Card Review: Strixhaven

Strixhaven: School of Mages is the newest set to Legacy and it is all based around casting spells! There are a lot of cards with potential.

White Removal Spells

[[Rip Apart|]]
[[Vanishing Verse|]]

With Strixhaven being a multicolor set, many of the removal spells were able to destroy additional types of permanents than they would normally be able to. Unfortunately for The EPIC Storm, many of them ended up being partially white. Given how stretched the current mana base is, supporting all five colors is not do able in modern builds of TES. Going back to a rainbow mana base does not support how many turns the game currently goes. If in some future TES was to play white instead of green, then these cards may be options on the table.

Rip Apart

This card has almost every line of text one could want on a removal spell. [[Burning Wish]] can find it out of the sideboard and it removes almost every permanent that locks TES out of the game. It even removes [[Karn, the Great Creator]] and [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] after they have ticked down. If TES started to play white again, this would be one of the first cards to test in the [[Abrupt Decay]] slots.


This is basically just an upgraded [[Disenchant]] that can hit planeswalkers. Removal needs to be incredibly flexible to make it into the limited sideboard slots. This card does not quite hit the mark, as it misses all of the hate bears.

Vanishing Verse

[[Ultimate Price]] is not a Legacy playable Magic card. This is a slight upgrade over that, but it can not remove any artifacts, [[Karn, the Great Creator]], or [[Leovold, Emissary of Trest]]. This card is not flexible enough for TES and it seems unlikely to find any home in Legacy.

Blue Cards

[[Muse Vortex|]]
[[Epic Experiment|]]
[[Solve the Equation|]]

There has been some excitement around the internet for these cards, but they do not do enough for how much mana they cost.

Muse Vortex

This card is very similar to Return to Ravnica‘s [[Epic Experiment]]. While this card could be cast on a down turn to effectively draw cards around a [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] effect, this is not the type of card that The EPIC Storm wants to be playing. It is slow and not drawing artifacts, most of which are the best cards in the deck.

Solve the Equation

One could draw many similarities between this card and [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. On the combo turn, they are both three mana. However, [[Solve the Equation]] is actually three mana and has a mana value of three. This greatly hurts the average mana value of the deck, making [[Ad Nauseam]], the plan A of the deck, significantly worse. In addition, there are other artifact synergies built into the deck with [[Mox Opal]].

Witherbloom Command

[[Witherbloom Command|]]

This is the best card from Strixhaven for The EPIC Storm, and will be a card to test for the next couple of weeks. The main strength of this card is as a [[Burning Wish]] target, but eventually there may be more copies added to the sideboard. The strength of this card is its flexibility. The most attractive part of [[Witherbloom Command]] is that it can remove both [[Deafening Silence]] and [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] Each mode on the card can be relevant in common game states.

  1. Target player mills three cards, then you return a land card from your graveyard to your hand: This is a mode that can effectively make [[Witherbloom Command]] cost one mana. Lands being in the graveyard are relatively common, thanks to fetch lands and [[Wasteland]]. In some corner cases, this can even return a mountain for [[Pulverize]] in a game where there are many lock pieces in play. One thing to note is that [[Witherbloom Command]] mills target player, so against [[Doomsday]] it can mess up their piles.
  2. Destroy target noncreature, nonland permanent with mana value 2 or less: This is the best mode on the card. It removes [[Chalice of the Void]], [[Sphere of Resistance]] effects and [[Deafening Silence]]. It is close to an [[Abrupt Decay]] that does not hit creatures. Notable misses on this mode are [[Trinisphere]] and some of the planeswalkers from control decks.
  3. Target creature gets -3/-1 until end of turn: This mode reads remove target [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]. The playability of this card hinges on how much it hurts to miss on all of the 2/2 hate permanents in Legacy. [[Collector Ouphe]], [[Ethersworn Canonist]], [[Sanctum Prelate]], and others are cards that are must removes in order to win the game.
  4. Target opponent loses two life and you gain two life: While this is the worst mode on the card, it does have a couple of important impacts. When mana is not the bottleneck on an [[Ad Nauseam]] combo turn, gaining an extra two life can be better than an extra mana. Also, in a natural storm line, it can count for double storm for just one mana.

Being able to remove two permanents at the same time is powerful. Often, Death & Taxes and Maverick rely on being able to snowball hate permanents to lock the game up. By being able to spend one turn to answer multiple of their turns, [[Witherbloom Command]] gets a lot of temp back. Even removing two permanents and then passing back may be good enough. In terms of testing this card, starting it as a one of in the sideboard is probably the correct place to start.

This card is a sorcery. Sorcery speed removal spells have not been played because it allows the opponent a turn to rebuild before getting to go off. If there is an effect that taxes mana, spending three mana and then many more to go off is not always realistic, especially when being hindered by [[Wasteland]] and [[Rishadan Port]]. Using [[Burning Wish]] to find [[Witherbloom Command]] is slow. It costs six mana and likely two turns. That is another point of evaluation: to see if [[Witherbloom Command]] is fast enough to win the game.