Today we return to Pauper with one of the hottest decks in the format (pun intended), Izzet Blitz. Izzet Blitz is a fast paced combo deck, that relies on stringing together many cheap or free spells to do loads of burst damage. For that reason, it plays similarly to Storm decks in other formats, which may be very appealing to some and a deal breaker for others.
Now with the introduction out of the way, let’s take a look at the decklist.
4 Kiln Fiend
4 Auger of Bolas
4 Nivix Cyclops
Instants & Sorceries (31)
1 Artful Dodge
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Mutegenic Growth
1 Spell Pierce
3 Apostle’s Blessing
3 Temur Battle Rage
2 Evolving Wilds
2 Swiftwater Cliffs
Kiln Fiend: This is your main wincon. You can get it out early and swing in for chip damage if it’s safe, but you really want to save this card and only use it when it’s big enough to do a lot of damage.
Nivix Cyclops: This is essentially another four copies of Kiln Fiend, but with the added benefit of living through Lightning Bolt on its own. Typically you want to play it the same way as you would Kiln Fiend, but you have the added benefit of being able to sneak in an early attack or two because it’s beefier.
Auger of Bolas: Good for helping you assemble your combo and tuck away cards that are currently useless. It’s also a great blocker that you are able to throw away if things get dire, or you can use it to keep sac effects away from your combing creatures.
Instants & Sorceries
Artful Dodge: This is a great way to make sure your Nivix Cyclops or Kiln Fiend is able to break through your opponent’s defenses. Just make sure you only use this when you can either finish the game, or deal heavy damage. Also keep in mind that you can play it and then flash it back to give an additional +3 to your finisher. But you should really only do this if it will win that turn, because it’s much more important to be able to give your creature unlockable a turn later. Also remember that you can flash it back, targeting a different creature, essentially giving you +9 total attack.
Brainstorm: A cheap card that lets us get combo pieces. You can burn it just to buff up your creatures, and maybe even find another card to play.
Gitaxian Probe: Just two life for +3 attack to all your Nivix Cyclops’s and Kiln Fiend’s is great. It also lets you scout out your opponent’s hand for cards that could disrupt your combo.
Lightning Bolt: Ahhh yes good old Lightning Bolt. Great for clearing annoying creatures, or putting our opponents in range.
Mutegenic Growth: Just two life to give a creature +2/+2, and it triggers all of your Nivix Cyclops’s and Kiln Fiend’s. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Ponder & Preordain: Both of these are cheap cards that let you draw into more gas, while also pumping up your creatures. They can also be used in the early game if you start out with a particularly bad hand.
Spell Pierce: One of two ways we can protect our combo. Make sure you use this only when absolutely necessary, as we don’t run many protection spells.
Apostle’s Blessing: Another great card for protecting our combo. In most decks this card makes one of our creatures virtually indestructible, just as long as you pick the right color.
Temur Battle Rage: Giving one of our creature Double Strike is amazing, as it cuts the amount of spells we need to feed them in half. Additionally, as long as you played another instant or sorcery before you cast this, you are guaranteed to meet the Ferocious requirement, making your creature able to punch a hole through most defenses.
Gush: While gush isn’t super exciting, it’s great fuel for our combo at a fairly low cost. Just be careful you don’t set yourself back too much.
***While you’re sideboard should change based upon your personal meta, some good options are:
Blazing Volley: Great for getting tokens and other small creatures that could hinder our combo out of the way.
Dispel & Spell Pierce: Both of these are good for protecting our combo, and they each have an upside. Dispel cannot be negated by paying a tax, but it cannot be used for much outside protecting our combo as it only counters instant. It’s still very good though since most, if not all cards that would disrupt it are instants. Spell Pierce has a little more utility outside of combo protection, but this deck really relies on it to win, and the fact that your opponent can just pay two to stop it from having any effect really sucks.
Pyroblast: Great for protecting ourselves from counterspells and bounces, and it can even be used to slow down Blue decks giving you trouble like Delver.
Now let’s talk about how this deck does against other deck archetypes.
Aggro: Our Nivix Cyclops and Auger of Bolas are good at blocking tiny creatures, but alone they may not be enough. Make sure to take out serious threats like Lords whenever possible, and don’t drag the game out too long. Cards that can deal with multiple threats at once like Blazing Volley are usually effective.
Combo: Most combo decks will be more focused on trying to race you, instead of trying to disrupt you, and that’s probably the best course of action for you too. You can also try to use cards like Hydroblast, Pyroblast, or Spell Pierce to keep them from going off, but don’t fall too far behind trying to delay them.
Control: This is probably the worst matchup for us honestly (especially if they are playing multiple colors with removal). Apostle’s Blessing will be something you need to lean heavily on. Make sure that before you commit to combing, you use a Gitaxian Probe to see what they’re holding, otherwise you might walk straight into a trap. It might also be wise to try to get in chip damage whenever you can, making their removal not as effective.
Tempo: This is not as bad as combo in some ways, since they’ll have less disruption, but you also have to make sure they don’t edge you out of the game. Like most matchups, speed is key to winning, but don’t go out of control and dump your hand unless you have a way to protect your combo.
I hope this article has been a good look into the possibilities of playing combo in Pauper, and maybe even interests some people in the format as a whole.
But what do you think? Are you interested in this deck? Do you enjoy the Pauper coverage I can’t stop writing about? Do you have any suggestions for my next deck breakdowns? As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to say something in the comments section below.