An In-depth Look At The Izze- Hey, Look At That!

Posted in Feature on March 1, 2006

By Matt Cavotta

Matt has worn many wizard hats in the 18 years he has worked on Magic—art-mage, logomancer, lightning bard, and (of course) Planeswalker.

Welcome to the Izzet Boilerworks! This is where we Izzet pull the plugs from our cerebrovalves to let the ideas blast out. You know what they say about the Izzet – Cerebral Vortex

I am Trivaz, and I am going to be your one-time-only Taste The Magic tour guide. Matt has asked me to choose one facet of Izzet culture and really dig in. I am happy to do it. Everybody knows that we Izzet love to show off what we know. When the Firemind is squeezed into your head, it sure feels good to let off some steam. Hey, that seems appropriate - the Firemind will be a fine topic for discussion. So that's what we're going to do today - open the valve and let the fizzing Firemind flavor come firing - hey, you know what's kind of funny? The two cards referenced above have a nifty little relationship. The flavor text for Cerebral Vortex was actually written for Izzet Boilerworks, but the two-color guild lands ended up having flavor text cut or put on other cards. It's cool that this dandy piece of flavor text written for a room full of thermo-aetheric mana vats fits equally well on a dude caught in a cerebro-aetheric time blip. Seems crazy, but check out the valves in his neck – he's hooked in to the Boilerworks anyway! Really, it's not too hard to fathom, now that I think about it. I mean, the basic fundamental calculations for the two are both based on the Nivian Prime Postulates – Ha! Cerbral Vortex- that's funny. As I was considering the first Nivian Prime, my tertiary processing lobe registered the play on words. In case anyone was curious, my secondary lobes were processing what my eyes were seeing, a couple of sweet paintings, actually.

Jon Foster is an Izzet of painter - creative, yet passionate. Look at those bold strokes and atypical color choices. 'The blazekite is a simple concept, really—just a vehicular application of dragscoop ionics and electropropulsion magnetronics.'—Juzba, Izzet tinkerAnd this one I like because it depicts some of my favorite lab companions - the Dragonauts. Let me tell you, these guys are nuts. They'll let you shoot them with just about anything, and they're the first ones to volunteer to try out new inventions or experimental potions. They were pretty much the only guys out there who would try out Wee Dragonauts blazekite contraption. Juzba is mostly thought of as a dragonbutt-kisser with his “little dragon” machines. I mean, dragscoop ionics is so level 1. It might as well be Basic Pyromatics or Universe Theory 1 - which, by the way, is such a yawner that the teachers usually just let the weirds gurgle through the lectures. Weirds are pretty cool. Much higher level stuff than electropropulsion junk tinkering. They're the Big N's pet project. Ha! “Pet” project. You know what they say about weirds, “Diametrically opposing energies in self-sealed plasmodermic bubbles make great pets!” Hey, wait - I said that! Sometimes is gets confusing when you are running on three to five concurrently processing brain masses. Lobe four was getting ahead of the rest of us, thinking about the creation of the weirds - when Niv-Mizzet trashed the Katazar-Razblat Elemental Symposium. The fire elementalists were bickering with the water elementalists over whose media was the most flexible. The earth elementalists and electro-elementalists joined in the fray. Unimpressed and bored by it all, Niv-Mizzet took each opposing element and combined them into semi-sentient walking paradox “pets.” Then he ordered them to burn, drown, smash, and electrocute all the bickering mages. It was a dark day for the Katazar-Razblat, but a bright one for the rest of Izzetkind. The weirds would become the ultimate lab-lackeys, lab-rats, lab-pets and lab-mates to the wizards sharp enough to put oil and water together and make them dance. My buddy Schizomotivate likens them to Izzet wizards themselves - who are combined opposing energies of superintellect and unbridled emotion. Sure, he's my pal, but I tend to think Myznar has run too many experiments through his own head. I mean, to suggest that we Izzet do not have complete control of our superintellect is cra- that reminds me, we were going to discuss the Firemind! Where was I?

We're going to drill down to the nitty-gritty with regard to this extrasensory connection to the dragon's omniscience. It's important that you understand the dragon - for he is what all Izzet aim to emulate. To understand him (as if that is possible without melting the brain)is to understand the rest of us. First, let's recap some of the things you may have already learned here from your regular host (mentally limited as he may be). I could just spout the information from memory - as the Firemind confers audiographic, aetherographic, gastronomographic, tactilographic, cinemagraphic, olfactographic, and photographic memory. But instead, I will bring in another Izzet cohort to do the work for me. I am a little bored of this right now, so I will let Quyzl do the recap while I recalibrate my taste buds to enjoy roughage as if it were chocolate. Take it away Quyz. Oh, before I cut you loose with him, let's have a little pronunciation pow-wow. He gets really irritated when people mispronounce his name, hey! That's a good idea. I am going to get to chowing on some broccoli and let TTM's own pronunciation toady do this work.

