Earlier this week, I wrote about Rakdos Sacrifice. Although it’s a very strong deck, I’ve found another that might be even better. Despite that, very few people seem to be playing it. This one makes the most of some of the best cards in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, including Moonsnare Prototype, Mindlink Mech, and Reckoner Bankbuster. These three could form a solid backbone in any color combination, but Izzet appears to be the best thus far.
The key to making Mindlink Mech as powerful as possible is to abuse giving it abilities. Granting haste from Rabbit Battery is excellent, as is the double strike from Lizard Blades. Even getting Treasures from Magda, Brazen Outlaw is fine. Once I added Patchwork Automaton to the deck, everything came together.
With eight cards to cast on Turn 1 and twelve to cast on Turn 2, Izzet Vehicles has a rock-solid mana curve. Although things can feel glutted at four mana, there are a couple of different ways to accelerate. Plus, once you hit the mid-game, you’ll be able to cast multiple spells each turn, often while still drawing extra cards! You can catch back up in no time.
Moonsnare Prototype can accelerate your mana and works well with Magda, Brazen Outlaw. Those two combine to form the backbone of the entire deck. They generate mana and play into the artifact theme with the rest of the deck. If either piece didn’t exist, this deck wouldn’t either.
Rabbit Battery can give Mindlink Mech haste on Turn 3, which turns it from a playable card to an excellent one. Remember that you can use the reconfigure from Rabbit Battery to protect it from sweepers. It means that your Vehicles consistently have a creature to help crew them.
With Patchwork Automaton, you can grow the Mech while also giving it ward, almost certainly ensuring that it can connect. It’s the perfect combination. Plus, Automaton is a very powerful, underrated card, and this deck makes good use of it. It grows quickly and is difficult to kill, so it’s the perfect two-drop for Izzet Vehicles.
One of the best complements to Mindlink Mech is Surgehacker Mech. You can shoot something for four damage with relative ease and eventually use it to win the game. Crew 4 is difficult at times, but you’ll get there eventually.
Initially, I only had a single copy of Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh in my sideboard. Some viewers insisted I try it, and once I realized how well it worked with Reckoner Bankbuster, I was in. From there, I rebuilt the deck from the ground up. The Tezzeret / Bankbuster synergy is huge and effectively lets you pre-sideboard against any control or midrange deck. Naturally, there are a few matchups where you’ll want to sideboard out Tezzeret, but Bankbuster has been impressive regardless of the matchup.
Be careful with your sequencing when you have Tezzeret. His passive will try to reduce your Prototypes, Treasure tokens, and crew costs. If you want to activate Bankbuster, make sure you’re not casting Tezzeret from your artifact mana. The static ability also works on both turns, so if you have two Bankbusters or if you need to cast your Tezzeret with artifact mana, you can still activate Bankbuster on your opponent’s turn.
Also be wary with Tezzeret’s +1 ability. You’ll often want to keep a card or two in hand if you can afford to, just in case you topdeck Tezzeret. It’s a difficult line to walk because you could draw Bankbuster, want to activate it, and cast the spell you draw off it. The same could be said for Experimental Synthesizer. You also have creature lands to activate that might want your mana in play, so consider each situation carefully.
I’ve never actually lost the game when I’ve used Tezzeret’s ultimate ability, but there are games where I’ve been able to and chosen not to out of fear of decking. It might seem like Tezzeret has numerous safety valves in place, and that’s because it’s true. Of all the planeswalkers, it’s not the easiest to use. If not for the synergy with Bankbuster, which is worth building around by itself, it’s possible that Tezzeret wouldn’t be in the deck.
Tezzeret also helps with channeling Prototype and reconfigure costs, such as those from Lizard Blades. We can’t take advantage of that too much, but I’ve had The Reality Chip in and out of my sideboard. The Reality Chip can be incredible, although it’s slow and clunky. Tezzeret makes it very reasonable, and if I wanted that card in my deck for a certain matchup, I’d happily include it. Sadly, that isn’t quite how the metagame has shaken out.
Voltage Surge wasn’t a card I was drawn to initially, at least in decks without four Experimental Synthesizers. The cost to remove a large creature is massive without ample sacrificial fodder. Izzet has some, which is part of the reason I added the pair of Synthesizers to begin with, but you don’t get to fire them off with reckless abandon. Thankfully, you should only need to kill one big thing per game, which is manageable.
My manabase has sixteen sources of both blue and red mana, although Mech Hangar can help cast Mindlink Mech if it comes down to it. You want both colors early for Rabbit Battery and Moonsnare Prototype, but Stormcarved Coast doesn’t help cast either on Turn 1. Once Tezzeret joined the fray, the mana situation got tighter, so you’re banking on Magda to carry you at times. It’s not perfect, though you’re not going to get any better from a two-color deck.
