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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 09 2023 9:34am
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MARCH OF THE MACHINE

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 The second to last set in the New Phyrexian saga, and the culmination of the whole storyline, March of the Machine is an event set, the way War of the Spark was for the Bolas Arc in 2019. It potrays the New Phyexians' attempt at conquering the Multiverse by launching a simultaneous assault on dozens of distinct planes, including all of those that we had visited or even just learned about in the past. To various degrees, the inhabitants of each plane reacted showing a united front against the alien attackers and threw the full might of their combined resources at them. Ultimately, the invasion failed, Elesh Norn and the other Praetors were killed, and New Phyrexia itself sent into the Blind Eternities. The seismic reverberations of these events are bound to change the lore of the game forever, as we're going to find out in the micro set March of the Machine: The Aftermath.

   

   

 A side effect of this narrative that stages the invasion of an entire universe is that the set is extremely granular, subtype-wise, with a whopping 92 creature types involved – including unusual ones like Cephalid, CitizenRabbit, and Raccoon. Some of these are included, both in Phyrexianized and regular form, to represent the characteristic populaces of their respective home planes, such as Kavu for Dominaria, MoonfolkNinja and Samurai for Kamigawa, Weird for Ravnica, Kithkin for Lowryn, Satyr for Theros, Jackal for Amonkhet, Aetherborn and Gremlin for Kaladesh, Fractal and Pest for Arcavios. The number of Dinosaurs is also unpredictably high, due to them being a very conspicuous feature of several worlds, particularly Ixalan and Ikoria. Raccoon and Pest acquired here their third member; other small tribes with new additions include OctopusShark, Wolverine, and Yeti.

 While the presence of tribal support for the Phyrexians doesn't come off as unexpected, as they're the story's sole antagonists, the same can't be said for the other major tribal component of the set, which almost randomly is Knight – though it's partly justified by the reappearance of the displaced people from the Dominarian kingdom of Zhalfir, which reentered the Multiverse from its exile in the Blind Eternities at the climax of the story.

 Furthermore, the team up theme, where two different legendaries of the past are merged into one card to show up the strange bedfellows and improbable alliances that the cosmic crisis brought about, caused unlikely, never-before-seen creature type pairs, like Dinosaur Vampire, Human Angel, and Orc Dragon, to reflect the fact that the two creatures depicted on the card maintain their own races while being mechanically joint together as they fight this ultimate war side by side.

 Let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes. As always, the main focus is on all the Constructed applications, though Limited is occasionally touched upon; the tribes are presented alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 NOTE: Alchemy cards, Acorn cards, and other non-tournament legal cards aren't counted toward the tribal totals.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 296 (+10 duplicated basic lands, includes 15 Jumpstart exclusive)
  • New cards: 272
  • New creatures: 154
  • Reprinted cards: 24
  • Reprinted creatures: 4 (Fairgrounds Trumpeter, Monastery Mentor, Phyrexian Gargantua, Skittering Surveyor)
  • New Legendary creatures: 30
  • New Snow creatures: 0
  • New artifact creatures: 3
  • New enchantment creatures: 1
  • Triple-subtype creatures: 9
  • Creature types affected: 92
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Phyrexian (+40), Human (+32), Knight (+15), Warrior (+13), Dinosaur (+8), Elf (+7), Rogue (+7), Vampire (+6)

Advisor: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 83, online: 74

 Related Tribes: Cephalid

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: This lone Advisor from New Capenna is designed to play alongside the new Incubator tokens, which require two generic mana to transform (it's a bit of flavor fail, though, since this guy doesn't seem to be a Phyrexian collaborator). It's cheap and the ability has no mana cost, but it's way too narrow to matter, both in Limited and Constructed, where there are already better enablers for combo shenanigans with activated abilities.


Aetherborn: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 17

 Related Tribes: Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Aetherborn of Kaladesh used their vampiric powers against the invading Phyrexians. The one that ended up inhabiting a card is a simple demonstration of the backup mechanic, which is an improvement on the usual ETB-triggered text "put a +1/+1 counter on target creature" a la Ironshell Beetle – this time, if the boon's target is not the creature itself, all its other abilities are transferred for the turn. Consuming Aetherborn offers lifelink, but it's for the rest quite unremarkable. Okay filler for Limited, not good for much else.


Angel: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 233, online: 229

 Related Tribes: Human, Soldier, Vampire, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Angels of the Multiverse have a large role to play during the Invasion, especially those from New Capenna, since their halo turns out to be an effective Phyrexian repellent. One of those is Giada, the teenage-looking Angel that helped Elspeth navigate the crime-ridden streets of the city-plane. After the Phyrexians arrived on Capenna, Giada acted as a literal guardian angel to an unsuspecting Errant, the rebellious graffiti artist who ended up instrumental in the local defeat of the invaders. Their team up card is quite straightforward, being a dedicate Vizier of the Menagerie for flying creatures – as well as, to a lesser degree of relevance, for flash creatures. Azorius Flyers is an established minor archetype in several formats, and this duo is adequately costed and has sufficient stats to earn itself a place in those. Most notably, it's almost perfect for Angel Tribal builds, with only the required blue splash as a negligible concern. The importance of having access to the top of the library as an extension of our hand cannot be overstated.

 Down on apocalypse-proof Zendikar, where the Phyrexian Invasion was just another Tuesday, the strong-willed Linvala casually found out celebrated war hero Drana is not so bad after all, despite being a less than angelic Vampire. The two ladies bonded over their mutual love of Phyrexian annihilation, and a beautiful friendship was born. The Angel brought to the team up the silencing ability from classic Linvaka, Keeper of Silence, which is more of a sideboard affair; the vampiric twist of stealing abilities is intriguing, but awfully situational, and nowadays four mana with three colored symbols should buy us more than a 3/4 vigilant flyer. It's not a bad card, but something more could be expected from a collaboration between these two characters. Oh well, at least they look happy.

 Kaldheim gives us a new Valkyrie, sort of a Baneslayer Angel minus the protections but with the option of lending a portion of her body to a fellow creature, along with a one-time use of her formidable keywords. Definitely a bomb in Limited, this kind of midrange beater has lost a lot of its past glamour in Constructed – even in Standard, where Baneslayer's M21 reprint mostly went unnoticed. And the backup ability is not going to be particularly relevant in an Angel deck.

 Another callback is Guardian of Ghirapur (whose name signals we've now moved to Kaladesh), a three-mana Restoration Angel that loses one point of toughness, the flash speed, and even more noticeably, the opportunity to combo off by returning the creature to the battlefield right away. Still, it's a valid three-drop that can hit a number of juicy two-drops with ETB abilities, and that includes artifacts, which is a novel ability. There are white decks in Standard that might have an use for her. The same can't be said for Seraph of New Capenna, one of the transformers that just require some mana to flip over and get better stats once compleated. Unfortunately the front face is unremarkable, the transform cost is too high, and the aristocrat-like sacrifice on the back not very appealing. It can't even be seen as a free sacrifice outlet, because it only triggers once upon attacking – not that a seven-mana (plus two life) sacrifice outlet would be any good to begin with.


Ape: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 32, online: 29

 Related Tribes: Dinosaur, Turtle

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: All Monsters Attack! Elesh Norn really miscalculated what her army would face on Ikoria (it's not just about the massive kaijus that roam the plane and don't much like to be challenged; it's the mutating crystals that resist the glistening oil), which lead to this amusing King Kong vs. Godzilla team up. Granted, Yidaro is actually a giant Turtle, therefore a reference to Gamera (which is a different franchise entirely), but he stood in for the King of Monsters in one of the Godzilla cards. As for Kogla, he made a perfect impression of Kong in Kogla, the Titan Ape. The team up features the latter's power, propensity to fight, and hatred of technology; together with Yidaro's trampling speed and the ability to safely retreat inside the library (because he's a Turtle, did you get that?). It's a very well-designed fusion of the core elements of the two original cards, for a six-drop that might be a little too color-intensive, but provides a ton of immediate impact and flexibility. It might still more of a Commander card, but it's a good one at that.


Artificer: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 183, online: 179

 Related Tribes: Dwarf, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: These two uncommon red Artificers are just okay. Axgard Artisan is a Jumpstart exclusive that appears in packs devoted to +1/+1 counters shenanigans; it's not terrible for that job, but it would require to be paired with something like Luminarch Aspirant to really shine. Harried Artisan is a run-of-the-mill transformer for aggressive decks in Limited.


Bear: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 34, online: 28

 Related Tribes: Human, Phyrexian, Rhino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Surrak and Goreclaw is another card that's only found in Jumpstart boosters, despite the two characters in the team up being well-known. Actually, not everyone realized that Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, which was printed in Core Set 2019, was supposed to be from Tarkir. But she is, and the same goes for the veteran hunter Surrak, who once punched a Bear, and now fights alongside one. Both of their original cards (at least if we look at Surrak Dragonclaw, not at Surrak, the Hunt Caller) were trample-providers, so it makes sense that that function carried over to their team up. However, the last ability is unrelated to their previous feats, and feels like a second-class version of the one from Halana and Alena, Partners. If we add the fact that the Tarkir power couple is much more expensive than the Innistrad (actual) power couple, and we'll be probably unable to exploit their boon right away, the end result is something that maybe will see some play in Commander, but nowhere else. Of course, Bear is not a large tribe so any functional new member is welcome, but their ideal lineup tends toward the lower end of the curve (the Grizzly Bears of it all). And this is even more so reason to liquidate Copper Host Crusher – a legitimate finisher in Limited due to its massive trampling body protected behind the hexproof barrier; but, yeah, at eight mana it's not gonna make the cut in any Constructed environment.


