New Horizons: The Aftermath

10 May
by Matt Grzechnik

This week's New Horizons deliberates over cards in March of the Machine: The Aftermath.

Intro

March of the Machine: The Aftermath is a new product type being trialed by Wizards of the Coast. The micro-set with only 50 cards sold in epilogue boosters contains 2-4 uncommons and 1-3 rares for the same price as your regular 15-card booster. Along with those 50 cards, there is, of course, the addition of 180 alternates available with different arts or foil treatments (and notably no serialized cards this time around).

With the reintroduction of planeswalkers as legendary creatures and a few insights into the affected planes, Aftermath feels exceedingly like a cut content rebranding into a separate product. This paired with its tumultuous preview cycle, this trial product will surely remain memorable for some time.

 

Training Grounds

Training Grounds

 

Training Grounds holds an intriguingly high valuation despite not seeing play in Modern, Legacy, or Vintage. The card itself is a combo piece in many EDH decks going infinite with one or two more supporting pieces. Being the predecessor to Biomancer's Familiar, a bulk rare from Ravnica Allegiance, the pricing point of Training Grounds presented similarly in the past.

First printed in Rise of the Eldrazi, the card developed a relatively slow uptake in price until mid-2017 when scarcity and supply became an issue. Drastically peaking at an all-time high of $64.99, the price has since averaged at $32, and is rapidly decreasing with the new reprint. Being on The List and now occupying a rare slot in a mini set would indicate that the price of Training Grounds will continue to decrease until it finds a steady equilibrium against its other copies.

Having been a core element of the game since its inception, activated abilities will continue in the future with other cards that interact or care about them. Tazri, Stalwart Survivor provides an example of such within this set as it creates support and home for five-color activated ability tribal. It's left to players' individual interpretation to consider the strength capabilities of these effects. However, with each new set release, fewer creatures can be classified as vanilla, thus providing greater potential for Training Grounds.

 

Training Grounds
Rise of the Eldrazi
March of the Machine: The Aftermath
March of the Machine: The Aftermath: Extras
March of the Machine: The Aftermath: Extras

 

Rebuild the City

Rebuild the City

 

Rebuild the City's inclusion in this recently unveiled set has generated significant excitement among players. The card's potential to create multiple copies of a chosen target land has led to speculation regarding its ability to be exploited for maximum effect. While copying a single object may not be a powerful ability on its own, the potential to create two or more copies of a valuable target could provide a game-changing advantage. Many conceive the card to be as influential as Rite of Replication, a popular spell from a decade ago that could single-handedly decide the outcome of a game.

Players have identified several lands that could benefit significantly from being copied, particularly those with underlying utility. Examples include Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, which can now deal 12 damage divided into threes to any creature or player. On the other hand, Field of the Dead can create a massive board state simply by being copied. However, these are best-case scenarios for the spell, with its effectiveness much less pronounced in other circumstances. One potential downside and a bonus of the card is that each of the three copies created is also a 3/3 creature with vigilance and menace, which provides nine power with evasion to the board. Currently, the card is valued at just under $8 and is unlikely to increase significantly unless there are other synergistic lands introduced later.

 

Rebuild the City
March of the Machine: The Aftermath
March of the Machine: The Aftermath: Extras
March of the Machine: The Aftermath: Extras

 

Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin

Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin

 

Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin provides a fantastic addition to the ever-increasing number of exile-related advantage engines. Combining the popularity of the red impulse draw and the ping/drain of the black color identity, this card shows real potential and flexibility to build around. Currently priced at an average of $19 before the release, the trajectory of this price will more than likely follow a downward trend toward $10, as shown in the European market. Many people are referring to Ob Nixilis as an alternative to Prosper, Tome-Bound as the similarity and playability are comparable. Currently, there is not enough support for this card to break out into the Standard metagame. Although there is a certain Cat/Oven combination that players may look to trial in Pioneer.

 

Putting aside obvious interactions with cards like All Will Be One which goes infinite with Ob Nixilis once activated, there are two other cards that look to be rallying in price. Keeper of Secrets and Nalfeshnee have both seen an increase in demand due to their interactions with this card's exile effects.

Looking over the last few years of Commander products and Standard sets it feels like Wizards are dead set on red’s color identity being associated with impulse draw. Due to this, more cards incorporating this mechanic are bound to make waves while the few supporting cards that we have access to are unlikely to see a meaningful reprint anytime soon.

 

Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin
March of the Machine: The Aftermath
March of the Machine: The Aftermath: Extras
March of the Machine: The Aftermath: Extras

 

Conclusion

March of the Machine: The Aftermath represents a distinctive product that should be appreciated for its uniqueness. Over time there will be a significant market correction in prices to balance against those currently observed during the preorder stage. This correction will occur as the single market stabilizes in the first week after release and as more boosters/duplicate cards are opened.

Based on a personal perspective, there is a major shift in the design of Standard sets in order to support other formats of the game, such as Commander and Modern. Whereas previously only a few cards would apply to these formats, it now seems that every set needs to feature some kind of upgrade to a previously printed card or be packed with legendary creatures in order to boost sales.

Join me in the next installment of New Horizons, as we delve into the Secret Lair: Spring Superdrop 2023.

 

Check out these other articles:  

A Penny Saved, a Renegade Earned by Ryan Cole  

The Big Things: Foil Etched Divisions by Harvey McGuinness  

History, Restapled: A Mother’s Love and a Land Reborn by Steve Heisler

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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