March of the Machine Set Review - Pauper EDH

Marauding Dreadship by Tiffany Turrill

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

What's Paup-ing?

Ever feeling tired of all those overpowered mythics and rares? Seen too many games stomped by a Korvold, Fae-Cursed King? Sick of waiting half an hour for the Sythis, Harvest's Hand player to count out their triggers? Done with losing on turn three to Thassa's Oracle? Well, there's a format right here to save you from those woes, and it's called Pauper, or in our case, Pauper EDH. Uncommon legendaries as your commanders, and the rest of the 99 is nothing but commons. For when you want to power down your playstyle, or just spare your wallet, Pauper is here. But of course, when you're down in power level, the challenge is to power up! So that's why we're looking at the best new commons from March of the Machine!


Phyrexian Pegasus

Pegasus Courser got compleated! Aside from its power and toughness being balanced, it's a reprint. I'm kind of glad of it, though. Frankly, I always though Pegasus Courser was a little underrated. If you can rely on flying as a decent means of evasion, then Phyrexian Pegasus can make a creature unblockable every turn. If the flying horse isn't blocked, whatever's riding it won't be either, and there's no shortage of commanders that want to connect with a player. Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh, Commander Liara Portyr, Cadira, Caller of the Small, and many more want to be attacking, yet they never seem to be running the evasion they need. Pegasus Courser and its compleated brother are cheap and efficient. Give them a shot!

Enduring Bondwarden

Here's an interesting card. I can't help but think of it as a mini Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, a card I've had a lot of fun with. Combine it with some counter-multipliers, like Hardened Scales or Doubling Season, and you'll create counters out of nowhere when a creature dies. Counters that will add up fast. Or maybe we combine it with a card like Servant of the Scale and spread those counters to two creatures. Trust me, there's no shortage of interesting things you can do with Enduring Bondwarden. Even if it's not the best card in your deck, I promise it'll be fun. My only gripe for this, and a lot of other backup cards, however, is that it doesn't have flash. But I don't think that ruins the deal. I'll be testing it as a backup of Reyhan in my decks, and I hope y'all try it yourselves. 


Saiba Cryptomancer

I'm glad we got some new Moonfolk with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and March of the Machine, but I have to say, I'm disappointed that Wizards did away with their land synergies. I guess they thought that land didn't fit within blue's slice of the color pie, but honestly, I think it would have created a lot more innovation in the lands theme. Instead, we just got more support for artifacts. 

At least Saiba Cryptomancer isn't an artifact card. Instead, it's a two-mana way to protect your creatures from targeted removal. Blue has a few ways to give creatures hexproof in a similar fashion, but that isn't this card's main problem. The problem is Counterspell. Our Cryptomancer essentially says "Counter target spell that targets a creature you control." Counterspell says, "Counter whatever the heck you want." Maybe you have some +1/+1 counter synergies, enter-the-battlefield synergies, or just want a 0/1 blocker. It could be worth it in some corner cases, but otherwise, just play Counterspell, or at the least, You See a Guard Approach.

Moment of Truth

Moment of Truth looks fairly interesting at first. Two mana, you get one card into your hand, one into your graveyard, and one to the bottom of your library. I like the design, and I suppose it's fairly interesting.  The main thing here is the graveyard synergies. If your deck's built right, the card might as well say draw two. That's good and all, but...

Here's an incomplete list of every card I would play before I play Moment of Truth. 

This could go on for quite a while longer. Play what you pull, but otherwise, find something else.


Mirrodin Avenged

Another functional reprint, this time of You Are Already Dead, from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. This a crazy efficient removal spell, costing only a single mana, and drawing you a card. That's a better rate than Feed the Swarm, Assassin's Trophy, and Damn.

