Strixhaven is Magic: The Gathering’s newest faction set, bringing with it five colleges, new takes on the game’s different enemy color pairs.
Magic: The GatheringIt is almost certainly the most famous plane in Ravnica, home to the Ten Guilds. Each guild represents a different combination of two of the five colors in the game, and a large part of the airplane’s popularity comes from how easy it is for players to identify with them. Whether it’s the noble strength of the Boros Legion or the intriguing subtlety of House Dimir, each guild speaks to a different group of people. That’s a great legacy to live on and as such there have been few other creative explorations of the same color pairs. Clans of Tarkir dragons They were a small attempt at this with allied color pairs, but Strixhaven’s recently revealed set brings with it the first attempt at new factions for enemy color pairs.
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These factions are strongly tied to Strixhaven himself, which is a school for wizards. The school has five different “colleges”, each oriented around its own approach to magic, as well as one of the five enemy color pairs. Due to its nature of faculties, each university also represents an approach to knowledge, in a very similar way to the majors of a university.
Lorehold is the most different university from its predecessor guild, focused on archaeological expedition and historical exploration. This is a great bridge aside from the Boros’ martial prowess, and Lorehold’s mechanical space is very different. Rather than focus exclusively on combat, the university seems to lean toward invoking the past, both in spirit making and card drawing. They also appear to have a large number of Loxodon, which means Strixhaven is on one of the few planes to contain the elephants.
The Prismari are described as Strixhaven’s “theater children” as they use the elements of fire, water and frost to express themselves. Twin planeswalkers Will and Rowan are likely members of this university, as their red-blue elemental magic feels at home among the Prismari. While the Prismari are similar to the Izzet when it comes to creativity, they seem to rely less on mechanical gadgets and invention, rather than choosing to focus on raw spell casting. They also seem to have a great deal of Azra, an exclusive race of Magic: The Gathering, previously seen on Kylem’s plane in Battlebond.
Quandrix brings something new to Magic: The Gathering, wielding the powers of arithmetic. While the Simic of Ravnica cared about diligent exploration and experimentation, they expressed themselves through the manipulation of biological life. Instead, the Quandrix seem to work in theoretical spaces, but still come from a place of the same curiosity that the Simics were so well known for. While some of the other colleges explore magic that might be seen on other planes, using math as a method of casting spells seems unique to a place like Strixhaven.
While Quandrix is Wizards’ version of what a magical specialization in math might look like, the Silverquills are instead an expression of arcane school poets and writers. They manipulate ink and light with their casting and appear to have a mechanical focus on uplifting others with their magic. One of the modes in Silverquill Command is to give a creature + 3 / + 3 and fly, which is part of the white colored cake not previously represented by Orzhov. While the Orzhovs could incorporate ink into their contracts, they were exploitative and selfish. The Silverquills can be ambitious too, but they have a degree of camaraderie not seen in a black and white faction.
Other universities are daringly exploring a new creative and mechanical space that hasn’t been seen in two-color pairs before, but the green-black Witherbloom are virtually identical to their Golgari predecessors. They are the biologists of Strixhaven and use both necromancy and magical plants. There’s only so much room in a set of factions like Strixhaven, but Witherbloom appears to be just-cleaned versions of the Ravnica underground guild. They are certainly more scholarly than the Golgari, but the rest of the ensemble can be expected to provide a lot of differentiation for the green-black university.
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