Magic: The Gathering artwork for Niv-Mizzet Supreme from the Aftermath set

[Update #2]: MTG Arena has now banned Fable, Bankbuster and Invoke Despair in order to shake up Standard.

[Update]: The day has finally come - MTG Arena has now made its way onto Steam!

If you were looking forward to MTG Arena's upcoming March of the Machine: The Aftermath mini-expansion and its 50 new cards, I have some good and some slightly strange news to share. First and foremost, the good news is that the Aftermath expansion has now gone live, a full two days ahead of schedule!

The strange part is that all of this seems to be the result of the massive server issues that appeared on Tuesday. What exactly happened and why it forced Wizards of the Coast to release Aftermath so early, I have no idea, but I can definitely tell you that the premature launch wasn't planned as the freebie packs are still scheduled to arrive on May 11th!

When it comes to the story behind the new cards, it should come as little surprise to hear that Aftermath offers us little hints about what happened to the various planes following Phyrexia's defeat, as well as what some of the fan-favorite characters are currently doing. The highlights include numerous Planeswalkers losing their spark, a certain character seemingly ascending to godhood, and the barriers between the worlds weakening and thus enabling even ordinary people to visit other planes.

How all of this translates into actual card mechanics, as well as what the Aftermath set is even trying to achieve, that you can check out through the official card gallery.

The final thing worth mentioning is the accompanying draft format as it offers a rather insane amount of value. Not only can you open a basic rare alongside a Multiverse Legends rare like in the usual March of the Machine draft, but you can now also open a third rare from the Aftermath set since one of the new cards has replaced an old common in every draft pack. So even if you're not planning to rare-draft, chances are you're going to come out of with quite the haul!

Have fun with all of the new cards, and if you haven't seen the recent announcement, Magic: The Gathering is extending its Standard rotation from two to three years. Whether that's going to be a good or bad thing, I suppose only time will tell.