Unleash the power of Phyrexia across the multiverse and wreak havoc in our March of the Machine review!
The time has come my brothers and sisters. Time for New Phyrexia to march on the multiverse and bring all the other planes to kneel. To bring all other beings together under one glorious doctrine. To strip the flesh from bone and replace it with perfect Phyrexian metal and oil. That is unless the armies of the multiverse have anything to say about it?
Welcome to March of The Machine, the ninety-sixth expansion of Magic The Gathering. Coming right off the heels of Phyrexia: All Will Be One (be sure to check out our review for it!) we see the multiverse come together to take down the Phyrexians once and for all. For now anyway. So check out our video below and join us to open a few packs and find out more in our March of the Machine review!
What’s included in March of the Machine?
The set contains 281 regular cards that can be found in your normal draft packs, however it also contains a further 106 cards including full art lands, showcase cards, jump-start cards and borderless artwork. Furthermore you can find cards featuring iconic characters from around the multiverse known as the Multiverse Legends cards, these cards all feature a legendary creature from Magic’s history and while they aren’t standard legal, you can still play them in your draft and sealed pool.
March of the Machine Review – Mechanics and Themes
For the first time in 16 years Wizards of The Coast has introduced a new card type. Presenting battles. Battles are transforming double faced cards featuring landscape artwork on the front side. Battles enter the battlefield with a set number of defence counters on them. The type of battles featured in the set, and the only type at this stage are sieges. Sieges are placed on an opponent’s side of the field and it’s then your job to then either attack or damage the siege in some way to remove all the counters while your opponent must try and defend it.
Once the defence counters on a battle reaches zero, it transforms into another type of card. Most of them will transform into a creature or enchantment but they can transform into anything Wizards put their minds to. Each of the battles in this set features the invasions of different planes across the multiverse including some planes we’ve only ever heard of through stories and flavour text.
Incubate and Backup
As this set sees conflict between the Phyrexian army and the armies of the multiverse, each side has their own specific ability. The Phyrexians make use of a new ability called incubate. Incubate creates a transforming incubator token that can be transformed into a Phyrexian token of varying sizes. This mechanic feels quite similar to the Amass mechanic from 2019’s War of The Spark which was also Wizards last foray into a major story threat.
Opposing the Phyrexians, the armies of the multiverse have the backup mechanic. The backup mechanic is an enter the battlefield ability that allows a backup creature to put +1/+1 counters on another creature and then that creature also receives the backup creature’s other abilities until the end of turn. I can see this becoming handy in decks that run a number of flicker effects.
Along with the Incubator mechanic, the Phyrexians have a further transformation matters theme by having some creatures gain the ability to transform and be converted by glorious Phyrexia. Each of these creatures will have a transformation cost of X generic mana and one Phyrexian mana, this is mana that can either be paid with a coloured mana or 2 life. Upon transforming, these creatures will be bigger, stronger and gain more abilities.
The final major mechanic in the set is a returning favourite. Convoke allows you to tap your creatures to help pay for a spell’s mana cost. These creatures can either pay for the generic mana or one mana of the tapped creature’s colour. One thing I’ve noticed with some of these new convoke cards is that they give more of an incentive to use the ability.
For instance, the new creature “Zephyr Singer” will enter the battlefield and put a flying counter on each creature that was used to convoke it, meaning you can then turn your ground based army into flyers for little investment.
Like something out of fanfiction or your wildest dreams, we now get special team up cards. Though this isn’t a mechanic, this theme is something special. We can see in these cards how characters from certain planes would team up to fight the Phyrexians off. These characters could be former enemies working against a common threat or long time allies. These cards also have a mashup of abilities that represent both characters on it.
March of the Machine Review – Showcase Art, Multiverse Legends and Serialised Cards
As with each set from the last few years, March of The Machine brings forth a plethora of exciting and unique art styles. In fact it has more styles than any other set. As we are going to multiple different planes, we are treated to unique art styles that represent those planes. We have seen some of these before such as the constellation style from the plane of Theros and the whimsical fairy tale style from Eldraine. But we now also get to experience the showcase styles from planes we visited before this was implemented.
We can now see the showcase styles from planes like Ixalan with their gold coin style and the Dragon wing’d borders for Tarkir. Along with these showcase cards you also have your standard borderless cards which extend the art of cards. If that wasn’t enough, you might be able to find a halo foil card. Much like the Compleat foils from the last set, Halo foils are unique foils that contain a swirling pattern on them. Halo foils are only available in collector boosters.
As I mentioned earlier this set also has a mini set within called Multiverse Legends. This set is a total of 65 cards featuring legendary creatures from across the multiverse. Each legend is a reprint with brand new showcase art. You will find at least one Multiverse Legend in each of your packs.
If you’re looking for something extra special, you can try your luck to find one of the serialized cards. Each of the multiverse Legends cards as well as the new Preator cards can be found with a serialised number from 001 to 500. These are extremely rare to find with Wizards claiming that only 1% of collector boosters will contain one. Each serialised card will have a double rainbow foil effect and the new Preators will even have unique art to them. Serialised cards are only available in collector boosters.
March of the Machine Review – Commander Decks
As with each new set released there are some new commander decks that get released alongside them. March of The Machine has 5 commander decks to collect and play with. Growing Threat, a white/black deck that focuses on the Phyrexians. Cavalry Charge, a white/blue/black deck focusing on Knight tribal. Call for Backup a red/green/white deck focused on +1/+1 counters and the Backup mechanic. Divine Convocation, a blue/red/white deck focused on the Convoke mechanic. And lastly, Tinker Time, a green/blue/red deck focused on artifact tokens.
In addition to the normal decks, Wizards has also included 10 Planar cards with each deck. Planar cards is used in a special gameplay style called Planechase. During your main phases you may roll a special Planechase dice that is blank on 4 sides and on the other two are a Planeswalk symbol and a Chaos symbol.
If the Planeswalk symbol is rolled, you flip over the top card of the Planar deck and you Planeswalk to the new plane, activating its ability. If the Chaos symbol is rolled, Chaos Ensues, and you activate the current Plane’s 2nd ability. Adding these cards brings a whole new playstyle to the game.
March of the Machine Review – Conclusion
All in all I think March of The Machine is turning into a very fun set to play and collect. Getting a brand new card since the introduction of Planeswalkers is a real treat and they bring a whole new way to play. I can’t say for sure what the standard environment will be like for now, but I’ll be enjoying every moment of it.
A promotional set from Wizards of the Coast was kindly provided for the purpose of our March of the Machine review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out our Phyrexia: All Will Be One review and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about all things Magic!