Magic: The Gathering
's upcoming Strixhaven: School of Mages
expansion is the long-running card game’s 87th -- which is something of a milestone. And then some. As per the namesake the setting is the sort of place you might find a Harold Potter or other wand bearing mage. Strixhaven is all about beginning your magical studies, picking the right school, and of course building a deck of cards to dispense some old fashioned book smarts and spell smarts.
Two of which we can exclusively reveal today thanks to the cardboard-powered folks at Wizards of the Coast.
With five houses, each founded by an elder dragon, the Strixhaven is set to feature five new Commander decks which are named, themed, and even coloured after each house -- these being Silverquill Statement, Prismari Performance, Witherbloom Witchcraft, Lorehold Legacies, and Quantum Quandrix. Not going to lie, this is one of only a handful of forays into the world of Magic: The Gathering for me, but getting an early look at Strixhaven recently definitely showcased the sense of fun that comes from a school-based setting. Even in a competitive spell-driven version of that.
That said, the first card we’re exclusively revealing today probably won’t be all that fun for someone on the receiving end on the account of it being a board clearing ‘Wrath Effect’ with definite late-game vibes. With the apt title of Devastating Mastery
the “destroy all nonland permanents” is essentially a board clear with a twist. In that the four-cost can also be cast in a “well teach, you see, I only kind-of did my homework”. So yeah, there’s a two-cost variant that forces an opponent to choose two nonland permanents they control and return them to their hand.
The card also features some very cool art by Jake Murray -- in what looks like duelling mages on a field.
As per my own Magic: The Gathering skills being in dire need of enrolling into and then taking a few classes at Strixhaven, Devastating Mastery sent me down a journey into the long history of Wrath of God-inspired cards of Magic past. Which was the name given to the first Magic card to do the whole board clear mass creature removal deal. My studies also led to me confirming that ‘permanents’ referred all cards and tokens on the battlefield. Again, I’m a freshman here at Strixhaven.
In terms of parallels Devastating Mastery is reminiscent of the popular Planar Cleansing card from the 2020 Core Set, among others, albeit with the added twist. This MTG Wiki page
showcases just how many Wrath Effect cards there have been over the years.
As for the second card we can reveal, Secret Rendezvous
, well it’s all about relationships and bucking the competitive trend between the houses. With the descriptor “Strixhaven’s five colleges encourage natural rivalries among students, but some bonds transcend all barriers” -- the wonderful art by Manuel Castanon definitely nails that tone.
With the proclamation of friendship, feelings, or what have you, resulting in you and an opponent drawing three cards.
Magic: The Gathering's Strixhaven: School of Mages is set to release April 23. Head here for more info