Last updated on February 28, 2024

Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain - Illustration by Brad Rigney

Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain | Illustration by Brad Rigney

There are 10 different 2-color combinations in Magic, each one totally unique. No two play the same and choosing the one that best fits your playstyle and accomplishes your goals is the most important step in having fun in Commander.

I’d like to introduce you to Izzet (). Izzet is all about drawing cards, playing big spells, and having the right interaction at the right time. I think it’s one of the most powerful combos in Magic, and that’s why I’ll be discussing why you should play Izzet, who you should pick as your commander, and offer a sample decklist to inspire you to get deckbuilding.

Let’s get into it!

Why Go with an Izzet Commander?

Veyran, Voice of Duality - Illustration by Mathias Kollros

Veyran, Voice of Duality | Illustration by Mathias Kollros

Izzet is all about spells. Instants, sorceries, and casting as many of them as possible every turn. The color combo is full of card draw, wheels, fliers, things that draw you cards, things that do things when you draw cards, and everyone’s favorite: counterspells.

Izzet is for you if you enjoy passing the turn with all of your mana untapped, desperately waiting for somebody to try and play the game only to be shut down by whatever interaction you have in your hand. If you’re one to get a dopamine rush whenever you draw a card, then look no further. Nothing draws cards like Izzet!

#25. Keranos, God of Storms

Keranos, God of Storms

Keranos, God of Storms is one of my all-time favorite gods in Magic and I’m honored to be able to rank it at… the bottom of the list today. Keranos is a straightforward and resilient commander that gives you card advantage while also throwing Lightning Bolts around.

The biggest hindrance to God of Storms is that the trigger can only happen on the first card you draw on your own turn. This means you only get a handful of triggers in a given game and need to be more reliant on the actual cards in the deck. You can use your commander as cheap removal and occasional card draw.

#24. River Song

River Song
River Song puts maximum value on any scry effects you have. You get protection from opponents milling your best options away by taking advantage of not-so-popular cards like Junktroller, Reito Sentinel, and Epitaph Golem.

Amp up the fun when you punish opponents for using tutors with damage to the face. This is a fun card that you can surprise people with.

#23. Aegar, the Freezing Flame

Aegar, the Freezing Flame

Early on our list is Aegar, the Freezing Flame. Aegar is a giant tribal commander. While it isn’t exactly the most “Izzet” theme there is, Izzet has the most giants so it makes sense.

When it comes to the more niche creature types in tribal Commander, shapeshifters come in to fill the gaps. But there are actually some great giants to play, like Calamity Bearer, Cyclone Summoner, and Hammerfist Giant. And there are more than enough playable ones to fill out the list.

As with any tribal deck in Commander, you want to run the utility artifacts that have synergy with your creature type specifically. Vanquisher's Banner and Sword of the Animist are great ways to bring your deck’s power level to, well, the next level.

#22. Jori En, Ruin Diver

Jori En, Ruin Diver

In the #20 spot is Jori En, Ruin Diver, a simple 2/3 merfolk wizard that cantrips off of your second spell each turn. Since this is specifically the second spell, Jori decks need to be spell slingers that can consistently cast something before they start getting that value.

This makes cheap cantrips like Brainstorm, Ponder, and Opt especially important to include in your deck. You also don’t want to skip out on Young Pyromancer or Wavebreak Hippocamp ether since you’re casting at least two spells per turn anyway.

#21. Melek, Izzet Paragon

Melek, Izzet Paragon

Melek, Izzet Paragon lets you play instants and sorceries from the top of your library, copying them when you do. Melek is another spellslinger commander like the previously mentioned Jori En, Ruin Diver. You want to include cheap cantrips that accelerate you early followed by some bigger more powerful spells that bring destructive effects when copied.

Filling in the cantrip and early-game portion of your deck is easy. Just throw in Brainstorm, Ponder, Opt, and some other card draw and you’re fine.

As for the bigger game-ending spells you have some more customizability. High Tide can be pretty potent but it demands a more blue deck with as many Islands as possible. Turnabout is even better when doubled and can lead to some pretty disastrous X spells.

At the end of the day the bigger the spell the more powerful copying it is. There are some massive sorceries that are already often game-ending and will be that much better by being copied, like Time Warp and similar effects.

