Welcome back Planeswalkers! Join us as we share our first thoughts on the upcoming Magic The Gathering set, Strixhaven: School of Mages. So, prepare your library of spells, get ready to tap some lands, and set your life total. We have some learning to do!
What is Strixhaven: School of Mages?
With the recent reveal from Wizards of the Coast, the next set after Kaldheim will take place at Strixhaven. This is the distinguished School of Mages for the brightest sparks of the multiverse. Within these splendorous halls there are 5 colleges of magic to explore. Ready and open for learning in March, the reveals will come thick an fast. So, let’s have a look what’s on the syllabus.
The Five Colleges
As found on the official Strixhaven article, each of the colleges were founded by an elder dragon. As such, the names of the colleges are those of their associated elder dragon. No one way of thinking is the same with all bearing different methodologies. Much like the feel of other sets such as Ravnica, Strixhold has two colour combinations for colleges. So let’s have a look at some cards!
The 5 colour combinations will be: White-Red; Blue-Red; Blue-Green; White-Black; and Black-Green. These combinations are wonderful! On the surface it looks like their combos align with what we have seen in the aforementioned Ravnica set. Lorehold seems to bolster good board presence and keeping the pressure on; Prismari seems to bear control and mid-range qualities; Quadrix(my favourite so far!) leans more heavy into control; Silverquill features sticky tactics and reanimating creatures; and Witherbloom displays graveyard tactics and board manipulation.
First impressions given the very limited information in front of use, is there seems to be a far bit of control. But, it is early days. The natural feel and flow for each of the colours and combinations will most likely shine through as more reveals pour out and the flood gates fully open for the set spoilers. But, if a new take on the known pairings would be welcome too.
As a brief review on the cards, Lorehold Command is ok. 5 mana is a little steep but it seems on the level. An example would be, a 3 mana 3/2 and 2 mana for 3 damage removal is fair. As a turn 5 play I feel there are better cards to play. However, it can protect from a board wipe which can be devastating to more aggro/pressure orientated decks. Also, Loxodons! There is always more need for Loxodons.
Prismari Command I feel is good value for 3 mana. There are great options given for this card. For one, ramping up the mana with a treasure token! And popping something off the board to boot. Yes please. I like this card. I sense Simic ramp might want to dabble with this card. For science!
Quandrix Command is another 3 mana instant. And I love it! It can disrupt so much on the opponents board. A counter with a bounce? That sounds good to me. Granted it can only counter artifacts and enchantments. But, with Theros still in the block as well as cards like Maul of the Skyclaves from Zendikar, I can see this card being played. Even without that, 2 +1/+1 counters and an Unsummon effect for 3 is not too bad.
Silverquill Command, for 4 mana, has a lot going for it. It has card draw, board control, reanimate, and creature buffs. For the cost, the combination of effects are pretty good. Orzhov Clerics might see this card being played. In terms of card economy, by playing this and choosing to draw and reanimate you can end in a more favourable resource position. It’s even better late game. I give this one a thumbs up!
And lastly, Witherbloom Command. It is the only 2 mana Command featured. It doesn’t offer much in terms of board control. The -3/-1 can remove a fair amount of Deathtouch, which there is a lot roaming about with Kalheim and Elves. It can disrupt treasures from being used optimally, and can set up your graveyard. It doesn’t look much on the surface but, with 4 in a deck I feel it could find a spot in a reanimate-mutate deck.
Overall, it is too early to say how good or bad these cards can truly be before seeing the rest of the set. But, first impressions are fairly positive. At the very least they are fairly costed in terms of mana. For those that have Red in their combination, I believe they would benefit from a Double Vision play. Doubling your value with Double Vision can see some very powerful results. For instance, summoning two 3/2 tokens, destroying two opposing creatures, and gaining 6 life for 5 mana? I’ll take that!
What Else Can We Look Forward To?
Described in the aforementioned article, there is also the Mystical Archive and the Biblioplex. We can look forward to alternative artwork for favourite cards such as Opt, Demonic Tutor, and Swords for Plowshares. Also teased in the description and packaging are the Royal Scions, Rowen and Will, who are reading some of the tomes. I do hope we get to see a Planeswalker card of them for this set. It would fit naturally with the Blue-Red Prismari College. The Elder Dragon Founders might also be on the books, no pun intended. Also, as this is a place of learning, there are bound to be a plethora of legendary professors. One is already mentioned, Professor Onyx. I’m excited to see them all!
Even more alternative art was revealed too. In the Japanese Draft of the Mystical Archive, Original Japanese art versions of the cards will be printed. These blend the game that we love with oodles of beauty and culture found in the traditional painting style. And they look fantastic! Worthy of any collectors display.
With regards to products, Wizards of the Card have a lot of goodies for us! Each college will receive a Commander Deck, themed boosters, and there will be a 10 pack bundle box for the set. This is all running alongside the release of the traditional boosters. So much to look forward to!
I haven’t been this excited about a set since the Tarkir block. I love the feel, the look, and the prospects of this set and we have only been teased with it. The command cards are interesting and I dread to think what the big brains will do with them in game. My wishes are: The Royal Scions feature a new Planeswalker card; The Founding Elder Dragons; and more heavy tutelage cards for the associated colleges. I favour exciting and fluid games regardless of a win or lose. When set pieces and combos are flying on both ends, it is guaranteed to be a good time!
And that is your lot. I hope you have enjoyed reading my first thoughts on Magic The Gathering‘s reveal of their upcoming set, Strixhaven: School of Mages.Let us know of your favourite college in the comments below. The original reveal article can be found here. Stay tuned for more news, reviews, and guides. Until next time, smile and game!