Updated Decks After March of the Machine

Hello everyone! Welcome to Standard Weekly!

This week, we will look at how the new cards from March of the Machines affect decks currently in Standard. Instead of giving a full explanation for each deck, I will focus on the additions from March of the Machines that will impact the Standard format.


When making a deck, you should always consider the format you are playing in. While most games are played on MTG Arena in best-of-one matches, paper Magic typically involves best-of-three matches. The deck you play at your local game store might resemble one that sees play on Arena but will likely not be identical because the format is different. In best-of-one matches, you are trying to plan for an overall aggressive format that favors aggro and mono-colored decks over control and midrange. Therefore, you will see more removal spells in decks in best-of-one matches than you typically would see in best-of-three matches because your sideboard will hopefully have answers for your opponent’s game plan, allowing you to have less removal in your main deck.

Another key factor is your local game store’s metagame. Decks that work well on Arena may not work well at your LGS. Knowing what your local metagame is, is just as important as knowing what decks are popular and successful in Standard. For example, I know that I can expect to see an Esper Midrange/Control deck, an Angel deck, a Rakdos deck, and a couple of aggro decks when I play in paper. This helps me make specific changes to my main deck and sideboard to plan for what I expect to see.


Last week, I looked at the Top 5 decks at the end of the Phyrexia: All Will Be One Standard season, so they are a good starting point for this discussion. The number one deck at the end of the Phyrexia: All Will Be One Standard season was Esper Raffine. Two cards that stood out to me for the deck from the set were Rona, Herald of Invasion, and Elesh Norn.



  • 1 Archfiend of the Dross

  • 4 Bloodtithe Harvester

  • 4 Graveyard Trespasser

  • 4 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse


  • 4 Cut Down

  • 1 Infernal Grasp

  • 1 Gix’s Command

  • 4 Go for the Throat


  • 4 Invoke Despair


  • 3 Reckoner Bankbuster


  • 4 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

LANDS: (26)

  • 1 Mountain

  • 10 Swamp

  • 4 Sulfurous Springs

  • 4 Blackcleave Cliffs

  • 4 Haunted Ridge

  • 1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

  • 1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

  • 1 Mirrex


  • 1 Archfiend of the Dross

  • 1 Chandra, Hope’s Beacon

  • 3 Duress

  • 2 Gix’s Command

  • 3 Glistening Deluge

  • 1 Liliana of the Veil

  • 2 Razorlash Transmogrant

  • 1 Soul Transfer

  • 1 Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting

In this initial build of the deck, I swapped out 2 Guardian of New Benalia and a Sheoldred, the Apocalypse to put two Rona, Herald of Invasion and a copy of Elesh Norn into the deck. Rona seems like a no-doubt inclusion in the deck because of her ability to help filter cards. You can tap Rona to draw a card, then discard a card. On its own, this is an ability that we have seen on other cards. What makes Rona’s ability more powerful is that when you cast a legendary spell, you untap Rona, Herald of Invasion. This allows you to activate the ability more than once each turn, giving you the ability to dig for the most relevant cards in any matchup.

Elesh Norn is one of the most powerful cards from March of the Machines. Her ability states that whenever an opponent deals damage to you or a permanent you control, that opponent loses two life unless he/she pays one mana. The ability either taxes your opponent or damages your opponent for playing the game. This makes Elesh Norn potentially one of the best control cards ever made. This does not count her other ability that transforms her into The Argent Etchings. This saga makes five 2/2 Phyrexian artifact creature tokens. Then, on chapter two, each of your creatures gains +1/+1 and double strike until the end of the turn. If this does not finish the game, then chapter three destroys all permanents except artifacts, lands, and Phyrexians. The Argent Etchings then transform back into Elesh Norn. My expectation is that if you can transform Elesh Norn, you will win the game most of the time.

How effective Rona and Elesh Norn are in the deck will determine if more copies of them will find their way into the deck. Another deck from the top 5 that gets an upgrade is Selesnya Toxic.



