Daily Digest: Can You Say Underrated?

Mardu Vehicles gets the spotlight because of how many copies there were and where they landed, but man, does this deck deserve some serious attention!

Mardu Vehicles may have dominated the Pro Tour, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some sweet decks lying around. After all, there are plenty of cards you can pair with Heart of Kiran, Scrapheap Scrounger, and Unlicensed Disintegration!

Martin Juza decided to play them in a Jund shell that doesn’t even use Winding Constrictor, instead focusing on the energy mechanic so it can utilize Greenbelt Rampager. Besides being an efficient body and constant source of energy, the newly printed pachyderm crews Heart of Kiran like a boss.

Regardless of how much energy you have, Greenbelt Rampager triggers when it enters the battlefield, giving you a window to use it to crew Heart of Kiran, even if you have no intention of letting it stay on the battlefield. If you need the battlefield presence, then by all means let it stay and play defense, but if you’re ahead and want to play around a sweeper, you can now guarantee that your 4/4 Vehicle is going to have a pilot on the follow-up turn, never relenting in your pressure.

The planeswalkers and Tireless Trackers let you grind out long games while diversifying your threat base against control decks, while creatures like Voltaic Brawler and Longtusk Cub are big enough to dominate combat against more aggressive archetypes, along with the sideboard copies of Skysovereign, Consul Flagship, of course. (Cue the boat noise.)

I’m a little surprised to see the number of Shocks in the deck over more powerful removal options like Harnessed Lightning, but it’s clear that Juza was concerned with Saheeli Rai combo decks, for which he lacks a permanent-based answer like Walking Ballista. With the aggressive metagame that will come out of the Pro Tour, having more copies of Harnessed Lightning or maindeck copies of Fatal Push will be very important.

Juza may have fallen victim to the Mardu Vehicles menace, as many others did last weekend, but his deck is far from hopeless in the matchup going forward. Whether this deck picks up in numbers over the course of the next few tournaments or fades to become a fond memory for Martin Juza is one of the most important things I’ll be looking to find out, although, given how sweet it looks, I’m certainly rooting for it to stick.