September 23 2016 Friday at 02:26 PM

The rebirth of aggro - new brews with Kaladesh cards

Aggro has been getting its teeth kicked in for a format or two on Duels.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t unplayable as the Steam Showdown’s recent results show, and it will crush decks that become too slow by focusing on midrange and control matchups too much.  In general though, running your grizzly bears into planeswalkers and sweepers has been a recipe for a pain sandwich.  There are signs that the tables may be turning.  Kaladesh brings back some popular Origins tribes in Elves and Thopters, while also introducing a new tool for the aggressive driver in all of us - vehicles.

Vehicles could have a huge impact on how aggro decks play.  When you have a vehicle, you have a body that is immune to sweepers while also giving any future creature a form of haste and potentially evasion.  Take this unassuming card for example.

Now, any of your summoning sick creatures can either attack on the ground, or help Skiff get in for two evasive arial damage.  That is a great option to have, and since summoning sick creatures can crew vehicles it is more flexible and less 2-for-1-able than Nimbus Wings.  Vehicles reward you for playing a lot of creatures or ways to make creatures, and since vehicles can’t crew vehicles, you are encouraged to play a very linear strategy.  Pilots and vehicles, without much room for removal.  Now that sounds like an aggro deck waiting to happen.  Even when vehicles aren’t being crewed, they are artifacts, so the place I want to start is with the original artifact tribe, Thopters.

I believe I want Eager Construct to smooth out my draws, with 24 land I want to ensure I don’t flood but can still curve out.  I love the idea of playing Sky Skiff into Engineer, with Engineer crewing the Skiff and the Thopter getting in their.  Follow with a Rogue for more Origins action. Obviously Smuggler’s Copter is the dream.  Scrapheap Scrounger can be activated by Aether Hub, which can be charged up by Harnessed Lightning.  Extra energy can also be used with Whirler Virtuoso for more Thopters.  

What if we kept the beatdown but cut the blue?

Maybe I’m trying to do too much here.  Artifacts, Madness, Energy and generally good cards.  Some subtheme probably has to go to max out the other themes.  This deck is also much first unveiling of Lupin Prototype in his new role as vehicle pilot extraordinaire.  For 2 mana you get a pilot that can’t be Languished, Impulsed, Radiant Flamed, Lightninged, ect.  You get an artifact, so it turns on artifact matters cards, and it has 5 power, so it can crew any vehicle we can realistically cast.  Once you dump your hand, it swings for five.  It’s my nominee for most improved player in the game.

Let’s take the vehicle theme for a drive and toss in white for more great artifact synergies.

Finding the right balance of Vehicles, removal spells and Artifacts will be a big deal.  I like where this deck is going.  We have over twenty artifacts and over twenty creatures thanks to double-duty cards like Pia, Lupin and Engineer.  I think the scry from Vet Motorist lets us run 23 lands, but we’ll see if we come up short of our land from Cruiser or Pia/Kiran.  More Lightning-Hub in this deck, since we can’t get away from it let’s build an energy deck.

This deck feels a few cards short of glory to me.  We run some “good” cards that aren’t team Energy players like Sylvan Advocate and Tireless Tracker.  I’d prefer more all-in aggro critters.  You could take this the landfall route, but that doesn’t totally jive with Energy.  You could also run Dynavolt Tower, but I don’t love the energy rate much.  Maybe I am wrong about that, and those Firecrafts or Rhinos should be replaced.  I feel a glaring lack of trample damage here, and burn spells may need to make up the difference.  The deck is slanted green with more basic forests to support Prowler, but he may not be worth the effort.  It is possible we should give up on one-drops and play a R/G Monsters type game.  Blossoming Defence and Multiform Wonder are cards you may have missed, check em’ out.  One mana hexproof is no joke, and a huge tempo play.  Flying and Lifelink are no joke either, Wonder can win you some games that would have otherwise been out of reach.

That’s all for today.  If I get the time to write about them, I’ll share my ideas for Elves (pretty straightforward) and Gearhulk Reunion Animation (a little more exciting!).  

<3 CGB

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