Strixhaven Limited Set Review: Blue and Quandrix

Strixhaven Limited Set Review: Blue and Quandrix
Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios Art by Chris Rahn

Welcome back! Today is the second day of Limited Reviews, make sure to check out the Introduction if you haven’t already, and otherwise enjoy!

Who is rating?

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Drifter

I’ve been enthralled by Limited ever since I began playing Magic, almost ten years ago now. With a particular fondness for flashback and cube drafts, I’ve drafted more sets than I can count on every platform through wildly different eras. On Arena I draft infinitely, having profited 40k or so gems from it at this point, and have made top 100 mythic many times. Self-reflection and forming good habits are paramount to Limited improvement, and those themes feature in many of my articles and in each session of the Limited coaching service I provide (background here). Consider booking a session today if you’d like real-time feedback tailored to you and strategies to best make use of it!

Check out all my articles here and follow me on Twitter for regular updates, or to ask about coaching!

Legend (IMPORTANT)

  • S: Ridiculous bomb: has a huge immediate impact on the game and threatens to dominate it if unanswered. (Emeria’s Call, Elder Gargaroth, Luminous Broodmoth)
  • A: Very powerful card: approaches bomb status, pulls you strongly into its colour. (A+: Maul of the Skyclaves, A: Scute Swarm, A-: Jace, Mirror Mage)
  • B: Great playable: happy to pick early, pulls you into its colour. (B+: Journey to Oblivion, B: Deadly Alliance B-: Kargan Intimidator)
  • C+: Good playable that rarely gets cut. (Sea Gate Restoration, Deathbloom Thallid, Dead Weight)
  • C: Fine playable, sometimes gets cut. (Farsight Adept, Alpine Watchdog, Honey Mammoth)
  • C-: Mediocre playable or decent filler, gets cut around half the time. (Living Tempest, Legion’s Judgment, Raugrin Crystal)
  • D: Medium to bad filler, gets cut a lot. (D+: Inordinate Rage, D: Utility Knife, D-: Sizzling Barrage)
  • F: Mostly to totally unplayable cards. (Forsaken Monument, Miscast, Blazing Volley since it’s a sideboard card)

Grades are based on maindeck power level; if a card is good in the sideboard, we will mention it in the review. Every grade can have a sub-grade within it, but the differences are most pronounced in the C-Category, so they have their own description. Beyond that, a B+ means it’s almost an A, but not quite.

Arcane Subtraction

Rating: D+

This is a decent way to Learn in a creature deck, since it gives you a chance at 2 for 1ing your opponent if they try to trade. It’s often going to be hard to set that up, but the failcase of gaining a few life and Learning isn’t the worst, as long as you have good Lessons to get. This sort of card is much better on the offense because the 2 for 1 is much more likely to actually work. Befuddle was pretty bad at 3 mana, but the upgrade to 2 is enough that I think some creature decks will want to play the first copy over other filler.

Don’t play this if you don’t have that many creatures, especially small ones that are likely to trade, and don’t play multiples, unless you have a lot of Magecraft creatures or rare/mythic Lessons. You can just get better Learn cards if you’re not particularly well set-up for it.

Archmage Emeritus

Rating: A-

This is a ridiculous card that demands immediate removal, since the decks of this set will have a much greater spell to creature ratio than normal, meaning any instants and sorceries you cast are pretty likely to chain into each other and provide you more and more value. Cheap spells go up in value when you have this, because you usually want to try to draw immediately the turn you play it so that you’re still ahead if it gets removed. In the later game, you’ll often be able to draw 2+ cards immediately, since you can just prioritise playing creatures and wait for a big turn!

If the format is faster than it looks, and you’re really punishing for tapping out for such a weak body, then I could see lowering the grade on this, but the floor on it is still a fantastic first pick.