Beast: +4

 

 

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 New Tribal Total: 465, online: 455

 Related Tribes: Dinosaur, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: These four new Beasts make for some decent picks in Limited. Rampaging Geoderm – the only one of the group that's not Phyrexianized – attacks as a 4/4 trampler on turn four, and might even grow bigger if we have some battles to aim for, something that's more difficult to envision happening in Constructed for the time being, unless Battle.dek becomes a thing in Standard. Converter Beast supplies two very asymmetrical bodies, namely a 0/1 and a 5/5. Well, close to that, since we'll still have to spend two extra mana to cash the Incubator into an actual creature, but there are ways around that. Dreg Recycler is a cheap sacrifice outlet, although it's rare for those that require tapping to successfully complete the leap into Constructed territory. Bonder Herdbest is the least exciting of these four, a cumbersome transformer that asks for a total of at least nine mana in order to be a big menacer.


Berserker: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 112, online: 109

 Related Tribes: Dwarf, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Scorn-Blade Berserker is a solid one-drop in aggressive decks, as it can place its backup counter elsewhere and essentially being cycled away, or it can provide sacrifice fuel, or up to two sacrifice triggers. Nothing to write home about, but efficient in the right build. Fearless Skald is an impactful curve-topper in Limited for red aggro, since it doesn't need the +1/+1 counter to be a threat, and it can instead make another creature that's already on the battlefield into a threat – especially if such creature has evasion. This routine seems too expensive for Constructed, though.


Bird: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 322, online: 308

 Related Tribes: Knight

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Yet another Limited star that looks very different when placed under the Constructed lens. Two bodies for three mana, one of which is a flyer, feels like a great deal in Limited, but it's lackluster elsewhere.


Cat: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 265, online: 255

 Related Tribes: Citizen, Cleric, Druid, Phyrexian, Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The two green Cats from Capenna are efficient two-drops for Limited; both swing for three and have additional tactical or strategic value. Bola Slinger is a bit costly, but the tapper effect is typically a surefire way to mess with the combat phase in Limited, and the backup option allows us to make use of that from the get-go. The rare Progenitor Exarch is the flashiest of this bunch, but it really requires a high amount of mana to be effective. The ability to automatically transform one Incubator per turn reads as more appealing than it is; any mana dork that taps for two mana accomplishes the same exact thing, while being infinitely more versatile. All in all, the Exarch's design appears flawed, as it runs the risk of resulting in a turn where we invest a lot of mana resources without actually affecting the board. It could have applications in Commander, though, perhaps in a deck where artifacts matter.


Cephalid: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 24

 Related Tribes: Advisor

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This conditional mana dork Advisor returns Cephalid to the game once more, but Streets of New Capenna had already paved the way for that (this guy indeed hails from the Obscura crime family), so it's not even that memorable.


Citizen: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 31

 Related Tribes: Cat

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Citizen is another subtype that New Capenna's city setting naturally embraced. The tribe collected some valiant members during its still short life, but Streetwise Negotiator looks like a playable one, and it could even synergize with high-toughness members like Skullport Merchant and Brokers Initiate.


Cleric: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 542, online: 511

 Related Tribes: Cat, Elephant, Human, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: As far as Clerics go, Progenitor Exarch doesn't seem to be destined to become the tribe's next sensation, but there's another rare to their name in March of the Machine. Quintorius, Loremaster is the new form of our nerdy Strixhaven student, and like his previous version, he traffics in Arcavios-specific 3/2 red-white Spirit tokens. His routine is a bit clunky, as he first needs a noncreature nonland in the graveyard to turn into a Spirit, then he can tap and pay three mana to reconvert one of his Spirit into one of the cards he used to create them. The card also gets recycled into the library, although that's mostly to prevent a loop of abuse. It doesn't strike as something that any non-Commander deck would ever care for, and red is not a main color for Clerics, but the design is theoretically sound, as Quintorius gets the opportunity to attack before activating his ability, and there's no limit to the cost of the spell we can cast this way, leading to some potential over-the-top plays with cards like Magna Opus or even Omniscience.

 For the rest, the Jumpstart exclusive Seedpod Caretaker is an okay three-drop, and the other two are playable Limited two-drops – the Ixalan-based Sun-Blessed Guardian has a quite powerful back face, but the activation cost is steep.


Construct: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 178, online: 177

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: This Phyrexian Construct is the rare creature card from modern Magic that's close to utterly unplayable in any kind of format. At best, it's a universal filler for a draft deck that didn't quite get there – if you're running this, you know something went wrong with your picks.


Crocodile: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 28, online: 27

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This Phyrexianized croc is not the black member of the landcycling quintet from the main set. That one's actually Gloomfang Mauler. Instead, Injector Crocodile is an alternate take on the concept that can only be found in Jumpstart boosters. Strangely enough, it's on par with the other colors, cost-wise, whereas the Mauler is one mana more expensive. For the rest, the body is the same, but it trades backup and menace for an Incubator token left behind after its death. In general, the landcyclers are valuable creatures, since they fit both the early game and the late game. They are mostly meant to help fix the mana in Limited, though.


Cyclops: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 32

 Related Tribes: Homunculus

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A large portion of the 16 team ups in the set depicts unexpected alliances, but few look as amusingly weird as the Ravnica-based pairing of the mighty Cyclops Borborygmos and the cowardly, helpless Homunculus Fblthp. Once again, the card that results from their co-op fighting is a mix of previous incarnations, beginning with the plain addition of their colors and racial subtypes. The big body is fully provided by Borborygmos, who's the one actually doing all the fighting, but the card-drawing on arrival and the self-preserving tucking come from Fblthp, although the ferocious Gruul leader added to the former an attack trigger and a meeker version of the land-throwing routine from Borborygmos Enraged. It's a satisfying set of abilities that can easily result in immediate value through removal. And a 6/5 for five is not a bad deal in general, even without any combat keyword to support it; if played in the late-game rather than as a midrange beater, it can even be rescued with the two-mana activation, which is a form of slightly clunky inevitability. It's a Temur-colored finisher, though, and it could never find a proper Constructed home because of that requirement.


Demon: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 150, online: 144

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Ogre, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Kamigawa Spirit Dragon Kairi was wise (and blue) enough to know that a time of crisis calls for unsavory partnerships, like the one he made with the usually malevolent Ogre Demon Hidetsugu. In similar ways to other team up cards, what we're left contemplating from this union is a multicolored midrange tactical beater with plenty of upsides. Specifically, this is a five-powered flyer that borrows the presence of a death trigger from Kairi, the Swirling Sky but its effect from Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, while also adding a Brainstorm ETB to set things up. Ideally, we place an expensive instant or sorcery on top, then we engineer the death of Hidetsugu and Kairi, so we can cast our spell for free and inflicting an additional, sizeable blow to the opponent. Of course stars need to align for this plan to come to fruition, so it's more likely we'll just enjoy a Dimir-colored Cavalier of Gales, and maybe get some occasional, random extra value out of it dying. This doesn't prevent this team up card from being arguably one of the best of the cycle, because yeah, at its core it's Cavalier of Gales, except legendary and requiring a black splash, but combo potential is still there, as proved by the Standard decks that pair it with Explosive Singularity, for an awe-inducing 20 damage on the spot.

 There's another Demon in the set, this time in a more Demon-friendly color; unfortunately, it's just a common whose more unique ability is linked to the (for now) very situational presence of battles on the board. For what it's worth, it could transform Invasion of Zendikar or Invasion of Gobakhan on its own, but that's about it.


Devil: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 48, online: 47

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Solid two-drop that can be transformed the following turn to become a three-powered attacker that threatens an edict if traded for, in sort of a new take on the typical Devil mechanic of dealing one damage upon death. It's mostly Limited fare, but a worthy one.


Dinosaur: +8

  

   

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 New Tribal Total: 131, online: 130

 Related Tribes: Ape, Beast, ElderTurtle, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The main rule about Dinosaurs in March of the Machine seems to be: they won't go unnoticed. The Phyrexian Invasion has involved some of the tribe's largest specimens, either by enlisting them through compleation or by enraging them, typically resulting in a lot of dismembered Phyrexians. The first fate befell the fearsome Etali, one of the "Primals" from Ixalan, which maintained such attribute in both his pre-Phyrexianization and post-Phyrexianization forms. Etali, Primal Storm was already a larger-than-life Timmy/Tammy card, the type that only belongs to Limited ramp decks, kitchen tables, and sometimes non-competitive Commander games. However, for just one mana more, this new Primal Conqueror incarnation of the old chap ups the ante considerably, guaranteeing the revealed cards won't be bricks (i.e. lands) and, more crucially, triggering on ETB as well. Managing to untap with our big monster still alive in order for it to do anything at all is usually too much of an ask to translate into a Constructed-playable card. Immediate ensured value, though? Now we're getting somewhere. If played as a ramp finisher, Etali could be able to transform before attacking, which requires the investment of nine or ten extra mana – a maneuver too dangerous to attempt while the opponent has open mana to respond with. If we succeed, though, we'll discover that our big red Dino is part of the cycle of Phyrexian "Generals", where each back face is a nod to a notorious Phyrexian creature of the past; in this case, Blightsteel Colossus. It's a Blightsteel Colossus with extra steps, no doubt, but also one with additional ETB value, to the point that the whole transformation thing could easily be ignored to make it work in a legitimate competitive build. Most notably, it works as a reanimation target, and that's the setup that had the new Etali emerge as a force to be reckoned with in Standard, being pitched by Fable of the Mirror-Breaker then called into action as early as turn four by The Cruelty of Gix – a trick shared by many of the Rakdos-based lists that dominated Pro Tour March of the Machine during the last week-end. With 112 copies of Etali at the event, he was the most played creature by a large margin.

 

 Another one of the Primal Dinosaurs from Ixalan doesn't share Etali's unfortunate destiny (the guy will end up killed by his own boss, Zacama) and is instead fighting on the side of angels. Literally. But also on the side of Vampires, judging from the team up between Ghalta and Mavren. The Legion conquistador was quick to eploit the awakening of the Primals (Huatli's doing), and commanded his men to follow on the wake of the destruction left behind by the powerful Dinosaur's head-on rampage, and to add more damage to it. The combination of these two strategies is embodied in a 12/12 trampling body, the same as Ghalta, Primal Hunger, with a choice between two separate attack triggers, one of which goes tall and the other goes wide. The problem here is that, unlike the abovementioned Etali, this ability doesn't affect the board right away; but unlike the original Ghalta, it still requires seven mana, no discount. It also requires external factors to function, making it a bad finisher to ramp into or reanimate, because on its own it's just a big body that dies to removal.

