The crescendo of the Phyrexian invasion of the multiverse, March of the Machine, is upon us! Last week, we covered about half of the noteworthy cards in Magic: The Gathering’s latest set. Today, we’re covering the other half. Strap in for the second half of what is arguably the biggest set for Commander since Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. I’m Luka “Robot” Sharaska, and welcome back to the Commander Corner.

Required Reading: Battles

If didn’t catch last week’s Commander Corner, or you aren’t familiar with Battles or Sieges, you can refer to this mechanic breakdown by Ryan Hay, for everything there is to know about the brand new Battle card type.

A Multiverse-Sized Set Review

This set review is already thicker than a bowl of oatmeal, so there will be no honorable mentions. To make sure this didn’t turn into a three-part series, I had to trim a few cards out of the whole thing. Don’t blame me if your favorite didn’t make it! Without any further ado, let’s get right into the main attractions.

While the front half is a slightly expensive wheel, the back half is a Seismic Assault. The whole package is definitely something special. Don’t forget you get to use the exiled cards until the end of your next turn. I know the Prosper, Tome-Bound players are already rejoicing.

This card makes Rune-Scarred Demon look like a joke, especially since Hoarding Broodlord is currently a fraction of the price. Giving the card you fetch convoke and keeping it safe from hand disruption is also a pretty great bonus. Great for reanimation, go-wide strategies, or general use.

Finally, at long last, a way to break Intruder Alarm. Jokes aside, I expect Inga and Esika to be about as powerful as it looks. Turning random hatebears like Collector Ouphe into mana dorks is far from a bad strategy, and that’s just scratching the surface on its potential.

At this point there’s ample options for decks looking to go off with +1/+1 counters. This bonus copy of Hardened Scales that taps for mana fits right into those decks. Seriously, just add Staff of Domination and go wild.

While the rate isn’t exceptional, you can play Invasion of Ravnica in literally any deck, and that is unique among battles so far. If you’re looking to turn up the heat, cards like Yorion, Sky Nomad and other blink-themed Commanders can make use of this to repeatedly exile threats.

If you’ve ever wanted to destroy a Rhystic Study and draw a card without casting a spell, Kogla and Yidaro have you covered. In addition to being nigh-uncounterable artifact and enchantment removal, being the creature card type means you can even fetch your removal with cards like Worldly Tutor, Eladamri’s Call, or even Fauna Shaman!

While you do need value from both sides of Invasion of Segovia for it to be worth playing, it is strong. If Caetus was a legendary creature at three mana, you can bet I’d be playing it. Untapping four creatures on your end step also means you’ll usually have mana open to counter, even if you have no untapped lands.

Thanks to the delayed trigger from Kroxa and Kunoros, you can sacrifice it to Altar of Dementia in time to exile five cards from your graveyard, thus starting the process over. Yes, you can mill yourself out and leave about one-sixth of your library in your graveyard with which to possibly win the game.

Pretty much any dragon-themed deck that can play red cards should consider Invasion of Tarkir. On the front side, you get a decent removal spell, while the back side lets you start playing with fire every time a dragon you control attacks.

Nahiri’s Warcrafting doesn’t look very imposing at first glance, but three mana removal with card draw attached doesn’t need a lot of extra trinket text. Having to spend a full card on removing one problematic permanent usually hurts red pretty bad, and this card means it won’t always be a one-for-one.

While it isn’t quite Enlightened Tutor or Idyllic Tutor, there’s plenty of powerful things to fetch with the front side. I’m expecting that most enchantress style decks will love Invasion of Theros for the back side as well.

There’s a lot of options these days for five-color good-stuff Commanders, and Omnath, Locus of All is no exception. Between saving up mana, having a bit of a discount on casting cost, the pseudo-draw getting around Narset, Parter of Veils, and getting a steep discount on some revealed cards, Omnath is certainly powerful.

