Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Do Vehicle Cards Work in Magic?
In Magic, vehicles are an interesting subtype of the artifact faction. Like most artifacts, they're generally colorless, letting them fit into any deck; however, vehicles wield power and toughness stats, but they don't initially count as creatures. To make use of their fighting capabilities, they bear different "crew" requirements, letting you tap a number of creatures whose total power equals at least that value to turn them into an artifact-creature for the turn.
10 Best Vehicle Cards
To compensate for the hassle, most vehicles have impressive battle stats alongside other tricks, and with varying crew costs, there's bound to be a vessel suited to your needs. But with dozens of transports available, which craft reign supreme? These are the ten best vehicles in Magic: The Gathering!
- Conqueror's Galleon/Conqueror's Foothold
- Renegade Freighter
- Fleetwheel Cruiser
- Mobile Garrison
- Fell Flagship
- Untethered Express
- Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
- Smuggler's Copter
- Heart of Kiran
- Aethersphere Harvester
10. Conqueror's Galleon/Conqueror's Foothold
This transforming card initially begins as Conqueror's Galleon, who costs four mana and has a hefty crew price of four. However, as a creature, he wields a sturdy 2/10 (two power and ten toughness), granting an enormous amount of health to survive any assault.
Plus, at the end of the combat step after Galleon attacks, he morphs into the land Conqueror's Foothold. Now, he can tap for a colorless mana, but he can also tap and spend two mana to draw and discard, four to simply draw, or six to return a card from your graveyard to hand, granting a variety of nice effects that scale alongside your current mana capabilities.
9. Renegade Freighter
Renegade Freighter only costs three mana, and its low crew value of two makes it easy to operate. Vehicles can be staffed for either attacking or blocking, but Freighter excels on offensive since it boosts its already-impressive 4/3 stats by +1/+1 when swinging. Additionally, it gains trample when attacking, bleeding excess damage through blockers.
Essentially, you've got a 5/4 with trample for just three mana and an affordable crew cost. Use weak tokens or other utility units you won't mind exhausting to man your engine and decimate foes.
8. Fleetwheel Cruiser
Fleetwheel Cruiser's quite similar to Freighter. It also bears a crew value of two, though you'll have to pay four mana for this car. Still, it harbors a sturdy 5/3, trample, and haste, letting it attack even on the turn it arrives. In addition, Cruiser automatically becomes an artifact creature on the turn it enters, making good use of its haste and avoiding its initial crew cost.
7. Mobile Garrison
Like Freighter, Garrison only needs three mana and carries a low crew value of two. It enjoys a sweet 3/4 ratio, and when Garrison attacks, it lets you untap another artifact or creature you control!
You can refresh a fellow attacking unit (who will keep swinging) to make them available as a blocker on your opponent's turn, a mana-tapper to provide more resources, or whatever other artifact or creature you like (hint: "Sol Ring").
6. Fell Flagship
Fell Flagship is admittedly a niche card, but shines in its element. Whether it's just an artifact or also a creature, Flagship boosts the strength of all pirates you control by +1/+0, letting your swashbuckling allies hit harder with each strike.
Flagship's crew cost is three, but with your buffed allies, it should still be easy to attain, and it bears a solid 3/3 stats. Even better, when Flagship deals damage to a player, they're forced to discard a card; make it unblockable with blue auras or protection against your opponent's colors to reliably land its damage and diminish an adversary's hand.
5. Untethered Express
Express essentially serves as an upgraded form of Freighter. It costs one more mana, but only needs a crew score of one, making it incredibly easy to fuel. It enjoys 4/4 stats, trample, and when Express attacks, you place a +1/+1 counter on it. These counters remain indefinitely, letting Express consistently power up and hit harder with each blow, punishing foes who leave it unchecked.
Fortunately, vehicles don't lose counters even when they drop their creature status; once you crew them again, you'll be able to utilize any previous counters they collected.
4. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
Skysovereign's status as a legendary artifact grants some interesting synergies, and despite its substantial cost, it bears a solid 6/5 stats alongside flying, rendering it unblockable to grounded units.
You'll need to tap creatures with at least a total power of three to afford Skysovereign's crew fee, but not only do you get an aerial machine with high stats, you get to inflict three damage to an opponent or planeswalker whenever your ship attacks! That's a free "Lightning Bolt" with each strike, and as a bonus, you also inflict the damage when Skysovereign enters the field, helping justify its higher price.
3. Smuggler's Copter
Smuggler's Copter offers several tempting traits, most notably its low prices: only two mana to cast and one power to crew. Considering its negligible price, it's a formidable 3/3 with flying, and whenever Copter attacks, you can draw and discard a card. Your overall hand size won't change, but you can keep what you need and toss what you don't, setting your graveyard for "spell mastery" and "threshold" effects along the way.
2. Heart of Kiran
This legendary battleship has a crew cost of three, but only needs two mana and enters as a daunting 4/4! In addition to flying, it also bears vigilance, letting you attack without tapping and keeping Kiran refreshed and ready to block on your opponent's turn.
Admittedly, vigilance is slightly less desirable on vehicles since you'll have to pay the crew cost on both your attacking and blocking turn to make full use of it. Thankfully, Kiran assists by letting you avoid the crew free if you remove a loyalty counter from a planeswalker you control, a fair trade that keeps your other creatures untapped and ready for war.
1. Aethersphere Harvester
By far my favorite vehicle, Aethersphere only takes three mana to field and one power to crew. For these low costs, you receive an excellent 3/5 soldier with flying, and Aethersphere's one of few cards that attain energy counters, gaining two upon entrance to the field.
You can either stockpile these counters for other effects or pay one (at any time) to grant Aethersphere lifelink for the rest of the turn, recovering you a corresponding amount of health when it deals damage. I've fit Aethersphere into a variety of themes and especially enjoy using it to cover green's air weaknesses or amass counters in energy decks. Best of all, Aethersphere's a surprisingly affordable unit for budget players, often costing less than a single dollar!
How to Support Vehicle Cards in Magic: The Gathering
Remember, vehicles are always eligible for artifact supports, but can also enjoy creature boons when crewed. However, this also works against you, potentially making them vulnerable to both artifact and creature removals. Recommended support cards include the vehicle "Peacewalker Colossus," who can spend two white mana to turn another vehicle into a creature for the turn (avoiding its crew cost), and white legendary "Sram, Senior Edificer," who lets you draw whenever you cast an aura, equipment, or vehicle.
Vehicles remain an engaging group that fit into any build while rewarding your maintenance efforts with fierce powers, and I hope to see future sets continue to fill their ranks. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of transport artifacts, vote for your favorite vehicle and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill