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Innovate

This past weekend a Standard Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier (PPTQ) took place on Magic Online. From those results, I have for you a handful of decklists this week that show some innovation in Standard. Let's start off by looking at the winning deck, bw Vehicles.

B/W Vehicles


Heart of Kiran continues to prove that it is still a powerhouse in the current Standard environment. Being able to be crewed by most of your creatures individually allows you easy access to both a powerful attacker and a great defender. Add to that the ability to be crewed by either of your planeswalkers for the low, low cost of just one loyalty counter, and you have a vehicle that promises to remain a relevant player in Standard until rotation happens this fall. As long as Red decks aren't packing ways to destroy multiple artifacts at one time, like By Force or Release the Gremlins, decks utilizing vehicle-based strategies will remain good.

This deck also has an alternate way to win by utilizing the power of its Knights. Knight of Malice combines nicely with History of Benalia to build up a decent-sized force of Knights that pack quite a punch once the third lore counter is added. And even if the Knight squad can't finish the deal, they can at least soften up the opponent's forces and leave them vulnerable to future attacks.

B/R Vehicles

Moving down through the top eight, we come to the fourth place deck, br Vehicles. Let's take a look at it.


Once again, Heart of Kiran proves its worth in this deck. However, this deck also runs the ultimate anti-Heart of Kiran card, Abrade. Abrade is possibly the most efficient artifact removal currently in Standard and is a great inclusion as it can act as full-on artifact removal or direct damage to a creature in the event there's not an artifact you want to destroy. Flexibility is key when it comes to being a great card, which Abrade is.

br Vehicles decks have become the deck that is likely the most played deck currently in the format. That's because it provides solid threats at all points along its mana curve as well as having access to some of the best removal spells such as Unlicensed Disintegration. Also Cut // Ribbons is a great card to use to destroy an opponent's creature while providing a way to win with minimal resistance from most opponents in the late game.

R/W Aggro

As we continue our descent through the Top 32, we come to the 7th place deck, W/R Aggro. Let's have a look at it.


This deck combines your typical Mono-Red aggro deck with some specific White pieces of power to make for a terrific deck. Many of the Red cards in this deck come straight from the Hazo-Red decks that I've spoken about before in my columns. They include the most aggressive of Red creatures, such as Ahn-Crop Crasher and Earthshaker Khenra which both cause problems with blocking your creatures for your opponent. You also have Kari Zev, Skyship Raider which has Menace and brings along Ragavan whenever she attacks, making the act of blocking even more difficult for your opponent. To top it all off, you have Hazoret the Fervent, with her indestructibility, which just add another level of difficulty when determining how to block.

The White cards in this deck offer additional staying power for the deck. Path of Mettle is a great way to either force your opponent to over commit on an attack or otherwise lost their best attacker, or to deal some additional damage directly every turn. History of Benalia adds additional threats to your side of the battlefield that have to be dealt with before the third lore counter is placed, otherwise the opponent will end up taking a ton of damage. And finally Shalai, Voice of Plenty acts as a removal blocker for your team, while also being a great airborne threat.

Esper Midrange

The next deck I'd like to look at is the 10th place finisher, Esper Midrange. Here's the deck.


While I've labeled this as a midrange deck, it has a lot of the tools to make it a control deck, so keep that in mind when playing it. You don't have to be relegated to only being one style; it's dependent on the style of deck your opponent is playing.

I like that this deck is playing both Knight of Grace and Knight of Malice, as you're not hoping your opponent will be playing the color needed to give these knights a boost. All you need is patience and some luck and you'll be able to play a permanent of the appropriate color for yourself. Plus both of these Knights combine nicely with Aryel, Knight of Windgrace to give you access to repeatable creature removal.

Let's also not forget the synergy between Lyra Dawnbringer and Angel of Sanctions. While it's not likely to happen often, when you manage to get both of these Angels onto the battlefield at the same time, the life you're able to gain can be enough to allow you to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Also remember that the Angel of Sanctions can be embalmed and either angel can be returned to the battlefield by The Scarab God, so perhaps it's not as difficult as it would seem to get both in play at the same time.

U/G Constructs

The final deck I have for you this week is the ug Constructs deck that landed in 27th place. Let's take a look at it.


Scrap Trawler acts as quite an engine in this deck by returning artifacts from your graveyard to your hand. The most likely choice will be returning Walking Ballista, as it has a converted mana cost of 0, but can be cast for any amount. And if you've been playing at all for the past year-and-a-half, you likely know just how powerful Walking Ballista can be. It's a good attacker, and excellent blocker, and can act as creature removal or direct damage to your opponent. It slices, it dices, it juliennes fries! It's the Veg-O-Mat . . .  I mean, it's Walking Ballista!

This deck also features great ways to accelerate your mana. You have a full playset of Llanowar Elves, the best 1-mana accelerant in Standard. The deck also runs a full playset of Foundry Inspector, which helps reduce the cost of any artifact you play. This card can be backbreaking if you get multiples of it into play.

One final thing to note is that you should choose "Construct" as your choice when playing Metallic Mimic, as all of the artifact creatures as well as Karn, Scion of Urza's tokens are Constructs.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, the latest MTGO PPTQ had a lot of innovative decks in the Top 32. While br Vehicles was the most represented archetype in the Top 32, it ended up just a little short, being bested by bw Vehicles. Do you think vehicle-based decks can remain on top? You can let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

— Mike Likes


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