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MTG draft strategies to expect in March of the Machine

The next MTG set, March of the Machine, features plenty of new Magic cards, card types, and keywords – here’s what to look out for when drafting the set.

MTG March of the Machine draft mechanics - Wizards of the Coast art of Djeru and Hazoret

Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater has revealed the draft strategies we can expect to see in the next MTG set, March of the Machine. The ten archetypes represent the most important themes and mechanics in the premier set. As the Phyrexian storyline wraps up, expect to see plenty of battles, sacrifices – oh, and MTG Phyrexians.

The March of the Machine release date is set for April 21. After the Phyrexians got compleation-happy in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, this set will show heroes across all planes fighting back.

According to Rosewater, many of the MTG drafting archetypes for this set take advantage of new and expanded mechanics. The red-green archetype focuses on the brand-new Battles card type. These can be attacked like an MTG planeswalker, and they flip to reveal a reward once defeated.

MTG March of the Machine draft mechanics - Wizards of the Coast image of Magic card Invasion of Segovia

This set’s red-white archetype spotlights the new Backup mechanic. Whenever a card with Backup enters the battlefield, you can add +1/+1 counters equal to the Backup number to another creature. Rosewater says this will represent your heroes working together across the planes to defeat the Phyrexians.

Another shiny new keyword that gets its own archetype is Incubate. Incubate lets you turn artifact tokens into Phyrexians, and the black-green draft archetype is all about creating bigger and bigger creatures (and incubate tokens).

The Convoke keyword, which lets you tap creatures to pay mana costs, returns in the form of a blue-red draft archetype. According to Rosewater, neither MTG color has had much to do with Convoke in the past, so “there was some new design space to explore”. “Set Design had to add in a little extra token-making to make sure the two colours, which traditionally have the lowest percentage of creatures, could take advantage of the mechanic”, he writes in Monday’s post on the MTG website.

March of the Machine will feature a range of transforming double-faced cards (Rosewater has even named one as his favourite MTG card of the set). The green-blue archetype is all about transformation, so these cards are at its heart. You’re rewarded for transforming cards – whether they’re Battles, Incubate cards, or some other form of TDFC.

MTG March of the Machine draft mechanics - Wizards of the Coast image of the double-sided Khenra Spellspear / Gitaxian Spellstalker Magic card

The remaining archetypes are all steeped in familiar territory. White-blue and white-black focus on a specific creature type (Knights and Phyrexians respectively). Blue-black mills cards to bulk out graveyards, while black-red creates plenty of resources to sacrifice. Finally, Rosewater describes green-white as “a go-wide archetype that makes use of +1/+1 counters to build up your army”.

For more details on March of the Machine, keep a close eye on our MTG 2023 release schedule. We also keep our MTG Arena codes and MTG Arena decks up-to-date for any digital players as new sets release.