MTG Avatar returns to Standard with Strixhaven spoiler, Wandering Archaic

The Avatar appears peaceful but has an evil side too.

Strixhaven The Biblioplex by Piotr Dura
Image via WotC

Wizards of the Coast revealed a modal double-faced card (MDFC), Wandering Archaic//Explore the Vastlands, during today’s Strixhaven: School of Mages spoilers.

Set to release digitally on April 15, Strixhaven: School of Mages (STX) introduces the plane of Arcavios, home to Strixhaven University and its five colleges. Each college represents an enemy mana color pair. Supporting colorless creatures, today’s STX spoiler revealed an MDFC that is an Avatar of the plane Arcavios.

Frontside: Wandering Archaic

Wandering Archaic STX
Image via WotC
  • CMC: Five mana of any color
  • Type: Creature—Avatar
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Stats: 4/4
  • Ability: Whenever an opponent casts an Instant or Sorcery spell, they may pay two (mana of any color). If they don’t, you may copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.

An Avatar in Magic is a powerful creature. Wandering Archaic ties together the power of an Avatar via its 4/4 stats and the STX Magecraft mechanic with its ability to copy an opponent’s spell unless they pay two mana. Players will get to copy an opponent’s spell if they can’t pay the cost and can gain a Magecraft bonus from a card they control.  

Backside: Explore the Vastlands

Explore the Vastlands STX
Image via WotC
  • CMC: Three mana of any color
  • Type: Sorcery
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Ability: Each player looks at the top five cards of their library, reveals a land card and/or an Instant or Sorcery card from among them, then puts the cards they revealed this way into their hand and the rest on the bottom of their library in random order. Each player gains three life. 

Explore the Vastlands is a Sorcery with a book of text that also synergizes with the STX Magecraft mechanic. It works as a setup to Wandering Archaic, allowing each player to put a land, Instant, or Sorcery spell in their hand. And for reasons unknown, it also provides each player with three life points. 

Wandering Archaic//Explore the Vastlands is an MDFC that will likely see play in the Modern format via Storm builds and in Commander, too. Players can test it out with the STX tabletop release on April 23.