 The third legendary Dino in the set, this time hailing from Ikoria, is perhaps the most suitable to Constructed play, despite being yet another big guy. Etali, Primal Conqueror passes the test of immediate value, but he could still "cascade" into two irrelevant spells and then get killed before he could leverage his body and transformation. On the other hand, once we decide to deploy Kogla and Yidaro, it's because we either have an enemy creature to eliminate, or a big swing out of nowhere to enact. We even get to cycle it back into the library as a cantripping Naturalize, although that's not a very mana efficient option (in a pinch, it prevents a depleted library from decking, though). It must also be noted that six mana is a full magnitude more Constructed-friendly cost than seven mana is.

 These three high-profile members are not all March of Machine adds to the tribe. Two other rare Dinosaurs have crossed paths with the Phyrexian threat. Ancient Imperiosaur (from Muraganda!) is a large convoker that can become even larger if enough creatures are used to cast it, a process that in turn decreases its cost – sort of a DIY Ghalta, Primal Hunger, but causing our team of creatures to tap out, which isn't ideal. Ward gives it a small degree of resilience, but in order to make it cheap enough for competitive play, we'd need such an established board position that the whole thing would end up as a simple case of "win more", particularly in Dinosaur tribal. Different is the gist of Rampaging Raptor, which feels more in line with the better specimens from Ixalan block. Cheaper and streamlined, albeit still in midrange territory, the Raptor is a hasty attacker with a decent body/cost ratio, firebreathing capabilities, and anti-planeswalker connection trigger last seen on Questing Beast. The latter is not going to matter too frequently, but it's a nice bonus perk to have and it's extended to cover battles too – a batching we're bound to see more in the future, as the new card type becomes more commonplace. The other four-mana "rampaging" Dino, Rampaging Geoderm from Ikoria, is actually similar to its monored counterpart from Ixalan. Both attack right away for four point of trampling damage, and both are enhanced by the presence of battles on the board (War-Trained Slasher is a lesser member of the same club). They seem decently positioned to claim a spot in some kind of Midrange Gruul list in Standard. The same can't be said for Ravenous Sailback, which costs more and does less. These days, a five-mana green creature can't afford to go lower than five power, let alone plunge into three. The Sailback might have been designed as an updated Indrik Stomphowler, but that kind of card is too outdated to be salvaged by just moving the numbers and modes around.


Dog: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 106, online: 101

 Related Tribes: Elder, Giant, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Canines in March of the Machine are represented at common by a middling transformer, one of the sapient Dog people from Tarkir. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we find the mythic team up involving Kunoros, the three-headed Cerberus. Ironically, the indomitable guardian of the Theros Underworld joined forces with one of this former prisoners, the Titan Kroxa. Well, the deal was more than Kunoros was charged by his master Athreos to keep an eye (or six) on the Elder Giant, while the latter was unsleashed against the invading Phyrexians, to devour them all into nothingness. The keywords from the team up are coming from Kunoros, but the body and the escape-like trigger are all Kroxa. The resulting card is reminiscent of the famed Magic 2011 Titans in cost, body and frequency of triggering, but it requires three different colors and, what's worse, cannot be reliably repeat its trick, since it requires the use of additional resources from the graveyard. So we're actually quite a distance away from something like Grave Titan or Inferno Titan, but it's still a 6/6 that can leverage lifelink both offensively and defensively at once, and it's likely to have reanimated at least one other relevant creature when it dropped. As far as curve-toppers go, it could be worse.


Dragon: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 321, online: 316

 Related Tribes: Demon, OgreOrc, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: If on Kamigawa the blue Dragon Kairi showed enough wisdom to agree to the alliance with one of the plane's Big Bads, thus forming the Hidetsugu and Kairi unlikely team up, something similar happened on Tarkir, where the Khans and Dragons storylines ideally merged when blue-white Dragonlord Ojutai accepted the offer to help of a former Khan, the Orc Zurgo. The Jeskai mix of Zurgo and Ojutai maintains the conditional hexproof of Dragonlord Ojutai as well as a dash-like feel that reminds of Zurgo Bellstriker. It might read as a Dragon tribal card, but its Anticipate doesn't need more than one Dragon to connect, and it actually does nothing more if we exceed that amount. The play pattern here seems to be: cast Zurgo and Ojutai as a typical five-mana four-powered hasty Dragon; collect the fruits of its connection; return it to hand for safekeeping so sorcery-speed removal can't reach it; rinse, repeat. It's all hunky-dory, but the double splash of white and blue is not ideal, and it ultimately falls a bit short in comparison with illustrious monored predecessors like Stormbreath Dragon, Glorybringer, and Goldspan Dragon. This little draconic club also gets Shivan Branch-Burner as a new member, though it's little more than an uncommon for Limited: turning it into a bona fide two-drop or three-drop would require such an improbable setup that's not even worth considering, and in order to make it a regular five-drop, we still need the convoke help of two other creatures, so it's more or less a more demanding Volcanic Dragon with some potential as a curve-topper in creature-based aggro.

 There's instead a flashier convoker that's also a legitimate reanimation target: the black Hoarding Broodlord. It gets a conditional version of the Demonic Tutor effect from previous big guys like Rune-Scarred Demon. The tutored card might disappear from our grasp if we don't cast it soon enough before the Broodlord gets dispatched, but both that card and the Broodlord itself can be convoked, same as any other "cast from exile" effect we might have (all the red impulsive drawing, for instance). It's hard to envision a non-Commander deck that might want to run this Dragon, even in light of the fact that tutoring is not even immediate advantage. But all in all, it's not a bad design.

 To complete the Grixis tour of monocolored MOM Dragons, we have the blue Oculus Whelp. Unfortunately, that's just a barely decent Limited common.


Druid: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 279, online: 275

 Related Tribes: Cat, Treefolk

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Herbology Instructor from Arcavios is one of the best transformers in the set; the activation cost is steep, but it's rewarded by solid removal, and the front side does an admirable job stopping aggro by both regaining us life and acting as an early roadblock. The flavor is also sound, showing the alternatively restorative and poisonous power of the herbs our leafy Druid teaches a class on for the students of Strixhaven.

 Similarly well-positioned in Limited games is Wary Thespian, a two-drop with high power that helps sculpt our next draw. It might seem strange for an actor to count as a Druid, even under the most poetic definitions of performance arts. But the Cabaretti of New Capenna are all descendants of ancient Druids that now devoted themselves to entertainment and debauchery, so it all checks out somehow.


Dryad: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 46, online: 44

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: In the larger narrative of March of the Machine, it was a Dryad, Wrenn, who ended up almost single-handedly responsible for the failure of the Phyrexian Invasion. She was a planeswalker, so no creature cards for her. There's another, younger Dryad in the story, though, and she's teaming up with her Strixhaven schoolmate friend. Together, they discovered the interdisciplinary might at the intersection between Quandrix mathematics and Witherbloom biology. Zimone and Dina encapsulates perfectly each character's previous shtick (from Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy and Dina, Soul Steeper), playing as a sacrifice outlet that rewards with both lifedraining and a free Growth Spiral – and goes into overdrive once we hit our eighth land drop. It requires a full Sultai tap, which isn't too easy to accomplish on turn three, but the body is above the curve and nicely defensive, and the abilities essentially bring together the blue-green "draw two" theme from Core Set 2021 with the blue-black counterpart from The Brothers' War. It's a card that might be at its best in the command zone, but has much to offer everywhere, provided it's properly built around.


Dwarf: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 111, online: 103

 Related Tribes: Artificer, Berserker, FaeriePilot

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Dwarves from March of the Machine are mostly very simple backup enablers (one with flying, one with double strike, one with rummaging) and one minor backup payoff with the Jumpstart exclusive Axgard Artisan.

 But then, we have Torbran, Thane of Red Fell suffering through an Improbable Alliance with Rankle, Master of Pranks. The Eldraine Dwarf king begrudgingly assisted the capricious Faerie while the latter enacted a madcap scheme that had all the invading Phyrexians desperately falling in love with him, to a lethal degree. Admittedly, their team up card is more Rankle than Torbran, as it replicates the trifecta of saboteur triggers from the Faerie's original incarnation. The crucial option of a forced sacrifice remains, but the other two are replaced by a more Dwarf-friendly Treasure generation, and by Torbran's signature ability of enhancing the damage output of our other attackers. To have the latter works at all, this composite necessitated the further addition of first strike, which wasn't an established part of any character's skill set. In general, the reworking doesn't live up to the cheaper, monoblack Rankle predecessor; and double black is not a cost requirement that suits Dwarf tribal decks too much.


Elder: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 37

 Related Tribes: Dinosaur, Dog, Giant

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Ghalta is as much of an Elder Dinosaur as Etali is; in fact, they were part of the same monocolored "Primal" cycle in Rivals of Ixalan. Unfortunately, Ghalta has to share its new card with the Vampire opportunist Mavren, leaving no much room in the type line for an extra tribe. Or does it? Looking closer, it seems like a smaller font would have accommodated an Elder typification just fine – it happened on Kogla and Yidaro, for instance. But it seems like Elder was treated here as a class-like attribute rather than a race, and therefore discarded from the team up cards. Or was it? The Kroxa and Kunoros card begs to differ!

 Oh well, inconsistencies aside, the Elder tribe gains a formidable seven-drop to reanimate alongside its many other haymakers, so probably casting another one of them for free. And what can possibly be spicier than using Kroxa and Kunoros to reanimate Etali? Elder decks have high chances to include three or more colors to begin with, anyway.


