Video Daily Digest: The Looter Scooter Rides Again!

Smuggler’s Copter got banned from Standard, so it only makes sense that it might be Modern-worthy! Ross Merriam explores a notable Regional PTQ deck that might “smuggle” its way into the SCG Columbus Top 8!

I’ve seen a lot of Modern decks incorporate Smuggler’s Copter over the last year. It sometimes appears in Affinity and is a big part of most Blue Steel lists. But today’s deck is the first one I’ve seen that seems almost entirely built around the power of the looter scooter, and I like what I see.

The beauty of the list is that almost all the creatures that hop aboard and crew Smuggler’s Copter are also good cards to discard to its ability. Gravecrawler, Dread Wanderer, and Bloodghast all come back from the graveyard, and Lingering Souls flashes back. This makes Smuggler’s Copter trivial to crew even in the face of removal for your other threats and supplies a steady stream of card advantage.

The lone exception is Tidehollow Sculler, which serves two important purposes. The first is to give the deck some extra disruption when much of the rest of the deck is devoted to threats. Second, it’s a needed Zombie to turn on Gravecrawler. This isn’t a Zombies deck per se, but that bit of tribal synergy is important, since Gravecrawler is one of the most powerful of the small creatures.

With all these cards that can be discarded for value, the list wisely incorporates other ways to do so beyond Smuggler’s Copter, and the options in Modern are quite good. Liliana of the Veil and Collective Brutality are staples of the format and give the deck some needed removal and the ability to play an attrition game, even though it’s ostensibly an aggro deck. That kind of versatility is important, since you’ll need to be able to capitalize on your opponent’s deficiencies no matter what they are.

I always enjoy decks like this. When you have a bunch of cheap, small creatures, your opponents will want to bring in removal, but the deck is great against that plan because of its number of recursive threats. Things like Anger of the Gods and Izzet Staticaster are still quite strong, but you have plenty of discard and removal to answer the few haymakers your opponents have.

Smuggler’s Copter has stats that are just outside the realm of Modern greatness. Importantly, it dies to both Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push. That means it’s not the kind of card you want to add on rate alone, like we all did in Standard. But if you back it up with quality discard to protect it and have lots of ways to take advantage of looting, it’s still very powerful.