Wandering Archaic – Strixhaven
Date Reviewed: April 30, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
As odd and alien as Wandering Archaic’s physical form is, it’s also oddly compelling – almost hypnotic. And that’s before you even get into that ability. We’re probably all familiar with the “group hug” concept in Commander, and that pseudo-taxing ability is a sort of inverted group hug: more like forcible sharing, if you want to use that term. There can be surprisingly little downside to just running out your massive card advantage spells on curve, and so I think a lot of decks will welcome the Archaic’s abilities.
And speaking of group hug, Explore the Vastlands is one of the most, if not the outright most, efficient spells of that type in Magic. On top of that, casting it when you already control a Wandering Archaic adds insult to injury: “Yeah, you drew a bunch of cards. So why don’t you and I both use them?”
Explore the Vastlands and Wandering Archaic are meant to play well with one another, and given how Strixhaven is set up, there’s definitely room for intrigue aplenty! Forcing a soft tax of “pay more mana or I get your spell as well” is an interesting bit of mechanical space, and 2 mana is enough to force some hard decisions on whether or not they cast it. Explore the Vastlands is sort of weaker, but it is a ramp spell and card advantage weapon for every color, which means white and red will have a soft spot for it. I’ll say that Wandering Archaic is the kind of fun card that, while unlikely to make a Constructed splash, can make for a lot of chaos at tables if people aren’t ready for it. Its body is mediocre, but was that what you really were playing this for?
Constructed: 3 (there might be room for this, but the strongest colors rarely have need for its particular set of talents)
Limited: 4.25 (particularly nice with this being a spell-heavy set)
Commander: 4 (colorless affords this a welcome amount of flexibility)
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