Burrog Befuddler

Rating: C-

This card is a little too low impact for me to be really excited to have it as part of my 2 drop slot, but it’s not bad. It’s mainly a flash 2/1 but every so often you’ll be able to turn an even trade into eating a creature. The problem is you usually need another creature to make that happen, because people aren’t really attacking with 1/2s on the ground very often, but you can always hold it for the right opportunity if you have other stuff to play.

Bury in Books

Rating: B-

This is a fantastic and versatile common. On the defense, it represents a ton of tempo for a pretty cheap cost, and doesn’t put you down a card like other bounce effects. If you’re beating down, it’s a little inefficient but still a solid way to enable your attacks and two turns is really a lot for your opponent to have to wait – imagine if they’re in a topdeck scenario and they just draw a land or an unimpactful card next turn and you get two full turns of attacks! I expect every deck to be happy with the first copy, and any decks that aren’t beating down that hard will be happy with multiples.

Remember that this is a set where every colour pair has a mascot token, and bounce effects are premium against those, straight up removing them.

Curate

Rating: D

This is the sort of card where in most sets, your Limited decks just wouldn’t have space for it, and you would lose too much tempo. Magecraft makes this a bit more interesting, since you just want cheap spells with reasonable effects if you’re trying to trigger those effects, and this can find you more spells to chain off with, but the ceiling is still just medium filler in that deck, and it’s trash in other decks. There are just better more impactful ways to trigger your Magecraft, and far better card draw options.

Drifter’s Context Corner: Evaluating Magecraft in Blue

When rating cards as Magecraft enablers, to see how much that matters and affects the grade, we need to check how many decent Magecraft payoffs there are. If we check out Scryfall, a fantastic tool for your information-gathering needs, we can see that the Pledgemages are good cards and playable in every Blue deck, and Quandrix/Prismari each add a few more decent commons and uncommons (which we’ll get to reviewing soon!).

Since we’re a guild set and we’re primarily going to be drafting within those pairs, that means Magecraft is of extreme importance here. We want the Blue commons, the cards most readily available to us, to be as good as we can make them, and we have access to many more of them than other colours. To them, Magecraft is an option, but to Blue it is a necessity. Therefore a larger proportion of every Blue deck needs to be spells than in other colours, and especially cheap spells are at a premium.

Divide by Zero

Rating: C+

So the joke with this card is that you can’t bounce tokens, and those would be a premium target for it, but it’s still a great rate, even being able to bounce spells (though holding up 3 mana to do that is pretty painful). It doesn’t cost you a card unlike other bounce spells, and it provides good tempo if you bounce something that costs 3 or more (and as a general rule, you should reserve bounce spells for expensive creatures/buffed up creatures/to blow out combats), and it does all that at instant speed.

I considered giving this a B-, but I do think that Learn cards have diminishing returns and this card specifically will really fall off in the late game. As with all of them, it’s very variable based on how good your Lessons are, and you still don’t want to include too many bounce effects either.

Drifter’s Context Corner: Why are tokens so important in Strixhaven?

This is taken from the introduction, so check that out if you haven’t already! Every colour pair has a token mascot this set. Essentially what that means is that there a lot more tokens in this set than usual, since they’re tacked onto various commons and uncommons as value.

  • Lorehold (R/W) has 3/2 Spirit tokens, and various synergies surrounding those. Remember that they don’t fly this time!
  • Silverquill (W/B) has 2/1 flying Inkling tokens.
  • Quandrix (U/G) has 0/0 Fractal tokens, which get a certain number of +1/+1 counters based on how well you meet a certain restriction.
  • Prismari (U/R) has 4/4 Elemental tokens.
  • Witherbloom (G/B) has 1/1 Pest tokens that have “When this creature dies, you gain 1 life”.

The presence of so many tokens has various effects, such as making bounce spells better and certain creature statlines worse – e.g. 2/1s and 3/1s aren’t going to be very good at attacking against Witherbloom, and as a result there are fewer of them this set than in most. 3/2 fliers that you have to actually spend a card on are pretty bad against Silverquill, so you might want to board them out in best-of-three if you’re not a deck with lots of small removal. Only three of the five tokens are generally worth using removal spells on, so keep that in mind.

