In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, March of the Machine is an incredibly big deal. As, pretty much, the end of the Phyrexian Arc, this set has practically been hyped to the moon and back. With Wizards promising Magic will be changed forever during the set, it’s clear to see why players have been excited. Unfortunately, however, outside of the tantalizing debut of a new card type, Battle, many disappointing end of players have been left unsatisfied. This is thanks to the rather disappointing end to the MTG set’s story, which ruined a lot of established goodwill. Thankfully, however, following that crushing disappointment, Wizards of the Coast is promising the best is yet to come.
A Shocking Disappointment
Throughout the majority of March of the Machine’s story, MTG players were on the edge of their seats. Reading every episode with bated breath, Wizards delighted players with shocking reveals, plenty of lore, and gripping fight sequences. Alongside this, Wizards also integrated spoilers into story episodes, which received a rapturous response from players. Thanks to this, many MTG players were eagerly looking forward to the final episodes to see how the story played out. Unfortunately for these excited players, however, the finale ended up being quite the letdown.
Returning to Wizards’ old ways of storytelling, the final few episodes of March of the Machine’s story were incredibly rushed. Effectively knocking down all the dominoes that had been painstakingly set up, everything was over in a flash. Praetors were killed, Zhalfir and Angels returned to save the day, and Planeswalkers were even Un-compleated. Thanks to all this happening in such a short space of time, many MTG players were left seriously disappointed. To make matters worse, this disappointment had an extra sting this time around. After all, Wizards had purposefully allocated additional story resources to stop exactly this from happening.
Alongside complaining about the rushed storytelling, numerous MTG players lamented Wizards for not living up to the expectations they created. In the eyes of many players, the monumental changes to the multiverse that had been promised were nowhere to be found. While there were some casualties, the majority of the Phyrexian invasion was a dismal failure, with planes holding their ground. Subsequently, some players were left wondering if there were any meaningful consequences to the Phyrexian Arc. Thankfully for these disappointed players, it appears that, yes, there actually are major consequences. The catch, however, is that they’re not here yet.
Show Don’t Tell
After being on the receiving end of countless complaints from disappointed fans, Wizards of the Coast has recently been on the defensive. Rebutting the claims that the Phyrexian Arc was without consequence, Wizards has taken to reminding players it’s not over yet. This first started during a recent Livestream with MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater. In this Livestream, Rosewater stated that despite the Phyrexians having lost the war, there are still important and impactful consequences.
“One quick thing. One of the things I’ve been getting online right now is, now the story is ending, ‘oh, there doesn’t seem to be any consequences…’ There are giant consequences! There are a lot of consequences. Just because the Phyrexians get defeated doesn’t mean the impact of what happened doesn’t have huge impacts on Magic.”Mark Rosewater
While this statement did help to quell the concerns of some fans in attendance, it hardly stopped all the disappointed murmurings. Subsequently, Wizards of the Coast recently went out of their way to further combat the presumptions of fans. Releasing a video descriptively titled “#MTGMachine has Consequences for the Multiverse,” it’s clear Wizards aren’t being coy about their feelings. As you might expect, given its title, within this video, the MTG Story Lead, Roy Graham explained that, despite the views of fans, there really are consequences to the Phyrexian Arc.
“Phyrexians are one of Magic’s most iconic and, and terrifying villains, and if they could be dispatched without, you know, some serious sacrifices, some serious losses incurred, I felt like it would be, you know, defanging them. We saw, a lot of losses. We saw characters die, we saw, you know, Malila gives her life at the end of the finale. Tamiyo is obviously slain on Kamigawa by The Wanderer and Kaito. […] In some cases, if what you’re hoping to see is real lasting effects from this and changes to the multiverse that follow, and planes not quite ever looking the same again… Stay tuned.”Roy Graham
Despite the instance from Graham, however, MTG players weren’t entirely appeased by this declarative response from Wizards. Rebutting their claims, for instance, many MTG players highlighted how Wizards shouldn’t have to make a video like this. After all, if the consequences of the story were evident and not buried within flavor text, surely this video wouldn’t be necessary. Raising this poignant point were commenters such as Laurent Robitaille, who stated, “You know it’s bad when the company has to tell people there were consequences in MOM.”
“Like the consequences are relatively minor compared to how much the Phyrexians were built up. These supposed multiverse destroyers just rolled over and died on most planes they tried to conquer and on their home plane. Like seriously they lost New Phyrexia in chapters 8 and 9, which is really quick. As for the losses, no main character died and some of the deaths don’t really count as such. There are also the characters that are missing for plot convenience cough cough Jace cough cough.”Laurent Robitaille
The Aptly Named Aftermath
From the comments on Wizards video, it’s clear that many players aren’t happy to just be told there are consequences. Thankfully for these MTG players, as we alluded to before, the story isn’t over just yet. Arriving in just a few weeks on May 12th is the aptly named supplemental set, March of the Machine: The Aftermath. As the name suggests, this 50-card Standard-legal set will further and finally conclude the story of the Phyrexian Arc. This means that, hopefully, this set should be packed full of actual genuine consequences for players to enjoy. If the spoiler The Kenrith’s Royal Funeral is anything to go by, that’ll certainly be the case.
Thankfully, MTG players don’t just have to pin their hopes on what could be a theme set by a single spoiler. As, according to Mark Rosewater, at least, it appears there are still some major changes yet to come. Taking to Blogatog, Tumblr user Josh-the-human recently questioned Rosewater about the “big mechanical changes,” or lack thereof, in March of the Machine. Responding to this, Rosewater rather cryptically replied “Let’s talk after my preview article on March of the Machine: The Aftermath.” Announcing this would be released after their three-part series of Battle cards, it certainly seems like there’s more in store.
Taking a guess at what that might be, many MTG players suggested that Magic’s cast of Planeswalkers could be getting de-sparked. While this seems to be the case for some characters, judging by box art, it may not be universal. After all, it has been confirmed Quintorius has indeed had their spark ignite during March of the Machine. While technically not impossible, doing this only to reverse it in the next set is certainly a choice…
The Waiting Game
Ultimately, due to Wizards keeping their cards close to their chests, there’s no telling what March of the Machine: The Aftermath has in store. We certainly hope there will be a lot of consequences across cards and the few story chapters. Whether or not that happens, however, remains to be seen, as the story doesn’t start until May 1st. Until then, it’s unclear if March of the Machine: The Aftermath is getting its own First Look video. While this would help to prime players and LGS’, it may end up causing confusion among players otherwise focused on March of the Machine. Subsequently, it might be for the best that we’re left waiting for the true conclusion to the Phyrexian Arc.