Hey everybody! With March of the Machine: The Aftermath releasing at the end of the week, I thought it’d be fun to talk about my favourite cards for Commander from the 50-card set. I’ll go through my top five and I’ll save room for commentary on cards I know folks will like a little blurb about.
The disclaimer is that I am just a guy who plays Commander. I have my ear to the ground, I like certain play styles, I am just a person. I have my opinions, I like what I like, and this top five might not match your own. But I will highlight cards I think are worth picking up and trying out.
I will say that despite Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin and Niv-Mizzet, Supreme being among my favourite cards in the set, I will not include them in the top five here because I have already written articles for each of them.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
This is the Cyclonic Rift that isn’t a Cyclonic Rift. There is a lot of buzz about this because some key Enchantments and Artifacts in cEDH are worth getting rid of for only three mana en masse. Not bouncing creatures is not necessarily a downside when so many creatures have incredible ETB effects that outweigh them just being in play.
I think Filter Out will be annoying to some, but also a boon to others. I believe putting it in an eggs deck (Artifacts with 0 mana value) or an Enchantress deck to prock more and more triggers is the best use of this. Being proactive against stax at the end of the turn before yours is also a great use for Filter Out.
Arni Metalbrow is very cool. Arni is a new red legend that isn’t just copying what you’ve got but slamming down your hand as long as you’ve got high enough mana value swinging. The fun part about this is that it is obviously capped, but it means having to use some high mana value creatures that nobody wants to play otherwise to get the chain going. And it’s a chain because as long as you have the mana, you can keep getting your board swinging. What’s the nut draw? Anything that keeps going. It is Balefire Dragon into Inferno Titan into Terror of the Peaks into Goldspan Dragon into Professional Face-Breaker. There’s a lot to like about a deck that can just zoom!
This is the card that is going to be most expensive from this set. No caveat, just absolute certainty. It is a three mana Lotus Cobra with a better body that when you Landfall a second time gets you an Elf or Elemental to hand if you have any in the deck. That second part could also just not be there and Nissa would still be a welcome addition to land decks. Yes, Lotus Cobra is already a staple, but it is fragile. However, it has an ability that has fans and therefore redundancy is an ally here! Having a curve of Lotus Cobra into Nissa means that your Evolving Wilds just paid for your four drop and you still have your other lands ready to use.
A Boros flicker card that lets you get more value out of your creatures and artifacts entering the battlefield. It’s selective, it allows you to protect them from players on your turn. You can have symmetrical become asymmetrical by exiling them at your end step, so only you benefit from them. Cadric, Soul Kindler focusing on legendary creatures can stack the Dockside Extortionist ETB trigger to the top and then pay for all the legendary clones you’ll make. Cathars’ Crusade is already a nightmare, have some more nightmares why don’t you – toss it in the deck! Impact Tremors, Purphoros, God of the Forge, Reckless Fireweaver – pick your enemies’ poison and go to town. This will leave you up for attacks, but you don’t have to exile everything to bring them back. This card is insane!
I can’t spend too much time on Narset because she’s just so freaking open-ended. Incredibly powerful commander meant to lead a deck. Creatures you control have prowess is massive if you want to just play cards like Dragon Fodder and Ral’s Reinforcements the whole game, but I will point out that Narset doesn’t need to target your own graveyard and doesn’t specify that you absolutely have to pick an instant or sorcery or enchantment or artifact or planeswalker or battle. You can pick any of these. You don’t even need to specialize or stick to a theme! What a wacky card.
LIGHTNING ROUND! THIS IS WHERE I GO QUICK AND SHORT:
- Coppercoat Vanguard – Human themed decks get a new protection piece!
- Deification – Literally Worship for a specific type of Planeswalker. Great for a theme deck or Estrid, the Masked.
- Harnessed Snubhorn – Ghen, Arcanum Weaver! Give this double strike and play self mill, start swinging!
- Metropolis Reformer – Blasphemous Act gains you 13 life. Neat!
- Spark Rupture – I hate this card but also it is necessary. Hose the planeswalker deck in your meta!
- Tazri, Stalwart Survivor – Another white creature that is actually a five-colour card. Interesting niche to lean into with activated abilities that are not mana abilities. Zirda, the Dawnwaker will be happy to be included.
- Tolarian Contempt – Hose the Voltron player at the table or the guy with few creatures. This card definitely feels like a fun mini game!
- Training Grounds – SOLID REPRINT! Finally! The old version was about $20-25 and we’re about to see it hit a low of probably $5. Pick yours up! It’s worth it in the right deck.
- Vesuvan Drifter – Creatures have a lot of ETB abilities that make them worth it. This doesn’t give you ETBs. If you can build around it, it could be interesting, but I wanted to point out that we are really in an ETB era and this isn’t as good as it looks.
