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Strixhaven’s release is around the corner, the new set will be available in one week on MTGA, so is there a better way to get ready for it than the analysis, color by color, college by college, of everything that we will find in the upcoming set?
Today I will start with this Strixhaven analysis with White, Colorless, Lands and one of the five colleges: Silverquill!
I’ll give cards grades from “0” to “5”, where “0” means basically unplayable and “5” represents a card that allows us to win the game by itself. While doing this, I will keep in mind both Limited and Constructed formats.
ENVIROMENTAL SCIENCES: is it cool to have a land finder that can fit in every combinations of colors. However, I would play this card only in a 3 or more colors deck. In other cases, I would rather playing something else.
EXPANDED ANATOMY: Even at Instant speed, I think that this card would’ve been unplayable. At sorcery speed? No thank you.
INTRODUCTION TO ANNIHILATION: I wouldn’t like to play this card in main deck, but we could consider to pick one to keep in our sideboard and take it at the right time with a card with Learn.
INTRODUCTION TO PROPHECY: I’m not a fan of Divination, this one is even uglier, so I woudln’t play it.
MASCOT EXHIBITION: there’s always a mythic rare that we are not happy to find, and this is it. I think this one is almost unplayable in draft; in Selead you can consider to play it.
WANDERING ARCHAIC // EXPLORE THE VASTLANDS: in my previous article, I wrote that I think this card will lose in terms of money value although I pretty much like it.
I think that, post rotation, it could see some play in Standard.
In Limited we would play it without many problems (not the Sorcery part though).
LIMITED: 2,5 CONSTRUCTED: 3,5
ACADEMIC PROBATION: a 2-mana sorcery can neutralize, for one turn, the bigger threat we have to face. It seems pretty useless to me, I don’t think it will ever find a place in our deck.
AGELESS GUARDIAN: if you’re building an incredibly slow deck, you might even think about playing this card (mostly in selead than in draft), but I still think that playing anything else would be just better.
BEAMING DEFIANCE: combat tricks are always very useful in limited and this seems very strong to me.
CLEVER LUMINANCER: I’m pretty convinced that Magecraft is going to be a highly played archetype in limited, so this card will probably be the most looking-for 1-drop.
As far as concern constructed formats it surely has something to say: if I expect something similar to the old UW Delver will rise in modern, the chance to kill your opponent on turn-2 in combo with Chain of Smog will worth this card a shot in legacy.
LIMITED: 3 CONSTRUCTED: 2,5/3
COMBAT PROFESSOR: not a particularly exciting card that we may often end up playing for the lack of alternatives.
Potentially it’s a 4-mana 3/3 creature with Flying and Vigilance, let’s say it could be worse.
DEFEND THE CAMPUS: I’ve never been a big fan of Smite the Monstrous and I don’t think that the “+1+1 to all creatures” makes it all that much better.
I don’t think I could want this card in my deck, and I’m even more unlikely to pick it up during a draft.
DETENTION VORTEX: definitely not the best Pacifism in history however, it’s not entirely to throw away. I think it makes sense to play it in draft in an aggressive deck as it becomes definitely much uglier in a slower sealed deck. The fact that the opponent can break it only during their turn makes it playable, as it will force them to lose a turn.
DEVASTATING MASTERY: White’s first “bomb”. We would play it pretty much all the times, especially in selead. Even casting it at 4 mana will be great as we’re still bouncing two pieces on turn four which isn’t bad, especially if we can maximize it by not losing any pieces ourselves.
DUELING COACH: this card is not bad, but it has to be in a deck with a lot +1/+1 counters-based synergies to be actually good.
EAGER FIRST-YEAR: this card, as it was for the Clever Luminancer, will shine if the Magecraft archetype ends up to be really strong. Alternatively, it’s still a 2-mana 2/2 with a not-that-bad triggered ability, you can safely use it as a filler if you’re short of low drops.
LIMITED: 2,0 /2,5
ELITE SPELLBINDER: I’ve already talked about how this card will impact the standard format in my previous article. As a 3/1 fliers for 3 mana, this is a card that you’ll be happy to play in limited too.
LIMITED: 2,5/3 CONSTRUCTED: 3,5
EXPEL: a very good removal spell for creature and it is also an instant.
GUIDING VOICE: a filler that we could play in a +1/+1 counter-themed deck. The Learn ability makes it less worse than it otherwise would have been.
