Commander Spotlight: Djinn Illuminatus

Welcome to Week 3 of the Guild-Themed Commander picks. Last week we saw the fury of the Gruul in all of their brutally efficient ways.

This week we address exact opposite approach. When you need schemers, planners, and a bag full of tricks, you want the Izzet.

Within the story plot of Ravnica, the domain of Blue/Red is that of old crankypants, Niv-Mizzet. In the game overall, the Blue/Red relationship has always been tumultuous, going all the way back to the beginning. Indeed, the adversarial nature of these two colors is only matched by Black and White.

When these two colors do come together, the results are often, well, unpredictable. For those so diametrically opposed to one another, you may think that there is not much overlap in their methodology. After all, Blue is about the search for knowledge, ruled by cold reason and powers of the mind. Red, by contrast, is fueled by emotion: often temperamental and explosive, but also motivated by feelings both positive and negative. This is why Blue decks work methodically towards their payoff, whereas Red decks are aggressive with small creatures and a desire to disrupt those silly planners.

Mechanically this is represented in a number of ways. But the overwhelming approach? Spells. Lots and lots of spells.

Today we have: Djinn Illuminatus

Name: Djinn Illuminatus

Edition: Guildpact / Izzet vs. Golgari

Rarity: Rare

Focus: Spell Casting

Highlights: Blue and Red often rely on spells (meaning here instants and sorceries) to deal with threats on the board – way more than say, Green or White, who prefer to flex their strength through creatures. Blue has the smallest creature base of the give colors (albeit with a majority of the flyers), and Red mainly utilizes small creatures (mostly goblins), or big dragons. What these colors lack for in diversified armies they make up for by being able to counter, bounce, hinder, incinerate, explode, or otherwise make a mess of things.

When combined together, working with the Izzet colors is like holding a delicate powder keg. If the components are mixed well, the combined ingredients are devastating, but if done poorly, you won’t get the payoff you’re looking for. What’s more, regardless of the outcome you’re also dealing with a one-shot effect.

Djinn Illuminatus provides the ability to stretch those resources by granting you universal access to the replicate ability. Sure, this may not be terribly useful for those Counterspells, and you likely won’t be using your deck slots on Lightning Bolts and Shocks, but it does provide you the means of copying those instants and sorceries you are using multiple times once the game has been established and you will have the mana to take advantage of it. Those spells you don’t mind seeing early in the game can still prove their usefulness later on by being copied several times, or you can duplicate an expensive but potent spell for twice the effect. And if TV has taught us anything, doubling the effect always better.

Stay tuned for the next guild-based Commander card. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.

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