March of the Machine has been quite an impactful set so far! From a unique array of Battle cards to a cool take on Praetors, this set has a lot to offer. We’ve written a few financial guides on what cards are worth the most, but we haven’t discussed which March of the Machine MTG cards stand to make the most significant impact on the Commander format. For reference, we will only be covering cards that appear in the primary set in this article. Cards that appear in Commander products are obviously created with that format in mind. Finding homes for those may not be as tricky as figuring out what singles Commander players should be interested in the most!
Ranking these cards in order was also quite tricky. While we’re pretty sure we know the best potential Commander card in the main set, many of the other cards have big payoffs with significant drawbacks. As a result, while we are pretty sure these 13 are the best Commander cards in the main March of the Machine set, the first 12 cards are unordered.
Drana and Linvala
Drana and Linvala is a fantastic Stax piece in the context of Commander. This card can shut down entire strategies depending on the nature of an opponent’s Commander and turn those into benefits for you. A lot of the time, Drana and Linvala will end up shutting down your opponent’s mana dorks and gaining those abilities for itself. Nothing quite feels like stealing the ability of a Bloom Tender! While I do not think this is the best Commander, it is a fantastic addition to any Commander deck that may have additional synergies with the card. It could even be a meta-dependent cEDH contender.
Read More: The Best Wilds of Eldraine Commander Cards
Sunfall is an extremely solid board wipe addition to Commander, a format where board wipes thrive. Sunfall has two key selling points beyond something like Wrath of God. First, all Creatures are exiled instead of destroyed, which helps remove Creatures with Indestructible. Second, and most important, you get left over with an Incubator token that can have quite a few counters on it.
Part of the natural downside of board wipes is that, by spending mana to remove all Creatures, including your own, your opponents get to rebuild their boards first. Sunfall helps mitigate this issue by leaving behind a potentially enormous token that can be transformed into a Creature at any time. This is an excellent catch-up mechanism for ramp and control decks in Standard and is a decent Commander card to boot.
Kroxa and Kunoros
Kroxa and Kuneros, unlike the last card we talked about, are very proficient as a Commander – to the point where some MTG players think that this could be a contender for cEDH as a Commander. Firstly, this card is part of a deadly two-card infinite combo. As long as you control an Altar of Dementia, triggering this creature’s ability is akin to ending the game – as long as you’ve built your deck correctly. We go over the combo here. Secondly, Kroxa and Kunoros is, simply, a powerful reanimation tool. Because the card can resurrect creatures on entry and attack, Kroxa and Kunoros can potentially create massive amounts of value – as long as you have enough cards to exile.
Invasion of Ikoria
There are very few cards in Magic that can double as both a tutor and a threat, but all of those cards tend to have an impact in the Commander format. Invasion of Ikoria allows you to search for any creature with a mana value of X or less and put it directly onto the battlefield. Past this point, the Battle also flips into a gigantic creature that can allow nonhuman creatures to assign combat damage as though they were not blocked!
One of the main combos players have picked up on using this card involves Vampire Hexmage. For just four mana, Invasion of Ikoria can search out the Vampire creature and use its ability to reduce the counters on the battle. This, essentially becomes a four-mana 8/8. While this is a powerful way to use the Battle, the card is still incredibly valuable as a tutor – helping you find exactly the right creature for the right situation.
Jin-Gitaxias requires a build-around approach, but the reward is incredibly outrageous. Building to make Jin-Gitaxias work is not too difficult either. All you need to do is maintain a seven-card hand so the card can meet its requirements to transform. Even outside of this, however, Jin-Gitaxias should easily be able to draw you a few cards, making it a potential engine.
Once Jin-Gitaxias flips, your opponents will likely throw everything they have at it in an attempt to destroy it. Even if the saga is dealt with before its conclusion, it will immediately net you (at minimum) seven cards and grant an unlimited hand size. This is incredible for a four-mana investment. The Cyclonic Rift and Omniscience effects are just as ridiculous, making this a game-ending threat if unanswered.
Etali, Primal Conqueror
If this Etali enters the battlefield unchallenged, game-ending things will generally follow. Etali synergizes disgustingly well with blink effects and has a two-card almost infinite with Displacer Kitten, allowing you to cast your opponent’s entire library!
If all of these things weren’t enough, Etali can flip itself into a slightly worse Blightsteel Colossus. To summarize, Etali will enter as a threat, offer four more spells at no cost, then transform into a game-ending existence. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me!
Invasion of Shandalar
Invasion of Shandalar takes your Commander game to value town! Invasion of Shandalar offers you three of the best permanent cards in your graveyard for just five mana. Don’t worry if playing those cards is too much of a hassle. This card flips into Leyline Surge, an absolutely ridiculous enchantment that lets you cheat in a permanent at the beginning of your turn!
