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Tidal Terror

March of the Machine Limited Set Review: Blue

J2SJosh reviews and rates every Blue 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:

Artistic Refusal

Rating: 2.0/5

In true Sabine Wren fashion, sometimes you have to let your artistic talent shine in battle. You can do cool things like intentionally tapping out of blue mana and BAM! hit them with Counterspell in the middle of nowhere.

It is hard to hold up this many lands and creatures without being in a board stall, but countering a spell with some card draw is a solid way to break one of those.

Assimilate Essence

Rating: 2.0/5

Four mana is an awfully big tax on a two mana counterspell making this pretty close to Essence Scatter that can hit battles until the end game. Notably it misses incubation “creatures” like Eyes of Gitaxias so they can still develop their board while you stare at this.

While better than nothing, I prefer my “at least it’s sometimes a bear” cards to be available earlier in the game instead of later.  It also lets them make the choice so in the rare situation where you REALLY want the creature, they can just let their creature be countered instead of letting you have it.

Astral Wingspan

Rating: 1.5/5

The winged rhino art is very tempting, but this is a serious limited review and not Josh’s magical menagerie of buffoonery.

Even with the convoke option, this is still pricy for what it does. I’m aware that there will be games where I just lose to this on a chonker, but there is enough interaction that I am wary of playing this without some way to protect my investment.

Captive Weird // Compleated Conjurer

Rating: 3.5/5

A decently bodied one drop that gives you a card later on for a little more mana. I’m sure I am going to hear some complaints about this comparison, but that sounds an awful like Thraben Inspector. We all know how good that was and this gives you a better body after it flips.

The “until the end of your next turn” is the key to this since it lets you flip and swing with this on turn three without worrying too much about losing value. It’s even play instead of cast so you can drop a land off of it.

Change the Equation

Rating: 1.5/5

This is a sideboard card. While it is highly unlikely to ever be a completely dead card, you don’t really want to be holding up mana hoping they cast something for two or less.

Chrome Host Seedshark

Rating: 4.0/5

Oh lawd, the Phyrexians have converted Sharknado to their side. I’m sure SYFY channel would call that Mechasharknado or something like that.

Sharky P comes down with a body that’s ready to rumble before it starts covering the battlefield with Phyrexians of all shapes and sizes. You’ll want to deal with this one before things get too crazy. How does it it get crazier than cyborg sharks in a tornado? Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.

Complete the Circuit

Rating: 1.5/5

This seems more like a commander card than something I want to be drafting. Being able to end step convoke this and double copy a removal spell could be pretty game breaking. It’s just that copy spells tend to have a very large delta of performance in limited because you have to be in the situation where you have both them and the thing you want to do.

What’s the coolest thing you can do with it? How about this into Breach the Multiverse to have both players mill thirty. You can even do that on their upkeep for funsies.

Corruption of Towashi

Rating: 2.5/5

This is a great combo with Attentive Skywarden that lets you flip it and draw the card right away. You can transform incubators at instant speed so you can get around the once a turn card draw by doing it on your opponents turn as well. As long as you have plenty of things to transform, this is a solid card advantage engine that comes with a decently sized critter.

Disturbing Conversion

Rating: 1.5/5

There are enough cards that dunk all over enchantment removal that I’m down on it across the board here. This is at least somewhat redeemable because you can use it as a combat trick, but still not something I’m going to actively want.

Ephara’s Dispersal

Rating: 2.5/5

Speaking of things that are good against enchantment removal… Surveil two isn’t quite drawing a card, but I doubt we’ll get actual factual Repulse anytime soon. This is also really good against any of the incubator cards.

Did the Phyrexians win the Super Bowl? Why is she dumping Gatorade all over them like they just did?

Expedition Lookout

Rating: 1.5/5

They really hid that unblockable at the end there behind the millionth printing of “this can attack as though it didn’t have defender”. Luckily reading is FUNdamental and I realized it wasn’t a total dumpster fire.

Most decks aren’t going to want this as just a defender so you really want to be in the Dimir mill deck to play this. Unseal the Necropolis is a great way to expedite filling their yard while accumulating value for yourself.  

Eyes of Gitaxias

Rating: 2.5/5

I’ve got my eyes on this one as a card that might be underrated early. Obviously, this is much worse than Sarulf's Packmate, but that was absurdly overpowered for a common. This is still a cantrip 3/3 on the installment plan even if it is one more mana on the wrong end. It gets better with Omen Hawker or Attentive Skywarden to quickly flip it.

