Top 10 Commons / Uncommons from March of the Machine

Anthony shows off his top picks from March of the Machine that don't cost a rare wildcard for Explorer.

New Cards Ain’t Free

Whenever a new set releases, people spend most of their time focusing on the new rares and mythics, wondering how they’ll impact the decks that are relevant to the formats they care about.

For the purposes of Magic Arena, rares and mythics come with a different cost than they do in paper. While some rares can easily be affordable in paper, those same cards come at a steeper cost on Arena. The upside of the Arena economy is also its drawback, all rares will cost you the same thing; one wildcard. With the abundance of rares that can find their way into tiered strategies, it can quickly become impossible to keep up. Unless you want to open your wallet or fire off constant drafts whenever a new set comes out, you have to spend your rare and mythic wild cards strategically.

That same desire to hoard is not as true for common and uncommon wild cards however, and while rares and mythics are usually what make the greatest impact on constructed formats, commons and uncommons often serve as the backbone for each deck that you might see. 

Take a look at Explorer, for example. Llanowar Elves, Elvish Mystic, Spell Pierce, and Abrade are all older examples of commons that have shined in this format, with Consider being another somewhat recent addition to this list. Uncommons have even more prevalence in newer formats – especially Explorer – as cards like Mystical Dispute and Portable Hole fill up slots in sideboards. Fatal Push is one of the most played cards in the format, and recent cards like Tear Asunder and Sheoldred’s Edict continue to add to that card pool of uncommons that make waves in Explorer.

March of the Machine is different, but in a good way. In making this list of ten cards, I had to narrow it down from 23 that I initially picked out, with a list that didn’t even include Wrenn’s Resolve or Corrupted Conviction, which are just functional reprints of cards that already see a little play in Reckless Impulse and Village Rites, respectively. I will list the other cards I cut from this list as honorable mentions at the end, though. This list is also not ranked in order of how good I think they are, but rather of the ten I’m most confident will see play. 

Volcanic Spite (Common)

This one is an easy one. Rather than being a functional reprint like the two cards I mentioned above, this is instead a much more pushed version of a card that is already seeing play. Volcanic Spite is just Fire Prophecy with a ton more upside. Even leaving aside the ability to hit Battles, which in and of itself is upside, Spite is able to hit Planeswalkers, which Fire Prophecy could not do. This makes it almost infinitely better than Prophecy, which sees a good amount of play in decks like Creativity.

Still though, this is the easiest card in the set to predict. Any deck that was playing Fire Prophecy is going to switch to this. It is better in every single way, and is even the same rarity. This is one of the safest cards in the set to craft of any rarity, and it is the rarity that is most accessible to craft. 

Invasion of Ergamon (Uncommon)

I’m going to try and call my shot with one of the new battle cards. I like Invasion of Ergamon a lot, having a loot ability and a ramp ability on ETB is pretty powerful. If you ever flip it, it can also give access to a land tool box or just additional copies of itself. Admittedly I’m not sure which deck actually wants to play this. It could be something like an outdated Gruul Transmogrify / Creativity deck that looks to go into Titan of Industry or Atraxa, as the filtering helps you find the pieces you need for that and the Treasure gives you either ramp or a Creativity target. This deck may struggle to flip the Invasion though, which could potentially be enough of a downside to avoid the card entirely. That may or may not be outweighed by the backside just being a 3/4 beater that can be hit with a Transmogrify though, time will tell. Five defense counters is a lot to ask, but I think the front side of this one will be good enough for some deck out there to want. 

Khenra Spellspear (Uncommon)

Aggressive red decks love Prowess creatures, and while this one is only a bear on its face, a 2/2 creature for two with Prowess and Trample isn’t exactly a low floor. But the real upside to this card is the back, which you can see for three mana and two life, or three mana and a blue. 

The back of this card is an absolute beating. A 3/3 with Ward 2, Trample, and two instances of Prowess will end a lot of games quickly. We’ve seen with other cards like Graveyard Trespasser and even the rogue Patchwork Automaton that a small ward cost can often be the difference for a card sticking around an extra turn or two, so this being able to protect itself is very worthwhile to note. Transforming these cards isn’t an easy task, but the payoff here is worth it for testing at the very least. 

Glistening Deluge (Uncommon)

While I wouldn’t recommend using four uncommon wildcards on Glistening Deluge off the bat, I could see this becoming a very strong sideboard card for decks playing Black. Against humans, this will often just be a three-mana sweeper, especially if you can keep Thalia off the board before playing it. This also helps clean up any pesky elves that might be running around to slow down some of those bad matchups for the type of decks that want to play the Deluge. This is one that will likely cycle in and out of sideboards, but will be a good option to have as long as Mono White and Llanowar Elves decks remain prevalent.

Also, cards with the word “Deluge” in them have a decent but not perfect conversion rate for being constructed playable, so this has that going for it as well. 

