This week on Adam Plays Magic, we're putting the pedal to the metal with RG Vehicles. This deck utilizes over-statted behemoths like Lovestruck Beast // Heart's Desire and Werewolf Pack Leader to crew powerful vehicles like Skysovereign, Consul Flagship to hit hard and fast. With eight mana dorks in the form of Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic as well as Reckless Stormseeker // Storm-Charged Slasher as a haste enabler, these massive threats come out swinging ahead of schedule.
What I Like
This may be a conversation for another day, but the definitive two best things to do on turn one in this format are playing Thoughtseize or a mana dork like Llanowar Elves. If a deck isn't doing one or the other, it's at a distinct disadvantage compared to the decks that do. Fortunately, the Vehicles deck passes this test with flying colors.
Compared to the ramp decks playing Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx for multiple high-mana value haymakers like planeswalkers, RG Vehicles' goal is to consistently ramp into powerful three-drops on turn two. It wants to get the opponent on the back foot and attack before they can stabilize. The pressure continues to mount as subsequent threats like Esika's Chariot are deployed. With threat after threat hitting the board, the opponent has to answer what the player is doing rather than develop their own board state. With the redundancy and consistency that this deck offers, no individual piece is essential to the game plan, so the opponent's removal is largely inconsequential.
Every deck seems to have a sequence where the player feels like they're unbeatable. If a certain set of card line up just right, the plays the deck makes are just unfair to the opponent. RG Vehicles is no exception. Reckless Stormseeker curving into Esika's Chariot and Skysovereign can give the vehicles haste, meaning their triggered abilities to make tokens or burn down creatures triggers twice in one turn. If an opponent manages to deal four damage while putting 10 power on the board, or they hit me for six and kill two medium-sized creatures out of nowhere, I would not know a way to come back from that kind of massive swing.
What I Dislike
With a full set of Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp and three Obliterating Bolt in the main deck, there is plenty of interaction to choose from when it's needed. However, nearly every deck is playing a full playset of mana dorks. Spending two mana to remove one-drop accelerants is a losing proposition as the opponent is not only mana-positive in the trade-off, if the opponent is on the play, they've already gotten a chance to deploy a three-drop.
While The Akroan War is a powerful card that can turn the tide in the mirror and other aggressive decks, GW Angels, which I wrote about last week, is both popular and nearly immune to the spell. The third chapter deals damage to all tapped creatures equal to their power, but cards like Bishop of Wings and Righteous Valkyrie have more toughness than power, allowing them to survive what should be a pseudo-wrath effect.
Speaking of Angels, the matchup is extremely difficult as the early spells can block favorably against chip damage from Pack Leader and Reckless Stormseeker. Angels also has the potential to gain large swaths of life, undoing an entire game's worth of damage.
RG Vehicles also has very few ways of generating card advantage. If it stumbles on mana, be it too many or too few sources, it can fall behind. It's unstoppable when everything is going right, but that's not how every game will play out.
What's in the Box
Overall, RG Vehicles is a very strong deck that I'd feel comfortable bringing to any tournament in Explorer or Pioneer. Its ability to capitalize upon aggressive three-drops is second to none, and access to Skysovereign breaks midrange matchups like the ever-popular RB deck.
While the deck does have some bad matchups, there are flex slots that can mitigate the most disastrous of lineups. It's hard to go too wrong with a deck as proactive as this.