You get to play plenty of mana sources while still having plenty of ways to use that mana, which is one of the hallmarks of a great deck. Between channeling Prototype, activating creature-lands, and killing your opponent’s two best permanents with Shatterskull Smashing, you rarely run out of things to do. There’s also a cheeky Mech Hangar for when you run out of creatures to crew your Vehicles.
We could splash a third color if we wanted. Esika’s Chariot and some of the white cards are fine. Bryan Gottlieb was trying Oni-Cult Anvil, but if I were adding black, I’d try Kaito Shizuki. Given that we struggle to cast Tezzeret in some games, I’d be wary of splashing, but it is doable if you think you need to.
My confidence level in the sideboard isn’t high. We have solid options for fighting most of the things out there, yet it still seems rather generic.
Even though Disdainful Stroke doesn’t play well with Synthesizer, it’s worth the slots. You need something to answer the Goldspan Dragon and the Magma Opus, rather than relying on something like Spell Pierce. However, if mirror matches were more popular, Spell Pierce would be worth a look because of how efficient it is in those matchups.
Malevolent Hermit, on the other hand, does play well with Synthesizer. It also helps crew and is resilient to removal. In rare instances, you can use the backside to force a Tezzeret through their countermagic too. I’ve been very happy with them
Out of all those new shiny artifacts, very few of them are seeing play. Despite that, we still need to be prepared for things like Oni-Cult Anvil. Thieving Skydiver is spicy and Abrade is generically solid. Thundering Rebuke and Mind Flayer round out the removal suite.
So, that’s what I am playing, but what about the stuff that I’m not?
It feels like you need to make a ton of excuses if you’re an Izzet deck not playing Expressive Iteration. In my defense, I started with three copies. Unlike the more controlling decks, you have plenty to do in the early turns, a few of which give you card advantage as well. I could rarely find an opportune time to cast Iteration, which led to me slowly cutting it down to zero copies. One copy could still be fine, but I’d rather play the fourth Bankbuster first.
If you want more card advantage, there’s no shortage of options. Both Thirst for Knowledge and Wandering Mind are solid options. It’s unfortunate that Wandering Mind can’t crew Bankbuster or Surgehacker Mech by itself, otherwise I’d be tempted to try it. Moonveil Regent is another option, although one that doesn’t work well with the colorless Vehicles. Hell, we could even play a single copy of Reality Heist with relative success.
Another card that people might expect to see in a blue artifact deck is The Blackstaff of Waterdeep. It should be telling that most Tezzeret activations are +1. Your artifacts are usually important to keep around, at least until you’ve deployed your hand, so Blackstaff rarely gets activated until very late.
At some point, I’ll have a build that utilizes Enthusiastic Mechanaut. If we ever play more three- and four-mana artifacts, I’d be happy to try it. With Tezzeret at the top end, we’re not getting much value from it.
VS Azorius / Izzet / Jeskai Control
This is the way to sideboard if you expect your opponent to have mostly removal and card advantage. If they have Hinata, Dawn-Crowned; Goldspan Dragon; Lier, Disciple of the Drowned; or the like, you probably want to keep in some Voltage Surges or Surgehacker Mechs. For the most part, you want to disrupt them while attacking, and the counterspells are the best at doing that. How you sideboard against the rest of their deck depends on how it’s configured, which you won’t know until you play Game 1.
Overall, these matchups are pretty easy. You’ll lose to Hullbreaker Horror if the games go on long enough, but that’ll happen to everyone.
VS Rakdos Sacrifice
I haven’t gotten a chance to play this matchup very often, but I imagine it’s solid. You can grind and remove their best engine, plus The Meathook Massacre isn’t particularly great in the matchup.
VS Orzhov / Esper Midrange
Your removal isn’t very good here because their creatures are expendable and you should be able to attack their planeswalkers with your Vehicles. If they go wide, it can get out of control, so you have to keep up in the early-game.
If you need help grinding in these matchups, The Reality Chip is one of the best options out there. So far, I haven’t needed it between Bankbuster and Tezzeret, but it’s a solid option.
VS Gruul Aggro
The singleton Mind Flayer is in the sideboard because of decks with bigger creatures. I needed an extra card for these matchups and eventually settled on the Control Magic. Once you load up on spot removal, there are diminishing returns to having the third Thundering Rebuke or whatever, so having a big spell makes sense. It’s narrow, but it’s the most impactful thing to get out of that slot.
Another way to go about these matchups is by keeping in some Mindlink Mechs, which is also fine. Lizard Blades isn’t great, and I could see taking that out instead. Having a copy to swing races has been relevant, whereas Mindlink Mech usually isn’t. You’re often playing from behind and it makes a poor blocker.
Overall, I like Izzet Vehicles quite a bit. It’s still unclear what the best deck is, so I wouldn’t say that about Izzet Vehicles. The games tend to be very close, regardless of the winner, so they are usually fun and engaging. If you want to make the most of the new cards, Izzet Vehicles is what you should play.