- Ayara’s Oathsworn – Tutors are boring, but you can keep repeating this if you have a way to remove counters. It’s a Knight and it’s cheap, so it’ll find a home in those decks.
- Markov Baron – Just an absolutely insane amount of abilities on here that are so fun and interesting.
- Urborg Scavengers – You don’t need to exile cards from your graveyard for the buff and the abilities! Much better than I first thought.
- Plargg and Nassari – I love Plargg and Nassari in their first iterations but always wanted to run them independently. Now they’re together and I’ll take what I can get. This gives your opponents a choice, but it gives you two free spells at the beginning of your turn. Who can turn that down?
- Animist’s Might – Solid green creature removal. It’s a bite spell that costs one if it targets a legend, which is such an easy thing to do and will definitely see play in decks where the commander has deathtouch.
- Leyline Immersion – Lots of commanders have amazing passive abilities, but can’t attack well. Why not put them to work?
- Open the Way – At its best, pay six mana for four random lands from your deck but they can all be absolute bangers. At worst, it’s a three mana gamble into either a basic or a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. I’ll take my chances.
- Calix, Guided by Fate – I’ll be writing about Calix, Guided by Fate at some point, but let’s just say that second ability can get way out of hand.
- Campus Renovation – Boros five drop reanimates an artifact or enchantment, but also impulse draws you two cards until the end of your next turn? This is what I wanted from Lorehold in Strixhaven, and this is quite the promise for things to come.
- Cosmic Rebirth – A Regrowth that lets you skip the casting of the card if it’s 3 mana value or less. Very solid.
- Danitha, New Benalia’s Light – A new equipment commander in Selesnya to shake up those players who have Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith decks.
- Feast of the Victorious Dead – Aristocrats decks that need a little more life gain and finishing power are stoked to see it.
- Gold-Forged Thopteryx – Jodah, the Unifier and Planeswalker decks, lets get an extra little treat.
- Jirina, Dauntless General – Humans decks get some hate and protection. Jirina Kudro, meet Jirina, Dauntless General.
- Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir – This will be one of the most annoying decks in your meta. Blue loves drawing cards. Green loves playing lands and drawing cards. Both those things are rewarded and done with ease thanks to Jolrael.
- The Kenriths’ Royal Funeral – Jodah, the Unifier and Kethis, the Hidden Hand decks will appreciate the discount!
- Kiora, Sovereign of the Deep – Simic Sea Creatures, we knew it was coming. We already had one from Jumpstart 2022 in Kenessos, Priest of Thassa, and while the difference between these is subtle, I’d say you could probably have them cycle with each other for commander slot.
- Nahiri, Forged in Fury – She’s pretty bad ass and will be cycling with all the other Boros equipment commanders. Try her out or stick to Akiri, either way, enjoy your weapons!
- Nashi, Moon’s Legacy – Sultai Relentless Rats, please!
- Niv-Mizzet, Supreme – https://www.thebagofloot.com/a-seat-at-the-table-niv-mizzet-supreme/
- Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin – https://www.thebagofloot.com/a-seat-at-the-table-ob-nixilis-captive-kingpin/
- Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival – A little extra love for playing impulse draw in your Boros decks.
- Rebuild the City – Most of the lands I want to blow up are legendary, but even getting three dorks out of a deal like this isn’t bad. If you have to kill a Nykthos and only get a creature out of it instead of three, that might still be worth the squeeze.
- Rocco, Street Chef – I’ll be writing about Rocco, who swaps my favourite colour (black) for my least favourite colour (green) and a neat support colour (white). I think this is one of the most fun commanders in the set but I will write him up this week or so, so why not save it for then!
- Samut, Vizier of Naktamun – This card is already being tested in cEDH and overperforming. Pick up your copies.
- Sarkhan, Soul Aflame – Reduces the cost of your Dragons and lets you “swing with them” the same turn. Or with two because lots of Dragons have haste! Play Sarkhan into Goldspan Dragon and swing with both. That’s two Treasures that tap for two! If you hit your land drop, you probably have five mana open! What’s next? This is going into The Ur-Dragon for sure, but Izzet Dragons have been getting a ton of support. Time will tell.
- Sigarda, Font of Blessings – The Angel and Human part card makes it likeliest to lead a tribal deck of those, but being able to just look at your top card and set up for it while protecting your permanents makes this already a solid four drop.
- Tyvar the Bellicose – ONE Tyvar was interesting. MAT Tovar is an elf ball leader. Marwyn, the Nurturer, Viridian Joiner, and Gyre Sage are going to make so much mana.
- Karn, Legacy Reforged – Finally, a Karn for the command zone that doesn’t cost a ton or suck! I’ll be trying him in my Will the Wise and Mike, the Dungeon Master deck and I think he’ll be an absolute house in that deck.
That does it for me! Make sure to get your packs of March of the Machine: The Aftermath on May 13th!