Dream Strix

Rating: B

A solid threat that 2 for 1s is good in my book, and while this turns a lot of spells into removal for it, they’re usually still expending a card.

Drifter’s Context Corner: Illusion creatures and single-target spells

In Magic, when a spell only has one target and then that target becomes illegal before the spell resolves, that spell is countered. So if you cast Arcane Subtraction on Dream Strix, it will sacrifice itself and counter the spell – they won’t get to Learn. That makes this sort of Illusion creature a lot better, because its ability is harder to exploit for value.

Frost Trickster

Rating: B

Wow, this is a ridiculous common! Frost Lynx was a great card, and this one scales far better into the late game and has a reasonably efficient body. When people talk about Limited powercreep, they are going to use this card as an example. Expect this to be one of the best commons in the entire set.

Ingenious Mastery

Rating: D

This is a fake modal card, because you should pretty much never pay 3 for it – in the early game, your opponent will ruin you if you cast this card (imagine spending your mana on this t3 on the draw, then they untap and play a 6 drop that they got two looks towards finding for free… yeah, okay) and later on, the scry 2 is still very relevant and you’d rather just pay the X and draw more cards/not give them anything.

So let’s just look at the X cost, which is very inefficient – it takes 5 mana before it even becomes Divination, and 6 mana to draw three cards isn’t a great deal either. At the point where you can cast this for 4+, it’s actually pretty good but that’s a very late game proposition in a set with many other mana sinks, both on permanents and through the Learn mechanic. There are a couple of cost reduction effects that make this a bit better, but it still just sucks.

Kelpie Guide

Rating: B

So this is slightly inefficient ramp or the ability to give vigilance to a creature early, and then gains a game-winning Icy Manipulator-style effect later on. Quandrix has a lot of ramp this set, and Prismari’s theme is big spells which they need a lot of mana to cast, so yeah… this card is just great.

Mentor’s Guidance

Rating: B-

There are really a lot of creature types that enable this card, and most decks will have plenty of hits. You need 6+ to really be happy, but at that point it does a pretty good Behold the Multiverse impression (do note that Scry 1 twice is much worse than Scry 2) for 1 fewer mana. It’s exceptionally good in this set because Magecraft reads “if you cast or copy”, meaning this gives you a full two triggers, which can be absolutely devastating!

Mercurial Transformation

Rating: D-

This card being a sorcery means I’m very unexcited for it even as a Lesson. It’s kind of like a split card that might stop a creature blocking for a turn or give one of your creatures a slightly better attack, and none of that is even remotely exciting.

Never play this card in your maindeck, and pick it up on the wheel/in the last few picks if you need it for your sideboard. It gets better with looting effects (which other Lessons have), and it’s still nice to draw a card/have a target if you’re playing lots of Learn cards, so you’ll get a tiny bit of value out of it every so often.

Multiple Choice

Rating: A-

This is a fantastic modal card, with a bunch of solid options and great effects in the midgame.

  • At X=1, this is a case of “oh no, I’m mana screwed”, “my entire hand is expensive cards”, or “I have ways to recur this so I don’t mind it being in my graveyard”.
  • At X=2, “my opponent is playing aggro, I don’t have other 3 mana plays at all, and even then I should maybe just use the X=1 mode instead.”
  • At X=3, a solid and efficient creature.
  • At X=4, absolutely busted. Sometimes bouncing a creature of their choice will actually be a downside, since they’ll return a creature with an enter the battlefield effect, but a 5 mana 4/4 that replaces itself and slows them down is as good as you can get.

Having all these options and it filling your curve so well makes this card much better than any of its individual modes, and some of those are really good!

