Strixhaven: School of Mages is making its way out of the standard format, but that just means its cards are graduating into Commander. Rotation is likely going to make acquiring a mass of Strixhaven cards even easier than it was before. While many of the cards from Strix are regarded as fairly low powered, the set nonetheless features a number of solid pieces and some not-so-secret staples that you should add to your Commander collection.
Strixhaven has a lot of interesting legends, but my absolute favorite has to be Extus. Being able to run a spell in the command zone is something new from Strix, and Extus is the most interesting option. Powering out sacrificial strategies with a spell that is surprisingly easy to make extremely affordable to cast (even with commander tax) is a great time. Beledros, similarly, powers out some huge plays at a life cost that’s much easier to tank when you’re starting at 40. Finally, Mavinda is the first real option for mono-white spell slinger, and she does a great job of providing piles of protection and buff spells to keep your army happy and healthy.
The primary theme of Strixhaven was casting non-creature spells, and a lot of the best cards in the set highlight this. Wandering Archaic taxes spell slingers and otherwise punishes them if they are not into paying taxes. Storm-Kiln Artist is very good at providing a payoff for those spellslinger decks and can be a large part of chaining together a huge storm count for Grapeshot and friends. What the artist does for mana, Emeritus does for cards in hand, juicing any deck that wants to cast spells.
Crackle With Power is one of the best finishers to see print in awhile- if you have enough mana it becomes downright trivial to dome the entire table for lethal damage. Finally, Culling Ritual is a card that every Golgari deck should consider. Nuking mana rocks and utility artifacts and ramping you for a turn is beyond powerful, and you really have to play the card to get the feel for how back breaking it can be.
In addition to powerful commanders and solid staples, Strixhaven has a few other cards that should be seeing more play. Dramatic Finale should be a staple in token decks that can handle the greedy mana cost. In a 100-card format, Body of Research makes a gigantic body for a more than fair cost. There is a lot that can be done with a creature that huge- give it trample, sacrifice it to deal damage, or grow your board with it! Strixhaven Stadium is fine as a mana rock, but it’s a rock that can also sometimes just win you the game. Finally, Zephyr Boots transforms any creature into a Smuggler’s Copter. It’s hard to stress how good combining evasion with card selection is, so if you’re ever looking for either effect in your deck the boots should be at the top of the list of cards to try.
You don’t need a degree to see that Strxhaven offers a lot to the game. While it’s primarily beneficial to decks that want to throw around instants and sorceries, there are some interesting options available to other strategies as well. If you’re looking for a new way to play Commander, the unique commander options that the school provides are all something that you should consider, and they’ll be that much easier to get your hands on once they rotate out of standard.