Moment of Truth (Common)

If this card isn’t playable, it’s definitely close. While the words on it are worse than the ones on Strategic Planning for any deck playing this card, Moment of Truth has the ever prevalent upside of being an Instant, which is likely worth the extra card not going into your graveyard. UR Phoenix – or whichever Izzet spellslinger deck might exist in Explorer – and Esper Greasefang are decks that will look at this card for sure. I think this one is on the right side of playable, but for four common wild cards, you’re not going to get burned if it doesn’t. 

Seal from Existence (Uncommon)

The problem with Oblivion Ring-type cards is that they are not permanent removal, and can in fact be removed to get whatever is under them back. Seal from Existence still has that problem, but at the very least it is much harder to blow up. Any enchantment-hate, the most prevalent of which being Boseiju, Who Endures targeting this will cost an additional three mana, making it consume a whole turn to get rid of rather than the one or two mana it normally costs. That’s probably worth the tempo swing, and with Mono White Devotion style decks floating around in Standard, the two pips will probably be somewhat enticing as well. We haven’t been far off from Oblivion Rings being playable, and giving added protection to one might be enough to push it over the edge. 

Omen Hawker (Uncommon)

Omen Hawker is one of those cards that is either going to be complete garbage or broken in some strategy. While I’m not even sure what side of the line it’ll fall on, I think the potential upside makes it a worthwhile inclusion. 

While having a mana dork that makes two mana is powerful, the cost limitation here is interesting. There are very notable things you can do with mana from Omen Hawker though, including cycling a Shark Typhoon, channeling Otwara, Soaring City, or maybe most intriguing – activating a Nykthos. Mono Blue Devotion is something we’ve seen a little bit of before, and with Nykthos now in Explorer, it could be something people revisit. If that is the case, I could see Omen Hawker being included in a deck like that. Either way, this isn’t a card that is meant to be played fairly, so its a matter of how broken this ability actually is that will determine if it sees play. 

Phyrexian Censor (Uncommon)

Phyrexian Censor is going to walk into Explorer as one of the best Taxes pieces in the format. On the surface, it is going to be compared to Archon of Emeriaa lot, while players familiar with Modern are going to think of Ethersworn Canonist as the closest comparison. It’s sort of a weird hybrid of both, but the restriction on Censor is the most brutal among the three cards. There are so few Phyrexian spells that see regular play, which makes this into a Rule of Law on a stick a fair amount of the time. Being able to lean into that though is one of the most enticing features of the card, with cards like Skrelv, Defector Mite and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse being the most common Phyrexians that just fit in anywhere. 

It’s worth pointing out that the second line of text here is also going to be highly prevalent. Being a symmetrical effect, having that ability to build around the censor by including more Phyrexians that you normally might is also a reasonable plan. All of this on a reasonably sized 3/3 body means that this card has a lot of potential to see serious play. Of all the cards I looked over for this list, this is the one I’m most surprised to see at uncommon, as I think it could pretty easily be a rare, similar to Ethersworn Canonist and Archon of Emeria 

Seed of Hope (Common)

Seed of Hope is another card I feel has a lot of upside. In decks it would be going in, it’ll often be among the only non-permanent cards in the deck, almost turning it into a Green Consider. While Consider doesn’t have the fail case that this does, decks using it also likely want to be using their graveyard in some way. I think there is potential for Greasefang decks to try this card out, and while we certainly won’t see it in Mono G, I think there are other options for a card like this. The life gain on this is icing on the cake, as in some cases milling two cards and gaining two life is probably a desirable effect on its own for one mana. 

Atraxa’s Fall (Common)

If Battles become a big thing, which they easily could, I think Atraxa’s Fall will become one of the best Disenchant effects we’ve ever had. Even if Battles aren’t good, the upside of being a two mana kill spell for a flier is very enticing. I know this is just sorcery speed, but when you pause and consider how many relevant targets this card has, it becomes relatively easy to see it in the sideboard for some decks, with Battles being the thing that could potentially push it over the edge. Every other card we have like this costs three mana, and while we got a similar card with upside in ONE with Carnivorous Canopy the upside of being a whole less mana is greater than potentially proliferating. 

Honorable mentions that didn’t make the list include Botanical Brawler Kami of Whispered Hopes, Elspeth’s Smite, Halo Forger, Invasion of Azgol, Invasion of New Capenna, Lithomantic Barrage, Kor Halberd, Ral’s Reinforcements, Saiba Cryptomancer, Surge of Salvation, Change the Equation, Halo Hopper


I’ve said before that Uncommon is my favorite rarity, because of how impactful they are on a lot of formats, and that same sentiment rings true for Commons as well. It’s nice when quality cards can be accessible on the cheap, for both paper and online, and this set seems to have a plethora of cards that could make waves in Explorer, and I’m excited to see if any can become the next mainstays of the format. 

  • Anthony Dolce


    Anthony dove into Magic with the release of Guilds of Ravnica, getting heavy exposure to the game as a co-owner of an LGS. An avid fan of Draft, Modern, Pioneer, and Explorer, he loves brewing midrange and control decks, but always seems to find his way back to UW Spirits.

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