Pop Quiz

Rating: C-

This is sort of like an instant-speed Divination, since your first couple of Lessons (at least) should be worth most of a card. Still, I think it’s a little worse than that (that would be a very good card) because of the diminishing returns surrounding Lessons, which I explain in the link below. As the game goes on, you’ll have to settle for Lessons like Mercurial Transformation, which isn’t even half a card, and Divination being able to hit land drops can be really important.

All in all, It’s decent but I wouldn’t pick it too highly, and would be hesitant to play too many, depending on what other Learn cards/Lessons I had.

Reject

Rating: D-

This is a much worse Essence Scatter, and Essence Scatter would be worse anyway in a set with so many spells. It doesn’t trigger your Magecrafts when you want to trigger them, it’s an awful topdeck, and the window where it’s good is very limited.

Resculpt

Rating: D

This is a monumentally worse version of Angelic Ascension, where the upgrade to one of your creatures is so big that you’re happy to play the card. In this case, losing flying really means that 2-for-1ing yourself is not going to be worth it and using it on an opposing creature is awful (sure, sometimes they’ll have a bomb and you need to, but then you’re still really far behind).

The good cases for this card are a) when you have a treasure token or other unimportant artifact lying around, such as with Storm-Kiln Artist or Sudden Breakthrough, or some really weak creature like a Pest token, and then you block their attacker or b) when you cast it in response to a removal spell. In case a, the upgrade just still isn’t all that good (likely a 4/4 on turn 5 or 6) for all the time you had to waste waiting to cast this, and blocking something will often not work out. Case b is very situational, you have to hold this 2 mana card up turn after turn, and decks with fewer removal spells naturally won’t play into it. It is specifically nice against auras that lock down your creatures, since then you can cash in the creature at any time, and I could see this as a sideboard card against some decks for that purpose.

Ultimately, the ceiling on this card is just never that high and the failcase of it not necessarily doing anything for many turns is very real. Just believe me, this sort of card is always far worse than it looks (and this one doesn’t even look that good!).

Serpentine Curve

Rating: C

Invade the City was always a card that chronically underperformed for me in War of the Spark (one of my favourite draft sets in recent years, check out some background here if you like!), but this one is quite a lot better since there are more instant and sorceries in this set and it adds an extra counter. It also counts stuff in exile, which is nice because a couple of the big Prismari spells exile themselves to make treasure tokens.

Still, this is a really late game card because you’re just not going to have tons of them in there until late. At the point of five instant and sorceries, I’m pretty happy but that strikes me as pretty late in the game. I think many Prismari decks will be happy to have it, lacking that many other really big creatures, and it’ll be worse in Quandrix which has fewer spells overall anyway. Still, it’s decent regardless, just because the Learn/Lessons dynamic counting as two spells is so big for it.

Snow Day

Rating: C

This grade is a little deceptive because I actually really like this card, but I think this format has a lot of good high end between all the mana sinks and Lessons. It removes two creatures from combat, denying them two opportunities to attack and two opportunities to block if you cast it on their turn, which is just a huge game and will win so many races/break open board stalls if you have creatures of your own. It pairs great with big creatures specifically so I see it as more of a Quandrix than Prismari card, but tacking on some sweet card advantage makes me pretty happy to play one copy in a lot of decks.

Solve the Equation

Rating: D-

This is a card that you should only play if you have some busted rare or mythic instant or sorcery alongside some other good targets. Otherwise, 3 mana just isn’t worth paying for card selection.

Soothsayer Adept

Rating: C-

The Learn cards all loot by themselves, which reduces the need for this sort of card a bit, but being able to convert a bad Lesson into a real card and gain card advantage that way can certainly come up too. This is a fine rate, but never super exciting since 2 mana is quite costly to put into it until you’re out of cards. I think this will be worse than in most sets overall, since Blue has a lot of uses for its lands between the 8 lands mechanic in Quandrix and all the big expensive spells in Prismari, so it won’t want to loot those away as much, and this set has a ton of mana sinks too.