Faerie Mastermind

Rating: 3.5/5

I can’t imagine a limited format (outside of cube) where you wouldn’t want a two-mana two-power flyer with flash. It’s aggressively costed while letting you be tricky.  

This mastermind even punishes your opponent if they have the audacity to try to draw more cards while giving you the option to force the issue.

Furtive Analyst

Rating: 1.5/5

My analysis says that if I’m paying two mana to loot, I better be getting something else with it. A Horned Turtle with vigilance isn’t exactly what I am looking for either. I’m sure it will be a card twenty-three sometimes, but I won’t be thrilled about it.

Halo-Charged Skaab

Rating: 2.0/5

A curve topper that can put a removal spell (or battle) on top of your deck will be fine as a one off. Maybe the mill deck will want a second, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Invasion of Arcavios // Invocation of the Founders

Rating: 1.5/5

Five mana is well above rate for a restrictive tutor or a spell regrowth. However, Strixhaven is a university and it’s only fair that they leave you with a life time of crippling debt without much of a return on it. Oh wait, that’s only America that does that?!?

The outside the game clause will rarely come up except for situational cards since you would prefer to be playing your good spells. On top of all that it has a whopping seven defense.

If you do get through all that and flip it, you get to copy every spell you cast. That is a pretty exciting payoff, but I really question the ability to get there.  

Invasion of Kamigawa // Rooftop Saboteurs

Rating: 2.5/5

Apparently invading Kamigawa is much easier than trying to roll up on Arcavios. As long as you play it right, you can probably take their best blocker out of the equation for a couple turns and flip this right away. Once this is cracking away in the air you should be able to ride the ninja card advantage train to victory.

Invasion of Segovia // Caetus, Sea Tyrant of Segovia

Rating: 2.5/5

I love the flavor of the tiny Krakens of Segovia. For those who don’t know, it’s a lore joke around Segovian Leviathan appearing monstrous in the art, but only being a 3/3.

Four is a perfectly reasonable defense to flip early and the back side lets you do some pretty crazy things with your noncreature spells while still getting to use your creatures for combat.

Invasion of Vryn // Overloaded Mage-Ring

Rating: 2.0/5

This is Sift with potential future upside. The backside isn’t bad by any means, but you get most of the value up front on this one.

Jin-Gitaxias // The Great Synthesis

Rating: 4.0/5

This is the only Praetor that looks like it will be really difficult to flip because having seven cards in hand late in the game isn’t an easy task even with this cantripping a bunch of your spells. It’s still a 5/5 with ward that draws a bunch of cards and that’s pretty good.

Meeting of Minds

Rating: 2.5/5

You normally equate card draw with control decks, but there are plenty of vigilance cards floating around that make casting this pretty easy.

Moment of Truth

Rating: 1.5/5

This is basically just an Anticipate except that you put one card in the graveyard. That can be better if you have something like Ichor Drinker to dump in there, but this is still just a filler card.


Rating: 2.0/5

I wanted to put some sarcastic side board comment here, but I think this will sneakily find its way into being played. Between battles, creatures being attached to spells, and some excellent removal running around it should be able to find something worth countering.

Oculus Whelp

Rating: 2.0/5

If this was a Snapping Drake that drew a card when it died then it would be about half a grade higher. Since it is a conditional card draw, it’ll spend some time on the side lines.

Omen Hawker

Rating: 3.0/5

If you have enough abilities to activate then a one mana dork that taps for two is actually pretty insane. The first thing that comes to mind is being able to flip an incubator right away and there are plenty of those running around. The next thing is all the flip creatures like Seraph of New Capenna and Order of the Mirror. It can even be used for equipment or activating land cycling abilities such as Tidal Terror.

You should be very worried about falling behind quickly if this comes down on turn one.

Oracle of Tragedy

Rating: 2.5/5

It would be a tragedy if you’ve already forgotten the power of the two-mana rummage (and a loot is better than a rummage) creatures after Scrapwork Mutt and Axiom Engraver Later in the game, being able to shuffle back all of your gas might be even better than a random card.

Order of the Mirror // Order of the Alabaster Host

Rating: 2.5/5

I know they couldn’t put flanking on a standard card, but they did their best impression of it with the backside of this. Trying to gang block that is rarely going to work out so you need something chonky to shut it down.

It’s a two power two drop that can turn into something better for a reasonable cost. You can’t go too wrong with that.

Preening Champion

Rating: 2.5/5

I loved Aven Eternalin War of the Spark and this is slightly better because you always get the token with it. That extra creature is all you need to be happy about dropping a Wind Drake.

