The Aftermath Review

Andy Zupke • May 19, 2023

The set reviews will continue until morale improves.

Hello friends, and welcome back to my little Commander corner of Cardsphere. If you read my last two articles reviewing March of the Machine and thought, “Man, these are great. I can’t wait for more set reviews,” then you’re in luck! Because right on the heels of MOM we’ve got a brand new supplementary set, March of the Machine: The Aftermath. This is a story-based set, meant to wrap up all the loose ends of the Phyrexian arc. The denouement, if you will.

The set is only 50 cards, so it’s going to be the easiest set review I’ve ever done. We’re just gonna talk about all the cards that caught my eye that I think will find a home in our format. Or stuff I’m just excited about. Here we go.

The Afterparty

Arni Metalbrow - Let’s kick things off with a legend who had quite the glow-up, all thanks to somehow getting another horn stuck in his face. This new Arni honestly seems too good to be true. Like, where’s the sacrifice at end of turn requirement that we usually get on these Sneak Attack effects? The only real stipulation here is the mana value requirement. Also, there’s no once per turn clause here. So if you’ve got two more mana and a creature in your hand with lesser MV than the one you just dropped, you can totally do it again.


Plargg and Nassari - When I saw this, I immediately went to Discord and asked the question, “Is this a better Etali?” Etali, Primal Storm costs one more mana, and triggers on attacks. The drawbacks are the same, in that you have to wait until it gets back to your turn for the effect. But with P&N, you don’t have to attack, thus putting your commander in danger of dying to a 1/1 with deathtouch. Also, you don’t whiff on lands like you do with Etali. So really, the only drawback here is that an opponent is going to take away the best of the four cards. But you still get three free cards no matter what. I’m a fan.

Calix, Guided by Fate - Making your creatures bigger when you drop enchantments is pretty huge. But making copies of any enchantment is even bigger. Want two Smothering Tithes? Go for it. Wanna double Doubling Season? Go for it, go for it.

Nahiri, Forged in Fury - One of the best Equipment commanders we’ve seen. I recommend adding Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith to the 99 so Nahiri is always super cheap.

Narset, Enlightened Exile - It’s nowhere near as good as the original, but it’s still very cool. If you’ve always wanted to build Narset, Enlightened Master but didn’t want to deal with the groans from the table, then this might just be perfect for you. And I really like that she can grab from any graveyard. Jeskai mill, anyone?

Niv-Mizzet, Supreme - It’s the Niv-Mizzet that comes with sour cream! There’s certainly some spells that do ridiculous things if you cast them multiple times. My jank-loving heart would kindly suggest you try Din of the Fireherd.

Karn, Legacy Reforged - If you don’t think there are people who love a colorless Commander deck, I’ll have you know, there are dozens of us. Dozens! Just get to enough mana to fire off the Planar Bridge every turn, and you can assemble all kinds of nastiness. Like an unstoppable army, or a staxxy board lock.


Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin - Most people are talking about this one because of its combo potential with All Will be One. You just need to make sure you have more cards in your library than your opponents’ life totals, and you’re good to go.


Deification - I think this one’s a bit fringe for Commander, but will be big in decks led by planeswalkers with white in their identity. It's almost like planeswalker commanders finally got a Swiftfoot Boots (with a color requirement). This one should be pretty big in the newly legitimized Oathbreaker format.

Filter Out - The instant speed is why I’m highlighting this one. Aside from Hurkyl’s Final Meditation, which costs at least seven mana, these mass bounce effects only come at sorcery speed. And they’ve never been this cheap. The fact that it doesn’t bounce creatures can either be a pro or con, depending on how your deck is built. Seems like a great answer to all the treasure decks out there.


Reckless Handling - A Gamble for artifacts? Some potential damage as well? What’s not to love?

Tranquil Frillback - A new toy for Bant blink decks. It’s modal, which you know I love. And two of the modes can be highly relevant. Blink this guy in response to someone casting Underworld Breach if you’re looking to crush their dreams.

Rebuild the City - We’ll end on one of the most exciting cards from the set. When one Cabal Coffers isn’t enough, you Rebuild the City. The copies won’t be able to make mana on their first turn, but when it gets back to you you’ll be in a damn fine position. The cost is huge, but what you get for it can be pretty amazing. Sadly the legend rule still applies, so you can’t copy Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx or Gaea’s Cradle. But Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle can be a great target, as well as Field of the Dead or Maze of Ith.


Final Parting

Wow, that was easy. WOTC can make all sets 50 cards as far as I’m concerned. Certainly makes these reviews a lot easier.

There are definitely some really fun cards in this set. But does the set really need to exist? The answer is no, it doesn't. Anything really important story-wise could’ve been wrapped up in, you know, an actual written story.

But let’s address the real issue here, and that's price. Packs of this set have fewer cards, but cost the same. An “Epilogue” booster box of Aftermath costs around the same as a set booster box of a normal Standard set, but has six fewer packs. And each pack only has five cards, compared to a set booster’s 12. So you’re getting a lot less for the same price. Why?

This is not a premium product, like Double Masters. So why are we expected to pay such exorbitant prices for this set? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.

So what’s next? Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth previews don’t start until the end of this month, so I’ll have another article for you before we get back into review mode. What should we discuss? Hit me up on Twitter to give me some ideas. I’ll be back in two weeks, so until then, take care. And play lots of games!