The Strixhaven set has five distinct schools. Each school is represented with a color pair and has its own specific deck themes. So, when rating individual colors it is important to consider what decks they fit into and how well they work with the overall theme of each school. Today we are going to jump right in rating our first two colors for Limited.
This article is the second of five, and in it I will be evaluating every White and Blue card and scoring them on a scale of 1-5. These ratings are purely based on Limited formats and have no bearing on Constructed play. I would also like to note these ratings are based on how I believe the card will perform in an AVERAGE Sealed or Draft deck. Often this means a lower score for cards with great potential in a highly synergistic deck.
Rating - Explanation
1- Ideally not making the cut in any of my Limited decks.
2- Not good, but a necessity for curve filling and smoothing out draws.
3- Value cards I am happy to fill my deck with.
4- Cards to get excited about and Premium Removal.
5- Reserved for cards that will win the game if left unanswered.
|Academic Probation - 1 / 2 - This is a Lesson, so it will typically be a free card. Even though it will be a free card this is too small of an effect in Limited. This feels like a Constructed card more than anything.|
|Ageless Guardian - 2 - The mana cost is fine for a 1/4, but this is just not impactful enough to get excited about playing. It is a Spirit, so it will have some synergy in the Lorehold deck, and it could be useful to have in the sideboard against more aggressive decks.|
|Beaming Defiance - 2 - This combat trick offers a lot of flexibility. Getting to use it as a combat trick while also having the option to protect valuable creatures is great.|
|Clever Lumimancer - 1.5 - This is a hyper aggressive card that will lose all steam once all the spells are gone. Typically, an aggressive deck will be able to put in a bunch of early damage and end up being too wide for an opponent to stabilize, but this simply won't have that reach.|
|Combat Professor - 3 - Getting to pump itself makes this a card I am really happy to run. It offers strong pressure in the air while also allowing smaller ground creatures to trade up if needed.|
|Defend the Campus - 3 - Both of these abilities are nice to have in a deck. They are often cut because they are too situational, but this card gives that needed flexibility to really make it worth playing.|
|Detention Vortex - 1 - I have no idea why the White Pacifism variant in this set is so unplayable... This is a typical staple we can count on in any Limited format! I am disappointed.|
|Devastating Mastery - 2 - This is a bit more expensive for a board clear than White typically gets, and more awkward to cast, but it is still probably worth playing. The lower mana cost is not something I expect to use because the drawback is simply too big.|
|Dueling Coach - 2.5 - Silverquill decks have a fair amount of +1/+1 counter synergy, so this makes Dueling Coach a nice late game mana sink. It is still a bit expensive for what it initially offers - play these in moderation.|
|Eager First-Year - 2 - At worst this is a "bear", so it is fine to play to fill out a curve if needed, but its Magecraft ability is a bit too low impact for most decks. This will be better in hyper aggressive decks.|
|Elite Spellbinder - 3.5 - A 3-mana 3 power flier can close out a game quickly. This early play applies a fair amount of pressure, supplies information and slows down an opponent. There is nothing not to like about this card featuring Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.|
|Expel - 3.5 - This is a lot better than most of the White removal spells we typically see. This doesn't have the flexibility we often see, but it also has none of the restrictions. I will be happy to play this in any White deck.|
|Guiding Voice - 2 - Ideally a deck will have better Learn cards than this, but with some Silverquill counter synergy and a good Lesson or two I can consider playing this card. Though I would never be happy about it.|
|Leonin Lightscribe - 3.5 - This starts out as a simple 2/2 for 2-mana, but it quickly turns into a huge threat! The ceiling on this card is very high. A few good Learn spells turns this into a game winning 2-drop.|
|Mavinda, Students' Advocate - 3.5 - This flier incentivizes playing combat tricks. Be careful not to fill the deck with low quality ones in hopes of drawing this card. It is great with even a few.|
|Pilgrim of the Ages - 2.5 - Getting to play this multiple times over the duration of a game can add up to a fair amount of value. The mana cost is a bit high to get back, but the initial value is enough to make this worth playing and you can consider the return a late game bonus.|