  • 4 Venerated Rotpriest

  • 4 Crawling Chorus

  • 4 Skrelv, Defector Mite

  • 4 Slaughter Singer

  • 3 Jawbone Duelist

  • 4 Bloated Contaminator


  • 4 Tyvar’s Stand

  • 2 Destroy Evil


  • 4 Audacity

  • 4 Skrelv’s Hive

LANDS: (23)

  • 1 Forest

  • 1 Plains

  • 4 Brushland

  • 4 Razorverge Thicket

  • 3 Overgrown Farmland

  • 4 The Seedcore

  • 3 Mirrex

  • 1 Boseiju, Who Endures

  • 2 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire


  • 2 Ajani, Sleeper Agent

  • 2 Melira, the Living Cure

  • 4 Annex Sentry

  • 2 Phyrexian Censor

  • 1 Destroy Evil

  • 4 Wedding Announcement

Selesnya Toxic did not have many cards to consider from March of the Machine, so the addition is only to the sideboard at this point.  Phyrexian Censor is a three mana 3/3 Phyrexian Wizard.  What makes Phyreixan Censor a fit for the deck are its abilities.  First, each player can’t cast more than one non-Phyrexian spell each turn.  Then, non-Phyrexian creatures enter the battlefield tapped.  These abilities give the deck a boost against most of the deck in standard because they do not have many Phyrexian creatures.  All of the creatures in Selesnya Toxic are Phyrexians, so you are not placing limitations on yourself.  The limitations the card places on an opponent are significant if Phyrexian Censor does not get removed.

Whether Phyrexian Censor should be a part of the main deck will depend on how standard develops during March of the Machine season.  Either way, Phyrexian Censor will have an impact on the deck.

Another deck getting an upgrade is Rakdos Midrange.  March of the Machine offers good options to bring into the deck.


  • 4 Skystrike Officer

  • 4 Recruitment Officer

  • 3 Brutal Cathar

  • 3 Siege Veteran

  • 2 Resolute Reinforcements

  • 4 Valiant Veteran

  • 2 Harbin, Vanguard Aviator

  • 2 Dennick, Pious Apprentice

  • 4 Spectrum Sentinel

  • 4 Guardian of New Benalia


  • 2 Destroy Evil

  • 2 Fateful Absence

  • 2 Lay Down Arms

LANDS: (22)

  • 2 Island

  • 1 Plaza of Heroes

  • 4 Secluded Courtyard

  • 3 Adarkar Wastes

  • 4 Fortified Beachhead

  • 4 Plains

  • 4 Deserted Beach


  • 2 Myrel, Shield of Argive

  • 3 Fateful Absence

  • 2 Sungold Sentinel

  • 2 Destroy Evil

  • 2 Lay Down Arms

  • 2 Disenchant

The upgrades for Rakdos Midrange will initially start in the sideboard. First, Chandra, Hope’s Beacon offers a powerful planeswalker for the deck. For six mana you get a five loyalty planeswalker with a solid static ability. Chandra’s static ability states that whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, copy it. You may choose a new target for the copy. This ability only triggers once a turn. This ability gives Chandra the ability to immediately have an impact on the board. Her plus two ability allows you to add two mana in any combination of colors. This will allow you to cast another spell on the turn Chandra comes into play. Her plus one ability allows you to exile the top five cards of your library. Then until the end of your next turn, you may play an instant or sorcery from among the cards exiled. Finally, for -X Chandra Hope’s Beacon deals X damage to each of up to two targets. The only thing that keeps Chandra from seeing more play is her high mana cost, but if standard remains a mixture of midrange decks Chandra may have more of a role to play.

The second upgrade for the sideboard is Glistening Deluge. The spell gives each creature -1/-1 until the end of the turn. Creatures that are green and/or white get an additional -2/-2 until end of turn. This means that the spell will not cause your creatures to die but will have more of an impact on your opponent’s board than yours. White is a prevalent color across standard, so most of the time it will have a significant impact on an opponent’s side of the battlefield. Should Glistening Deluge prove to be an effective sideboard option, you might see Gix’s Command seeing less play.


The overall good news about standard is that March of the Machine has given a few new pieces for existing decks while also allowing for the development of some new ones. Next week I will start looking at the decks that join standard.

That’s it for this week. I’ll see you next time!