Surprise: MTG’s Strixhaven Has Some Proper Bullshit

Surprise: MTG’s Strixhaven Has Some Proper Bullshit
Image: Wizards of the Coast / Jokubas Uogintas

It’s almost time for a new Magic: The Gathering set, and this one is all taking place in Magic‘s most elite university: Strixhaven. Naturally, you can’t venture into the hall of mages without some proper OP firepower, and to help preview the upcoming set we have two very, very good cards.

For today’s preview we’ve got two to show off. The first is just the kind of card that, honestly, if you leave this in a draft for someone else you need to reconsider your priorities. The only thing that’s not good about it is the fact that you need white, and if you’ve got a deck where you’re splashing white and red, then you’re playing this card. Genuinely, it has value written all over it.

mtg strixhaven
Image: Wizards of the Coast / Anna Podedworna

This stunning bit of artistry comes from the offensively talented Polish artist Anna Podedworna, who has been doing Magic cards for aeons. Seriously, check out her Instagram and ArtStation, it’s brilliant stuff. And it’s appropriately great consider just how supremely bullshit Rip Apart, a RW sorcery is:

Rip Apart (R/W): 

Choose one: 

  • Rip Apart deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker.
  • Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

The only real downside to this card is that it’s a sorcery, really. It reminds me a lot of Boros Charm, a R/W card that used to make me literally fume back in the days when I was trying to play Esper Control and you’d inevitably waste another turn burning board wipes just trying to get rid of Boros Reckoner for the seventh time.

There’s really very few situations where you won’t get value out of Rip Apart. It’s the kind of card that when Wizards of the Coast emailed over to me, I swear I’d seen before. Cards like Lightning Bolt or Shock have been great value for years, or even something like Incinerate, because they fulfil that 3 damage target for a low cost. But also being able to nuke an artifact or enchantment at the same time?

Rip Apart is just flat out good. It’s reliable enough to get played in a whole stack of formats, and if you don’t draft this purely just so someone else doesn’t take it, it’d had better be because you pulled a massive bomb.

Image: Jokubas Uogintas / Wizards of the Coast

Next cab off the rank is the ferociously dangerous Venerable Warsinger. A 1RW creature with trample and vigilance (!), the Warsinger’s ability is to bring back any creature from the graveyard that costs the same amount, or less, mana than the amount of damage done to your opponent.

So to spell this out in practice: I attack with Warsinger, you block, 2 damage goes through. That lets me bring back any 2-cost creature or less from my graveyard. Pump up the Warsinger more and more damage gets through? Well, I hope you have a lot of board wipes, because there’s a lot of bodies coming back.

Venerable Warsinger (1RW)

Vigilance, Trample

Whenever Venerable Warsinger deals combat damage to a player, you may return target creature card with mana value X or less from your graveyard to the battlefield, where X is the amount of damage Venerable Warsinger dealt to that player.

And just for a reminder: anything that has an ability that pops when it hits the battlefield still triggers even if it was summoned from the graveyard. (Or summons a second time.) I’m sure that won’t be a massive pain in the arse at all. And there’s always the potential to pull Lorehold Apprentice out of the grave again, a RW 2/2 that gives other Spirit creatures the ability to tap for 1 damage once Magecraft procs. (Magecraft is a new mechanic that triggers every time you play or copy an instant or sorcery; there’s more info here.)

This is a card that has a ton of juicy potential in limited formats. But with all the weenie decks doing so well of late, and Boros Aggro (red/white) matching up well against the mono red/mono white decks that have won a stack of tournaments recently, Venerable Warsinger could do some damage.

The Strixhaven expansion will launch globally on April 23, although it’ll be available online via MTG Arena (which is out now on iOS and iPad) and Magic Online a week earlier on April 15. And if schools of magic aren’t exactly your kind of style when it comes to cards, there’s a Dungeons & Dragons themed set dropping in mid-July, followed by a werewolf-themed set in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. There’s more details here, if you’re interested.

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