The Best New Cards From MTG: March of the Machine

MTG Chandra card and artwork from March of the Machine

Now that March of the Machine has been out for a few weeks, Magic: The Gathering players have had time to incorporate the set’s best cards into their Standard decks. While some of March of the Machine‘s flashiest cards have already led to some interesting brews, those looking to get the most out of their money (or Wildcards in MTG Arena) have a whole host of options for powerful deck staples that will see players through the upcoming Standard season.


Playing MTG on a budget can be difficult. With how expensive building MTG decks can be, both on paper and online, it pays to know which cards from March of the Machine are likely to get the most mileage in the upcoming years of Standard — especially since Wizards of the Coast extended MTG‘s Standard cycles by one year. While March of the Machine is still new, several standout cards have already shown themselves to be worthwhile choices. Here are the safest cards to buy or craft from MTG‘s latest expansion set.

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Etali, Primal Conqueror Is a Powerful Win-Condition

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One of the most-played cards in March of the Machine is the game-winning bomb rare Etali, Primal Conqueror. Avid fans quickly identified Etali as a powerhouse when it was first revealed, and it has since proven itself to be a worthy addition to Rakdos Midrange builds. It benefits strongly from Sheoldred, The Apocalypse’s stalling effects before flipping and swinging for the kill.

With Rakdos and Grixis decks making up a significant chunk of Standard’s metagame, Etali works well as a top-end option that doesn’t break the bank. The card advantage facilitated by its “enter the battlefield” trigger can dramatically swing a game, and untapping with nine mana available means opponents must do everything in their power to defend against the formidable Phyrexian dinosaur, lest they die to MTG‘s infuriating poison counters.

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Chandra, Hope’s Beacon Is a Powerful Planeswalker Presence

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Playing a red deck in MTG‘s Standard format is an excellent choice right now, and Chandra’s latest Planeswalker card is another of March of the Machine‘s powerful additions to red mana. Much like Etali, Chandra works well as a top-end threat for red decks, though it focuses much more on doubling up value on burn or draw spells to close out games quickly. Chandra’s +1 and +2 abilities take advantage of her spell-doubling passive, while her ultimate ability removes creatures and deals direct damage to opponents all at once.

Chandra will be effective for as long as red decks remain worth playing, meaning that MTG players are likely to see her for a good while. Other powerful red cards are the biggest danger to Chandra’s position in Standard, most notably Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, whose treasure generation and card draw are important for red mana’s current power.

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Sunfall Is White Mana’s New Premier Board Wipe

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Every control player knows that board wipes are one of the game’s best answers to runaway aggro decks, and Sunfall is March of the Machine‘s gift to white control decks. With its blanket exile effect, Sunfall gets around protective abilities like indestructible to make sure the most dangerous creatures don’t stick around. On top of this, the incubator token left over can be a potent defender or threat, depending on how quickly opponents recover from the board wipe.

Like most of white mana’s wrath effects, Sunfall’s home is in Standard control decks, providing a stopgap for creature-heavy matchups like Rakdos Reanimator or Esper Legends, where the exile effect does a double-duty by inhibiting graveyard strategies. With strategies like Boros Aggro creeping into the meta, Sunfall is an ideal way to keep them in check.

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March of the Machine Offers New Sideboard All-Stars For Standard

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>MTG Lithomantic Barrage, Surge of Salvation and Glistening Deluge cards

Even though March of the Machine introduces lots of new splashy win conditions and game-changing cards, some of the most impactful spells come from the set’s uncommon cycle of enemy hate cards. Glistening Deluge and Surge of Salvation are both powerful utility spells that can wipe boards or save vital permanents, with added benefits when cast against decks playing specified colors. Lithomantic Barrage continues red’s dominance, showing up in the sideboard of almost any deck running the color.

MTG‘s metagame is always in a state of flux, with March of the Machine: Aftermath adding more cards and exciting new combos to Standard, and Wilds of Eldraine expected to shake up the game like the original Throne of Eldraine did. That said, March of the Machine‘s best cards look like they’ll be mainstays in MTG‘s meta for the next three years, and players should expect to see them for a long time.


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