Elemental: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 511, online: 503

 Related Tribes: Fractal, Frog, Phyrexian, Spirit, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Let's first put the fluff out of the way. Botanical Brawler is an even more effective Wildwood Scourge in the colors that "+1/+1 counters matter" builds are already running, and with built-in trample. Both Interdisciplinary Mascot and Zephyr Winder are Jumpstart exclusives, the first being a worthwhile convoke payoff, the second a mostly irrelevant small flyer. And Yargle and Multani is a meme card, the new record holder for highest printed power.

 With all that said, let's get to a celebration. March of the Machine is the set that finally concludes Omnath's 13-year-long journey through the five colors of Magic. After starting monogreen with Worldwake's Omnath, Locus of Mana, this Elemental manifestation of Zendikar's chaotic mana has kept adding to its repertoire. Every time we would meet it again, we'd found it had expanded its reach, one color at a time. First was red when the Eldrazi provoked its anger in Battle for Zendikar. Then blue when it took the role of a centerpiece for the Elemental theme in Core Set 2020. Then white when it was time for reconstruction in Zendikar Rising. At last, black, when the Phyrexians sadly got to it, compleating its form as Omnath, Locus of All. Ironically, access to black isn't even needed to cast this final incarnation, but it's what Omnath gives us anyway, with a callback to its very first ability of storing unspent mana. The rest of its long rule text mostly reads as "at the beginning of your precombat main phase, draw a card". Which is always a terrific effect, but nowhere as versatile, or broken, as some of its past versions.

 Goodbye, Omnath. Over the years, you've been alternatively a Commander staple, a Timmy/Tammy favorite, a tribal lord, a controversial powerhouse, and a victim of Phyrexian greed. It's been a wild ride. Time to rest now.

    

   


Elephant: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 64, online: 63

 Related Tribes: Cleric

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: There's no much synergy between Quintorius and other Elephants, which are usually not found in red. There's synergy between the two Quintorius cards, though. With Quintorius, Field Historian on the battlefield, Quintorius, Loremaster gets the opportunity to create two 4/2 tokens per turn, for no mana cost. That's kind of neat.


Elf: +7

  

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 527, online: 512

 Related Tribes: Noble, Phyrexian, Warrior, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Elves are arguably the second most influential humanoid subtype after Human, so it only makes sense that March of the Machine gives them some attention. First and foremost with one of the most charismatic villains, Glissa, who has reached her fourth incarnation, the second in consecutive sets after Phyrexia: All Will Be One already regaled us with Glissa Sunslayer. All Golgari Glissas have remained constant in their use of the deadly combination of first strike and deathtouch, which makes her one of the hardest creatures to block or attack into. Now in full Phyrexianized form, Glissa, Herald of Predation loses the two lethal keywords during the opponent's turn, but extends them to all other Phyrexians during our turn. At five mana, this is the most ponderous of all her forms so far, functioning as a prime token generator with her double Incubate 2 and the ability to transform all our Incubator tokens for free. We must pick and choose what to do with her turn by turn, but all the options have merit. This latest, possibly not final Glissa (as of March of the Machine: The Aftermath, her fate remains unknown), doesn't have much to do with Elves but might work well as a Phyrexian-themed commander or centerpiece. It's also interesting to note that each of her three black incarnations has had a different declination of the concept of card advantage: first through recursion, then with direct card drawing, now via token-making.

 The other new rare Elf marks the return (and alas, demise) of Ayara, the wicked yet reasonable Queen of the Eldraine kingdom of Locthwain. The front face of this new incarnation is similar to the original Ayara, First of Locthwain, except her sacrifices drain life rather than drawing cards, which is a downgrade. On the upside, she's now easier to cast, has more power, can sac artifacts, and transforms into a 4/4 that's able to unearth her previous sacrificial victims, one at a time. She's also Rakdos-colored now, mostly for Commander identity purposes (none of these transformers-on-demand actually needs access to the secondary color in order to function). Truth be told, Ayara, Widow of the Realm doesn't seem like a very appealing card, neither as a sac outlet nor for her back face transformation, which permanently loses access to the activation on the front. And Elf decks in particular have no reason to seek her services. Definitely in the low tier among the Phyrexian "Generals". She doesn't even seem to have almost anything in common with the card she's reportedly emulating, Geth, Lord of the Vault.

 The rest of these Elves rank between okay and low-rate Limited cards, with the exception of Elvish Vatkeeper, which is sort of a smaller, Limited-oriented but still very effective version of Glissa. Once again, it's more of a Phyrexian card than an Elf card.


Faerie: +4

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 106, online: 103

 Related Tribes: Dwarf, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Faeries in March of the Machine get the new Rankle, which is okay but his demanding color requirements probably makes it unable to fit either in Dwarf or in Faerie lists, as that simultaneous heavy black and heavy red request works as a barrier between the two tribes (prior to this card, there were only two red Faeries and five black Dwarves in the game).

 This slight disappointiment is quickly mended, though. The tribe is home of not just one but two of the top new creatures in the set. Faerie Mastermind is 2021 World Champion Yuta Takahashi's Player Spotlight card, following Javier Dominguez's Fervent Champion and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's Elite Spellbinder. Just like its two predecessors, this is card that was explicitly designed to meet the expectations of competitive play, and Pro Tour March of the Machine already proved the intent was successful, with 40 copies of Takahashi's in-game avatar showing up at the event. It's a cheap two-powered flyer that fits tempo strategies and matches the opponent's flow of card advantage, while also providing some card advantage of its own in the form of an activation that in practice amounts to "draw two cards, the opponent draws one card". Much to love about this guy.

 The other Faerie superstar is reminiscent of a couple of competitive staples of the past. Namely, Halo Forager has mana value and flying body of fellow high-profile Faerie Vendilion Clique, but with a rewording of the ETB ability of Snapcaster Mage (not coincidentally, another card that was inspired by a big tournament champion). Notably, the Forager doesn't operate at flash speed but can target spells that sit in any graveyard. Pro Tour players brought 17 of this heroic Faerie, but we're certainly going to see more of her in the future, as she adds some pizzazz to Snapcaster's recursive utility.


Fox: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 39, online: 37

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: First black Fox in existence. Just a minor playable in MOM Limited, a lowly 3/2 for three with a small upside. It's already bizarre that the creative department decided to give the Fox subtype to this card, since it doesn't even seem to represent any established Fox population, like the Kitsune of Kamigawa.


Fractal: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 2

 Related Tribes: Elemental

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: This is Jumpstart-only, but also the second Fractal ever printed as a nontoken, the first being the legendary mythic Esix, Fractal Bloom from Commander 2021. So Fractal is currently an all-rare tribe.


Frog: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 40, online: 38

 Related Tribes: Elemental, Horror, Human, Spirit

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Halo Hopper is Limited filler (with great flavor text), but the other two Frogs that are called in action to face the Phyrexians are quite famous. One is the ineffable Yargle, a character that has become a fan favorite in spite of his original card being an unplayable vanilla joke. Now they made the same joke again, except bigger, and dragging the dignified Maro-Sorcerer Multani into it (the daughter he references in the flavor text is Muldrotha). Being the creature card with the highest printed power value is still something, I guess.

 Moving from Dominaria to Innistrad, there's more to appreciate in the equally strange yet more engaging team up of Thalia and The Gitrog Monster. The saintly paladin provides first strike and the hosing of opposing creatures and nobasic lands, as seen previously on Thalia, Heretic Cathar. On its part, the giant amphibian monstrosity supplied a larger body with deathtouch (thus replicating Glissa's combat superiority), as well as the mandatory trade of lands for fresh cards, mitigated by an additional land drop per turn. More importantly, the alliance between these two crazy kids extended the sacrifice scope of The Gitrog Monster by also including creatures – which makes it much more palatable, especially in Abzan decks that generate a lot of expendable tokens. Four mana for a 4/4 with first strike and deathtouch is a quite reasonable deal, and the card-drawing is neat when adequately supported. All in all, an attractive Abzan value commander, but probably harder to accommodate in a Constructed deck, as we'd need one that simultaneously wants and is able to sustain all of this card's moving parts.


Fungus: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 54, online: 53

 Related Tribes: Rabbit

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Fungi from MOM count among their ranks the weird Rabbit hybrid and a solid transformer, part of a group (but not a cycle) that can be deployed on turn two for two mana and activated the turn after for three and two life. They're typically quite strong in Limited – in this case providing a 3/3 body and two 1/1s, while also being a totally acceptable two-drop 2/2 in the meanwhile. Golgari seems to have affinity with these transformations (more than Simic, surprisingly), because it's also the color combination of the even more efficient uncommon Herbology Instructor.


Giant: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 199, online: 191

 Related Tribes: Dog, Elder, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The hungry hungry Titan Kroxa is the major representative of the Giants in March of the Machine – even if his team up with the Underworld doggo Kunoros, while a valid six-drop on its own right, fails to reproduce the immense competitive appeal of Kroxan, Titan of Death's Hunger.

 The other new Giant we get is one of the five landcyclers. This cycle of Phyrexian creatures is meant to alleviate mana issues in Limited, allowing players to turn each of them into a basic land of the specific type in exchange for a bit of tempo loss. In games where this doesn't prove necessary, the player ends up with a late-game threat in their hand. In the case of Furnace Host Charger, it's a 5/5 hasty swinger, which ranks high enough among its peers, as it can catch the opponent by surprise for a sizeable amount of damage.


Goblin: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 404, online: 388

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Bad show for the Goblins in this time of need. These two are just a couple of negligible commons that don't see a ton of play even in Limited – Redcap Heelslasher from Eldraine sits at the lower end of the backup creatures, since first strike isn't relevant enough as a temporary enchancement, particularly on a four-drop. Akki Scrapchomper from Kamigawa is just too clunky and narrow as a sacrifice outlet.


