Magic the Gathering's climactic battle for the Multiverse comes to a head as the inhabitants of the various planes take the fight to Elesh Norn and her Phyrexian hordes. The follow-up to this year's Phyrexia: All Will Be One, March of the Machines, aims to convey this epic struggle through a new card type - and mechanic not seen before in Magic's history: Battle.
Battle cards are a new card type coming with March of the Machine, and they operate very differently than other cards in Magic's history. Like Planeswalkers, the card type comes into play with a defined number of counters, in this case defense counters, that when they hit zero the Battle card transforms. You can play Battles anytime you could play a Sorcery, as long as the Stack is empty.
Teferi has brought the might of Zhalfir out of the time rift and into the fire. #MTGMachine pic.twitter.com/0Rt0vL8d8b— MTG Arena (@MTG_Arena) March 29, 2023
What makes Battle cards, and in this case, Battle - Seige cards, different is how players, including yourself, interact with your battles. For the first time in Magic the Gathering's history, you'll be attacking your own permanent, as the goal is to get the Battle off the battlefield. For the Seige card type, the owner of the Battle permanent will choose an opponent to act as its defender. That opponent is the only one able to block attacks against the Battle, creating a whole new wrinkle and layer of complexity to the battlefield during combat.
Flipping the Battle nets you a boon, such as flipping the card Invasion of Phyrexia to be rewarded with a new Teferi Akosa of Zhalfir Planeswalker on the other side. It's going to be interesting to see how these cards play in practice, especially Standard and Commander games.
Two swords are always better than one, just ask Boon-Bringer Valkyrie. #MTGMachine pic.twitter.com/UgGXpkFMuv— MTG Arena (@MTG_Arena) March 29, 2023
Also coming is the new Backup card ability. This card represents the forces of the multiverse coming to the aid of one another, so a card with backup will allow you to put a certain number of +1/+1 counters on a creature. Doing so on another creature will also give that creature all the abilities of the original backup creature, creating some interesting possibilities.
Incubate is another keyword mechanic coming with March of the Machines. This new mechanic operates as an Artifact that when you pay 2 colorless mana, you can flip it over to create a 0/0 Phyrexia creature token that has a number of 1/1 counters on it based on the Incubate description.
Magic the Gathering's March of the Machines is the climax of a struggle that has been ongoing in Magic's history going back to the old Mirrodin block from 2003. Today the Wizards of the Coast team also revealed some more of the story leading up to April's launch of the set on both Magic: the Gathering Arena and Magic: the Gathering Online, as well as paper formats. You can check out the story via the Magic Story website, a podcast on Spotify, and catch a glimpse of it in the new story trailer released today, embedded above.