|Pillardrop Rescuer - 3 - A bit expensive for the creature itself, but the more and better 2 or 3 drops the deck has the better this gets. There are quite a few powerful cards in the set worth getting back at this rate.|
|Professor of Symbology - 2.5 - I love this for 2-mana. Getting to ditch a land or draw a bonus Lesson is great value when attached to a creature that is reasonably priced. This is much better than most of the small Learn spells.|
|Reduce to Memory - 2.5 - It seems like this removal spell would be card disadvantage, but getting it out of the sideboard as a bonus for Learn means it is card neutral. Getting to exile a big creature with a bonus card is good even if it leaves a mildly annoying creature behind.|
|Secret Rendezvous - 1 - I understand that this is an attempt to give White card draw, but if this is our only option... lets just not and say we did.|
|Semester's End - 2.5 - This is a bit too expensive to get overly excited about, but I think it is an interesting card that will see some play. This can be used as a go wide pump spell on an opponent's end step, leaving mana open for combat tricks or other removal on your turn. It also can protect creatures against removal or combat tricks.|
|Show of Confidence - 2 - This is borderline playable in decks with a fair amount of Magecraft and counter synergy. Look for more impactful spells if possible.|
|Sparring Regimen - 3.5 - This is a slow build, but it gives a ton of value over a few turns. This would be rated high in any deck with 15 or more creatures. Cards that create more than one token are also more valuable because it helps to ensure there is a creature on board to take advantage of this.|
|Star Pupil - 1 / 2 - Not impactful enough to want to run it on its own but there is enough counter synergy in the format for it to see some play.|
|Stonebinder's Familiar - 2 - I like that this card gets a bonus trigger from most of the Lorehold cards that remove cards from the graveyard. This is a totally free trigger that will happen naturally in Lorehold decks. Not worth playing without a fair amount of synergy.|
|Stonerise Spirit - 2.5 - This is moderately low impact on its own. It is a Spirit that flies, most don't in this set, so it has some nice synergy in Lorehold. It also enables a lot of other cards that want cards to be removed from the graveyard. This card has a wide range in power based on the cards around it.|
|Strict Proctor - 3 - This creature is worth playing as long as the deck does not have too many triggered abilities besides Magecraft. This can seriously slow down an opponent while also offering an evasive creature that can block if needed.|
|Study Break - 1.5 - Spells that only tap creatures for one turn are normally not worth running on their own. With a few powerful Lessons or Magecraft abilities this card could be worth running, but not without them.|
|Thunderous Orator - 3 - Getting flying in a White deck shouldn't be too hard, and that makes this card a bargain! Any other abilities are a nice bonus but not needed to want to play this card.|
Top 3 White Commons
|Arcane Subtraction - 2 - The ability itself is too low impact to put into a deck without having a few Lessons in the sideboard. This will make it into decks to trigger Magecraft and Learn Lessons, but not on its own merit.|
|Archmage Emeritus - 4 - Ideally you should wait to cast this until he can get some value. Archmage is small but has a powerful ability. A deck doesn't even need an excess number of Instants and Sorceries to make this card great.|
|Burrog Befuddler - 3 - This Frog Wizard is a fair amount better than the last power reduction card. This 2-power creature offers a lot more flexibility and can even provide 2-for-1s in larger combat situations.|
|Bury in Books - 2.5 - I like that this bounce spell offers more than a simple tempo play. It is too expensive when the creature is not attacking, but not uncastable if needed. Slower midrange decks are happy to run this card in moderation.|
|Curate - 2 - Hopefully better draw spells will be available. This will see some play when short on playables, or with a ton of Magecraft, but I am never happy with it.|
|Divide by Zero - 3 - The most important thing to remember is this bounce spell cannot hit tokens - typically the best target. With any Lessons this is still worth playing.|
|Dream Strix - 3.5 - Dream Strix puts a ton of pressure on the board early. It is easy to kill, but it Learns and ends up leaving you with an overall card advantage. It's not flashy for a rare, but it can snowball into game wins.|
|Frost Trickster - 3.5 - As a tempo player I always loved Frost Lynx - and this is just better! This card offers so much value and I cannot wait to play as many as I can.|
