It’s been just over a month since March of the Machine was released, and many of its powerful cards have made an impact in almost every constructed format. Let’s take a look at some of the latest cards to make an impact in Pioneer!
Slotting Into Existing Archetypes
One of the biggest trends we’ve seen from MOM cards entering Pioneer thus far is their ability to slot into existing archetypes. With tons of Pioneer decks vying for competitive relevance, these cards can shine in many ways. Here are a few of the hottest March of the Machine cards in Pioneer so far.
Polukranos Reborn has fit right in alongside all the other heavy green devotion cards in the Mono-Green Nykthos Ramp deck. It’s essentially replaced the cards that used to be played in the three or four flex slots, like Lovestruck Beast and other planeswalkers, making the deck even more consistent.
It also acts as a mana sink in the late game if you somehow can’t find something to do with six mana, becoming a game-ending threat if not immediately answered. Invasion of Ikoria and Invasion of Ixalan have also been tried out in Mono-Green, but no more than a copy or two each, with consistency prevailing.
Faerie Mastermind is the big reason Dimir Rogues is now a legitimate deck, and it continues to play three or four copies of the two-mana threat. It’s mostly in the list because it’s a rogue with evasion and flash, but its abilities are relevant at times.
Rogues has put up tons of results over the past few weeks and looks to be a contender for the foreseeable future. Some lists are also trying Invasion of Amonkhet as more disruption and card advantage, but the version full of flash creatures appears to be more popular as of now, operating mostly at instant speed.
Invasion of Gobakhan
Speaking of battles, Invasion of Gobakhan has slotted right into Azorius Spirits as another way to interact with the opponent, with an incredibly powerful enchantment as the reward for attacking for three damage. Not only does it give a +1/+1 counter to all your creatures that attack each turn, but it can also be sacrificed to give your team hexproof and indestructible. This makes combat a nightmare for your opponent and forces them to defend the battle.
Another strategy that got a huge new inclusion is Mono-White Humans, now playing the full playset of Coppercoat Vanguard. This powerful new two-drop gives both +1/+0 and ward 1 to all other Humans, making it an obvious inclusion. It can be very difficult to beat one Vanguard if it’s not dealt with right away, but two on the battlefield quickly get out of control.
Knight-Errant of Eos
Mono-White can also play Knight-Errant of Eos, a 4/4 for five mana with convoke. All the deck’s cheap creatures combined with convoke means the knight can come down early, snowballing your advantage of rushing out cheap threats, and drawing up to two creatures while leaving behind a 4/4 body.
Though it took a bit longer, the Knight-Errant also sees play in one of the other new archetypes to break out, Boros Convoke. This deck relies on tons of cheap creatures and tokens coming down early, making Knight-Errant of Eos and Venerated Loxodon, another creature with convoke, their perfect compliment. Burning-Tree Emissary and Reckless Bushwhacker can provide explosive starts, but these convoke creatures make sure you don’t run out of gas and keep your army attacking.
Rona, Herald of Invasion
Rona, Herald of Invasion enables a brand-new combo, using Mox Amber and Retraction Helix with Rona to win the game on the spot. There are several ways to build around Rona, and while the archetype is much less popular than a few weeks ago, Rona is a very powerful creature that might just need some tuning to find the best list.
Saiba Cryptomancer is another cheap Hexproof threat, incentivizing the traditional green-white Auras deck to splash blue. While the mana is a little tighter, this also enables some more powerful Auras like Staggering Insight and Curious Obsession to be played. The Cryptomancer can also flash in to protect Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice.
Chandra, Hope’s Beacon
Chandra, Hope’s Beacon has appeared in both Lotus Field, as another expensive, powerful card that can win the game and in some Izzet Control lists, as removal and card advantage. We’ve even seen a new combo-control shell popping up combining Chandra with Alrund’s Epiphany to reactivate the bad memories of Standard from a couple of years ago. It’s one of the most powerful planeswalkers printed lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it played more in the future.
Are Battles Working?
The five-color Fires of Invention deck is playing both Invasion of Alara and Invasion of Tolvada as expensive battles that can be cast off of Fires, and also add another card type for Atraxa, Grand Unifier. Invasion of Alara lets you cast something from the top of your library, and if you ever somehow do seven damage to it Awaken the Maelstrom might as well read “You win the game.”
Invasion of Tolvada reanimates any nonbattle from your graveyard, giving you another way to cheat Atraxa into play or just rebuy one of your strong enchantments. Doing five damage will flip it and allow you to cast The Broken Sky, which not only creates a 1/1 flier every turn but gives them all +1/+0 and lifelink—just another way to win the game with a powerful enchantment.
Aftermath Joins the Fray
Though technically a separate mini-set, Aftermath closely followed March of the Machine. In terms of Pioneer, it has brought a few relevant cards to discuss.
Nissa, Resurgent Animist
Another five-color deck, Bring to Light, is using the new Nissa, Resurgent Animist (from March of the Machine: Aftermath) as more card and mana advantage alongside Omnath, similar to the Modern multicolored strategy. Nissa is similar to Omnath since letting either one survive for more than a few turns can make it hard to catch up.
While it’s much harder to trigger landfall twice in one turn in Pioneer, Nissa’s first ability can provide a ton of extra mana, ramping to Bring to Light or other big threats. Some lists are even playing Chrome Host Seedshark as a mana sink that can take over the battlefield, or Cosmic Rebirth for instant-speed reanimation and some life against aggressive decks.
Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin
Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin might look expensive at four mana, but Rakdos Sacrifice decks have been playing a couple of copies. It can completely take over the game in combination with a Mayhem Devil, thanks to its ability triggering every time your opponent loses exactly one life, not just once per turn.
Best of the Rest
While less splashy than some of the other entries, these roleplayers are seeing notable play in Pioneer across several archetypes or contributing to specific ones in key ways.
Volcanic Spite is a strictly better Fire Prophecy, replacing it in Creativity lists still looking for a way to put cards back into their deck. Hitting planeswalkers isn’t always relevant, but there’s no reason to play Fire Prophecy over this.
Invasion of Azgol has popped up in some Rakdos Midrange lists as another removal spell that can also take out a planeswalker.
Finally, Selesnya Angels might play one Sigarda, Font of Blessings as a powerful top-end threat.
March of the Machine Sideboard All Stars
Moving on to sideboard options, Change the Equation and Surge of Salvation appear to be the most played options, helping blue decks fight against red and green opponents and white creature decks fight against almost anything.
Wrenn and Realmbreaker had some of the biggest excitement before the set was released, but has seen very little play. It’s mostly been another way to fill the graveyard for Abzan Greasefang or more card advantage for Mono-Green, but it appears other options are better for those decks. It has also appeared in the Rona combo deck, but time will tell if the new versions continue to play it.
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