When Strixhaven: School of Mages releases, Magic: The Gathering Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa can add having his own card to the long list of accolades and accomplishments in his lengthy career.
Elite Spellbinder is a Creature in Strixhaven with art featuring the likeness of the reigning Magic world champion. Damo da Rosa defeated Marcio Carvalho to win World Championship XXVI. Immediately after his tournament victory, Damo da Rosa was approached by Wizards of the Coast with concepts for his card.
Damo da Rosa joins a small group of players who have their likenesses on a Magic card. Fellow World Champion Javier Dominguez was put on Fervent Champion after winning the 2018 World Championship. There are 11 Magic Invitational winners who earned the same honor.
According to Damo da Rosa, he was initially presented with a set of cards from Kaldheim, but he didn’t like either of those choices. Each of those cards were too narrow in application and a big thing for Damo da Rosa was that his card would be useful in a variety of different formats and strategies.
He was then given options from Strixhaven and Elite Spellbinder was the choice. The art shows Damo da Rosa as a Silverquill mage. Artist Ryan Pancoast was tasked with accurately drawing the Hall of Famer.
“I love it. I think it looks exactly like me. I’ve had tokens made of me before, and they were always like, ‘Well, if you put those side-by-side with a picture of me, you can tell it’s me,’ whereas this card I could identify as myself from across the room. It’s really, really good. I was very positively surprised,” Damo da Rosa told Dot Esports.
Damo da Rosa had some say in the creation of Elite Spellbinder. He proposed several changes, like giving the Human Cleric Flash, but those ultimately didn’t go through. Damo da Rosa said he didn’t design the card, but was in constant communication with the design team.
“It very much feels like my card,” Damo da Rosa said.
Elite Spellbinder is a 3/1 Flying Creature with two relevant Creature types and a unique ability for White. White is no stranger to tax effects, but Elite Spellbinder hits any nonland card in the opponent’s hand. The effect also remains if the creature dies. Damo da Rosa said this is a strong card that could see play in multiple formats.
“I think this can potentially see play in White aggressive decks in Standard, Collected Company decks in Historic, Humans in Modern and Death and Taxes in Legacy to begin with, but I’ll certainly be trying it in a lot more builds,” Damo da Rosa said.
Try out Elite Spellbinder and all the new cards when Strixhaven releases digitally on April 15 with a tabletop release set for April 23.