The latest set in the Magic: The Gathering Arena repertoire is Strixhaven: School of Mages and it launches on April 15th. This interesting new expansion focuses on a school of magic, where each college has an allegiance to a different combination of mana.

While most of the cards follow the traditional rules of the tried and true formula of Magic, there’s plenty of new stuff and some surprising mechanics that change the way the game is played entirely. The first, and perhaps the most important, is Learn.

What’s Learn?

This action allows you to discard a card to draw another one from your library or use a Lesson card from your sideboard, putting it into your hand. Plenty of opportunities can be found this way, such as drawing an overload of mana in your hand at the start of the game, if you have a card with Learn, you could discard some mana to get to creatures, enchantments, and instants faster.

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Since you now have access to your sideboard using Learn, which was originally only accessible between matches, you can now look at it during a match to see what cards you have available there. Single matches will give you a sideboard of seven cards to access, but Best-of-Three will retain a fifteen card sideboard, as per usual.

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Ward keeps spells away, at a cost – to your opponent

Strixhaven’s other main keyword is Ward, which triggers anytime a spell or ability is used against your permanent by an opponent and automatically counters it unless that opponent pays the ward cost. The cost is often a mana cost, but can also require them to pay with life points too.

When targeting an opponent’s creature, since Ward doesn’t cost any additional mana to use, it will prompt you if you want to pay the cost or not to cast it. Ward doesn’t work on spells that can’t be countered, so not everything will work in the creature owner’s favour, but it’s certainly an amazing trick to have up your sleeve.

Strixhaven release date and more

Access archived magical history with the Biblioplex

Within each pack of Strixhaven, whether it’s an 8-card store pack or the new 15-card Limited pack, you’ll find a dedicated card slot for one of Strixhaven’s most interesting features, the Mystical Archive. In each pack, you could pull an uncommon, rare, or mythic rare in that slot, but you have the potential of pulling from the Mystical Archive, which is a collection of the most powerful spells from Magic: The Gathering’s history.

Beyond that, there are even some Archive cards that have special Japanese alternate-art variants, which are featured as styles in event rewards or bundles that can be purchased on the in-game store. All the cards from the Mystical Archive will not be Standard legal, but almost all of them will be Historic legal, so it’s good to have that knowledge going in, especially if you’re looking to buy a bunch of the 15-card packs.

Final words on Strixhaven

Strixhaven is shaping up to be an exciting expansion that bends the rules in interesting new ways and offers a lot of new cards to enjoy. With an assortment of Wizards, Warlocks, Shamans, and Clerics to command, there is a lot of power to put in your hands, whether you’re learning from lessons on your sideboard or warding against opponent’s spells. If you’d like to check out all the cards in the Strixhaven: School of Mages set, you can view them on the official site (Spoilers!).

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