Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck Review

With the impending release of the latest Magic: The Gathering set March of the Machine, we got a chance to take an early look at two of the #Commander decks releasing April 21. Do you think these decks have some heat to them?

Published: April 6, 2023 5:29 PM /

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An image of two of the new Magic: the Gathering March of the Machine Commander decks

The battle for the very heart and soul of the multiverse comes to its thrilling conclusion with the newest Magic: The Gathering set, March of the Machine. Elesh Norn and her Phyrexian armada are spreading their reach, and heroes and villains from across many different planes must band together to fight off the invasion. With a story that started last year with the set Dominaria United, we're now seeing the fateful conclusion in March of the Machine.

Whether you're looking for an overall intro to Magic: The Gathering, learn the difference between Magic: The Gathering rarity types, or just want to see some of the best cards we pulled from the previous MTG set, we've got you covered. But with this article, I got the chance to take a sneak peek at two of the new Commander decks releasing concurrently with all of the other March of the Machine products and packs. So follow along with us as we check out the new Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Decks before they hit shelves on April 21.

What's Included In Each Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck?

Each Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck contains a fully built out and ready to play deck consisting of 100 cards. This includes one Commander card, one "display" version of the Commander card (foil on slightly thicker card stock), single copies of synergistic cards within your Commander's colors, and all the basic lands you need (along with an assortment of tokens).

An image of the contents of Tinker Time, a Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck
All contents from the Magic The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck Tinker Time

Each deck also includes a deckbox, punch-out counters, a sample "collector's booster" pack (which contains two special randomized foil cards), and the return of large Planechase cards.

Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck - Tinker Time

First up, let's check out the Blue, Red, Green Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck, Tinker Time. This deck is led by the Commander Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy, who gives all Artifact Creatures you control trample. Along with this, at the beginning of your end step, you'll create a 0/0 red Gremlin artifact creature with X +1/+1 counters on it, where X is the number of differently named artifact tokens you control.

As is to be expected, our Commander gives us a clue as to what this deck wants to be doing - and in this case it's all about artifacts.

An image of Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy from Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck
Gimbal looks ready to whip up some artifacts for you!

From treasure tokens to food and thopters, so many of the cards in this deck synergise together to not only key off of Gimbal's abilities, but to interact in fun and inventive ways with each other. From card draw through cards like Thoughtcast to mana fixing through artifacts like Gruul Signet and the enchantment Weirding Wood, the nuts and bolts common and uncommon cards in this deck are always trying to either help you get artifact tokens onto the battlefield, or rewarding you for having artifacts.

For real muscle and support, the Rare and Mythic Rare cards in this deck amp up the artifact creation and reward even further. One of my favorite cards in the deck, for example, is Workshop Elders, which gives artifact creatures you control flying. In addition, at the beginning of combat on your turn, you may have target noncreature artifact you control become a 0/0 artifact creature. If you do, put four +1/+1 counters on it. That second benefit (not the flying) lasts indefinitely, turning those food tokens into powerful 4/4's. Then, of course, it wouldn't be a proper artifact deck without Master of Etherium, who's power and toughness are each equal to the number of artifacts you control, and other artifact creatures you control get +1/+1.

An image of Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck Tinker Time cards
Artifacts fuel the core strategy behind the Tinker Time Commander deck

As you can see from just these few examples, what the Tinker Time deck really wants to do is create as many tokens as possible of various forms, use them for their abilities (don't be precious about your treasure tokens), and overwhelm your opponents with a barrage of attacks.

Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck - Divine Convocation

Next we're taking a look at the White, Blue, Red Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck, Divine Convocation. For this deck, the Commander in charge is Kasla, The Broken Halo, who has convoke (Convoke: your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for {1} or one mana of that creature’s color.), flying, vigilance, haste, and the ability: Whenever you cast another spell that has convoke, scry 2, then draw a card.

An image of the mtg card Kasla, the Broken Halo from Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck
Kasla is ready to lead your choir of creatures in a Divine Convocation.

So clearly we want to be focused on getting lots of creatures out (especially creatures who themselves have convoke) to cheat out some big moves earlier than everyone else.

But where this deck really shines is in its ability to not only bring out plenty of creatures and creature tokens to fuel your convoke (through cards like Goblin Instigator and Battle Screech, which both produce creature tokens, but also reward you for creatures you'll be tapping outside of combat to fuel said convoke. To do this, commons like Goblin Medics (which deals 1 damage to any target whenever its tapped) and even Village Bell-Ringer (who has flash, and untaps all creatures you control when it enters the battlefield) will keep you from feeling like you're wasting all your creatures as, effectively, an alternate mana source.

The Rare and Mythic Rare cards in this deck also bring extreme heat to the scene, with Elspeth, Sun's Champion creating tons of soldier tokens for you while Wildfire Awakener (a new card released just for Commander with this deck) creates tokens that ping for damage each time they're tapped. Add to that cards like Emeria Angel, who has Landfall: Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may create a 1/1 white Bird creature token with flying, and you can start to see the shape of this deck come together. Played right, this convoke deck can quickly overwhelm your opponents (though keep an eye out for board-wipes, which could really set you back).

An image of key cards from Divine Convocation, a Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck
Convoke will both fuel this deck and wind up giving you extra benefits along the way as you tap and untap creatures

In a way, the core mechanics of what this deck wants to do aren't that dissimilar to Tinker Time - get lots of little units and resources out on the board fueling a larger plan, and gain additional benefits from those little assets to create an overarching (and overwhelming) plan of attack.

Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander - Planechase Returns!

We have to talk about perhaps the most exciting aspect of the new Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Decks - the return of Planechase. What's Planechase? Released originally in 2009, Planechase cards are large, horizontal, oversized cards that give a static effect to the state of the game board. To use Planechase cards, the first player flips a card from their Planechase deck, and planeswalks to that location. Each turn, players can roll the Planechase die during either of their main phases to see if they can move to a new location. Along with a symbol on these special dice triggering a planeswalk, there's also a chaos side of the die which causes a wild effect.

In these Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Decks, each deck comes with their own ten-card Planechase deck, with cards that, generally speaking, benefit that respective deck's strategy. You don't have to use Planechase cards to play with these decks, but if you want some truly wild, anything-can-happen moments in a less-serious game of Commander, they can add a lot of fun to the table.

An image of some planechase cards included in Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck
Can you guess which of the two decks these Planechase cards synergise with?

If you'd like to check out full decklists for both of these Commander decks, as well as decklists for the other decks releasing April 21, check out the official post from Wizards of the Coast.

Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Deck Final Thoughts

One of the things I like most about both of these decks is that, to be quite frank, they're not the easiest decks to pilot. But wait! This is a good thing! There are plenty of entry-level pre-constructed Commander decks out there that focus on doing one thing really well, and while both of these decks are routed in their respective core strategies (artifacts and convoke), there are many ways to win a game with them, and they reward clever thinking and strategic play.

And while there certainly are expensive upgrades you can make to either of these decks, they both feel strong, think-y, aggressive in their own ways, and will provide many, many games of Commander where you should feel fairly even-toed with everyone else at the table.

The Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Decks used in the creation of this review were provided by Wizards of the Coast.

Review Summary

We preview two of the upcoming Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Commander Decks hitting shelves April 21. Do they have what it takes to compete? (Review Policy)

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Giaco Furino joined the TechRaptor team as a Staff Writer in 2019 after searching for a dedicated place to write and talk about Tabletop Games. In 2020, he… More about Giaco

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