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Ten Random Cards from Strixhaven

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Hello all! I hope that you are having a wonderfully delightful day today! Today I want to do something really fun that I like to do when only part of the spoilers for a new set have been revealed. I randomly select 10 numbers over at Random.org and then I choose that card in the list.

To really make this work well I have steered clear of any spoilers, so I have not read any of the cards or articles with spoilers so you can get my reaction to a card that's fresh rather than one on a card I'm already familiar with. As I'm writing this, there are... 158 cards on the spoiler!

Ready?

Let's do this thing started!

The first one is #32, which is...

10. Arrogant Poet

Arrogant Poet

It's this common Human Warlock. Let's look at it together, shall we? It's a two-mana 2/1 that's fine for a common and passes the Limited test of sufficient size for the team. When this bad boy swings you can trade two life for flying. It's unlikely to matter much of the time, but in an aggro build where you intend to have a number of early drops that are swinging fast you can leap this up in the air as an option and its value increases. It's also good on a busy board of ground pounders if you want to finish off a foe with less life than you. It's certainly a feasible entry into the limited canon of common Black dorks.

What's next?

Next is...

#95, which is...

9. Lorehold Excavation

Lorehold Excavation

It's this Boros uncommon. You can drop it as early as turn two. You mill a card at the end of your turn and you'll do it right as soon as you drop it. Did you mill a land? Great! Gain a life! Otherwise? You deal a damage to each opponent so you can shoot everyone in a multiplayer format. Then at some point in time, once you have five generic mana, you can exile a creature from your graveyard to make a tapped 3/2 Spirit token. It's not something that works in a typical Boros aggro deck, but provides value over time and nets triggers, mills your deck, and provides card advantage from the self-exiling. This really likes a deck that cares about exiling like Bell Borca, Spectral Sergeant in Commander. Enjoy it!

What's next?

8. Blade Historian

Blade Historian

It's another Boros card! Four hybrid mana is perfectly easy as a 4-drop in mono-White, mono-Red, and Boros, but other color combos will find it probably too prohibitive to consider. I doubt an Orzhov deck is running this.

What do we get for our rough casting cost? We get a 2/3 Human Cleric, both of which are key tribal entries in Humans or Clerics. We also get powerful text - attacking creatures we control get that nasty double strike! Note this ability works on itself - it's always a nasty 2/3 double strike by itself. Unlike the previous card, this one does feel at home in a Boros Aggro deck. It loves decks that go wide with cheap creatures or tokens. The more creatures you give double strike to, the better off you'll be! It also loves creatures that have a high power. Consider Ball Lightning. It now swings as a 6/1 trample, hasted, double striker? Double strike will deal damage in the normal combat damage round even if a potential blocker dies in the first strike combat damage step. It's really good!

What's next?

115!

What's that?

7. Returned Pastcaller

Returned Pastcaller

It's yet another Boros colored gold card! Man, they spoiled a lot of gold cards, we have "B" at 77 and "R" at 115. I don't recall seeing a card before with both two colors of mana in the cost and hybrid mana that's not a third color. Nice! This bad Spirit Cleric (also types with loads of support) costs a big six mana and gives you just a 4/2 flyer, which feels overcosted. What ability does it bring to the conversation? On arrival to the battlefield, it will return from the graveyard a Spirit, instant, or sorcery and put it in your hand, so it's an Archaeomancer in Boros. Weird color choice there. Like Lorehold Excavation, this feels different than a typical Boros card and they'll work together as fellow uncommons, with the former giving you milled fuel for the latter.

What's next? How about... 136? Will I still be in gold cards? Another Boros Boy?

