It’s officially spoiler season for Magic: the Gathering’s new set, March of the Machine, and we’ve already got some hitters. The set’s story features the last desperate struggle of the planeswalkers to turn back the tide of Elesh Norn and her infinite hordes of Phyrexian death robots. It also features a reprint of a very cheeky monkey.
That’s right, Ragavan (opens in new tab) is coming to Magic the Gathering: Arena. As this set represents the climactic battle of all planes to push back the Phyrexians, it isn’t set in one particular place but instead across the entire Magic multiverse. And since we know that everyone’s favorite pilferer is the strongest hero in all of Kaladesh, it makes sense that he would make an appearance. His arrival in the Historic format is sure to cause a major commotion, with most folks thinking he’ll be banned on arrival or shortly thereafter, like he is in Legacy.
Ragavan is coming to #MTGArena with March of the Machines. What will happen to the stupid monkey in Historic?February 21, 2023
Ragavan isn’t the only hero answering the call to battle, however. Every booster will include a Multiverse Legend, a reprint that despite not being Standard legal will be a fun addition, especially in the draft format. March of the Machine also features some incredibly cool team-up cards, like Thalia riding the Gitrog Monster (opens in new tab), and Elspeth makes another appearance, this time as a planeswalking angel. She’s also got some spiffy pinstripe pants (opens in new tab) if you look really closely, picked up from her time as a flapper in New Capenna.
Battles are another new feature of the set, our first new card type since dungeons in 2021 with Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Battles are permanents you can play and then attack—it’s the first time you can attack your own permanent, WotC says. You also choose an opponent’s card to defend the battle, and it can block damage. If you are able to do enough damage to the battle, it flips and becomes another permanent under your control. WotC explains the system in more detail here (opens in new tab).
Magic had its first Pro Tour in over five years in February, and it was a triumphant return to form after years of disastrous rebrands and online-only premiere events due to the pandemic. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep the momentum going, but things look promising. It’s also possible to qualify for the PT on Arena—in fact Reid Duke’s opponent in the finals, Benton Madsen, qualified for the tournament on his phone.
March of the Machine comes to Arena on April 18, and for the first time Wizards is doing a follow-up set, called March of the Machine: The Aftermath. A smaller, 50 card set that will be Standard legal, it comes out on May 12 and ties up some of the storylines of this massive conflict.