Each year, Wizards of the Coast releases an awful lot of MTG sets and products. Between major releases and Secret Lair Drops, MTG players are inundated with cards, both new and old. As if that wasn’t enough, in 2023, Wizards premiered a brand new type of MTG set with March of the Machine: The Aftermath.
Unlike a typical premier MTG set, this Standard-legal set contained only 50 cards. Sold in packs without commons, this set was certainly divisive, to say the least. So much so, in fact, that, many MTG players hoped this experiment would never get repeated. For better or worse, it now seems this hope is coming true.
As we mentioned mere moments ago, March of the Machine: The Aftermath was an incredibly strange MTG set. In theory, it could have been a great and highly flavorful addition to the game, however, it didn’t quite hit the mark. Sure there was plenty of flavor with desparked Planeswalkers and new story chapters, but there was a bigger problem.
Unfortunately, March of the Machine: The Aftermath was an absolute nightmare to collect. With packs only containing five or six cards, opening Boosters was deeply underwhelming. Especially so when you consider the around $3 price, which is Draft Booster money! As if that wasn’t bad enough, the six-card Collector Boosters cost almost $10!
While The Aftermath did have some high-value picks to justify this price tag, there was a bigger problem for MTG players. Opening these boosters en masse was incredibly disappointing, due to the tiny pool of cards in the set. This led to finding countless duplicates and even triplicates when opening a Booster Box.
As you can imagine, many MTG players were completely turned away by this disappointing pack-opening experience. Subsequently, many simply turned towards the secondary market, picking up Nissa, Resurgent Animist, Calix, Guided by Fate, and not much else.
Coming and going with very little fanfare, beyond its uniqueness, it’s no wonder March of the Machine: The Aftermath wasn’t popular. What is a surprise, however, is just how quickly Wizards of the Coast has moved away from the concept. Rather than trying to fix the set’s flaws to create something bigger and better, it seems everything has just been scrapped!
The Aftermath of the Aftermath
Yesterday Tumblr user Violet-returned posed a simple question to MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, via Blogatog. Plainly asking “How likely are we to see another Epilogue set like Aftermath?” Rosewater had a surprisingly forthcoming answer to this question. Responding “I will say pretty unlikely,” it seems the future of Aftermath-esque Micro-sets is pretty bleak.
While Rosewater’s statement isn’t a steadfast no, many MTG players were nevertheless rather pleased by this news. This, ultimately, comes down to one major factor about March of the Machine: The Aftermath; the execution. As we covered above, it’s no wonder this was the major sticking point due to the cacophony of errors.
Pointing out the problems across Reddit and Tumblr were MTG players like Xy0002 and CommanderDark126. Sharing comments like “glad to hear that there won’t be any more sets that suck and are bad,” and “Shocking how charging full price for half-full packs wasn’t popular” it’s no wonder March of the Machine: The Aftermath failed.
While criticisms of MTG’s first Aftermath set are unsurprising, remarkably, social media wasn’t only celebrations about the product’s demise. Instead, many MTG players spoke surprisingly positively about the set, or its concept at least. Kyleometers on Reddit, for instance, stated “not opposed to the idea of a set like that, it just seriously lacked in the execution.”
Expanding upon this point further, many players pointed out how all the underlying features of Aftermath were potentially great. The additional story, for instance, is something players have been clamoring for, however, Aftermath didn’t quite deliver. Similarly, new cards to spice up Standard were sorely requested, but Aftermath didn’t have too many of these. Ultimately March of the Machine: The Aftermath didn’t have nearly enough good to push past the bad.
The Aftermath of the Aftermath’s Aftermath
As much as another Aftermath-esque MTG set may be “pretty unlikely” according to Rosewater, this statement definitely isn’t a no. Due to this, in theory, it’s very possible that Wizards is still quietly tooling with the idea, potentially developing it into something new. What this new hypothetical product could look like is still unclear at the moment, however, it definitely has potential.
At the right price, and with the right number of cards, whatever Aftermath comes next could even be a great set. For that to happen, however, Wizards evidently have a lot of learning to do from their past mistakes. Thankfully, Wizards does tend to be rather good at this, however, that doesn’t guarantee Wizards has another new product in the works.
Ultimately, we’re just going to have to wait and see what will happen in the future. For better or worse, this may be quite the long wait, as the next major story arc has only just begun. Running until around April of 2026, MTG likely won’t need another Aftermath set for a long while yet.