MTG Arena Zone Premium
Join our Premium community, remove all advertisements, get access to exclusive content!
MTG Arena Zone Premium
Join our Premium community, remove all advertisements, get access to exclusive content!
Mirrodin Avenged Art from March of the Machine by Scott Murphy

March of the Machine Limited Set Review: Black

J2SJosh reviews and rates every Black March of the Machine card for limited!

Hey everyone! The full March of the Machine card list has dropped and that means it’s time to see what MOM has been cooking up. I was going to try to twist MOM and Maro together there, but even I thought better of stooping that low. Wait, you actually want a terrible joke? Then who am I to deny such a request. This set is ready to battle more than a teenager whose MOM just grounded them. Even DAD would be embarrassed of that one.

Seriously though, it looks like a really fun set with lots of flashbacks to fan favorite scenarios. Plus, you can smash someone in the face with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and when has that ever gone wrong.

Here’s the usual grading scale:

Aetherblade Agent // Gitaxian Mindstinger

Rating: 3.0/5

Cheap creatures with deathtouch are wonderful blockers, but don’t carry as much weight when you’re the beatdown. This gets around that by turning into a must block Hill Giant that’s just begging to crush someone who attempts to multiblock it.  

Per usual, bite cards like Cosmic Hunger and Tandem Takedownare very good with deathtouch.

Archpriest of Shadows

Rating: 4.0/5

Deathtouch means that it will never be bricked by a bigger creature(besides indestructible tricks etc), but the ability means they can’t just take four. Even if you don’t have any creatures in the graveyard, you can still mill or sacrifice something before damage to thump it into play.

Dropping the counter on an evasive creature will usually result in you getting another creature back right away. A lot of profit available from a single card.

Ayara, Widow of the Realm // Ayara, Furnace Queen

Rating: 4.0/5

The ability is useable at instant speed so you can use it in response to removal or to toss a chump blocker at their face. They do have to deal with this quickly because that damage adds up fast.

Once she transforms, she starts bringing back all of those sacrifices and what other dregs you have floating around in the yard to charge head first at your opponent in her honor.  

Bladed Battle-Fan

Rating: 2.5/5

Remember week one of SNC when everyone got wrecked by Quick-Draw Dagger because they had PTSD from getting ninja’d in NEO? Good times. I see a repeat with this being significantly better early on when people don’t play around it.

This actually has a lot more going for it because you can use that indestructible to shake off a removal spell. It’s also only two mana which is a lot easier to slip into your curve than three.

Blightreaper Thallid // Blightsower Thallid

Rating: 3.0/5

All of these cheap cards that transform into something better are looking great. They make it easy to not fall behind early while offering something still relevant later on. In this case, it can end up with 5/5 worth of stats across three bodies. Not bad at all.

Bloated Processor

Rating: 4.0/5

They don’t look too bloated now, but I’m sure that’ll change after they’ve spent some time at the Phyrexian buffet. A nice sacrifice dumpster to toss any of your soon to be dead Phyrexians into as well as a great threat of activation for combat.

Even if you somehow don’t have any other Phyrexians, a creature that essentially dies into an equal powered creature is still big game at this price.

Breach the Multiverse

Rating: 2.5/5

My first instinct is to call this a casual constructed card, but getting the best creature (or sometimes Planeswalker) out of each graveyard can be back breaking. The mill ten means that you can fire this off even if both graveyards are empty. If you are both low on cards, they hit their drawstep first so it could even outright win a game through decking.  

All that said, it is still a seven-mana spell that will be sitting in your hand for quite a while. Black has enough removal and durdle cards to get you there though.

Collective Nightmare

Rating: 3.5/5

I like my removal to be as efficient as possible and this one is going to be a nightmare for opponents. Being able to potentially pop this off for free after spending your mana developing your board is a huge swing.

Oh, you thought you could flip that battle because I was tapped out. Yeah…Sorry, that doesn’t really work for me.  

Don’t forget about this when you’re about to drop an important backup counter on something.

Compleated Huntmaster

Rating: 2.5/5

Say what you want about Phyrexia, but they sure are efficient when it comes to their recycling programs. This kindly turns any extra creature or artifact you have into a shiny new Phyrexian Hill Giant.

This makes Deadly Derision even better since you can upgrade that treasure into a new member of your army. It also lets you get more value out of Saiba Cryptomancer by turning that leftover 0/1 into something Elesh Norn can be proud of.

Consuming Aetherborn

Rating: 2.0/5

I want to like this because of the unsuspected lifelink attack, but this has surprisingly little effect after that for four mana. At that point I want to be casting bigger creatures or pushing my Alabaster Host Sanctifier through, not tapping out to play one.

Corrupted Conviction

Rating: 1.5/5

I would be much higher on this if Furnace Reins was a common, but it seems like they don’t want a repeat of our time in AFR. Even if you don’t have those, there are still plenty of small things to sac such as from Ral's Reinforcements.

Deadly Derision

Rating: 3.5/5

Grim Bounty was great in AFR, but merely really good in HGB so of course it got the upgrade to instant speed. That treasure has a lot of uses since you can sacrifice it for Final Flourish and its ilk.

