What is New in Standard with March of the Machine?

Lucas Giggs
29/04/2023 · 7 min read

The Old New Standard

March of the Machine has arrived and with it comes a plethora of updates, especially among the Standard decks . Today, I'll be conducting an analysis on the key decklists that have been standing out in the early stages of this format and may also make an appearance at the upcoming Pro Tour.

Due to the lack of many in-person tournaments, Magic Online has become the best source of information for players. This past weekend, on Saturday, a well-known deck won the Standard Challenge, utilizing only a few cards from March of Machines, but these cards were quite interesting. On Sunday, we had a major event featuring well-known grinders and an even higher level of competition than the previous day, which also brought in some new decks and ideas.

Next, we will examine the most interesting decks and cards from both MTGO tournaments.

1. Domain Control


Domain Control has already made a few appearances in top-tier play, including my own top 8 finish early on in the format, still utilizing The Kami War. With recent expansions, the deck has gained more power, primarily due to the presence of Atraxa, Grand Unifier, which gradually dominated midrange decks across multiple formats. The card that stands out most in MoM is Invasion of New Phyrexia, which, in certain game states, can generate a large number of tokens, making it crucial for this type of deck.

Additionally, the ability to flip into Teferi Akosa of Zhalfir adds another threat to the board, allowing for emblem creation or overwhelming your opponent with card advantage.

In the sideboard, I'd like to highlight Sunfall, which, in my opinion, is a weaker version of Farewell, but can still leave a massive creature to attack on the next turn.

0.14 Tix

2. Mono Red

In this same top 8, another deck that caught my eye was the resurgence of Mono Red, which, despite not using Stoke the Flames - a card I believe should be an auto-include in any aggressive red deck in the format - ended up using some other very interesting cards for its game plan.

Stoke the Flames
0.04 Tix

To start with, Khenra Spellspear is a fantastic creature for this type of deck, which takes advantage of prowess with direct damage spells, and easily transforms into a genuine threat, doubling prowess and adding trample, making chump blocking much worse for your opponent.

In addition to Khenra Spellspear, two other cards from MoM featured in the list are: Sword of Once and Future, which seems quite intriguing, providing protection against cards like Go for the Throat and Cut Down, and potentially allowing for the recasting of a Play with Fire or Lightning Strike, generating great value.

Sword of Once and Future
1.32 Tix

Lastly, Nahiri Warcrafting doesn't come as much of a surprise, as cards that deal 5 damage like Rending Flame have already been widely used in the main deck to primarily combat Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.

Nahiri's Warcrafting
0.05 Tix


3. A New Staple - Lithomantic Barrage

A card that I've always considered to be practically essential in any red deck is Lithomantic Barrage, which is one of the best answers to Raffine, Scheming Seer, bypassing the ward thanks to the non-counterable clause. Additionally, it serves as an effective response to other cards like Dennick, Pious Apprentice, Serra Paragon, and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar.

Lithomantic Barrage
0.01 Tix

4. New Frontiers for Control Players - Dimir Tezzeret

For control enthusiasts, an interesting deck that also made it to the top 8 was UB Control, which capitalizes on the interaction between Chrome Host Seedshark and Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh.


This allows for the creation of incubated creatures using the shark's ability for free once per turn, thanks to the planeswalker's static ability.

Chrome Host Seedshark
1.28 Tix

5. A New Twist on Mono-White Midrange

In that same challenge, I'd like to highlight an alternative version of the Mono-White Midrange, which was cleverly conceived by the player Stainerson. By forgoing Law Down Arms and adopting a cleaner mana base, they made a small splash to add the already feared Fable of the Mirror Breaker and achieved a solid performance with a few additional March of the Machine cards.


Some versions of Monowhite have chosen to splash red, largely because of Fable, but it's interesting to note that other cards from MoM are present in the list and make a lot of sense.

To begin with, Guardian of Ghirapur is a simple yet effective card, a 3/3 for 3 mana with flying, and the ability to reset cards like Loran of the Third Path, Spirited Companion, and Ambitious Farmland adds great value to the deck.

