Marching Back to March of the Machine

So it’s been about six months since March of the Machine came out, and that’s the timeline where I like to take stock of a set and evaluate what the prices have gone down to, what’s worth stocking up on, and what I’m glad I waited on.

Do remember that while I’m focusing on Commander use and eternal formats, MOM is legal in Standard for two more years. That’s a long time for new strategies and decks to emerge. 

For each card, I’m giving the price on the cheapest version, the most expensive and the number of decks on EDHREC that list the card. As always, I’m aware of the limitations of EDHREC data, as it’s got a tendency to loop on itself and it’s only the most plugged-in of users who bother to upload a deck. It’s good data, but not the be-all and end-all for this sort of thing.

City on Fire ($4 to $5, 31k decks) – Fiery Emancipation just got reprinted in the Enchanting Tales subset as a rare, down from mythic.It’s now a $3 card, when right before the reprint it was close to $30. There’s clearly a market for ridiculous enchantments that triple your damage output. City on Fire is easier to cast, thanks to Convoke, and we’ll see if having two versions available at once affects the prices. This sort of thing might well have become bulk, or nearly so, as we saw with Gratuitous Violence until the last couple of years. 

The other thing that’s worth mentioning is that the foils and nonfoils are very close in price. This means players don’t care which version they get, they just want a copy. When there is a bigger gap between versions, that means players are being more judicious, chasing the foils instead. In the modern day, with four versions of most cards, we usually see three of them bunched together and then the FEA/Showcase foil having a more premium price. That’s not the case here. 

Chandra, Hope’s Beacon ($4 to $9, 10k decks) – That gap is evident here, as the borderless foil is clearly the rarer and the basic versions are less than half the price. It’s interesting that this is so much more expensive than Double Vision, which as an enchantment is more robust than the Planeswalker.

Chandra’s other abilities are not to be trifled with, to be clear. In addition to the copying, you get mana, spell casting from exile, plus some big damage. Yes, she’s six mana but you get a lot for it and both the copying and the exiling are popular abilities in Commander.

Tribute to the World Tree ($6 to $8, 50k decks) – It’s been a while since a card premiered at a certain price and stayed at that price, barely moving up or down, but that’s what we’ve got here:

Someone decided early on that this was a $6 card and while it’s sold copies at $7 thanks to the Direct bump, the graph has stayed remarkably consistent. It’s one of the top inclusions from the set and only a very restrictive mana cost keeps this from kicking butt all over the place. It does two things all at once: draws you cards for the big things, and puts counters on the little things. Depending on your deck, you might want one or both of these effects. The popularity of this card has me thinking that it’s a great candidate to increase in price soon, but don’t look for this to light up Mono-Green lists anytime soon outside Commander.

Faerie Mastermind ($10 to $12, 43k decks) – Blessed few World Championship winners have made bad cards, and the Mastermind is good on a bunch of levels. First of all, we just got a couple of new Faerie toys plus some use in Standard, which is why we’ve left behind the low price of sub-$5:

It’s pretty easy to flash this in and draw a card in response to something an opponent does in any game of Magic. We’ve mostly learned that drawing cards is good, and there’s not much that’s better. 

He’s a Rogue, in case the Party is a thing or Prowl effects come back into vogue. Mainly, though, this is a fun reactive card in Standard and something really fun to use in Commander, where your generosity is not only greater for yourself, it’s a political tool up for negotiation. I can see this coming back down if it falls out of favor in Standard, but the Commander use will always be there.

Kami of Whispered Hopes ($0.75 to $4, 35k decks) – One of the rules for Commander deckbuilding is that if you want an effect, you want as many versions as possible for that effect. So if you build a Nekusar deck, you include effects like Underworld Dreams and Fate Unraveler. 

The Kami works on a similar axis, where if you’re in a +1/+1 counters deck, you want every effect that increases those counters. Plus, you get extra mana for it! 

As an uncommon, you’d normally be stuck at having a regular or a pack foil, but there’s a promo pack version that I’m advocating for. Only a couple of vendors have notable walls, and given the number of people who have these promo foils listed for $9 or $10, they are also believers that there’s nowhere to go but up for this card.

Etali, Primal Conqueror ($5 to $12, 35k decks, including 4k as Commander) – Not only is this Etali a roaring good time, giving you four spells for one casting, it’s remarkably easy to build. Stuff your deck full of ramp spells, as Etali gets killed a whole lot, and keep replaying the tops of their decks.

Etali is about to benefit from the Dinosaur hype, too, but there’s a weird thing happening with this card. The Showcase version, which highlights a medallion for each side, is sitting several dollars lower than the regular, something we haven’t seen since the Monster Manual versions of Baldur’s Gate. With the upcoming Lost Caverns and Jurassic Park subset, I fully expect Etali to go up, even the less-desirable Showcase version.

Ozolith, the Shattered Spire ($4.50 to $6, 32k decks) – As I said, a deck wants all possible versions of an effect, and this one gives a bonus and activates to get things rolling. And if you need to, just cycle it away!

It’s never really dropped in price from the early days, but the Commander demand plus the occasional sighting in Hardened Scales decks means that the long-term growth should be there. Picking up a few copies now, preferably of the FEA versions, should pay off nicely.

Invasion of Ikoria ($6 to $12, 27k decks) – The foil version is up $3 in the last six weeks and you’re rapidly losing your chance to get this at a reasonable price. Some decks can’t handle the ‘no Human’ aspect but generally speaking, you’re going to kick butt here. 

Sunfall ($3 to $4, 13k decks) – We’ve got no shortage of good board wipes in Commander, but the mass exile clause is powerful indeed, especially when you get a decent-sized token left behind. Being a bomb in its limited format probably helps here, but I’d be surprised if this ended up going much above $10 in the long term.

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.