The Zanier Cards of March of the Machine the AftermathDiscussion
ChrisCee · May 15, 2023 · 6 min
March of the Machine the Aftermath may be yet again mired in economic controversy over its cost worthiness, but it did function as a proper addition to March of the Machine. So much so that we don’t have an Alchemy release for the currently released set, since its purpose is already supplanted by the Aftermath.
Well… we have to contend that Aftermath will have an even lower card usage rate within its intended constructed formats. Also, the flavor of them being supplementary material to the latest story’s epilogue is kind of questionable.
On the bright side, there are still a good number of notables. We won't be featuring every single quirky entry here, unfortunately (like this affable gentleman). But we can at least provide a few "zany" suggestions for some of the cards we expect to use in considerably peculiar ways for MTG.
Let’s start with probably the most boring and simplest effect out of all the interesting ones on this list. Markov Baron is your typical lord card, with a mana cost to match, and a curve that is somewhere approaching mid-range. It is also the highest-rated uncommon for March of the Machine: The Aftermath.
While this already makes it a solid addition to any Vampire tribal deck, the interesting part of its ability is the combination of Convoke and Madness. The card basically allows you to easily take off with ally-color looting effects without losing its value, making for very flexible casting options. It’s the first of its kind to have such a keyword ability combination.
On the surface, it's a dirt-cheap uncommon that's ever only usable as a very, very situational counter to board wipes, especially for damage-type ones like End the Festivities or Brotherhood's End. But because of its typing and lack of wider restrictions to its triggers, it may just be on the brink of something more awesome. Something along the lines of a Rakdos (Demon tribal-ish) deck that could freely ping many targets, while having a never-ending supply of sacrificial tokens that consistently brings down its cost to 1 or 3.
A deck that exploits high-mana value targets can also help fulfill its true(?) potential. Maybe a reanimator sacrifice deck utilizing Ayara, Widow of the Realm // Ayara, Furnace Queen? How about a janky Archfiend of the Dross build using Fateful Handoff?
We’ve had our fill of cards that plays spells on top of libraries. And to be honest, the trend is already getting stale as of late, even if spiced up with restrictions or other gimmicks. Vesuvan Drifter, at least, returns with a bit of Skill Borrower-esque familiar flavor, only quite more potent and wouldn’t get bolted so easily.
She won’t see universal play with such selective use, of course. But the card may just be able to create a broken combo by stacking the odds in the style of a fast and dirty reanimator deck. Something as cheesy as copying Griselbrand, for example, or maybe exploiting its flying status with a simpler, but easier to integrate (recent) creature like Archpriest of Shadows.
Or heck, just combine it with a deck that both utilizes her third effect and foresight capabilities for maximum profit.
Sarkhan, Soul Aflame
Within the legal availability of this set, making full use of Sarkhan, Soul Aflame will be somewhat tricky. For one thing, an overwhelming majority of dragons currently available in Standard, Alchemy, Historic, and Explorer/Pioneer are most useful for their ETB effects, death triggers, or non-cumulative passives.
As such, the best dragons that synergize with this card narrow down to Zurgo and Ojutai, Rith, Liberated Primeval, and maayyybe Ziatora, the Incinerator. So a deck using him would most likely just be based around this small tribal sample. The rest either have underwhelming effects, require very tricky additional moves, are hidden behind a non-dragon front side, or just straight up need more mana.
At least Sarkhan gets to keep his name, so legendary dragons can maintain their physical presence on the field without nuking each other.
Only enchants legendary creatures, but isn’t a legendary enchantment on its own. A pretty normal card for a simple mana trick. Despite the overall good effect, it would have been largely unremarkable given its cost and technical restrictions. Except there is one particular card and build where this can be abused to oblivion: any legendary superfriends build featuring Rona, Herald of Invasion // Rona, Tolarian Obliterator.
Already getting the gist of the combo? Good. Because that is really all there is to it. If you can't consistently draw/resolve both of them, the concept is effectively for naught. But once it pops off, Rona will basically give (mostly) all the mana that you will ever need to cast any other legendary spells in your hand. Tap. Float. Cast. Untap. Tap. Float. Cast. Until you run your entire hand dry.
Beats her combo with Relic of Legends any day of the week.
Tyvar the Bellicose
Tyvar’s back at it again with Elf synergies within the sphere of Golgari effects. Forget that first effect, you’re never really attacking without a bunch of pumped elves on the field swinging for lethal anyway.
The second effect is where the party truly begins. For the numerous elven mana dorks out there, it’s a pretty decent permanent boost. But… what if the card is already basing its mana effect on +1/+1 counters? That’s right, the effect potentially doubles or triples. While many cards that recreate this effect may not be legal in major constructed formats, one very recent card can exploit this effect: Kami of Whispered Hopes from March of the Machine. (Gyre Sage is also a recent card that combos well and is tribally relevant too, but it is not nearly as potent.)
Remember, everyone starts out small. Does it even matter if it triggers only once per turn?
Narset, Enlightened Exile
Ah yes, formerly the most expensive card for this set during its initial release, the entry that I've contemplated with long enough if it really has the quirkiness to be included. Anyway, a good chunk of that initial price surge was already due to being just a four-mana Jeskai card with a universal prowess effect for all your creatures (which triggers on top of other prowess effects, by the way). But on top of that, she also copies spells from the graveyard and flings them for free at your opponent, which gives her a free-for-all use in many decks that might not even be aggro in the first place.
Granted, having a base power of three gives her a little bit of balance. But her prowess effect includes herself, so your opponents should expect her to be pumped once or twice, here and there, before she swings. Oh, and I need to remind you that she doesn’t need to deal combat damage. She just needs to declare an attack to start shooting graveyard noncreature spells at no additional cost.
Calix, Guided by Fate
Get a free Doubling Season per turn. 'Nuff said. Doesn't matter anyway due to legality issues. Outside of that, go wild pumping with any meta Selesnya Enchantment build, Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivity, Fight Rigging, and Hallowed Haunting, or keep sealing creatures with Ossification or Seal from Existence. After doing your tricks, copy any of them once you're ready for the swing. The combinations are wide and plentiful, but thankfully none are too game-breaking at the moment.
Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin
A card built specifically for (Demonic) pinging and draining strategies, given the card's exact trigger requirements. However, since it only pumps itself, exiling resources is expected to be its primary recurring gimmick. That is, until you combo it with cards that trigger upon placing +1/+1 counters on creatures. The most fascinating of which is All Will Be One, since it creates an infinite loop where Ob Nixilis puts a counter, the counter triggers the enchantment pinging the opponent, triggering Ob Nixilis once again.
Aside from the mana curve and cost, the bigger challenge in this setup is the third card, which would initiate the first All Will Be One trigger in the first place. Mana-cost-wise, the easiest would be using a land such as The Monumental Facade. But, other external (independent) sources may also apply, for example a freshly cast Voldaren Thrillseeker.
Top 8 Most Expensive Cards from March of the Machine the Aftermath
(As of May 12, 2023.)
A witness since the time the benevolent silver planeswalker first left Dominaria, ChrisCee has since went back and forth on a number of plane-shattering incidents to oversee the current state of the Multiverse.
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