Last updated on January 25, 2022

Alrund's Epiphany - Illustration by Kieran Yanner

Alrund’s Epiphany | Illustration by Kieran Yanner

There’s been a clear best deck in Standard since rotation. The combination of Galvanic Iteration and Alrund’s Epiphany backed with a full suite of interaction and fueled by Treasures from Unexpected Windfall presents a complicated and sometimes impossible puzzle for your opponent to solve.

There was never any doubt in my Wandering Mind when selecting decks for the Innistrad Championships that I’d be playing Turns Combo in Standard. I settled on this build expecting the metagame to be mostly mirror matches and mono white with a smattering of mono green aggro.

So what’s this deck all about? Let’s take a look.

The Deck

Hall of Storm Giants (Dungeon Module) - Illustration by Alex Stone

Hall of Storm Giants (Dungeon Module) | Illustration by Alex Stone

The Strategy

1-Drops

Fading Hope

Fading Hope cheaply removes any creature from play. Your plan is to stutter the game until you eventually have enough mana to combo and win. The efficiency of one mana, often with a scry attached, is ideal.

Spikefield Hazard is an excellent answer to the long list of 1-toughness creatures played by the aggressive decks. Doubling as a land makes it an automatic 4-of.

Play with Fire

Play with Fire is here out of respect for aggressive decks. You need cheap answers for cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.

2-Drops

Jwari Disruption is great against green and other control decks because they play enough expensive spells that tapping out to cast something is practically inevitable. It’s serviceable against mono white and being a double-faced land makes it easy to include.

Abrade

Abrade is the most versatile 2-mana removal spell because it kills The Celestus in control mirrors and Esika’s Chariot in green.

Cinderclasm

Cinderclasm is the best card against mono white and can also be good in the green matchup, especially if you copy it with Galvanic Iteration.

Galvanic Iteration

Galvanic Iteration is how the deck combos. Its two main functions are copying Unexpected Windfall and Alrund’s Epiphany. Its defensive function of copying your removal suite or Mascot Exhibition is awesome as well.

Expressive Iteration

Expressive Iteration is so talked about it’s a meme at this point. The card is obviously great, and nothing more really needs to be said about it. It makes everything run smoother.

3-Drops

Divide by Zero

Divide by Zero helps buy you another turn to make another land drop and see more cards to get you closer to combo-ing off for the win. It’s best in the mirror match where you can gain tempo and card advantage by bouncing your opponent’s Unexpected Windfalls or copied spells.

Wandering Mind

Wandering Mind is basically Expressive Iteration on a Wind Drake. It finds whatever combo piece you’re missing or a DFC land and then functions as a clock or a blocker depending on the matchup.

The Celestus

The Celestus is fantastic because you often want to pass your turn without doing anything that triggers the looting and lifegain. And then your opponent usually casts two spells into your interaction turning it back into day and triggering you to loot again, pass, and repeat!

Demon Bolt

Demon Bolt is nice in open decklists because they can never be sure what you’ve foretold. It kills everything from Lier, Disciple of the Drowned to Adeline, Resplendent Cathar to Hullbreaker Horror when copied.

The Top-End

Unexpected Windfall

Unexpected Windfall is how you ramp up your mana. The deck is at its best when you foretell Alrund’s Epiphany early, play Windfall, and copy it with Galvanic Iteration on your opponent’s end step in order to draw four cards and make four Treasures.

This generally brings you from 6 to 10 mana and provides the card selection to play a land on your turn, cast Galvanic Iteration, flash it back, and then cast Alrund’s Epiphany to take three turns in a row.

Goldspan Dragon

Goldspan Dragon is a mirror breaker. The way games tend to play, there’s a window to tap out for Goldspan and you win the game when you untap if your opponent can’t interact with it.

It curves you into Alrund’s Epiphany in aggro matchups, which often wins you the game without having to copy it. Goldspan also allows you to cast Unexpected Windfall “for free” because it doubles the mana from your Treasures.

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned is the best card against aggro decks. It can salvage almost any game state as long as you have mana and a life.

Alrund's Epiphany

Alrund’s Epiphany is how you win. The plan is to copy it as many times as necessary to produce lethal or gain an insurmountable advantage.

In the mirror, you want to copy it twice by casting two Galvanic Iterations because of the way it will resolve. The original Epiphany will be at the bottom of the stack with two Galvanic Iteration triggers on top of it. The first Iteration resolves, putting a second copy of Epiphany on the stack on top of the other Iteration trigger. So the stack will be original Epiphany, Iteration trigger, copy of Epiphany.

