|Strixhaven: School of Mages|
|Symbol description||A Strix|
Mark Rosewater (lead)|
Yoni Skolnik (lead)|
|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|
|Forgotten Realms Standard|
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
- 1 Set details
- 2 Themes and mechanics
- 3 Cycles
- 4 Reprinted cards
- 5 Preconstructed decks
- 6 Notable cards
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Strixhaven: School of Mages is a bottom-up enemy color faction set based on “instants and spells matter”. Creatively, the design of this set is Magic’s take on the magical school genre. Each one of the featured colleges represents one of Magic’s enemy color combinations, with their own character and mechanics. 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."
Strixhaven is the most elite University in the Multiverse. It features five colleges founded by the elder dragon whose name each college bears: Silverquill (), Prismari (), Witherbloom (), Lorehold (), and Quandrix (). 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:
- Crackle with Power
- Culmination of Studies
- Defend the Campus
- Draconic Intervention
- Explosive Welcome
- Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar
- Letter of Acceptance
- Mage Hunters' Onslaught
- Mascot Interception
- Mentor's Guidance
- Plumb the Forbidden
- Practical Research
- Professor's Warning
- Rise of Extus
- Tempted by the Oriq
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.
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 (), Spectacle Mage (), Professor of Zoomancy (), Lorehold Apprentice (), and Quandrix Apprentice (). 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 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.
- Magic Online and MTG Arena release: April 15, 2021
- Tabletop Prerelease: April 16–April 22, 2021
- Launch party: April 23–April 25, 2021
- Friday Night Magic: April 23–July 2, 2021
- Commander Nights: April 23–July 8, 2021
- Prerelease: a stamped card that can be any rare or mythic rare related to the college of choice.
- Other events: cards from the Strixhaven: School of Mages universal promo pack.
- Buy-a-Box: foil alternate, extended art Dragonsguard Elite
- Bundle promo: foil alternate art Archmage Emeritus
Tokens and emblems
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:
- 3/6 Avatar creature with haste and "Whenever this creature attacks, it deals 3 damage to each opponent," for Awaken the Blood Avatar.
- 4/4 Elemental creature, for Elemental Expressionist, Elemental Masterpiece, Elemental Summoning, Magma Opus, Mascot Exhibition, Multiple Choice, Resculpt, and Will, Scholar of Frost.
- 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.
- 2/1 Inkling creature with flying, for Blot Out the Sky, Dramatic Finale, Inkling Summoning, Mascot Exhibition, Shadrix Silverquill, and Umbral Juke.
- 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.
- 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.
- Treasure artifact, for Creative Outburst, Culmination of Studies, Elemental Masterpiece, Galazeth Prismari, Ingenious Mastery, Magma Opus, Prismari Command, Storm-Kiln Artist, and Sudden Breakthrough.
- Emblem for Lukka, Wayward Bonder.
- Emblem for Rowan, Scholar of Sparks.
- 2/1 Inkling creature with flying — 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life"
- 2/1 Inkling creature with flying — 3/2 Spirit creature
- 4/4 Elemental creature — 3/2 Spirit creature
- 4/4 Elemental creature — Treasure
- 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life" — 2/1 Inkling creature with flying
- 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life" — 0/0 Fractal creature
- 3/2 Spirit creature — 4/4 Elemental creature
- 3/2 Spirit creature — 2/1 Inkling creature with flying
- 0/0 Fractal creature — 1/1 Pest creature with "When this creature dies, you gain 1 life"
- 0/0 Fractal creature — 4/4 Elemental creature
Themes and mechanics
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. Unlike the other two sets, there is no hard rule as to the nature of the MDFCs. This is the first time sorceries and instants were printed on the back face of a DFC.
Strixhaven is the first set centered on an "instants and spells matters" theme. 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.
A new mechanic is Magecraft, an ability word that causes an effect whenever you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell. 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.
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.
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.
- : +1/+1 Counters (Spiteful Squad)
- : Big-spell casting (Spectacle Mage)
- : Life gain (Blood Researcher)
- : Leaves-graveyard triggers (Stonebound Mentor)
- : Eight-lands ramp (Eureka Moment)
Strixhaven: School of Mages has twenty-three cycles.
Modal double-faced cycles
|Treasure Spells||Magma Opus||Creative Outburst||Elemental Masterpiece|
|Each of these three instant or sorcery spells has a mana value over 6, and can be discarded for to create a Treasure.|
|Dueling Coach ()||Tenured Inkcaster ()||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.|
|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.|
Besides one futureshifted card, there are no reprints in the base set. R&D decided to use the Mystic Archive for reprints.