God: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 56

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Three Gods, each representing one of the three major pantheons in the Multiverse. From the Greece-inspired Theros, Heliod, the Radiant Dawn marks the last misdeed of the already quite villainous sky God. To be fair, this time isn't Heliod's fault, per se: the Phyrexians realized that, due to the peculiar nature of the faith system on Theros, by compleating enough followers, the Gods that those followers' beliefs bring into existence would become Phyrexianized as well. The result is kind of a weird Heliod card, with a very situational ETB trigger on the front, and a couple of entirely unrelated, seemingly random abilities on the back. Even as an Azorius commander, Heliod would need a build featuring a significant number of enchantments, but also one that cares about casting spells in the opponent's turn with a cost reduction. Nothing about this Heliod is intrinsically bad, but it's also just there. Do we want to spend a total or seven or eight mana just to have access to an upgraded version of the ability from Yeva, Nature's Herald? Probably not. Overall, not the best member of the "Generals" cycle; Heliod's inspiration was supposed to be Consecrated Sphinx, but it stopped at having a 4/6 body.

 Things get a bit better once we relocate to the scorched sands of Amonkhet, where the unshakeable Jackal-headed goddess Hazoret remains the last bastion of hope for the people of the already battered plane. Alongside her champion Djeru, she seeks allies at the edge of annihilation. This translates mechanically into a fusion between the "almost empty hand matters" clause from Hazoret the Fervent with the "hero tutoring" from Djeru, With Eyes Open, albeit redirected from planeswalkers to legendary creatures. Achieving vigilance and haste is nice but ultimately beside the point. What Djeru and Hazoret is really aiming for is finding more legendaries to slap onto the battlefield for free: an exciting build-around plan with serious competitive applications, seeing how Standard was recently dominated by a legendary-based deck. The two halves of Djeru and Hazoret don't seem to actually work together too well, as a deck that manages to unload the hand by turn five isn't going to also be one filled with juicy legendaries to cheat into play. Overall, it might be too much of a casual prospect, but it's almost certainly going to become a popular Boros commander.

 Last but not least, after the Greek-like Gods and the Egyptian-like Gods, Magic introduced the Norse-like Gods. One of the most respected among those is tree-hugging Esika, she of the kitty-trained Chariot. Unfortunately, no Cat tokens are involved in her team up with the seer Inga. In fact, Inga and Esika (I'm not sure why the God is always listed after the mortal in these team ups) is primarily a high-profile creature-based ramp, the latest in a long line that dates back to Earthcraft, but of course also reminiscent of Esika, God of the Tree. The catch here is that Inga and Esika's entire mana engine has to be devoted to the casting of more creatures; the reward for doing so while exploiting our improvised mana dorks is card advantage, which is where Inga Rune-Eyes's visionary skill set is applied. This feels at once like a core build-around and a support piece, but in the grand tradition of green game-changers like The Great Henge. It's likely too frail and midrange-y to matter. Overall, none of these deities seems to have managed to meet the expectations their status gives rise to. Maybe that's the reason why they don't get first billing in their team ups.


Gremlin: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 11, online: 10

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Early firebreather that dies into a potentially big critter – or at least one bigger than itself. Designed strictly for Limited, but the Gremlin tribe cannot be too picky in the matter of new members.


Homunculus: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 24, online: 22

 Related Tribes: Cyclops

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The outlandish team up between Fblthp and Borborygmos gives us the very first red Homunculus as well as the second green one, after Aeromunculus – which was also the tribe's only previous multicolored specimen. The one-eyed Ravnican double act also represents, by far, the largest Homunculus body ever printed, ahead of the not-really-impressive Humongulus. Hard to imagine such an outlier becoming a staple of the tribe, but it's also one of their best cards.

 Another new Homunculus comes from Jumpstart, in the form of Referee Squad, which is probably meant to hail from Kylem. It's an exquisite top-down design: the referees are vigilant, get called by the players, and impose time-outs. It's an okay card, if quite incongruous in a set about a cosmic near-apocalypse.


Horror: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 263, online: 262

 Related Tribes: Frog, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: It seems possible for Horror to be a better fit than either Human or Frog for the ever so bizarre team up between Thalia and The Gitrog Monster. It's the only existing Abzan member, and there aren't too many in white, but the feeling is that Horror might put together a stronger midrange lineup than the other two tribes. At least if we ignore the fact that Human can probably put together any kind of lineup and Frog has none that you would call "strong" with a straight face.


Human: +32

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 3063, online: 2857

 Related Tribes: Angel, Artificer, Bear, Berserker, Cleric, Dryad, Frog, God, Horror, Knight, Monk, Rogue, Scout, Shaman, Soldier, Warlock, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: In a set where almost every creature has at least two subtypes, a Human that's just that really stands out. Even more surprisingly, it's a team up between two preexisting characters. But the designs for these cards only combine the races, not the classes, and Baral and Kari Zev both happen to be Humans – their "careers" as a Wizard and a Pirate, respectively, don't get referenced on their team up. The chances of reliably casting a free spell every turn with their verbose ability are almost non-existent. Plus, it's not even such a big deal, just an occasional discount when double-spelling. What matters the most is that the two renegades from Kaladesh are joined by none other than Ragavan, back in token form after his successful foray as a Modern staple. It's the same 2/1 Monkey from Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, but without an expiration date. Baral and Kari Zev is nothing too exciting, but it's a solid three-drop for spellslinging decks. It's hard to block, fairly resilient to most burn spells, and provides a bit of extra value.


Hydra: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 60

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Polukranos has been going back and forth between the Underworld and the mortal plane so many times that it's easy to lose count of all the big Hydra's various Schrödinger states. Suffice to say, at the beginning of the events of March of the Machine is flesh and blood again, only to get compleated into one of the Phyrexian "Generals". In this latest incarnation, he's a pretty straightforward card: first a very aggressively costed pseudo-Spider, then a surrogate Wurmcoil Engine, except with deathtouch downgraded to reach. So he provides board presence, a serious threat, and free recursion. The only real issue is the initial cost of triple green, which restricts his use to builds that delve heavily in the color – therefore to formats, like Pioneer, where green-based decks don't have otherwise access to Wurmcoil Engine. Tribal Hydras are also mightily interested in a three-drop that puts on the battlefield that much stopping power, even if it doesn't synergize at all with the tribe's +1/+1 counter strategy.


Jackal: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 25, online: 23

 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Another of the "drop on two, flip on three" transformer creatures, arguably the most powerful of the lot. Trample and prowess is already a scary combination, and this humanoid Jackal from Amonkhet easily turns into a warded double-prowess 3/3 trampler. Spellslinging payoffs aren't usually too hot for Tribal Wars, but this one might rank among the exceptions.


Kavu: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 47

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Decent Limited four-drop but nothing more. It also finds itself at the point of the curve where the tribe can field the classic Flametongue Kavu and the recent Defiler of Instinct. It's a hard no-go.


Kithkin: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 60

 Related Tribes: Knight

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: It's nice to see a new Kithkin, even if it's just Limited filler. After the end of the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block in 2008, only one Kithkin had been printed, Kinsbaile Courier in Commander Legends. Luckily, we're going to see a more substantial new member in March of the Machine Commander.


Knight: +15

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 372, online: 359

 Related Tribes: Bird, Human, Kithkin, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Despite Knight being one of the two tribal themes in the set (the other is, of course, Phyrexian), there's only one new member with rarity higher than uncommon, and it's Knight-Errant of Eos. As the name suggests, it's the latest in the line of military cards hailing from Eos, one of the Bant nations on Alara. Half the Eos cards so far have been Knights, the other half Soldiers, all using various combinations of the titles Captain, Knight, and Ranger, and all appearing in monowhite. This Knight-Errant is a reworking of the fetching mechanic from Ranger of Eos and Ranger-Captain of Eos. Instead of tutoring through the entire deck, it only looks at the top six cards, but the mana value of the revelaed creatures can be higher than two, depending on how many convokers were employed to cast it. Usually, two will still be the correct number to aim for in the type of White Weenie list that most wants this effect, and where this Eos denizen has already qualified as a must-play. Following a one-drop and a two-drop, we can deploy the 4/4 Knight-Errant on turn three, while potentially fetch two extra two-drops. It's definitely top-notch material.

 The proper Knight tribal angle rests on the shoulders of a few dedicated uncommons, like the two-mana lord Marshal of Zhalfir (Zhalfir being Teferi's homeland, the previously phased-out region of Dominaria that ultimately takes New Phyrexia's place in the Multiverse, and has a knightly culture). Compared to its tribal counterparts from Rivals of Ixalan, like Legion Lieutenant and Merfolk Mistbinder, the Marshal also gets an extra ability, in this case a tapper activation. Other "Knights matter" Knights at uncommon are the beater Zhalfirin Lancer, and the intriguing token generator Xerex Strobe-Knight, the first creature ever to come from the surrealistic Escher-based plane of Xerex (a second inhabitant of the reality-bending plane is found on the back face of Invasion of Xerex, and it's also incidentally a Knight).

 Apart from a few common tribal-oriented Knights, a mention is deserved by a couple Phyrexian affiliates, namely the Incubator enhancer Norn's Inquisitor, and the Incubator-maker Tiller of Flesh.

  


Kor: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 78

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The only representative of the Kor of Zendikar is this midrange-y flyer that transforms Incubators upon connection. Playable in a deck that traffics in Incubators, but likely only in Limited. It's worth noting the templating that now includes battles in the connection clause. It's common wording in March of the Machine, more than we have ever seen planeswalkers associated with this kind of effect in the past.


Lizard: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 66, online: 64

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This is the only creature member of the "enemy hate" cycle of spells. It's okay in Limited, mostly as an ambusher that doubles as an early high-powered threat, ideally forcing an advantageous trade. It's nowhere near the power level of other cards in the cycle that immediately made the leap to Constructed sideboard staples, like Lithomantic Barrage, Glistening Deluge, and Surge of Salvation.


Merfolk: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 262, online: 258

 Related Tribes: Rogue, Scout

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The rare new Merfolk Deeproot Wayfinder is from Ixalan and uses a special surveil trigger that partially resembles the explore mechanic from that plane, in that finding a land card on top is rewarded by card advantage. More so, it becomes an actual Explore spell by way of the graveyard. The Wayfinder's body/cost ratio is above the curve, but she has no built-in way to facilitate the connection, so the surveil ramp is hard to achieve past the first few turns – and far from a guarantee even then.

