19, Feb, 21

Strixhaven: School of Mages: Ranking The 5 Commands, From Worst To Best

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We’re less than a month into the release of Kaldheim, Magic: The Gathering‘s current expansion. Yet, Wizards of the Coast has already revealed a whole host of goodies from Strixhaven: School of Mages. This set must have a ton of great things going for it, as hinted at by how early on WotC has decided to tease the set. You can learn more about the lore of Strixhaven here, and about the cool new Mystical Archive supplemental set here.

We even got to see new cards from Strixhaven: School of Mages! The announcement article on the MTG website spoiled the five enemy-colored Command cards. Each Command showcases the awesome aesthetics and abilities of each magical College in Strixhaven. Magic players will also be happy to see that we know have all 10 multicolored Command cards, after the first five ally colored spells were printed in Dragons of Tarkir.

How good are these new Commands? Well, it’s going to be pretty hard to live up to the standards set by Cryptic Command, one of the best spells in Modern, and of previous multicolored Commands like Atarka’s, which saw a ton of play in competitive formats.

In this article, I’ll attempt to do a quick and dirty ranking of each Command from Strixhaven: School of Mages. I’ll evaluate the cards based on how likely I think they are to see play in Standard and other formats. I’ll give bonus points for how awesome the cards look and play out!

5. Quandrix Command

Strixhaven: School of Mages Quandrix Command

We’re kicking off our ranking with the Blue-Green Quandrix Command. By now, we’ve grown accustomed to Simic cards being a cut above the rest in terms of power level, so it’s pretty refreshing to see a UG card that doesn’t scream “Best Card In Standard!”

The main strength of Quandrix Command is that it’s a cheap, flexible Instant. Its abilities combine to potentially mess up any opponent’s game plan. Imagine the Combat phase where you bounce the biggest attacker and grow one of your own creatures to secure a profitable block.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this card’s versatility makes up for the fact that it looks challenging to get more than a card’s worth of value out of it. The best thing about past Commands like Cryptic and Kolghan’s is that they get you a 2-for-1 that affects the board.

Sure, you may be able to find games where you counter a key Enchantment and exile an Ox of Agonas or something. But overall, getting max value out of this card game in and game out presents a quandary.

3. Lorehold Command

Strixhaven: School of Mages Lorehold Command

I love how Lorehold Command bucks the trend of Boros gold cards being generally cheaper than those of other color pairs. This Strixhaven: School of Mages Command is the most expensive of the bunch. Fortunately, the value it promises offsets the steep casting cost somewhat.

I’ve heard this card described as a 3/2 creature with Flash that casts Lightning Helix to kill another creature. If that were all the card did, I would be ecstatic to play this in Limited and interested in its Standard potential. But this card also helps boost a team of tokens, and it digs deeper into your deck to find crucial late game spells.

On the other hand, this card is still a little too expensive to be a Standard staple. I could see it as a one or two-of in aggressive or go-wide strategies. But I struggle to see its applications in a Jeskai control deck, for example.

The Lorehold College is filled with intrepid explorers and historian mages. Between this card and Showdown of the Skalds from Kaldheim, I’m excited to explore this new, value-oriented take on Red-White cards!

4. Silverquill Command

Strixhaven: School of Mages Silverquill Command

I had a difficult time ranking the final three Commands on this list. They’re all pretty close together in overall power level, so I figured I would put Silverquill Command 3rd because it costs one more than Prismari Command and twice as much as Witherbloom Command.

Fortunately for this card, the first two modes are better later in the game. If your plan is to reanimate your best 2-drop creature and draw a card, then it makes sense to wait until turn 4 or 5 when you have more options. This spell also kills a creature for one less total mana than Lorehold Command, even though you don’t get to choose.

It looks pretty easy to get a 2-for-1 with this Black-White Command. The design of the card and its modes also fit well with what Orzhov cards already want to do in Standard. It looks like the ideal curve topper in an aggressive deck. I can’t wait to try it with ETB cards like Elderfang Disciple and Charming Prince!

2. Prismari Command

Strixhaven: School of Mages Prismari Command

Of all the Commands from Strixhaven: School of Mages, this is the one I’m most excited to get my hands on! Prismari Command reminds me a lot of Electrolyze, a card that saw a lot of play in years past. While Electrolyze was a cleaner 2-for-1, Prismari Command provides more options to help you completely blow out your opponent. And all for a measly three mana!

Much like Lorehold Command’s “Flametongue Kavu” mode, I expect to choose the first two modes 8 times out of 10. Killing a small creature and finding the cards I need for future turns is a great deal. Adding the flexibility of sniping an Artifact and/or getting a one-shot ramp makes this a very attractive card for competitive decks playing Blue and Red.

1. Witherbloom Command

Strixhaven: School of Mages Witherbloom Command

In competitive Magic: The Gathering, mana efficiency is king. That’s why I’m ranking Witherbloom Command as the best card in this cycle. For just two mana, this card gives me the ability to kill a small creature and deal with a problem permanent like Aether Vial in Modern or Sylcan Library in Legacy.

Just these two modes already provide a ton of upside. Yet on top of this 2-for-1 potential, Witherbloom Command also lets me mill myself for value and/or drain my opponent for what could be two crucial life points!

This card looks tailor made for Rock-style decks in older competitive formats, and I can’t wait to upgrade my Golgari Charms to Witherbloom Commands!

While I’ve identified which Commands I see the most potential in, their real strength lies in their versatility. Which Command is your favorite, and how do you plan on using them?

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