Do you still love the Harry Potter franchise but absolutely cannot abide supporting its terfy author? If so, Magic: The Gathering’s latest card set, Strixhaven: School of Mages, might be for you.
More than being a simple card game played to demoralize your friends, Magic: The Gathering has its own story, with each new card set taking place in magical realms called planes. Recent planes have included the viking-themed Kaldheim, the fairy tale-inspired Eldraine, and now with Strixhaven, publisher Wizards of the Coasts is Hogwarts-ifying its popular card game.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Strixhaven is a school for mages founded by five powerful dragons, each with their own disciplines and personalities. They have divided their school into five different colleges, with each college devoted to their founders’ ideals. Magic published a short, cute blog about each of the colleges. Strixhaven sounds very much like a real university with maths, science, history, and literature departments, each with their unique magical flair.
I love Magic: the Gathering, but I was always more drawn to the characters on the cards than the worlds they occupied. I identified with Black characters like Kaya and Teferi and deeply respected characters like Ashiok despite the misery they caused me whenever their card materialised out of my opponent’s hand.
With Strixhaven, I’m really excited to get to know more about the world. It seems like so much fun — a stark contrast to Magic’s usual stories of war or surviving in monster-infested environments. Strixhaven seems like it’s just kids learning and having a good time, and that’s a nice change of pace — Magic could use a bit of levity. It can’t be Nicol Bolas tries to take over the worlds all the time, right?
Here’s my brief summary of the schools.
Witherbloom is the school for the bio nerds who like poking at things living or dead and definitely have a collection of taxidermied pets. Quandrix is the school that has somehow managed to make magic boring by adding maths to it. Prismari is the school for the drama kids — at all hours of the day, at least one person can be heard singing “Seasons of Love.” Lorehold is the college of history and is populated entirely by kids who read at lunchtime, recess, and while on the toilet. Finally, Silverquill is for literature nerds who think wearing black is a substitute for having a personality.
Along with a standard set of cards, Wizards will release pre-made Commander decks for each of the colleges. I’m personally choosing Lorehold since I’m a history nerd who favours playing white mana decks and…I was one of those kids who read at lunchtime, recess, and on the toilet.
Strixhaven: School of Mages won’t be out for another month, but you can expect to see more cards and hopefully more of the story as we get closer to the release date.