Strixhaven: School of Mages

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Strixhaven: School of Mages
 
 
 
 
 
Strixhaven: School of Mages
Strixhaven logo.png
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description A Strix
Design Mark Rosewater (lead)[1]
Andrew Veen
Ari Nieh
Daniel Holt
George Fan
Sydney Adams
Yoni Skolnik
Development Yoni Skolnik (lead)
Erik Lauer
Ian Duke
Mark Gottlieb
Daniel Holt
Ken Nagle
Michael Hinderaker
Andrew Brown
Ben Hayes
Kazu Negri
Ari Nieh
Andrew Veen
Chris Mooney
Reggie Valk
Art direction Taylor Ingvarsson
Release date April 23, 2021
Themes and mechanics Modal double-faced cards, Lessons, "instants and spells matter", enemy colors, creature tokens
Keywords/​ability words Learn, Magecraft, Ward
Set size 275 + 107
Expansion code STX[2]
Development codename Fencing
Forgotten Realms Standard
Zendikar Rising Kaldheim Strixhaven: School of Mages
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Challenger Decks 2021 Strixhaven: School of Mages Mystical Archive

Strixhaven: School of Mages, often shortened as Strixhaven, is the 87th Magic expansion. It is set at the Strixhaven school on the plane of Arcavios.[3][4][5] It was released on April 23, 2021.[6]

Set details[edit | edit source]

School map

Strixhaven: School of Mages is a bottom-up enemy color faction set based on “instants and spells matter”.[7] Creatively, the design of this set is Magic’s take on the magical school genre.[8][1] Each one of the featured colleges represents one of Magic’s enemy color combinations, with their own character and mechanics.[9] Cards associated with the different colleges feature separate watermarked insignias. This set contains 275 regular cards (105 commons, 80 uncommons, 69 rares, 21 mythic rares) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. The basic lands are numbered outside the main set and therefore don't appear in the draft boosters.

Alternate card frames have another card number than the original version. Borderless planeswalkers are numbered #276-279, borderless elder dragons are #280-284, and extended artwork cards are numbered #285-365. Basic lands are #366-375. The Buy-a-Box card is #376 and the Bundle promo is #377. The FNM-treatment cards from the Universal promo pack are numbered #378-382. There are no showcase cards in this set, as the Mystical Archive fills that position.

This set introduces the term mana value as a wording change for converted mana cost. Also, "shuffle your library" is shortened to shuffle, and "activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery" is shortened to "activate only as a sorcery."

Storyline[edit | edit source]

Strixhaven is the most elite University in the Multiverse. It features five colleges founded by the elder dragon whose name each college bears: Silverquill ({W}{B}), Prismari ({U}{R}), Witherbloom ({B}{G}), Lorehold ({R}{W}), and Quandrix ({G}{U}).[10][9] The five colleges battle it out with their own takes on magic. Several planeswalkers, each with their own motivations, have sought out Arcavios and Strixhaven as their refuge. They are confronted by the Oriq.

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Strixhaven are:

Magic Story[edit | edit source]

Title Author Release Date Setting Featuring
Episode 1: Class is in Session Adana Washington 2021-03-25 Arcavios, Kylem Liliana Vess, Will Kenrith, Rowan Kenrith, Lukka, Kasmina, Shaile, Nassari, Lisette
A Cry of Magic Aysha U. Farah 2021-03-26 Arcavios Rootha Squallheart, Uvilda, Nassari
Episode 2: Lessons Adana Washington 2021-03-31 Arcavios Lukka, Liliana Vess, Beledros Witherbloom, Extus Narr, Rowan Kenrith
Episode 3: Extracurriculars Adana Washington 2021-04-07 Arcavios Will Kenrith, Rowan Kenrith, Quintorius Kand, Liliana Vess, Kasmina, Lukka, Extus Narr
The Chains That Bind Reinhardt Suarez 2021-03-31 Arcavios Dina, Valentin, Lisette, Killian Lu, Liliana Vess
Episode 4: Put to the Test Adana Washington 2021-04-14 Arcavios Will Kenrith, Rowan Kenrith, Liliana Vess, Kianne, Imbraham, Extus Narr
The Mentor Reinhardt Suarez 2021-04-16 Arcavios Quintorius Kand, Hofri Ghostforge
Episode 5: Final Exam Adana Washington 2021-04-21 Arcavios Will Kenrith, Rowan Kenrith, The Blood Avatar, Extus Narr, Uvilda, Lukka, Mila, Nassari, Lisette, Liliana Vess, Kasmina

