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Get Your Motor Running

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Heading into the Pro Tour, all of the Standard talk was on Saheeli Rai and Winding Constrictor as the two most powerful decks in the format. Almost no one expected the absolutely dominant performance put up by Mardu Vehicles over the weekend. It turns out a fast, resilient clock with plenty of interaction with early creatures and combo elements is exactly what the format asks for. Take a look at the winning list assembled by Lucas Esper Berthoud:


Veteran Motorist
There’s a lot to like about what this deck is trying to do. The vehicle engine of Depala, Pilot Exemplar plus efficient creatures and removal is still spectacular, even with the banning of Smuggler's Copter. It turns out Heart of Kiran fits right into that slot and helps to apply evasive pressure to opposing Planeswalkers and life totals, which is critical against the top two decks in the format.

Eleven aggressive 1-drops backed by powerful vehicles and Veteran Motorist is the backbone of this deck. This allows you to get out ahead of your opponent and let your Shocks and Unlicensed Disintegrations help you force through the last few points of damage. One of the issues with previous iterations of this archetype was actually being able to cast your spells on time. Sure, Inspiring Vantage and Concealed Courtyard are incredible fixing, but it’ll frequently mean your four-drops are a turn late. The addition of Spire of Industry from Aether Revolt makes an enormous difference in this deck’s ability to cast Black cards and four-drops on curve, which is absolutely critical.

Additionally, this deck picked up a lot of powerful sideboard options. In particular, Fatal Push is an incredible tool in the mirror match and against Green-Black, killing most creatures in the matchups, even without revolt. Additionally, Release the Gremlins is a huge haymaker in mirrors. It’s worth noting efficient burn spells are a powerful sideboard option against the Saheeli Rai deck, as you can kill Saheeli at instant speed with her activation on the stack.

Vehicles flew under the radar heading into this weekend, but it’s not shocking to see 1-drop aggro deck do so well in a format defined by casting Felidar Guardian and Verdurous Gearhulk. It’s also worth noting all the cards in this deck are capable of killing your opponent even if random creatures get picked off. When everyone else is playing to synergies, sometimes it’s better to regress to decks that can stand on the efficiency of their individual cards.


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