-- Mike Sigrist
March of the Machine has finally arrived. I’ve heard a variety of opinions about the Limited format, most of which have been negative. I was ready to call it after my first three drafts, but after getting some more time with the set, now I can’t stop playing. My current stance is it’s the single most enjoyable straight-to-Standard format I’ve ever drafted. Maybe there’s a bit of a recency bias and ONE Limited rebound effects making me feel much better about it, but the format is so dynamic, and every draft feels different. Between battles, the bonus sheet, and tons of pushed rares, the format feels high powered, fun, dynamic, and I enjoy both the games and drafting experience.
I did a lot of losing in my first few drafts, as I was still figuring out cards and mana bases, and I basically started stretching my deck out as much as possible.
Since then, I’ve done a lot of winning and feel like I have it figured out. However, I would like to state that from my understanding, MTGO and Arena are very different formats. Arena and MTGO handle the variety of rarities, bonus sheet cards, and battles differently. I’ve played exclusively on MTGO at this point. From my understanding, Arena has decreased the format’s power level. As far as I know, if you open a rare battle on Arena, there’ll be no normal rares. On MTGO, I’ve seen plenty of packs with three rares.
This is my first MOM draft deck. I went 1-2 with this deck with some of the most obscene rares in the format.
Where did I go wrong? I played a lot of bad creatures like Kithkin Billyrider, but mostly I played a lot of close games with good opponents who were able to handle my Glissas.
I didn’t go into the draft planning to draft a deck like this, but the more I play I tend to mush all the rares I can reasonably play into my decks. Even though it’s been less than a week, this deck feels like ages ago, but many of my choices made a lot of sense. Cards like the Urn, which is a bad card, did a bunch of small things. It played well with Lurrus and fixed mana, but also I could easily cycle it off the Stormclaw Ragers. However, this deck had too many below-rate creatures and didn’t play all that well together.
Next up, I believe this is my first trophy deck. This was a streamlined BW Phyrexians deck. I took advantage of the open archetype. Looking back, I wish I played less Swordsword Cavaliers and added an Unseal the Necropolis. At this point in the format I was still worried about getting run over, which doesn’t happen that often in my Bo3 experience. Boon-Bringer Valkyrie seems to appear in all my decks, and I think the card is overhyped.
There are a lot of ways to halt aggression in this format and several clean answers to the Baneslayer. While the card is great, it’s probably the worst a Baneslayer has ever been because it can be cleanly answered by tons of commons, and it gets overpowered by the many rares.
This is later in the format, but this deck was pristine. Sometimes an archetype is wide open, and your deck will be busted if you find an under looked archetype in a pod and the packs cooperate.
One thing I’ve noticed is that you want to make your bad cards do the most they can. Here, there aren’t many bad cards, but two-mana 3/1s are not very good in this format. However, all my two-drops can one-shot connect with my Invasion of Zendikars and play nicely with Cosmic Hungers to do the same.
You may look at this and see I have less commons than other rarities in this deck, and that’s honestly what you’re looking to accomplish. They load the pack up with added rarity cards, including uncommons, so you want to hold yourself to playing premium cards and find and take your lane.
The crème de la crème. I started this draft with a Jegantha and moved in after immediately getting passed an Omnath. Some might think this is memeing, but it’s great to be ambitious. This is not the only time this came up for me. This is the best of my 5c Jegantha Companion decks, but it’s come up three times in just over 20 drafts, as you can see here.
All these decks played out quite well, and I was surprised they were competitive. I managed to make the finals in all three, but lost two to higher-powered decks. Companions are great, and it’s worth going out of your way to try and play them. I’ll keep enjoying being passed Lutri, but you should probably stop doing it.
Here are a couple of Trophy Lutri decks:
I started out with a Jegantha in his deck but got a Lutri pack two, changed companions, and got paid. Lutri is obscene with the convoke removal spells, as it’s much easier to have an early huge blowout. Lutri might be the best card in the set because it’s very high impact and has the lowest companion cost.
Next is a Lutri deck where it’s not great as a companion, but it’s a free card nonetheless.
It’s much harder to set up Lutri with combat tricks, which was most of what this deck could use it for, however the deck’s power level is wild. In general, this format is not about beat-down and combat tricks, but it’s not a bad strategy when your top end is this strong. Lutri mostly had no impact, but I was able to close a game I was going to lose by copying a Stoke the Flames. Either way, I got Lutri this draft pick-four-pack-one, which should certainly never happen.
Let’s look at more companion trophies:
Yes, you can companion Lurrus and win. I like Lurrus, but you’re almost always going to need to start with it to get there. There are a lot of ways to get around its clause with incubate, so looking for those or a nice low-curve, spell-heavy deck like this one can suffice. Having a free card, especially a free two-for-one every game, is a huge upside and worth taking advantage.
Next we have a Yorion deck. It barely got there on playables, and you’ll have to play some filler, but Yorion is such a strong card that it’s worth it if you can start with it and identify an open lane. You have to avoid taking dual lands and speculating, and you’ll likely have to stay in exactly two colors, but the upside is just so high. Yorion is especially good with battles, so it slides into this format perfectly.
Speaking of battles, and I’ll admit that I didn’t like the concept, but they have played out much better and are more fun than I originally thought possible. I absolutely love how they affect combat. Often I want to only attack them with one creature because flipping them at the cost of a lot of life and overkilling them may not be worth it, but sometimes it’s worth the effort.
Overall this is one of my favorite Limited formats. Companions coming up so frequently is fun, but also drafting with so many different rares can change how you evaluate cards in each draft. There’s a lot to be gained in sideboarding and making sure your cards line up well. I’ve seen a lot of people who dislike the format after minimal play and losing to some busted rare, and then they swear it off. You can beat most of the bombs in the format by overpowering them, getting under them, or having the right interaction. If you play more of this format and enjoy formats like Tinkerer’s Cube, then it plays a lot more like the aforementioned than a low-powered draft format.
Either way I have an Arena Open this weekend, and the Pro Tour is the following weekend, which I will be battling in Limited PTQs. After that? A MOM Limited Arena Champs Qualifier. If you’re a competitive-minded player, MOM Limited is everywhere for the next few weeks and practicing will be necessary, but also in my opinion, extremely enjoyable.