March of the Machine Set Review - Artifacts & Lands

Travis Stanley • April 13, 2023

(Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree | Kekai Kotaki)

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts/Lands | Gold I | Gold II | Reprints | cEDH | Battles | Pauper

March of the (lack of?) Machine

The Phyrexians have mobilized across the multiverse and are invading every plane, spreading their oil and corrupting the denizens of any and all biomes they contact. What tools do the heroes (and villains) have at their disposal? Let's take a look at all of the artifacts that are coming out with March of the Machines!


Invasion of Ravnica//Guildpact Paragon

The only colorless battle, Invasion of Ravnica//Guildpact Paragon is a five-mana removal spell used for anything this isn't two-colored, which is a very specific (but also broad?) removal spectrum, though it is nice that it can target any nonland permanent. Cards like Blightsteel Colossus, Smothering Tithe, Urza, Lord High Artificer, and many other problematic cards that fit the criteria can be answered with this battle, which gives it nice flexibility. Unfortunately, it has to be cast at sorcery speed (barring any Leyline of Anticipation shenanigans), so hopefully the threat that you want to answer can wait to be answered until it gets back to your turn. When the battle is finally over, it flips into Guildpact Paragon. This artifact creature lets you dig six deep to find a two-colored spell when you cast any other two-colored spell, which makes this a very good inclusion in Niv-Mizzet Reborn decks and in any decks that specifically care about two-coloured spells, or decks that play a large majority of them.

As this review is being written before we've really seen how battles play in Commander, it's tough to say whether or not four damage is too much or too little. Blink/flicker decks, like Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Brago, King Eternal, and Yorion, Sky Nomad, could reuse the enter-the-battlefield trigger of this battle, making it a fairly useful repeatable removal spell.

Sword of Once and Future

We finally have it, the last Sword in the cycle! Sword of Once and Future, like all "Sword of blank and blank"s before it, is a three-mana Equipment with an equip cost of two. Granting protection from black and blue, this Sword also has abilities reminiscent of those two colors that activate when the equipped creature deals combat damage to a player. First, you Surveil 2, and after you've decided the fate of those cards, the Sword then allows you to cast an instant or sorcery from your graveyard that costs two mana or less for free! Essentially this is a Mission Briefing on a stick Sword! The only "downside" is that you are relegated to only casting spells two mana or less, but you still get to cast them for free! There are so many powerful spells in that category, like Assassin's Trophy, Vampiric Tutor, Wheel of Fate, Ancestral Vision, honestly I could keep going. That ability combined with protection from the two colors that have some of the most removal in the game is what makes this Sword absolutely incredible. Spellslinger commanders, like Kalamax, the Stormsire, Kykar, Wind's Fury, and Talrand, Sky Summoner, would make great use of this sword. It is a little unfortunate that the spell is cast after combat damage, as commanders like Balmor, Battlemage Captain, Ovika, Enigma Goliath, and Adeliz, the Cinder Wind could really use that casting trigger, though if you give them double strike, that Sword becomes a whole lot more potent.


Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree

Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree absolutely just oozes flavor, and of course, phyrexian oil. It's first ability to mill an opponent for three cards and allowing you to steal a land from their graveyard is a great way to help you fix your own mana, or in the best case scenario, ramp ahead. Realmbreaker being three mana means that everyone has had a few turns to presumably ramp or crack fetchlands, like Evolving Wilds, Fabled Passage, Flooded Strand, or Bloodstained Mire and their ilk, giving you some juicy targets with the Invasion Tree. Not to mention, maybe you mill from their library a Gaea's Cradle or a Phyrexian Tower or other very powerful lands that you now have and they don't, and if they get destroyed they never will. Having access to more lands is just a bonus for decks that care about lands, like The Gitrog Monster, Tatyova, Benthic Druid, and Omnath, Locus of Creation. An interesting place for Realmbreaker would be in Archelos, Lagoon Mystic, as he would allow you to use the lands you stole right away.

The second ability of Realmbreaker requires ten mana to grab all Praetors out of your deck and slam them onto the battlefield, which by itself is still fairly good, as long as you're playing multiple Praetors, though with cards like Arcane Adaptation, Conspiracy, or the "creature types matters" all-star that is Maskwood Nexus, that last ability reads "Grab all the creatures in your deck and put them on the battlefield", which for ten mana I would say is a steal. Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree is a card I don't think people should sleep on, or under for that matter.

Bitterthorn, Nissa's Animus

When Nissa got compleated in the story, my heart shattered, as she is my favorite planeswalker/character in all of Magic: the Gathering. It's only fitting though that the Living weapon she would create would be a copy of her own Sword of the Animist. In exchange for one more mana and one more to the equip cost we get a Living weapon version of the animist's sword. If the opponent doesn't deal with the Germ token right away, that means you can get at least one attack in and get that sweet, sweet value. Landfall decks, like Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait, Omnath, Locus of Rage, and Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor, would very much appreciate another way to get lands onto the battlefield. Another benefit, like the sword, is that Bitterthorn is colorless so can slot into any deck, providing a way for that deck to ramp and keep up (or get ahead) with the table. Bottom line, if you are running Sword of the Animist, you should also be running Bitterthorn, Nissa's Animus.

Ichor Elixir

Another card that has it's best application in Planechase, like Fractured Powerstone, Ichor Elixir will find its way only in a limited number of decks. Since Ichor Elixir allows you to roll more die, Wyll, Blade of Frontiers and The Space Family Goblinson are commanders that care about rolling dice, so if you know your next game might be a Planechase game, this card becomes very useful. Other than that, this functions just as a Sisay's Ring, which if you like and want to play, Ichor Elixir is strictly the better card to have sitting in your deck.

Uncommons & Commons

Flywheel Racer

Have you ever wanted to turn any creature with power one or more into a grounded Birds of Paradise? Now you can! Sort of. Flywheel Racer gives you a Vehicle that costs two mana, is a 3/2 with vigilance that can then tap for mana after it becomes a creature. That's a lot of steps to get a mana dork that taps for any color, but sometimes that's what you need in a multicolor Limited format, though is that what we need for Commander? Probably not.

Phyrexian Archivist

This Phyrexian robot has a solid 4/5 body with a great blocking ability in reach, but it's six mana to cast. Phyrexian Archivist will see play in Limited as a great body on the ground that offers an ability in the late game to put back cards from your graveyard into your deck to reuse them. In Commander, though, it's combat prowess will not be it's main selling feature, it's that ability. Instant-speed targeted graveyard "hate" allows you to stop people from reanimating specific cards.

Urn of Godfire

Urn of Godfire seems like it was built for limited, as this is a multicolor limited format and having more ways to fix your mana is better for an optimal play experience. Outside of Limited, though, Urn of Godfire could see play in budget artifact storm brews, like Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, or Elsha of the Infinite as being one mana makes it very easy to discount and make free. Another upside this common has is the ability to destroy a creature or enchantment for six mana, which is like an Unstable Obelisk, only less mana and fewer available targets.

Seems that the Phyrexian War Machine didn't quite have the number of "machines" I was expecting. Regardless, I'm still excited to play with these new artifact toys, especially Sword of Once and Future, and see how many lands I can steal with Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree. Which artifact are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below, and if you haven't already, go and check out the other reviews here and over on EDHREC!