Strixhaven color "balancing"

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on March 28, 2021, 2:01 p.m. by Omniscience_is_life

For the longest time, Commander players have bemoaned the state of White's card draw abilities. And for the same amount of time, they have said that just making a colorshifted Divination wouldn't be enough.

In Strixhaven (link here), we see a card that is very similar to Divination. and it's colorless. This same idea is repeated with a removal spell--for as long as the Earth has spun, 7 mana is the amount colorless cards must cost to remove any permanent (see Spine of Ish Sah )... but apparently that doesn't matter anymore.

griffstick says... #2

I dont see a problem with it.

March 28, 2021 2:15 p.m.

There's just a question of homogenization: when all colors have access to the same effects--especially when those effects are increasingly worthy--we might start to see the lines blur in EDH decks

My forum topic was a bit half-baked though, sorry about that.

March 28, 2021 2:18 p.m.

griffstick says... #4

But it's not strong. It's not even card advantage it's not any better than Hobble

March 28, 2021 2:43 p.m.

griffstick says... #5

The thing is that all colors need ramp and card draw. Especially if colorless can do everything. I dont see why any given color should be worse than colorless at whateve , you name it effect.

March 28, 2021 2:56 p.m.

I just think colorless is a dangerous design space, right?

Like, if colorless continues to just be better and better, why care about colors?

March 28, 2021 4:05 p.m.

griffstick says... #7

Yes it's like the people who work at wizards wants colorless to feel like another color identity

March 28, 2021 4:20 p.m.


So glad we could come to a conclusion, that doesn't happen very often on the internet!

March 28, 2021 4:29 p.m.

Mtg_Mega_Nerds says... #9

It is an interesting idea, and I can understand your concern towards homogenization. However, due to the fact that cards like Revitalize and Hobble (which have been around for a long time) exist, shows that it probably isn't such a big deal. All colors of mtg have their way of drawing cards anyway, whether it is by discarding, paying life, etc. On the other hand, colorless is getting pretty strong, (artifacts not having summoning sickness, colorless can't be the target of some spells that target a color in general). Also just getting Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger out on turn 5 seems too good. While this card isn't to good, there are definitely problems here.

March 28, 2021 5:48 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #10

Not I could be wrong, but I recall reading a few years ago that when Time Spiral came out they wanted to experiment with an additional purple mana. The idea would be that it could do everything the other colors could do, but either less efficiently, it would cost more, or a combination of both.

These new colorless spells, to me, feel like what purple might have been.

Idk. Doesn't really add to the conversation. I just thought it was cool, considering it's right next to the Time Spiral Remastered set. Nice little Easter egg... RIGHT NEXT TO EASTER

Too many layers to be a coincidence, man. (Nah it probably is)

March 28, 2021 6:38 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #11

Power creep is real with these last few sets lol. Not all the cards just some of the more pusher cards - I'm actually happy about it.

March 28, 2021 6:58 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #12

Pretty soon we will get a 100% colorless set and lands entering untapped for all five colors with subtypes.

March 28, 2021 7:15 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #13

Though Introduction to Annihilation costs 5, rather than 7... it also gives the opponent a card. That's generally going to be far more dangerous than paying an additional . Add in the fact that it's a sorcery, whereas Scour from Existence is an instant, and I think using it as an example of power creep is a huge stress.

I'll also point out that Introduction to Prophecy costs more than its mono-colored equivalent (going by Wizards' general design rule that is roughly equivalent to one colored mana).

March 28, 2021 10:50 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #14

I feel like part of the minority but I hate the road we are headed down. As stated above, the homogenization of colours is making this feel like a very different game than I fell in love with.

When I was taught how to play the colours had identity. You want to draw cards and control your opponent, go blue. Want to gain life, exile stuff and command angels, go white, etc.

The fact that certain colours specialized in certain aspects of battle was what made the decks of that time feel unique.

The colours today are strictly nostalgia, they don't represent what they used to.

