B/R Vehicles Matchup Guide (Part 2)

by Zen Takahashi on 08 June 2018, Friday

Zen Takahashi

 

B/R Vehicles Matchup Guide (Part 2)

Hello everybody! 

In my last article, which I recommend you read first and can be found here, I went over the B/R Vehicles list that half our team played at Pro Tour Dominaria, and how to sideboard and play against the two decks we expected would be most popular at the Pro Tour – B/R Vehicles and W/U Control. Today, I will be going over how to sideboard and play against the rest of the top decks, with some additional playing tips for piloting the deck.

For reference, this was the list I played:

 


B/G Constrictor

 

Winding Constrictor


We were fairly underwhelmed by B/G Constrictor in testing, but Jeff Cunningham has been crushing the Magic Online leagues with the deck. It also did decently well in the online PTQ the weekend before the Pro Tour, so we expected it to be somewhat popular, especially amongst players who did not have much time to test – as the deck is fairly straightforward and largely the same from last season.

The matchup largely comes down to Winding Constrictor and Verdurous Gearhulk. If you can stop these cards, then the rest of their deck becomes significantly weaker, and you can just beat them on pure power level. However, if you let these cards go unchecked, they can set up very powerful plays – especially if they have a combination of both these cards. 

Cards to Play Around

Main: 4 Walking Ballista, 3-4 Verdurous Gearhulk, 4 Ravenous Chupacabra, 0-1 Thrashing Brontodon, 0-1 Vraska, Relic Seeker, 1-2 Aethersphere Harvester

SB: 4 Fatal Push, 2-3 Shapers' Sanctuary, 0-1 Vraska, Relic Seeker, 0-2 Thrashing Brontodon, 0-2 Aethersphere Harvester 

Sideboard Plan

+2 Cut // Ribbons
+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
+1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 
-1 Walking Ballista 
-1 Magma Spray
-1 Pia Nalaar (2 on the play)
-1 Scrapheap Scrounger (draw)



Mono-Green

 

Steel Leaf Champion


Mono-Green was one of my favorite decks throughout testing, and I wanted to make the deck work. Unfortunately, the deck was slightly too inconsistent for me to want to play it. The deck often got awkward draws, and the lack of card manipulation in the deck meant that it was prone to both mana screw and flooding. Rekindling Phoenix was also a major issue for the deck as it basically could never beat the card unless you had a Ghalta, Primal Hunger, and we expected the Phoenix to be popular. 

Mono-Green is fairly straightforward to play against. Kill their biggest creatures that are threatening, and ignore the rest as you can generally outrace them. If they ever main phase a Blossoming Defense, assume that they are setting up for a Ghalta, Primal Hunger and using the Blossoming Defense as a ritual effect.

If you have an Unlicensed Disintegration for the Ghalta, Primal Hunger, you can just let it resolve. Otherwise, you probably want to use a burn spell on the creature in response as the 12/12 is a massive beating against us.


Cards to Play Around

Main: 3 Ghalta, Primal Hunger, 1-4 Thrashing Brontodon, 3-4 Blossoming Defense, 0-1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship 

SB: 0-2 Aethersphere Harvester, 0-1 Vraska, the Relic Seeker, 2 Nissa, Vital Force, 2-3 Crushing Canopy 

Sideboard Plan

+2 Cut // Ribbons
+2 Doomfall
+1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 
+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
-2 Scrapheap Scrounger 
-2 Karn, Scion of Urza
-1 Walking Ballista 
-1 Pia Nalaar



Mono-Red Aggro

Going into the Pro Tour, Mono-Red aficionado Javier Dominguez spent a ton of time working on all of the different variations of Mono-Red, and ultimately came to the conclusion that the deck was just bad – all the one toughness creatures in the deck were too much of a liability against Goblin Chainwhirler.

 

Goblin Chainwhirler


Even Wing Chun Yam believed the deck was bad, but he ended up playing the deck anyway. That being said, we still thought the deck would be popular, as Mono-Red is always popular at the Pro Tour. 


The matchup is largely about racing and applying as much pressure as you can, as both decks are bad at blocking. However, you cannot outrace them purely one to one as they are more aggressive, but you also have more removal spells than them, so you have to kill their key creatures and then start trying to race them. 

 

Rekindling Phoenix


One of your key cards is Rekindling Phoenix, as it is good on both offense and defense. If you ever get a chance to block with Rekindling Phoenix, you almost always want to do so, as they have enough removal to deal with the creature if they wanted to, and it is important to save as much life as possible before you start turning the corner with your more expensive and powerful creatures. You are very happy if you can trade the Rekindling Phoenix for a creature and then have them waste a removal spell dealing with the token. 

Karn, Scion of Urza is also one of your best cards in this matchup. Often, the planeswalker will come down and make a token - either to block Hazoret the Fervent or apply more pressure. 

Cards to Play Around

Main: 4 Earthshaker Khenra, 4 Goblin Chainwhirler, 4 Hazoret the Fervent, 3-4 Ahn-Crop Crasher, 1-2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance, 4 Shock, 4 Lightning Strike, 3-4 Abrade 

SB: 3 Glorybringer, 2-3 Magma Spray, 2-3 Chandra's Defeat, 0-1 Abrade, 1-2 Aethersphere Harvester

Sideboard Plan

+2 Chandra's Defeat
+2 Doomfall
+2 Cut // Ribbons
+1 Karn, Scion of Urza 
-2 Scrapheap Scrounger 
-2 Unlicensed Disintegration
-1 Walking Ballista 
-1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 
-1 Heart of Kiran 



W/B Vehicles

While we largely believed that this deck was an inferior version of B/R Vehicles, we expected the deck might turn up in some numbers due to its success at GP Toronto two weekends before. 