Symmetry Sage

Rating: D+

This card is interesting, but it doesn’t strike me as at all what Blue wants to be doing – it’s an all-in aggressive card in a slow and value-oriented colour. It’s a really bad topdeck late and there will be plenty of turns where you won’t trigger it. It doesn’t really upgrade most of your other creatures so you’ll be only really using it on itself, and it doesn’t benefit multiple casts. I really don’t think Blue is going to be able to capitalise on this sort of conditional damage very well, and the ceiling is very low compared to something like Clever Lumimancer.

I don’t think playing Azorius, which this card would fit into much better, is going to be viable with so many great gold cards running around, much like in the old Guild sets. Still, this could see some play in the more beatdowny Prismari decks, and it’s not the worst playable if you do care about damage, so I won’t start it too low.

Teachings of the Archaics

Rating: D-

This is a card that does absolutely nothing if you don’t fulfil a very specific condition, but luckily it’s a Lesson so you don’t have to fish it it out of your sideboard unless it does fulfil that. Unfortunately, Blue is the colour that’s best at having cards in its hand, so I don’t think having this in your sideboard adds much at all, and would only take it if it was the only card I could possibly play or I had some ways to loot it away after I had exhausted other Lessons. If you’re a very low curve Blue deck, you can take this a little higher, but I would never ever consider maindecking it.

Tempted by the Oriq

Rating: B

This card is pretty hard to cast, but it has an absurd effect, especially if you do manage to get it out on turn 4 or 5. They do need to play a decent creature with mana value 3 or less, but even stealing a Fractal token or a random 3-cost flier will often be good enough. I do think often you will end up having to cast this later thanks to the mana requirement, and that some of the decks in the format just won’t have that many good targets, so I’m leaving it at B, but it will break your opponent in half when it’s at its best!

Test of Talents

Rating: D+

With so many instant and sorceries running around, I’m much more excited about this card, since it would be totally unplayable in most sets. Still, I think it’s going to be pretty bad when you do run into the more creature-oriented colours like Green and White, and many instants and sorceries aren’t fantastic targets because they’re on the cheaper side or they’re Lessons, which mostly aren’t worth a full card. You really want to be able to hit big spells against Prismari or Quandrix to be excited about this card since then it retains value in the late game, and it’s pretty good at hosing other Blue decks in general. I see it as more of a fantastic sideboard card than a good maindeck card.

Vortex Runner

Rating: D+

This is mostly just a vanilla 2/3 for 3, which is not very exciting. Being a reasonable threat in the very late game is nice, but that strikes me as a position Blue has much better tools to dominate in this set.

It’s going to be hard to outgrind Quandrix, the combination that has the easiest time getting to 8 lands, so I’d rather just have more efficient early plays, and much of the ramp in it costs 3 and competes with this for curve slots. This is okay filler in Quandrix that you cut a lot, but play when you need playables or aren’t overloaded on 3s. This is pretty bad in Prismari, and you should usually be able to do better there.

Waterfall Aerialist

Rating: D+

I’m unhappy with this card in most Blue decks – it blocks awfully (even Pest tokens will add up against it!), Ward 2 isn’t all that good against the small red removal it’s weakest to, and I think Blue decks will mostly be wanting to value people out this format. You don’t need cards like this or care about the damage they do when you’re going way over the top of your opponents.

There will be some more aggressive Prismari decks that will want this, using Red creatures alongside all the Blue bounce and tempo decks to overwhelm people, and I do expect some of them to be good and this to be fine in them. Some of the Quandrix decks that are employing the Green Stompy strategy may well want some evasive threats too, and Frost Trickster will go too early for them to always pick up, so overall it’s not terrible, but I’m going to start it low.

Wormhole Serpent

Rating: C-

This card actually seems like a pretty decent way to convert all that mana from your Quandrix deck into a kill. In the late game, it is going to absolutely demand removal since giving your two biggest things unblockable isn’t something your opponents can ignore in a board stall. It’s a pretty decent blocker on turn 5, since 5 toughness is kind of hard to get through and blanks most of the tokens and common creatures.

