Apprehension As Aftermath Arrives

My favorite leak of all time has got to be the New Phyrexia Godbook being shared on IRC chat way back in the day. A new favorite of mine, though, is the YouTuber who filmed a couple of box openings for March of the Machine: Aftermath and decided to release those a couple months early.

As a result, we know a lot of the cards in the set ahead of schedule, and if you don’t like unofficial spoilers, you can read what I think and avoid specifics card images. I’m not going to post any of those, but I am going to talk about potential gainers based on the cards.

Krakens, Leviathans, Serpents, and Octopus cards – There’s a new blue-green legend that cares about these creature types, giving you a free card off the top based on the creature’s mana cost. You have to cast it from hand, but then you get a peek at some number of cards, then cast the spell for free. A pretty great deal for any circumstance, but what if there was a huge Kraken that reduced its cost for playing special lands, and could even return itself to your hand?

Step right up, Icebreaker Kraken, this might be your time to shine:

(disclaimer: I bought 101 of these at forty cents each when Runo Stromkirk was previewed. It’s up to sixty cents now!)

Really, this is everything the new Kraken commander might want, letting you look at a ton of cards, but not costing full price because of the built-in reduction. Then once you get the cast and ETB triggers, you can bounce it to your hand to be replayed when you want to do it all again.

There’s a lot of sweet Kraken, Leviathan, Octopus, or Serpent (hereafter known as KLOS) cards that could rise. Breaching Leviathan hasn’t had a reprint since its debut in C14 and if it dodges a reprint in Commander Masters, it might shoot to the moon. Quest for Ula’s Temple has already spiked hard once and could hit $10 again. Whelming Wave is probably the best card in your deck but it’s had so many printings that I don’t think it’ll rise to a good value. Spawning Kraken used to be a lot cheaper than it is, but making 9/9 tokens is an experience every player should have.

Special notice for Hullbreaker Horror, though. 

The Double Feature foil is over fifty bucks, so there’s unlikely to be huge gains made there. The FEA versions can still be had under $20, especially because this is going to rotate out of Standard in a few months. It still sees a sprinkle of Standard play, most often as a control finisher, but blue decks of any type, even KLOS, love to leave mana up for shenanigans then resolve something bonkers like this.

Moving on from KLOS cards, there’s a new Ob Nixilis who is an immediate game-ending combo with All Will Be One, with the catch that every damage dealt exiles the top card of your library. This doesn’t immediately lose you the game, as it never says ‘draw a card’ but it’s something to be aware of. We’re also going to see a certain number of pingers spike, things like Pestilence and Pyrohemia as well. Repeatable ways to deal one damage, like Shivan Gorge, the unloved child of Urza’s Saga’s five rare lands. Gaea’s Cradle, Tolarian Academy, Serra’s Sanctum, Phyrexian Tower, and then poor ol’ Gorge. Tough times.

Since it triggers off of opponents losing exactly one life, there’s a range of cards that might go haywire. Ayara, First of Locthwain or Bastion of Remembrance are good, Bontu’s Monument is already a $10 foil in uncommon. Cryptolith Fragment is possibly going to jump too, but the deeper cut is Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant, from the AFR Commander subset. Lots of fun for everyone! Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath, one of the original planeswalker-as-commanders who will also work very well in the deck.

There’s a new Karn, who cares both about having a high mana value artifact in play as well as having lots of artifacts in play. Gotta go big and wide. Myr Battlesphere comes to mind, and while that’s had twelve printings, there’s foils only from Double Masters and Scars of Mirrodin, reasonable targets both. 

Snake Basket also comes to mind as a way to take a lot of mana and make tokens, as does Hangarback Walker. Thopter Assembly is slow, but can be a fun way to do the thing you want to do. The big thing I’m thinking of, though, is a card that I can’t advocate speculating on because it cries out to be in Commander Masters: Mycosynth Golem.

It was in Fifth Dawn and it had a presence on The List for a short while, but the card is pushing $40 on the idea that there’s almost no copies in circulation somehow. This will get reprinted, and remind players all over again how busted a mechanic this truly is. I can’t say if it’ll be in a Secret Lair or Commander Masters, or when the reprint will arrive, but it’s a matter of when, not if.


Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.