The only downside is that there are a bunch of protection spells floating around, but at least you have the opportunity to try to get around them with this now being an instant.  

Dreg Recycler

Rating: 2.0/5

It’s nice to have a sacrifice outlet that doesn’t require any extra mana, but as previously discussed there aren’t any common ways to “borrow” your opponent’s creatures. It’s still a curve filling bear that can do something (even if it’s not much) later in the game.

It’s kind of funny because if this didn’t require a tap, it would be bonkers. You could just sac out to kill them, but as it is they get plenty of chances to interrupt your plan if you are just draining them for one every turn.    

Etched Familiar

Rating: 1.5/5

Mom, can we have Vampire Spawn? We have Vampire Spawn at home.

As you can see Vampire Spawn at home is not what you are looking for. Being a death trigger instead of an ETB with a bad stat inversion is no bueno.

It really is odd that it’s supposed to be a compleated Filigree Familiar, but it’s a twisted mirror of another card.

Etched Host Doombringer

Rating: 1.5/5

If you have multiple battles that are worth flipping then I can see running this. Other than that, this can bring its doom somewhere else.

Failed Conversion

Rating: 2.0/5

As long as I don’t have too many other removal spells, I’ll be fine playing one of these in most decks. It’s basically kill a creature (or leave it severely depleted) with a surveil two attached when it dies. There are enough sacrifice and protection effects running around that you might not be given the opportunity to take advantage of that surveil though.

Final Flourish

Rating: 3.0/5

This will often let you win a combat or outright kill a creature without having to sacrifice anything. It is a great option to have though because -6-6 will send almost anything straight off of the battlefield with a flourish.

Flitting Guerilla

Rating: 2.0/5

Does this set have a hidden theme of Wind Drakes? Putting a creature (or battle) on top of your deck isn’t nearly as exciting as a Gravedigger, but it’s still something.

Gift of Compleation

Rating: 2.5/5

Being able to pay in installments makes all of these incubate cards much better. Getting an enchantment that sticks around when they deal with the creature is also a great bonus.

You would pass on playing a Hill Giant that surveiled when it dies, but there are multiple ways to flip incubators and this gives the surveil to all your Phyrexians. That means I’ll jam this in any deck that has synergies with those.  

Glistening Deluge

Rating: 1.5/5

Hello Glistening Deluge, let me provide you with a tour of the sideboard where you will be spending the majority of your days. You probably want to bring this in if they are playing either color, but you don’t want to take the chance that they are neither.

Gloomfang Mauler

Rating: 2.5/5

I’m sure you are all shocked that I like a large landcycler. Well, you shouldn’t be as it will continue to happen. Even without reanimate spells you can still grab a land early and bring this back with Unseal the Necropolis when you want to cast it.

Dropping a 7/7 menace can cause some real problems for your opponent even if it’s a bit pricy. There’s also a good chance they aren’t prepared for the backup two with menace coming down on your best creature.  

Grafted Butcher

Rating: 4.0/5

Not including the incubators (which there are also a lot of), there are over fifty Phyrexian creatures in this set. That means your creatures are going to be more roided up than a nineties baseball team.

Even if they deal with this lord, it just keeps coming back as long as you have something to sacrifice. This is going to be frustrating to play against.

Hoarding Broodlord

Rating: 4.0/5

Don’t let that price tag fool you, this big ol dragon is coming out to play well before you have eight mana. A ginormous evasive threat that lets you grab the best card left in your deck is going to win most games that you aren’t massively behind in.

Sometimes these rules can be confusing for people so if they remove this you can still cast the card you tutored for, but you won’t be able to convoke it.  

Ichor Drinker

Rating: 2.5/5

While the 1/1 lifelink doesn’t get me too excited, it’s certainly still something in a world filled with backup. Getting another creature after this has been sacrificed or milled into the bin is where the real value lies.   

Ichor Shade

Rating: 2.0/5

Your opponent won’t know about this when they do an innocent trade during combat. Then suddenly you have a 3/4 for three with the potential for more.

I’m usually not a fan of these types of cards since a lot of times they end up sitting on the board doing nothing. It’ll be fine here as long as you have a sacrifice theme that can keep it growing.

Invasion of Eldraine // Prickle Faeries

Rating: 2.5/5

Being an uncommon is secretly a benefit here because it’s a lot more likely that they play around Nezumi Informant than this Mind Rot effect. Flipping it isn’t very difficult at four defense and then they will most likely get The Rack’d for two damage on their upkeep before having to deal with a faerie beatdown.

Invasion of Fiora // Marchesa, Resolute Monarch

Rating: 4.0/5

A selective sweeper can turn out to be bananas if it lines up right. Since you’re the one that knows it is coming you can try to play a legendary creature and maybe some unflipped incubators while your opponent is playing a normal game of Magic. Once they’ve activated your trap card you are well setup to come away the victor.

If you get to flip Marchesa, things are about to get filthy. A body that nice with menace and deathtouch is going to grind them to dust while it can flip a battle or kill an incubated creature every time it attacks. I haven’t even mentioned that it’s got a Phyrexian Arena attached as long as you’re not taking other damage.