Marketing[edit | edit source]

Bundle with Rowan and Will Kenrith key art
Strixhaven promotional scarves

Strixhaven: School of Mages is sold in regular 16-card Draft Boosters (one card being a marketing card). A Mystical Archive card appears as a bonus card in each Draft Booster. These Mystical Archive cards don't replace another card of the same rarity in a pack. So you can get multiple rare cards in a draft booster.

In addition, the product line includes five bi-colored Theme Boosters, Collector Boosters (including three Mystical Archive cards, one certified Japanese version), Set Boosters (with a Mystical Archive card and a Lesson card), the Strixhaven: School of Mages bundle and five Commander decks.[11][12]

The packaging of Strixhaven: School of Mages features key art of Will and Rowan Kenrith. The Draft Boosters feature artwork of Killian Lu, Rootha Squallheart, Dina, Quintorius Kand and Zimone Wola. The Theme Boosters feature art from Clever Lumimancer ({W}{B}), Spectacle Mage ({U}{R}), Professor of Zoomancy ({B}{G}), Lorehold Apprentice ({R}{W}), and Quandrix Apprentice ({G}{U}). The Collector Boosters feature art of the Mystical Archive Memory Lapse and the Set Boosters feature original art of the battle between the Strixhaven residents and the Oriq.

With the release of Strixhaven, 55 cards were rotated into The List, many of which were thematically or mechanically linked to the set. In 5% of the Set Boosters, the marketing card is replaced by a minigame card.

Mystical Archive[edit | edit source]

Mystical Archive is a separate set of cards associated with Strixhaven: School of Mages. It is similar to the Masterpiece Series but the cards appear more frequently in the boosters of the main set. In Mystical Archive, Wizards of the Coasts has reprinted 63 of the most famous instants and sorceries of all time in specially designed showcase frames and at all rarities. Strixhaven Draft and Set Boosters contain one Mystical Archive card, and Collector Boosters have at least three. These will only be legal in formats that they are already legal in. They are not part of the Standard environment. However, the cards may be used in Limited events.

Events[edit | edit source]

Promotional cards[edit | edit source]

Tokens and emblems[edit | edit source]

The sixteenth card in the boosters is a token creature card or an emblem, with advertisements on the back side. It can also be a helper card with a standard card back. There are a total of nine tokens and emblems:[17]

  1. {B/R} 3/6 Avatar creature with haste and "Whenever this creature attacks, it deals 3 damage to each opponent," for Awaken the Blood Avatar.
  2. {W/B} 2/1 Inkling creature with flying, for Blot Out the Sky, Dramatic Finale, Inkling Summoning, Mascot Exhibition, Shadrix Silverquill, and Umbral Juke.
  3. {U/R} 4/4 Elemental creature, for Elemental Expressionist, Elemental Masterpiece, Elemental Summoning, Magma Opus, Mascot Exhibition, Multiple Choice, Resculpt, and Will, Scholar of Frost.
  4. {B/G} 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life," for Beledros Witherbloom, Callous Bloodmage, Containment Breach, Hunt for Specimens, Pest Summoning, Pestilent Cauldron, Professor of Zoomancy, Sedgemoor Witch, Tend the Pests, and Valentin, Dean of the Vein.
  5. {R/W} 3/2 Spirit creature, for Illuminate History, Illustrious Historian, Lorehold Command, Lorehold Excavation, Make Your Mark, Mascot Exhibition, Quintorius, Field Historian, Reduce to Memory, and Spirit Summoning.
  6. {G/U} 0/0 Fractal creature, for Emergent Sequence, Fractal Summoning, Kasmina, Enigma Sage, Kianne, Dean of Substance, Leyline Invocation, Manifestation Sage, Biomathematician, Body of Research, and Serpentine Curve.
  7. {C} Treasure artifact, for Creative Outburst, Culmination of Studies, Elemental Masterpiece, Galazeth Prismari, Ingenious Mastery, Magma Opus, Prismari Command, Storm-Kiln Artist, and Sudden Breakthrough.
  8. Emblem for Lukka, Wayward Bonder.
  9. Emblem for Rowan, Scholar of Sparks.