Augmenter Pugilist / Echoing Equation

Rating: B+

This card actually has three modes, since the 8/8 trample mode is definitely going to come up a lot! In the late game, either you use it as an Overcome effect when you have a bunch of creatures (and preferably something with evasion to copy, but at least your Fractal tokens will keep their counters and be massive anyway) and aren’t worried about instant speed removal, or you get an amazing attacker and blocker. On turn 3, you have a great curve play. Really, it’s not quite powerful enough at any point to be a bomb, but you can never go wrong.

You should play this in every Green deck, but not if you don’t have access to Green mana – the second mode is too situational, but Augmenter Pugilist is a fantastic card by itself.

Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios / Journey to the Oracle

Rating: D+

This is a fake modal card because Journey to the Oracle is unplayable, so let’s just get that out of the way. Sure, sometimes you can envisage a scenario where you get enough Magecraft triggers, but come on.

Jadzi is a pretty powerful payoff for reaching 8 mana, but you’re often not even going to have cards in hand to protect her from removal by then, or the spells to activate her ability. Still, your spells chain into each other and you won’t need to cast many to produce a gamewinning advantage. A greater issue is that I think this part of the game is one where Simic is at its strongest – when they’ve reached that 8 mana they’ve been gunning for and a bunch of their cards suddenly have great additional effects. As a Simic deck, I am more concerned with ensuring my early game is up to snuff and having efficient curve plays and card draw to keep my lands flowing, and Jadzi does nothing for me with that in mind.

Jadzi seems really bad in Prismari unless you have some copies of Kelpie Guide or the treasure generators, and even then most of the treasure geneartors are attached to big spells which you can just cast anyway.

Kianne, Dean of Substance / Imbraham, Dean of Theory

Rating: B+

This is another modal card where both sides are great, and really if you’re in both colours then I suspect you just cast whichever is better on curve for you. Imbraham has the better body by far and his form of card advantage is also more immediately rewarding as long as you’re willing to pay mana. Kianne, meanwhile, you can just leave in play and tap every turn and it will massively improve your draws and hit you land drops for free in the short term, and then when you eventually do have the mana to spend on his ability, all the free cards you’ve accumulated should win you the game in short order. I think Imbraham is a little bit better than Kianne, but I would always be happy to play Kianne also, especially if I don’t have mana or time to dump into Imbraham’s ability yet.

Even if you only have one of the colours for this card, it’s still great and I would always play it.

Aether Helix

Rating: C+

So this card looks reasonable begin with, but let us remind ourselves that this is a token-heavy set, and it will sometimes just be straight up removal that draws you a decent card… it seems like the number of bounce spells in the set that can hit tokens was purposefully limited, but this one got through and that massively increases its power.

Still, it’s a bit expensive and low tempo if you’re not killing tokens, especially at sorcery speed, and you might not always have a great target to bring back especially if you’re ramping up to it or have your own tokens (which don’t go to the graveyard to be brought back). In a spell-heavy set, having a good target will be more of a problem too. I also just don’t want multiples at all, and there are other good bounce/draw effects to compete with it. I do like this card nonetheless and it has a really high ceiling, so I’m going to leave it at low C+.

Biomathematician

Rating: B-

This card is great with any of the other Fractal producers, and Quandrix certainly has plenty! The failcase is still pretty good, but once you’re putting counters on two or three things, your opponent is just falling so far behind. I foresee seeing a lot of nuts Simic decks which have several of these, since they combine insanely well.

Body of Research

Rating: A-

As a 6 mana 25/25, this card seems pretty stupid. It’s really hard to cast, but will force them to sacrifice a creature every turn until killed, and if you happen to have Charge Through, Master Symmetrist, or Team Pennant then they’re just dead immediately. I am marking it down because you often won’t be able to play it on turn 6, but it does also just dodge every Red removal spell in the set and some of the conditional Black ones.

