Top 10 Commander Cards from March of the Machine: The Aftermath

Ross Gloekler
May 19, 2023


There are always some chase card(s) from a new set, whether it is an overpowered monstrosity, just a memorable throwback, or a strict upgrade to a prior card. Sometimes the “good” cards are so close to each other that nothing really stands out at first blush. This is the case with March of the Machine: Aftermath. Many of the cards contained in this micro set are so similar in power and scope that there isn’t really any one card that pokes its head up and says “I’m the greatest”.

This is both a good and bad thing. The bad is that it kind of makes the set a bit boring overall, with nothing being terribly exciting or inspirational at first glance. The good is that as we look closer, the narrow scope of the cards do lend to their own character and value as far as being useful in their own niche. In this article, I’m going to dig hard to get the top ten nonlegendary cards from this fifty card set, in no particular order, that I think are the best from Aftermath and explain my reasoning.


Metropolis Reformer

Initially I wasn’t sure any of the White cards would make this list, but as I thought about it, Metropolis reformer is a decent card. While the rest of the cards in White are a little too specific to say that they could be good in more than a handful of places, Metropolis Reformer could be good in many. What really pushed me to it was that it helps you survive. It doesn’t do anything besides that, but sometimes that’s all you need. That only thing that would have made me think of this for a first place pick was if it had flash.


Filter Out

This is probably my favorite card from the set in theory. I haven’t gotten to test it yet but I very much look forward to grabbing at least two copies for my small roster of Commander decks. While there is a drawback on this card if you are a combo or Planeswalker player that depends more on noncreature permanents, I think in most decks this will find a home. Specifically, this is a fantastic boon to Simic stompy type decks with the creatures being unaffected by Filter Out, and I know my own Xyris Big Hand Slap deck will want its own copy.


Vesuvan Drifter

This card won’t go everywhere, but in specific decks it will be fantastic. Yennett, Yuriko, Kadena, Errant and Giada, basically anywhere you need to look at your top card at a moment’s notice. In particular, I love that it can become the creature that might be there at the beginning of combat. You don’t have to attack to get the effect if it’s static which means you get some effects earlier to help your board state. Of course you can then attack for a trigger as well and with it retaining its flying for that attack it has a good chance at surviving.


Urborg Scavengers

These little creepers don’t do anything too novel. We’ve seen this effect before on other cards in Green, White, Black and Blue. What makes this card stand out to me is that it feeds its own ability, which is NOT something I’ve seen paired with this effect before recent times that I can remember. Being self contained, it grows itself and gives itself evasion, protection, and eventually becomes a hard to stop threat. Granted, you might need to fuel it yourself at first but with it being in Black you probably aren’t going to lack targets, either yours or your opponents.


Reckless Handling*

When I went to choose a Red card that wasn’t Arni for this list, the options weren’t very good with only 4 mono Red cards in the set. This pick here is Reckless Handling in part because I had a Feldon of the Third Path deck a few years back I rather liked, but also because Red doesn’t get very many tutors. When it does, often you want to play into the drawback of the random discard like with Gamble just like with Feldon.

Reckless Handling is decent, but I”m going to break my own rule for this list and mention Arni Metalbrow here as well.

Horrible name aside, I always loved a card that expanded on Red’s Sneak Attack arsenal. This in particular is a flavor win for the character and not only is good on its own (and better than Brokenbrow in my opinion), it also pairs well with cards like Kaalia of the Vast and Zara Renegade Recruiter, giving double value for only 1 and R. Fairly straight forward and a good ability, as Arni would want himself to be.


Leyline Immersion

This narrow scoped aura is a slam dunk for Commander. While it can only enchant a legendary creature, it offers that legend protection in the form of ward 2 and makes that creature a mana dork of the best kind. That is, one that produces all 5 colors of mana. While this can only be used to cast spells as a safeguard against cards like Freed from the Real, I’m sure there are some ways to untap your commander and gain infinite mana.


Tranquil Frillback

This has an ability I haven’t seen in a while. More specifically, a kind of ability. It’s an optional cost you pay AFTER it enters the battlefield, ala Rise of the Hobgoblins. You always get the 3/3 for 2G, but you don’t have to pay the extra Green mana until it actually resolves, saving your mana from sinking into counter magic. As far as those ETBs are concerned, it’s pretty standard fare with the juicer inclusion of graveyard hate.


Cosmic Rebirth

This card is amazing. It’s a Sun Titan-esque regrowth that gives you some life. At instant speed! A surprise blocker, and enchantment to save your face, a combo piece returned. This card is a close number one for me in this set, vying for position with Filter Out as an all around card to own.


Feast of the Victorious Dead

I wonder if the food they get is delicious, because the card certainly is. It slots easily into a WBx aristocrats type of deck or a go wide WBx counters matter deck. Is it an auto include? No, not really, but where I think it shines best are in the backup plans. Specifically Elenda the Dusk Rose, Thalisse Reverent Medium and Tayam Luminous Enigma come to mind for this card, but this card will find a home in a lot of places as long as it fits into a backup plan or as a side piece to secure plan A with redundancy.


Rebuild the City

Initially I didn’t like this card. Six mana gets you “ramp” by giving you 3 more lands that can’t tap for mana that turn and leave them vulnerable as creatures. As I thought about it though, I’m coming around to liking this card a lot. In these colors haste is easy to come by in many strategies, and you can clone yourself up any nonlegendary land (if you want them to stay around). This means 300% more Valakuts if you run a heavily Red Jund deck or 3 more Cabal Coffers for a crazy turn (be nice to your friends). Ironically I think being in 3 colors hurts its chances to really be nuts, but I think it will find a nice explosive home somewhere.

You can clone legendary lands, but three of them would all simply go to the graveyard/cease to exist. In some decks this is useful, but for the mana I would run other effects.


The Aftermath

That’s it for this review. I wanted to cover the nonlegendary cards that you might want to add to the 99 of your own decks.

Of the possible commanders, most of them are going to do very well in their niches. Narset, Enlightened Exile and the new Ob Nilixis, Captive Kingpin are making some waves by the time of publishing with others finding homes in specific decks. My honorary pick from the set is Rocco, Street Chef for creative design, who I think will make a great commander with cards from the Exit from Exile precon deck, the Etalis, and effects from cards like Elite Spellbinder.

Any way you slice Aftermath, it does have good but narrow cards for the most part. This isn’t a set to find the next staple for commander unless Filter Out gets some legs, but maybe it will be the set you find a new pet card. I know I’ve grabbed a few and am working on some of the legends for decks. Are you going to brew anything or pick up some singles for your decks to give them a slight boost? Let us know in the comments below.