#20. Balmor, Battlemage Captain

Balmor, Battlemage Captain

Balmor, Battlemage Captain lends itself to a fast-attacking token deck that will remind you of the old monoblue chestnut Talrand, Sky Summoner, which is a card you want to play in the 99 along with other token-makers like Third Path Iconoclast and Young Pyromancer. Lots of cheap cantrips, a few of the other commanders on this list, and key cards like Haze of Rage for a huge turn and you’re off to the bird wizard races.

It's best to drop Balmor when you’ve already got a decent board and just accelerate over the top, but the card is also cheap enough to withstand a few trips to the command zone if needed.

#19. Jhoira, Ageless Innovator

Jhoira, Ageless Innovator

Perhaps the worst of the three Jhoiras on today’s list, Jhoira, Ageless Innovator is a strange card. It looks more powerful than it is if you’re imagining it cheating out huge artifacts. The best use is as an Izzet stax commander, which is a really weird phrase to type. Because Jhoira can drop artifacts without casting them, it can break parity by dodging some of the stax restrictions on cards like Winter Orb and Static Orb.

Sure, stax is one of the more salt-inducing decks you can sleeve up, but perhaps the innovation of this being in Izzet will buy you a teeny bit of goodwill?

#18. Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator + Breeches, Brazen Plunderer

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator and Breeches, Brazen Plunderer look like they want to play pirate typal. And that’s totally a fun thing to do.

But there’s a higher power version of this deck for cEDH which plays either very few or no other creatures besides Glint-Horn Buccaneer, which you find with Polymorph or by wheeling through your deck. Malcolm gives you Treasures, Breeches gives you chaos, and the Glint-Horn wins you the game with more wheel effects that plow through your library.

#17. Okaun, Eye of Chaos + Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom

Perhaps the two Dungeons & Dragons sets have made players more amenable to random effects like dice rolling and coin flipping? These two Battlebond commanders are making a bit of a comeback in popularity. Add the Modern Horizons 2 coin-flip legend Yusri, Fortune's Flame to the 99, along with Mutalith Vortex Beast from Warhammer 40,000, and you’ve got, well, you’ve got a deck that does things.

How good are those things? Well, it’s kind of up in the air. Literally. One thing to note is that a lot of the drawbacks on older coin flip cards like Mogg Assassin are not such clear drawbacks in Commander. There are deals to be made before the coin flies.

#16. Baral and Kari Zev

Baral and Kari Zev
Free spells never get old and Baral and Kari Zev give you a chance at one on your turn and your opponents' turns. Then throw in the occasional hasty monkey when you don't, and you'll be surprised at the value you're getting when you remember this commander cost you three mana.

I love attacking and defending with the combination of first strike, menace, and four toughness. Then you get tricky with a commander that brings out a renewable legendary creature or creates a ton of value when you build with the lean towards cascading from your hand.

#15. Zaffai, Thunder Conductor

Zaffai, Thunder Conductor

Next in line is Zaffai, Thunder Conductor. This is a fairly popular commander, but I think it’s very underrated. Casting spells with mana value 10 or greater is pretty easy in Commander as long as you set up your deck to do it consistently. Getting to scry, make a 4/4, and do 10 damage to a random opponent is just icing on the cake here.

And there are more 10-mana spells than you think. Apex of Power, Volcanic Salvo, Time Stretch, and any X spell all work. Even if you’re not slinging around 10-mana value spells like it’s your job, anything with a mana value of five or more still makes a 4/4. Pair these bonuses with some copy effects and you’re golden.

#14. Neera, Wild Mage

Neera, Wild Mage

This wild magic sorcerer from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate will give that hit of RNG excitement if you’re finding yourself too jaded on Commander nights. Neera, Wild Mage decks are full of cheap cantrips like Ponder because, unlike proper cascade cards, Neera can free-cast anything from the top of the deck regardless of mana value. So your Otherworldly Gaze can net you a One with the Multiverse or Hullbreaker Horror. Neera can also find you an Opt. So good luck!

Cards that can copy the trigger like Mizzix, Replica Rider are also very nice.

You want your cantrips to manipulate the top of your deck as much as possible. Brainstorm is perfect, or even just cards that scry so that you can try to ensure you hit something big off the top.

