Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming Strixhaven set won’t just introduce a fantastical college for mages to the popular trading card game. A selection of spells called the Mystical Archive will be found inside booster packs - and we’ve been given an exclusive look at one of the entries.
The Mystical Archive reintroduces 63 spells from Magic: The Gathering’s past, styled with new art and frames to denote their place within the esteemed collection. Today’s reveal didn’t even have to travel far to enter the Archive.
That’s right - Snakeskin Veil. This Instant-speed sorcery first released as part of the Norse mythology-themed Kaldheim set in February of this year. When cast, it tacks a +1/+1 counter onto a target creature, along with giving it hexproof until end of turn. This prevents opponents from targeting it with any nasty spells or abilities for a short time, while also permanently buffing the creature’s power and toughness.
At one Green mana, Snakeskin Veil operates as a strictly better version of Ranger’s Guile - a card from Core Set 2021 - which only applies a temporary +1/+1 and hexproof for the same cost. Players immediately recognised Snakeskin Veil’s use in the limited format for protecting valuable high-cost creatures or running as a “combat trick” - a card cast during combat to upset an opponent’s best-laid plan of attack.
Snakeskin Veil is an interesting addition to the Mystical Archive because of its relative newness. At the time of writing, only three other cards have been revealed: Opt, Swords to Plowshares and Demonic Tutor. All of these have a more storied past in Magic: The Gathering, whether that be popularity in formats that still use older cards or as powerful spells that don’t often see reprinting.
This little Green instant is neither: players have only been playing it for a little over a month, and it won’t rotate out of the Standard format for quite some time. That said, its synergy with popular Constructed decks that focus on +1/+1 counters, or simply those with a strong focus on Green creatures, means Snakeskin Veil fans will be happy to see the serpentine spell crop up with a brand-new look.
Cards from the Mystical Archive can be found in both set and draft boosters for Strixhaven, meaning Snakeskin Veil and its fellows will be playable in any Limited format game where they are pulled. Wizards of the Coast has clarified, though, that cards from the collection will only be legal in formats their original qualifies for. Sorry - no throwing Demonic Tutor in your Standard decklists.
Strixhaven releases for Magic Arena and MTG Online on April 15th, with the physical set following a week later on April 23rd. As part of Magic: The Gathering’s new approach to blocks, the set will complete the broad trend of modal dual-faced cards (MDFCs) first introduced in Zendikar Rising and continued through Kaldheim. It will otherwise act as a self-contained game, introducing new characters and worlds, making it a nice point for new players to jump into the game.
Wizards of the Coasts previously announced that the next set will be the Dungeons & Dragons-themed Adventures in the Forgotten Realms and will replace the recurring core set for this year.