Decisive Denial

Rating: B-

Both of these effects are a bit situational and underpowered, but together I expect the card to be very decent – the fight spell is better when you have a big creature, and the much weaker version of Negate is probably past its sell-by date by then but is better in the early game in such a spell-heavy set, so I expect them to patch each other’s weaknesses nicely.

Double Major

Rating: F

I’m really not into this card. First you have to have a decent creature to copy, then it adds 2 to the cost of it… it sounds pretty winmore to me and like a card that will often be stuck rotting in your hand, especially in your ramp deck which may not have that many good creatures to copy until really late and has plenty of awkward draws already just by virtue of needing ramp spells + payoffs in a good distribution.

I honestly don’t think you should ever play this, perhaps there’s some silly deck you can brew up that has a bunch of 2 and 3 mana rare and mythic legendaries that are great, but I’m not rating for 1 in 500 decks.

Eureka Moment

Rating: C

This card strikes me as what Quandrix wants to be doing, since it bridges the gap between your mid and late game turns and keeps the lands flowing so you can hit 8. You don’t want too many as it’s kind of inefficient and Quandrix wants to ensure it has good early game so it lives to its devastating late game, and there are other better ways to draw cards in Quandrix like Golden Ratio, but the first copy is a pretty high C.

Fractal Summoning

Rating: C+

This card is expensive and inefficient, but that’s okay because it’s a Lesson. It gives you an okay thing to pump late game mana into and if you do end up having to cast it as a 6 mana 4/4, or 5 mana 3/3 that’s not that bad when you got the card for free. I think it fits the “generic high end” slot pretty well, which is an effect I actively want my Lessons to be able to get.

Golden Ratio

Rating: C+

I think with the number of token producers in this set, it shouldn’t be too hard to make this a draw 3-4 in the late game and a draw 2 by turn 4 or 5, and that sounds pretty exciting to me. It’s a bit rough that it won’t always be as good as Divination is for hitting you land drops early, say if you’re mana screwed or don’t have other 3 drop plays, but usually you want to cast Divination after you’ve emptied your hand a bit anyway. I’m happy to take the first copy of this highly, but it’s weaker if I have other card draw like Eureka Moment.

Kasmina, Enigma Sage

Rating: A-

I think people are heavily underrating this card, just based on what I’ve seen on social media. This is an insanely efficient card for 3 mana and will take over games when played early. 4 loyalty on turn 3 is really scary, and it’s not hard to engineer a situation where they can’t attack it easily, especially on the play. From there, it can scry more if it’s under pressure or it can start to spit out tokens, and if it’s doing the latter then it’s absolutely terrifying. +2 is just incredibly strong on a Limited planeswalker and it is so hard for them to kill Kasmina if you land her early. There’s also some synergy with her since she’s totally absurd with Biomathematician!

That being said, she’s too dependent on being played early to splash unless I had more fixing than normal, but she still does a decent job late as long as they aren’t really far ahead and don’t have fliers and such (and Simic has some decent answers to those this set).

Manifestation Sage

Rating: C+

This is a card that drops off massively if you don’t play it on turn 4, but is pretty great if you do. It’s awkward if you splash things and a pretty bad topdeck, but Quandrix does have a bunch of card draw to help it out a bit. I think these slower colour pairs are going to be lightly splashing frequently this set, since the 5 common duals and some artifacts make fixing good enough, so it is definitely a sacrifice that lowers my rating of the card a bit.

I don’t mulligan very much in Limited (which I have an entire article dedicated to explaining!) and would not recommend you do so too much either, so I’m not hugely concerned about that aspect, but it certainly hurts this card a little when you do have to ship back a really bad hand.

Needlethorn Drake

Rating: C+

This is a solid 2 drop, a decent card early and late, and one that patches up holes against fliers. There aren’t too many ways to buff it up in Quandrix, but Karok Wrangler is pretty great with it.