Except there's a downside. The creature can only be destroyed if it was dealt damage this turn. When evaluating cards like this, you have to put it in a best case scenario, or ignore it entirely. In this case, we're looking for a deck that deals small points of damage to creatures. For Tor Wauki the Younger, this card is a slam dunk. If you've cast one instant or sorcery already on this turn, you can destroy any creature you want, and you'll get another two damage. Running cards like Prodigal Sorcerer? Mirrodin Avenged is an easy inclusion. These cards are either unplayable or a staple for a strategy. Putting them in the right place can make them go a long way.

Dreg Recycler

Just a tap, and you can sacrifice any artifact or creature to get a one point drain. Black's not short on ways to sacrifice creatures, but it is a bit more limited on ways to sacrifice artifacts. If you're looking to sacrifice a ton at once, run Defiant Salvager. But if you're going a bit slower, and have some use for the lifegain, check this card out. Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim is already taking advantage of small lifegain triggers and creature deaths. Agent of the Iron Throne already wants to drain when artifacts and creatures are sacrificed. This is a card to include if you can take advantage of all its parts. 

Ichor Drinker

This card wants to be played early, get in for some lifegain, then be sacrificed. From there, it can be resummoned and die again. Nested Shambler sees play because it can be sacrificed twice. This card is significantly worse, costing three to get the second creature, but the lifelink can be relevant in some cases. And let's not forget, the fact that it comes in as an artifact means it can trigger a Reckless Fireweaver.

Bladed Battle-Fan

Black already has a significant amount of ways to protect its creatures, with quite a few effects doing the exact same thing as Bladed Battle-Fan. Armor of Shadows, Azra Smokeshaper, Rush of Vitality, the list goes on. Sure, this is better if you have Equipment synergies, or if you can blink it, but if you're playing either of those strategies, you have white to work with. And white can give creatures indestructible far better than this weaponized fashion statement. Outclassed everywhere.

Corrupted Conviction

Yet another functional reprint. This is just a replica of Village Rites, and that's not a bad thing. If you were playing that card, you'll probably want a second copy. Triggering Minthara, Merciless Soul? Check. Making money from Mahadi, Emporium Master? Check. There's no lack of places you would want both cards. 


Marauding Dreadship

Vehicles are notable for providing means to tap creatures without sending them into combat. Perfect for commanders like Saint Traft and Rem Karolus, or Magda, Brazen Outlaw, any Vehicle will enable their abilities without the need to risk them in combat. Unfortunately, Radha, Coalition Warlord is the only uncommon legend to have this ability, but that doesn't mean there aren't uses for it within the 99. Spireside Infiltrator, Scaretiller, and Judge of Currents love this card. 

If you are looking to swing in, however, Marauding Dreadship isn't a bad rate. With its haste, swinging for 4 on turn three is decent. And of course, the new mechanic, Incubate, will trigger any artifact ETB card twice. Decks running Reckless Fireweaver and Ingenious Artillerist will take it, not to mention the extra 2/2 whenever you have two spare mana floating. This card deserves a spot in plenty of decks.

But really, it's worth looking at just for the cool art alone. 

Wrenn's Resolve

We're not short of effects similar to Wrenn's Resolve, even in Pauper. It's an alternate reprint of Reckless Impulse, and it imitates Blazing Crescendo, Goblin Researcher, and Tavern Brawler. These effects are perfect for commanders that want to cast multiple spells in a turn, want to cast instants or sorceries, or are simply looking for card advantage. There's not really a specific deck for Wrenn's Resolve, but rather a large group of them that could use the extra cards. If you're playing Reckless Impulse, then you might as well play this card.

War-Trained Slasher

Unfortunately, just like planeswalkers, battles simply haven't been printed at common, so this card's completely unplayable in Pauper. In standard EDH decks, however, should you find yourself playing with a large amount of the battles, this card might be a staple. The highest defense a battle's been printed with so far is 7, so a hit from this Wolverine Dinosaur will take it out easily. And chances are, it will connect, thanks to menace. Your defending opponent has the choice to either lose two creatures, or simply let the battle fall. In a deck full of battles, run this card. It's an efficient way to reliably flip the fights. 

