Tuesday 20 April 2021

Strixhaven Conclusions and Additions

Well reviewing all that felt like a slog. I can see why it is good to bring out commander product alongside a set release but it didn't improve the review process. Especially when so many cards are quite wordy and complex and also in that range from not unplayable to just about potentially playable. Power wise Strixhaven seems lower than Kaldheim which in turn was lower than most of the previous sets for quite a while. Power creep did need some serious slowing or even reversing in some cases and it has been implemented well. This might be a relatively low powered set but it still has plenty for cube players. The best way of doing a reduction in power creep is more of a rotation in the different types of card where some things improve while others are calmed. The removal  in Strixhaven for example is pretty top tier and has continued to get better. Threats however got weaker, particularly planeswalkers. I also really approve of the increasing number of interesting cards white got and versatile cards black got. Both colours needed those things. They lacked options which not only held them back but also made them a bit dull. There are no utterly mental cards for cube here. The best ones are all just useful and interesting. 

The pretty Mystic Archive stuff made the whole experience a good one. It made opening things up fun and exciting and is just another win for those who like to style their decks and cubes. I normally treat myself to a handful of packs on each release before I do the boring but efficient purchasing of singles I want. I spent significantly more on Strixhaven then any other set prior. It wasn't the most exciting set in terms of cards by a long way either thus putting a lot of that extra interest onto the Archive cards. I presume the fact I liked the style made this a lot more significant to me but even if you don't it is still added value in your pack. 

There isn't much more to say on Strixhaven. I was expecting to like it less than I did and so it is probably a big win. It is hard to make lower power sets appeal and that was done well. Lessons are a cool mechanic that I am able to tweak suitably so I can use in cube and with the little bit of play I have done with the learn cards so far I can confirm that they really help the game. Now just to see if they get boring and stale. Most of the dork plus learn cards at sensible costs seem like they have a pretty good shot in my cube. 

I even quite like the flavour of the set. I know I was mocking it a little at the start for being a bit close to Harry Potter but the end result was a good one. Different but on point. A bit Battlebond like. I imagine there was plans afoot to do a tie in, like the Godzilla one, with the Harry Potter franchise that fell through at some point in the process. This would far more justify some of the more on the nose cards like Professor Onyx. The only criticism I have of the set is the overall wordiness on some of the cards. I like a complex card but it needs to be worth it, not just because it is rare or ideas are running low. Make less cards if ideas are short. Too many very mediocre rare cards with little reason to be so insanely wordy. At least a lot of the removal and support cards are really clean. Magecraft, learn, and the removal generally, was all very tidy in design and brought the overall wordiness of the set down nicely. 

(lesson cards) 

*  commander card

Additions (in order best to worst thus being top 11 cards in the set for cube)

Elite Spellbinder 

Vanishing Verse 

Witherbloom Command

(Professor of Symbology) 

Baleful Mastery 

(Igneous Inspiration)

Callous Bloodmage 

Prismari Command

Sedgemoor Witch

Lorehold Command

Fain the Broker* 

To Test with High Hopes

Combat Calligrapher* 

Laelia, the Blade Reforged*



Plargg, Dean of Chaos /  Augusta, Dean of Order

Crackle with Power 

Decisive Denial 

Devastating Mastery 

Symmetry Sage 

Hall of Oracles 

Ecological Appreciation 

Silverquill Command

Clever Lumimancer 

Galazeth Prismari 


Rip Apart 

Shaile, Dean of Radience / Embrose, Dean of Shadow

Archmage Emeritus 

To Test with Low Hopes



Paradox Zone*

(Divide by Zero)

(Hunt for Specimens) 

(Retriever Phoenix)

Lash of Malice

Professor Onyx

Plumb the Forbidden 

Professor's Warning 

Unwilling Ingredient 

Zephyr Boots

Blot out the Sky 

Kasmina, Enigma Sage

Mila, Crafty Companion / Lukka, Wayward Bonder

Conspiracy Theorist 

Leonin Lightscribe

Hall Monitor 

Multiple Choice 

Quandrix Command 

Expressive Iteration 

Strict Proctor 

Flamescroll Celebrant / Revel in Silence

Rowan, Scholar of Spark / Will, Scholar of Frost

Snarl Dual Land Cycle 

Constructed Reserves

Sproutback Trudge*

Incarnation Technique*

Keen Duelist*

Octavia, Living Thesis*

Veyran, Voice of Duality*

Triplicate Titan*

Ruin Grinder*

Losheel, Clockwork Scholar 

(First Day of Class)

Tend the Pests

Culling Ritual 

Deadly Brew

Excavated Wall 

Mavinda, Student's Advocate

Pestilent Cauldron / Restorative Burst 

The Biblioplex 

Quandrix Cultivator 


Double Major 

Fervent Mastery 


Magma Opus 

Wandering Archaic 

Stonebinder's Familiar 

Reconstruct History 

Thrilling Discovery 

Star Pupil 

Valentin, Dead of the Vein / Lisette, Dead of the Root

Storm-Kiln Artist

Willowdusk, Essence Seer

1 comment:

  1. Missed off Gnarled Professor. Would have been in the "to test with high hopes" group but already is a lock in for as long as I keep the lessons a thing. Card is very impressive. Green scales better than most with lessons having little in the way of mana issues but gaps in their game in other areas. The former covering the weakness of lessons and the latter covering the shortcomings of the colour.