Strixhaven is the latest set coming to Magic: The Gathering this April. Revolving around five different prestigious magical colleges on the plane of Arcavios, each of these schools make up a different color pairing. For example, there’s the Red/Blue Prismari who are all about using their magic for art and the Black/White Silverquill which harness their powers for poetry. While many of us will be deciding which college we fit in with, Wizards of the Coast decided to drop a rather large story spoiler about the fate of Liliana Vess. It turns out she is currently a professor, hiding under the name Onyx, at Strixhaven.
This got me thinking, if Liliana could get a job then which magical beings did they turn down? Is there a way to determine what planeswalker would be the absolute worst choice for scholarly learning?
Before we get into the rules, we should explain what exactly a planeswalker is. These are powerful individuals throughout Magic’s multi-verse that possess something called a “Spark.” I could spend an entire article explaining the intricacies of a planeswalker’s spark, so just think of it as a multi-dimensional passport. It allows beings that possess it to leave their plane of existence and visit others.
There are a decent amount of planeswalkers throughout Magic’s history, so I am going to set a few ground rules. First off, the planeswalker must be alive and possess their spark. This is mainly to exclude some of the most obvious choices like Urza, who is responsible for basically ushering in a new ice age on the plane of Dominaria. Additionally, the planeswalker must have a physical card that players can use in any of Magic’s format. So I won’t be considering any characters that were mentioned in novels, comics, flavor text, or in passing. If they don’t have a card, they aren’t worthy of a collegiate occupation.
Finally, they have to have a magical discipline that students would actually want to learn. Sorry Tibalt, but student loans already instill enough emotional despair and pain, we don’t need an entire course about it. Now that we have our ground rules, let’s look at some of the top contenders for “Strixhaven’s Worst Professor of the Year.”
Oko – Shapeshifting 101
First seen on the plane of Eldraine, Oko is a fey who is capable of shapeshifting, telepathy, and manipulation. Even though shapeshifting is a useful skill for prospective wizards, Oko isn’t exactly using this ability for good. Instead, Oko likes to unleash his own brand of justice, by basically turning his followers into anarchists. There’s a pretty high chance that Oko would just radicalize all his students into shapeshifting, anti-government tricksters.
Nevermind, this actually rules.
Do you know how many planes have terrible, corrupt, or downright confusing governmental bodies in Magic’s multi-verse? Try paying for a parking ticket on Ravnica or explaining to an inquisitor on Innistrad that your sister is just going through a phase and isn’t a witch. I don’t care how many Standard metas have to be destroyed, we need more Okos to rise against terrible political systems.
Sarkhan Vol – Communing With Dragons II
Sarkhan isn’t on this list because the ability to talk or turn into a dragon is a terrible skill to know. It’s probably one of the most badass powers you could learn in college. The problem is, Sarkhan wouldn’t ever show up to class because he couldn’t be asked to not visit his home plane of Tarkir for an afternoon. And on the off chance you manage to catch him in the halls, he would just turn into a dragon and fuck off.
Ashiok – The Art of Ruining Sleep Schedules I
The nightmare weaver Ashiok was introduced on the plane of Theros. Boasting one of the creepiest looks in Magic’s history, Ashiok is just missing half of their face. I don’t know what kind of power you have to mess with to lose half of your face, but I assure you it’s nothing good. Ashiok specializes in dream manipulation and can summon physical manifestations of a person’s darkest fears. Sure, this is a cool power, but do you really want a professor knowing what scares you the most? College kids already have a hard enough time as is, the last thing they need is all their angsty fears shared with the class.
Jace Beleren – Intro to Being Manipulated
The longtime face of Magic, Jace has been involved in a number of major storylines throughout the game’s history. Specializing in illusions and mind-reading, Jace is one of the most powerful planeswalkers still alive. On paper, this sounds like a terrific course for students. That is, until you realize Jace is kind of an idiot.
Despite the immense power he controls, Jace has lost his memories a few times. Look, losing your memories once is bad enough, but he has done this multiple times throughout his life. Maybe Jace decides to wipe his mind clean the day you hand in your tests or when you ask for an extension on a class project. I had enough trouble with professors losing my emails, let alone forgetting that I exist entirely. Just go back to being a pirate Jace, you seemed so much happier then.
Ob Nixilis – Fundamentals of Death
Ob Nixilis is a large, terrifying demon who wields magic that either causes beings to decay… or he just consumes their souls. That’s it. That’s the entire argument. If you need me to keep defending why a giant murder demon would be a bad teacher then I don’t think Strixhaven is for you.
Nahiri – Advanced Revenge 201
Despite not being a large, scary demon or person who can bring your worst fears to life, Nahiri is still, somehow, the worst choice for being a professor at Strixhaven. A powerful lithomancer, Nahiri could teach her students a bunch of really useful and helpful spells. That is, until you slight her in smallest, most insignificant way and she swears destruction upon you for the rest of existence. At the time of writing this, Nahiri is already seeking revenge on not one, but two of Magic’s most powerful planeswalkers. She encased one of the planewalker’s entire bloodline into the walls of his home for cruel act of leaving her magical text message on “Read.”
Nahiri is not someone you want to anger. She’s not even someone you want to mildly inconvenience. Do you really think Nahiri would be able to handle a bunch of asshole 20 somethings at nine in the morning? Strixhaven would need parents to sign a waiver before their kid enrolls to ensure that the slow death of their child isn’t the college’s reasonability.
Bring back the murder demon… I would rather get my lessons from him than Nahiri.