I would love to return to the True identities of the colours, even if that means little to no card draw in white or no enchantment removal for black etc.

P.S when is blue going to get some direct damage spells? Red has all the direct damage (see how easy it is)

March 29, 2021 8:25 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #15

Psionic Blast is a card from Alpha, as is Prodigal Sorcerer . Blue has had direct damage since before green could draw cards.

March 29, 2021 10:21 a.m.

I still think this all goes back to the introduction of planeswalkers and the repeated attempts to prop them up as the face of MtG. bACk iN thE Old DaYS (sorry) you were the wizard and you had to bring your own toolbox to fight with. “What did I bring today? Mostly quick little creatures, but some lightning bolts just in case..” Today the focus has swung (effectively) entirely to the planeswalkers and the never-ending effort to make sure they’re balanced. In order to avoid angry emails about “what you’re doing to my favorite character!” they just give everything to everyone. Now to give WotC a fair shake: this seems to happen in most games. Mages get some tanking skills, tanks get some ranged spells. I personally dislike the idea (obviously) but the people with the money want to have that character that can do it all; and they will pay almost anything for it. On a more basic level: look at Skyrim. I love that game, but if you play it “correctly” you end up being an massive mage who controls the elements, summons creatures from the ether, hefts a two-hundred-pound great sword on his/her heavy-armored shoulder, and can snipe a torchbug off the tip of a mastodon’s trunk with a bow. People don’t like restrictions and, more importantly, they don’t have to. Game makers need to make the game people want, so they can feed their families, and I can still force my poor old njord to use nothing but his homemade bow to feed his.

March 29, 2021 10:40 a.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #17

plakjekaas and Abeyance and Aura Blast have given white card draw for ages, all you did was prove my point that for most of the games history each colour has had its own identity, things it specialized in, while dipping its toes into other colour effects though never as good.

I used that example specifically because yes while blue has had access to direct damage in some sets its never been a mainstay of the colour or an expectation from those that play it. You don't hear people up in arms to increase these cards in blue either because it doesn't make sense for the colour. White does not draw cards efficiently... period, its just a fact of the colour (i dont mean to pick on white, its playerbase seem to be making the fuss though).

I agree that planeswalkers were the beginning of the end but I stopped beating that horse years ago lol, they are part of the game weather I like it or not.

March 29, 2021 12:18 p.m.

Erza420 says... #18

ShiltonCDXX: idk whether this helps, but think of planeswalkers as just a modal enchantment or artifact, that you can attack. the hate against them is undeserved. its just a card type. card typing isn't what makes a card powerful.

March 29, 2021 12:54 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #19

Lol oops thanks for pointing that out, had bad weather on my mind this morning lol

I'll never be convinced that planeswalkers didn't shift he balance of this game in a negative direction.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Time Raveler both had to be banned from their respective standard formats because people found them too oppressive, and those are just two examples, there are numerous others that have shifted entire metas around them.

March 29, 2021 1:06 p.m. Edited.

legendofa says... #20

So far, all of the Lessons seem basically harmless to me. Yeah, they're castable in any color, but they're more mana-hungry and less flexible. That is literally the design intention behind colorless artifacts. can have lifegain in different styles . can repeatedly damage players and force discards . I don't see these new cards as a slippery slope. They're basically sorcery-artifact hybrids.

March 29, 2021 1:11 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #21

The lessons are a whole different argument to colour identity for me.

The sideboard is becoming more like the "extra deck" from Yu-Gi-Oh now, I remember seeing people play that at my LGS (back when we could do that lol) and thought it was ridiculous how much stuff they put in play that wasn't in their main deck.

Dont get me wrong I've never been a fan of cards like Spawnsire of Ulamog or Fae of Wishes either, the ambiguous wording, and forced errata in tournament play ("oh it says outside the game, yeah thats just your sideboard) are not great card design in my opinion.