Your opponent’s best chance to interact with the combo is to cast their own Galvanic Iteration with a Divide by Zero to bounce your extra turns to your hand. When you cast Galvanic Iteration twice before going for Epiphany, it disables your opponent’s ability to easily interact because their requirements to do anything effective is minimum three pieces of interaction.

If they cast their own Galvanic Iteration and flash it back to use with Divide by Zero, they’re left with three Divides but only two valid targets because the third Epiphany is protected as a trigger from Galvanic Iteration sandwiched between the original Epiphany and the copy. There’s never room to bounce both copies because they’re never on the stack at the same time. The first copy has to resolve before the second Galvanic Iteration trigger puts another copy of Epiphany on the stack.

If your opponent bounces a copy and an original, you take an extra turn and still have an Epiphany in your hand, which is usually a winning combination.

Hall of Storm Giants

Hall of Storm Giants is the fastest way to kill when you take extra turns. You can copy Alrund’s Epiphany in a vacuum to produce 4 power in flying and then attack with the manland and your birds over the next two turns to deal 22 damage.

Tips and Interactions

Galvanic Iteration - Illustration by Johann Bodin

Galvanic Iteration | Illustration by Johann Bodin

Mirror Matchups

The mirror match boils down to who can efficiently spend the most mana. This means whichever player is generating extra mana with Goldspan Dragon or Unexpected Windfall is usually winning. You want to bait your opponent into sacrificing their Treasures to your interaction or to give you the opportunity to produce your own.

This usually means passing the turn and biding your time. The first player to commit to spending mana is often punished. Wait until you can definitely accomplish something.

Aggro Matchups

It’s crucial to use your life total as a resource in aggro matchups. You want to tie up your opponent’s mana and make their cards as awkward as possible to sequence. This often means taking a hit so you can bounce something end of turn.

The downside is that you take damage, but the upside is you get to make your choices with better info and your opponent is left guessing what you plan on doing. Because aggressive decks don’t have good finishers, they’re often neutered the moment you resolve Lier, Disciple of the Drowned with open mana.

Always contemplate how things might play out to reach your favorable endgames and make plays that work towards that goal.

Get Fancy With It

Get fancy with Goldspan Dragon. You can pretend to be a mutate deck by casting Spikefield Hazard and Fading Hope on it to generate mana. Just be sure to enter full control if you’re using Hope so you keep priority in time to sacrifice the Treasures for extra mana before Goldspan leaves play.

Mulligan Rules

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned - Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned | Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

This deck wants to play a land every turn of the game, so it’s fine to keep land-heavy hands.

Bear in mind that you need early interaction when facing aggressive decks and card selection when facing control mirrors. You want your Fading Hope against green and Unexpected Windfall and Expressive Iteration when you’re facing control.

Sideboard Guide

Izzet Control Matchups

You need to pay attention to Izzet Control’s creatures. Some versions don’t play enough creatures to warrant having Demon Bolt post-board, but you want it when they have Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, Hullbreaker Horror, Smoldering Egg, and Goldspan Dragon. You can also leave in an extra Fading Hope if they play a lot of creatures.

In

Out

Mono White Matchups

You can board out a Goldspan Dragon and leave in a Divide by Zero if you prefer. I think that Divide struggles to produce positive tempo and it’s usually better to ramp up your mana.

This matchup is all about slamming the door shut with Lier, Disciple of the Drowned or Smoldering Egg. You can also race with Goldspan Dragon, though, because your interaction is cheap and the dragon produces mana.

In

Out

Mono Green Matchups

This matchup is mostly about trying to keep your opponent’s board from getting wide. This means constantly policing their threats and trying to ramp out Cyclone Summoner before they can kill you.

Copying Vampires’ Vengeance is your best chance to stabilize against fast starts. Your best plays are when you get to Fading Hope their creature in response to a fight spell.

In

Out

Wrap Up

Unexpected Windfall - Illustration by Alayna Danner

Unexpected Windfall | Illustration by Alayna Danner

Izzet Turns is the best deck in Standard. By a lot. It’s not easy to learn, so the win rates will be deflated from what you can achieve if you become a proficient pilot. But there’s no competitive deck that regularly beats this build.

Anybody that tells you green is favored is selling snake oil (or Snakeskin Veil oil!) Izzet Turns can be built to withstand anything the field throws at it. I recommend building to beat the mirror match because of its dominance. This means more instants and card selection and fewer removal spells.

What’s your experience with this deck? Do you have any crazy stories of matches on the ladder? Let me know in the comments down below. And don’t forget to grab Arena Tutor if you want to maximize your MTGA matches and get free tips as you play.

Good luck gamers!

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