Of course, this would be significantly better at five mana, but this is still a whole lot of action on one card.

Invasion of Innistrad // Deluge of the Dead

Rating: 4.0/5

A four mana almost unconditional removal spell is playable on its own so you’re not even concerned about having to setup to get enough value out of it. When you do manage to flip it, you get to start your own private zombie apocalypse by pumping out your horde to devour your opponent.

Invasion of Ulgrotha // Grandmother Ravi Sengir

Rating: 2.0/5

This properly represents Homelands by being too expensive and underpowered. There is enough black removal floating around that you should be able to find something else to fill that role.

The best part of this card is that you get to make jokes about beating them with Grandma.

Merciless Repurposing

Rating: 2.5/5

Poor Urabrask doesn’t have a leg (or arms) to stand on here. I guess he can still roll at people. It would have been better flavor if this let you steal some abilities off of the creature being repurposed, but they wanted to keep it simple here.

Exiling any creature with a 3/3 tossed in is a large swing, but you do have to be selective about how many cards you have that cost this much.

Mirrodin Avenged

Rating: 1.5/5

As Karn brought his mouth closer to Elesh Norn’s ear, he began to whisper what they both knew You Are Already Dead. Flavor aside, this is just a reprint of that card with a new name. Battles do encourage blocking, but not to the extent that ninjutsu did so this should be a little worse here.

Nezumi Freewheeler // Hideous Fleshwheeler

Rating: 2.5/5

I love this card in the mill deck and find it pretty meh otherwise. When you flip it, it does bring something back from any graveyard so you can grip their goodies as well.

Nezumi Informant

Rating: 2.0/5

Compared to Virus Beetle, this doesn’t have a way to consistently bounce itself or a relevant type. It’s just a good old fashioned Ravenous Rats and that’s not bad. I do value it higher in the sacrifice deck since it already got its value.

Phyrexian Gargantua

Rating: 3.0/5

This card was a gargantuan beating way back in IPA drafts (which we played while riding a dinosaur to school). Limited has went through quite the metamorphosis since those times with tons of value packed into much more efficient cards. Still a fine way to top your curve, but not anywhere near what it used to be.

Pile On

Rating: 4.0/5

MOM sure is piling on the removal here. I’m usually hesitant to rank removal this high, but the potential to kill any creature for free is a very high ceiling. The surveil two is the icing on the cake that had me bump it up from a 3.5.

Render Inert

Rating: 1.5/5

Unless you have a bunch of battles, this isn’t worth the slot in your deck. It is a nice sideboard card against a heavy incubation deck though.

Scorn-Blade Berserker

Rating: 2.5/5

I probably like Scorn-Blade Berserker more than I should, but it just has so many little things that it can do. It’s the type of card that leads to finding interesting lines to maximize its value and that is something I am always looking for.

If you don’t want to get too fancy, the basic putting a +1+1 counter on another creature, chump blocking with this, and sacrificing it for a card is a fine exchange.

Sheoldred // The True Scriptures

Rating: 4.5/5

The ballad of Sheoldred may have come to an end, but she left us with one final banger to remember her by. You should be able to hit the eight cards in their graveyard by playing a few of the mill cards and that saga should be game ending.

Even if you don’t get to pop that off, you still get a great rate on a creature with some value when she ETBs.

Tenured Oilcaster

Rating: 2.0/5

There are a lot of cards in the set that you only want to be playing when your deck has a certain game plan. This goes in the mill eight deck and something has gone wrong if it’s in any other archetype.

Traumatic Revelation

Rating: 2.0/5

This is basically a modal card because you can always choose to not take a card to get the incubator instead. That mitigates some of the risks of drawing a discard spell when you really need to be adding to the board. It feels like a card that I will play often, but never in multiples.

Unseal the Necropolis

Rating: 2.5/5

Soul Salvage got quite the glow up here. Instant speed is always appreciated and milling three is a nice little contribution towards hitting eight in their yard while also possibly hitting something even better to bring back from yours.

Vanquish the Weak

Rating: 2.0/5

I’m sure you’re wondering why I am so low on this. There is just so much better removal running around in this color and this one is harder to trade up on mana. Sometimes you’ll run it.

Wrap Up

Black is completely stacked with removal and sacrifice effects. A lot of the creatures leave something to be desired when it comes to being aggressive, but you can easily find that in other colors if you are trying to tempo them out with all of the removal.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow with my March of the Machine limited review of Red. Until then, stay classy people!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can also find me at:

Enjoy our content? Wish to support our work? Join our Premium community, get access to exclusive content, remove all advertisements, and more!

  • No ads: Browse the entire website ad-free, both display and video.
  • Exclusive Content: Instant access to all exclusive articles only for Premium members, at your fingertips.
  • Support: All your contributions get directly reinvested into the website to increase your viewing experience!
  • Discord: Join our Discord server, claim your Premium role and gain access to exclusive channels where you can learn in real time!
  • Special offerFor a limited time, use coupon code L95WR9JOWV to get 50% off the Annual plan!
MTG Arena Zone Premium

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

Articles: 206

Leave a Reply