Last updated on October 10, 2023
Invasion of Dominaria | Illustration by Denys Tsiperko
March of the Machine did something we haven’t seen since the days of Lorwyn: It introduced a brand new card type! Battles are the newest card type, transforming cards you flip by attacking them. They offer some unique and interesting moments of interaction and even bring great value on both sides of the card.
Battles shook up the Limited format by opening tons of new choices, but they’ve seen Constructed play. Which of the four white battles are the best? Which ones give you the most bang for your buck without being too difficult to flip?
Let’s find out!
What Are White Battles?
Invasion of Belenon | Illustration by Antonio José Manzanedo
White battles are battles with white in their casting cost. This list focuses on the mono-white battles printed in March of the Machine.
All the battles we currently have are sieges, so you choose a player to “defend” them as you cast them. While they’re in play, you can attack them with your creatures instead of your opponents. When you remove all the defense counters, you get to cast the backside of the battle from exile.
#4. Invasion of Dominaria / Serra Faithkeeper
Invasion of Dominaria is a solid card. Three mana to draw a card and gain 4 life does a lot to help stabilize a close board state, especially when you flip it into Serra Faithkeeper, which is just Serra Angel with extra steps.
This card does have a drawback; it leaves us wanting when it comes to board state, and Serra Angel isn’t the card it once was. The boost in life is nice, but it might not be enough to help against an onslaught of creatures, and the Faithkeeper may come out too slowly if you can’t attack.
#3. Invasion of Belenon / Belenon War Anthem
Invasion of Belenon is a powerful battle because it impacts the board. Getting a creature is a pretty good deal. It saves you from worrying about falling behind on board to play the battle, and it helps pressure the battle itself to flip it; getting to go 2-drop, Belenon, and attack it with both on turn 4 is powerful.
Belenon War Anthem is a clean and simple Glorious Anthem that works well with the creatures a battle deck wants to have. The biggest weakness of this battle is that both the 2/2 and the anthem are a bit overcosted, and an aggressive deck trying to capitalize on the anthem could lose a lot of ground by sending damage at the Invasion rather than the opponent.
#2. Invasion of Theros / Ephara, Ever-Sheltering
Invasion of Theros didn’t do much in MOM Limited because it’s designed for Constructed with its specific tutor. That tutor is why I like it. Sure, it reads like a bad Idyllic Tutor, but that's one of white's best tutors and redundancy is always useful, especially if your deck utilizes cards like Heliod, Sun-Crowned for combo potential.
The flipside, Ephara, Ever-Sheltering, is a significant threat for enchantment decks. It’s easy to meet the three enchantments clause to give Ephara indestructible, lifelink helps in a close game, and the enchantress ability gives you an advantage in the long game. You need a specific game plan for Invasion of Theros to shine, but shine it shall.
#1. Invasion of Gobakhan / Lightshield Array
Invasion of Gobakhan wrecked me in many Arena Cube drafts and in Standard because it’s just so good. Hand disruption can decimate an opponent. This isn’t Thoughtseize by any means, but stopping your opponent from curving out or making their removal incredibly inefficient gives you a ton of tempo. Plus, getting to see your opponent’s hand lets you play around their cards, dictating the pace of the game.
Lightshield Array is one of the strongest battle flipsides. You’ll get a few counters the turn you play it, and your team has protection from removal and wraths for free for the rest of the game. It’s easy to flip this without losing much tempo since it’s only got a measly 3 defense counters, giving your opponent a very small window to stop you from flipping it.
Best White Battle Payoffs
One thing battles like is something white already excels in: having plenty of creatures around. You want to flip your battles for the full value, so they don’t work as well in decks with low creature counts. A solid curve of small creatures does a lot of work to flip your battles and pressure your opponents.
Since you cast a battle after removing the last defense counter, they work well with a couple of cards that want you to cast multiple spells or cast spells from exile. They synergize well with Clarion Spirit and Vega, the Watcher, for example. Casting your second spell has especially seen some recent support as a more common mechanic.
Invasion of Gobakhan – Illustration by Andreas Zafiratos
The introduction of battles has opened a ton of new design space in Magic. While all our battles are sieges right now, we have the potential to see other variations in future sets. The type is a fantastic application of double-faced cards that gives players lots of options when deciding who or what they want to attack in combat.
White’s battles offer a diverse section of effects. While they favor running a bunch of creatures, that’s one of white’s defining characteristics. From tutors and hand disruption to enchantresses and anthems, there’s something for everybody here.
What are your favorite battles? Do you enjoy the new card type? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!
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