Mardu decks have packed a punch across two different Standard formats, and in Frontier, you get to combine Mardu Vehicles with Mardu Dragons decks of old. And you get Smuggler’s Copter!

Smuggler’s Copter was deemed too strong for Standard play, and with good reason. If you’re playing creatures in your deck, you’re playing Copter. It’s just too powerful not to play. A 3/3 flying creature that loots for 2 mana is simply incredible, and the fact that it is not color specific was format warping. In Frontier, it’s still great. There are cards that care about artifacts, and there are some graveyard synergies, but that isn’t even the main reason to play Copter. It’s outstanding as a base 3/3 flyer for 2.

For early creatures to help power this thing, you have the Wild Nacatl of the format in Toolcraft Exemplar. Exemplar doesn’t ask much in order to become a 3-power attacking creature, and that’s not bad for a single mana. Thraben Inspector may have taken the biggest hit from Smuggler’s Copter landing on the banned list in Standard, but they can still team up here.

Scrapheap Scrounger is a nice value creature that turns on Exemplar, can be discarded to Copter, and plays well against sweepers and removal. A recurring damage source that hits hard for just 2 mana is a nice price.

Selfless Spirit also helps defend against sweepers, but even just 1-for-1 removal like Murderous Cut and Lightning Strike can be shut down by the Spirit, making it a useful way to crew Copter.

Pia Nalaar may not be strong enough for this deck and format, but Pia and Kiran combined certainly are. An extra mana for an extra Thopter is already a good rate, and being able to sacrifice artifacts for damage is super strong. With Copters, Clues, and Scroungers to combo off with, Pia and Kiran provide a nice army.

The reward for having that army is Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury. Kolaghan dashes in for huge chunks of haste damage, and will pump your team along the way. Dodging sorcery-speed removal and many damage-based spells, Kolaghan isn’t easy to deal with and provides incredibly efficient kills.

Combining with Kolaghan to create a Searing Blaze is Draconic Roar. Dealing 3 to a creature for 2 mana is a fine rate, but getting to do that 3 to an opponent on top is rare. This is what makes Unlicensed Disintegration such a powerful card, and having a playset of both of these removal spells means your Exemplars will always have a clear path. Dealing 6 or more damage per turn while removing blockers should win the quickly.

With Kolaghan’s Command as a final piece of removal and card advantage, Mardu Dragons has a way to get creatures back, deal with opposing Vehicles, and a discard element.

Frontier Mardu is a nice collaboration of the old Mardu  with the new. Well, formerly new. R.I.P. sweet Copter prince.

Mardu Dragons

Hiroaki Yamakawa, Top 16 at God of Frontier