Protocol Knight

Rating: 2.0/5

If you are specifically playing the Knights archetype then you will be very happy with this jumbo Frost Lynx. If you’re not, then it doesn’t quite do enough to be more than the card you settle for at the end of the draft.

Rona, Herald of Invasion // Rona, Tolarian Obliterator

Rating: 4.0/5

We start off with a better bodied Merfolk Looter that can potentially trigger more than once a turn. I would be thrilled to take this highly even if it didn’t have the option to turn into a 5/5 trampler that rails their hand if they try to block it.

I’d have this even higher, but it is vulnerable to removal early in the game.

Saiba Cryptomancer

Rating: 2.0/5

WotC really didn’t want anyone touching their stuff this set. In the vast majority of cases this is Starlit Mantle that leaves behind a hexproof speedbump.  Even the threat of this can make opponents miserable so use full control appropriately.

See Double

Rating: 4.0/5

Instant speed Clone is actually pretty sick for ambushing them in combat and will probably be what you can expect 75% of the time you cast this. Sometimes they’ll play a spell that you just have to have as well and sometimes you’ll suck it up and pay four mana for a Fork.

Now if they happen to have eight or more cards in the bin, you’ll have them seeing double when you go wild with this.

Skyclave Aerialist // Skyclave Invader

Rating: 2.5/5

This falls under the two power flyers for two mana without a drawback are good in limited clause found in article 2 section 4 of the Wizarding pact of 2023. This is one of the cards that I’m not in a hurry to transform unless you really need that extra toughness, but getting a card thrown in when you get around to it is nice.

Stasis Field

Rating: 1.5/5

Noooooopppppeeeee! I hate this type of card and this format has so many ways to punish it. The important thing is to remember that just because it got you a couple times doesn’t make it a good card.

Temporal Cleansing

Rating: 2.5/5

This is kind of an odd card to have convoke on because if you are bouncing their creature at sorcery speed, you are usually either trying to RAWR into the red zone or playing defense from behind. In most of those scenarios you don’t really want to be tapping down your own creatures. It is a nice option to have when you need it though.

It is also nonland permanent so you can hit a battle that’s about to flip in an emergency.

Thunderhead Squadron

Rating: 2.0/5

You really have to consider the price you would be happy paying for the card when thinking about convoke. I would be down to pay four mana for a vanilla 3/4 flyer so I need at least two creatures I’m willing to tap to get this out. If your deck is equipped to do this either through going wide or having vigilant cards that can pull double duty, then you can jam this.

Tidal Terror

Rating: 2.5/5

I continue to be a fan of big goofy creatures that you can cycle away for a land if you need it. This one isn’t splashable like Alabaster Host Intercessor, but it isn’t terror-ible. It will often be the biggest creature on the battlefield and it can end games in a hurry by cracking in for five unblockable damage.

Transcendent Message

Rating: 3.0/5

The trick with this card is that you take a turn off from attacking and playing spells. Then on their end step or after you block, you tap your side to draw seven. Pretty sure you can cruise to victory from there.

Wicked Slumber

Rating: 2.0/5

This is a great improvement on the design of Frost Breath because if they have one BIG problem creature, you can slap both stun counters on it while just letting the other one untap. The convoke is also sweet because it lets you build a board then just tap some creatures to play this out end step before smashing the face.

Xerex Strobe-Knight

Rating: 3.5/5

I don’t know about you, but I love double spelling. This rewards you for doing what you should be doing anyway by giving you a free knight (offering a free night sounds suspiciously like a time share scam).

Just in case you missed it, this doesn’t say non-creature. That means just playing a couple creatures lets you get a third.

I was going to make a joke about this being a Xerox knight since it makes copies, but I’m pretty sure non-boomers wouldn’t get it.

Zephyr Singer

Rating: 4.0/5

Strangely enough I would actually compare this to Venerated Loxodon. You just casually curve out and drop this decently sized creature for free while giving everything you tapped a permanent benefit. Sounds great to me.

Zhalfirin Shapecraft

Rating: 2.0/5

Not on the same level as Suit Up or Majestic Metamorphosis, but it also only costs two mana. Still a cantrip trick that can win some combats. Don’t forget that you can use this on their creature that has three damage on it to kill it.

Wrap Up

Blue is a fantastic support color providing a variety of cards that fit well within certain plans. It contributes directly to aggressive knights, incubation tokens, or the milling strategy while also providing all-around good cards such as card draw and bounce spells.

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

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

You can also find me at:

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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

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