Greetings once again, humans. I have been waiting anxiously for this day ever since Matt gave me this new job. Why, you ask? Well only because the Izzet are mad with crazy words that twist the tongue and exhaust the alphabet. Let's start first with our cohost's name:

Quyzl – KWEE•z l It's like “weasel,” but with a k at the beginning. It's the same as the “quy” at the end of “Soliloquy.” Once you know it, that little mess of strange letters becomes quite easy to say.

Schizmotivate – skiz•MO•ti•vate

Gelectrode – je•LEK•trode It's pretty much “electrode” with a “j” sound at the beginning. This one, like Schizmotivate, becomes much easier if you just know which syllable to accent. It works on this one too:

Petrahydrox – PET•ra•HY•droks

Gigadrowse – GIG•a•drowz “Gig,” as in “Our band is playin' a gig down at the Rumpus Room,” not “We're dancin' a jig down at the Rumpus Room.”

Vacuumelt – VAK•yoo•melt Just like it looks- smash “vacuum” and “melt” together.

Dragonauts – DRA•g n•ots

Tibor – TEE•bor

Lumia – Loo•mee•ah

Transreliquat – tranz•REL•i•kwat This is a favorite of mine. “Trans” means change or transfer, “reliq” is derived from relic, and “quat?” Who knows, but it sounds really cool.

That was fun. Now let's turn it back over to the brainiacs.

My name is Stitch in Time, I am a Izzet Chronarch. Well, I am studying to be one - but my clockwork spies have overheard my mentors talking about my great potential - so I pretty much am a chronarch. From the looks of his hat, he'd make a good lab partner for Juzba too.What that means is that I have power over time itself in the same way you have power over, say, which way you turn out of your driveway. You can decide to go left or right or straight into your neighbor's yard, or back into your garage, except that I can also choose to drive up into the sky or down through the earth's crust. I can choose to let time continue as-is, rewind it, or skip from moment to moment like a great temporal sack race - which is what we're going to do right now. To make the jump through time, all you have to do is click on the time-spell sigil below. It is the thing that initiates the disintegration of the fabric of time around us. For those of you who have seen the “Back to the Future” movies - it is like the “flux capacitor.” It's what makes time travel possible. On a side note - these movies are a joke, their handling of the rippling effects of tie travel are so pedestrian. But, I would say that Emmett Brown does have the sort of reckless curiosity and obsessive nature that would make a decent Izzet chronarch. (Most likely he'd end up as a test subject, but so would just about everybody from your planet.) So anyway, to begin our time-hop through Firemind talk of the past, click on the sigil when ready:

And that brings us back to “Fountainhead.” The egomaniacal, capricious, vain, and worthy-of-it all dragon has made sure that his guild and all its trappings all spring forth from him, the very lodestar of omniscient perfection. Let's take a look at what has sprung forth from the firebreathing fountainhead.

Oops, we already sort of covered that. Let's try again.

Niv-Mizzet is the smartest living thing on the plane of Ravnica. This does not mean his SAT score would be 1 higher than the second smartest being. This means that he is so smart that he could, using #2 lead of course, fill in his little ovals in such a pattern that, when scanned by the computer, would reprogram it, giving him a perfect score and everybody else a zero, then the computer would shut off its fans, overheat, and burst into flames. Oh, and he'd be able to do this in the time it takes the other testers to open their booklets. Then he would burn everyone in the room wearing sweat pants thinking it would help them stay comfortable and, therefore, test better. Morons. (And yes, he can read minds - so he can spare the poor shmo who wears sweat pants because he thinks they're cool. He can… but he doesn't. Why stop the barbecue!)

Yup, this is all true, but let's go somewhen else, it gets boring hanging around anywhen too long.

