Although Strixhaven: School of Mages came out back in April, the set is starting to see a huge impact in Standard, with a handful of spells extending into Modern. With the release of Strixhaven, the Mystical Archives changed up the Historic format in a tremendously huge way. The Mystical Archives are a selection of powerful instants and sorceries celebrated throughout the history of MTG, these are not Standard legal but are accessible in Historic.
As these are all reprints, it offers a great opportunity to pick up these unique-looking cards for your collection. As such, there are a few Mystical Archive cards that have rocketed in price due to their evergreen status within MTG. But, that shouldn’t stop you from checking out this impressive range of cards to bling out your Commander or constructed deck.
Inquisition of Kozilek
A Modern staple, Inquisition of Kozilek is a powerful discard spell for one Black mana. You often see the Sorcery featured alongside Thoughtseize in Jund, Grixis Death’s Shadow, or any strategy that wants to deny the opponent of their resources.
It’s so good in Modern since the format cares about low mana value spells which is where Inquisition of Kozilek can discard them to forward your gameplan. Going further, the Sorcery sees a lot of play in Legacy for similar reasons to Modern, as it can remove some tricky yet cheap spells. You can’t go wrong with owning a set of Inquisition of Kozilek for Modern or Legacy, and they’re pretty affordable with this printing in Strixhaven: School of Mages.
Originally from Commander 2011, Chaos Warp is one of the best removal spells in Red. Not only does the Instant remove any kind of permanent in play, but it also tucks the card back into their library. Although the opponent may re-reveal it once the spell resolves, the chance of it returning into play in Commander is quite low.
Red struggles to have dedicated permanent removal outside of creature removal and land destruction, which makes Chaos Warp such an effective option for Commander. You also see the card in Legacy and Vintage Cubes to offer a similar approach for Mono-Red archetypes. If you’re playing Red in Commander, you can never have enough copies of this card because of how many targets it can hit. Plus, you may get a fun story of a more powerful card coming in off a Chaos Warp, so there is a bit of randomness thrown in for good measure.
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One of the most iconic spells in MTG, Lightning Bolt is the best burn spell ever printed. Since its original printing in Alpha, the card has seen continued play throughout the years and there will always be a demand for the card. It’s evergreen in formats such as Legacy, Modern, and it’s pretty good in Commander too.
You can never have enough Lightning Bolts as you’ll always want to run a playset across various decks you own. Nothing will ever come as close to Lightning Bolt in terms of raw power for a single mana, and you can be sure we won’t ever see another burn spell come close to it again.
Another iconic spell from Alpha, Counterspell has risen in value since its legality in Modern thanks to Modern Horizons 2. You see the Instant in Blue-heavy lists that want to protect their threats such as Izzet Murktide or Izzet Control.
It’s also solid interaction in Commander as it cleanly answers any card your opponent is trying to cast for two Blue mana. There was a lot of talk about the card breaking Modern as it’s too effective at what it does, but we’re yet to see that happen. If you are after an affordable yet effective way to say “No” to your opponent, Counterspell is one of the best available.
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First printed in Commander 2015, Mizzix’s Mastery saw play in Legacy which used Enter the Infinite and Lightning Storm to win the game. The Sorcery is now only seen in Commander and Historic as a way to cast a sleuth of spells. Earlier in the year, there was talk of the card seeing a ban in Historic since it played so well with Time Warp.
Normally you see the spell feature in Izzet or Mono-Red Commander lists since these are the colors that can leverage the spell favorably. If you are looking to build a spellsinger Commander deck that cares about casting a lot of spells, then Mizzix’s Mastery is for you.
Once a very expensive card, Tainted Pact is a sorely needed reprint for those who prefer to play their Commander in a highly competitive setting. The card broke Historic in two with the inclusion of Thassa’s Oracle, which saw a ban shortly after as it created an unhealthy metagame in the MTG Arena-exclusive format.
In the realms of paper MTG, the Instant sees play in Commander lists that can leverage the spell to its full advantage. Usually, you see Tainted Pact in Combo-focused lists that only run one of each Basic land to get the most value out of the card. Like in Historic when it was legal, you are looking for Thassa’s Oracle since this wins you the game on the spot. It’s one of the less interesting win conditions out there, but it’s one of the most effective if you build your deck correctly.
Banned in MTG Arena’s Historic format back in June, Time Warp is a strong spell that allows you to take an extra turn. What makes these effects so powerful is the ability to repeat through copy spells such as Galvanic Iteration, pushing your opponent further away from being in the game.
These effects are massively popular in Commander for similar reasons, especially if there is a Narset, Enlightened Master entering play since these spells can be cast for free. When you play these kinds of effects, you are usually doing silly and broken things to follow it – which can cause some disparity with players as it can be very unfun for those involved.
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One of the best Green cards in Legacy, Natural Order sees heavy play in Elves in the format as it’s the ideal tutor effect in that color. Typically you would get ahead on mana and use Natural Order to grab Craterhoof Behemoth to finish off the opponent, or Progenitus as a difficult threat for your opponent to remove.
You see the Sorcery in Commander in Green-based lists to achieve a similar effect, you trade away your mana dork for a value creature, or for a game-ending threat. Either way, Natural Order is amazing in Green-based creature lists, and you often see the same habits occur in Legacy and Vintage Cube to great effect.
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Originally printed in Commander 2017, Teferi’s Protection is one of the best cards to insure you from board wipes or any lethal damage. With that, the Instant allows you to phase all your permanents while your life total can’t change until your next turn. It’s a unique and strong effect that is now a staple in any Commander list that chooses to run White, as it can save your battlefield in a pinch.
It’s only had a handful of printings which makes the card desirable for Commander and Cube players alike. It doesn’t see play in Legacy as it’s too slow, as you want to further your gameplan rather than go defensive the format. Either way, it’s only going to rise in value since it’s unlikely we’ll see another card with this effect for a cheaper mana value.
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Unsurprisingly, coming in at the most expensive is Demonic Tutor. Banned in MTG Arena’s Historic format before Strixhaven: School of Mages even dropped, the Sorcery is one of the best tutor effects in Magic: The Gathering. It’s a staple in any Commander list that runs Black and allows you to grab whatever card you need given the situation.
Although this printing has helped curb the overall price, it’s still an expensive card given the power and legacy the card has. If you are lucky to open the Japanese Mystical Archive variant of the card, you are sitting on a small fortune. As such, the fortune will only increase the older Strixhaven: School of Mages becomes. Outside of Commander, Demonic Tutor is a staple in Legacy and Vintage Cubes, which is often seen as one of the most powerful cards outside of the Power Nine. It is considered to be one of the most effective Black cards ever printed, and players have made that statement since its original printing in Alpha.