March 29, 2021 1:22 p.m.

legendofa says... #22

As for planeswalkers being too powerful and needing bans, that's not because they were planeswalkers. It's because they were too powerful. Sorceries get banned. Creatures get banned. I agree that the game is power creeping (I'm not going to get into why that is or isn't a good thing here), but it's not because of planeswalkers. Koth of the Hammer or Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver , as two examples, are no worse for the game than any other card, and I argue they help diversify it--not in any competitive sense, but if you want to pull together a Mountains matter or exile-theft deck, you have a solid center point that arguably couldn't be done with any other card type.

I'm not trying to come across as angry, but it seems to me like frustration with powercreep is pointing in the wrong direction here. I'm legitimately interested in why people don't like the "new stuff"--to me, it's natural innovation, with all the dangers and rewards that comes with, and Lessons and planeswalkers seem pretty safe overall to me.

March 29, 2021 1:34 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #23

My question is why? Why did we need planeswalkers when instants, sorceries and enchantments did everything, why do we need lessons when we already craft our decks with cards we consider necessary, why do all colours need access to everything?

I'm not trying to convince you or anyone else to like or dislike anything WOTC is putting out, just stating my personal distaste for the road being taken.

If you like the product and what is being done with it then more power to you.

March 29, 2021 4:54 p.m.

legendofa says... #24

ShiltonCDXX Unfortunately, the most basic answer is "Because WotC said so." I see Lessons being more to round out a Limited deck than for any serious, non-gimmicky Constructed use, because they're still inefficient. Everyone will still continue to craft their Constructed decks with the most efficient cards they can use, and that won't be the colorless Lessons. (The colored Lessons might still be a problem, and I'm keeping my eye on those.) To mindlessly repeat myself, this isn't anything new; this is a role artifacts have filled since Alpha Edition. But for effects like Feed the Swarm , I think that's overstepping. That, I don't have any answer for. But the thread was concerned about Strixhaven, which has been pretty obedient so far.

For planeswalkers, I honestly got nothin'. More for flavor and storytelling, with a side of fitting multiple abilities onto a single card to preserve set space. I do think there's too many underdeveloped planeswalkers to tell a full story, and too many planeswalkers to avoid redundancy. There's probably too many planeswalkers. But if they had kept a small handful at higher rarities the way it was in Lorwyn/Alara and developed those as fully as possible, I think that would have been the best course. Now everybody and their dog walker is or knows a planeswalker.

March 29, 2021 5:31 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #25

You misundetstand my issue with lessons, its not that they have diverse effects, its that they are not part of your deck but more of this "from outside the game" nonsense. Thats the part I take issue with, why not just sit down and say "my deck is 25679 cards, its all over there on that shelf"

Yes I know that colloquially we all know that "outside the game" means your sideboard, but what about a brand new player? Now I have to choose, do I craft a suitable sideboard that contains answers to multiple decks in a given format, or do I just cram in extra instants and sorceries that I can now tutor for constantly. Again not trying convince you to like or dislike them but because they are part of an extra deck and can be tutored consistently they are very different to artifacts. Im calling it now, lessons learned decks will dominate standard.

March 29, 2021 6:01 p.m.

legendofa says... #26

Ah, I did misunderstand, and you did spell that out earlier. My apologies. I'm sure there's going to be multiple decks that use Lessons, but how are defining "dominate Standard?" Will a lot of decks use Lessons? Certainly. Will they be the centerpiece of every meta deck? I predict no, especially not to the level of Companion. Will there be multiple meta decks that don't use Lessons at all? Probably not. But it is the set mechanic, and it's not unreasonable to expect it to see play, like Amonkhet saw Embalm and Tarkir saw Prowess.

For building your deck around the stack of binders over there, I have no explanation other than personal taste. I'm actually fairly neutral to the idea--don't love it, don't hate it--but enough people do like it that it was seen as fit to reprint. I know that's not a real response, but it's all I have.