Akki Scrapchomper

This is a decent means of sacrificing artifacts. Once a turn, it turns any of your artifacts into a Clue token, allowing you to draw a card after sacrificing it. There's plenty of synergies for the little Goblin, anything that likes artifacts and sacrificing. Juri, Master of the Revue comes to mind as a Pauper commander. Problem is, if you just want to be sacrificing artifacts, you can do better. The original Atog, Defiant Salvager, and Krark-Clan Grunt all sacrifice artifacts for free, and as many times as you want. If you want to draw cards, well... you're playing artifacts. You'll be fine. (Think Ichor Wellspring). It's a fine card, but there's countless strictly better alternatives. 

Beamtown Beatstick

Beamtown Beatstick seems to be a pretty simple replica of Goldvein Pick and Prying Blade, but there's actually a few improvements. Firstly, it can hit battles. Instantly better in a deck running even a single one of those cards. More importantly, however, it grants menace, which in my opinion is one of the better evasive mechanics. Sure, if you're up against a token deck, it'll be irrelevant, but most often, decks will only keep a single creature on the battlefield, or if they have more, those will be important enough for them not to block, rather than sacrifice two creatures. Just with the menace, I'd estimate that the equipped creature will get through at least 50% more of the time than Goldvein Pick. It costs one extra to equip, which is a bit annoying, but if I can, I'm still going to run this over its alternatives. Any Voltron deck, any Treasure deck, any combat deck, and any deck running Prying Blade should give it a shot. 

Hangar Scrounger

This is our first example of a creature with backup. The mechanic has a lot of potential for some interesting interactions. Adding abilities to other creatures that were never meant to have those lines of text can often be broken. There's already a combo with Voldaren Thrillseeker, one-shotting players in Standard. Hangar Scrounger turns any creature into a Reckless Racer, allowing you to discard a card to draw another, whenever it becomes tapped. The fact that it's a Pilot from Kaladesh makes the Vehicle synergies obvious, but it'd be a good source of value anywhere that has creatures tapping. Whether it's by attacking, or by turning your mana dorks sideways, you're going to get a bit of value. Certainly worth trying out in a few places. 


Bonded Herdbeast

The Phyrexian mana flip cards were incredibly cool in flavor, all representing a creature that's been corrupted by the Phyrexian oil. Despite the brutal completion of this herdbeast, the fact that it's bonder is completed along with it makes this card feel rather wholesome. As a Magic card, it's pretty uninteresting, as a 4/5 that gets a two-point boost in power for four mana. But we can't forget that Wizards has to make some bad cards, and with the flip mechanic, it's at least interesting to see.

Overgrown Pest

It's kind of a flavor fail that this card doesn't gain you two life when it dies, or any life at all, for that matter, but it has a few interesting things that make it worth playing. When it enters the battlefield, you get of a limited land grab ability. For three mana, that's fine, but not particularly notable. What is interesting though, is the fact that you can get a double-faced card instead. Werewolf decks, say hello. Well, not really. It's still not a great card. But it is cool that Wizards is making double-faced cards into a theme, and very soon, we might have some good cards that work with Werewolves and friends.

The Machine Marches Past!

I can't say that March of the Machine was the greatest set for Pauper. We got a few relevant reprints, but unfortunately, not a single uncommon legend. Of course when it seems like our resources are bleak, it just means we've got to dig deeper. I'll be testing out these cards myself, and see what sticks. Though on the surface, March of the Machine seems lackluster, I think there will be a few hidden gems, like in every single set. So what do you think? Is Phyrexian Pegasus a good means of evasion? What would you have liked to see from the Moonfolk? Do you play Pauper at all? Let me know down below!

Alejandro Fuentes's a nerd from Austin Texas who likes building the most unreasonable decks possible, then optimizing them till they're actually good. In his free time, he's either trying to fit complex time signatures into death metal epics, or writing fantasy novels.