What I’m Building With March Of The Machine

March of the Machine has lots of exciting new options for Commander and Sheldon Menery shares his top picks

Audacity, illustrated by Rudy Siswanto

You saw when I did my deck update that March of the Machine set a new record, putting more than 70 cards into my suite of decks.  Now it’s time to get to the new stuff.  I always want to build and these days I like to take the road less traveled.  I don’t think it’s all that difficult or expensive to build a strong, tight, solid deck with any of the legendary creatures.  I want to avoid the easy and find something well more off the beaten path.  Decks from back in the day can kind of serve as the obvious ones.  Now I’ll start looking for decks in all the wrong places.   

Quite a few potential commanders jumped out at me from this set.  Ayara, Widow of the Realm was the Commander Rules Committee (RC) preview card for March of the Machine.  It feels like a one of ninety-nine, but I’m sure I could get a little mileage as the commander.  Bright-Palm, Soul Awakener looks like it could be fun in arguably the most fun shard, Naya.  I’m always going to take an extended look at the Orzhov (the only true Guild) commanders.  In this set, it’s Brimaz, Blight of Oreskos, and Moria and Teshar.  The latter had me right up until the last sentence of its ability.  Unless we could figure out some really cool thing to do with Brimaz’s Incubator tokens—some way to take advantage of them before we crack them—that’d be grand. 

Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy makes me wonder what kind of strange artifact creatures I could create to take advantage of those abilities.  Hidetsugu and Kairi suggest some kind of tragic opera; I’d want to study up on the plots and characters of famous ones like Puccini’s Turandot or Mozart’s Don Giovanni to build a deck based on them. It would be fun to jump through the hoops to make Kroxa and Kunoros work.  Rona, Herald of Invasion looks compelling because the back side, Rona Tolarian Obliterator, is little like anything we’ve seen before.  Slimefoot and Squee is a strong contender because it does stuff I like to do, namely reanimate cards from the yard.  Thalia and the Gitrog Monster offers us the undeniable lure of extreme value.  I’m also a fan of what Zimone and Dina have put together, especially with dropping a land from the activated ability.   

In the end, however, I went with a card that there’s been lots of chatter about, namely Rashmi and Ragavan.  Resisting an Elf Monkey is hard in the first place.   Resisting an Elf Monkey with a cool ability is much harder.  Finding the road not taken with this card will also be difficult, since we’ll need some way of creating artifacts in order to make sure that we cast for free card from the top of opponents’ libraries.   

The second part of the deck is that I want battles to play an important part.  I like the idea of the minigame.  Now, I want to play with them.  There are eighteen choices in Temur colors, so we have our pick of the best of the best.  Since battles take time to become their final form, we’ll need to make sure we have the time to get there.  Battles mean we’ll want some kind of evasion in order to attack those battles freely.  Evasion is also good in the later game as we want to start going to opponents’ domes.   

Unlike her progenitor, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, Rashmi and Ragavan triggers only on our turn (but still on the first spell.  OG Rashmi certainly also goes in the deck.  The next question becomes what else do we want to do with the deck? We’ll want a compelling direction to take other peoples’ libraries, but since we can’t really predict what will be in their ninety-nines.  The obvious choice would be Clones, but that’s a well-rambled road.  Let’s see if we can glean a thing or two from the Battles that we’ve chosen. 

Six seemed about the right number to offer us reasonable density without overcommitting to the bit; a seventh would have been reasonable as well.  We want both the front and back sides to offer impact, from decent enters-the-battlefield triggers to battle-worthy creatures and game state-changing enchantments.   

Invasion of Ikoria

We’ll have some immediate impact since we’re dropping a decent creature onto the battlefield, from the ramp of Solemn Simulacrum to whatever other utility creature strikes our fancy.  When we get to the other side, not only do we get the beefy 8/8 Zilortha, but all our non-Humans can deal combat damage as if they weren’t blocked.  Superevasion. 

Invasion of Karsus

Immediate enough to provide a mini board sweeper, giving us opportunity to rush in and batter down the walls.  Refraction Elemental as a 4/4 is fine, but it’s the triggered ability that’s really going to have life totals dropping.  Just a handful of low-cost spells will get us to the end game quite fast. 

Invasion of Regatha

Regatha offers us a little more of the same as Karsus, slinging around some extra damage at a quite affordable price.  We’ll primarily use it to bust down our battles, then really get into the Red Zone.   

Invasion of Shandalar

We’ll have to wait a bit turns-wise in order to make Shandalar well worth it, but once it gets rolling we’re going to have rocking good times.  One of the ways that Invasion of Shandalar will shine in the deck will be by skirting the cost of expensive permanents, like some of those immense Robots from The Brothers’ War to the Praetors of New Phyrexia.  

Invasion of Vryn

I think my favorite, Invasion of Vryn leads us to do one of the things that will make our deck do something different.  In its transformed incarnation as Overloaded Mage-Ring, it will be able to copy the spells that we’re casting via Rashmi and Ragavan.  We’ll get one of theirs (at hopefully no cost) and one of our own (for nearly no cost).  Seems like we win all around.   

Invasion of Zendikar

I’ll call Invasion of Zendikar objectively the best of the six, getting us sweet ramp on Turn 4 then offering more and more land post-transformation—a stunningly-easy 3 on defense.  Get your cool versions now.  They’ll be at a premium soon. 

