March of the Machines: Assorted Thoughts

Published: 04/11/2023

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These magic sets keep sneaking up on me. I don't have the time to write the set review I normally do but decided it'd be fun to write a bulleted list of observations. I actually do use the list of instants I include for reference so I have no choice but to publish something.

My approach of ranking the commons and looking at them carefully for themes is always slightly ridiculous because after a median draft you should have 3 rares and 9 uncommons so the commons should only make up half your deck. But you drafted 30 commons so only about the top third of commons should be played consistently. But the focus on commons is even more ridiculous in a set built around a mechanic that they didn't put at common. With 2 uncommon battles per color plus one of every two color combinations and at least 2 rares per color the average draft deck will have close to 3 battles so most games will involve at least one. The set is reminiscent of War of the Spark with planeswalkers which had even more but none at common. I can't think of another good example. Sagas in Dominaria weren't really a theme, just a mechanic too good for common.

One more high level point before I launch into bullets: there are two kinds of magic sets. Those where the mechanics are divied up into color combinations and those where every color gets every mechanic but in the way you'd expect for that color. Sets in the first category are Ravnica, Tarkir and Capenna. Sets in the second category are Zendikar Rising and Dominaria. This set is mostly in the latter category.

Premium Commons

I always struggle to quickly identify premium commons by art in my first couple drafts so I'm going to record those here for quick review. My bar is something like "Better than 30% of uncommons" so there aren't many. And the list isn't supposed to be insightful in any way, I just want to be able to notice these cards at a glance.