LEONID LIGHTSCRIBE: a rare that we’ll be happy to open in Pack 1 as it can be much stronger if the deck is built around it.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of super Aggro Boros in standard that plays this card.
LIMITED: 2/4 CONSTRUCTED: 2,5
MAVINDA, STUDENTS’ ADVOCATE: I’ll be honest with you: I’m not sure about this card. Constructed-wise, I’m convinced that it can be both, very strong (in some sort of Boros Aggro where we could use its ability to take advantage from our spells in graveyard) and a card that will never see any play.
In limited we could play it if we have at least 4/5 spells that we can recast. Otherwise, it would be a 3 mana 2/3 fliers, not exactly what we’d expect from a mythic rare.
LIMITED: 1,5/3,5 CONSTRUCTED: 1/3,5
PILGRIM OF THE AGES: another filler that we could play as it will provide us with a land. Let’s say that it doesn’t make me excited about it but I’ve seen worse.
PILLADROP RESCUER: as it’s a 5-mana card for a 2/2 body, it should have had a slightly stronger ability to be considered a playable card.
PROFESSOR OF SYMBOLOGY: a 2 mana 2/1 that when it comes into play makes us discard a card to draw a new one is an always welcomed filler. We can also decide to take a lesson card if we need to.
REDUCE TO MEMORY: I was already struggling to play Ravenform and this one is probably even worse. I don’t think I’ll ever want to play it unless I have to.
SECRET RENDEZVOUS: I can’t think of any situation where I want to make my opponent draw 3 cards, even if I’m drawing them too. Maybe it can be useful in some combo build, but probably it never be playable in Limited.
SEMESTER’S END:how good this card can be depends on our Opponent’s deck, on how many removals/mass removals they have. It’s a very situational card. We can consider to play it but we would have been happier with another rare instead.
It could perhaps take some slots in Mono-White Aggro in standard, but I’m not too convinced.
LIMITED: 1,5/2,5 CONSTRUCTED: 1,5
SHOW OF CONFIDENCE: how many spells can we play in a turn of a limited game? One besides this one? I would rather playing something else.
SPARRING REGIMEN: this card doesn’t reflect exaclty what I’d like to have from a 3-drop. I think you couldn’t be happy by casting it on turn 3 while having almost no impact on the board.
In Selead, as the format is slower, we might play it, but not in draft.
STAR PUPIL: a filler that you are unlikely to play in selead but that you can consider to play it in draft, especially in aggressive decks.
STONEBINDER’S FAMILIAR: even in a deck that exiles creatures a lot, it would still be a bad card.
STONERISE SPIRIT: a 2-mana 1/2 flying creature is always playable. This has also an ability that in late game could be decisive.
STRICT PROCTOR: a 1/3 with a very nice ability that we’ll be happy to play.
It could also see play in Constructed Mono-White.
LIMITED: 2,5 CONSTRUCTED: 2,5
STUDY BREAK: definitely playable in the right deck. You will be happy to tap 2 creatures for 2 mana while providing some cards quality.
THUNDEROUS ORATOR: 2 mana 2/2 vigilance would already be playable. The extra ability makes it more than that.
BLOT OUT THE SKY: I really like this card. For 6 mana it can creates four 2/1 flying tokens, which could easily win us the game. I will definitely play it 100% of the time without even thinking about it.
CLOSING STATEMENT: a very strong removal if cast for 3 mana (at 5 mana would be fine too). The fact that it also gives a +1/+1 counter could means big trades in combat.
DRAMATIC FINALE: I’m not completely sold on this card only because it triggers only once each turn. Giving +1/+1 to tokens I think is a marginal thing as having three of four tokens in play put us in an already winning position. I would probably play this card but it is nothing you exceptional.
EXHILARATING ELOCUTION: almost unplayable, I don’t think I’d ever want to invest 4 mana to give two +1/+1 counters to a creature and +1/+1 to everything at sorcery speed.
FRACTURE: a stronger version of Disenchant though limited in colors. Definitely a side card that we will play in constructed. Not that common that we’ll play this one in Limited.
LIMITED: 1 CONSTRUCTED: 2,5
HUMILIATE: a discard spell with that puts a +1/+1 counter. It can fits well in some sort of Orzhov Aggro deck in standard.
