Strixhaven: School of Mages has dropped, and there is definitely a lot to be excited about here. On top of everything from the main set we also have the Mystical Archive cards to consider, and on top of that there are the Japanese alternate art Mystical Archive cards as well. Yeah, it’s a lot. Today I’m going to be doing a shallower dive and taking a look at a few of the top cards across each of the different categories we have, and probably follow up again in the coming weeks with more of the cards that I think are going to do well – so be prepared for a slightly different article format than you’re used to from me.
We’ll kick things off with undoubtedly the coolest and most exciting of the cards that have just been released, the Mystical Archive cards. We’ve got two versions here – the regulars and the alternate art Japanese versions, which are all the same cards that you get in the English version, but solely in Japanese and with awesome alternate arts. When it comes to the Japanese cards, a lot of players that don’t read or speak Japanese are still going to be playing with them, and that means that the most popular ones are going to be the cards that are simple and have very little text to remember.
We’re talking about stuff like Counterspell, Swords to Plowshares and Demonic Tutor here – super-staples that are going to be in very high demand by a lot of players. However, prices on all of these are sky high at the moment due to choked supply, and I think that we’re going to see prices fall as we move forward into peak supply 4-6 weeks out from now.
As prices fall I want to be keeping an eye on these staples, in both the regular and alternate Japanese versions, in non-foil and foil. JPN alt foil Brainstorm is sat at $80 right now – I want to be seeing that around $50 or so; the same Demonic Tutor is way up at $400 – I expect to see that halved in the next few weeks as more product is cracked. Yes, these cards are rare but they’re not that rare.
The regular versions are great pickups here as well, and are going to be more readily available than the alternate versions and thus command lower prices, but you can still realise gains with them nonetheless. If we compare English foil Counterspell vs JPN alt foil, you’re looking at $16 vs $74. I expect the English ones to drop a little bit, and the JPN ones to drop quite a bit, but keep an eye on both for lows in a few weeks.
Extended Art and Borderless
I still don’t really know why these are two separate categories of card because it’s honestly just a bit confusing, and relatively easy to mix up which is which – but anyway, it is what it is. Borderless are the ones with different art to the regular versions (and also a borderless frame), and Extended Art are the ones with same art as the regular versions and a borderless frame. Borderless come in regular booster packs, EA only come in Collector Boosters. Easy!
So taking a look at some of our options, I quite like the look of Beledros Witherbloom at the moment. Albeit very early days at the moment, it’s the second most popular commander built on EDHREC so far and seems like a pretty powerful card. Paying 10 life is a lot less when you start on 40 in EDH, and being able to untap all your lands is a very powerful effect, especially when there are a bunch of pretty easy ways to gain either a tonne or infinite life going around. Pumping out a bunch of tokens on top of that is just extra value. Borderless foils are very expensive around $65 right now, but I expect to see that come way down towards $20 or so pretty soon. I like grabbing these at their low, especially as it’s a Mythic, and should look pretty good on a one to two year timeline.
When it comes to Extended Arts, I like the look of Codie, Vociferous Codex. Again it’s one of the most popular commanders built so far, and I’m inclined to compare it to something like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. A colourless commander with a five colour identity and an activated ability looks pretty familiar, and Golos was (and still is) highly popular. The best thing about Codie is that you don’t need coloured mana to activate it – you actually get coloured mana out of it, which makes the ability a lot easier to use than Golos. Although it’s going to technically be a five colour deck, the fact that you don’t need coloured mana to activate it means that we might well just Izzet Spells builds of this instead. EA foils are around $12 at the moment and I think we’ll see that drop bit, depending on how many Collector Boosters are cracked. If we can get these around or under $5 then I think that should be a great price, but even at $7-10 I think that they’ll look good a year or two out.
Regular Old Cards
When it comes to regular cards, I’m looking at brick targets – cards that I want to be picking up a big chunk of with the view to buylist them at some point down the road. I think that the best for those are cards that have appeal across the board – from EDH to totally casual and maybe competitive as well. I’m looking at Archmage Emeritus first here, a rare from Strixhaven that has a lot of potential. Drawing a card whenever you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell means that going infinite and drawing your whole deck is probably very easy, making for a win with Thassa’s Oracle or something similar. That’s already looking popular in EDH and will be big with the casual crowd, so I’m looking for bricks of these under $1 for sure (currently preordering around $2-3).
I’m already running up the word count here so I’m going to stop now and leave some more for next week’s article, where I’ll likely be talking more Strixhaven with new data, so tune in then!
David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.