New Horizons: March of the Machine Commander

26 Apr
by Matt Grzechnik

This week on New Horizons, we’re exploring and speculating new cards in Commander: March of the Machine.

The March of the Machine Commander product was launched with five brand-new decks. This product offers great value for its price, but limited investment opportunities. The decks are well-balanced against each other and come with the added feature of Planechase, which enhances their gameplay experience. While it is possible to enjoy the decks without using the Planechase cards, give them a try at least once to fully appreciate their unique gameplay.

 

Regarding the financial aspect of each deck, while some cards are more valuable than others, none stand out as leagues ahead of others. Most notably, the Cavalry Charge deck contains some higher priced reprints such as Hero of Bladehold and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, making it the most valuable in terms of individual card worth.

 

Excise the Imperfect

Excise the Imperfect

 

Introducing Excise the Imperfect, a new removal card from the Growing Threat deck. This card allows you to exile a target nonland permanent, but with a drawback, which is a common effect found in other instant cards like Anguished Unmaking or Vanish into Eternity. This card's drawback its Incubate mechanic, giving the permanent’s controller an Incubator token. This cost may seem demanding, nevertheless, the benefits are worth the price. Players can use Excise the Imperfect at instant speed to remove a problematic permanent from the game, while your opponent must pay two mana to create a creature from it. Currently going at a market price of $8.30, the card is likely to continue going down unless a future interaction increases its impact.

Although Excise the Imperfect may be useful in eternal formats, it is mainly intended for EDH. While some have suggested its use in other formats, such as Legacy, the desired effect may not be quick enough for those formats. Therefore the card's potential across various formats will only become clearer with time.

 

Excise the Imperfect
Commander: March of the Machine
Commander: March of the Machine

 

 

Bitterthorn, Nissa's Animus

Bitterthorn, Nissa's Animus

 

Bitterthorn, Nissa's Animus joins the ever-increasing ranks of three-mana creatures that search for a basic land when a condition is met (although this technically isn’t a creature, it just makes one on entry). While most creatures in this category trigger upon entering the battlefield, such as Farfinder, Bitterthorn provides players with a repeatable effect upon attacking. With pricing presently under $12, one can’t help but draw a direct comparison to Sword of the Animist, currently at an $11.50 average. Sword of the Animist has been a strong EDH staple since its original printing in Magic Origins and has continued to increase in value over time despite six total prints.

Considering that Bitterthorn comes in at an additional cost of one extra mana, this overcomes the biggest drawback of needing to be equipped. Entering the battlefield along with a 0/0 Germ token already attached ensures the availability of a creature able to utilize the attack trigger. Alternatively, the legendary artifact can be equipped with a larger threat or an evasive creature and keep generating value. Circling back to the earlier comparison, Sword of the Animist requires a total of four mana to be played and equipped along with a creature already on the battlefield.

Over time the predicted price of Bitterthorn will increase at the same rate as its predecessor if not at a slightly accelerated tempo due to the limited availability.

 

Bitterthorn, Nissa's Animus
Commander: March of the Machine
Commander: March of the Machine

 

Conjurer's Mantle

Conjurer's Mantle

 

Conjurer's Mantle can be difficult to evaluate due to its unique abilities. Initially, the card may appear to be a two-mana Equipment that gives a creature +1/+1 and vigilance, which is slightly less effective than Kor Halberd. However, the true power of the Conjurer's Mantle lies in its additional effect. When the equipped creature attacks, the player gets to view the top six cards of their library, choose one that shares a creature type, and add it to their hand while putting the rest on the bottom of the library in a random order. This effect is similar to only one other card, Heirloom Blade. However, the approach is vastly different.

 

Conjurer's Mantle is a potent tool in a deck that focuses on creatures of the same type, which typically has 20 to 30 creatures. Through calculations, it’s evident that even with just 20 creatures, there is an ~85% chance of drawing at least one creature that shares a type with the equipped creature from the top six cards. While drawing cards with attack triggers is generally a more potent ability, the chance of hitting a creature with Conjurer's Mantle is worth it against the potential of drawing a land.

Currently priced around $12.50, the likelihood of which will steadily increase once participants become aware of its success rate in drawing cards. As previously mentioned with Urza's Incubator in Dominaria Remastered, tribal decks show continuous growth in popularity.

 

Conjurer's Mantle
Commander: March of the Machine
Commander: March of the Machine

 

Honorable Mention: Begin the Invasion

Begin the Invasion

 

Since the recent unveiling of battles and their mechanics, Begin the Invasion comes in as an honorable mention. The X and five-color sorcery allows the player to tutor up X different battles, directing them immediately into play. Although some of the battles currently available in the game may lack power, there are certain exceptions, for example, the Invasion of Alara and the Invasion of Shandalar.

Since battles aren’t confined to a single set, it’s reasonable to expect that more will be added in the future, with the possibility of including a Battle for Helm's Deep in the upcoming set, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. At present, the average cost of Begin the Invasion is $2.50, and it’s only obtainable outside of the preconstructed decks, thus meriting its inclusion on my premium watchlist.

 

Begin the Invasion
Commander: March of the Machine
Commander: March of the Machine

 

 

Conclusion

The latest Commander set presents an excellent opportunity for newcomers to enter the game, with the reintroduction of Planechase enhancing the gameplay variability. It is especially conducive for novices interested in experiencing EDH while still offering room for improvement through upgrades. Although some seasoned players may express disappointment with the perceived lack of individual card strength, it’s important to note that the format's primary aim is to provide a relaxed, social experience for a broad audience. Additionally, the inclusion of Planechase expands the potential for new Archenemy schemes, broadening the game's possibilities even further.

Join me again in two weeks when we’ll cover March of the Machine: The Aftermath.  

Check out these other articles:  

Modern Times - March of the Machine by Corey Williams  

History, Restapled: Power Creep Before Dollar Creep by Steve Heisler  

The Big Things: World Championship Decks by Harvey McGuinness  

Matt Grzechnik
Matt Grzechnik

Matt Grzechnik started playing Magic with the release of Dragon's Maze. Since then he has tried and experimented with all of the formats before discovering his love for EDH and Pauper. Piloting the same Jund deck for the last 10 years, he now tries to both understand and break Sealed as a format.


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