Hello everyone and welcome back on 95mtg.com!
Strixhaven has been released on Magic Arena and that means grinding in draft mode. I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly impressed with this set as it seemed really fun to play.
After the early analysis we made, today I’m going to cover the archetypes in this brand new limited format and what cards I was impressed by the most in these early days.
STRIXHAVEN DRAFT – LOREHOLD
Let’s start with the college that I felt was the strongest and that I definitely drafted the most: Lorehold!
This archetype can be built in two different ways, both very valid options.
The first one is purely aggro, with a very low curve that usually stops at 4 mana, 15/16 lands, many creatures, many combat tricks and many spells to trigger Magecraft.
The second one is much more midrange and bases its strategy on exiling cards from graveyard, activating the effects of many creatures Quintorious, Field Historian, which can be considered the base of the deck.
LOREHOLD AGGRO MAGECRAFT
The aggro version of this archetype is the one I drafted the most. I was surprised by the power level of Learn and Magecraft mechanics.
Learn makes almost any card playable, allows you to not run out of resources (which is essential in an aggro decks) and especially gives you a wide choice of solutions between the lessons that you have taken during the draft. Cards like Professor of Symbology, Enthusiastic Study and Igneous Inspiration will be fundamental cards for the quality of our deck.
Magecraft makes any creature with this ability a threat to keep under control for our Opponent. Cards like Eager First- Year, Lorehold Apprentice and Lorehold Pledgemage will be fairly high picks for deck building.
All these cards need for non-creature spells to work.
While it is obvious to play removal spell like Heated Debate, Expel and Rip Apart, you will realize that are the combat tricks what you will pick the most.
Make Your Mark is my favorite common, I always play more than one copy. I’ve always found it to be super useful as it often allows us to make a trade and have then a 3/2 back, thus not falling behind on creatures.
Beaming Defiance, Enthusiastic Study, and Sudden Breakthrough are spells that you want in your deck, with at least one copy of each. In fact, our creatures are often very small and without them, we’ll hardly conquer the board.
LOREHOLD GRAVEYARD SPIRIT
The second version of this awesome college, on the other hand, is much slower than the previous one and focuses much of its gameplan on synergy with graveyard and spirit tokens.
As we mentioned earlier, Quintorious, Field Historian turns out to be the most important card in the deck. Its synergy with cards that leave the graveyard can be unmanageable most of the times as the opponent will be forced to find a solution very quickly.
Fuming Effigy can be another good tool in the deck. Other than being a 4 mana 4/3, which is not bad at all, can also be helpful to deal some extra damage.
A card that helps us a lot in this synergy of ours is definitely Lorehold Excavation that, if in the aggressive version of the deck is not very functional, in this one it turns out to be quite strong. In fact, it allows us both to create graveyard every turn (gaining life and dealing damage in the meantime) and then to have, in late game, a strong ability that also triggers our abilities.
There are other commons/uncommons that we want to have in this deck: cards like Stonerise Spirit, Illustrious Historian and Returned Pastcaller shine in this version of Lorehold deck, as they provide for board presence while dealing with cards in graveyard.
STRIXHAVEN DRAFT – PRISMARI
I’ll start by saying that when I wasn’t drafting Lorehold, my second choice was Prismari. I think that the pairing between the many interesting spells in this college and the creatures that are part of it is very strong. A combination of removal, evasive creatures and expensive spells make this archetype really cool.
The creature department is what surprised me the most. Two-drops 2 like Prismari Apprentice and Prismari Pledgemage can put a lot of pressure on the board.
Flying 3-drops like Spectacle Mage and Frost Trickster, probably the best blue common of the entire set.
I was pleasantly surprised also by Maelstrom Muse that turns out to be really very useful if in the deck we have cards like Elemental Masterpiece or Creative Outburst.
Overall, I think this archetype is very good and versatile, certainly a bit more complicated than the Lorehold one because we will often find ourselves behind the board, but it’s still an alternative not to be underestimated.
STRIXHAVEN DRAFT – QUANDRIX
The College of numeromancy looks like a pretty solid archetype. A little less explosive than those deck we have seen before as the lack of red is difficult to overcome in this format, but it can still have something to say.
No red removals, but this colors combination, as always in the history of Magic, makes this up with the presence of equally valid fights. Devouring Tendrils, Magic Duel and Decisive Denial are what we need if we decide to take this direction.
We don’t have the strongest 2-drop in the format, Scurrid Colony and Reckless Amplimancer are two fillers and Quandrix Apprentice is probably the weakest between all the apprentices.
However, the three-drops that Quandrix can count on, are among the best three-drops in the format. We’ve already mentioned how strong Frost Trickster is and Quandrix Pledgemage and Biomathematician are quite strong too.
Quandrix Cultivator and Master Symmetrist are definitely the strongest 4-drops we can have in our deck, but Professor of Zoomancy is not to be thrown away either.
Overall, the archetype is very playable, definitely full of creatures and with fewer spells, but still very fun to play in your Strixhaven Draft!
STRIXHAVEN DRAFT – SILVERQUILL
This archetype, along with the Whiterbloom, are the ones I drafted the least. I don’t really like these color combinations, and although I think both colleges are very good, I usually prefer to go with the others.
In addition to the white 2-drops we’ve already talked about, Silverquill decks can count on cards like Arrogant Poet, that thanks to its ability can do important damage, and Killian, Ink Duelist which is really strong as it also has an ability that makes our removal spell cheaper.
Silverquill Apprentice can be very important if we have a lot of evasive creatures.
Speaking of evasive creatures, 3-drops are the way to go.
Shadewing Laureate and Silverquill Pledgemage are very important for this deck; if the first one, in fact, manages to become a major problem for our opponent thanks to the synergy with counters typical of this college, the second one can be a flyer with lifelink, which is very strong.
There aren’t many 4-drops, if Spiteful Squad is a decent card that goes in synergy with the deck, Combat Professor probably finds its best use in this deck for its ability to give vigilance to creatures that will tend to be pretty big.
I think of Silverquill as the archetype with the most difficult board management of all, but still remains a very valid choice when you’re drafting Strixhaven.
STRIXHAVEN DRAFT – WHITERBLOOM
Here is by far my least favorite college, Whiterbloom. Let’s be clear, this is just my opinion, but I think it has a token-based synergy that is significantly inferior to the others.
Surely this deck won’t lack for removal spells, which in this color scheme are really a lot. Flunk, Mage Hunter’s Onslaught and Mortality Spear have to be added to the green ones we mentioned earlier.
Whiterbloom Apprentice is certainly appreciable, as is Dina, Soul Steeper. Together they make a really strong synergy, but they come both at uncommon rarity and won’t get both that often.
As interesting three-drops, we definitely find Blood Researcher that integrates perfectly with our deck as well as the Brackish Trudge.
If Moldering Karok isn’t that great as a 4-drop, Daemogoth Woe-Eater could be a big problem for our opponent if accompanied by the right number of creatures.
It’s been only a couple of days since Strixhaven was released, but I can say that the power level of this limited format is very high and every draft turns out to be as complex as much as fun to play!
Next week we will get back on Standard, where we’re going to see in detail a new deck that is doing really well in these early days that I don’t want to spoil you yet.
So stay tuned on 95mtg.com for further contents!