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Wizard's Lightning, by Grzegorz Rutkowski, Owned by Wizards of the Coast © All Rights Reserved.

For those who have played with or against the Izzet genius Mizzix of the Izmagnus, you know how explosive she can be. The spells start coming and they don’t stop coming, often cast, copied, flashbacked, and re-copied. While we can’t pull off what Mizzix offers, we can’t do a decent impersonation of her with Nivix Guildmage!

Clearly his abilities lend themselves well to a spellslinger-control deck that probably wants to win off copied big burn spells. What’s really neat about this wizard is that we don’t have to even tap him to activate those abilities. So I’m looking for some big mana generation, and a couple of big spells to dump that mana into with a couple of copies thrown in. Apart from the giant bombs, I think we can pay more homage to Mizzix by taking this in a goblin tribal direction. There’s a few reasons for this that I’ll be getting into later, so bear with me.

Mana Generation

Obviously our commander can spend mana constantly, but with enough mana, we can ensure that we never have a dead draw, since we’ll just cycle it away. But since we don’t have access to green for the normal ramp, let’s explore the options!

These three can generate us some huge amounts of mana, and with a few sources of blue, we can generate absurdly more than we have the right to. Here’s how:

Cast Mana Geyser / Brightstone Ritual / BattleHymn for at least 6 mana (6R)

Use 3 Red, and tap something for blue to activate our commander’s copy (3R)

Copy the mana spell, generating 6 more red mana (9R)

Spend 3 Red, add another blue… (6R)

Copy again (12R)

Obviously we want to cast these for more than six mana, but even then, for two blue we got up to 12 mana. The more blue we have, the more copies we get!

Lastly, here’s why I really like the idea of goblins in this deck. There’s a lot of them, which fuels Brightstone and Battle Hymn. They’re a win condition on their own in case our spells fall through. And of course, Skirk Prospector is great with them.

Card Draw

Since just making lots of mana doesn’t win us the game, we need something to do with it. Our commander can dump mana easily, but let’s really dig deep here. Inner Fire can generate plenty more mana, but we need the hand to do it. There a few ideal draw spells that pair well with our goblin strategy, so we’ll start there.

Those all work amazingly well, but what if we somehow manage to draw nothing but junk? Don’t worry, there’s answers for that too! Wheel effects are hard to come by in pauper, but these do a passable impression.


We’ve drawn all the cards, generated more mana than we can use this turn, so now how do we win? Big X spells, of course! While in other formats, blue would have X draw spells that would let us deck our opponents, we have to go the red route of burn. A powerful option is Kaervik’s Torch, since it is hard to counter, but my favourite one is Skitter of Lizards.

For other finishers, look for cards with high cost or ways to spend lots of mana. Eldrazi are viable options, especially if you can power out two or three in a single turn. Since we’re red, we can even make them all hastey too!


Finally we come to the sub-theme of the deck, the swarming tribe that’s been around since the start. Goblins are a back-up plan in case our big burn spells can’t get there, but some of the goblin spells pair well with our spell copy plan. Let’s start with those.

Other goblin cards to look for make tokens, since they pair well with Ghostly Flicker. Goblin Matron is a clear inclusion here, since she’s an extra copy of Skirk Prospector. Caterwauling Boggart is another obvious one, since menace on our army is very powerful. Beetleback Chief is one of the best to pair with flicker and Mnemonic Wall, as it’s a near unlimited supply of bodies.

Personal Choice

Of course no deck is done until you’ve added your own cards. We all have our own metas and playstyles, so add the cards that you love playing. I personally went with some Clash and Madness spells. Since we have a decent amount of high cost spells, we can clash pretty well, and I like madness with our commander’s draw/discard ability.

Another cool choice I might go with is a Theft game plan. We can Act of Treason, and with our huge amounts of mana, copy and copy and copy, stealing the best things on the board. And with a Thermopod out, we can sacrifice them for more mana after combat! I love the idea of this, but it is dependent on our opponents having things to steal.

I think that’s an exhaustive look at Izzet’s spellslinger guildmage. Next time I’ll be crashing in with Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas, own disciple of smashing face, Boros Swiftblade.



#2016 #Red #Blue #Goblins


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