Mardu Vehicles was the top dog in Standard one year ago. Since then, we’ve seen the rotation of the powerhouse that is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and the utility creature Thraben Inspector. Rumors of Mardu Vehicle’s demise were greatly exaggerated, and it has continued to put up results even without these strong cards. The question is: without Gideon and Thraben Inspector, should you even be playing white?
By cutting white, you get better mana since you’re playing fewer colors. No surprise there. Bomat Courier has been the replacement 1-drop of choice. This can refill your hand late and give you some powerful artifact synergies. Toolcraft Exemplar really demands access to an artifact, but it gets really strong when that clause is satisfied. By going straight Rakdos, you lose a little bit of your nut draw potential, but Dread Wanderer is an excellent threat both early and late to shore up the loss of Toolcraft.
This is still a Heart of Kiran deck. While removal spells like Fatal Push, Harnessed Lightning, and Abrade can all effectively trade for it, you’re still talking about the a 4/4 flying creature for just 2 mana. Turning on your additional artifact synergy cards is icing on this delicious cake. For additional Vehicle fun, Aethersphere Harvester brings you up to 6 ways to jump your creatures into the skies.
Without Toolcraft Exemplar as a 1-drop that can crew Heart on its own, you really need to make sure all of your 2+ mana creatures can get the job done. Scrapheap Scrounger couldn’t be better. You already have creatures like Bomat that are going to the graveyard for value, and you’re an aggressive deck that’s looking to turn creatures sideways. Your other 2-drop is the rarely seen Dhund Operative. The Operative can trade up in combat and crew a Heart in a pinch. The floor of a 2/2 vanilla for 2 is low, but a 3/2 deathtouch for 2 mana is great.
Weldfast Engineer is a nice combo with Heart of Kiran. Able to crew and immediately pump on turn 3, the Engineer can speed up your clock considerably. The rest of the time, it will boost your other Vehicles, Bomats, and Scrapheaps. Weldfast can also pump the Thopter token created by Pia Nalaar. Pia is great in decks with artifacts to pump, Hearts to crew, and combos with Scrapheap to render multiple creatures unable to block in a turn.
Hazoret the Fervent is still arguably the most powerful thing you can be doing in Standard. The answers for Hazoret are sparse, and you have lots of cheap spells to empty your hand. Even when you can’t get hellbent immediately, Hazoret can crew a Vehicle and be your late-game mana sink to burn out the opponent.
The Rakdos Vehicles deck gets to play the most powerful and efficient removal spells in all of Standard. Fatal Push is the best tempo play even if you don’t have a ton of ways to trigger revolt intentionally. Unlicensed Disintegration should consistently be fully powered in a deck with 15 artifacts and it’s the best removal spell in the format when that’s the case.
Vehicle decks will continue to shine thanks to Heart of Kiran, and straight Rakdos might be the most efficient and consistent way to build them.