Village Rites is Our Official Strixhaven Preview

Look What’s Back… It’s Village Rites!

Village Rites
Village Rites

Our good friends at Wizards entrusted us with this exciting news: Village Rites is sweeter than ever in its Strixhaven form!

Village Rites was already a popular card in the Rakdos and Jund Sacrifice decks of Standard and Historic. The card continues to give you opportunities for card advantage, and sacrifice synergies! All for one measly mana.

And… That’s some fun art.

Professor Onyx from Strixhaven

Professor Onyx
Liliana Vess… now cosplaying as Professor Onyx

Our heroes are torn on their assessment of Professor Onyx.

  • Michael: Unbridled enthusiasm. He imagines this card as kind of a one-card High Tide deck. He imagines untapping with this powerful permanent in play, and passively killing the opponent while doing what a control deck might want to do anyway. Like drawing cards or killing creatures.
  • Patrick: The rate on this Strixhaven Planeswalker is just too bad. Six mana is a ton… And this incarnation of Liliana is no Dreadhorde General. Who do you want it against? Fast Red Aggro? Mono-Blue? How about Elspeth Conquers Death? Exactly.

Kasmina, Enigma Sage from Strixhaven

The other recently-revealed Planeswalker from Strixhaven ends up well worth the discussion. This one has a lot that it might be able to contribute to… But most importantly via that passive ability.

Each other planeswalker you control has the loyalty abilities of Kasmina, Enigma Sage.

Kasmina can grant Ultimates to Planeswalkers with no natural payoffs… And can turn high loyalty Planeswalkers directly into huge creatures.

How about that fail state?

Imagine you just played this card for three; and immediately made a 1/1.

“I won a PTQ with the card Wood Elves in my deck.” -Mike

What’s better as a remainder? A Kasmina with one loyalty, or a basic Forest. Exactly.

Give it a listen now!

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Patrick’s Sweet Mono-Blue Snow Deck!

Here’s a Build of Mono-Blue Snow:

4 Ascendant Spirit
4 Frost Augur
3 Icebreaker Kraken
4 Brazen Borrower
4 Cosima, God of the Voyage

3 Opt
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Essence Scatter
1 Into the Roil
1 Neutralize
3 Saw it Coming
4 Behold the Multiverse
4 Shark Typhoon

17 Snow-covered Island
4 Faceless Haven

2 Brinebarrow Intruder
2 Threnody Singer
3 Mystical Dispute
3 Negate
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Essence Scatter
2 Jace, Mirror Mage

There is a lot going on here! What kind of opponents does this deck murder? Where does it struggle?All in good time… But what kind of deck is Mono-Blue Snow?

Snow as a Delver Deck

Ascendant Spirit
Ascendant Spirit
aka “The Good One”

Ascendant Spirit is a great way to start the game for a Mono-Blue deck. This deck plays eight one mana creatures, which makes it a little challenging to categorize… But the presence of this one means that it can play a potentially aggressive game.

Using your one mana on turn one to get a body on the battlefield just allows for a wildly different kind of game than one where you have to invest the mana later.

Mono-Blue Snow as Jushi Blue

Frost Augur
Frost Augur

Supplementing Ascendant Spirit at the one is Frost Augur. Mono-Blue Snow utilizes this creature like an cheaper Jushi Apprentice. Yes, it has one less toughness. Yes, it’s card draw is a lot less consistent than just always drawing a card.

But it’s half the mana to get on the battlefield, and two-thirds less to operate! Regardless, a 1/2 for one mana is a nice body for slowing down opposing offense.

Icebreaker Kraken
“Tap out” for Icebreaker Kraken!

At the high end of the curve is Icebreaker Kraken. “High end” being a little misleading given that you will often spend very little mana for this alleged twelve drop.

But imagine you have six lands in play… That’s six remaining, for an 8/8! MichaelJ used to take control of the battlefield by making a 5/5 for six. The 2021 version of Keiga, the Tide Star is actually 60% bigger. And by Keiga, we mean Yosei.

Check out the chatter on this exciting new deck, including detailed matchups and brewing new tools here:

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Egon, God of Death in Historic

So What Makes Egon, God of Death so Good in Historic StOmPy?

Egon, God of Death
Egon, God of Death
  • Starting on Llanowar Elves, Historic StOmPy is already optimized to hit three drops, so Egon, God of Death is 100% on-plan
  • In fact, already welcoming Rotting Regisaur, StOmPy has an established black splash
  • Between its size and deathtouch, Egon is a great mid-combat Collected Company hit
  • Egon makes The Great Henge cheaper (of course)… But after, The Great Henge can keep Egon going. This is kind of weird since The Great Henge loves hand and Egon devours graveyard, but maybe you’ll be playing so many cards that the opponent will have to react or die anyway
  • Its a nice new addition to a Pelt Collector’s evolution… Think Steel-Leaf Champion; Egon, God of Death; Rotting Regisaur for 5-6-7
  • Finally, Egon is a table-snapping combo with Rhonas, the Indomitable. Or, “they always take seven”. Trample + deathtouch and all that.

