Invasion of Ikoria – March of the Machine
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2023
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Scroll down a little for James’ actionable summary of how battles work, if you need to – I found the concept becomes easier when you read a couple of different battle cards, too. One of the keys to assessing them is going to be how easily you can “unlock” the other side, and what sort of scenario you’re looking at if you don’t. In the case of Invasion of Ikoria, you will often be happy even if you never unleash Zilortha, Apex of Ikoria. In a sense, it’s Yet Another Creature Toolbox Card, but the times you do get its bonus (one that no other similar card has ever had), you’ll feel like you did something dirty. And that non-Human restriction is incredibly open in practice – Reclamation Sage is an Elf; Craterhoof Behemoth is a Beast; Archon of Emeria is, well, an Archon. You get the idea.
This is surely the best flavor for “super trample” they’ve ever done; I think people will understand exactly how a kaiju – defined in other properties as a creature large enough to have its own weather systems – is able to do that!
Commander [EDH]: 4
For the first time since Lorwyn, we have a new main deck card type in the form of battles. Emrakul, the Promised End and Tarmogoyf are both surely pleased by this development, but let’s get into battles broadly before we hit specifics.
Battles function a bit like planeswalkers: they come in with a defense rating, and you can attack them. All of the March of the Machine battles are sieges: you choose an opponent to defend the battle, and then you can aim damage at them until they lose all of their defense points, giving you the ability to cast their back side. There is a comes-into-play trigger for each of these battles, as well as the back side, so even if you can’t get them to flip, you can still get some benefit.
Invasion of Ikoria is…maybe the scariest of the new battles out of the gate? This is largely because it functions like a slightly weaker Green Sun’s Zenith: pay X plus 2 green, get an X drop out of your deck (or graveyard) as long as it’s not a human. This is agnostic about color, though, and that makes this fit better in with lots of toolbox creature, as well as its ability to double as revival in a pinch. This can fetch Dryad Arbor in formats where it’s legal…as well as Vampire Hexmage, which lets this flip very quickly into an 8/8 that gives your board “super trample” and has reach itself. These are pretty good thin gs in all, and the flexible nature of Invasion of Ikoria helps it a lot.
I think this might be one of the best battles in the new set and one of the best cards from the set in general; it’s a slightly weaker Green Sun’s Zenith in most cases, and Green Sun’s Zenith is extremely powerful. This is a card that’ll shine more in formats with deeper card pools, but so long as you can pay for double green mana, this should pull its weight rather nicely, even if it never flips.
Limited: 4.5 (finding the best creature in your deck,m while potentially being a creature itself, helps out a surprising amount)
Multiplayer: 4 (you choose one opponent to defend the siege, so you can ideally pass this to someone with scant defenses)
Commander [EDH]: 4.5 (more consistency is welcome, and the only thing better than one Green Sun’s Zenith is another Green Sun’s Zenith)
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