#13. Ovika, Enigma Goliath

Ovika, Enigma Goliath

Like Balmor, Battlemage Captain, Ovika, Enigma Goliath leads a token-based deck. The difference is that Ovika is a token generator on its own but it takes a lot longer to get out onto the battlefield. You can play really similar decks if you like.

Ovika has some additional build options though. First, you can omit most of the other token-makers and spend that portion of the deck on control and protection for your commander, similar to the way some folks play Talrand, Sky Summoner decks. Second, because Ovika makes goblins, you can play the payoffs and accelerants for your monored goblins decks in here, like Skirk Prospector, Moria Marauder, and Brightstone Ritual.

#12. Jhoira of the Ghitu

Jhoira of the Ghitu

Jhoira of the Ghitu is a 2/2 human wizard that gives your cards suspend 4. Jhoira loves to suspend, and you want to make sure they’re powerful and expensive ones since the time counter starts at four for cards you target with its ability.

Since bigger is always better and you’re not limited to instants and sorceries, the best way to play this commander is with big creatures. Eldrazi are the way to go. Kozilek, the Great Distortion, It That Betrays, and Void Winnower are all super sweet.

But don’t forget about big sorceries when adding the Eldrazi to your cart.  Beacon of Tomorrows is a game-winning bomb when you have a board full of 8/8 Eldrazi.

#11. Mizzix of the Izmagnus

Mizzix of the Izmagnus

We’re into the best of this ranking now and Mizzix of the Izmagnus is here to start us off. Mizzix gains an experience counter every time you cast an instant or sorcery with mana value greater than the number of experience counters, and it gives you a discount on your instants and sorceries per experience counter it has. This means a smooth-curved spellslinger deck is the way to go.

Since you get a bigger discount each time you play a spell, you’ll quickly start to ramp out and dump your hand after two or three turns. This means card draw is especially important.

In addition to the classic cantrips I’d strongly recommend including more powerful and expensive card draw like Dig Through Time, Pull from Tomorrow, and Drown in Dreams. These take advantage of your experience counters and refill your hand right when you need them to.

#10. Vadrik, Astral Archmage

Vadrik, Astral Archmage

Vadrik, Astral Archmage is pretty similar to Mizzix of the Izmagnus, but with a twist. Vadrik gives you a discount on your instants and sorceries equal to its power, and it gains a +1/+1 counter whenever it becomes day or night. This can be accelerated through cards that buff power like Haze of Rage, Tezzeret's Gambit, and Lunar Frenzy.

Once you’ve stacked up plenty of power on your commander, it’s time to get casting! X spells are the best kind here and Jaya's Immolating Inferno is definitely the way to go. Once you get a ten to fifteen mana discount on your spells this card quickly reaches lethal territory. With the right planning and a copy spell or two you can easily blow up the table with this card.

#9. The Locust God

The Locust God

Next up is The Locust God from Commander 2020. This Izzet god creates 1/1 fliers whenever you draw a card and lets you pay to loot the top card of your deck. On their own these abilities are sort of mediocre and not very powerful. But if you pair them with something like Wheel of Fortune they become incredible.

Wheels decks are an incredibly fun strategy because they constantly affect every player and always offer you some kind of value when you cast them. You can set yourself up to have plenty of benefits each time you draw a card with things like Chasm Skulker and Wizard Class.

All your on-draw effects trigger more times than your opponents can handle since you’ll have the capability to draw so many cards per turn with creatures like Consecrated Sphinx or Magus of the Wheel.

#8. Melek, Reforged Researcher

Melek, Reforged Researcher
I think the last part of this card to be balanced in design was the mana value because getting this much cost reduction on your first spell each turn is ridiculous, and if you could cast Melek, Reforged Researcher any earlier, it'd be broken. Twice is nice and still easy to calculate when it comes to seeing how big Melek is.

The real nugget that this researcher finds is when you hold up , then on each of your opponent's turns you can cast Chemister's Insight, Sudden Impact, or Aetherize, and then it's your turn.

#7. Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

In the #7 spot is Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, an artificer commander that gives all your creature tokens haste in addition to generating 2/1 artifact tokens at the beginning of combat on your turn. But Brudiclad’s last ability is what you’re here for.

When you create your 2/1 token it gives you the option to pick a token you control, and it turns all tokens you control into copies of the chosen token. So yes, Brudiclad is a token commander.

