A couple of weekends ago, while Red Black was breaking out at the Grand Prix level, Black White vehicles was taking down a PTQ on MTGO. I prefer this version of “vehicles” to the red black version. Both decks share common elements despite only sharing one color and four cards. Scrapheap Scrounger, Walking Ballista, Karn, Scion of Urza and Heart of Kiran all make an appearance in both decks. The removal spells in both decks are flexible. The creatures are cheap and efficient. The Planeswalker add pressure to your opponent. It would be hard to say that a Black White deck and a Red Black deck are the same thing, but I found that these two decks are remarkably similar!
While we can compare the two, it is probably better to not do so. They are both unique decks, capable of taking down large events with proven players, and that should be the thing that matters the most.
Let’s get to the deck!
Knight of Malice is a super cool throw back to Black Knight, an Alpha favorite. While it lacks the original’s Protection from White, Hexproof from White is a rather elegant way to callback to that. Protection is a bit difficult for a newer player to understand, what with special combat restrictions and such. The Hexproof ability is rather good though. It keeps your opponent from targeting the creature with Seal Away, Cast Out and Baffling End which are some of the most played removal spells in white. It gets bigger if they control a white permanent, while First Strike helps to keep it alive even if a white creature is blocking it. An older player, like myself, would have preferred a Black Knight (and White Knight) reprint, I can appreciate this callback.
Lyra Dawnbringer has been compared to Baneslayer Angel, and it makes sense. They both share Flying, Lifelink and First Strike. Lyra trades the protection from demons and dragons text for giving other Angels a bonus and lifelink. It does not really apply to this deck, but at a 5/5 for five mana, it dodges Fatal Push, and takes a couple of burn spells for the red deck to deal with.
Scrapheap Scrounger is still a remarkable creature, and bringing it back is super nice, but it’s very good at turning on Toolcraft Exemplar and Heart of Kiran. The Exemplar would be worse off without the Scrounger, because there really aren’t any better options for an aggressive artifact in the two slot. Walking Ballista of course shows up, because it almost feels like a requirement to have it in a Standard deck at this point. Yes, Ballista is great. You should play it if your deck allows you to do so.
Looking at the spells briefly, we have Fatal Push, which is cheap conditional removal. Revolt seems to be a little harder to trigger, but that’s okay, we can’t hit Glorybringer or The Scarab God with this anyway, and we really want to kill off the cheaper creatures anyway. Cast Out is our answer to stuff like Rhonas the Indomitable or opposing Lyra Dawnbringers. There is also versatility with Cast Out as we can hit non lands as well at instant speed.
We have two walkers in Gideon of the Trials and Karn, Scion of Urza. Gideon is great, because of his ultimate, which makes it hard for your opponent to win the game while he is in play, but he also can serve as a win condition and as damage prevention, keeping an opposing creature at bay. Karn has been talked about before here, and may actually be one of the best Planeswalkers ever printed. As of this writing, it has a 75 dollar price ticket, which I believe is indicative of how powerful this card is. It’s seeing play across multiple formats, and the possibility that the best Karn deck that exists may not have been discovered yet may be the most terrifying thing.
Standard at this point seems to be coming together as a format. We’ll see how the Pro Tour effects it in a few weeks, but it’s been a really nice format to play right now!
Black White Vehicles
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