The College Boosters of the prerelease packs contain the following s double-sided tokens:

Silverquill
  • {W/B} 2/1 Inkling creature with flying — {B/G} 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life"
  • {W/B} 2/1 Inkling creature with flying — {R/W} 3/2 Spirit creature
Prismari
  • {U/R} 4/4 Elemental creature — {R/W} 3/2 Spirit creature
  • {U/R} 4/4 Elemental creature — {C} Treasure
Witherbloom
  • {B/G} 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life" — {W/B} 2/1 Inkling creature with flying
  • {B/G} 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life" — {G/U} 0/0 Fractal creature
Lorehold
  • {R/W} 3/2 Spirit creature — {U/R} 4/4 Elemental creature
  • {R/W} 3/2 Spirit creature — {W/B} 2/1 Inkling creature with flying
Quandrix
  • {G/U} 0/0 Fractal creature — {B/G} 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life"
  • {G/U} 0/0 Fractal creature — {U/R} 4/4 Elemental creature

Themes and mechanics[edit | edit source]

In lieu of the abandoned block model, R&D has found a new way to tie together the three non-core premier sets in a single Magic "year" (aka the fall, winter, and spring sets—using northern hemisphere seasons): they share a common mechanic. For Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim and Strixhaven that is modal double-faced cards.[18][19][20]

Strixhaven is the first set centered on an "instants and spells matters" theme.[1] It is designed around five enemy color pairs, which despite the many years of Magic has not been done before as a large expansion - Apocalypse, the other enemy color set, was drafted as a counterpart at the tail end of Invasion block, and likewise with Eventide and the Shadowmoor block. Unlike the Ravnican guilds, the Strixhaven colleges aren’t built around the similarities of the two colors, but rather around their conflict.[21]

A new mechanic is Magecraft, an ability word that causes an effect whenever you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell.[22] Another new mechanic is Learn (You may reveal a Lesson card you own from outside the game and put it into your hand, or discard a card to draw a card.). Both of these tie into the higher "spells matter" gameplay, which was previously limited to blue and red.

Ward is a new evergreen keyword. Whenever a permanent with ward becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter it unless that player pays an additional cost.[23]

Strixhaven also has a creature token theme in the form of mascots for the colleges.[24]

Card types[edit | edit source]

Food tokens return. They are made by Chef Gyome.[25] The Set introduces the Inkling and Fractal creature types and the Lesson spell type. Pests appear for the first time outside of Mirrodin.

Compared to Kaldheim and Zendikar Rising, there are fewer Rogues and Warriors for the Party. Instead, the three other major spellcaster classes (Shaman, Druid, Warlock) return, joining the Party's Wizard and Cleric.

Draft Archetypes[edit | edit source]

The draft archetypes are designed to be significantly different from those on Ravnica, due to the strong association with color pairs from the Guilds and their playstyle.