Guardian of Ghirapur
0.02 Tix

However, the star of the deck is Etali, Primal Conqueror, one of the best curve-toppers in recent times. Its ability to play two cards without paying their mana costs opens up endless possibilities, such as casting an opponent's Atraxa, Grand Unifier or even an Invoke Despair.

Etali, Primal Conqueror
0.62 Tix

Standard format is overrun with midrange decks, and utilizing cards that take advantage of this by stealing them makes the deck even more intriguing.

6. Rakdos Reanimator

In the top 8 from day 2, Corey Baumeister secured second place with a Rakdos Reanimator deck, which had been making frequent appearances in top finishes.


This time, however, the deck also took advantage of Etali, Primal Conqueror, reanimating it thanks to The Cruelty of Gix or even casting it from hand, which is easier to accomplish than with Atraxa, Grand Unifier.

7. Jeskai Control

The champion of this tournament was Jeskai Control, which first made it to the top in the hands of player Ignotus97, who also managed to reach the top 8 in this event. With a slightly different version than Ignotus', the deck heavily utilizes Chrome Host Seedshark, where you essentially resolve the shark and counter or kill everything your opponent does, generating an incubated token with each spell and putting more pressure on the opponent each turn.


It's interesting to note how well-positioned the shark is in the environment, not being affected by removal spells like Cut Down and Abrade.

Chrome Host Seedshark
1.28 Tix

In addition to the shark, another MoM card featured in the list is Zurgo and Ojutai, a powerful and difficult-to-answer card that generates card advantage and makes life very difficult for your opponent.

Zurgo and Ojutai
2.55 Tix

8. Grixis Midrange

Grixis Midrange has also incorporated a few cards from MoM, with Chandra, Hope's Beacon being my standout pick. This powerful planeswalker can either deal with two creatures or potentially finish off an opponent by dealing up to 5 damage on the turn it enters.

Chandra, Hope's Beacon
6.66 Tix

But what truly sets it apart is its ability to copy instant spells and sorceries through its static ability, making the deck's numerous removal options even better when used in conjunction with it. Not to mention, the already potent Invoke Despair becomes even more insane, as its effect is doubled with Chandra in play.


9. Esper Legends

Even though Sunday didn't go too well, Esper Legends also benefited from the addition of cards from March of Machine, particularly Rona, Herald of Invasion.

She fits perfectly into the deck, boasting excellent synergy with it. While not initially included, it's important to highlight her synergy with Tolluz, Clever Conductor, which creates an interesting combo that generates significant value by discarding cards that aren't immediately useful but can be reused if removed from play. When she flips, Rona becomes a formidable threat to her opponents.


10. Other MoM Cards in the Top 32

Bloodfeather Phoenix
0.05 Tix
Invasion of Ergamon
0.01 Tix

Invasion of Zendikar
0.01 Tix
Glistening Dawn
0.01 Tix

Archangel Elspeth
0.56 Tix
Change the Equation
0.01 Tix

Elesh Norn
6.48 Tix
Invasion of Gobakhan
11.59 Tix

Invasion of Tarkir
9.86 Tix
Invasion of Karsus
0.37 Tix

Final words

As mentioned earlier, MoM seemed to be a highly impactful set for  Standard, and this has already been proven in the first week, strengthening old archetypes and introducing new ones, with a significant number of cards showing up among the tier decks of the format. And with the Pro Tour happening soon, we might be in for even more surprises.

Until next time!

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Lucas Giggs
MTG Streamer
Hi, my name is Lucas de Almeida Hervás. I'm 31 years old, married, and I live in Indaiatuba/SP, Brazil. I've been playing Magic the Gathering since 2009, but I've been making a living off of it since 2019 through leagues and tournaments on Magic Online. For those who don't know me, I'm 2.17 meters tall, hence the nickname "the tallest Magic player in Brazil."


Published: 2023-04-29 00:00:00