6. Strixhaven Stadium

Strixhaven Stadium

Let's talk about card #6! This is a 3-drop mana rock. Normally 2-drops tap for a colorless like Mind Stone and Guardian Idol and this one is one mana more so it'll need to do more to make up for it! After you tap it, you toss a point counter on it. You also put point counters on it as your stuff deals combat damage to a foe. Ten or more counters? Pull them off and the player you dealt combat damage to on the final trigger loses the game! Pretty cool! But they can swing at you and deal damage and strip off counters. I like this most in a pillow fort deck to win the game, as foes are unlikely to deal much combat damage through Ghostly Prison, Maze of Ith, Kor Haven, Windborn Muse, Propaganda, Collective Restraint, and many more similar cards. It's probably worth the extra mana in those builds, but outside of pillow fort I don't see it.

Ready to crack my Top Five?

Let's do it!

I random.org grab...

13!

What card is the 13th spoiled card? Is it Triskaidekaphobia? (Fear of the number 13?)

Nope!

5. Professor of Symbology

Professor of Symbology

It's this White uncommon! Well, we broke out of gold but we still have a White card! This is the fourth White card in six if you count the three Boros ones. This is similar to Arrogant Poet at #10 above, a 2/1 for two. On curve and usable. What ability does it have? When it arrives, you can learn. Did you draft a Lesson? You can put it into your hand. Otherwise, you can discard an extra land or a too-expensive card and draw again. Card flow matters in this game, particularly in Limited, and thus this card has value just outside of Lessons or if you've already brought your two Lessons you drafted into your hand and you still have more learn cards like this one. It's not bad!

What card hits #4?

#40 does!

4. Eyetwitch

Eyetwitch

Another learner does! This Eye Bat is awesome! He's a great 1-drop as he is a Scryb Sprites with an ability! A 1/1 flyer for one mana is already great in Limited and has value. In this case you can really push it well and play it on its own without any Lessons drafted. I also really like its option to discard and draw in an aggro deck to filter excess lands. This also works very well with #10 Arrogant Poet as both are fine on-curve options for a Black aggro build that seeks to go wide. This is a strong uncommon for the color in Limited and a 1-drop with learn will make the cut in Constructed and casual table play with that Lesson Wish ability.

What's next?

106 is next. I think that's another gold card. Will it be Boros?

3. Prismari Apprentice

Prismari Apprentice

Yes, it is another gold card, but not a Boros one! It does have Red it in as Izzet, so it's my fourth Red card. What does this bad boy offer? A 2/2 body for two and magecraft on top. When you cast (or copy) an instant or sorcery, your Apprentice becomes unblockable and if the cost of the spell was five or more you'll put a counter on the Human Shaman. Not bad! The unblockable will basically be a weird Guttersnipe that only hits one player instead of all of them, but is meaningless on a naked board or against a tapped-out foe. The counter is a pretty nice bonus and gives you something to draft toward. Enjoy it!

What's my penultimate card?

#59

2. Hall Monitor

Hall Monitor

Our fifth Red card overall. Let's look at this Lizard Shaman! It brings a 1/1 haste body for one Red mana, which is pretty nifty indeed as you can drop it and punch away on the first turn. It also has an ability in addition to being on-curve. You can tap it and two mana and prevent someone from blocking. Perhaps you have a flyer in your Izzet deck and they have one as well (or a reach-er) and you need to slip by some damage? You can also use it to affect combat when you need to. It's a lot of value in one card. Enjoy!

Now what's my top card?

Random.org take me away!

Will it be my first Green card?

#90

Another gold card! Which one?

1. Fractal Summoning

Fractal Summoning

It's a Lesson! Hello fans of Blue and Green! This is a common X spell that you could run in any deck with learn and draft this. It nets you an X-sized Fractal that's always two fewer than the mana spent to make it. Later in the game that's good as you'll get a 6/6 off eight mana, but early on it's not a worthy trade and you may not want to grab it in your opening hand - so drafting it and then leaving it aside to grab may make a lot of sense for it. I do like it as a game closer, but I wouldn't draft it highly outside of learning fun times.

And there we go! What did you think of my random thoughts? Anything in here that you liked or any synergies you see that I missed? Just let me know! I hope you enjoyed unpacking these cards with me!

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