March of the Machines: The Aftermath Modern Brew - Untouchable Human Tribal

Genoslugcs June 1, 2023 5 min
March of the Machines: The Aftermath Modern Brew - Untouchable Human Tribal

Gameplay Video By Meryn MTG

March of the Machine: The Aftermath has primarily been considered more of a miss than a hit. However, that's only as a whole. On an individual level, some of the cards seem like they're pretty powerful. I covered the best March of the Machines: The Aftermath cards for Standard and the most expensive cards from the set. Now, I want to highlight a few new MOM: Aftermath cards finding homes in the established Modern archetype - Humans!

This list comes from long-time Modern and Pioneer streamer Meryn MTG - The new Aftermath cards it uses are Coppercoat Vanguardimage and Jirina, Dauntless Generalimage. Today I'll cover the general strategy, reviewing some classic cards and what these new additions do for the deck. Let's get started, starting with the deck list.


Deck By Meryn MTG

MOM: The Aftermath - Humans

The Deck

If you're familiar with 5-color humans in Modern, you'll recognize the bulk of the list above. For those who aren't, I'll go over the general idea of the deck. It revolves around creatures that have the human creature type. It has both aggressive and disruptive elements, all of which come from human creatures.

The Aggro

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Overall, the deck does want to win by assembling a big board and turning it sideways. However, it isn't wholly in on an aggro plan. The cards that do directly contribute to the aggro portion are seen above. Champion of the Parishimage can come down early and get bigger and more dangerous with each subsequent human.

Thalia's Lieutenantimage does the same thing but also puts a +1/+1 counter on all humans already in play when it enters the battlefield. This is a phenomenal combination that makes it great in the early game and the late game alike. Mantis Riderimage is a step up on the curve at three mana and has great stats and keywords for both offense and defense.

Even the "disruptive" creatures in the deck add power and toughness to the board and can trigger Champion of the Parishimage and Thalia's Lieutenantimage. So, the deck is very much a double-edged sword when it comes to interacting with decks while adding creatures to the board.

The Interaction

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Humans have many ways to put the brakes on opposing game plans while simultaneously building an attacking force. For example, Kitesail Freebooterimage is hand disruption stapled onto a flying creature. While Meddling Mageimage stops opponents from casting key cards, at least without wasting a remove spell first. This can be a very disruptive card in matchups where you know your opponent's deck well.

Reflector Mageimage is a bounce spell on a body that can deal with a threat that's already made it to the board. Not only does it return it to hand, but they can't recast it (or other ones with the same name) for an entire turn. Considering that, and the fact that it puts power and toughness on your board, this can be a strong-tempo play even when the target isn't necessarily a significant one.

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Thalia, Guardian of Thrabenimage and Unsettled Marinerimage both tax opposing spells in some way. Technically, Thalia makes your non-creature spells cost more, but these decks only play creatures, so the effect ends up one-sided. Thalia helps slow down decks that play a ton of non-creature spells, in general, and also makes most removal less efficient.

Unsettled Marinerimage doesn't tax all spells. Still, it does require your opponent to pay one extra mana for anything that wants to target your creatures, which comes in very clutch in many matchups - Especially when on board alongside Thalia, Guardian of Thrabenimage. The new cards from March of the Machine: The Aftermath fill similar roles to these. So, let's move on to what they are and what makes them important.

The New Cards

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Coppercoat Vanguardimage fits perfectly into this dual style I've discussed. First, it's a lord - it gives all other humans a +1/+0, which will help close out games as it makes every other creature in the deck hit harder. It will also add counters to many other creatures since it's also a human. On the defensive side, it gives all other humans Ward 1, making it even harder to successfully cast removal spells against them.

Jirina, Dauntless Generalimage also protects your board, but differently. Instead of making them harder or more expensive to target, she can sacrifice herself to give all humans hexproof and indestructible. So, even is your opponent does have the mana to pay all of the taxes you've got in play, you have one final trump card that will make them have to have it all over again.

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These redundant, layered protection cards are essential to playing a creature-based aggro deck in the current Modern meta. With cards like Furyimage, Solitudeimage, and Unholy Heatimage seeing play, (alongside the usual suspects of Fatal Pushimage, Bloodchief's Thirstimage, and Lightning Boltimage) it's harder than ever to keep enough creatures on board to close out games.

These new cards add to the deck's ability to play around opposing removal and board wipes. With them in the deck, humans now have 11 cards that make the creatures harder to target, destroy, or otherwise remove from play, and that's a great asset to a deck that's trying to add up to 20.

Other Support Cards

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Assuming you're new to the archetype or Modern format, I'll also go over the final unmentioned cards. And while I dub them "support cards," they do quite a lot for the deck. Aether Vialimage shines in decks with a critical mass of creature spells at one particular spot (usually a low one) on the curve. In the case of this deck, almost every card is two CMC. So, once you've gotten a vial in play and up to two counters, you can reliably put an extra creature into play every turn.

It can also be activated at any time (during combat or on opposing end steps), allowing you to "vial in" your creatures at whichever time is best for you. Some cool examples are putting in Kitesail Freebooterimage during your opponent's draw step to steal something out of their hand. Or using the vial in combat with Champion of the Parishimage and Thalia's Lieutenantimage to change the landscape of combat.

Noble Hierarchimage is a bit more straightforward - It ramps you into spells faster and allows you to cast multiple creatures per turn more often. It's particularly good when used to cast Mantis Riderimage on turn two, where it can immediately attack and get a +1/+1 from the exalted trigger.


I've heard a lot of negativity about March of the Machine: The Aftermath, and while much of it is warranted, I wanted to do something about the set or its card in a positive light. Being a big fan of tribal decks, I saw the value of Coppercoat Vanguardimage and Jirina, Dauntless Generalimage. I was happy to see Meryn MTG put everything together in a classic humans shell. That said, I hope you enjoyed today's article. As always, please comment and let me know what you think of the deck.


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