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March of the Machine Prerelease Primer

April 10, 2023
Gavin Verhey

It's time to take part in an absolutely epic story!

March of the Machine is one of the wildest sets we at Wizards have ever designed—a huge battle across pretty much every plane of Magic, pitting the denizens of each—and our heroes—against the Phyrexians, who will stop at nothing to conquer the Multiverse. It's a gigantic battle unlike anything we've ever seen in Magic before.

And while it might not be a great time to be hanging out in the Magic Multiverse, it is a great time to be a Magic player! This set is phenomenal, and the Prerelease for it is just around the corner!

What's a Prerelease, you ask?

Well, Prereleases are some of my favorite Magic events anywhere, perfect for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. They're the celebration of a new set, and March of the Machine has its Prerelease April 14–20.

First up, if you want to learn how to play Magic, I recommend some of these resources:

Additionally, if you're looking for a store to play in, I always recommend our handy store locator tool. Just enter your location, and it'll show any stores near you:

Once you've found a spot, be sure to contact them about preregistering. Prereleases are popular events, and you'll want to make sure you have a seat at the table!

Now, if you prefer to hear about some of this in a video, I have a companion video to this article you can check out over on Good Morning Magic:

But what makes a Prerelease so awesome? And why this set in particular? Let's dig in a bit!

Battle Preparations

There's nothing like handling fresh cards from a new set, and that's exactly what you get to do at a Prerelease. Everyone's on equal footing: nobody has these cards before the Prerelease, and it's your first chance to explore the set and see how they all work together.

The energy in the room of a Prerelease is palpable. Relaxed and fun as people open their cards, exclaim about the cool things they've found, and discover cool combinations for the very first time.

One of the really great things about the Prerelease is that it's a great environment for helping you through your first event. Even if you're brand new, people will be there in the store to support you, help you have a fantastic experience, and share in the wild story of March of the Machine. (Which, if you haven't been reading, you can find here!)

So, do you need to bring a deck from home? Nope! For a Prerelease, you will play a format called Sealed Deck. It's straightforward: open the six March of the Machine Draft Boosters from your Prerelease Pack and build a deck with the contents. It really is all about the new set and what's inside. You'll want to look over everything, from the commons to the rares, to build the best deck you can. (You can check out all the cards beforehand in our March of the Machine Card Image Gallery.)

How exactly does this work out? Let me walk you through it.

A Sealed Machine

When you sit down on Prerelease day, you're going to get handed a March of the Machine Prerelease Pack.

While there are many things in here, like a spindown life counter for tracking your life total and a fun little insert with some information and tips, the most important are these six Draft Boosters:

Open them all and check out your new stack of cards. There will also be a foil-stamped rare or mythic rare card inside that you can play—make sure to pull that one out.

Additionally with March of the Machine, you'll get an extra legendary promo in your Prerelease Pack. It's one of these three:

These are an awesome new bonus in every Prerelease Pack. But one thing that's very important is you can't play these in your Prerelease deck. They are a fun addition to inspire your next Commander deck and show off how big this battle is, but you can't put them in your sealed deck. So, you can just set that aside.

Okay, boosters open? Well, you're ready to build a deck!

But where do you even start?

First thing's first, you should know what you're trying to do. In Sealed Deck, you only need 40 cards, not 60 or 100. You can get as many additional basic lands as you want from the store.

A good rule of thumb is to play 17 lands. So, all things said and done, you're only looking to play about 23 nonland cards from the cards you open. That's your goal: identify the 23 cards to play.

Okay, sounds a bit easier. How do you go about picking those cards?

Try sorting your cards by color first. Make eight piles: one for each color, one for any multicolor cards, one for colorless cards, and one for lands. As you're going through, you'll have a chance to read the cards and see what interests you.

You'll want to whittle your choices down to two colors. You can sometimes "splash" a third, playing two colors as your base and a couple powerful cards or additional costs of another color, but I'd really focus on the two colors you want here. You can select them in any way you want—maybe you just like those colors—but here are three things to keep an eye out for:

  • Any strong rares in those colors that you're excited to play
  • A lot of removal cards (cards that destroy or otherwise deal with your opponent's creatures)
  • Evasion (flying creatures or hard-to-block cards)

Additionally, another huge element to look out for are good synergies and multicolor cards. Every two-color pairing in March of the Machine has a theme, and knowing what those are can clue you in to which colors to play. If you're curious to see what those themes are, they're covered in my video above, plus a video where I shared all 10 archetypes for Draft!

Once you've chosen your colors, it's important to think about your mana curve. This helps to ensure that you have creatures at every turn of the game to cast. If everything costs six mana, you're going to be way behind on playing creatures, and if everything costs two mana, you're going to get outclassed in the late game.

Here's how to check your mana curve. First, lay your creatures out in mana-value order from left to right. So, all creatures that cost one mana, then all creatures that cost two, and so on. Only lay out noncreatures here if they're cards you are planning to play as soon as you have that much mana—for example, you might play an Equipment on turn two, so that counts as a two-drop, but you're probably not playing a removal spell on turn two.

For Limited in general—and this is just a guideline—I'd look to play something like this:

  • 1 mana: 0–2
  • 2 mana: 4–6
  • 3 mana: 3–5
  • 4 mana: 2–4
  • 5 mana 1–3
  • 6+ mana: 0–2

Once you have those figured out, go ahead and add in your noncreature spells. You will probably want to play all your removal spells to deal with your opponents' creatures. Beyond that, it's nice to have ways to pump up your creatures at instant speed and ways to draw cards. But you can season to taste depending on what you think might work well in your deck.

And there you have it! When you're finished, you should have a 40-card deck. You can play more than 40 cards, but I would strongly advise against it; every card you play beyond 40 just worsens the odds of drawing your best cards.

So, that's how you build a sealed deck. But what are the mechanics you can expect? Let me run you through them.

Mechanics of March of the Machine

March of the Machine is jam-packed with exciting new mechanics, and even a brand-new card type: battle! You're going to want to learn how battles work, even if you've been playing for a while. To learn more about all the mechanics and details on how they work, check out the March of the Machine Mechanics.

Battle for the Multiverse!

March of the Machine Prerelease is just around the corner, from April 14–20. Check in with your local game store, look over the March of the Machine Card Image Gallery, and get ready to fight for the Multiverse—whichever side you're on!

Oh, and one more thing: you can preorder booster displays for pickup at the Prerelease as well. So, if you want everything that you're going to need for your interplanar battle, you can bring March of the Machine home—just be sure to talk with your local store about grabbing one.

I hope this helped you on your Prerelease journey. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. I always appreciate hearing what people have to say.

Enjoy the set and have fun!

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