The best March of the Machine: Aftermath cards are an interesting bunch that come from a pool of just 50 new Magic: The Gathering cards added with this set. That’s a far smaller selection of cards than usual, and the result is a really interesting mix of creatures, rarities and uses. The size of the set is way smaller than usual, and it means there’s a lot less chaff to sort through.
Thankfully for everyone, the selection of cards in March of the Machine: Aftermath is genuinely intriguing. There are some fun things in this micro set for a few different formats - although it does feel especially focused on Commander but, hey, that’s nothing new in recent years. Anyway, the cool cards cometh.
Best March of the Machine: Aftermath cards
- Narset, Enlightened Exile
- Tyvar the Bellicose
- Nissa, Resurgent Animist
- Blot Out
- Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir
- Metropolis Reformer
- Sarkhan, Soul Aflame
- Plargg and Nassari
- Calix, Guided by Fate
- Feast of the Victorious Dead
The simplest thing to do here would just be to pick the highest-rarity cards, of which there are exactly ten, and call it a day. We’d never do that to you though - and, frankly, all mythic rares aren’t made equally anyway. Also, shoutout to Gold-Forged Thopteryx, which isn’t an especially good card, but is a Dinosaur Thopter, and that’s a cool creature type.
Unfortunately, being a cool creature isn’t enough to be one of the best March of the Machine: Aftermath cards, but the ones below all made it.
1. Narset, Enlightened Exile
Prowess for everyone
Narest, Enlightened Exile is a four-mana Blue, Red and White 3/4 that gives all of your creatures prowess. Honestly, if that’s all it did it’d still likely be worthy of this list. Prowess is an ability that gives a creature +1/+1 until the end of the turn whenever you cast a noncreature spell, like an instant or sorcery, for example.
Giving that to all of your creatures makes every spell exponentially more powerful, but that’s not even all Narset does. The card also reads: “Whenever Narset, Enlightened Exile attacks, exile target noncreature, nonland card with mana value less than Narset’s power from a graveyard and copy it. You may cast the copy without paying its mana cost.” Free spells, which also make all of your creatures stronger, can only be a good thing.
2. Tyvar the Bellicose
Mana into strength
Bellicose means “demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight”, we just thought you should know, as the writer of this article had to look it up. Tyvar the Bellicose is a four-mana Black and Green 5/4 that gives your attacking elves deathtouch until the end of the turn.
It also gives all of your creatures an ability that makes it so that they get +1/+1 counters on them whenever they activate a mana ability, equal to the amount of mana they created with that ability. The ability only triggers once a turn, but it’s still a very potent way of turning a 1/1 that taps for one mana into a real threat over the course of a game.
3. Nissa, Resurgent Animist
Double or something
This three-mana Green 3/3 sees Nissa no longer being all Phyrexianed up, and also going back to her roots - which is a big old pun that we’re not going to apologise for because that’s just how this whole thing goes.
Nissa reads: “Landfall - Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, add one mana of any color. Then if this is the second time this ability has resolved this turn, reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal an Elf or Elemental card. Put that card into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.” That means you get extra mana, mana-fixing, and card draw all on one handy card.
4. Blot Out
Kill your darlings
This is a three-mana Black instant card that’s incredibly good at dealing with the most expensive threat on the board, or at least the most expensive threat that you don’t control. It means that this is a good one at pretty much any stage in the game, but especially against decks that like big expensive threats.
That’s because it causes a target opponent to have to exile the creature or planeswalker they control with the greatest mana value among the ones they control. It being an instant is huge, because you can just whip it out whenever it’s opportune - even if it’s when they’re attacking you with it.
5. Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir
The land itself is rising up
This card is absolutely fascinating. This four-mana Green and Blue 3/3 allows you to draw a card whenever a land creature you control deals damage to another player. Everyone loves card draw, and it’s a cool theme too. Of course, its real ability is something else.
At the beginning of your combat step, you get to turn a target land you control into an X/X Green and Blue Bird creature with flying and haste until the end of a turn, where X is equal to the number of cards in your hand. It’s very easy to have five or six cards in your hand on turn four, which means you suddenly have a flying 6/6 that can swing in, and will then make the next instance of this ability stronger thanks to card draw.
6. Metropolis Reformer
A very annoying blocker
This three-mana 2/3 has both flying and vigilance, and also grants you hexproof. That’s a good mix of stuff already, but it also gives you extra life whenever it takes damage, equal to that damage. This is unlikely to be a one-off ability, making it a huge win.
Picture this: you’re staring down a lot of 2/2s, and they basically can’t attack you because you’ll be able to offset some of the damage. Not only that, but even if your opponent is swinging in with a 10/10, you can still block it and gain 10 life, because that’s how damage works in MTG. It’s a good little investment for sure.
7. Sarkhan, Soul Aflame
Sarkhan, Soul Aflame is a three-mana Blue and Red 2/4. This version of Sarkhan makes each dragon spell you have control one generic mana less, which is already a nice touch. However, its true strength lies in its shapeshifting ability.
That’s because this version of Sarkhan can turn into a copy of any dragon that enters the battlefield under your control until the end of the turn. That means if you play a 6/6 dragon with some absurd ability, you then have two copies of that dragon until the end of the turn.
8. Plargg and Nassari
Plargg and Nassari is a five-mana Red 5/4 with a lot of text. It reads: “At the beginning of your upkeep, each player exiles cards from the top of their library until they exile a nonland card. An opponent chooses a nonland card exiled this way. You may cast up to two spells from among the other cards exiled this way without paying their mana costs.”
Basically, everyone exiles cards until they hit a nonland card, then one opponent can pick one of those cards, which you can’t choose. From amongst the other cards, you can choose two of them to cast for free. In multiplayer games this is an absurd win, and it happens in every single one of your upkeeps.
9. Calix, Guided by Fate
This version of Calix isn’t a planeswalker, but they are still pretty good. This three-mana Green and White 2/2 is all about enchantments. Not only does it put a +1/+1 counter on a creature whenever it or another enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, it also makes copies.
Specifically, whenever it or another enchanted creature you control deals combat damage to a player, you get to create a token of any non-legendary enchantment you control. You can only do it once a turn, but it’s still a big win.
10. Feast of the Victorious Dead
Cannibalism, but good
Finally, we’ve all come a long way, so how about a meal? It’s not actually eating your friends, but it sort of works like that. This White and Black two-mana enchantment allows you to gain life and make your creatures stronger.
It reads: “At the beginning of your end step, if one or more creatures died this turn, you gain that much life and distribute that many +1/+1 counters among creatures you control.”
Basically, if you’re playing a deck that kills things or sacrifices your own creatures, especially in token decks, you get a lot of life and can make your creatures stronger. It’s a joy.