This article contains spoilers for cards that have currently not been officially revealed!
Yet another batch of MTG March of the Machine: The Aftermath leaks have occurred. March of the Machine: The Aftermath is an unusual set. It will not be draftable and contains only 50 cards. Many of these cards are Legendary Creatures, some of whom are even Planeswalkers that have lost their ability to travel between worlds. Here is an analysis of five of these new cards and how they might be used in Commander.
Nahiri, Forged In Fury
Nahiri is one of Magic: the Gathering’s most iconic Planeswalkers. She was Compleated in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, becoming Nahiri, the Unforgiving. She seems to have been both cleansed of Phyrexian corruption and desparked, as she is now just a Legendary Creature.
At six Mana, in Boros, Nahiri seems quite expensive. Affinity For Equipment serves to bring her cost down massively. Nahiri’s affinity ability makes her one mana cheaper for every equipment card her controller has in play.
Nahri causes the top card of her controller’s deck to get exiled whenever an equipped creature they control attacks. That card can be played until the end of the turn and played for free if it is an Equipment card.
To get the most out of Nahiri, players will need to use a combination of low and high-cost equipment. Low-cost equipment can bring Nahiri’s pricedown so that she can be played earlier in the game, while high-cost, equipment will typically be more powerful to cheat out with her ability.
Alongside equipment cards, Nahiri decks will also benefit from support cards like Stoneforge Mystic, Puresteel Paladin, and Sigarda’s Aid.
There are certainly no shortage of Boros equipment matters Commanders. Cards like Bruenor Battlehammer and Akiri, Fearless Voyager have always been reasonably well regarded. Nahiri will join the ranks of these Commanders and, given that she is a popular character with a powerful ability to cheat around mana costs, she may do well going forward.
Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin
Ob Nixilis is a powerful Demonic Planeswalker, who became a crime lord on the Plane of New Capenna. This powerful demon seems to have lost his ability to planeswalker and has become Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin. A four mana 4/3 flying trampler, the New Ob Nixilis gains a +1/+1 counter each time one or more opponents lose exactly one life. After gaining the counter, Ob Nixilis then exiles the top card of his controller’s deck, allowing it to be played until their next end step.
The card Cavalcade of Calamity from Ravnica Allegiance is an absolute auto-include for decks built around this card. Cavalcade of Calamity deals one damage to opponents who are being attacked by creatures with one attack, dramatically escalating the number of times Ob Nixilis’s ability will be activated in a given turn.
This card also synergizes remarkably well with its previous printing, Ob Nixilis, the Adversary. The 1/1 devils Ob Nixilis, the Adversary deal one damage to opponents whether they end up getting through unblocked or getting destroyed. Other good cards to run in this deck includeEnd the Festivities, Impact Tremors, and Kessig Flamebreather all of which can be used to deal out little one damage bursts to opponents.
Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin also works nicely as a Sacrifice focussed Commander when used alongside cards like Blood Artist, Mayhem Devil, and Zulaport Cutthroat.
Samut, Vizier of Naktamun
Hailing from Amonkhet, Samut rebelled against the cruel trials of the world, as depicted on the card Samut, Voice of Dissent. Her spark later ignited and she became a Planeswalker, Samut, the Tested, in Hour of Devastation. Her new card in March of the Machine: Aftermath reveals both that she has been desparked and that she has gone from a rebel to a government official as she is now Samut, Vizier of Naktamun.
Samut, Vizier of Naktamun is a Gruul 3 mana, 2/3 with first strike, vigilance, and haste. Whenever a creature, owned by Samut’s controller deals combat damage to another play on the turn it entered play then Samut’s controller gets to draw a card.
This card is highly comparable to Goro-Goro and Satoru, one of the March of the Machine Commanders available only in Prerelease kits. Like Goro-Goro and Satoru this card rewards you for attacking with Creatures on the turn they enter play. This card trades Blue and Black for Green. This means that it loses out on many of the Ninjutsu synergies that Goro-Goro and Satoru provide (though, for players looking to be sneaky, there are exactly three Green cards with Ninjutsu). In exchange, however, Samut gains access to Green which has a wide selection of powerful Hasty creatures like Ulvenwald Oddity, Questing Beast, and, of course, Craterhoof Behemoth.
Red/Green also provides access to Rhythm of the Wilds which gives every Creature in the deck without haste access to hfaste and every hasty Creature in the deck the ability to gain a +1/+1 counter as it enters play.
Overall, the new Samut seems like a reasonably fun Gruul Aggro Commander.
Pia Nalaar, Consul of RevivalPia Nalaar, is Chandra’s mother and a Kaladeshi revolutionary. Like Samut, she seems to have gone from being a rebel to working in the government, as she is now Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival. The new Pia is a two mana Boros commander that grants all Thopters haste and generates 1/1 flying Thopter tokens whenever a card is played from exile.
Commanders that care about casting cards from exile are a relatively new concept, but they are also typically both powerful and widely played. According to EDHREC, Prosper, Tome-Bound is currently the most popular Rakdos Commander in the game. Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald is also a highly popular Gruul Commander that casts cards from exile.
Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival shifts this strategy into Boros. Red can be used to provide the majority of the exile effects that these strategies rely upon, using cards like Outpost Siege and Wrenn’s Resolve. White meanwhile offers a variety of effects that buff the Thopters that Pia creates such as Tempered Steel and Master Trinketeer.
Tazri, Stalwart Survivor
Tazri is a Zendikari general who debuted in Oath of the Gatewatch. Both of Tazri’s previous printings (General Tazri and Tazri, Beacon of Unity) are White cards with five-color activated abilities that enable them to be used as five-color Commanders. The new Tazri continues this pattern.
For two and a White, Tazri is a 3/3 Human Warrior. Tazri encourages players to build a five color deck where they jam together as many creatures with activated abilities as they can. Tazri has an activated ability allowing her to be tapped down for the cost of WUBRG mana in order to mill five cards and then put all creatures milled this way with activated abilities into her controller’s hand. She also grants turns all Creatures with activated abilities into mana dorks that can be tapped down to generate one mana of a color in their identity.
As a reminder, activated abilities are (as their name would imply) abilities that are activated by paying a cost, typically tapping the creature down, paying mana, or sacrificing a Permanent.
The new Tazri synergizes very well with the Training Ground reprint in March of the Machine: The Aftermath which makes using activated abilities cheaper. Beyond this, the pool of cards you could include in a Tazri, Stalwart Survivor deck is absolutely huge. You could run anything from Savageborn Hydra to Hell’s Caretaker. The deckbuilding possibilities here are practically endless.
The new cards leaked from March of the Machine: The Aftermath currently all seem pretty exciting. Although these leaks appear very real and the packaging they are contained in matches up with the official packaging advertised by Wizards of the Coast there is no absolute guarantee that these cards are genuine. In the event that these cards are all fake, this is an exceedingly thorough prank. In the event that they are, then this is the latest in a series of regularly occurring leaks that have grown increasingly prevalent in recent years.