Why Octavia, Strixhaven’s Living Thesis Is My New Favorite ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Card

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Strixhaven is shaping up to be a fantastic ensemble packed with powerful combos and brilliant flavors. With so many cards to sift through, picking particular favorites will be hard work. Having said that, I think this legendary octopus is one of my favorites. Magic cards of all time.

Found in the pre-built Strixhaven Commander Prismari Performance deck, Octavia, Living Thesis is an 8/8 Octopus that costs eight credits and two blues. It costs eight less if you have eight or more instants or sorceries in your graveyard, and each time you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell, a creature you control has its base power and toughness change. 8/8 until end of turn. To top it off, it features the new Ward evergreen keyword, which thwarts any spell targeting it unless its caster pays eight additional generic mana (think of it as a milder Hexproof).

Now don’t get me wrong, Octavia looks like an incredibly powerful card. It’s not too hard to throw enough Instances and Sorcery into your graveyard that it only costs two blue mana, and being able to turn your other creatures into 8 / 8s so easily is savage. But that’s not why I love this card so much.

I love it because it is a perfect meeting between flavor and design. The more you look at the map, the more you notice how closely the two components are married. This Octopus card:

– Has eight syllables in its name.

– Has eight vowels in its name.

– Has eight lines of text in its text box.

– Has eight ‘8’ digits (one in the mana cost, four in the text box, two in the potency / toughness box, and one more in the lower left card number).

It could have been so easy if it was some kind of boring legendary Octopus. The one that’s fine in the deck it comes with, but otherwise it’s kinda meh. Instead, it’s filled with meta-references to an extent that almost feels like it could have been a silver edge. UN-define the map … except that it is not. It’s smart, funny, and it made me look for more secrets than any other card I’ve seen yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more here that we just didn’t notice, and that’s why I love this map so much.

We’re still waiting to see what the last three remaining Commander decks feature (I’m especially excited to see the Silverquill deck), but I don’t think anything is going to outdo Octavia for me in this set. It’s so silly, but so much on the brand for Strixhaven, and I love it deeply.

Strixhaven: School of Mages will launch on April 23. Octavia is included in the pre-built Prismari Performance deck that will launch on the same day.

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