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Strixhaven Hits Standard


Hello everyone. Strixhaven: School of Mages is here and it's time to start building decks with these great, new cards. This week I have a few new builds for you to try out. Play them as they are or use them as the basis for your own build. Let's get started.

Witherbloom Aristocrats

We begin by taking a look at a new version of an Aristocrats deck. This type of deck attempts to gain extra value and potentially win the game when its creatures are sacrificed. Let's take a look at the deck.

With this being an Aristocrats style of deck, you'll be sacrificing creatures left and right in order to gain potential game-winning benefits. There are a lot of cards in this deck devoted to sacrificing creatures. Village Rites and Plumb the Forbidden both allow you to sacrifice creatures in order to draw additional cards. Take advantage of drawing these extra cards in order to find things like Valentin, Dean of the Vein (or, perhaps more importantly its flip side, Lisette, Dean of the Root) and Professor Onyx. Both of these cards offer you the means of winning the game, either with Pest creature tokens that offer you additional life when they die, or with Magecraft that can drain an opponent's life total two points at a time.

Deadly Brew is another sacrifice enabler for you that also forces your opponent to sacrifice a creature or planeswalker. Once you make your sacrifice, you'll be able to return another permanent card from your graveyard to your hand. This allows you to return a previously sacrificed creature to your hand, such as Serrated Scorpion, and offers you an additional chance for it to die in the future to give you additional value.

If you can't achieve victory with the +1/+1 counters that Lisette, Dean of the Root provides, or with the use of Professor Onyx's Magecraft ability, you can get the job done with Bastion of Remembrance. With a copy of this enchantment in play, you'll create a 1/1 Human Soldier creature token. That's not very impressive, but Bastion of Remembrance also drains one point of life from your opponent whenever a creature you control dies. With multiple copies of Bastion of Remembrance in play, the draining is multiplied, allowing you to chump block your way to victory.

Magecraft Adventures

Next up, I have a deck that combines the Adventures archetype with some new cards that feature the magecraft ability. Let's take a look at it.

Creatures with Magecraft abilities and inexpensive spells, like those found on the adventure side of the creatures in this deck, go together like chocolate and peanut butter. They allow this deck to attack for a ton of damage, very quickly. Clever Lumimancer gains a +2/+2 bonus for each instant or sorcery you cast during the turn. That bonus can allow Clever Lumimancer to become a formidable attacker, very easily. One thing to remember is that magecraft can be used on either player's turn, allowing Clever Lumimancer to be a very effective blocker as well.

Leonin Lightscribe has a similar Magecraft ability, but instead of granting a big bonus to itself whenever you cast an instant or sorcery, it instead grants a smaller +1/+1 bonus to each creature you control. With a large force of creatures in play, this bonus can often be better, but it does require a little more setup to use effectively. Since all of the creatures in this deck have a mana value of three or less, building up your side of the battlefield won't be too hard, and doing so can allow for a very explosive turn that can win games unexpectedly.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the Magecraft abilities of Clever Lumimancer and Leonin Lightscribe, this deck includes a variety of inexpensive instants and sorceries. Snakeskin Veil provides a +1/+1 counter as well as a means of protection to the creature it targets. Crash Through, Charge Through, and Defiant Strike all provide a beneficial combat bonus, but perhaps more importantly, they also allow you to draw a card. As a frequent aggro player, there's no worse feeling than running out of cards before finishing off my opponent, so all of this additional card draw is very helpful.

Boros Dwarves and Spirits

The final deck I have for you features a dual tribal theme, pairing Dwarves and Spirits. Let's take a look at it.

Magda, Brazen Outlaw was one of the most anticipated cards when the full spoiler list was revealed for Kaldheim, but when she was finally released, she didn't make a big impact on Standard. Perhaps that will change now that Strixhaven is here. Magda gives all of your other Dwarves a +1/+0 bonus. She also creates Treasure tokens whenever a Dwarf you control becomes tapped, and you can use five of those Treasure tokens to play a Dragon from your library for free. There's only one Dragon you can get with this ability, but it's a doozy. Terror of the Peaks not only has a built-in ability making it difficult to remove with targeted removal spells, but it also can allow you to win the game by simply casting creature spells and staying defensive.

One Dwarf that gets a bonus from having Magda on the battlefield is Hofri Ghostforge. Similar to how Magda boosts your other Dwarves, Hofri grants a bonus to Spirits that you control. Those Spirits will get a +1/+1 bonus, in addition to gaining trample and haste. Hofri also creates a Spirit copy of any nontoken creature you control that dies. With this ability, you'll be able to block with your Dwarves, even if they end up taking lethal damage, and still have a force of Spirits that you can attack with.

Another card that enhances the effectiveness of your troops is Rally the Ranks. You'll need to choose a creature type when Rally the Ranks enters the battlefield, and creatures of that type will get a +1/+1 bonus for as long as Rally the Ranks remains on the battlefield. While choosing either Dwarf or Spirit can be beneficial, depending on the type of creatures you currently have in play, in the long run, I believe it's better to choose Spirits. Doing so will boost the power of Venerable Warsinger, which will make it possible to return any creature card from your graveyard, including both Terror of the Peaks and Hofri Ghostforge.

Wrapping Up

These three decks I've shown you this week are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new decks created with cards from Strixhaven: School of Mages. Be sure to join me again next week as we continue looking at innovative decks in Standard.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also, feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

-Mike Likes

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