Released in April 2021, Strixhaven School of Mages is set on the plane of Arcavios where it focuses on the five colleges – Lorehold, Prismari, Quandrix, Witherbloom, and Silverquill. There are Elder Dragon, Commands, and fresh new mechanics to expand the game of MTG.
Strixhaven also saw the introduction of the Mystical Archive, a reprint set of powerful Instants and Sorceries across the history of MTG. As these are reprints, they won’t be in the list below but we covered their value in a separate feature if you are curious. Strixhaven is legal in Standard for another year, so there is plenty of value to be had in the set.
One of the more pushed cards in Standard, Sedgemoor Witch, is a great option for midrange or spell-based strategies. It saw little play upon release due to the presence of Bonecrusher Giant but is starting to appear in Standard once more.
It pairs well with Plumb the Forbidden since you can use Sedgemoor Witch‘s Magecraft ability to draw cards and gain a bunch of life. The Human Warlock also comes with Ward which demands resource management from your opponent. Sedgemoor Witch is a constructed-focused card which means it may not see much play in Commander, but could be a good option for sacrifice strategies in constructed formats.
Strixhaven completed the cycle of Elder Dragons with Velomachus Lorehold being the Red/White offering. While it’s one of the more heavily costed Elder Dragons of the cycle, the Elder Dragon sees fringe play in Modern and Historic.
Paired with Time Warp and Indomitable Creativity, you can use Velomachus Lorehold to case the extra turns spell for free and attack with the Dragon. You see this strategy crop up in Modern and Historic to some success and is a fun way to play these formats. In Commander, you may see the Dragon appear in aggressively slanted White/Red decks since the card offers haste. Interestingly, Commander is starting to become less combat-focused so Velomachus Lorehold offers a different approach. The card could rise in value depending on what kind of Instants and Sorceries are printed in future sets so it’s one to keep an eye out for.
Rowan, Scholar of Sparks / Will, Scholar of Frost
The first card to offer two Planeswalker on the same card, Rowan, School of Sparks gives plenty of options depending on what you need. Sometimes played in Commander, the card is easy to ultimate so you can chain off a bunch of spells to victory. Will, Scholar of Frost offers a discount on your Instant and Sorceries with a bit of card draw thrown in for good measure.
It doesn’t see much play in Standard at present as it’s a bit slow, but that could change with the release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow or Kamigawa; Neon Dynasty. It’s one to keep an eye out for given the broadness the card offers.
Often seen in Commander, Shadrix Silverquill is a powerful Commander for Black/White decks. When you attack with the Legendary Dragon, you can choose two modes but they have to target a different player for each mode chosen.
Silverquill is all about being political and bargaining with your opponents. As such, this offers a fun take on a Commander which can generate you decent influence at the table. Not only that, the card offers double strike which plays into winning through Commander damage, especially if it’s equipped with a powerful artifact or two. If you are looking to play an Orzhov-style political or Voltron-style Commander deck, then Shadrix Silverquill could be for you.
One of the most important Uncommons in recent times, Expressive Iteration is increasing in value due to its extensive use in Standard, Pioneer, Modern, and even Legacy. It’s considered to be one the best cantrips in recent times, and you’ll always want to run a playset of the Sorcery since it offers so much value.
When Strixhaven eventually comes out of product circulation, this card will be hard to find which will create demand. With that demand, the price will increase and even further if you’re after foils. It’s a staple in Izzet-based strategies in Moden, Standard with Legacy Delver builds running the card too. It’s unlikely we’ll see a better variant of the card since Ponder and Preordain are currently banned in Modern, so it would be a surprise to see a similar card at a lower mana value. Expressive Iteration is here to stay and expect to see the card shape various MTG decks going forward.
Seeing heavy play in Standard, the Elder Dragon enters with a Treasure token, with the option of casting Instant/Sorceries off your artifacts. The Legendary Creature pairs well with Standard all-star Goldspan Dragon since there is Treasure synergy.
Not only that, Galazeth Prismari makes for a decent Commander that cares about artifacts and slinging spells. Especially if you have access to Dockside Extortionist to make the most of the synergy. Not to mention Dragons as a tribe are always desirable in Commander since you have various five-color options available in the format.
Read More: The 10 Best Dragons In Commander
Wandering Archaic / Explore the Vastlands
Strixhaven introduced double-faced cards to make sure you can play your cards at any point during the game. Admittedly, some of these are wordy but offer a lot of choices which is where Wandering Archaic comes in. As it’s colorless, it can fit in any Commander deck with built-in lifegain and card filtering.
Ideally, you want to run this in group hug-style Commander decks, with the option to play the Creature side if you want some chaos at the table. You don’t see the card in constructed formats since it’s a bit slow, but offers plenty of upside for Commander formats.
Read More: We Need More Colorless Commanders
Along with the Elder Dragons, Strixhaven also brought back the Command cycle in a similar fashion to the Khans of Tarkir block. The most playable Command from the set is Prismari Command since it does a lot of things for Standard, Pioneer, and Commander.
More importantly, the draw and discard option opened up Phoenix strategies in Pioneer since Faithless Looting is not accessible in the format. In Commander, you can use the Instant to ramp, remove an artifact or as a Shock. Either way, the Commands are flexible and rarely feels a dead draw regardless of the format.
Read More: MTG Arena Codes To Unlock Free Things
Professor OnyxProfessor Onyx is another Planeswalker to feature in Strixhaven which sees a lot of play in Commander with alongside Chain of Smog as a win condition. In order to win with the combination, with Professor Onyx in play, cast Chain of Smog targeting yourself. Then, Professor Onyx‘s ability will trigger, dealing 2 damage to each opponent and Chain of Smog will resolve, you will discard two cards, and you can choose to copy it. Then, copy the spell targeting yourself and repeat until you win.
In Commander, it’s an effective yet arguably boring way to win a match. You can also achieve a similar effect with Chain of Smog and Witherbloom Apprentice if you are in Green and Black. Outside of Commander, you see the Planeswalker in dedicated Mono-Black Standard lists alongside Lolth, Spider Queen. Either way, the card is very potent with combo potential and will slowly creep up in price the further we are from Strixhaven.
Read More: 10 Best Planeswalkers In Commander
The most valuable card in Strixhaven at present is Beledros Witherbloom due to it being a powerful Commander for Green/Black strategies. On every turn, you create a 1/1 Pest token with the option to untap all your lands at the expense of 10 life. You can activate this ability on every turn if you have enough life to do so.
You can also play the Elder Dragon in the 99 as a way to untap lands with Lord Wingrace at the helm, so you can ramp into bigger spells such as Torment of Hailfire for the win. Not only that, you can run Beledros Witherbloom as a Green/Black Token Commander alongside cards such as Doubling Season and Parallel Lives. There’s a lot to like about the Legendary Creature, and it’s sure to remain a strong option in Commander for years to come.