 Of the two Zendikar Merfolk, Skyclave Aerialist is the most noteworthy, at least for Limited. She's a solid two-drop flyer (due to her very convenient "beloved falcon") that Phyrexianizes into a more defensive stance and another potential Explore routine.


Monk: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 103, online: 100

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: A Kamigawa Monk that's a strictly better Centaur Courser, but just so.


Moonfolk: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 24

 Related Tribes: Ninja

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Either a 1/2 with hexproof that can ambush 1/1 attackers, or more likely a protection trick that doubles as a sacrificial body. Neither mode is truly impressive outside of Limited, but the package as a whole isn't terrible.


Mutant: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 51

 Related Tribes: Vedalken

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: This is strictly based on the March of the Machine environment, where it plays quite well as an early defensive barrier that might also get to deal some evasive damage later on. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no Constructed format invites a "transformed permanents matter" kind of deck.


Nightmare: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 67

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The swamp-based member of the landcyclers. It's the most expensive to hardcast because it has two abilities, for some reason: menace and a quite spunky backup 2.


Ninja: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 42

 Related Tribes: Moonfolk

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Phyrexian Invasion on Kamigawa took a weird turn when all the Samurai got compleated and the Ninjas were forced to go to battle against them. This one doesn't look like he scored a lot of kills, but Ninjas are about subterfuge, after all. A counter to removal built within the tribe might come handy.


Noble: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 63, online: 62

 Related Tribes: Elf

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The presence of the Noble subtype in the set is just a byproduct of Queen Ayara being there. This said, there are some silly combos with Ayara in her secondary tribe, like sacrificing Feasting Troll King, or Edgar, Charmed Groom, or the bananas from Kibo, Uktabi Prince. What? I said they were silly, didn't I?


Octopus: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 12

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The island-fetcher from the group of landcyclers in the set is not the most rewarding when hardcast as a creature – although it could end a game with a few unblockable attacks. And it's the twelfth Octopus ever printed, so there's that.


Ogre: +4

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 116, online: 111

 Related Tribes: Demon, Dragon, Phyrexian, Spirit, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Aside from the combo-wisher Hidetsugu and Kairi, the Ogres in March of the Machine offer a big pinger, a decent sacrifice outlet at sorcery speed, and the Jumpstar exclusive rare Terror of Towashi. The latter is a midrange deathtoucher that lets us cast a four-mana reanimation spell every time he attacks. Being a deathtoucher, he's not so simple to block favorably. But being a three-toughness creature, he's not so hard to kill, either. On the other hand, if we get to attack with him even once, we might have already gotten his cost's worth of value. And two Terrors of Towashi could keep bringing each other back, even if their attacks are constantly thwarted.


Orc: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 77, online: 76

 Related Tribes: Dragon

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: There were a few blue Orcs already, from Strixhaven and the Forgotten Realms, and also several white ones. In fact, Zurgo himself was Mardu-colored back in Khans of Tarkir, as the fierce Khan Zurgo Helmsmasher, before Sarkhan's time travel shenanigans changed him into the new timeline's humble monored outcast Zurgo Bellstriker. It's as the latter that he teamed up with Ojutai, giving birth to the first Jeskai Orc. Mana value-wise, this team up ties for most expensive Orc, but there are many others at five. As said before, it doesn't need to be played as a Dragon tribal card, where it has too many competitors for the five-mana slot, but it would still make more sense than in Orc tribal.


Pegasus: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 21

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: They sure didn't spend much time to find a name for this Phyrexian Pegasus. It's a Jumpstart exclusive. It performs the same "fly with me" trick already seen on many other Pegasi (and other rideable white flyers, including Griffins, Hippogriffs, and even some flying Dinosaurs). The wording is new, as it specifies "creature without flying" as a target. Not sure what that's about. The targeting is mandatory, but a double instance of flying is not a rule issue. Maybe they found it confused new players?


Pest: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 3

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Pest is now a three-member tribe, after the lone legendary mythic Blex, Vexing Pest and the older and totally unrelated Signal Pest. This new addition is more run-of-the-mill compared to the other two, but still does an excellent job as a three-mana land digger, because it also looks for double-faced cards. That alone gives it a late-game purpose that even the more accomplished fetchers like Wood Elves and Sylvan Ranger lack. Also, it's funny that a tribe based on a large cultivated population of 1/1 tokens includes no members that are actually 1/1s.


Phoenix: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 34, online: 32

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The constant reworking of the one trick Phoenices have in their bag can lead to hit-or-miss results. This small one resurrects when we burn the opponent's face. It's okay, it might definitely happen in monored, perhaps with spells that both kill targets and deal some extra damage to the owner. Returning Bloodfeather Phoenix a couple of times per game might still be enough value. It's small and can't block, but gets haste in its following lives. Also, the Phoenices don't have much early play available. In fact, this is the tribe's only two-drop, and the second least expensive member after Phoenix Chick, which was just printed in Dominaria United last year.


Phyrexian: +40

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 430, online: 428

 Related Tribes: Bear, Beast, Cat, Cleric, Construct, Crocodile, Demon, Dragon, Elemental, Elf, Fox, Giant, Goblin, Gremlin, Knight, Kor, Ogre, Pegasus, Praetor, Rhino, Samurai, Shade, Shark, Vampire, Viashino, Warlock, Warrior, Wizard, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Although not as much as in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, the Phyrexian subtype is still overly present in March of the Machine. We just have to look at that endless list of related tribes. That's one third of the entire number of tribes with a new member in the set! And that doesn't even count the number of DFCs involving other tribes that have Phyrexian only on the back face, because they get compleated during gameplay, like all the "Generals". In these latest sets depicting the final phase of the invasion, Phyrexian has essentially worked as a second Human tribe: a supertype disguised as subtype. Consequently, we'll leave the specific Phyrexian cross-breeds to be discussed in the entries for their other tribes, and we'll deal with the final Praetor cycle in due time. Let's just focus on the cards that explicitly play into the Phyrexian tribal aspect, which is less developed than one might think.

 The centerpiece of such Phyrexian tribal builds has to be Glissa, Herald of Predation. The de facto leader of the green Phyrexians (Vorinclex has a very laissez-faire approach when it comes to his lieutenant) gives the whole oily team her signature first strike plus deathtouch combo, which makes the combat phase a nightmare for the opponent. She can also makes more Phyrexian troops via Incubators and wake up all our Incubators for free. And she doesn't even have to attack, she can just sit back and oversee the operation, protected from most burn removal by her high toughness. Definitely a must-include curve-topper in Phyrexian lists, and the same goes for the recursive lord Grafted Butcher. The ETB trigger is probably going to waste on turn two, but the Butcher will be back later to make it count.

 So far it looks like Phyrexian decks lean towards black with a splash of green. White gives another crucial piece in the form of the three-drop Phyrexian Censor, which heavily disrupts the opponent's battleplan in a way that reminds of Ethersworn Canonist in artifact builds. In white we also find Norn's Inquisitor, which enhances the Incubators' effectiveness.

 Two Phyrexians in March of the Machine have no other creature types. The Jumpstart exclusive Essence of Orthodoxy is one of them, and it looks as some sort of Elesh Norn avatar (the Machine Orthodoxy was originally her faction, before she took over the whole Phyrexian regime). It's a 3/3 flyer and a 2/2 Incubator for five mana, which is an okay deal, but then it keeps churning out extra Incubators every time we drop another Phyrexian (important to note, the Incubators aren't Phyrexians when they're created; they transform later, which doesn't count as entering the battlefield). This process can definitely take over the battlefield over time, but it's painfully slow, since it requires two mana per token – or else a way to transform all the Incubators at once (by Glissa, for instance), which might be the correct plan. It was probably designed with casual Limited-like Jumpstart games in mind, though.

 The other "pure" Phyrexian is also a rare, and much closer to a Constructed staple in Phyrexian decks. Bloated Processor just keeps growing by devouring other Phyrexians – those that were destined to the graveyard or otherwise stopped being useful on the battlefield. It gets to a point where it's a threat, but if dispatched in a way that doesn't exile it, it creates another, equally big threat (in fact, it even gains one more point of toughness). With an entry cost of three mana for three power, and no extra costs needed afterwards, it's a very alluring three-drop, although one that exclusively works in Phyrexian-heavy lists. If we build with all of the above, we'll have a couple of two-drops, a couple of three-drops, and at least one five-drop, all of which are extremely synergistic. And that's just from this set, which also included a few "tribal" enchantments that create an Incubator of various sizes and grant our Phyrexians an ability or a boost. They're all uncommon and skewed towards Limited play, though.

   


Pilot: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 15

 Related Tribes: Dwarf

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: March of the Machine remembered the Dwarves make for the best Pilots, but it's just flavor on these cards, which have otherwise nothing to do with Vehicles or the tribe's overall strategy.


Pirate: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 121, online: 111

 Related Tribes: Siren

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Well-renowned Kaladeshi buccaneer Kari Zev was stripped of her class attribution during her team up with Baral, so this Siren is the only recognized Pirate in the set. But it's a doozy, a 3/4 vigilant flyer that borrows the play pattern from cards like Venerated Loxodon, in that she drops in the mid-game for close to zero, while gifting a boon to every creature that convoked her. And the boon in her case is a flying counter, so she might act as a finishing move of sort, like casting Sleep before an alpha strike.


Praetor: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 18

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: There's something eerie about the concluding cycle of Praetors just using their name. It evokes a sense of finality: we're at the very edge of all existence, there's no room for epithets anymore. Everyone's idenity is presented in its primal form, stripped of any surviving trace of vanity (and this is true of most legendaries in the set as well, due to the juxtaposition of their names in the team ups eating up any room for other attributes).

