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MTG: Introduction to Strixhaven

I've been playing Magic: The Gathering for some time, and today I want to share my tricks.

Welcome to Strixhaven!

Strixhaven is a school of magicians present on the plane of Arcavios, located on the continent of Orrithia and was founded about 700 years ago and developed from the Biblioplex, the largest collection of knowledge on the plane.
Built around the Biblioplex there are five Colleges made up of pairs of enemy colours and each college was founded by an ancient dragon who is its rector.

The Great Challenge of Strixhaven (from a set design point of view) is to focus on the enemy colour pairs but without thematically overlapping the respective Guilds of Ravnica.
So each College must have a different feeling from that of the Guilds.
The Guilds are based more on the meeting of the two colours that compose them and on the shared components, in Strixhaven the Colleges are based instead on oppositions in a true academic clash of ideologies. Each College is chaired by 2 Deans who focus on one of the two fundamental colours of the College and polarize the thematic contrast.


The Five Colleges

Lorehold is the college based on the Red and White colours and focuses more on the contrast between Chaos and Order. The field of academic research shifts to History with the rediscovery of the past of the Arcavios plan. Magic is often cast through the use of relics (ancient magical texts such as scrolls or magical tomes).

Prismari is the college based on the colours Blue and Red and focuses more on the contrast between Intellect and Emotions. The field of academic research shifts to communicative arts (such as theatre and drama). Magic is often cast through the use of artistic representations.

Quandrix is ​​a boarding school based on the colours Green and Blue and focuses more on the nature versus nurture contrast. The field of academic research shifts to Mathematics. The Quandrix spell is often cast through the use of Formulas.

Silverquill is the college based on the Black and White colours and focuses more on the contrast between the good of the Single versus the good of the Group. The academic research field shifts to Literature and Communication. The Silverquill spell is often cast through the use of Words.

Witherbloom is a boarding school based on the colours Green and Black and focuses more on the contrast between Life and Death. The field of academic research shifts to Biology. The Witherbloom magic is often cast through the use of Alchemical Ingredients.

Game mechanics

There are three main mechanics in the Strixhaven expansion: Learn and Lessons, Magecraft and Modal Double-Faced Cards (previously used in Zendikar Rising and Kaldheim).

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Learn and Lessons are strongly intertwined and therefore can be considered as a unique mechanic.
At the level of the common rarity cards, there are about 19 cards with Learn or Lesson and therefore the as-fan at the level of the common rarity cards reaches a value of about 1.75.
This means that at the level of common rarity cards it will be possible to have an average of about 1 or 2 cards with this precise mechanic inside a booster pack (in most cases it will be 2).
This value increases slightly if we also consider the as-fan of the other rarities but should not have greater implications in the overall count, so it will be a mechanic present but without being too invasive.
If taken individually, the Lessons on a common level are not too powerful and therefore could easily end up outside the 40 cards of our deck (except in the case in which we need to cover holes in the mana curve) and therefore can be of help to improve the cards with Learn that can act as tutors for the lesson that can be most useful to us at the moment.

Magecraft is a mechanic that becomes more powerful with the amount of Instant or Sorcery spells we cast or copy and therefore this aspect has significantly changed the development of Strixhaven and especially the relationship and balance between creatures and non-creatures in the expansion. Strixhaven has fewer creatures than average and a greater number of spells.

Each college has access to Magecraft but is exploited differently and therefore mechanically the effects will be different depending on the college we choose for the draft.

Silverquill will use it mainly for offensive purposes and therefore the effects of Magecraft will be mainly aimed at enhancing the attack characteristics or temporarily improving the combat condition.

Prismari tends not to focus much on multiple casting of spells (such as Silverquills or other Colleges do) but they focus more on casting a large single spell and therefore Magecraft mirrors this aspect of the game with effects that usually tend not to add up between of them.

Quandrix focuses a lot on growing their Fractals tokens and the Magecraft effects of Quandrix spells are mainly focused on using + 1 / + 1 counters or searching for lands to cast more powerful spells.

Witherbloom focuses on Life and Death and is represented by spells with Magecraft through the drain of the opponent's life points or with the creation of Token Pest creatures or the gain of life points.

Lorehold (along with the Prismari) are the college least mechanically linked to casting spells (their main mechanic revolves around the use of the Graveyard) and therefore only get temporary enhancement effects.

Generally, the As-fan of cards with Magecraft is not particularly high as it is usually present in higher rarity cards and only to a lesser extent in common rarity cards.
Magecraft is therefore a mechanic that can provide an excellent reward but that is not mandatory and that can be exploited depending on the Pool of cards that we will be able to Draft.


Strixhaven is a very innovative expansion both for the use of new themes for colours and for the use of a design space linked to the launch of Instant and Witchcraft that until now has been used in different ways but never with this approach.
Therefore Strixhaven has unique characteristics that make it very different in feeling both from Kaldheim (the previous set) and the normal expansion sets, so it could bring in the players reactions of Love-Hate, it will hardly leave indifferent.
Thinking that Strixhaven is based precisely on oppositions there could be no better way to describe it.

© 2021 Christian Allasia

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