Fan Favorite Friday #14: The Izzet League

Hello Everyone and welcome to another edition of Fan Favorite Friday! Last week we saw the Selesnya Conclave face off against the nefarious Golgari Swarm, with your votes ensuring that the Golgari Swarm came out on top by a pretty huge margin!

This week, we had the brave Boros Legion facing off against those tricky Izzet League rascals. You spoke, and the Izzet League are the winners! While I’ve frequently been a Boros player in the past, I’m pretty excited to get a chance to dive into the blue-red powerhouse that is Izzet.

But first, we promised that someone was going to win a Golgari Care Package from last week’s article, and by golly, we’re going to deliver.

Nick Wheeler! The random number generator has spoken – you’ve won yourself a sweet Golgari Care Package. Yay!

As you can imagine, this week we’ll be giving away a different kind of care package… one more likely to be filled with crazy experiments and dangerous mages. That’s right, you guessed it, this week’s prize is this sweet Izzet care package:

All you have to do to enter yourself in the contest is:

  • like the ABU Games Facebook Page
  • like the post announcing the giveaway
  • comment on said post telling us what you love most about The Izzet League

Now, let’s dig into our crafty Izzet mages! I’m going to talk a little bit about the guild, some of my favorite Izzet themed cards, and highlight some of what I think are the coolest Izzet oriented decks that I’ve seen on the battlefield!


The Izzet League was first introduced in Guildpact, the second expansion in the original Ravnica block, which was released on February 3rd, 2006. We’ve also seen them in Return to Ravnica, and they’ll be back soon in Guilds of Ravnica!

Now, each guild on Ravnica has their own shtick, their own set of services they provide and such. The Golgari took care of the waste and the underground, but the Izzet League is tasked with the city maintenance. This includes things like the waterways, roads, etc. It’s a perfect gig for them because the league is just chalk full of crazy wizards and tinkerers. They don’t focus on politics or plots like many of the other denizens on Ravnica (well, maybe Niv-Mizzit does) – they are all about discovery and invention.

The League was founded by none other than Niv-Mizzet, who by the way, might be the last true Dragon on Ravnica. This dude is a BOSS. He survived going toe to toe with the Nephilim and is by far the most intelligent being on Ravnica. He could easily overthrow the whole plane and run it if he wanted to, but it would be too dull for him, so he focuses on his mad science instead.

The Izzet were pretty low-key during the original Ravnica block storyline, with Niv-Mizzet seemingly disappearing by the end of the block. Ravnica at large thought he was gone and that the Izzet League would be no more, but by the time Return to Ravnica rolled around they learned that he didn’t have to be visibly present to control his league.

What Makes These Cards So Cool?

The Izzet have it all baby – from counterspells to fiery burn, they’ve got you covered. Take the best that red and blue have to offer and you’ll have an Izzet mage.

Speaking of both counterspells and burn, I think that Izzet Charm is a brilliant example of what the League has to offer:

For one red and a blue, you get to choose either countering an opponent’s noncreature spell unless they pay two, doing two damage to target creature, OR you can draw two cards and then discard two cards. That’s the kind of utility that defines the Izzet. This card might not see a lot of play, but hot dang do I consider it a flavor win.

My all-time favorite Izzet card would have to be Goblin Electromancer (which, if you’ve been following FFF since the beginning, shouldn’t surprise you!)

First of all, it’s a goblin, which makes it awesome. Second of all, it makes your instant and sorcery cards cost one less, which is also excellent. Third of all, the art is awesome – because it’s a goblin doing goblin science.

Another famous character from the Izzet guild who happens to have an awesome planeswalker card is Ral Zarek:

Ral feels incredibly Izzet flavored to me. He’s a four drop, costing two colorless and a red and a blue. He comes in with four loyalty, and his plus two lets you tap a target permanent and then untap a target permanent. Then, for minus two loyalty you can do three damage to target creature or player. If you get all the way to his minus seven ultimate? You get to flip five coins, and take an extra turn for each one that comes up heads! Now that’s Izzet shenanigans! I distinctly remember this ultimate going off on me during RTR standard (don’t ask why I let it get up that high, I don’t want to talk about it) and my opponent got to take FOUR extra turns. I definitely lost that match.

Also, Ral is coming back to us with a brand new card for Guilds of Ravnica! Check it out:

Now, I don’t think any look at awesome Izzet cards would be complete without taking a peek at at least one of Niv-Mizzet’s cardboard appearances.

This version of Niv-Mizzet was my first experience with him, and as a new Magic player, I was in awe! I mean, DRAGONS, right? I think this is another huge Izzet flavor win. He’s a 5/5 flyer, and whenever he deals damage to a player, you can draw a card. That would be pretty sweet on its own, but for a red and a blue you can have him deal one damage to target creature or player (which then allows you to draw a card because of the ability.) Talk about utility!

What Formats Are Izzet Cards Played In?

While there isn’t a dedicated Izzet deck in Standard right now, I can imagine there’s a chance we’ll see something cool and Izzet flavored after rotation!

Now, Modern is a different story. As I’m sure many of you are aware, there’s a pretty Izzet flavored deck that rears its head at many tournaments. Yep, I’m talking Storm!

Here is a sweet storm deck that took first place at the 2018 SCG Modern Classic Dallas:

Storm is all about drawing cards and doing stupid things, which seems pretty Izzet to me!

While there aren’t any big, purely Izzet decks in Legacy right now, there are a couple of decks floating around that still stay true to that Izzet feeling while splashing a third color.

Grixis Delver has all the sweet card draw and burn that an Izzet mage could want!

Miracles is another deck that can definitely scratch that Izzet itch (even though it’s a little white heavy):

Speaking of Delvers and Miracles, Christopher O’Berry (our resident Izzet Mage) had this to say about the wonders of the Izzet League:

“No other guild or color combination embodies my favorite ways to play Magic better than the Izzet League. I like to burn’em, I like to counter’em. ‘Nuff said.”

Short and sweet. I dig it!

Well, that’s all for this week folks! I hope you had as much fun reading about these crazy geniuses as I did writing about them. Let me know how you feel about the Izzet League in the comments below! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all again next week.

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Joe Davidson is the Content Production Manager at ABU Games. When he's not playing Modern, Legacy, or following around Team ABU with a camera he's pursuing a BFA in Fiction at Boise State University. He loves Goblins, casting burn spells, and writing about Magic. You can find him on Twitter @MTGJoeD.