The last two weekends have been pretty exciting for Standard. With War of the Spark finally released into the real world as well as the digital realm, we get to see what these new cards can do. And at this stage of Standard, it is usually pretty difficult to have the set released have a major impact. Usually at this juncture, Standard is gigantic, and most decks are set in their ways. With that said, sometimes the spring set breathes new life into the Standard format, and War of the Spark has done exactly that.
Nearly every established deck in Standard got some new toys, including one of my favorite decks: Izzet Phoenix. In the last eight months or so since Guilds of Ravnica was released, we've seen decks from nearly every color combination, and even multiple archetypes within some of the more popular guilds. Izzet spawned a deck revolving around Enigma Drake and Crackling Drake, as well as a build that focused on Goblin Electromancer and casting a lot of spells in the same turn to bring back Arclight Phoenix. And with the fluctuation of Standard, each iteration would become the dominant deck in Izzet based on their play patterns. When spot removal is heavy and games go long, Arclight Phoenix is significantly better than Enigma Drake. When Spell Pierce or Dive Down is good, Drakes is usually the go-to. But on occasion, a card comes along and pushes one choice head and shoulders above the others.
I like to compare Finale of Promise to Bloodbraid Elf, in that it costs four mana and generates some amount of card advantage while potentially having a lasting effect on the battlefield. Killing a creature while casting a Chart a Course to discard Arclight Phoenix is pretty damn good. On top of that, you're also actually casting those spells, so it triggers Arclight Phoenix by itself.
I wasn't sold on it at first, but I think that's because I just didn't have enough reps with the card. But the more I play with it, the more I'm coming to understand just how busted it is. Right now, the deck has a healthy mix of instants and sorceries, and it needs to stay that way if you want to get full value out of Finale of Promise.
But the real wake-up call came from the Magic Online MCQ a few weeks ago. Schiaveto won with Izzet Phoenix featuring Finale of Promise, and I've been pretty stuck on it ever since. Over the last week and a half, the deck has gone through some significant changes, including another win from JMM, an established player who's also playing in the MOCS this weekend. I myself played a version in an MCQ this past Saturday, putting up a 6-2 record, and my results on Magic Arena have been stellar.
Each list has its strengths and weaknesses, and today we're going to go over them, as well as the finalized list I'm going to recommend for