What a reveal Wotc dumped on us this week. After the spoiled names of the colleges and them being dual color was released on a Danish site, we were totally not expecting to hear a thing from them on the subject for a while. Even with the announced sneak peak, we had NO idea so much was going to be dropped on us all at once. Maybe they were pushed into so much because of the earlier spoilers. Possibly, they planned it like this all along. Whichever it was, we’re still processing the massive amounts of info given to us in just one article/stream.
Besides the actual themes of the school along with exact color combos, we got this tome-crazed dwarf with a scroll mini-gun. As a DM, I’m already homebrewing.
But there was so much more given, if you read between the lines. In our first lesson, we’re told that ‘the best and brightest’ have gathered here on the plane of Arcavios to drink from the font of magical information and knowledge that is Strixhaven. Tomes, Libraries as well as Indiana Jones like adventurers seeking every morsel of magic content that exists no matter where they have to go to get it (Much like those of us that hang on every bit of info leaking and spewing from Wotc about Strixhaven).
There are several bits and pieces in the write up as well as the art on the packaging that leaves a lot to be learned about the School for Mages.
Wotc expertly guides us through this school as if we are perspective or new students taking a tour of sorts. Most of what is going on with the cards revealed makes sense and already has me brewing. What gets my attention is the passing comments that they drop in to stealthily peak our interests. Like the fact that five colleges (Lorehold, Prismari, Quandrix, Silverquill and Witherbloom) are all named after the ELDER DRAGON that founded them and were each a ‘paragon’ in the type of magic their college practices and strives to live up to the reputation left behind. This would be only a passing bit of knowledge if Wotc didn’t say right after that, ‘ We won’t be meeting the founders today, but with any amount of luck, they may show up at orientation!’. Is this a hint that we’re getting Elder Dragons in Strixhaven. More later.
Another tidbit comes from the set booster pack and box art. Just who is that hooded figure all of the students are fighting? And I swear to god if one of you says Voldermort one more time, I’ll scream. I mean, as far as I can tell, this enemy has a nose. And why does he resemble Jace? Is that Jace? Nah, it can’t be Jace. lol.
The Return of the Royal Scions
But the first thing that got my attention was the art on the Bundle and draft booster boxes. They prominently show Will and Rowan Kenrith from last years Eldraine set powering up for a fight in a library. Just like the reveal of Kaya on the box of Kaldheim, this is big.
Will and Rowan were last seen in the Penguin/Random House publication, Throne of Eldraine: The Wildered Quest. Their adventure ended with finding out that they were born of a conujured love affair between their actual father, High King Algenus Kenrith, and a witch of Eldraine. Confused and angered that they had not been told before, a spark ignited uniting the twins under one shared spark sending them away from their home.
One would think this would be the time when the Royal Scions traveled to Kylem and joined the tournaments of Valor’s Reach in order to prove themselves; for what reason is unclear. It was the first time we got to see the twins and had no idea where they had come from or that they were actually of a royal lineage. Will and Rowan became champions in this ‘Two-Headed Giant’ style set where two legendary combatants joined forces to take on sets of other fighters in the arena.
The question is whether this happened before or after Strixhaven. Is this School for Mages where they learned their magic and tapped into their lightning and ice power? Or did they become champions at Valor’s Reach first. I’m sure all will be revealed as the story unfolds. But it’s a fact that the twins are at Strixhaven for this next set. And, being front and center on the boxes means their sure to factor prominently in the new Vorthos.
It is easily deduced that Will and Rowan are going to end up in the College of Prismari given that their magic draws from blue and red mana and manifest in lightning and ice. Rowan fits into, not only, the elemental motif, but the fact that she is ‘bold and impetuous’; perfect for a ‘theatre kid’. And Will is right at home surrounded by tomes of power and magic as he has already shown an aptitude with study and pursuit of knowledge. We’re not sure if he still aspires to return to Eldraine and trade secrets to the Magic Mirror for knighthood or not. If this is his plan, maybe he’s here to take something valuable to trade. But, I doubt it since most of their aspirations are caught up in doing good.
“Together the twins travel from plane to plane, following the knightly virtues with which they were raised in pursuit of achieving the most good. “
But it does go on to say both are cursed. Are they there to find out how to break the curse? Is there a drive here to find a way to separate the spark so they can pursue their own ways? And does Kasmina and her research into the spark and those she calls ‘embers‘ have anything to do with this?
And speaking of Kasmina…
Don’t think we didn’t notice Wotc. If there’s one thing the magic community and all of your Vorthos Voyeurs can (almost) agree upon is that this is the perfect place for us to see the return of our favorite blue planeswalker/Mentor, Kasmina.
Kasmina made her debut in War of the Spark in an all to brief cameo that left us wondering if we would ever see her again. And with the whole ‘magic school motif’ of Strixhaven, it just seemed natural that we would see our favorite ‘Enigmatic Mentor‘ and her familiar owl making an appearance. It was a given, right? Right, Wotc? Well, despite all of you who cried ‘Harry Potter‘ when this set was announced (and still do, unfortunately), Wotc does not always do what’s expected. They especially don’t ‘rip-off’ other licensed product. But they are the master at going their own way, writing their own story and totally doing the unexpected.
Picture to the left is courtesy of
@NissaCosplay on Twitter
So, we would like to think that seeing a Kasmina Planeswalker card is a lock. But we all know it isn’t. And, if she does make an appearance, which school would she be affiliated with? I’m thinking that we already have the Kenrith twins for Prismari, so maybe we get a Quandrix card for Kasmina? But wait! Just because she shows up in Strixhaven, doesn’t mean she’s even affiliated with the school.
Is there a possibility that Kasmina, a ‘leader of an ancient, secret Order of Planeswalkers, a shadowy cabal with mysterious aims’, may be one of the bad guys? It clearly states that her motifs are unknown and that she hunts down ’embers’ aka pre-spark planeswalkers and recruits them for her ‘cabal’. It even says that she will go to any length to produce their spark; even pushing them to trauma. And the word ‘Indoctrinate’ was used concerning her process. SO, is she the villain of this set? And what is this ‘looming conflict that dwarfs War of the Spark’?
I need to do some actual research on this one. If you want to too, the real source would be in Viz Media’s book, The Art of Magic: The Gathering – War of the Spark published, interestingly enough just last October.
Could things get a little wild in Strixhaven?
I felt I could have also said ‘hairy’ instead of wild, but anyway. When Rowan and Will’s joint spark ignited and they disappeared, there was another planeswalker present that made a solemn oath to the Kenriths that may have vast implications in Strixhaven.
Garruk Wildspeaker, the cursed huntsman of Eldraine, is finally free of the curse of the chainveil partially thanks to efforts of Will Kenrith. Will risked his life to save Garruk which is a gift he will never forget. Knowing that the igniting spark could send them anywhere and put them in constant danger, Garruk promised the King and Queen that he would follow them and protect them. When asked why, the man of few words simply said, “They helped me. I will help them”.
And how does this wild man fit into the whole ‘magic school’ motif? Is he the school security? Is he just there as Will’s bodyguard? Or is he the PE teacher? Hmmm.
So will we get Garruk as another planeswalker in Strixhaven? Will Kasmina be the bad guy, a teacher or show up at all? And what of the Kenriths? Just putting it out there, true believers! It could all be true or none. But what’s sure about Strixhaven is that it’s going to be a wild ride worth waiting on.