March 26, 2021

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Daily Dose of Strixhaven #4 – Time to study with Silverquill

Welcome all the Daily Dose of Strixhaven. Today I’ll be visiting the college of Silverquill to see if their sharp style and sharper wit make it strong enough to play in Standard. Silverquill is the college focused on Black and White spells, including the new Learn mechanic. I also have a look at a modal DFC Legendary creature pair that work well together if you can get them both on the battlefield. Finally, since Strixhaven is loaded with five Elder Dragons, it would make sense to talk about the one for Silverquill.

To start it off though is the new mechanic from Strixhaven: Learn. Learn allows you to reveal a Lesson card you own from outside the game (i.e. your Sideboard) and put it into your hand. You also have the option to discard a card to draw a card. Let’s have a look at a card with Learn, Professor of Symbology.

Professor of Symbology

We've seen two-mana creatures in the past like Immersturm Raider that have the same cost, stats, and ability to discard a card to draw a card. Professor of Symbology goes one level of value past that by allowing you to go get a Lesson from your graveyard. This way you know which card you’re getting rather than a random card draw off the top of your library. One thing that we are uncertain of is the power level of all the Lesson cards that will become available.

One card that could be nice to go with it is a nice Lesson like Confront the Past.

Confront the Past

It’s not very often that you’re able to have a reanimation spell for planeswalkers. It’s not bad at all to be able to recast a planeswalker for only one more mana than it originally cost to cast. This allows you to potentially use the same planeswalker twice in a turn if you use a negative loyalty ability that ends up killing the planeswalker. The best part is that if you don’t have a planeswalker to reanimate, this spell doubles as planeswalker removal. Four mana should be enough to kill most planeswalkers as not many will get above six loyalty.

Next up is a Bird/Human combination of cards on one Modal DFC that likes to play with +1/+1 counters. Here is Shaile, Dean of Radiance // Embrose, Dean of Shadow.

Embrose, Dean of Shadow / Shaile, Dean of Radiance

Shaile, Dean of Radiance starts off as a 1/1 Flying, Vigilance creature for two mana, which on the surface are odd stats. Attacking for one every turn is great, but we need more to make this a legendary creature. That’s where its main activated ability comes into play. After attacking with it you can tap it to add +1/+1 counters to every creature that entered the battlefield this turn. This makes all the creatures you cast after turn two a little larger. We have seen this ability before on lands that target specific creatures like Oran-Rief the Vastwood and Ruins of Oran-Rief, but targeting all creatures is sweet.

If we look at the flip side, we have Embrose, Dean of Shadow. Embrose, Dean of Shadow is a 4/4 creature for four mana that synergizes well with Shaile, Dean of Radiance. Let’s delve into its second ability first. It allows you to draw a card when a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter dies. Thanks to Shaile, Dean of Radiance, that could be all your creatures. When in doubt, Embrose, Dean of Shadow himself can add +1/+1 counters but at a potential price. This ability deals two damage after the +1/+1 counter is put on the creature. You can add a counter to a creature of yours that is about to die anyway so that you can draw a card. You can use it carefully to kill off an opposing creature that needs one more damage. There are many options for it but trying to draw cards from your killed creatures seems like the best value.

It’s finally time to talk about an Elder Dragon. Here is the mighty Shadrix Silverquill.

Shadrix Silverquill

Daily Dose Shadrix

Now this is an interesting design for a card. On the base, you get a 2/5 Flying, Double strike creature for five mana. The intriguing part of this card is in its beginning of combat ability. Alternatively, if you don’t want it to trigger you can cast Shadrix Silverquill during your second main phase. The reason you might not want to trigger it is that you must choose two of the options, with one potentially benefiting your opponent.

Now you must decide which option you would like and which you want your opponent to have. Part of that decision is dependant on their battlefield state. If they have no creatures on the battlefield, you won’t mind giving them the +1/+1 counters. If you have a way of killing a 2/1 creature you might go that route as well. The option you probably should never do unless the loss of one life makes a difference is letting your opponent draw a card. Each game could have unique circumstances that could affect your decision, so choose wisely to not give your opponent a better option than what you’ll receive.

As you can see, Silverquill is ready to cause some havoc with some amazing new cards. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Strixhaven. Join me again next week as we go back to school after enjoying our weekend off from studying.