Invasion of Vryn leads us to Baral and Kari Zev, where we’ll be casting more stuff or making Monkey tokens.  Because there will be times when those Monkey tokens will be created on other players’ turns, we’ll likely want something to do with them.  Then we get this whole is it my spell/is it your spell sleight of hand running around, and the game gets wild.   

Treasures aren’t likely to hang around all that long, so they’re not going to help fuel Rashmi and Ragavan all that much.  We’ll use a card like Sarinth Greatwurm to solve that problem.  Powerstones might not be able to cast nonartifact spells, but they can activate abilities, so they won’t likely go to waste.  I like the idea of Academy Manufacturer doing its thing for more artifacts. After that, we have several ways of getting enough artifacts onto the battlefield that we should most always have enough for Rashmi and Ragavan.  

I intentionally leaned into the Legendary creatures, focusing on lots of newer ones. Creatures are great these days (especially compared to how they were when EDH first started) and I love having creature-based decks. I started with the Secret Lair drop Doric, Nature’s Warden because of its buff to Legendary creatures—and she turns into an Owl Bear! Let’s look at the list and then break down some of those other Legendary creatures. 

Rashmi and Ragavan Battles
Sheldon Menery
Test deck on 05-09-2023
Magic Card Back

New Etali is a beast of a Dinosaur. Just the raw value we get from his enters-the-battlefield trigger is enough. Just existing as a trampling 7/7 is enough—but wait, there’s more! Transformed, he’s a one-shot poison killer. When you see this Etali, you better hope you have interaction or that it’s pointed another way. 

Feldon of the Third Path

Feldon is a card that I keep wanting to play but never seem to find room for. In this deck, it’ll add to our artifact count while giving us a big attacker at the same time. We’re going to have some artifact creatures in the deck that we’ll use Goblin Welder with, so we can make a copy of something and then bring the original back. Wurmcoil Engine is a nice target. 

Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy

Gimbal is obviously a fit in this deck. Giving our artifact creatures trample led me to consider Titania’s Song, but that doesn’t do much for tokens, like Powerstones and Treasures, since the song cares about mana value. Especially with Academy Manufacturer running, we should have nice spread of differently-named tokens. 


This card is just silly. The mana investment is relatively low for what we eventually get. We’ll have to pay attention to the board state on Chapter II, since it bounces all non-Phyrexians, of which we have plenty. Still, the upside of Chapter III, should we get there, is absurd.  

Kogla and Yidaro

I’m mostly going to use this for is enchantment and artifact destruction, which is way less counterable than a spell, since it’s an activated ability. There might be times when it’s right to bring a 7/7 Ape Dinosaur Turtle onto the battlefield, with the fight trigger probably being the most interesting of the lot. 

Orthion, Hero of Lavabrink

Getting one copy of something cool is enough. I can’t wait to get five Wurmcoil Engines or not even being greedy with five Solemn Simulacrums. I’m sure there’s some real tomfoolery that could happen with five hasty Goblin Welders. 

Questing Beast

Questing Beast does it all (and I know I have an extra copy in the build box). The ability that I’m most a fan of is that combat damage from our creatures can’t be prevented. People are just going to have to keep their Inkshields in their hands.   

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter

OG Rashmi is always a sweet card, offering up tons of value when we cast something on the large side. In the worst case, we draw a card. It’s just solid all around and it felt like we should include it (although I declined on Yidaro).  

Saryth, the Viper's Fang

In addition to being just a saucy card, Saryth is in here for a particular purpose—which I’ll talk about more below. 

Surrak and Goreclaw  

This one is sneaky good in ways that might not automatically present themselves. Giving everyone trample is an outstanding first step. Making everyone bigger and hasty when it enters the battlefield is going to kill people straight up. The way a Human Bear should. 

Thada Adel, Acquisitor

Slipping back to an older card, Thada Adel will not only give us goodies, it’ll bump up our artifact count. I’ve seen games in which a Thada Adel player had everyone else’s Sol Ring, which was cute. Having islandwalk goes a long way to making the card great. 

Thassa, God of the Sea

I often forget the scry, but that’s not the important part anyway (and I’m getting better at remembering). Making stuff unblockable is. Whether that becomes part of just getting through with the particular creature we want or some janky commander kill, Thassa will guide the way. 

Unctus, Grand Metatect

There’s a great deal of flexibility here. First we have the looting, then we have the buff to artifact creatures, then we have the ability to turn any of our creatures into a blue artifact creature.  

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider

No poison, just the ability to get even more counters on our people, fewer on theirs. The 6/6 for six with trample and haste doesn’t hurt the argument, either (although I suppose we can have 18 power creatures for the same cost these days). Regardless, the card is aptly named and will synergize with quite a few cards in the deck. 

After all that, I’ve allowed myself one little piece of jank. I want to put Colossification on something and smash with it. Unfortunately, we tap the creature when the aura goes on. In comes Saryth, the Viper’s Fang, with his untappy ability (see also Minamo, School at Water’s Edge). Then there’s the even cheekier choice of Aura Finesse. For just one mana, we can move the Colossification onto an untapped creature. The card is already on the battlefield, so it won’t trigger tapping anything again. We also get to draw a card. Winning all around! 

This relatively straightforward deck is easy to pilot and get our kicks smashing into opponents. It’s the kind of deck you play in a late game of the evening, when we might be a little tired and not thinking quite as clearly as when we started. It’s a deck I would definitely call fun and a little unusual. Enjoy it.  

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