Quandrix Apprentice

Rating: B

This card might look innocuous but this is a really powerful effect. It ensures you never miss your land drops, something the colour pair never wants to do, at an extremely low cost. If you throw some looting into the equation – say with Learn cards or Soothsayer Adept – then you’re getting a tremendous amount of value, but this is a set with tons of mana sinks and great ways to use your mana anyway, so your later land drops will still put in a lot of work. In really long games, the thinning will start to matter too since at a certain point, you will have cycled through your entire deck, which makes you far more likely to draw gas for the rest of the game.

Quandrix Command

217 Strixhaven Spoiler Card

Rating: B+

Putting two counters on a creature and bouncing something for 3 mana at instant speed is an absolutely crushing tempo play, often allowing you to kill a creature for free, and the ability to counter artifacts and enchantments will definitely come up sometimes too. I don’t foresee using that last mode, but it could be nice in the very rare glacial game where decking is a concern.

Quandrix Cultivator

Rating: B-

A 3/4 for 4, not even that bad a statline, and then it replaces itself and works extremely well with Quandrix’s set mechanic? That’s some serious cultivation.

It’s worth noting that most of the ramp spells in Green don’t fix you, and neither does this, so I wouldn’t expect Green to be the king of fixing this set – you’ll need to go out of your way to get the dual lands (which are great), Cultivate (which is an uncommon Mystical Archive so you should see it sometimes), or Letter of Acceptance.

Quandrix Pledgemage

Rating: B-

Spellgorger Weird was a fantastic card in War of the Spark, and the Pledgemage will be comparably powerful. It can be a bit hard to cast if you’re only playing one of the colours, but I still like taking it early and often since it’s a great card that leaves you very open. Going Learn card + Lesson after this to get two counters is going to be great.

Square Up

Rating: D

I really don’t see myself playing this card – it’s a really situational and weak effect, and the cards where this is a reasonable trick are usually not ones where I care about saving them. It’s nice with Fractal tokens since it just gives them +4/+4, so I could conceive of some sort of deck with multiple Biomathematicians where it does enough but Titanic Growth is not really a card that strikes awe and fear into my heart, and that’s your ceiling!

Tanazir Quandrix

Rating: A+

We haven’t seen a whole lot of mythics that make you choke on your cereal yet, but Tandrix will do the job when you have the misfortune of playing against it and don’t immediately have a removal spell. A huge flier that doubles the stats of one of your Fractal tokens is an extremely good start, and then this card gets even better! It has an additional layer of synergy with Fractals since its buff gives them +4/+4, and the any random creatures you have lying around will get a big boost too.

It won’t be a surprise for it to one shot a weakened opponent the turn after you play it, and even if they do kill it, it’s not hard to make big Fractal tokens in Simic so it will often provide a ton of value before it goes.

Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy

Rating: B+

This Quandrix uncommon is absolutely absurd. If you reach 8 lands with it in play, it will win you the game in 1-2 activations, and until then if you’re not too far behind then it will find you those lands, all at a pretty reasonable price! The first ability will be nice every so often but doesn’t add a whole lot. This is a huge ramp payoff and great splash card, and I would be overjoyed to first pick it.

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Drifter

Drifter is our site’s content manager and main editor! A draft and strategy specialist, of special mention are his Limited Reviews and draft coaching service.

2 Responses

  1. Canill says:

    On Multiple Choice, the downside you mention for when your opponent has a creature with a good ETB ability doesn’t apply. You may choose a player, you do not required to. You just have to decide whether costing them the mana to have to cast it again is worth it if they get the ETB again.

  2. Anssi Alkio says:

    Kasmina is more like B-. It is A in pretty much single scenario: you are on the play, can cast her t3 AND your opponent doesn’t have more creatures in play. She ranges from mediocre to bad it many other spots. Main issue is that +2 and ult are both fairly weak abilities, so the card often doesn’t even need to be dealt with.

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