Wizards of the Coast have released 5 playtest subclasses in their newest Unearthed Arcana, Mages of Strixhaven, which sits alongside the announcement of their new sourcebook, Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.
Mages of Strixhaven – The Colleges
Mages of Strixhaven introduces five new subclasses designed for characters who dedicate themselves to one of the paths of magic practised at Strixhaven, a magic university from the world of Magic: The Gathering. These subclasses are unique in nature, as they can be applied to more than one class.
The colleges that characters can align with are:
- Lorehold College – where students are focussed on the forces which underlie and drive history. Lorehold mages use the arcane power of ethereal dioramas, and often commune with spirits to teach them knowledge lost to the past.
- Prismari College – where students rely on the magic of the elements. Prismari mages tap into the raw power of the elements and the natural world to fuel their magic.
- Quandrix College – where students are fascinated by the mathematical nature of the world. Quandrix mages have learned to use the mathematics that underlies existence to warp reality, from redistributing elements of probability, to warping the fundamentals of space.
- Silverquill College – where students study the power of words and language. Silverquill mages use spoken and written word, and signed gestures to fuel their magic, knowing there is great power in language.
- Witherbloom College – where students are drawn to the energy of life and death. Witherbloom mages tap into and manipulate the endlessly flowing energy between life and death, using it to invigorate or to drain is their choice.
So, what abilities do these subclasses get?
Each college in Mages of Strixhaven comes with its own array of unique and interesting features to unlock as your character levels up. Since each subclass is open to more than one base class, and classes gain subclass features at different levels, the abilities here are listed with a minimum level requirement, rather than a specific level the feature is gained.
Also, fair warning, this edition of Unearthed Arcana is a big one. So, with that in mind, we’ve decided to include the most exciting feature or two from each college for you here. If you wish to read the full breakdown, you can check out the official Mages of Strixhaven document here.
Mage of Lorehold
This subclass is available to bards, warlocks and wizards.
When you first take this subclass at 1st level or later, you gain the Ancient Companion ability. This feature allows you to summon a spirit of the ancient dead and house them in a freestanding, Medium statue for a period of time. The Ancient Companion gets its own stat block, the specifics of which are decided by your decision of bond with the spirit: Healer, Sage, or Warrior. There’s some pretty cool things this creature can do, from healing to attacking and even bolstering your saving throws!
Another interesting feature of this college comes at level 10 or above. The War Echoes ability allows your mage to cause an opponent’s old wounds to resonate anew. Once per turn, when you see an opponent taking a hit, you can use your reaction to cause a target to gain vulnerability to one of the hit’s damage types. Also, that vulnerability lasts until the end of the target’s next turn! Double damage is pretty awesome, if you ask me.
Mage of Prismari
This subclass is available to druids, sorcerers and wizards.
When you take this subclass at level 1 or later, you gain an ability called Kinetic Artistry. This feature allows your mage to use Dash as a bonus action whilst also imbuing the movement with elemental energy. There are three options: Boreal Sweep, which allows you to move across water with your dash and gives a chance of knocking enemies prone as you pass. Scorching Whirl, which imbues your movement with flame, allowing you to damage enemies in a burst. Or, Thunderlight Jaunt, which allows you to move through enemies’ spaces and not invoke opportunity attacks.
Mage of Quandrix
This subclass is available to sorcerers and wizards.
When you take this subclass at level 1 or higher, you gain Functions of Probability. This feature allows you to nudge chance to tilt around a creature. When you cast a spell using a spell slot that targets at least one creature, you can choose any creature (including yourself) within 30 feet of the target and either give them an extra d6 to use on any attack roll or saving throw before your next turn, or inflict a d6 penalty on their next attack roll.
Additionally, at level 10 or higher, you gain the Null Equation ability. This feature lets you inflict a Constitution saving throw on an enemy you’ve just damaged. On a fail, the creature is beset with abstract equations that reduce its might, halving all its weapon attack damage until the start of your next turn!
Mage of Silverquill
This subclass is available for bards, warlocks and wizards.
When taking this subclass at 1st level or higher, you gain an ability called Silvery Barbs. This interesting feature grants you the ability to demoralize your foes and bolster your allies. When you see a creature within 60 feet of you succeed on an attack roll, ability check or saving throw, you can use your reaction to demoralise the creature. This forces them to roll again and they must take the lower roll. If the new roll causes a failure, you can then grant a different creature you can see within 60 feet a re-roll of an ability check, attack roll or saving throw to be used within the next minute!
Additionally, at 14th level or higher, you gain Word of Power, an ability which lets you apply one of two options. First, Deadly Despair – when your Silvery Barbs cause a creature to fail, you can cause them to gain vulnerability to a damage type of your choice until the start of your next turn. Or secondly, Selfless Invocation – when you see a creature within 60 of you take damage, you can grant them resistance to the attack, but you take psychic damage equal to what your ally takes.
Mage of Witherbloom
This subclass is available to druids and warlocks.
When you take this subclass at 1st level or higher, you gain Essence Tap, an ability that allows you to bolster yourself in one of two ways as a bonus action. First, you can choose Overgrowth, which lets you use your bonus action on subsequent turns to expend and roll a hit die, adding your spellcasting modifier to the roll. Second, you could also choose Wither Strike, which allows you to change the damage you deal to necrotic, and you ignore resistance to necrotic damage. Whichever you choose, your Essence Tap lasts for 1 minute, or until you use the feature again.
Also, at level 14 or above, you gain the Withering Vortex feature. When casting a spell that uses a spell slot to deal necrotic damage, choose one of the creatures that took damage. You are able to drain half the amount of damage from the creature in life force and imbue the hit points into another creature you can see within 30 feet. Exciting!
Phew, well that certainly was a lot. If you’re itching for more, remember to check out the rest of the Week of Legend Lore announcements on our website!