 And this cycle is indeed conclusive, since most every Praetor is now confirmed dead, except for the semi-reformed Urabrask, who in the end was fighting against the Phyrexians (red mana just can't abide slavery). Elesh Norn was wounded by Elspeth and then finished by Karn; Jin-Gitaxias ended up devoured by his own experimental newt larvae; the rebellious Sheoldred was executed by Ajani on Norn's orders; and Vorinclex was decapitated by the Zhalfirin Knight Shella.

 

 Luckily the Phyrexian bosses arrive at their last rendez-vous in top form. They're five monocolored mythics of roughly comparable power level, all costing either four or five mana, sporting a keyword appropriate for their color, a single other trigger, and an activation cost to transform into a tremendously powerful Saga, whose third chapter turns it back to the creature side, retriggering their ETB effect if they have one. Interestingly, for this last hurrah, they abandoned the usual design of a mirrored pair of continuous effects, a positive one for the controller and its negative version for their opponents.

 Elesh Norn has an annoying tax against damage on the front, and a game-winning Saga on the back. We need to sacrifice three other creatures to get there, but we immediately get five more, which become a lethal threat the turn after (the second chapter produces up to 30 combat damage), before the rest of the board is cleansed, in case it was still needed. Jin-Gitaxias also has a catch-up mechanism on his back, in the guise of a Phyrexian-based Whelming Wave, plus a win-more chapter where we get to cast a double handful of spells for free. He's the hardest to transform, though (having seven cards in hand isn't as easy on turn six as it is on the early game, when Library of Alexandria is usually activated), but also the one that could easily ignore that option and just be a warded 5/5 that draws us cards when we cast noncreature spells that aren't too cheap.

    

 At the other side of the spectrum, Sheoldred only provides a single edict trigger when she enters, albeit one that can't be played around by sacrificing tokens. But then, she doesn't ask much in terms of transformation clause, just enough time to see an opponent's graveyard naturally grow to contain eight cards. This also means going back and fort between Saga side and creature side is quite easy for Sheoldred, in the unlikely event that the Rise of the Dark Realms from the third chapter didn't already seal the deal. She's currently the most popular of these five new Praetors (almost matching the success of Sheoldred, the Apocalypse), because of her immediate value on the battlefield and uncomplicated battle plan.

 As per tradition, Urabrask is arguably the weakest of the Praetors. His front face is a serviceable 4/4 first striker that pings and adds mana upon spellslinging. We need to triple-spell to transform him, though. That calls for some storm-like build, and admittedly, the Birgi-like mana production helps with that plan, but it'll be lost once we get to the Past in Flames third chapter, which is kind of awkward design, and the rest of Urabrask's back only supplies us with a Slagstorm and three Treasures. A better showing is made by Vorinclex, here depicted at his cheapest incarnation ever. A 6/6 trampler with reach that tutors up two Forest cards (which don't even have to be basics) is worth five mana. The transformation is entirely mana-based, but it pretty much spells "victory through board position", although control decks might defuse the situation before it's too late. He seems like a new Commander staple for green ramp, incorporating a big body, two land drops, and a wincon, all in one card.

 Is this the end of the Praetor subtype, then? Will it be used again? It was retroactively added to non-Phyrexian creatures that just happened to include the word in their names (Ebon Praetor and Sanguine Praetor), but that kind of random use isn't going to be repeated now that the term has taken such a characterized meaning. Maybe one day we'll get an Ancient Rome-inspired setting, and suddenly the tribe will become a weird mixture of body horror monstrosities and plain human magistrates.


Rabbit: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 8, online: 7

 Related Tribes: Fungus

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: I can't tell why this guy has been turned into a Fungus hybrid, or what this has to do with the Phyrexian Invasion, but it's a new Rabbit, and it's playable! It's a one-drop 1/1 with a bonus keyword and an enhanced version of scavenge, making it viable sacrificial fodder. The tribe of Vizzerdrix and Kezzerdrix will take it.


Raccoon: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 3

 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Another tiny tribe crosses the three-member threshold. New Capenna introduced the Raccoon people (mostly depicted as loud, cranky worker-class guys, in some sort of a tribe-wide homage to Rocket Raccoon), and now they get their first card of rarity higher than common. Attack triggers that target a different creature but require the source to attack as well aren't usually too practical, but Scrappy Bruiser might grant trample to big bodies and retrigger ETB effects. It could be worse.


Rat: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 70, online: 63

 Related Tribes: Rogue, Samurai

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Two new of the Nezumi, Kamigawa's Rat folk. Nezumi Freewheeler is a sought-after uncommon in drafts, as a 3/3 menace that transforms into a larger body while reanimating a small permanent. Nezumi Informat is just a functional reprint of Burglar Rat and, for all intents and purposes, of classic Ravenous Rats as well. The Rat tribe is now the main recipient of this template, the two-mana 1/1 disruptor, which seems to have become a fixed feature of monoblack lately (see also Elderfang Disciple, Virus Beetle, Corrupt Court Official).


Rhino: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 47

 Related Tribes: Bear, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Bears and Rhinos together at last. Copper Host Crusher is massive and unstoppable, so the hybridization of its two animal roots tracks. Even if Bears have been regrettably grandfathered as meek 2/2s by Alpha's Grizzly Bears. So Magic has become one of the few games where an Elk can kill a Bear without breaking a sweat.


Rogue: +7

  

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 402, online: 382

 Related Tribes: Faerie, Goblin, Human, MerfolkRat

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Rogue shares with Faerie two terrific new blue members, Faerie Mastermind and Halo Forger. The only other worth a mention among all the filler is Aetherblade Agent. It's also meant as a Limited card, but he's a robust deathtouch barrier on turn two, and he later transforms into a 3/3 with a card-drawing saboteur trigger a la Shadowmage Infiltrator (but, once again, also counting battles as triggering targets). So suddenly he's a threat the opponent has to deal with, or else they'll keep taking three damage while giving us an extra card per turn. But trading for the Agent once he's become Gitaxian Mindstinger is very likely gonna cost a card no matter what. Not bad for a common.


Samurai: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 65

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian, Rat

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Phyrexian lord Grafted Butcher is a Samurai, but that's just a cosmetic element, reflecting the fall of the Kamigawa Samurai in the city capital of Towashi. The best new card for the tribe is probably simply the landcycler Alabaster Host Intercessor, which can be traded for a Plains in the early game and used as exile-based removal later. It's just a common, but the strategic value is there.


Satyr: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 30

 Related Tribes: Scout

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The role of the main mana dork in the set went to this little Satyr from Theros. It's a version of Voyaging Satyr that lost a point of toughness but gained the ability to add or remove counters from battles. How much this is going to matter in the big scheme of things remains to be understood, but Portent Tracker does a good job in his Limited environment. The land untappers always find valuable synergies with land Auras, like Blighted Burgeoning in the case of March of the Machine. Of course Arbor Elf is still the paradigm for that kind of effect.


Scout: +4

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 174, online: 166

 Related Tribes: Human, Merfolk, Satyr

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The land-untapping Satyr, the transformer Merfolk, and even the rare surveiler don't look like cards with high Constructed potential. On the other hand, Enduring Bondwarden may be the kind of one-drop that White Weenie decks enjoy. It's a 1/2 on turn one, or else it boosts a more tactical target later, and it's a safe carrier of +1/+1 counters since they won't get lost if it dies – a template that's getting more frequent (e.g. Star Pupil, Parish-Blade Trainee), because it avoids punishing +1/+1 counters strategies.


Shade: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 34, online: 32

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The Shades occasionally attempt to break free from their eternal template of black creature pumping. Ichor Shade is just too ineffectual to leave a mark, though.


Shaman: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 459, online: 453

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Joyful Stormsculptor is the signpost fo the blue-red Limited archetype, which is about convoke. It's a 2/3 and two 1/1s for five mana, with some added bits of incidental damage, but the theme doesn't seem something that can translate into Constructed. And Trailblazing Historian is a new take on the typical monored haste-giver. This time with higher toughness, which is not too relevant of an upgrade, because this kind of creature will probably be tapped in the opponent's turn. We've had better version of this card recently, like Axgard Cavalry in Kaldheim, but the only ones with some chance to find themselves a Constructed home are the one-drops – Goblin Motivator, Torch Courier, and the likes – and even those only within very specific RDW builds.


Shark: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 10, online: 9

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Sharknado 2: The Second One! What were the main issues with Shark Typhoon? Well, for starters, it wasn't actually a Shark, so the still struggling tribe didn't get any advantage from its existence. And secondly, it would very rarely get played straight. It was mostly just cycled away to generate one big Shark, and that was it. But one single Shark does not make a Sharknado! Enter Chrome Host Seedshark, giving the flying fish get a new chance at swarming the opponent. All right, the X/X creatures that are created every time we cast a noncreature spell don't fly. Also, they're not technically Sharks, they're just Phyrexians. Maybe the whole Sharknado homage will need a third episode (if they made six movies off this silly concept, Magic might well print six cards!). In the meantime, let's not kid ourselves here. Just like Shark Typhoon instantly became a Constructed darling, the Seedshark is not here to have a laugh. It's a 2/4 flyer for three mana that inundates the board with creatures of all sizes, and all it asks is for us to just continue following our blue-based gameplan. Drop the Seedshark with mana open for countermagic and card draw: that's right there a recipe for success. There were 61 of these feisty fish in the decks that took part in Pro Tour March of the Machine. Expect to see more in the near future.


Siren: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 18, online: 17

 Related Tribes: Pirate

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Just like Shark, Siren is a small, relatively recent tribe still trying to find its footing. The excellent Zephyr Singer is a welcome addition, even if many Sirens are already capable of flight. But it's only the fourth rare Siren to see print. A mythic one called Maeve, Insidious Singer was released last October with Game Night: Free-for-All, designed by Melissa DeTora. Unfortunately, that's a set that very few players even know about, and the five exclusive cards haven't appeared online yet. Which is a pity, because they're five spunky creatures, and not all of them are intended for multiplayer. Maeve, admittedly, is.