The matchup plays out similarly to the mirror, but they do not have any haste creatures you have to worry about when you are looking to protect your planeswalkers.

They are also able to play more aggressively than we can, especially in pre-board games, due to the combination of Toolcraft Exemplar, Knight of Malice and History of Benalia. This means that we will often be the controller in the pre-board games


Cards to Play Around

Main: 3 Walking Ballista, 0-2 Angel of Sanctions, 0-3 Gideon of the Trials, 2 Fatal Push, 0-1 Cast Down, 0-1 Doomfall, 2-4 Cast Out/Ixalan's Binding, 0-2 Thopter Arrest 

SB: 2 Fumigate, 0-2 Angel of Sanctions/Lyra Dawnbringer, 1-2 Fatal Push, 0-2 Forsake the Worldly/Invoke the Divine, 0-2 Settle the Wreckage, 0-2 Thopter Arrest 

Sideboard Plan

+2 Duress
+1 Karn, Scion of Urza (play)
+1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance (play)
+1 Cut // Ribbons (draw)
-3 Rekindling Phoenix (play)
-1 Walking Ballista (play)
-1 Heart of Kiran (draw)
-1 Unlicensed Disintegration (draw)
-1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance (draw) 



U/G Gift

Although we did not expect this deck to be popular, our teammate Jason Chung was hot on the deck, so we tested this matchup extensively. 

The key to the matchup is to play as aggressively as you can, as they are favored to win the long game with their ability to out grind you with cards such as Champion of Wits and Walking Ballista. One of the pivotal aspects of the game is how you want to trade in combat, as you want to be aggressive and therefore attacking, but you also want to delay turning on their Gate to the Afterlife for as long as possible. 

Cards to Play Around

Main: 4 Walking Ballista, 4 Verdurous Gearhulk, 0-1 Vizier of Many Faces, 4 Gate to the Afterlife

SB: 3 Thrashing Brontodon, 4 Wildgrowth Walker, 0-1 Vizier of Many Faces

Sideboard Plan

+2 Cut // Ribbons
+1 Sorcerous Spyglass 
+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
-2 Karn, Scion of Urza
-1 Walking Ballista
-1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance



U/B Midrange

Cards to Play Around

Main: 2-4 Walking Ballista, 2-4 Ravenous Chupacabra, 0-2 Hostage Taker, 4 Fatal Push, 4 Vraska's Contempt, 1-2 Cast Down, 1-2 Doomfall, 0-2 Supreme Will 

SB: 3 Negate, 1-2 Cast Down, 0-2 Sorcerous Spyglass

Sideboard Plan

+2 Doomfall
+1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 
+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
+1 Karn, Scion of Urza
-1 Heart of Kiran 
-1 Goblin Chainwhirler
-1 Rekindling Phoenix
-2 Abrade or 1 Abrade and 1 Magma Spray (depending on their creature suite)

 

The Scarab God


U/B Control

Cards to Play Around

Main: 3 Torrential Gearhulk, 4 Fatal Push, 3 Syncopate, 4 Disallow, 4 Vraska's Contempt, 1-2 Cast Down, 0-2 Essence Scatter, 0-1 Negate, 0-1 Blink of an Eye, 0-2 Censor, 0-1 Commit//Memory, 0-1 Aether Meltdown

SB: 2-3 Negate, 0-2 Sorcerous Spyglass, 0-1 Aether Meltdown, 0-1 Essence Extraction 

Sideboard

+3 Duress 
+2 Doomfall
+1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 
+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
+1 Karn, Scion of Urza 
-4 Abrade
-1 Heart of Kiran
-1 Shock 
-1 Unlicensed Disintegration
-1 Magma Spray 

W/U Gift

Cards to Play Around

Main: 0-2 Fairgrounds Warden, 0-2 Merfolk Trickster, 4 Refurbish, 0-2 Fumigate, 2 Cast Out/Ixalan's Binding 

SB: 3 Negate, 2 Angel of Sanctions, 1-2 Fumigate, 0-2 Baffling End, 0-1 Thopter Arrest, 0-2 Sorcerous Spyglass, 0-1 Fragmentize, 0-2 Settle the Wreckage, 0-2 Lyra Dawnbringer 

Sideboard Plan

+2 Doomfall
+1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
+1 Karn, Scion of Urza 
+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
+1 Duress 
-2 Goblin Chainwhirler 
-1 Walking Ballista 
-1 Rekindling Phoenix 
-1 Shock
-1 Abrade 



Additional Tips

  • If your planeswalker is being attacked by a Lyra Dawnbringer and you do not want them to gain life from the angel, you can choose to crew Heart of Kiran multiple times until the planeswalker has zero loyalty and then the Lyra Dawnbringer would not get to deal the damage, and hence would not gain any life. 

  • Cinder Barrens it not a Swamp/Mountain. While this may sound obvious, a couple of times in testing I accidently played Cinder Barrens on turn one over Canyon Slough and my Dragonskull Summit came into play tapped on turn two. 

  • Assuming that you are not mana screwed and your opponent is aware of that, it is reasonable to expect Karn, Scion of Urza's top ability to net you a land a decent amount of the time. Since Karn, Scion of Urza is not a planeswalker that you are working up to an ultimate for, but rather it is a card advantage resource, you should be aggressively using its middle ability to grab a spell if you are flooded and/or just need something – especially if the planeswalker is not vulnerable to dying. 

Karn, Scion of Urza

I hope you enjoyed the two-part series, as I covered the B/R Vehicles list that half our team played at Pro Tour Dominaria, with a full sideboard guide and key cards to play around in each matchup. In my next article, I will be covering our team's draft results from testing on Magic Online, as well as our pick order list for the Pro Tour.

Until next time!

Zen Takahashi
@mtgzen on Twitter 

 




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