Your Quick Guide To The Weekend’s Arena Open

Looking to make a splash in the MTG Arena Open this weekend? Andy “Icky” Ferguson has your quick guide to three key March of the Machine Sealed strategies and a Draft archetype power ranking.

Protocol Knight
Protocol Knight, illustrated by Volkan Baga

Arena Open is back (again!?) this weekend! I’m still looking to earn my third Arena Open cash prize with this one, but who’s counting?

I’ve been absolutely loving March of the Machine (MOM) Limited, so getting to play for some steaks stakes is a prize in itself! In this quick guide, I’ll do my best to help prepare you for the event, so please, open your noggin so that the knowledge can fit.

Day One: Sealed

Some sets are better for Sealed Deck than others. In March of the Machine, it’s difficult to open six boosters and not hit a bomb. Having said that, I think there are three approaches to Sealed in this format, and I’ll order them from most powerful to least.


The strongest approach is to play as many powerful cards as your manabase can support. It’s fairly rare to get a nice, streamlined two-color deck in Sealed, though it certainly does happen. Make sure to account for all mana-fixing options. Don’t feel embarrassed to throw Urn of Godfire in your deck, especially if you have Omen Hawker, or a Flywheel Racer. Sealed is much slower than Draft in MOM, and it has felt like I would always have a solid target to hurl the Urn at in the late-game.

Urn of Godfire Omen Hawker Flywheel Racer


If you have few or no bombs, Plan B is to play all the removal spells you’ve opened. Most decks will be leaning heavily into powerful, late-game haymakers. If you can mitigate the early- and mid-game with some defensive creatures and kill or counter any late-game threats, you can take over with whatever creatures are in your deck. This would normally look like a Dimir shell, as it has access to the most removal and card advantage spells at common.


Two words: “Go fast.” This is more effective in Best-of-One, due to the hand smoother and no sideboarding from the opponent, but can work in Best-of-Three as well. There’s no specific color combination to adhere to, but the main goal is to win before your opponent’s bombs take over the game. You want to lean more heavily into your creature count than a normal deck, looking to establish a battlefield presence by Turn 2. You also will want to avoid most non-rare battles unless the front side is something you’re happy playing, like Invasion of Regatha or Invasion of Mercadia.

Day Two: Draft

There are plenty of viable ways to approach Draft in March of the Machine, and I’ll leave that up to the driver. Most agree that drafting the “hard way” (remaining open) is favored in this set when compared to others, so I’d approach with a little caution if you’re trying to jam a certain archetype from Pack 1, Pick 1. I’ll give you a rundown of the best archetypes, from most to least powerful.


Ephara's Dispersal Deadly Derision

It’s become much rarer to have the luxury of just being two-color Dimir, but it still happens. Not only does Dimir have the two deepest colors in March of the Machine, it also has two of the strongest gold uncommons, Halo Forager and Invasion of Amonkhet. With access to the most efficient removal and card advantage in the set, I’ve got Dimir as the top Draft deck of the format.

Azorius Knights

Swordsworn Cavalier Protocol Knight

Azorius Knights has more good cards than you can shake a lance at. It’s actually a very close second in terms of overall power compared to Dimir, but unlike the former, it does require more synergy-based cards. Marshal of Zhalfir is an absolute powerhouse, and quite disgusting in multiples. The convoke cards, like Artistic Refusal, Wicked Slumber, and Aerial Boost, are at their best here, especially paired with Knight of the New Coalition or other vigilance creatures. The main mistake I see people make with this deck is running any non-rare battle other than Invasion of Xerex or Invasion of Amonkhet. 

Sultai / Golgari / Simic

Blighted Burgeoning Eyes of Gitaxias Final Flourish

I’ll group these together, though I believe Simic to be the weakest of the three. It’s pretty rare to be Simic without splashing for some off-color bombs, but it can happen. Golgari can be a self-sufficient color pair; pairing kill spells with big Incubator tokens is likely what Glissa, Herald of Predation had envisioned in the first place. The most common scenario is ending up Simic or Golgari and splashing the third color with help from Blighted Burgeoning, Overgrown Pest, or Invasion of Zendikar, allowing you to play all the good cards.


Ral's Reinforcements Meeting of Minds

Izzet can be a bit finicky, but if it comes together well, can be an absolute powerhouse. If you’re fortunate enough to grab multiple copies of Ral’s Reinforcements, some convoke cards start to become much more powerful. Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive is great in this deck, working nicely with Elemental tokens and Marauding Dreadship. I also like Equipment in this deck to ensure your smaller creatures can be relevant late-game. A white splash for Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart is a personal favorite as well.


Bola Slinger Hangar Scrounger Vanquish the Weak

I’ll lump Boros and Orzhov together in terms of power level. When the stars align, both decks can be absolute powerhouses, but the average build is often uninspiring. I wrote an article about Boros last week, with its main strength being that no one takes the cards. Orzhov, on the other hand, often feels more contested, likely due to the black removal spells being picked up early. 

Selesnya / Rakdos

Botanical Brawler Stormclaw Rager

Selesnya and Rakdos can both be real decks, but both tend to be vulnerable, in addition to being difficult to assemble. I’ve seen very strong-looking Selesnya and Rakdos decks, but they rarely perform well, and I would advise avoiding these archetypes altogether.

I hope this helps you win some of that sweet, sweet, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) money this weekend! If nothing else…

Lose and Learn, Learn and Win!