Kaladesh’s Vehicles are unique as new designs go. They are colorless (so far), which makes it difficult to look at them and figure out how good they are, and what type of deck is best set up to use them. When I first saw Smuggler’s Copter, the thing that stood out to me were the numbers. 2 is a cheap casting cost. Crew 1 means even tokens can pilot this thing. 3/3 flying means other cards that cost 2 or even 3 mana will be outclassed (assuming you can pilot it—more on that later). The looting ability, to me, in addition to the evasion ability and 3 power, make Smuggler’s Copter a card I’d love to try in an aggressive deck.
What can you use the looting ability for? The first thing that comes to mind is Fiery Temper. The second is discarding extra land cards in your aggressive deck while you dig for more pressure or digging to find lands if you’re land-light. Coming in at a very distant third place is setting up delirium, which works but isn’t as strong as using a good madness card or fixing a fundamental mana issue.
How should you look to activate Crew 1? Speedway Fanatic is an obvious choice. I’m also very interested in any new card with fabricate or cards that makes an Eldrazi Scion or Thopter Token, as crew 1 is begging to be activated by a token. If you make your deck Vehicle tribal, creatures that are really good at piloting Vehicles become important support cards. If you use Smuggler’s Copter in a more normal aggressive deck, the goal will be to pilot Smuggler’s Copter with whatever aggressive 1- and 2-drop creature happens to be around at the time. The fact that you can use summoning sick creatures to crew Vehicles means your 1-drops that show up later in the game will have more value than they do in a normal aggro deck, as they can now pilot Vehicles right away.
This card is also an artifact for something like Unlicensed Disintegration. 1-drop into Smuggler’s Copter into Disintigration seems pretty powerful. For now I’ll be sketching out mono-red, but there are so many possibilities for Smuggler’s Copter.
Enough talk, let’s sketch something out.
The 2 Dragonmaster Outcast are placeholders until Kaladesh provides another 1-drop.
This deck has a crazy amount of reach, and I’m not concerned about my opponent killing all my critters to strand the Smuggler’s Copter, because eventually I’ll draw a creature, and as soon as I do, the opponent is immediately facing a 3/3 flying attacker and a loot. Thinking about that exchange from the opponent’s side, it seems like they’ll want to kill the Smuggler’s Copter rather than the crew.
Insolent Neonate is kind of a perfect complement to Smuggler’s Copter. It can of course pilot Smuggler’s Copter, but it also provides another madness outlet so that you can play madness cards with more confidence that if push comes to shove, you can turn the madness on. Falkenrath Gorger provides a cute bonus to Smuggler’s Copter as well by both piloting the Smuggler’s Copter and giving madness to other copies of itself or Neonate—you can easily loot one of those into play for free value and redundant Crew members in case the opponent has sorcery-speed removal (which can’t target the Smuggler’s Copter).
Smuggler’s Copter does a whole lot for 2 mana. I think it’s a Standard staple for as long as aggressive decks are competitive, and it will help make them excel.