Tokens are a dime a dozen. At least the mediocre 1/1s are. The real power of this commander comes from turning all of those weenies into huge 10/10s with the token from Idol of Oblivion, or 5/5 fliers with Dragonmaster Outcast.

The haste from Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer is also quite important. Any Brudiclad deck wants to surprise its opponents by suddenly transforming its army and it wants to be able to do that as quickly as possible. Preferably in one turn.

#6. Krark, the Thumbless + Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Next up is the partner combination of Krark, the Thumbless and Sakashima of a Thousand Faces. With these partners, you basically have access to two Krarks, since Sakashima can copy it. You want extra copies so that you can not only return the spell to your hand but also have a chance at copying it. If you hit both of these you essentially cast the spell without losing it from your hand, which is an amazing combo.

This partner combo is basically always a spellslinger deck since you get multiple casts out of most of your spells. Counterspells work great here since it isn’t uncommon that you cast them for free and you can extract multiple uses out of them.

The real fun comes from cards like Rite of Replication, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, and Karn's Temporal Sundering. They blow out your opponents and often win the game once they come down if you have your commander duo out.

#5. Galazeth Prismari

Galazeth Prismari

In the #5 spot is none other than Galazeth Prismari itself. Galazeth is a Treasure commander that loves giving you plenty of mana to play around with. Since you’re going to have dozens of Treasures in play at once you want to have as many cards as possible that capitalize off having huge loads of mana. Just having big spells is good too but you want to use as much of your mana as possible so X spells are preferred.

Blue Sun's Zenith is a staple, that’s obvious. It keeps your hands full and your Treasures used. What more can you ask for? Jeska's Will can replenish your hand while giving you some extra mana. Comet Storm is a great way to wipe the board while also dealing great damage to your opponent’s faces.

When it comes to closing out some of these games there are plenty of different ways you could go. The combo works well, as do some dragons paired with Cyclonic Rift. But I think that Jaya's Immolating Inferno is the way to go. It’s made for killing three players and you only need 20 to 30 mana towards the end of the game which is absolutely doable since you’ll be stockpiling Treasures.

#4. Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph

Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph

This Warhammer 40,000 commander is a really fun build-around. Not only does it synergize with a variety of spells that do one damage like Spikefield Hazard and Gut Shot, but it also works well with spell-casting payoffs like Thermo-Alchemist, cards like Witty Roastmaster that deal one damage when you land a creature, as well as all those pingers like Prodigal Sorcerer.

If you’re a longtime player with boxes of previously unplayable cards, Ghyrson will give some of them a new home. If you’re a new player, a lot of the otherwise underpowered cards that this deck wants are pretty cheap.

#3. Veyran, Voice of Duality

Veyran, Voice of Duality

Veyran, Voice of Duality is a 2/2 efreet wizard that copies abilities triggered from your instants and sorceries being cast. This makes for a great spellslinger deck where you’re going to be casting at least half a dozen spells per turn and want to maximize the value you get from each cast.

Any spellslinger deck includes cards like Guttersnipe, Young Pyromancer, Talrand, Sky Summoner, and Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant. These are all fantastic on their own, but doubling their abilities makes them far more threatening.

You just don’t realize how powerful Veyran’s effect is until you start exploding with it. Most players at the table can deal with high-value cards like the ones mentioned above, but they quickly start to get overwhelmed once you get two triggers per spell.

#2. Niv-Mizzet, Parun

Niv-Mizzet, Parun

In the #2 spot is the infamous Niv-Mizzet, Parun. This is the third Niv-Mizzet to appear on the list today, and while it may look shockingly similar to the other two it’s absolutely the strongest one. It’s not even close.

Parun has the class ability to deal one damage whenever you draw a card, which is excellent given the next ability draws you cards whenever anyone casts an instant or sorcery. You can stack your deck to have plenty of cantrips, card draw, and powerful instants and sorceries to take advantage of this.

Wheels is an excellent strategy when playing this commander, and it’s a strategy many players underestimate at first. People love drawing cards and they won’t mind paying seven life for seven cards. At first. After all, that’s why Griselbrand is so good, right?

Well, then you get some other damage buffs like Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. Oh, and both Niv-Mizzet’s go infinite and can wipe a table with just Curiosity. Just make sure you don’t deck yourself!

