Updated: May 10
Card: Karn, Legacy Reforged | Art: Grzegorz Rutkowski.
March of the Machine: The Aftermath is a new kind of Magic product. This 50-card mini set is a sort of epilogue to March of the Machine. With that, the set addressed the fate of several characters post-Phyrexian invasion. One of the biggest surprises is many planeswalkers have lost their spark. We now see fan favorites as creatures instead of planeswalkers. I have five commanders from March of the Machine that I cannot wait to try in Commander!
Karn Legacy Reforged
Karn has seen his first creature version since Karn, Silver Golem. They have power and toughness equal to the greatest mana value among artifacts you control. Worst case scenario they're a 5/5. Every turn you also get a mana for each artifact you control. This mana cannot be spent on non-artifact spells. Karn is a perfect shoo-in for a Voltron Commander! The mana generated by Karn can be used to cast equipment and pay for the equip cost!
Given Karn cares about the number of artifacts you control. Playing Karn with cheap equipment is the way to go. Sticking to three mana or less is likely a good place to start. Karn is susceptible to creature and artifact removal. Priority one is protection. Darksteel Plate is a cheap and efficient way of protecting Karn. The next step is to get Karn to a point where he can kill. Commander's Plate grants +3/+3, and protection from all colors. Karn can now kill in as little as three hits. Once you get swinging try to get some extra value. Mask of Memory comes to mind. The card draw is hard to pass up.
There is more than just equipment available for us. Forsaken Monument gives a buff, mana acceleration, and lifegain. Ugin, the Ineffable acts as a massive cost reducer. Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter gives all our spells flash. Karn has great potential as a colorless commander. Many colorless decks seem focused on massive top-end threats such as Eldrazi. He is a force to be reckoned with and will pave the way for more low-to-the-ground style colorless decks.
On the opposite end of the color spectrum, we have Niv-Mizzet. WUBRG for a 5/5 with flying and hexproof from monocolored is a powerful start. Beyond that, Niv gives jump-start to your instants and sorceries. I thought this was a weird choice. Isn't jump-start just a worse flashback? But, then I realized I can discard instants and sorceries to pay the jump-start cost! We have the potential to chain together spells and expand our hands.
This deck lends itself to a storm-style strategy. Cards like Wheel of Fortune remove the downside of discarding our hand. Rituals can also prove potent! Being in five colors allows us to play a myriad of storm payoffs. My favorite is Brain Freeze as it can be used once to fill our grave or Mill an opponent. Then then you can go wild with all your favorite multicolor cards. The deck is incredibly wide
Finally, the graveyard synergy can help negate the downside of discarding effects. Faithless Looting, Gamble, and Entomb get a huge uptick in their value. I am excited to see what the future holds for Niv-Mizzet Supreme. The opportunities seem endless for this five-color spellslinger.
Jirina, Dauntless General
Jirina is a more low-key commander. For two mana exiling a graveyard is surprisingly relevant. She can also be sacrificed to give your humans hexproof and indestructible until the end of the turn. This effect is a fantastic piece of protection. This lends itself to an aggressive white-black deck. Flooding the board, clearing the way with a wrath, protect your side with Jirina.
Classic Wrath of God effects are fantastic in this deck. Beyond that, you can also include effects to return your commander to play. Kaya's Ghostform comes to mind. This will make getting around your protection even harder. Once you secure a strong board go in for the kill. Anthem effects such as Vanquisher's Banner provide card draw and a much-needed buff to the board.
Considering the plan is to go wide with humans consider playing ones that can disrupt the opponent's game plan. Esper Sentinel, Thalia Guardian of Thraben, Kambal, Consul of Allocation are great sources of disruption. The game plan is simple, cast humans, swing for damage, and protect your board.
Jirina also slots into the 99 of already established human tribal decks. General Kudro of Drannithwould is a great match for Jirina, Dauntless General.
Kiora, Sovereign of the Deep
Kiora is my favorite option for sea monster tribal! She is currently in competition with Runo Stromkirk and Kenessos, Priest of Thassa. However, I like Kiora for her in-built protection and on-cast ability. She has a pseudo cascade effect. Additionally, her effect can trigger multiple times per turn. Cast a seven-drop Kraken, you could find a six-drop Kraken, and so on.
Hullbreak Horror is one of the best includes for Kiora. You will likely be casting multiple spells per turn. Hullbreaker gives all your spells some extra juice while also being a Kraken. In a similar vein Brinelin, the Moon Kraken offers extra utility for casting large spells. All that spellcasting can help activate Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle quickly.
While sea creatures are fun you might want to consider some high mana value support. Gilarna, Caller of Wirewood provides card draw and ramp. Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty ensures all your creatures come with a friend. Continuing on the trend of cheating things into play Kodama of the East Tree is invaluable. This time cheating cards into play from your hand.
Nashi, Moon's Legacy
Nashi joins Kethis, the Hidden Hand, and Dihada, Binder of Wills as another legendary/graveyard commander. Each of these commanders tackles legendary tribal differently. Nashi seems to have a more aggressive slant than Kethis but is not as outwardly aggressive as Dihada. Nashi cares about attacking as a means of recasting legends.
While Nashi has a rat tribal slant available too. However of the 70 rats legal in Commander 65 of them are mono-black. For rat tribal, I would suggest one of the already established rat commanders. Nashi is unlikely to swarm the board like his rat commander contemporaries. Focusing on legendary tribal gives more room for creativity. Whether it's creatures, artifacts, or planeswalkers Nashi can return them.
Given Nashi will be attacking buffing him with equipment or evasive abilities will help keep him around. Winged Boots provides some further evasion and protection for a low cost. Tanuki Transplanter on the other hand provides mana to re-cast your legends. Combining both of these we get Gilded Pinions which provides some evasion and treasure tokens on attack.
Despite being a small set March of the Machine: The Aftermath has a lot to offer. What are your favorite legends in the set? There are plenty of commanders in the set. We would love to hear some of your ideas for decks! In the meantime take these ideas as a jumping-off point for your next deck!
❤️If you want to support Bolt the Bird, consider checking out our Patreon page and sharing this article! ❤️