Mycosynth- This word combines the real world word roots myco- fungus, and synth, from synthetic- artificial or unnatural combination. Together, these seemingly contradictory roots form a word for the Mycosynth Lattice that spread throughout Mirrodin's core. (Mycosynth Lattice, Mycosynth Golem)

Whoa! What the heck was that? I have no idea - but Mycosynth sounds like a pretty cool thing. I may have to bring up this concept at the next meeting of the Izzet/Simic Inter-guild Science Summit and Jenga Challenge. Let's see what else there is:

Seems innocent enough. It's in a paragraph about Magic's aggressive, high-action attitude. But somehow it has been smashed together with another sentence to result in an ongoing outcry wherein we, the Creative Team, are said to demand that all female characters are depicted as scantily clad sex kittens. The irony is that the second ingredient in this myth-storm tries to say exactly the opposite:

Scantily clad sex kittens! I am going to try and focus the temporal matrix to hone in on this pattern. Perhaps we'll see more…

Um…we lost him. Well, anyway - I am back. I trust Quyzl has sufficiently recapped all the important points that Taste The Magic has made in the past concerning the Firemind. After all, I aim to cover everything there is to know about this mystical consciousness. One thing that is important to know is that not all Izzet are in tune with the Firemind. It's sort of like another version of the guild itself. You can't just be an Izzet, you must earn your way in - pass the test - impress the ol' dragon. It reminds me of the question whose answer earned me entrance to the guild many, many years ago. It was one of the simpler ones, but still a stumper for a lot of would-be wizards and lab flunkies. Here's what it looked like:

12,224a: Create a your own brand of fire that will burn a scroll, but leave untouched all that is written upon it.

12,224b: Rearrange the matrix of ice in such a way that the residual script from 12,224a can be imprinted into the memory of each frozen molecule.

12,224c: Create a liquid into which the geometrically segmented product of 12,224a and 12,224b can be dunked, and then imbibed, thereby conferring to mind all that was written on the original scroll as if it were read in its entirety. (Extra credit awarded for bouquet and overall deliciousness.)

While the problems themselves were quite easy to solve, it was the use of hard undercity Bumbat as my liquid base that did the trick for me. Is that bumbat in that hat?For those of you who are not versed on Ravnica's low-brow culture, Bumbat is pretty much the equivalent of raw, rank moonshine. I used the bumbat in frozen form for the 12,224b, and in super-distilled form for the liquid in 12,224c- thereby creating a magically enhanced super-inebriant that got my testers bombed. We partied from question 12,225 all the way through to the end until everybody fell dead asleep, dreaming of fire, dancing Transreliquats, and the Dragon. When we awoke, I was welcomed into the guild and also invited to a number of card nights, potion quaff-offs, and weirdfests. Oh, and the basic formula for my glacioscriptic inebriant ended up being the basis of my spell-thesis (a project meant to be shown to Niv-Mizzet to butter him up and gain access to the Firemind). Oh yeah, the Firemind - let's get back to that. Nah, that can wait. Let's talk more about me. So I took the formula from my guild entrance test and applied it to my spell-thesis. I drilled down through the long inebriation process and got straight to the end result: flop-over, fall-down fatigue. It was so simple, I wrote the spell incantation on the scroll, transferred it to the ice, melted it into the liquid, and distilled it down to a piece of tangy chewing gum. The mage who chews this gum automatically knows the spell incantation and can deliver it with one simple little gesture - a yawn. You know how yawns are contagious - well, these are contagious and they pack a wallop! One magical yawn and, next thing you know, you've got the entire boring Azorius Senate drooling on their own forearms. As it turned out, my spell was good enough to become “Gigadrowse,” standard guildmage issue, but probably not enough to impress the Dragon. But, and this is the good part, but all the other spell-theses before mine were mind-numbing for Niv-Mizzet. As they were demonstrating their quack spells, I prepared myself by popping in a piece of my spell-gum. Then it happened. I got bored- and yawned. All the other mages exchanged yawns and toppled over. It was like a Sandsower breezed through. Then it was just me… and the Dragon. He burst out laughing (thereby torching the poor napping saps nearby) and then he left. And that's when I heard it. It was like a fifth lobe had awakened in my brain, and as the other four simultaneously wondered about what had just taken place (okay, except for the one that recorded the observation that being burned does not, in fact, wake you up from the spell-induced sleep,)- as the other three wondered, the new fifth lobe was paradoxically overwhelmed by one lone thought, one simple word: “Welcome.” So that is how I joined with the Firemind. Oh! The Firemind. Yes, yes, the Firemind. So as I was saying, we are going to drill down to the nitty-gritty with regard to this extrasensory connection to the dragon's omniscience…

Okay, I am cutting the Izzet off right there. I don't know about you, but I did not learn much about the Firemind. But, I do think Trivaz and Quyzl gave us a pretty clear picture of how a typical Izzet mind works, as if any Izzet mind is actually typical - but you know what I mean. It's all over the place! I guess it makes something clear - how the smartest living thing on the plane and a guild of super-geniuses do NOT end up running the show. Of course not - ruling the world would get boring.

Train of Thought

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