The Praetor cards are kind of weird in Commander. Urabrask is fantastic, but you need to build around it. Jin-Gitaxias is similar. The creature side is strong in many different strategies, but decks dedicated to flipping the Praetor need to be drawing many cards. Elesh Norn is absolutely bonkers but is much more efficient in a constructed format. Sheoldred is decent enough in Commander but can be surprisingly difficult to flip in certain pods. Vorinclex is exactly what casual Commander is all about. Find a decent payoff that, while scaring off attacking players, finds you resources to keep building your strategy. Once you have eight mana, Vorinclex transforms into a saga with three devastating phases that demands an answer immediately.
Chandra, Hope’s Beacon
As a Planeswalker, Chandra is ok. However, the card’s static ability really puts Chandra over-the-top in Commander. Being able to copy and instant or Sorcery every turn, especially combined with the other things that Chandra offers, takes the card from ‘just ok’ to very good in a deck that wants Chandra’s static ability. You don’t have to worry about running out of things to copy either since Chandra can exile the top five cards of your library to assist in finding things to cast. If you don’t have a great way to utilize the static, however, Chandra probably isn’t for you.
Invasion of Fiora
Invasion of Fiora is a tricky card to properly assess at first glance. The card excels in a ‘Legends matter’ setting as a board wipe but can also work in a regular Mono-Black deck. If built around, this card can quickly become a one-sided board wipe which, as has been proven by Cyclonic Rift, is very powerful in Commander.
Once you wipe the board and, hopefully, have some creatures left over, you can assign an opponent to defend your Siege. Generally, you should be able to take the Siege down the same turn you activate it, which flips the Battle into an absolute monstrosity.
Marchesa, Resolute Monarch is much more powerful in a constructed game than in Commander, but that doesn’t keep it from being a terrifying existence. The card forces your opponents, who usually just suffered a board wipe, to try and push damage your way – lest you get an extra card when your turn starts. Most importantly, Marchesa is a unique removal piece which, aside from decimating your local Superfriends player, can immediately flip other Battle cards you may be playing!
Read More: Top 11 Best MTG Artifact Cards
Invasion of Alara
Invasion of Alara has a pretty prohibitive mana value, but it’s capable of doing absolutely everything. For WUBRG, Invasion of Alara enters the battlefield and allows you to exile cards until you grab two non-land cards with a four or less mana value. You get to cast one of those for free. Considering the mana value, this is a little underwhelming, but the Battle’s flipside is where things start getting serious.
It is straightforward to win a game of Commander after this effect resolves. Awaken the Maelstrom immediately draws two cards, allows you to cheat an artifact into play, create a copy of said artifact (or another permanent you control, buff your board a little bit, and remove the most threatening permanent on the battlefield. This is very capable of swinging a board state, and, while it needs a little build-around to have maximum impact, it is, without a doubt, a powerful card in a casual Commander setting.
Sword of Once and Future
Sword of Once and Future is not the best sword in the Commander format, but it will definitely see some play – like almost all of the swords do. Like all of the swords, Sword of Once and Future grants protection to two colors on the equipped creature – in this case, Blue and Black. These colors are much more important in competitive play, depending on the metagame.
What’s more important in Commander, however, are the payoffs that the Sword grants when the equipped creature successfully deals combat damage. Sword of Feast and Famine is widely considered the best Sword in the Commander format because it untaps all your lands whenever the equipped creature deals combat damage. This is fantastic in a long game where players are forced to play a ton of card advantage to keep up.
Sword of Once and Future’s payoffs are probably, around the average efficiency of the Swords. You get to Surveil two, which can synergize well with graveyard decks and cast an Instant or Sorcery spell from your graveyard with mana value two or less. This can turn into card advantage, especially when combined with the Surveil effect, but the Sword needs to be built around and does not offer a huge amount of value. Honestly, this might be the weakest card on this list.
#1 Faerie Mastermind
Yuta Takahashi’s World Championship card looks to be an absolute menace in both constructed and Commander. Faerie Mastermind gives some Ledger Shredder vibes, but it cares about each player’s second drawn card instead of each player’s second spell cast.
Faerie Mastermind is a cheap threat that threatens to replace itself with ease. Because the card has Flash, players can wait to cast the creature in response to an opponent’s attempt to draw an extra card. It comes down as early as turn two and can synergize incredibly well with many popular Commander staples like Windfall, other wheel effects, and group hug abilities like Howling Mine and Fevered Visions. Suddenly, your opponent having an early Rhystic Study or Mystic Remora isn’t so bad – since you’ll be drawing too!
Faerie Mastermind draws an unsettling amount of cards, especially when synergized with. Even in a vacuum, activating Faerie Mastermind’s ability twice rewards you five cards! This is because two activations in the same turn will force your opponents to draw two cards each, triggering the faerie three times! That said, Commander games tend to go for a long time, and players need to draw cards to keep up, so you shouldn’t need to go out of the way to trigger this. Faerie Mastermind could even see play at a cEDH!