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Adeliz, the Cinder Wind – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Adeliz, the Cinder Wind is a Legendary Creature card in Magic the Gathering (MTG) released in the Dominaria set. She was one of dozens of Legendary Creatures introduced in the set which have seen significant competitive play, as well as playability in Commander. Even as an uncommon, Adeliz was more sought after than many races in that strong set. Her positive demand curve on websites like TCGPlayer proved that this was no financial fluke, but true interest from a wide array of Magic players. 

The Blue/Red Human Wizard Adeliz has a casting cost of 1UR (1 colorless, 1 blue, 1 red). Adeliz is a popular choice among players who are looking to build competitive Wizard tribal and spell-slinger decks. She is a 2/2 creature with flying and haste, with an ability to pump all Wizard creatures you control, including herself, whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell.

Adeliz’s strengths are obvious to experienced Magic players. Her efficiency is a major plus; with a low mana cost (3 total) and two keyword abilities (flying and haste), Adeliz offers a high degree of value in the early game. Also, Adeliz has strong Tribal synergy, as her ability to buff Wizards whenever an instant or sorcery is cast can quickly snowball into a significant advantage on both offense and defense. Because of all of these traits, Adeliz is an obvious choice as an ideal centerpiece for Wizard tribal decks.

While Adeliz is an aggressive creature, she also can play another role as spell-slinger Support: Adeliz’s ability to pump up all Wizards whenever an instant or sorcery is cast encourages players to build decks with a high density of non-creature spells, opening up opportunities for a hybrid spell-slinger aggro strategy. 

Still, Adeliz does have a few weaknesses. First off, she is extremely susceptible to cheap removal. With only a 2/2 body, Adeliz is vulnerable to a wide range of removal spells, making it difficult for players to rely on Adeliz as a long-term threat. Also, while she’s an efficient aggressive creature, her ability being tribal focus means that she has limited impact on a game without synergy. Adeliz’s power level is significantly reduced in decks that lack a sufficient number of Wizards or instant/sorcery spells to support its abilities.

Even with a Wizard army in her midst, though, Adeliz also suffers from an extreme dependency on a critical mass of her magical peers in play at any one time. The effectiveness of Adeliz’s ability scales with the number of Wizards on the battlefield and non-creature spells in your hand, making Adeliz less impactful in situations where it is difficult to maintain board presence.

Adeliz, the Cinder Wind in Competitive Magic

Fortunately for Adeliz, her strengths proved good enough for her to be part of Wizard Tribal Aggro decks when Dominaria broke into Standard. It was common to see aggressive Wizards decks play up to three copies of Adeliz. Even as a Legendary Creature that you can only control one copy of at a time, Adeliz pumps your whole team, so having extra copies in hand isn’t really a problem as she will be a common target for removal.

Success with Adeliz often required her casters to wield a bevy of cheap instants and sorceries, such as Opt and Shock to enable her to trigger her buffing ability more frequently, generating more value for each spell cast. It also made sense to introduce her alongside other Wizards with abilities that trigger upon casting instants or sorceries, such as Naban, Dean of Iteration and Barrel, Chief of Compliance.

In Dominaria limited formats, Adeliz was a powerful build-around card for draft or sealed play. If a player could secure a critical mass of Wizards and instants/sorceries, Adeliz had the potential to be a dominating force in the limited environment. Like her appearances in Standard those who wished to run Adeliz required building a Blue-Red Wizard tribal or spell-slinger deck that aims to win through tempo and efficient damage output.

Adeliz, the Cinder Wind proved even good enough that she’s appeared in Modern Izzet Wizards decks, with those pilots preferring to trim her inclusion to two copies. There are enough one drop spells in Modern that can quickly activate her ability, such as Lightning Bolt and Serum Visions. Former Standard staple Wizard’s Lightning even sees play in these Modern Tribal decks. Even in a fast format like Modern, Adeliz makes Wizards a viable aggro deck. Unfortunately in Pioneer, Adeliz hasn’t made top competitive appearances, party due to fewer cheap instants and sorceries being available.

Still, Adeliz has found a few other competitive appearances in eternal formats. Notably, Adeliz has appeared in the occasional Legacy Delver deck, especially builds which play only Wizard creatures. Also, Legacy Wizards was a viable Top 8 deck in 2019. Adeliz has even popped up in an occasional Vintage Grixis Control deck as a quick source of hasty damage in the air.

Adeliz, the Cinder Wind in Commander / EDH

In the Commander format, Adeliz is often used as the commander for spell-slinger and Wizard tribal strategies. The singleton nature of the format allows players to explore a wide variety of synergistic cards, making Adeliz a popular choice for fans of this archetype.

Before her printing, Wizards were already an expansive tribe in Magic, so it’s little surprise that Adeliz would find homes right away in EDH. Not longer before the Dominaria set, Wizards gained some powerful allies in Guilds of Ravnica with Niv-Mizzet, Parun and Murmuring Mystic. Also, thanks to having one of the most expansive card pools of any Magic format, Commander provided a breeding ground for new strategies around Adeliz.

In Commander, Adeliz gains another major boon to her strategy: spell duplication effects. Creatures like Naru Meha, Master Wizard and Dualcaster Mage can amplify the impact of Adeliz’s ability by doubling the number of instant and sorcery spells cast. Naturally, other spell doubling effects like Twincast not only increased instant/sorcery counts, but added even more potency to Adeliz’s spell-slinging strategy.

Also, while Adeliz may not fit into traditional Storm decks in competitive Magic, her spell-slinger strategy shares similarities with those decks, which aim to cast numerous spells in a single turn before finishing the opponent with a powerful storm card. While the strategy is different in 60-card Magic, thanks to the singleton nature of Commander, players can build Storm style win conditions into Adeliz decks.

In later sets, Adeliz would find considerable competition as a spell-slinging Wizard Tribal Commander. Particularly, Inalla, Archmage Ritualist from Commander 2017 has become a far more popular Commander for Wizard tribal decks in the format. While she doesn’t buff Wizards directly like Adeliz, Inalla’s ability to create token copies of Wizards upon entering the battlefield can provide significant value, especially when combined with enter-the-battlefield (ETB) effects. The choice between Adeliz and Inalla often comes down to personal preference and play-style, but because Inalla offers the addition of Black cards to her arsenal, Inalla’s decks tend to have significantly higher power levels.

About as popular as Adeliz is a fellow Izzet-colored legendary Wizard, Kaza, Roil Chaser. Her ability reduces the cost of instant and sorcery spells based on the number of Wizards in play, which offers a different angle for spell-slinger strategies. While Kaza doesn’t provide immediate board impact or an offensive boost like Adeliz, she offers long-term value and better support for more expensive spells. In fact, she doesn’t require quite as much critical mass of Wizards in play as Adeliz to be successful, since she herself being in play reduces mana costs by one generic mana.

Final Thoughts on Adeliz

Even at the uncommon rarity, Adeliz, the Cinder Wind is an efficient and powerful option for players looking to build competitive Wizard tribal or spell-slinger decks. Its low mana cost, evasive abilities, and synergy with instants and sorceries make it an attractive choice for players seeking an aggressive and tempo-oriented play-style. 

While she does have weaknesses, such as susceptibility to removal and limited impact without synergy, Adeliz remains a popular and viable choice for competitive play in various formats. Adeliz is really fun to build around and a great card for Magic players both new and old.

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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