March 29, 2021 6:17 p.m.

griffstick says... #27

I like it. Taking from the sideboard is cool. I have a problem with Karn, the Great Creator that grabs from exile. I dont like exile being messed with. I feel that exile is suppose to be the safe place for bad things to go and never come back.

March 29, 2021 6:35 p.m.

Erza420 says... #28

ShiltonCDXX pretty much every card type has been banned in standard at some point, so thats a weak argument. As is “we dont need planeswalkers” because technically we don’t “need” any of the card types. I could say We don’t “need” sorceries when we have instants, and we don’t “need” enchantments when we have artifacts. No offense, but you’ve yet to mention anything unique to planeswalkers.

March 29, 2021 7:10 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #29

Erza420 HAHAHA sorceries and enchantments have existed since he games inception, planeswalkers have not. Nice try. Yes cards of every type have been banned in the past but I haven't seen another card type shift the balance of deckbuilding and gameplay the way planeswalkers have. Again not trying to convince others to agree just stating what I have observed over the years. I know planeswalkers, for better or worse, are here to stay and I use them as I see fit as well, doesn't mean I have to like them lol.

March 29, 2021 7:24 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #30

Erza420 sorceries and enchantments have existed since he games inception, planeswalkers have not. Yes cards of every type have been banned in the past but I haven't seen another card type shift the balance of deckbuilding and gameplay the way planeswalkers have. Again not trying to convince others to agree just stating what I have observed over the years. I know planeswalkers, for better or worse, are here to stay and I use them as I see fit as well, doesn't mean I have to like them lol.

By "Dominate standard" what I mean is that decks will have to contain numerous learn cards with multiple lessons in the sideboard to compete. I hope im wrong but considering you either get to tutor or draw a card I can't see why learn cards won't be run en masse.

March 29, 2021 7:32 p.m.

Erza420 says... #31

ShiltonCDXX nice try? I never said they “havent” existed since the games inception, nor does that matter. My point still stands. Every card type HAS shifted the balance of gameplay the way planeswalkers have. Every card type has had at least 1 example of something that shifted the meta horribly. Creatures? See hogaak. And so on.

March 29, 2021 7:32 p.m.

Erza420 says... #32

You also have to discard to draw a card with “learn”

March 29, 2021 7:33 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #33

I was addressing your counterpoint about "why do we need sorceries if we have instants" etc. My point is that planeswalkers were a supplemental addition to the systems the game had already established. Instants, sorceries, artifacts and enchantments were all original concepts so no need to ask "why".

Asking why they felt planeswalkers had to be added as a card type is quite valid. Though I do agree with an above statement about them being added for flavour.

I never said it provided card advantage through the draw, but filtering can still be powerful.

March 29, 2021 7:36 p.m.

Erza420 says... #34

ShiltonCDXX i know what point you were addressing. Doesnt matter if you see a “need” to ask why. Enchantments being “original” doesnt matter, the point was that those effects COULD have been on artifacts. And so i ask why we “need” enchantments. Its no less valid than asking why we “need” planeswalkers.

March 29, 2021 7:41 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #35

Yes it is... we have enchantments because Richard Garfield created them as part of the game... he did not create planeswalkers.

March 29, 2021 7:50 p.m.

Erza420 says... #36

ShiltonCDXX. No its not less valid. Planeswalkers were also created as part of the game, original or not. Being part of the game “originaly” isnt the issue here. You asked if card types were “needed”. And im saying they’re not “needed” if the effect can be put on another card type.

March 29, 2021 8:24 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #37

I see what you are saying but its slightly ridiculous. Obviously we didn't need every card type from the start, yes they could have printed everything on one card type and launched an unsuccessful game, but the designers saw that certain elements had to be separate, or that the timing of certain spells should be limited, so they were assigned their respective types.

