Since first debuting in 1993, it’s safe to say that Magic: the Gathering has changed a lot over the years. With new sets introducing cards, mechanics, and themes never seen before in the game, Magic is constantly evolving over time. Admittedly, some of the various changes that MTG has seen haven’t been the best received by the MTG players. Overall, however, change is a good thing and a necessity to ensure the continued health of the game.
In recent years, however, there have been complaints that MTG has seen a little too much change. With new products and innovations such as Universes Beyond, MTG has expanded in scope more than ever before. This has caused all manner of controversy, however, for better or worse, Wizards of the Coast isn’t slowing down. In fact, in 2023, MTG is set to be “changing forever,” a prospect that is understandably concerning to some.
Change Is Coming
Similarly to the Bolas Arc, the ongoing Phyrexian Arc threatens to shake up Magic’s multiverse in a big way. In the Bolas Arc, Nicol Bolas attempted to ascend to godhood to conquer all, and in the Phyrexian Arc, Elesh Norn is attempting to invade the multiverse. However, the difference between these storylines is that in the Phyerxian Arc, Elesh Norn appears to succeed. While it’s too early to tell exactly what’s going to happen, all signs are pointing toward Realmbreaker being activated. This is expected to cause untold devastation by forcibly merging planes into one another.
The events of this dramatic conclusion to the Phyrexian Arc are expected to play out in March of the Machine. That’s not all, however, as this pivotal story event is so impactful that there’s even a follow-up supplemental set. Known as March of the Machine: The Aftermath, this Standard-legal set is expected to tie up any remaining loose ends. Thanks to this unusual extra set, we know whatever happens in March of the Machine will be big. Due to Wizards playing their cards close to their chest, there’s no telling exactly what will happen. Because of this, MTG players have been constantly speculating about what might be on the horizon.
To try and learn more, MTG players have even been asking MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, for tidbits of information. Thankfully, while Mark Rosewater hasn’t revealed much, he has confirmed that March of the Machine isn’t just another story event. Instead, March of the Machine will have significant gameplay changes that contribute to Magic being “changed forever” in 2023. What these changes still remain unclear, but they’re only a few months away now.
Due to the mystery and impact of these upcoming changes, not all MTG payers are happy with what’s on the horizon. Voicing their concerns, some players, such as u/Crunchy_Lad have taken to Reddit to ask the community for their thoughts. “Anyone Else having trouble getting excited for Magic ‘changing forever’ in 2023,” u/Crunchy_Lad asked in their post before explaining their concerns.
“They keep teasing how MoM Aftermath is going to be huge changes for the game both mechanically and in the lore. With the path MTG has been headed down lately, I find it really difficult to be anything other than anxious that things will get worse. Like I can’t think of anything they’d announce that would get me excited. I’m just hoping the announcement isn’t actually a big deal, and that the game won’t change too much. What do people think it’s going to be?
Personally, my worry is that it’s going to be that they’re retiring one or more formats, or that universes Beyond is going to play a bigger role in the game going forward. Either of those might call into question my devotion to a game I’ve loved for over ten years.”u/Crunchy_Lad
Despite how much Wizards is hyping up their 2023 plans, not everyone was convinced the changes would be cataclysmic. Reddit user u/Baleful_Witness, for instance, suggested that Wizards and Mark Rosewater were playing up the significance of incoming changes. “I’m not expecting anything too drastic gameplaywise tbh. MaRo has a track record of getting excited about the most mundane things. Storywise we probably have more to win than to lose, so that’s nice.”
Similarly, many players presumed that Realmbreaker’s activation and the subsequent planar collisions were the only incoming change. “The last time this was brought up, people assumed it likely meant that the Phyrexian World Tree will allow for easier travel between planes even after they get defeated. That way, more non-Planeswalker characters can be a recurring part of the story,” u/IThatOneNinjaI stated. While planes merging together would certainly facilitate mechanical changes, it’s entirely possible that there’s more in store. Letting their imaginations run wild, several players even joked that MTG was about to pinch mechanics from Yu-Gi-Oh! “They gonna introduce Pendulum Summoning,” u/Regendorf suggested, for instance.
The Waiting Game
Unfortunately for excited players hoping to know the answer, details about what happens are currently incredibly few and far between. From March of the Machine’s box art, it appears that planes are definitely colliding, but beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Subsequently, MTG players will just have to wait until March of the Machine’s First Look Livestream. This should take place sometime in March of 2023. However, an exact date has not been confirmed just yet. Before that, however, it’s entirely possible that, like Phyrexia: All Will Be One, March of the Machine could suffer extensive leaks, revealing details early. Whether or not that is a good thing, however, is still up for debate.