Battle lines have been drawn as Phyrexia invades the multiverse, and the multiverse is fighting back! For as deceptive as Phyrexia has been in the past, the threat is uncomplicated now. As are this set’s triggers! The new “battle” card type consumes a lot of the more difficult design space this time around, and we are left with only a handful of cards to keep an eye out for. Check out our list below and you’ll be prepared to handle what March of the Machine has in store!
3 cards have a trigger that upgrades when missed:
“[create a token.] Sacrifice that token at the beginning of the next end step.”
The same effect that’s creating a token here is also setting up a trigger to sacrifice that token later in the turn. That means this qualifies as “undoing a zone change”. In addition to a Warning for the player who forgot to sacrifice the token, the remedy in this situation will always include sacrificing that token, no matter how many turns it’s been since the trigger was supposed to happen. To keep this fix from affecting the game to much now, the opponent gets to decide if it resolves right away or before anyone get priority next phase.
“[Reanimate an artifact or creature card.] Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.”
Ayara works just like the last example! She changes the zone of an object, and then creates a delayed trigger to “clean up” that zone change later. This is squarely “undoing a zone change”, so that card is going to end up in exile either right away or at the start of the next phase.
“[Whenever Scrappy Bruiser attacks, give a creature +2/+0 and trample.] Return that creature to its owner’s hand at end of combat.”
This card almost matches the two zone change examples above. The delayed trigger that returns a creature to its owner’s hand is meant to be a trade-off; it deals a little bit more damage this turn, but has to be cast from the hand again. Sometimes, players will be able to turn that drawback into an advantage with creatures that positively impact the game when cast again! But generally it is more useful for a player’s creatures to stay on the field, so this trigger is generally detrimental to its controller.
The following keyword is notable but does NOT upgrade when missed:
- Keyword: Backup
“When this creature enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.”
Backup abilities are all positive benefit, so a player is never going to receive a Warning for forgetting this trigger. But it’s important that players are very careful with their cards with backup. Since this trigger requires a target, its controller has to announce that choice before they pass priority – before they allow the opponent to respond or for any other actions on the stack to resolve.
Phyrexia’s war plans are shattered, and as the dust settles, we’ll have to deal with the aftermath. Specifically, March of the Machines: the Aftermath! This mini-set will be Standard-legal and brings a wave of new cards that we’ll be back to carefully review. Afterwards, the Wilds of Eldraine beckon. This September will mark a major change in both Standard’s rotation and the story of Magic, so of course we’ll be there to catch the action!