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Strixhaven: School of Mages has twenty-three cycles.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Rare lessons Academic Probation Teachings of the Archaics Confront the Past Illuminate History Basic Conjuration
Five rare monocolored Lessons.
Rare learners Sparring Regimen Dream Strix Poet's Quill Retriever Phoenix Gnarled Professor
Five rare monocolored permanents with learn.
Masteries Devastating Mastery Ingenious Mastery Baleful Mastery Fervent Mastery Verdant Mastery
Five rare monocolored spells, each with a lower alternate casting cost that provides some kind of benefit to an opponent if the alternate cost is paid.
Uncommon lessons Reduce to Memory Mercurial Transformation Necrotic Fumes Start from Scratch Containment Breach
Five uncommon monocolored lessons.
Uncommon learners Professor of Symbology Divide By Zero Eyetwitch Academic Dispute / Igneous Inspiration Overgrown Arch
Five uncommon monocolored spells with learn. (Loose cycle because it has two red cards)
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Founders Shadrix Silverquill Galazeth Prismari Beledros Witherbloom Velomachus Lorehold Tanazir Quandrix
Five mythic rare Elder Dragon creatures, each of whom is the founder of their college.
Hybrid Rares Dramatic Finale Elemental Expressionist Daemogoth Titan Blade Historian Manifestation Sage
Five rare spells with mana cost HHHH, where H is the corresponding hybrid mana.
Legendary students Killian, Ink Duelist Rootha, Mercurial Artist Dina, Soul Steeper Quintorius, Field Historian Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy
Five uncommon legendary creatures, each supporting a draft archetype.
Apprentices Silverquill Apprentice Prismari Apprentice Witherbloom Apprentice Lorehold Apprentice Quandrix Apprentice
Five uncommon multicolored humans with magecraft.
Gold hybrids Shadewing Laureate Maelstrom Muse Daemogoth Woe-Eater Returned Pastcaller Quandrix Cultivator
Five powerful uncommon creatures with mana costs XMHN, where H is the hybrid of M and N.
Summonings Inkling Summoning Elemental Summoning Pest Summoning Spirit Summoning Fractal Summoning
Five common hybrid Lessons that each creates one or more creature tokens of the type characteristic of that college. Each has two hybrid symbols in its costs.
Pledgemages Silverquill Pledgemage Prismari Pledgemage Witherbloom Pledgemage Lorehold Pledgemage Quandrix Pledgemage
Five common hybrid creatures with magecraft. Each has two hybrid symbols in its mana costs.
Gold common creatures Spiteful Squad Spectacle Mage Blood Researcher Stonebound Mentor Biomathematician
Five common multicolored creatures, each supporting a draft archetype.
Gold common spells Exhilarating Elocution Elemental Masterpiece Infuse with Vitality Thrilling Discovery Eureka Moment
Five common multicolored instants or sorceries, each supporting a draft archetype.
Hybrid common spells Rise of Extus Teach by Example Cram Session Make Your Mark Square Up
Five common hybrid instants or sorceries.
Double-evergreen creatures Owlin Shieldmage Oggyar Battle-Seer Moldering Karok Relic Sloth Needlethorn Drake
Five common gold creatures, all with two abilities. Four of them have two evergreen keyword abilities, while one has one evergreen keyword and one evergreen keyword action.
Campuses Silverquill Campus Prismari Campus Witherbloom Campus Lorehold Campus Quandrix Campus
Five common dual taplands with "{4}, {T}: Scry 1."

Modal double-faced cycles[edit | edit source]

Cycle name Side {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Mythic Legends {dfc-front} Extus, Oriq Overlord Rowan, Scholar of Sparks Blex, Vexing Pest Mila, Crafty Companion Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios
{dfc-back} Awaken the Blood Avatar ({B/R}) Will, Scholar of Frost Search for Blex Lukka, Wayward Bonder Journey to the Oracle
Five mythic rare legendary MDFCs.
Deans {dfc-front} Shaile, Dean of Radiance Uvilda, Dean of Perfection Valentin, Dean of the Vein Plargg, Dean of Chaos Kianne, Dean of Substance
{dfc-back} Embrose, Dean of Shadow Nassari, Dean of Expression Lisette, Dean of the Root Augusta, Dean of Order Imbraham, Dean of Theory
Five rare legendary MDFC creatures. Each side represents a dean who is aligned with one color of a college.
Spell Permanents {dfc-front} Selfless Glyphweaver Torrent Sculptor Pestilent Cauldron Flamescroll Celebrant Augmenter Pugilist
{dfc-back} Deadly Vanity Flamethrower Sonata Restorative Burst Revel in Silence Echoing Equation
Five rare MDFC cards, the back of each being an instant or sorcery. Wandering Archaic // Explore the Vastlands is a 6th card in this cycle.

Vertical cycles[edit | edit source]

Cycle name
Treasure Spells Magma Opus Creative Outburst Elemental Masterpiece
Each of these three {U}{R} instant or sorcery spells has a mana value over 6, and can be discarded for {U/R}{U/R} to create a Treasure.

Pairs[edit | edit source]

Mirrored pair Description
Dueling Coach ({W}) Tenured Inkcaster ({B}) Two uncommon 2/2 creatures that put a +1/+1 counter on a creature when they enter the battlefield. Each has a secondary ability that benefit creatures with a +1/+1 counter on them.