LIMITED: 1,5 CONSTRUCTED: 3,5
INKLING SUMMONING: 3 mana for a 2/1 flying token? No thanks. Despite it helps in triggering Magecraft, I don’t think I’ll ever play this card.
KILLIAN, INK DUELIST: great card. A 2 mana 2/2 with menace and lifelink could easily be a rare; the fact that it also makes our removals and combat tricks cost 2 less makes it even stronger. I’ll play it 100% of the time.
OWLING SHIELDMAGE: even if without too much enthusiasm, this is a card I’d play, especially thanks to the Ward ability.
RISE OF EXTUS: I think it’s safe to say that’s one of the worst removal-spell I’ve ever seen.
SHADEWING LAUREATE: pretty bad for costing three mana but we’ll probably play it even though it’s unlikely to get value out of it.
SHADRIX SILVERQUILL: here it is, the founder of the Silverquill college. A decent Limited bomb, not of the unbeatable kind, but still a mythic rare that will make a smile on your face once you’ve open it. However, I don’t think it is powerful enough to find place in Constructed
SILVERQUILL APPRENTICE: a good filler for the Magecraft archetype that we always play if in these colors.
SILVERQUILL COMMAND: probably the strongest Command in limited as all the options are good. A card that I’ll always be happy to play.
SILVERQUILL PLEDGEMAGE: it would have been better as a 3/2; with its stats it seems too fragile to me. Not the best card I’d be happy to play.
SILVERQUILL SILENCER: purely a card for constructed that could find some slots in our sideboards.
Of course we would use it in limited too as a 2-drop that can help us, in game 2, by naming one of the best cards in our Opponent’s deck.
LIMITED: 1,5 CONSTRUCTED: 2,5
SPITEFUL SQUAD: a filler that we can play when we are short on cards. It might shines if we can manage to make it trades with some other creature and then pump one of ours.
VANISHING VERSE: a very strong card as we’re going to find a target for it so easily in both, constructed and limited formats.
LIMITED: 3,5 CONSTRUCTED: 3
SELFLESS GLYPHWEAVER // DEADLY VANITY: if the sorcery side doesn’t seem very appealing, the creature side is at least playable as a sort of Selfless Spirit that could be useful in many circumstances.
SHAILE, DEAN OF RADIANCE // EMBROSE, DEAN OF SHADOW: both sides are very interesting here.
The Shaile side fits in very aggressive deck as it can make all our creatures bigger.
The Embrose instead fits more in a midrange shell, trying to give us card advantage while also pumping our team.
LIMITED: 2,5 /3,5
ACCESS TUNNELL: if we don’t have major color issues, we can play it with no problem, it can always comes in handy.
ARCHWAY COMMONS: every set has this kind of common land, just with a different name and they’ve always find some play.
THE BIBLIOPLEX: if you have zero cards in hand, the situation is probably already compromised; if you have seven cards in your hand, you probably don’t want to spend 2 mana hoping to find an instant or sorcery spell. In short, in both cases this land will be useless.
I doubt that this will ever see play in any constructed format.
HALL OF ORACLES: playable even if not that good. It can help to fix the mana while, sometimes, also pumping our creatures.
SHOWLANDS: whether we’re talking about standard or limited, these lands will always be played. Great addition to stabilize manabases of decks like Temur or Sultai, for example.
CAMPUS: when I saw these lands the first thing that came to my mind was the Pauper format. I’m pretty sure they will find place in that format but not in any other constructed format.
They are pretty good in limited though, especially in non-aggressive decks.
LIMITED: 2,5 CONSTRUCTED: 4 (PAUPER)
White doesn’t seem to be a very strong color in this set, as it has a lot of fillers, some nice cards, but very few bombs.
It will be drafted anyway thanks to all the support that it has for Magecraft archetype, but I think you will often find it as the open color in your draft.
Silverquill, on the other hand, turns out to be a very good combination and drafting black and white could, therefore, be a good choice, especially if we open a bomb in these colors.
Let’s call it a day, I hope you’ve enjoyed this first part of our Strixhaven Analysis!
I’ll see you next Monday with the analysis of Red and of the college of Archaeomancy: Lorehold!
In the meanwhile, stay tuned on 95mtg.com to have a look at the other colors and to prepare yourselves for the upcoming Strixhaven release!