Strixhaven has come roaring onto the scene of Magic: the Gathering in a very nice way. A large amount of the set is going to be seeing play for a while, nothing seems overly powerful, and the theme has been a hit with basically everyone. The “Sorceries Matter” archetype of the entire set is wonderful in a play environment and really cements Strixhaven as one of the best sets of modern.
Setting Up The Playing Field
The Set Booster is also the best it’s ever been. Despite being marketed as the “open for fun” pack, the Set Booster still gives you a wide range of ways to enjoy the game and the lore of the set. Lessons and Mystical Archive cards now take their own slot in the pack, meaning you can guarantee at least one of the fantastic new designs. There’s also a guaranteed foil in every pack!
The idea of Set Boosters is to create a new kind of opening experience. The pack always goes in the exact same way. It opens with the art card, a full print of a specific artpiece created for the set. Next up is the pack’s basic land. Then, 6 commons or uncommons that share a theme. Next up, a guaranteed Lesson from the set, followed by a wildcard. After that, a guaranteed Mystical Archive, before moving into the rare/mythic rare slot and the foil!
Now let’s talk about the art card. Personally, these are my favourite cards in the entire Set booster. Art cards are pretty simply that: Cards that are just made up of the art of a specific card. These could be the lore important characters like Killian, Ink Duelist, Kasmina, Enigma Sage and Dina, Soul Steeper. Or they could be some of the best art from the set, like Spectacle Mage or Professor of Zoomancy. They could even be Mystical Archive art like Inquisition of Kozilek or Lightning Bolt!
Similar to the old Masterpieces seen in Kaladesh and Amonkhet, the Mystical Archive brings back famous sorceries from Magic’s past. Set in a brand new frame and with brand new art based on art movements, they’re an incredible addition. I hope to see it come back in the future, possibly with creatures or another load of artifacts!
The set itself is wonderful to play, and will only increase in use in the next rotation. Cards like Wandering Archaic and Velomachus Lorehold feel great and will probably become major parts of EDH and Standard. The new Commander set, although not the main point of this blog, is also great and EDH players should definitely check it out.
For people that care about the wider Magic: the Gathering lore, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into here. Liliana has come back as the mysterious Professor Onyx of Witherbloom. Kasmina has also brought the Kenrith twins to the plane. Lukka, from Ikoria, is also here, working against our heroes with the scheming forces of the Oriq. The Mage Hunters they employ look curiously Phyrexian, and I hope this means we’re getting some more Phyrexia stuff in 2022
So, after all that, I’d have to call Strixhaven a resounding success from Wizards of the Coast. It’s a flavourful, fun experience that brings some great ideas and wonderful characters along for the ride.