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Izzet Pingers

Written by James Heslip on . Posted in Casual Magic

Izzet Pingers

James Heslip

James is a budget Magic connoisseur who values silly strategies and rogue decks. He has been playing Magic since 1998, and competing in Legacy events since 2010. When he is not teaching high school English, he can be found brewing Casual and Legacy decks to play with his students and peers. Always appreciative of feedback, he loves it when people send suggestions and share crazy decks with him!
I recently replayed the 1997 computer game Magic: The Gathering (commonly known as Shandalar) and had a blast. It’s fun to see just what was good back in the day and compare it to modern MTG. One strategy used by an enemy in the game stuck out to me. The enemy known as the Fungus Master uses Prodigal Sorcerer in combination with Fungusaur. By pinging Fungusaur with his Sorcerer, the Fungus Master could make the Fungusaur grow over time. It’s an interesting concept that shows creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Ping creatures have come a long way since then, though, so I’m curious to see what we can do with them today!
The Core

Prodigal Sorcerer may be the grandfather of pingers, but he is far from the best option we have today. Three mana is just too costly. One mana can make all the difference in Magic, so we play Razorfin Hunter instead. He costs less mana but provides the same ability and body. Fireslinger is our other two-cost pinger. Even though he hurts us whenever he slings his fire, you can’t beat his casting cost. Being mono-colored helps as well.

Rounding out our pingers is the only one-drop creature in the deck: Goblin Fireslinger. The limitation of only being able to target players is relevant, but it’s also something we can build around, as you will soon find out.

With this, we have twelve pingers to play around with. A one damage ping by itself will not win you many games, though. So, what can we use to make it more impactful?

The Backup

Curiosity is likely our most powerful card when combined with the pingers we are playing. It doesn’t allow for much board control, but popping this thing down onto your Goblin Fireslinger on turn two can make for some awesome early game card advantage.

Sigil of Sleep is another exceptional aura to enchant our pingers with. Because the bounce effect triggers when the enchanted creature damages a player, we can freely play it on either of our Fireslingers without worry. Anything too big to actually ping to death can just be bounced back into our opponent’s hand ad-infinitum.

Finally, there’s have Gorgon’s Head. Equip Fireslinger or Razorfin Hunter with the decapitated Greek myth and your pinger becomes deadly snipers. One shot, one kill. Gorgon’s Head being an equipment means we have to worry much less about spot removal compared to the auras we are playing.

With spot removal being a real concern, we do need to play some protection. Sigil and Gorgon’s Head should do enough to keep creatures in check, so what about other spells?  Negate is our catch-all, but Turn Aside is likely more important. This beauty only costs us one mana to cast, and it can protect creatures, auras, or artifacts.

Shimmer of Possibility is the cheapest dig spell we can play that is actually good. We can use it to find whatever we might be missing at the time. It can also help us by finding cards to end the game. Deep-Slumber Titan, specifically, is in the deck to serve as an undercosted beater which can end the game quickly. His untap clause means little to us, as we can simply wake him up Pokeflute-to-Snorlax style using Fireslinger or Razorfin.

Cost: $10 at the time of publication

Playing the Deck
  There are not a lot of intricacies to this week’s list. You want to cast your ping creatures as soon as possible to eliminate summoning sickness. From here, you can use them to control the initial wave of small creatures your opponent will likely be casting. Dig for your auras and equipment as needed, and control the board.

If you are afraid of getting two-for-one’d by opposing removal, sit on your auras until you can cast them with Turn Aside waiting in the wings as backup. Remember, you don’t have to cast Sigil of Sleep or Curiosity right away if there’s no pressure to do so.

Most of the actual pinging that you will be doing should be during your opponent’s turn. This way, you will have maximum information to know what you need to control and when. This also keeps your ping creatures up when Deep-Slumber Titan is on the board. This gives him a sort of alternative Vigilance, as you can untap him on your opponent’s turn for blocking.

Additional Options

Basilisk Collar is likely the best equipment the deck could play. Not only is Collar’s equip cost less than Gorgon’s, it also gives us lifelink. Alas, it was much too expensive for us to play in today’s list, costing more than half of the rest of the deck put together. The other equipment listed are likely too heavy on mana costs to be used.

Sparksmith, Vengeful Devil, and Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs are all additional two-cost pingers you have the option to play. Sparksmith specifically seems to be the most playable of the three, but I doubt he is needed. The wall could be nice for blocking if you built your mana base around it enough to keep its enabled.

There are a plethora of three-cost pingers to choose from as well. Izzet Staticaster, and Goblin Sharpshooter are probably the only ones worth mentioning, though. Each can help you clear a full board quickly if given deathtouch.

Bloodmad Vampire, and Markov Blademaster are interesting choices for finishers. As long as things are going well for you, your opponent should have a difficult time keeping blockers around. So, it should be easy to keep them growing turn after turn. If big creatures are more your style, but you don’t like Titan, how about Goblin Goon or Boldwyr Heavyweights? Heavyweights has some risk involved, as you won’t always be able to ping whatever your opponent grabs, but it is an entertaining card.


Old strategies made new are always fun. What did you think of today’s list? Tell me about it on my facebook page. You can also send me an email at Spooky386@gmail.com. Wondering how my decks have changed since I last wrote about them? Check out all of my updated deck lists here!


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