March of the Machine Constructed Set Review and Decklists: Red
Table of Contents
- Article List
- Chandra, Hope’s Beacon
- Invasion of Tarkir
- Rampaging Raptor
- Nahiri’s Warcrafting
- Invasion of Karsus
- Invasion of Kaldheim
- City on Fire
- Bloodfeather Phoenix
- Into the Fire
- Voldaren Thrillseeker
- Etali, Primal Conqueror
- Khenra Spellspear
- Lithomantic Barrage
- Invasion of Regatha
- Stoke the Flames
- Ral’s Reinforcements
- Volcanic Spite
Hello everyone! With the full spoiler for March of the Machine live, we can finally get into breaking down the cards with constructed applications!
Since I did individual card reviews already, rather than repeat myself, I’ll link the article, but still give the verdict and decklist if that’s what you’re more interested in. For this, I’m going to cover every Mythic, every Rare, and then choice uncommons and commons that have potential. Let’s get into it!
As always, here’s the scale I’ll be using to label the new cards that potentially have constructed applications.
- 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
- 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
- 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
- 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
- 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
- 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.
- Many Faces of Monastery Mentor With March of the Machine
- Seven Battle Decks With March of the Machine
- Eight Team Up Decks With March of the Machine
- Seven Praetor Decks With March of the Machine
- March of the Machine Constructed Set Review and Decklists: White
- March of the Machine Constructed Set Review and Decklists: Blue
- March of the Machine Constructed Set Review and Decklists: Black
- March of the Machine Constructed Set Review and Decklists: Red
- March of the Machine Constructed Set Review and Decklists: Green
- March of the Machine Constructed Set Review and Decklists: Multicolor and Colorless
An Urabrask that doesn’t suck? Be still my beating heart. This is an interesting take on Birgi, God of Storytelling, but instead of needing to combo with it, you still have a four mana 4/4 First Strike that pings with each spell and can flip into a solid saga if you need more to do with your mana. I don’t think that this is going to be format breaking, but this is definitely a solid card which should see play in at least a deck or two.
Chandra, Hope’s Beacon
Six mana planeswalkers have a pretty high bar to clear to be at all playable, but I think Chandra makes it. First off, having the passive be the effect on the five mana enchantment Double Vision is a very good start. Having the first plus ability add mana is quite good as well since it can give you a chance to protect it. Since it adds two mana of any color, you can play this, +2, and then double Go for the Throat! Not bad, eh? The second plus is solid as well digging you deep into your library to find a spell to use and copy with Chandra. Finally, you have the -X ability which can very often be a two for one implicitly which is pretty nice. At worst, this Chandra can be a six mana deal five to a creature/planeswalker and player, and considering that’s the floor, I’m pretty interested to see how this Chandra fares.
Invasion of Tarkir
A two mana deal two that can get value later would already be ok, but obviously on the weak side. However, if you build around this by playing a good amount of Dragons, this can get scary very quickly. This is the type of card that you expect would only deal damage to creatures and maybe planeswalkers and battles, but considering this can hit anything other than itself, you could very well go face if you wanted to. Then, if you’re able to win the battle, you get a Dragon that synergizes very hard with other dragons allowing you to Shock for each Dragon you attack with. Overall, while this will require some commitment to make playable, it’s definitely quite good if you’re willing to do so.
Sorcery speed Soul Sear isn’t great, but excess damage being converted into a potential card? Now that’s more enticing. I feel you will whiff on the card more often than not, but this is still quite good on rate and incredible if you can use the card it hits.
Invasion of Karsus
Realistically, I’m interested in this card for the universal deal 3, even though four mana is a little pricey to get that effect. However, if you find a good opportunity to flip it, you do get a reasonably strong creature as your reward. I can see this being good in more midrange red strategies, but I do fear that other cheaper options will win out over this. If 3 toughness becomes the Standard though, this is where I’ll be looking.
Invasion of Kaldheim
Initially I was extremely low on this card thinking this is some really slow midrange draw engine that wasn’t actually good, but thinking about it more, I think you clearly want to be playing this in a very low curve deck. If you can cast this on turn four, draw 3-4 cards, and then cast the majority of the exiled cards the next turn, that’s some pretty great value. All that said, this is a lot of work for what may end up being Concentrate in most cases, but considering you can win the battle too, I think this card has some utility.
City on Fire
The issue with expensive Convoke cards with big effects is that if you can cast this, you’re probably winning anyway. I like this card for Commander, but you may as well win the game rather than casting super clunky win more cards.
While not having Haste is kind of sad, an evasive two drop that can come back with a pretty easy to meet condition is definitely nice. While this may look a little weak, this is almost certainly better than Chandra's Phoenix which was a pretty beloved threat in Standard burn decks, so I don’t think this would be any different.
Into the Fire
It’s weird having Invasion of Karsus and this in the same set, but here we are! Dealing two damage to all non-players and a Valakut Awakening are both like 2.5 mana cards, and when you staple them together, you have a valuable modal card! This is nothing crazy, but definitely good for decks that aren’t looking to develop early.
Maybe there’s some cute synergy you can do with this and flinging a big creature is going to be cool, but I wouldn’t play four mana for a sorcery speed Fling that adds two damage, even if it comes with a 1/1.
Etali, Primal Conqueror
This and Displacer Kitten can potentially be a game winning combo if you keep hitting noncreature spells, and while this seems very potent in Commander, it’s much less exciting for Constructed. It’s a shame as a 7/7 that comes in and gets a free spell isn’t all that bad in theory, but that’s just not nearly good enough for Constructed anymore, especially since the odds are high that the spell you hit is super medium. If you’re looking to spend 7 mana, it should win you the game nearly on the spot like Atraxa, Grand Unifier does.
This generated a lot of buzz on social media as having two instances of Prowess on the flip side is very interesting. Personally, I do think that even the front half is not that bad, and if you have time to flip it to the back half, it could yield some really crazy kills out of nowhere. Big shame that this isn’t a Wizard, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this saw play in a Prowess deck.
A sorcery speed Rending Volley isn’t ideal, but one that can ping something normally and deal an additional damage is worth considering. The way I see it, unless you really need to deal 5 damage to something like a Narset, Parter of Veils or Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Rending Volley will always be better, but decks like Izzet Phoenix may need to do just that so I can see value there.
Invasion of Regatha
I feel like this is going to get swept under the rug, but a Flame Javelin to the face? That’s quite good! Maybe paying three mana for four damage to the dome is too fair in current Standard, but if you are looking to win quickly, this can help you do that. The irony of this card is that you’ll never want to go after the battle half, but if it somehow makes sense to, the Disciples of Inferno can kill absurdly quickly in conjunction with a few burn spells.
Stoke the Flames
I don’t think this is going to be as good as it was the first time around, but this card is still quite powerful. Being able to get four damage anywhere for cheap is really powerful for Red decks, and even decks that don’t go super wide would be pretty happy to play this if they’re low to the ground.
Two mana make two 1/1s is a perfectly fine rate no matter how it’s branded.
Strictly better Fire Prophecy is sick. Being able to hit Battles and Planeswalkers is a big deal, especially in older formats. While this isn’t going to break any strategy, it’s going to be a staple in most slower Red decks.
Red got a lot of goodies this time around and is looking to be the strongest color of the bunch.
Thank you for reading!
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