Strixhaven is the latest set coming to Magic: The Gathering. Focusing on five different rival colleges, this set offers a ton of new cards for all different formats. While Strixhaven will certainly shake up the Standard scene, we are looking at the popular multiplayer game, Commander. With a ton of flavor and double-faced cards returning, I decided to highlight ten of my favorite cards for this format. Keep in mind, I am talking about the Strixhaven set, not the five Commander decks also releasing alongside these cards.
I will not be including cards that specifically excel in cEDH (Competitive EDH) alone since this variation focuses on playing extremely fast and efficient decks. Instead, our selections offer flexibility and embrace the spirit of this chaotic, social game. Additionally, we won’t be considering cards for Brawl since those are typically different archetypes and limitations.
If you’re looking to pick up singles from Kaldheim, here are our top 10 picks.
10 Best Strixhaven Commander Cards
1. Archmage Emeritus
It’s Beast Whisper, but for instants and sorceries. That alone makes it a potent draw engine, especially since most decks running Blue mana typically focus on spell-slinging. Costing only four mana, you can quickly amass a lot of value out of Archmage Emeritus if left unchecked. This will be especially good in control or storm decks, allowing you to constantly refill your hand. Plus, the relatively cheap cost of the archmage makes it good for most mana curves. Sure, it’s not the flashiest card in Strixhaven, but it’s quite effective and will serve as a solid engine for a lot of decks.
2. Beledros Witherbloom
Of the mythic dragons, Beledros Witherbloom is far and away the best. While it’s expensive to cast, this creature can have a pretty big impact on the game. Not only will it create you blocks during each upkeep, but you can pay 10 life to untap all your lands on anyone’s turn. This can create a sense of unpredictability, making you difficult to deal with since you will almost always have access to mana. Beledros is also great for big mana sink cards, assuming you have enough life. Even if you don’t want to make this dragon your general, Beledros is a superb reanimation target for any deck that can run it. Sure it doesn’t have the biggest body, but the sheer utility offered shouldn’t be overlooked.
3. Illuminate History
Red has always had to rely on big wheel effects or awkward rummage spells to fill their hand with cards. Illuminate History is certainly one of the best draw effects for Red in recent history. While you cannot just cast it to draw seven cards, Illuminate History allows you to curate your hand more carefully. Picking what to keep and what to ditch can be extremely useful in a lot of scenarios. Even though it won’t instantly refill your hand, it’s great for decks like Feldon or Deretti which want cards in the graveyard. There’s also the added benefit of it creating a creature, but this is not why it’s on my list.
4. Oriq Loremage
Let’s get one thing out of the way, you aren’t playing this for the +1/+1 counter effect. The reason this is going to find a home in a ton of decks is due to it being a repeatable graveyard tutor. Do you know how many decks rely on putting cards in the graveyard? A lot. We’ve always had ways to put cards in graveyards, but Oriq Loremage is such an efficient option. Being able to tutor a card to the graveyard every turn is extremely strong and the loremage is relatively cheap to play. Yes, it won’t be breaking into some of the most competitive reanimation decks, but it will definitely be a top pick for a lot of players going forward.
5. Wandering Archaic / Explore the Vastlands
I’m going, to be honest, I really don’t care about Explore the Vastlands. It can be a cute political card that can keep you off the radar for a little. Wandering Archaic, on the other hand, is a surprisingly strong “tax” card that can be a nightmare for your opponents to deal with. Given the popularity of cards like Rhystic Study and Smothering Tithe, forcing your foes to pay two mana for every instant or sorcery they cast might be too high of a price for some. This allows us to potentially make use of all types of spells our opponents have. Yet, where I really like Wandering Archaic is in decks that typically don’t have access to countermagic. Then this card effectively makes every counterspell cost an additional two mana otherwise you can counter theirs with the copy. It’s a very strong card that offers functional utility to a lot of decks.
6. Double Major
Speaking of copying spells, Double Major is actually pretty nuts. Even though you can only copy your creatures, it still only costs two mana. Two. A single Green and Blue. That’s extremely strong, especially since it can get around the legend rule. This makes it ideal for a lot of Simic decks looking to either run a lot of creatures, are reliant on their general, or just revolve around copying. While it’s not the best copy spell available, Double Major is a cheap and effective spell that will easily work with most strategies. Also, it’s an Instant, so you can get the drop on your foes who either target your general or another key creature in your deck.
7. Semester’s End
Blink decks have always been popular thanks to the sheer utility and value you can accrue over the course of a game. There are a lot of choices when it comes to causing your creatures to leave and reenter, but Semester’s End might become a new auto-include in most decks. This is not only due to its cheap cost, but the fact that it pumps all your creatures and even gives you an additional loyalty counter for any planeswalker you blinked. Semester’s End is also an Instant, meaning you can use this to avoid wrath effects or catch your opponent’s off guard with a sudden burst of ETB (enter the battlefield) triggers. Because it can get around removal, this makes it better than a lot of options and acts as a slightly more underpowered and way cheaper version of Teferi’s Protection.
8. Exponential Growth
Okay, so I typically allow myself one pet card onto these “Best Of” lists and Exponential Growth is filling that slot. There are a lot of Commander decks that rely on winning through Commander damage. This can sometimes be tricky since you’re relying on hitting a foe multiple times without them destroying your general. Exponential Growth can drastically speed this process up, letting you outright kill an opponent in a single swing. The only downside is this is a Sorcery and not an Instant, so you’ll need to be careful when you cast this card. With that being said, this is going to be a new auto-include for anyone devious enough to use Infect in Commander.
Which definitely isn’t me.
9. Augusta, Dean of Order / Plargg, Dean of Chaos
Definitely, my favorite legendary creature(s) in Strixenhaven, the combo of Augusta and Plargg is remarkably potent. Augusta can make your attacks wildly unpredictable, giving your creatures pseudo vigilance while making them harder to kill. This tap effect can also be useful if you’re trying to make use of any additional tap effects or activated abilities. On the flipside, Plargg offers some decent card advantage, letting you go through your deck for a creature to cast. If you don’t have five mana to spend, you can always just rummage for a card which is always nice to have. Both sides are quite strong, but the ability to cast one or the other gives your deck superb flexibility.
10. Deadly Vanity / Selfless Glyphweaver
Another spell that’s not very flashy, but the sheer versatility it offers is why it’s on this list. Both sides of this card offer players either a way to protect their creatures or destroy everything on the board. Deadly Vanity is a little expensive, but I appreciate that you can either save a creature or planeswalker. This makes it a little more advantageous since you can keep your best creature and just avoid additional Commander Tax. Inversely, Selfless Glyphweaver is just a solid protection spell that can help you dodge mass or even single target removal. While I don’t suspect this card will appear in every deck, it’s great for those looking to play a slower, more controlling style style of deck.