Insider: Aggro, Vehicles & Others at SCG Indy

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Welcome back, readers! Kaladesh has hit Standard and it appears to have hit hard, with a lot of new cards showing up on camera this weekend. Gone are the days of EoT Collected Company into Reflector Mage and Tireless Tracker---and a lot of us are happy to see CoCo gone.

The first few weeks of a new format are a brewer's paradise (and you can bet I've been brewing heavily). As each major event occurs the metagame becomes more and more honed and the creme rises to the top. Today I'll look at the results from the SCG Indianapolis Open to get a picture of the new format.

Remember that Magic is a game of variance, so the best finishes don't always equate to the best decks. The more data we get, the more accurate our claims. In light of this, we'll be looking at the full Top 32 from SCG Indy. I'll break down all the cards from Kaladesh that appeared, and express them as a percentage of the maximum possible (4 copies per deck x 32 = 128).

Card Name Qty in Top 8 Qty in Top 16 Qty in Top 32 % of Max. Possible (Top 32)
Aetherworks Marvel 4 3.13%
Cataclysmic Gearhulk 1 0.78%
Chandra, Torch of Defiance 4 2 8 10.94%
Demon of Dark Schemes 2 1.56%
Dovin Baan 3 2.34%
Nissa, Vital Force 2 7 6 11.72%
Noxious Gearhulk 1 2 1 3.13%
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship 6 5 2 10.16%
Torrential Gearhulk 5 3.91%
Verdurous Gearhulk 2 8 8 14.06%
Authority of the Consuls 1 0.78%
Blooming Marsh 4 8 9.38%
Bomat Courier 4 4 21 22.66%
Botanical Sanctum 4 5 7.03%
Concealed Courtyard 4 12 12.50%
Deadlock Trap 1 0.78%
Depala, Pilot Exemplar 8 6 4 14.06%
Fleetwheel Cruiser 15 12 9 28.13%
Fumigate 9 7.03%
Inspiring Vantage 20 12 15 36.72%
Key to the City 2 8 7.81%
Lost Legacy 3 2 3.91%
Pia Nalaar 17 6 1 18.75%
Scrapheap Scrounger 8 8 24 31.25%
Smuggler's Copter 32 20 36 68.75%
Spirebluff Canal 3 12 11.72%
Toolcraft Exemplar 16 12 12 31.25%
Wildest Dreams 1 0.78%


There's a lot of telling information in this Top 32. The card everyone thought would be the breakout of the set, Verdurous Gearhulk, didn't have a terrible showing but was clearly outclassed by the aggro decks. He ended up as the eighth most-played card in the Top 32. Aggressive strategies, however, were quite dominant. Let's take a closer look at some of the overarching trends and stories from the weekend.

Aggro and Vehicles

The most obvious takeaway was Smuggler's Copter. The maximum 32 copies appeared in the Top 8, and almost 70% of the Top 32 decks ran it too. So to the people who pre-ordered them at $2.99-$3.99, well done.

It's not surprising to see this card show up in a lot of decks, but we haven't seen this sort of domination in a long time. It's clearly a fantastic card for aggro style decks (of which there were a lot), but I honestly didn't think it would show up with these kind of numbers.

We also see a good number of Scrapheap Scrounger, Toolcraft Exemplar and Inspiring Vantage, all of which showed up in 30% or more of decklists. This isn't too surprising since they are the cards most designed for the aggro archetype. Scrounger is currently sitting at around $2, Exemplar is around $2, and Vantage is right around $5.

It was a pretty good showing for the vehicle mechanic overall. There were also a lot of Fleetwheel Cruisers and even some Skysovereign, Consul Flagship's, which to me says the mechanic itself is clearly very strong and something that will likely continue to show up as the Standard format evolves.

Bomat Courier, the other card that many Modern Affinity players were looking forward to testing out (the first being Smuggler's Copter, had a pretty good showing as well, appearing in a little over 22% of the decks.

This little guy can quickly provide some good card advantage (especially when your opponent has no blockers) and goes really well in any deck that empties its hand quickly. Currently copies are under $1, so this wouldn't be too bad of a pickup if you want to play aggro.


Another big surprise was the lack of Chandra, Torch of Defiance, the most expensive card in the set by far at release. She ended up in the 13th spot, showing up in just under 11% of the Top 32 decks. What's especially important to consider is that there were 22 red-based decks in the Top 32, so in theory plenty of these decks could have played her if they felt she was good enough or fit their game plan.

With these sorts of numbers I'd trade off any copies I had as fast as possible, as I really do expect her price to plummet.

Now, the other planeswalkers didn't fair much better. Nissa, Vital Force managed to show up slightly more than Chandra, Torch of Defiance, in just under 12% of the decklists. In all fairness, there were only nine decks in the Top 32 that played green and she did find her way into most of them, though usually only around two copies.

Three copies of Dovin Baan made it in, all of them in the 26th place U/W Control deck. It's telling when Ali Antrazi plays a Bant Control deck and chooses not to include the new blue-white walker.

And lastly, poor Saheeli Rai put up a whopping zero copies in the Top 32. WotC seems to be cautious when it comes to three-mana planeswalkers and these results imply they might have been too cautious with her. Her price on TCG player has plummeted to $10 and I can easily see it dropping to $5 or $6.

Aetherworks Marvel

There was a lot of hype around an Aetherworks Marvel deck trying to rush out Emrakul, the Promised End or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Ultimately we saw just one deck make the Top 32 (the 25th place deck piloted by Daniel Weiser). This deck does look like a lot of fun to play and clearly it got him to 25th place, but some people have already adopted Lost Legacy in their sideboards---which seems like a game-over card for this archetype.


Many were excited for the gearhulks, as the supposed successors to the titans from M11. Overall their showing was not so impressive.

Card Name Qty in Top 8 Qty in Top 16 Qty in Top 32 % of Max. Possible (Top 32)
Verdurous Gearhulk 2 8 8 14.06%
Torrential Gearhulk 5 3.91%
Noxious Gearhulk 1 2 1 3.13%
Cataclysmic Gearhulk 1 0.78%
Combustible Gearhulk 0.00%


Sadly my favorite, Combustible Gearhulk, had an abysmal showing. In all fairness only one of them was really designed to help against aggro style decks so it's not all that surprising to see them show up so little.

I did have high hopes for Cataclysmic Gearhulk as he helps against aggro decks. The fact that your opponent gets to choose (unlike Tragic Arrogance) might just be too toned down for Standard, especially since everyone always seems to have at least one artifact (Smuggler's Copter) to pick.


If we look at the new fastlands we quickly see that Inspiring Vantage is the one you want to pull if you're big into Standard, with it showing up almost three times more often than the next one down (Concealed Courtyard). As most of them are currently priced about the same, it might be wise to trade your Botanical Sanctums into Inspiring Vantages whenever you can.

Card Name Qty in Top 8 Qty in Top 16 Qty in Top 32 % of Max. Possible (Top 32)
Blooming Marsh 4 8 9.38%
Botanical Sanctum 4 5 7.03%
Concealed Courtyard 4 12 12.50%
Inspiring Vantage 20 12 15 36.72%
Spirebluff Canal 3 12 11.72%

Metalwork Colossus

Finally, despite a lot of hype surrounding the Metalwork Colossus deck, no copies made Top 32 (the highest ranking one was in 45th place piloted by Brennan DeCandio). That deck looks like it can do very powerful things, but likely needs some more fine-tuning if it's to compete with the aggro decks. The other big challenge with this deck seems to be that without Metalwork Colossus it doesn't seem to do a whole lot.

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