|Ingenious Mastery - 3.5 - It is a bit tricky to figure out when to cast this for its discounted rate and when to wait. Ideally this is something that will get cast late in the game giving a ton of value. This is an exciting pick up for both Quandrix and Prismari decks.|
|Kelpie Guide - 3 - This small 2/2 offers a fair amount of value for 2 mana. This is getting to ramp by untapping lands while also making combat difficult by threatening to untap creatures. Late game it can even push through damage. There is nothing not to like.|
|Mentor's Guidance - 3 - There are a lot of Clerics, Druids and Wizards in the set. This will likely be a better Divination in most games. There is some downside, but it should average out.|
|Mercurial Transformation - 2 - This Lesson is extremely underwhelming at sorcery speed. I still gave it a 2 because picking up a wide range of Lessons is always a good thing. If you are getting this for free via Learn cards that the deck wants to play anyway, this is fine.|
|Multiple Choice - 4 - Holy smokes this card seems really powerful! Each X casting cost is worth casting if needed, but if you can wait till 5 the value is just bonkers. I am really excited about playing this card.|
|Pop Quiz - 2.5 - With any Lessons in the sideboard this is a decent addition to any Blue deck. It is not the best Blue draw spell, but it will get the job done.|
|Reject - 2 - The "pay 3" mana condition is enough to make this playable since it hits creatures. This will be played more in Sealed where there are less playables in your colors.|
|Resculpt - 2 - Casting this on an opponent's creature feels really bad! If the deck is running a lot of small tokens this is a playable card. Being an instant means you get to block or attack with an unexpected 4/4.|
|Serpentine Curve - 2 / 3.5 - Both Blue schools have a lot of spells in them, so it is likely that this will give a decent size body midgame. Playable but not exciting in the average deck.|
|Snow Day - 2.5 - These are two playable spells stapled together to make one really expensive spell. Some decks can afford to cast 6 mana spells and some cannot.|
|Solve the Equation - 1.5 - This is just replacing itself and adding no extra value to your hand, and it's really expensive! Tutors are rarely playable in Limited and this is no exception.|
|Soothsayer Adept - 2.5 - This card is a decent curve filler with some late game value. Getting to loot away extra lands is a nice bonus for such a low mana cost. This also makes drawing 2-drops later in the game less painful.|
|Symmetry Sage - 1 - It is hard to picture a deck with enough spells and card draw to make this worth playing. I doubt this will see much play.|
|Teachings of the Archaics - 3 - This Lesson is extremely situational, but that's the nice thing about Lessons! If you don't need this effect you can get a different one out of your sideboard or rummage instead.|
|Tempted by the Oriq - 2 - The mana cost on this is really off putting. It is card advantage, but combining the times it can't be cast with the times an opponent has nothing worth getting makes this something I am not excited to play.|
|Test of Talents -1.5 - Counterspells that counter instants and sorceries only are always good cards to have in the sideboard. I gave this a .5 bump because I want this more than normal against Prismari decks.|
|Vortex Runner - 3 - Early game this creature is just mediocre. When looking at stats and cost it is filler, but late game this can become a real threat. An early curve-filling card that gets better in the late game is always great to have.|
|Waterfall Aerialist - 2.5 - 3-power fliers are always welcome. They close out games and often opponents just cannot deal with them fast enough. This has one less toughness than normal, but it has Ward so it's kind of a wash.|
|Wormhole Serpent - 2.5 - I like that this can make any creature unblockable and not just itself. This means smaller creatures can get in while leaving this big booty serpent back on D. It's nothing exciting, but I expect it will see a fair amount of play.|
Top 3 Blue Commons
After looking at White and Blue it feels like they are a bit underwhelming, but that is exactly what I would expect to see in a format based around schools or guilds. Typically, these formats have far more multicolored cards and most of the spice is used on those - Leaving the rest of the cards rather bland.
These articles are used for the draft ratings on Untapped.gg, and because of this we will be updating them periodically with new information and insight. Comments and discussions help me improve the articles and provide the best information for both other readers and Untapped.gg. So please feel free to comment below and give me your thoughts.
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