19, Apr, 21

Best Budget Picks for Modern from Strixhaven: School of Mages

Strixhaven brings plenty of affordable opitons for Modern!
Article at a Glance

Since its release on MTG Arena and Magic Online (MTGO) last week, Strixhaven: School of Mages looks to offer a decent impact in Modern. Unlike Throne of Eldraine and Theros Beyond Death, the set looks to be relatively low-powered but offers plenty of utility for existing Modern decks.

These Strixhaven: School of Mages budget Modern picks are all under $5 at the moment on pre-order, so it’s a good opportunity to pick these up before the release this Friday!

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Sedgemoor Witch


One of the more forced constructed cards, Sedgemoor Witch does a lot for three mana. While it’s not quite Young Pyromancer, there’s a lot to like about the Human Warlock. Given Modern uses a bunch of cheap spells, Sedgemoor Witch could make an interesting win condition with its Magecraft ability. Even if you aren’t making a pile of Pest tokens, it can attack favorably since it has menace.

With that, Sedgemoor Witch is a great build-around for Mardu Pyromancer and Golgari Rock strategies in Modern. If you want to get ahead of the curve for Standard, Sedgemoor Witch could be a popular option once Throne of Eldraine rotates out this September. Sedgemoor Witch doesn’t line up well against a Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp at present, but once rotation hits expect to see the card thrive.

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Expressive Iteration


A lot of the Prismari cards look to be high in mana value but Expressive Iteration is an exception to the rule. Important to note that Expressive Iteration says “play” instead of “cast” which means you can play lands off the spell. You’ll be looking to play this on turn three since you can find your third land, draws you a card, and can put the worst card on the bottom. It’s a powerful card and it’s sure to see plenty of play in Modern.

Expect to see Expressive Iteration fall into Izzet Prowess-style strategies as it’s essentially two mana to draw two cards. It may even see play in Blue-based Control builds such as Izzet Blue Moon as it smooths out your draws later on. As it’s Uncommon, it’s going to be affordable but expect to see Expressive Iteration feature heavily in older formats such as Pioneer and even Vintage.

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Rip Apart


Another powerful Uncommon that will feature in Modern sideboards is Rip Apart. Although it’s not an Instant, Rip Apart is bound to see play in the format. Abrade already sees heavy play as it provides flexible options. Rip Apart is the ideal card to bring in game two, where you anticipate artifact or enchantment hate from your opponent. At worst, it can remove a creature or a low-loyalty Planeswalker.

Expect to see Rip Apart replace Smash to Smithereens and Wear // Tear in Boros Burn as it’s much kinder on the mana. Again, as it’s an Uncommon expect this to remain affordable but will become a huge player in the format.

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Plumb the Forbidden


Village Rites already sees play in Standard, Pioneer, and to some extent in Modern. For one extra mana, you get an incredible amount of value within the correct strategy. This is a sensible pick-up since Plumb the Forbidden‘s effect is unique and it’s unlikely we’ll see another effect like it. At present, it doesn’t fall into an existing Modern strategy, but it’s one of those cards that could be broken in the future. It could also lead to a viable sacrifice strategy in Modern similar to Rakdos Sacrifice in Standard and Historic.

It’s one to keep an eye out on and is sure to become an expensive Uncommon when that time comes.

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Vanishing Verse


Perhaps on the cleanest removal spells we have seen in some time, Vanishing Verse is expected to see a huge roll in Standard. Any card that is expected to see a high impact in Standard is bound to transfer into Modern, and Vanishing Verse is no different.

Not only does Vanishing Verse hit Heliod, Sun Crowned, but it also hits various other Modern staples. From Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Blood Moon, to Stoneforge Mystic and Primeval Titan, there is a lot of high-threat targets the Instant can hit. It’s expected to see a home in Esper Control archetypes to add to an already impressive suite of removal spells.

Acquiring a playset of these is sure to set you up for Standard as well as eternal formats. It’s under $5 on pre-order at the moment, so expect that price to rise once the tabletop release hits.

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Witherbloom Command


Witherbloom Command has the potential to see plenty of play in Modern. Although it’s a sorcery, it offers a lot of applications in the format. The second mode targets plenty of Modern staples such as Aether Vial, Amulet of Vigor, Sigarda’s Aid, and Utopia Sprawl to name a few. It’s sure to hit something in Modern so it will never be a bad draw.

The sorcery is likely to see play in Crabvine Dredge as you can use the third mode to kill your Stitcher’s Supplier to mill more cards alongside the first mode. You can run this in Golgari Rock or Jund to add to the already impressive removal suite. Out of all the Commands from Strixhaven, Witherbloom Command has the highest ceiling in Modern.

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Snarl Land Cycle


Usually, these articles recommend affordable pick-ups for Modern. However, we can’t say that for the Snarl Land cycle in Strixhaven: School of Mages. Despite these being good for Standard, these lands don’t hit the mark in Modern because there are better mana options around. For instance, the Pathway Lands from Kaldheim and Zendikar Rising remain excellent budget options for your deck.


We recommend avoiding the Snarl Lands for Modern as they require a lot of work to come in untapped. Although it’s nice to see Wizards of the Coast complete Land cycles, this one is for Standard (and perhaps Pioneer) in mind. If you want affordable mana options, then the Pathway Lands and Pain Lands are a good starting point for any Modern deck.

Like Kaldheim before it, Strixhaven offers a lot for the Modern player. From powerful creatures to cheap spells, there’s something for everyone within this mystical backdrop. At worse, you have some of the gorgeous Mystical Archive cards to give your Modern deck the attention it deserves.

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