While Obzedat’s Aid doesn’t see much play, you can be assured Invasion of Tolvada is a significant upgrade for any deck looking to go wide with tokens. Not only can you buy back enablers like Bitterblossom, Skullclamp, or your Commander, but it becomes a token generator and anthem effect for any tokens you already have.

At this rate, Hardened Scales is quickly getting outclassed by cards which go above and beyond what it does. Not only does Ozolith, the Shattered Spire have cycling for when it’s not gonna do the trick, but it also enables itself for a reasonable cost. If you like having plus-one plus-one plus-one counters, this is the card for you.

Given how popular Circuitous Route and Explosive Vegetation seem to be, I can only imagine that this will be an auto-include in landfall decks looking to go big or go home. By the way, the back side, Awakened Skyclave, will also trigger your landfall abilities.

Rule of Law, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Arcane Laboratory, and others came before Phyrexian Censor. But nobody’s saying you can’t play them all. If you really want to keep people from casting too many spells, you’ve got more than enough tools. Bonus points if you’re playing enough Phyrexians to keep this one one-sided!

It is easy to underestimate the convoke ability, but I don’t. My Braids, Arisen Nightmare deck hates tapping out for clunky removal spells when it could be pumping out another Burglar Rat or Virus Beetle. To that end, Pile On does an excellent job of ensuring its caster can deploy creatures, be they tokens or otherwise, while keeping removal up through any player’s turn!

I am a big fan of Rankle, Master of Pranks, and while I truly wish we had gotten a “Rankle, Master of Love” card to match his story, Rankle and Torbran do a fine job spreading the love together.

While this might not be on the level of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, it certainly has applications in any deck interested in looting or casting legendary spells. Additionally, the back side makes damage-based removal and blocking a very bad proposition for your opponents.

I’ve always been a fan of Saheeli’s Artistry, and this is pretty similar. While you do have to do some work to get full value, both halves of this card are still individually powerful enough. Also, these days, most Clone effects only work on your creatures. See Double hits anything it can target.

This effect might seem narrow at first, until you play against it and realize how versatile it is for only one mana. Blasphemous Act, any targeted removal, Aetherflux Reservoir, and any red/black attackers/blockers are just a few of the things this card hoses. Seriously, this card is a beating.

Thalia and The Gitrog Monster is not a reasonable card. It’s nigh-unbeatable in combat, draws extra cards, it’s a three-color Commander, it hoses lands and creatures from your opponents, and even lets you play extra lands. So yeah, it’s kinda strong, I guess.

The popularity of Blue Sun’s Zenith implies Transcendent Message is a serious upgrade to Zenith, aside from the fact it doesn’t shuffle itself back into your library. Bonus points if you’re going wide to convoke for huge value.

Aside from the mana cost, which is the most restrictive part of this card, it’s like a supercharged Garruk’s Uprising or Colossal Majesty. All of your small creatures get bigger, and all of your big creatures draw cards. Combine with Tendershoot Dryad for massive value.

Look folks, I’m not here to start up discourse about Chromatic Lantern, but if that card is good enough to see play, this card is too. It works with Doubling Season effects and even offers some moderate mill value before the ultimate as well.

There’s about as much value as one can hope to have on a single card on Zimone and Dina. Card draw, mana ramp, a sacrifice outlet, and even some table-wide life drain, all on a 4-toughness body with a reasonable mana cost? Sign me up.

Gnshhagghkkapphribbit Commander damage phrakkareecroak Rishkar’s Expertise graghghghphribbit until your opponents can no longer bargle, and are forced to hrshookaphakcroak.

The Finish Line

While this has been the March of the Machine, I can’t help but feel like we’ve ran a marathon together. I truly do apologize if there’s a card or two that I missed, but this is already a whole lot more than most sets even come close to reaching. Thanks for sticking with me through this huge set review. I’ve been Luka “Robot” Sharaska, and this has been the Commander Corner.

Luka V. Sharaska (they/them) earned the nickname “Robot” by having a monotone voice, a talent for calculating odds, and a perfect poker face. Robot has been playing Magic for more than a decade, starting during the days of New Phyrexia in 2011.

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