What role did planeswalkers fill that wasnt already filled. The same question cannot be asked of things that were part of the original concept as they had roles to fill. I have stated previously that I will not be convinced that planeswalkers are or have ever been a necessary or good addition to the game. If you like them, great, I dont and never will (just because I use them does not mean I like them).

I will remove myself from this discussion now as I feel I am just repeating myself. I always enjoy the discussions had here though, +1 to all involved.

March 29, 2021 8:56 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #38

sorry before I go I am curious, did you start playing pre or post planeswalker?

March 29, 2021 9:08 p.m.

Erza420 says... #39

What role did planeswalkers fill that wasn’t already filled? A modal permanent that could be attacked. The same question COULD be asked of other card types, because they’re “roles to fill” could have been filled by other card types.

You basically answer your own question of why planeswalkers were needed. The game would be stale without new cards and mechanics. If you’re gonna hate on planeswalkers cuz they weren’t originally in the game, then you have to hate on everything else that wasn’t original to be fair. New creature types, split cards, double faced cards, historics, legendary sorceries, sagas, heck even multicolored cards.

I started playing pre-planeswalker, and was ecstatic about their introduction

March 29, 2021 9:09 p.m.

Erza420 says... #40

March 29, 2021 9:10 p.m.

Erza420 says... #41

Let me put it this way. You mention jace and teferi as problematic planeswalkers, but now imagine those exact same effects on an enchantment that can’t be attacked. The cards would then be even more powerful as they become harder for players to interact with with the mainboard.

March 29, 2021 9:18 p.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #42

the game would get stale without new cards? Chess is still chess, poker is still poker, etc. etc.

Planeswalkers were a completely new card type, while split cards and modal cards were new templates for existing types, not new ones, historics, while also unnecessary made some sense. Up until the introduction of planeswalkers WE were the planeswalkers, their introduction as a card broke that element of the game, an element the designers introduced. Im sorry but comparing planeswalkers to enchantments, modal cards, DFC's is apples to oranges.

your example there is also ridiculous, if one enchantment was released with all the utility of a planeswalker no-one would be able to play it for the CMC.

I would venture to say that most if not every effect from every planeswalker can be found on individual cards, which can all be dealt with in their own ways.

We seem to have a fundamental disagreement on this topic though, which is fine, again I have enjoyed the friendly debate.

March 29, 2021 9:26 p.m.

Erza420 says... #43

ShiltonCDXX: yes the game would get stale without new cards. its not comparable to poker or chess. comparing planeswalkers to modal cards and double faced cards is not apples to oranges in the slightest. both are not original cards. my example is not ridiculous. your statement "no one would be able to play it for the cmc" is simply not true. the cmc would be exactly the same. so yes people would still be able to play it.

saying that "every" effect from "every" planeswalker can be found on other cards simply is not true, and planeswalkers can also be "dealt with in their own way".

the simple fact of the matter is that planeswalkers as they are now, are indisputably weaker than if their exact same effects had been placed on enchantments or artifacts. a 2uu enchantment with Jace, the Mind Sculptor abilities would be stronger than the actual planeswalker, simply for the fact that it couldn't be attacked.

in conclusion, hating a card based on type just is not valid. are some overpowered? yes, but that can be said of any card type. theres also plenty of planeswalkers that are unplayable. there is quite literally absolutely no relevance whatsoever between the typing of a permanent and it's power level. absolutely none. the only instance of a card becoming "more powerful" due to a change in typing, is if a sorcery became an instant. with permanents, it's the effect that matters and not the typing. Black Lotus would still be just as powerful if it were an enchantment.

March 29, 2021 11:47 p.m.

griffstick says... #44

Well this is supposed to be an edh discussion because it's in an edh thread. Anytime you mention Tutor for a lesson in the sideboard you're not talking cmdr.

March 29, 2021 11:48 p.m.

griffstick says... #45

Upvote if you like planswalkers

March 29, 2021 11:49 p.m.

griffstick says... #46

Upvote if you think planswalkers were a mistake

March 29, 2021 11:49 p.m.