Soldier: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 816, online: 755

 Related Tribes: Angel, Cat, Human, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Of the five new Soldiers, the rare Dusk Legion Duelist seems to be the one with the numbers to earn a spot in some white aggro or Selesnya build with some level of +1/+1 counters synergies. The interaction between its card-drawing trigger and something like Luminarch Aspirant is to die for. And its base line is that of a 2/2 vigilant two-drop, which is pretty decent.

 Orthion, Hero of Lavabrink is the second Jumpstart-only legendary, alongside Surrak and Goreclaw. He's the more obscure of all the legendaries in the set. Just some guy who did well against the Phyrexians on Ikoria, and was previously quoted on the flavor text of Blisterspit Gremlin and Clash of Titans. He's sort of a more casual-oriented, sorcery-speed Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, with a secondary, over-the-top activation that has "Commander play" written all over it. The rest of the Soldiers are strictly for Limited. Mirror-Shield Hoplite is the signpost for the backup theme in Boros, and his ability is extremely narrow – the mechanic exists in all colors, and the Commander decks added more juice to it, but so far it doesn't look like a competitive deck is gonna emerge out of these cards in any format. If it does, the backup-doubling Hoplite is probably gonna be there.


Spider: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 72, online: 70

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: There aren't any Spiders in March of the Machine proper, but there is this one in the Jumpstart boosters. And it's actually kind of a better Deadly Recluse (it's vulnerable to pingers, but the mana sink keeps it somewhat relevant in the late game), so the tribe gained a new valuable two-drop.


Spirit: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 579, online: 569

 Related Tribes: Elemental, Frog, Ogre

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The only Spirit worth talking about here is the Kamigawa representative Kami of Whispered Hopes. Of course a three-drop mana dork is not something one would play, even in Limited (although, it fixes for any color). Add the +1/+1 counter synergy in the mix, and it becomes Constructed playable. Its nature of Hardened Scales on legs makes it so that any subsequent instance of a +1/+1 counter turns it into a 3/3, immediately ramping us. It can quickly spiral out of control, especially if we cast it as a follow up to actual Hardened Scales and/or one among Winding Constrictor or Conclave Mentor, and/or the new Ozolith, the Shattered Spire. It might not be a necessary addition to "+1/+1 counters matter" builds, but it's an option that allows us to go even taller.


Treefolk: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 90, online: 88

 Related Tribes: Druid

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Nothing to write home about where new Treefolk are concerned. The tribe has had a superb lineup since Lorwyn block, and the entry requirement is more demanding than any random common or uncommon is usually able to fulfill. This said, Herbology Instructor is a two-drop with the same body as Bosk Banneret. The switch would be about trading immediate cost reduction for later removal. It might be a consideration.


Troll: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 50, online: 49

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: A lone Troll, as one would expect. It's just a Limited uncommon, the front face is squarely on curve but has not extra abilities, the back works well with Incubators. Nothing else of note.


Turtle: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 31, online: 29

 Related Tribes: Ape, Dinosaur

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Some of the team ups resulted in rare or even previously unseen combinations of colors and tribes. Ironically, Kogla and Yidaro is only the second red Turtle in existence – but that's because of Yidaro himself! He was the first red Turtle as the Wandering Monster back on Ikoria, and now he's just back. It remains as improbable as ever for a double red card to find a purpose within a mostly blue-based tribe.


Vampire: +6

  

  

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 New Tribal Total: 348, online: 343

 Related Tribes: Aetherborn, Angel, Dinosaur, Phyrexian, Soldier, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: See, this is a case where the team ups made it weird. Selesnya is hardly the color combination one would ever think of when thinking of Vampires, but that's definitely not Ghalta's concern. And that little Vampire dude caught in the picture with the huge Dino is just the key to a crazy combo that only March of the Machine's chaotic turmoil has made possible: turn-2 Ghalta and Mavren after turn-1 accelerator into Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord. Yeah, Sorin is technically summoning a zealous, conceited bloodsucker. It only happens that he comes with a 16-ton T-Rex attached. It's still mostly casual fare for older formats (Pioneer or Historic), but it's pretty fun to contemplate the wild mechanic of it.

 Jank combos aside, the Vampires add to their ranks the other, less preposterous team up between Drana and Linvala, which is mostly just okay, and that crazy +1/+1 counters-fueled card-drawing engine that is Dusk Legion Duelist. The Ixalan vamp interacts swimmingly with prominent fellows like Cordial Vampire, Indulgent Aristocrat, and Drana, Liberator of Malakir. White has long been one of the tribe's main contenders for secondary color, and the Duelist makes a strong case for it.

 Of course red got there first with the Innistrad Vampires, and here's a new claim for the position with the outstanding Voldaren Thrillseeker. She's either a three-mana 3/3 that can sac itself to cast a Lightning Bolt, or, more intriguingly, Fling on a stick. She even enhances the flingee's power before throwing it at the opponent's face, or wherever we see fit. The wacky combo that comes pre-packaged within March of the Machine Limited is with Yargle and Multani, for a whopping 20 point of damage. Of course this kind of insta-wins can be achieved with less ridiculous partners. What matters, as the Thrillseeker herself says, is having fun! At the opponent's expenses!


Vedalken: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 64

 Related Tribes: Mutant

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The Vedalken have had exactly one green member in all of the settings they appear in. Alara: Vedalken Heretic; Ravnica: Gyre Engineer; Kaladesh: Empyreal Voyager. This one, which is probably meant to be from what remains of Mirrodin, completes the series. He's still not going to justify a green splash, though.


Viashino: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 55

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: The Viashinos played a role in and against the Invasion, too, but their two cards aren't remarkable in the least. Thrashing Frontliner is playable in the red-green "battles matter" Limited archetype, but it's not even one of the main commons in that deck.


Warlock: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 71, online: 70

 Related Tribes: Human, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Archpriest of Shadows has an awe-inducing connection trigger – just straight up unconditional reanimation. She's a five-drop that needs to stay alive into our next turn, though, and even as a deathtoucher, the connection is far from a certainty. But that's where backup gives her an edge, as she can target an evasive creature the very turn she hits the battlefield, thus bringing to fruition at least one resurrection ritual. It might not be enough to earn Constructed relevance, but it makes her considerably less clunky.

 Whereas the Jumpstart exclusive Seer of Stolen Sight is just a pale imitation of cards like Midnight Reaper. Surveil is very different from draw, and it even triggers only once per turn.


Warrior: +13

  

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 New Tribal Total: 933, online: 909

 Related Tribes: Angel, Dog, Elemental, Elf, Human, Jackal, Ogre, Phyrexian, Raccoon, Vampire, Viashino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A lot of incidental presence for the Warriors in March of the Machine, with most of the new members being standard-bearers for various races depicted in the act of fighting for or against the Phyrexians. Most of them translate into Limited filler, but the three rares are all excellent. Boon-Bringer Valkyrie might not be primed for Constructed stardom, but she's still a banger of a flyer; Voldaren Thrillseeker has her unique Fling angle. And the Kaldheim-based Doomskar Warrior is a backup version of Garruk's Harbinger. That kind of digging trigger on connection has rarely been associated with competitive cards, as it's deemed too powerful to go on cheap, efficient creatures. Maybe trample and backup will change the narrative for this green Warrior, or maybe the potential of being a four-drop 5/4 trampler with upside will find him a home in some midrange deck in Standard.


Weird: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 10

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This poor Weird was captured by the Phyrexians to be experimented upon. Which is not too different from what Ravnican Wizards usually do with the Weirds, but the results are even more unpleasant. Its suffering merely translated into an okay transformer for Limited, but within the scope of the Weird tribe, this is a precious one-drop with high defensive value and a sensible gameplan.


Wizard: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 947, online: 923

 Related Tribes: Human, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The diabolical hosing of Phyrexian Censor plus a couple of solid Limited cards aren't enough to obscure Rona's ultimate destiny: to transform into a Phyrexian Obliterator (of sorts). The most faithful of the Phyrexian lackeys has finally fulfilled her dreams of ascending to compleation. Rona, Herald of Invasion starts as an unassuming looter with an untap clause that's been exploited for zany Johnny/Jenny combos (like the interaction with Mox Amber and the most obscure Retraction Helix from Born of the Gods). Once we pay for the activation, though, she shows her true face as one of the Phyrexian "Generals". Her Obliterator form is more constructive than destructive: it doesn't annihilate opposing permanents, it casts opposing spells for free. Which means it stops doing anything once the opponent is empty-handed, but it's still a 5/5 trampler they'll have to deal with, and was originally tied to a simple two-drop we used to improve our hand. It's the reason why Rona is one of the few transforming "generals" that has already found a place in competitive Constructed decks. In fact, with 71 registered copies, she was the second most played March of the Machine creature at the Pro Tour, losing only to fellow transformer Etali.


Wolverine: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 9, online: 7

 Related Tribes: Dinosaur

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: March of the Machine's design team must have really wanted to include a Wolverine, because they came up with an Ikorian Dinosaur hybrid that was never part of the plane's setting before. It's still one of the best Wolverines in the game, which isn't saying much. One must wonder if all these battle-related abilities will acquire more relevance once the new card type will spread more.


Yeti: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 14, online: 13

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Another truly bizarre inclusion. It turns out Phyrexians also fought Yetis – or at least they did in Jumpstart, where red apparently needed a different mountaincycler other than Furnace Host Charger.


Zombie: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 537, online: 527

 Related Tribes: Elf, Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Glissa is still a Zombie even after being compleated – so she's kind of a double Zombie? Zombie squared? Anyway, she's the tribe's main new member. The other one is a blue Skaab that's just Limited filler. It's a bit disappointing, given that the Zombies have had a key role repelling invasions of several planes, like Innistrad and Amonkhet, because they are immune to phyresis (for different reasons: on Innistrad because they're mindless; on Amonkhet, because of the lazotep. Glissa's case didn't fall under neither category).


SUMMARY

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