Throne of Death (the opposite number to Egon, God of Death) is Part of the Range, too…

Egon, God of Death // Throne of Death
Throne of Death

Typically, the mill doesn’t matter.


Sometimes you’ll hit your own Resilient Khenra.

Throne of Death is an excellent tool for grinding an opponent with a lot of one-for-one removal. Essentially, they kill your creatures; you draw a ton of extra cards… They run out waaaaay before you do.

And the rest of the emerging Historic Decks

We start on StOmPy… But hit a ton of other archetypes this week. So many burning questions will be answered, like:

  • Is Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose in Historic Angels just a meme deck?
  • Why does Mike hate about Historic Jund?
  • Is the heretofore-unmentioned Captain Sisay deck just sweet, or possibly good?
  • What makes Dreadhorde Arcanist the deck of the week?
  • Which version of Bant Collected Company is more exciting? Angels or Party?
  • Can there be even more in-depth discussions of even more decks? Spoiler: Yes.

Check out the latest episode now!

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Pick a Side on Reidane, God of the Worthy

Were you perhaps asking after Valkmira, Protector’s Shield?

The flip side on Reidane, God of the Worthy

Actually… No.

To be fair, we are in fact talking about a modal double-faced card. But I wasn’t in fact talking about the Legendary Artifact mode on Reidane, God of the Worthy. Certainly there are applications (and things can go comically wrong for certain opponents going wide)… But I was really just thinking about the range of damage that the front-side can do.

Reidane, God of the Worthy is great going multiple directions

Reidane, God of the Worthy

So this creature is a 2/3 flyer for three mana… with vigilance to boot!

That’s… Not bad. It’s got a little less deathtouch and lifelink than a onetime best 2/3 flyer for three mana ever; but vigilance can give you a nice measure of offense-defense.

But what’s so devastating about this card?

Snow lands your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped.

What an awesome way to race! Both your fellow mono-white aggro decks and the current incarnation of the Red Deck play 20+ snow lands. How else are they going to turn on Faceless Haven? Power up Frost Bite?

Noncreature spells your opponents cast with converted mana cost 4 or greater cost 2 more to cast.

While Michael’s perspective on this card is — perhaps predictably — as a Red Deck foil, Patrick thinks this card is mostly there to keep opponents off of being able to cast Emergent Ultimatum and other Ramp-driven nonsense.

In fact, it’s good in both cases!

How do you fight Reidane, God of the Worthy?

Not well, in all likelihood.

If you go low, trying to handle it one-on-one, you run the risk of a Selfless Savior or Alseid of Life’s Bounty keeping it around.

How about sweeping up all the white creatures at once? What? With your four-or-more-mana Wrath of God effect?

It’s tough.

Also Featuring…

  • That awesome Emergent Ultimatum list!
  • Sweet Standard singletons
  • The return of Improbable Alliance to Boros Cycling
  • And more!

Listen now:

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Witherbloom Command is Overrated for Standard

Witherbloom Command Indeed Looks Exciting for Bigger Formats

Witherbloom Command from Strixhaven
  • Witherbloom Command
  • BG
  • Sorcery
  • Choose two —
    • Target player mills three cards, then you return a land card from your graveyard to your hand.
    • Destroy target noncreature, nonland permanent with mana value 2 or less.
    • Target creature gets -3/-1 until end of turn.
    • Target opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life

The first ability in particular is very nice for formats with either Wasteland or Flooded Strand. The ability to re-buy a land from your graveyard is a proxy for “draw a card” (and even better if you are about to miss a land drop).

The fact that it mills three cards first can not only load you up if you haven’t used a fetchland yet; but can power up a Life from the Loam. And, again, Wasteland.

But what is Witherbloom Command going to do for you in Standard?

Even in against Mono-Red, Witherbloom Command is a not-great Vicious Hunger. It’s often worse than cards players already choose not to run.

Further, Standard has fewer specialized lands and non-creature permanents to make this card’s other abilities good. Not terrible perse… But already overrated.

… In fact? Can it in fact be overrated for Legacy?

Oh, and we go deep on the other four Strixhaven Commands as well!

  • If Lorehold Command is good, Strixhaven Standard is going to be a great format! At the least, it looks better than Jace’s Ingenuity — and at least on five mana — it is far, far, better than a Sphinx’s Revelation
  • Prismari Command looks to be a Staple “in the formats you can cast it” … Certainly it will see play in Modern, comparable to an Electrolyze that compacts your deck building costs.
  • Quandrix Command is going to be good… But only in very specific decks. If you’re not in it for +1/+1 counters, you’re not going to be into it. But if you are? It’s an instant speed Man-o’-War!
  • Silverquill Command is consistent if nothing else. Lots of Ojutai’s Command to this one; and that’s a good thing.

Get introduced to Strixhaven here:

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