#1. Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain

Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain

In the #1 spot is Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, a 3/3 human artificer that draws you one card whenever you cast a historic spell. In case you’re not familiar, “historic” spells are any artifacts, legendaries, or saga cards. There aren’t enough playable sagas, and Izzet legendaries as a strategy isn’t very well supported either. That means that artifacts are the way to go with Jhoira.

You can go down a lot of different routes when it comes to artifact decks. Combo decks, aggressive token decks, and midrange-y creature decks are all equally fun and powerful, so I’ll focus on suggesting staples rather than specific strategies. Blue has the best artifact synergy in the game which means the red cards in your deck will consist mostly of removal, combo pieces, and some mana acceleration.

Artifact-empowering or discounting cards are the most potent in any artifact deck. Etherium Sculptor, Foundry Inspector, and Jhoira's Familiar are all cards you’ve probably heard of before. These are great and go a long way to making most artifacts cheap (if not totally free) to cast.

Having free or stupidly cheap artifacts would normally result in you dumping your hands and being hellbent but Weatherlight Captain keeps you afloat. In the right conditions, this deck can almost play like a storm deck considering how much cost reduction you can get. Just make sure you have some kind of sweet payout or way to use them like Paradoxical Outcome or Reckless Fireweaver.

Decklist: Niv-Mizzet, Parun in EDH

Niv Mizzet, Parun - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Niv-Mizzet, Parun | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

The decklist I have for you today is a Niv-Mizzet, Parun build that loves to draw cards. Everything in the deck is built around that mechanic, and you’ll have a blast playing it!

The deck plays as a tempo-control hybrid that seeks to set itself up early by playing its commander on curve and consistently having interaction by drawing cards and playing only 29 lands. The deck has plenty of counterspells, removal, and extra card draw in the form of cantrips and wheels to keep the game progressing in your favor. Narset, Parter of Veils is an excellent combo with any wheel like Windfall. It’ll result in you drawing a fresh hand and your opponents being hellbent.

When it comes to winning the Narset plus wheels combo usually knocks everyone off their feet. But Curiosity goes infinite with Niv-Mizzet, Parun and you can kill everyone at the table as long as you don’t deck yourself.

Commanding Conclusion

Galazeth Prismari - Illustration by Raymond Swanland

Galazeth Prismari | Illustration by Raymond Swanland

That’s everything I’ve got for you today! Izzet is near and dear to my heart and I haven’t stopped being run over by it since I started playing. Its commanders are some of the most interactive and fun to play, and I hope you feel inspired to get deckbuilding after looking through these rankings.

Speaking of rankings, what did you think? Were there any adjustments you’d make or any commanders that weren’t included that you think should be? If so, where would you put them? Let me know in the comments or over in the official Draftsim Discord.

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!

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  • Avatar
    Michael Allen March 30, 2022 6:22 am

    So i have to personally disagreed with how low Vadrik was on this scale. I understand Jhoira being number one but Vadrik, in my opinion, definately deserves at least a top 3 or 5. Vadrik can consistently pull turn 2 and turn 3 wins with no fetch lands and no mox artifacts, which is what most of these other commanders need in order to pull quick wins. I don’t ever see these commanders that are ranked higher than Vadrik pull T2, T3, or even T4 wins. I have went off many of times on T2 and T3 with less than 3 lands on the battlefield and won the game with Vadrik in High Power pods and cEDH pods. The commander community is sleeping on Vadrik.

    • Jake
      Jake March 30, 2022 2:39 pm

      Hey, Michael,

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! I think Vadrik is pretty sweet too, but don’t know if he’s so strong I’d put him in the top three. in cEDH, how are you winning so early without mana artifacts and only three lands(I assume you mean mana artifacts, since moxen are not legal)? Do you perhaps mean on turn three with Vadrik being played on two? What does that look like?

  • Avatar
    Sam Howard October 29, 2023 5:01 pm

    Thanks for the article, I recently made a red/blue spellslinger deck to play commander with my partner who is into MtG, coming from playing yugioh for many years but it lacked enough instants and draws to feel right for me. The “Niv-Mizzet, Parun” list you posted looks much more fun and consistent.

    • Jake Henderson
      Jake Henderson October 31, 2023 8:20 pm

      Hey Sam, thanks for reading and leaving a comment! Glad to hear the list suites your needs, I hope you have even more fun now that you’ve got the kind of list you were looking for 🙂

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