Mega cycles[edit | edit source]

Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Snarls Shineshadow Snarl Frostboil Snarl Necroblossom Snarl Furycalm Snarl Vineglimmer Snarl
Five rare reveal lands that enter the battlefield tapped, except if you reveal a land with the corresponding basic land type from your hand. They complete a cycle started in Shadows over Innistrad.
Commands Silverquill Command Prismari Command Witherbloom Command Lorehold Command Quandrix Command
Each of these rare modal spells has four modes and allows you to choose two different modes rather than merely one. They complete a cycle of two-colored Elder Dragon-named spells started in Dragons of Tarkir.

Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]

Besides one futureshifted card, there are no reprints in the base set. R&D decided to use the Mystic Archive for reprints.[26]

Functional reprints[edit | edit source]

Preconstructed decks[edit | edit source]

At the same date five Commander decks are released, which are flavorfully connected to the main set. This is Commander 2021 aligning with Strixhaven: School of Mages.

Theme
deck name
Color Identity Commander
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Silverquill Statement W B Breena, the Demagogue
Prismari Performance U R Zaffai, Thunder Conductor
Witherbloom Witchcraft B G Willowdusk, Essence Seer
Lorehold Legacies W R Osgir, the Reconstructor
Quantum Quandrix U G Adrix and Nev, Twincasters

Notable cards[edit | edit source]

Misprints[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b c Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2021). "In the Strixhaven, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast. "Standings 2020-21". Magic.gg.
  3. Blake Rasmussen (September 1, 2020). "Zendikar Debut and Announcement Day Recap". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Strixhaven Sneak Peek (Video). Weekly MTG. YouTube (February 19, 2021).
  5. Blake Rasmussen (February 18, 2021). "The First Lesson: Introduction to Strixhaven". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Jess Dunks and Matt Tabak (April 16, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages and Commander (2021 Edition) Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (March 25, 2021). "What makes Strixhaven a bottom up set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (February 7, 2021). "Is Strixhaven based on anything?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. a b Strixhaven house names apparently leaked. Reddit (February 16, 2021).
  10. The Zendikar Adventuring Party (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (September 1, 2020).
  11. Strixhaven: School of Mages. Heo.com.
  12. a b Ari Zirulnik (March 25, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages Product Overview". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Wizards of the Coast (March 18, 2021). "Strixhaven News + More". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Gavin Verhey (April 12, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages"' Prerelease Primer". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  15. WPN (March, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages Prerelease Pack". Wizards Play Network.
  16. Strixhaven: School of Mages Campus Tour (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (March 25, 2021).
  17. Wizards of the Coast (April 15, 2021). "The Tokens of Strixhaven: School of Mages and Commander (2021 Edition)". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Mark Rosewater (September 7, 2020). "Zendikar Rising to the Challenge, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Amanda Yeo (September 4, 2020). "New 'Magic: The Gathering' Zendikar Rising card makes rocks fall, everyone dies". Mashable.com.
  20. Mark Rosewater (September 4, 2020). "Just want to confirm that this is accurate information?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Mark Rosewater (February 22, 2021). "I'm very excited about the Colleges.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  22. Matt Tabak (March 25, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Andrew Brown and Jules Robins (March 25, 2021). "Introducing Ward". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Mark Rosewater (April 5, 2021). "In the Strixhaven, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Strixhaven Commander Sneak Peek: Legendaries, Hints, Art & More! Part 1 (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (March 22, 2021).
  26. Mark Rosewater (April 3, 2021). "Was there a decision to avoid reprints for Strixhaven?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  27. Nick Miller (March 29, 2021). "Mystical Archive Crux Of Fate Allegedly Uses Stolen Art". StarCityGames.
  28. Wizards of the Coast (March 30, 2021). "Statement of Crux of Fate". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  29. What's the Secret Behind Colorless Spells in Strixhaven? (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (March 31, 2021).
  30. Mark Rosewater (March 25, 2021). "Fyi, Zaffai, Thunder Conductor text box says Zaffai, Thunder collector". Blogatog. Tumblr.

External links[edit | edit source]