Feeling cold but not getting the right foils from your booster packs? Too much excitement rising up around you? Need to set your enemies’ feelings of anarchy on ice? Well tuck in your tunics folks, it's frosty and the blizzards are back with cold-blooded vengeance with the one and only Ice Wizard, Iyslander!
Iyslander now makes her grand limited debut. (Outside of all you wild chaos and anarchist drafters out there who love to mix and mash different booster sets together for a true sense of bedlam) Drafting Iyslander definitely has a very special place in my heart; it rewards committing early and reading the draft signals correctly. As with only 1-2 Iyslander drafters in your pod you will end up with an extremely potent deck and handing out mountainous icy piles of Frostbites that the other heros will struggle to traverse.
When drafting Iyslander it's very important to keep track of your pitch ratios, she requires a frostonne of Blues to operate at maximum efficiency. If you're wanting to stay open early but are still slightly leaning towards Iyslander, I recommend picking high quality Generic Blues early like Sift and Brothers in Arms or picking the powerful Generic six power attack actions. As Iyslander, they give you more avenues of attack and are very important defensively when facing down the mythical Dragons and Cenipai creatures of Volcor’s sandy wastelands.
Personally, I find when drafting Iyslander there are two main strategies we are wanting to employ. Going after a more defensive ‘Blue’ build means we are ideally playing 20+ Blues (not always possible) and the remainder of our deck is filled with premium Red ‘burn’ actions. We try to use our resources very efficiently during our opponents turn to play a blue Ice action from arsenal and follow up with our Waning Moon, using the remaining resources on Quell equipment or things like Oasis Respite to both hinder and prevent the enemy's onslaught. If we have any cards remaining, our Red actions will take our opponent's life totals down a notch. This is a very hard strategy to counter when employed correctly, however it can struggle with going to fatigue against the Aether Ashwing heavy Dromai builds, as they enable Dromai to have a steady stream of Arcane Barrier and we do not typically have enough big burn cards to overwhelm them. However, Fai decks tend to struggle with the Frostbites and disruption quite a bit against this kind of Iyslander deck in limited. High value cards to be on the lookout for that may signal Iyslander's availability for this strategy at the table are cards like; Ice Eternal (an absolute monster of a card for Iyslander, it does everything!), Blue Aether Hail and to a lesser extent, Blue Frosting, Blue Polar Cap and Blue Aether Icevein.
High Tempo Burn
The second strategy I try to employ is a high tempo burn strategy. This is a more difficult deck to draft and I tend to pivot to this strategy if I see the necessary cards show up, however the deck still functions very well without them but the consistency really takes a hit compared to the previously mentioned build. The key cards we are wanting to prioritize here are Isenhowl Weathervanes, Red Ice Fuse actions, like Polar Cap and Aether Icevein, then to a lesser extent any other Red actions that hit for arcane damage or any Blue and/or Red Ice actions we can fuse with. With this build we would still like at least 10-15 Blues if we can get them to make sure we are able to execute our big action sequences. We spend the game attempting to send arcane damage at the opponent's face and setup big Isenhowl Weathervane into Ice fusion attack turns. These deal a lot of damage and tend to ensure that the opponent is rendered completely helpless and unable to escape from the icy encapsulation we've created for them. This deck has very strong matchups in the mirror and against Dromai but can struggle against fast Fai decks as we no longer have the necessary icy disruption to stop the massive combat chains they can generate.
Of course there are many other ways to draft this queen of the Ice tundras and cool the fires of Volcor. But these strategies are definitely a good way to do it as you get used to her intricacies and icy decision tree lattices. Generically strong Iyslander picks to signal you into drafting her include but are most definitely not limited to; Ice Eternal, Blue Aether Hail and of course her powerful majestic options if you're lucky enough to see them being passed around the draft table.
So the next time you sit down at the draft table keep this light guide in your mind as you navigate the harsh wastes of Volcor. Don't forget, if it gets too hot you can always slow things down, hang out at the Oasis for some respite and tell everyone else to chill out as your avalanche of frozen annihilation shatters all your enemies’ ambitions.
It's snow time!