Daveslab2022 says... #47

I’m very late to the party but I’m gonna throw out my two cents anyways.


In an early comment you stated that you dislike planeswalkers because you feel they have become the central focus of the games balancing. You cited Teferi, Time Raveler and Jace, the Mind Sculptor being banned as your examples.

However, there are plenty of other card types that have been banned in their respective formats. I think planeswalkers are actually the least represented card type in this regard. Yes, planeswalkers are powerful. But they inhabit an entirely different design space than every other card type, allowing for more design, whether they are ridiculously overpowered like Ancient Den with affinity cards, or stupidly underpowered like Squee, Goblin Nabob

You complained that it’s not just you being a player who cast spells anymore. That it doesn’t feel like you’re not the one in control. But why not? Because you can summon another, equally powerful, friend from the friggin’ AEther to help smash your enemies face in? From an “I’m a wizard and this is my spell book” perspective, I think that is dope.

Obviously this is all subjective and there are going to be people who like the “original.” There are still people who prefer the original 151 Pokémon even though we have over 800 little dudes to collect now.

March 30, 2021 1 a.m. Edited.

plakjekaas says... #48

Magic is a game of resource management, and Planeswalkers are by far the card type that upset the balance in resources between two players the most. Short of a counterspell, a planeswalker will always have an impact, because after resolving you can activate an ability before your opponent gets priority and a chance to response, even if your opponent has the Hero's Downfall in hand to deal with it. And your opponent has to deal with them, or they run away with the game, at least the ones who see constructed play. Creature decks have to waste attacks on them, effectively gaining their controllers a lot of life and tempo. It's like you're inviting a third player into the game, who will do nothing to oppose you, and nothing to help your opponent. It's not hard to see how that feels unfair, especially to the aggro deck that now needs to kill two players with just the resources available to kill one.

A planeswalker gains you life, casts you a spell every turn, at least once, even if it gets immediately removed. They have to be answered or they win the game on their own, even if it doesn't immediately looks like it. There's no other card type that so reliably has such a big impact on a game of magic. Having played aggro in Standard regularly during Teferi summer (when both Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Teferi, Time Raveler were legal), I understand exactly what people mean when they say they don't like planeswalkers.

However, that's exactly how they were designed. Planeswalkers are the main characters of the story, they are the gifted, supernaturally powered, magical eyes through which we view the in-game world. Planeswalkers create the magic story just by existing in a place they shouldn't, and exploring the conflicts that arise by upsetting the natural balances. No wonder they treat games of magic the same way. They are the rarest card type, it feels great to pull one from a booster pack. They bring a lot of positives to the magic franchise, even though they can feel unfair if they oppose you ingame. They have been a mainstay ever since their introduction in Lorwyn, opposing their existence feels like wasted energy at this point. But I do believe we need to keep the power level discussion going forever, because Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Oko, Thief of Crowns happen if we don't.

So focus on individual cards; you can point at bans, but there have been plenty of planeswalkers that haven't been broken or upsetting their format, just like every other card type.

March 30, 2021 4:25 a.m.

Erza420 says... #49

plakjekaas: "and your opponent has to deal with them, or else they run away with the game, at least the ones who see constructed play".

well yeah...hence why they see constructed play.

"because after resolving you can activate an ability before your opponent gets priority and a chance to response, even if your opponent has the Hero's Downfall in hand to deal with it."

the same can be said of any creature with an activated ability.

"the aggro deck that now needs to kill two players with just the resources available to kill one"

thats a bit of an exaggeration. when is the last time you've had to attack through 20 loyalty counters in a single game?

March 30, 2021 12:10 p.m.

This would be an interesting (and probably never-ending) separate thread, so I’m ducking out. I appreciate everyone’s input a great deal and apologize for probably helping run it off the rails. I’m looking forward to more spoilers!

March 30, 2021 12:40 p.m.

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