- Grinning Ignus, first printed in Future Sight, last seen in Time Spiral Remastered (Common to Uncommon).
- Archway Commons is a functional reprint of Rupture Spire and Transguild Promenade.
- Leech Fanatic is a functional reprint of Blood Burglar, except for creature types.
- Soothsayer Adept is a functional reprint of Erratic Visionary, except for creature types.
- Spined Karok is a functional reprint of Colossodon Yearling, except for creature types.
- Springmane Cervin is a functional reprint of Sylvan Brushstrider, except for creature types.
- Twinscroll Shaman is a functional reprint of Raging Redcap, except for creature types.
|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|
- The art of Crux of Fate (Mystical Archive) came under investigation, after the artist was accused of plagiarism.
- Elite Spellbinder depicts 2019 World Championship winner Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, the second Player Spotlight printed.
- The Biblioplex is a "fixed" version of Library of Alexandria with an appropriate power level for non-eternal formats.
- Body of Research is a mechanically condensed version of Animate Library.
- Dragon's Approach is the first "relentless" non-creature card.
- Strixhaven Stadium is an alternate-win card.
- Wandering Archaic continues a trend of colorless non-artifact, non-Eldrazi creatures, last seen in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.
- There is also a "cycle" of five colorless sorceries, flavored as first year lessons (Environmental Sciences, Expanded Anatomy, Introduction to Annihilation, Introduction to Prophecy and Mascot Exhibition). Colorless instants and sorceries were last seen in Battle for Zendikar block, devoid or otherwise.
- Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2021). "In the Strixhaven, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. "Standings 2020-21". Magic.gg.
- Blake Rasmussen (September 1, 2020). "Zendikar Debut and Announcement Day Recap". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Strixhaven Sneak Peek (Video). Weekly MTG. YouTube (February 19, 2021).
- Blake Rasmussen (February 18, 2021). "The First Lesson: Introduction to Strixhaven". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jess Dunks and Matt Tabak (April 16, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages and Commander (2021 Edition) Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (March 25, 2021). "What makes Strixhaven a bottom up set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (February 7, 2021). "Is Strixhaven based on anything?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Strixhaven house names apparently leaked. Reddit (February 16, 2021).
- The Zendikar Adventuring Party (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (September 1, 2020).
- Strixhaven: School of Mages. Heo.com.
- Ari Zirulnik (March 25, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages Product Overview". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (March 18, 2021). "Strixhaven News + More". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Gavin Verhey (April 12, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages"' Prerelease Primer". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- WPN (March, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages Prerelease Pack". Wizards Play Network.
- Strixhaven: School of Mages Campus Tour (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (March 25, 2021).
- Wizards of the Coast (April 15, 2021). "The Tokens of Strixhaven: School of Mages and Commander (2021 Edition)". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 7, 2020). "Zendikar Rising to the Challenge, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Amanda Yeo (September 4, 2020). "New 'Magic: The Gathering' Zendikar Rising card makes rocks fall, everyone dies". Mashable.com.
- Mark Rosewater (September 4, 2020). "Just want to confirm that this is accurate information?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (February 22, 2021). "I'm very excited about the Colleges.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Matt Tabak (March 25, 2021). "Strixhaven: School of Mages Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Andrew Brown and Jules Robins (March 25, 2021). "Introducing Ward". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (April 5, 2021). "In the Strixhaven, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Strixhaven Commander Sneak Peek: Legendaries, Hints, Art & More! Part 1 (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (March 22, 2021).
- Mark Rosewater (April 3, 2021). "Was there a decision to avoid reprints for Strixhaven?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Nick Miller (March 29, 2021). "Mystical Archive Crux Of Fate Allegedly Uses Stolen Art". StarCityGames.
- Wizards of the Coast (March 30, 2021). "Statement of Crux of Fate". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- What's the Secret Behind Colorless Spells in Strixhaven? (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (March 31, 2021).
- Mark Rosewater (March 25, 2021). "Fyi, Zaffai, Thunder Conductor text box says Zaffai, Thunder collector". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Welcome to Strixhaven! trailer (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (March 26, 2021).
- Mark Rosewater (April 12, 2021). "School 's in Session". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (April 19, 2021). "Strixhaven Vision Design Handoff Document, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (April 26, 2021). "Strixhaven Vision Design Handoff Document, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (May 3, 2021). "Odds and Ends: Strixhaven, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (May 10, 2021). "Odds and Ends: Strixhaven, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.