Izzet Phoenix might be one of the biggest fan favorites among Modern decks in recent memory. It used to be a menace, and back then, as always, people disliked the repetitive play pattern. After the banning of Faithless Looting, however, everybody got sentimental and wished they could still recur the birds.
Numerous attempts at a revival with Chart a Course and Izzet Charm proved unsuccessful. Modern Horizons 2 gave us another glimmer of hope in Faithless Salvaging. But it's only now, with the release of Midnight Hunt, that the deck rises from the ashes like a, well, like a phoenix and looks to be competitive again. Enter Faithful Mending.
What the deck truly lacked was a good enabler. Chart a Course discarded only one card, while Izzet Charm was pure card disadvantage and one-time use only. Faithless Salvaging performed decently, but we cannot rely on just four copies of a spell to get Phoenixes into the graveyard. With Mending, we can go up to eight good two-mana enablers, which finally is enough to make it work. Mending's strength is both in the life gain, which gives us a bit more time against aggressive decks, and more importantly in the flashback. It increases our late-game filtering immensely. So much so that the deck is happy to add the third color.
When we already accommodate white for Mending, we can branch out to other spells as well. Prismatic Ending is arguably the best catch-all answer in the format. It impedes all the aggression coming from Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and Colossus Hammer, while helping against random hate pieces such as Chalice of the Void or Relic of Progenitus too. The fact that we can run it main frees up sideboard slots, which now we don't have dedicate to specific answers.
Innistrad is giving us one more toy though: Consider. A one-mana cantrip that puts stuff into the graveyard—like it was made for the deck. It can ditch a Phoenix, a Mending for flashback later, or a Demilich.
Yes, that's right, Demilich. A while back, I already wrote an article about Demilich in Phoenix. It didn't really enter the mainstream at the time, mainly because the strategy itself was found lacking. But now that Arclight Phoenix is back, so is Demilich. It gives the deck a total of eight recursive threats. So against all those decks chock-full of removal like Izzet Murktide and Grixis Lurrus it stands unfazed.
|Aspiringspike, Modern Challenge Top 8|
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