good against it, assuming you can prevent a Binding the Old Gods from immediately dealing with your The Akroan War. The Akroan War is an unconventional card in the matchup, but you also can steal Elder Gargaroth—another very threatening creature. Having more counterspells makes it less likely an Ultimatum will resolve.

VS Mono Red Aggro/White Aggro/Gruul Aggro

IN:
2 The Akroan War
2 Cincerclasm
2 Ox of Agonas
1 Soul Sear
2 Fire Prophecy
1 Shark Typhoon
2 Redcap Melee (vs Mono Red)

OUT:
3 Mystical Dispute
3 Saw It Coming
2 Mazemind Tome
2-4 Brazen Borrower

The aggro matchups all involve sideboarding in a similar fashion—bring in most of your removal, and cut Brazen Borrower, Mazemind Tome, and counterspells. These changes will help flip these matchups in your favor, because game one, the Izzet Dragons deck is usually a bit behind. Don't make the mistake of leaving in all your Brazen Borrower. I'm mostly fine with cutting them all, because the opponent will have the faster deck, and Brazen Borrower isn't good at blocking. It might prevent some damage by bouncing something, but it won't permanently deal with much.

The two Ox of Agonas do come in. This is a card I think most people forget about unless playing against Rogues. But Ox of Agonas is just a good magic card, and you want to get your card advantage quickly. With this type of sideboard plan the Ox of Agonas become better, because you're likely dumping your hand out, rather than sitting on counterspells. This gives you a way to immediately refuel compared to something like Mazemind Tome, which will be too slow.

VS Dimir Rogues

IN:
2 Ox of Agonas
2 Fire Prophecy
1 Shark Typhoon
1 Negate

OUT:
1 Mazemind Tome
1 Saw It Coming
1 Galazeth Prismari
1 Magma Opus
2 Brazen Borrower

I haven't played this matchup a ton, because people have stopped playing Rogues on the Arena ladder lately. The more Ox of Agonas you have the better—ideally we cut a second Mazemind Tome if we have the third Ox of Agonas. Some of my teammates played three Ox of Agonas, because they expected more Rogues than I did. You certainly can make this a favorable matchup between the escape cards and all the cheap ways to deal with opposing Rogues. I believe the existence of Izzet Dragons is a major reason Rogues has lost popularity.

Vs Jeskai Cycling

IN:
2 Ox of Agonas
2 Cinderclasm
1 Negate
2 Redcap Melee
1 Soul Sear
2 Fire Prophecy

OUT:
4 Brazen Borrower
3 Galazeth Prismari
2 Mazemind Tome
1 Saw It Coming

A number of players selected Jeskai Cycling this past weekend, and it's still a pretty strong deck. I was able to beat it every time, because of this sideboard plan. Don't fool yourself into believing there's only one aspect of the cycling deck you need to answer. Zenith Flare can be a problem you want some counters for, but the early creatures are also a major issue. If an Improbable Alliance sticks, then you're in real hot water, because the cycling deck generates creatures every turn.

It puts us in a tough spot figuring out how to sideboard, but one of the keys is thinking about how the opponent will sideboard. Most Jeskai decks will take out some cyclers in exchange for counters and Redcap Melee. This generally slows games down a bit, and in comes our Ox of Agonas. It may seem strange, but replacing Mazemind Tome with Ox of Agonas allows us to still have enough card advantage.

The Mirror

IN:
2 Redcap Melee
1 Shark Typhoon
2 Disdainful Stroke

OUT:
2 Brazen Borrower
1 Magma Opus
1 Frost Bite
1 Galazeth Prismari

This is a matchup that's becoming more and more popular. We're mostly just shaving cards and adding in Redcap Melee, Shark Typhoon, and Disdainful Stroke. Some of these cards will vary in terms of effectiveness, based on how the opponent sideboards. For instance, if they keep all their Brazen Borrower, the Shark Typhoon gets worse. Redcap Melee is a super efficient removal spell here.

I hope this overview helped to provide a better understanding of the Izzet Dragons deck. This should remain a Top 5 option in the format for many months to come.

Thanks for reading,
Seth Manfield