Selesnya Magecraft Strixhaven Standard Deck Guide
Strixhaven is here, and class is now in session! With my affinity for prowess in Modern, I was stoked when I first seen Clever Lumimancer and the other Magecraft cards. So of course, my first deck had to abuse the mechanic and I began brewing and testing!
I quickly fell in love with Mavinda, Students’ Advocate. I was a huge fan of Feather, the Redeemed when it was in Standard because of how abusable the pump spells were and I think Mavinda, while clearly weaker, is a powerful tool in the same vein as Feather and allows us to abuse Magecraft to the fullest in an aggressive shell since it allows us to buy back our spells for additional use.
One of the best combos with Feather was with Defiant Strike, as it gave us a trigger of our “heroic” cards and netted us back a card. Luckily, Defiant Strike is still in Standard to work with our Feathered Advocate. The fun does not stop there though – we now also have Charge Through.
Charge Through is useful because it allows our creatures to not be chump blocked while drawing a replacement for it in our hand. Being an Instant also allows for some nice “gotcha” plays by dealing some unexpected damage after blocks are assigned. It also has fantastic synergy with Ram Through, giving our creatures pseudo-Double Strike while removing a blocker.
Building the Deck
Putting everything together, this is my suggested list:
Not gonna lie, I think that looks rock solid.
Adding Jegantha, the Wellspring is free, so there is no reason to not play a Companion when we can. I chose to play Clarion Spirit because of its synergy with Leonin Lightscribe, making an army of giant fliers quickly. Dragonsgaurd Elite is our beater of choice since it gets +1/+1 counters and stays large and in charge without the need to just cast spells to stay relevant as a threat. Its self-pump ability is insane in the late game to close out with a Charge Through as well. Of course, we also have Clever Lumimancer, which is not as powerful as it is in eternal formats but still strong enough to have a place here. If you play this deck in best-of-one, I think you should cut it since it is so fragile in aggro mirrors, but it has its place if you see a lot of midrange or control decks with few creatures to block it.
Snakeskin Veil gives our main threat protection. Since it gives a counter, it has a lingering impact on the game. Getting a Mavinda out of Frost Bite range in stellar and getting Lightscribe or Clarion Spirit out of Bonecrusher Giant range is just as fantastic. We also have Fight as One since it can save two creatures from a sweeper or be a sweet combat trick. Sejiri Shelter is also fine protection, but it can also be a land in a pinch or allow a huge threat to swing past mono-colored blockers.
So why not just Selesnya Adventures?
Well, you can still go the Adventures route and I think it could be good, but I want to make maximum use out of Mavinda, Students’ Advocate. I think the card is insanely powerful and becomes weaker with fewer spells to buyback. Plus, a lot of decks are slamming Lovestruck Beast and for good reason, the card is good, but I want to play on a different axis. Also, just as hearsay, but rumor has it that Edgewall Innkeeper is on the watchlist for a possible ban, so I want to think ahead just in case. 😉
- You can combine Charge Through and Ram Through for a pseudo-Double Strike effect.
- Do not be afraid to hold back to alpha strike in a turn or two. Do not use all your cards at once, it is a marathon not a race. The deck can do a ton of damage in one turn, so do not be afraid to miss out on chipping away for a bit.
- You can use Mavinda’s ability at instant speed!
- Do not be afraid to attack first with Clever Lumimancer as a 0/1 to see how your opponent responds.
- Holding up protection is key. Always do it if you can.
- Sejiri Shelter can be used to make a creature unblockable, especially against mono-colored decks.
When sideboarding with this deck, it is extremely important to not subtract too much of our core strategy away or it just dies to itself. Sideboard light and don’t bring in more than you need.
|+4 Chainweb Aracnir||-4 Clever Lumimancer|
Rogues are still the bully of the format. Their density of removal, counters and aggression are hard to deal with, especially in game one. Post-board we bring in the tried-and-true Chainweb Aracnir. If we stick the spider, it can buy us the crucial time we need to put a win together. We cut Lumimancer because it is so frail and can’t break past a lot of their creatures and requires us to overextend to do damage which is dangerous.
Mono Red Aggro
|+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy||-4 Clever Lumimancer|
Mono Red is the same as always, sometimes they hit that perfect curve, slam an Embercleave and take the free win. We can still try and disrupt them a bit after sideboard. I bring in Reidane because it can slow them down by forcing their Snow lands to come in tapped and throw off their curve by making Embercleave more costly. Having 3 toughness also makes it easy to protect and Vigilance makes it a fantastic blocker and threat.
Wilt takes care of Embercleave if it resolves and can also be removal for Anax or be cycled in a pinch. Lumimancer is just too hard to protect and sets us up to get 2-for-1’ed which we are already in danger of, adding in the fact that it can’t block a Fervent Champion without help and can still get blown out if they have any pump or spells makes it an easy cut.
|+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy||-4 Charge Through|
|+2 Wilt||-4 Ram Through|
|+2 Primal Might|
|+2 Drannith Magistrate|
I think we are favored here if they do not just draw all the removal in their deck. Charge Through and Ram Through are useless since the only creatures they run are huge and few in numbers. Reidane is fantastic at slowing down their sweepers. Wilt takes care of pesky enchantments and what not, Primal Might can be a game ender with protection and is a far better removal spell than Ram Through. Drannith Magistrate stops Emergent Ultimatum, Polukranos, Unchained and stops any Foretell spells caught in exile.
|+2 Primal Might||-4 Clever Lumimancer|
This matchup is basically the same as Mono-Red but Gruul is a bit slower on average. We cut Lumimancer because it can’t block effectively and dies to basically everything. We bring in Wilt to take care of The Great Henge, Embercleave and The Akroan War. Primal Might is a nice removal spell that buff our creatures and is reusable with Mavinda, Students’ Advocate. You may be tempted to bring in Magistrate, but I think that is a bad move. They only really play two Adventure spells and Magistrate cannot block effectively. Just leave it in the board.
|+2 Primal Might||-4 Clever Lumimancer|
|+2 Drannith Magistrate|
This matchup is similar to Gruul but they are just a hair slower. We cut Lumimancer for the same reasons as before. We bring in Magistrate to stop Showdown of the Skalds and their Adventure package. Primal Might is just a good removal spell. You can bring in Wilt if you see Embercleave, but often the only targets are Showdown and Glass Casket. I prefer to just slow them down and win by interacting as little as possible.
|+2 Soul-Guide Lantern||-4 Clever Lumimancer|
This matchup is straightforward – do not die to Zenith Flare and you win most of the time. We bring in Lantern to exile their graveyard to shut off Zenith Flare and Lurrus of the Dream-Den. We also bring in Wilt to take out Improbable Alliance. We cut Lumimancer (again) because it gets walled by tokens too easily and cannot block well.
I think this deck does a lot of powerful things and has a lot going for it. I really enjoyed testing it and building it. So, if you are in the market for a new deck and like the Feather and Prowess play style, then I think you should pick this deck up. It really is a breath of fresh air in what was becoming a stagnant Standard despite a whole new expansion.
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