Crew – MTG Keywords Explained

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Earlier in this series, we talked a bit about artifacts and their ability to buff your creatures in combat. Artifacts in Magic represent a variety of different objects in the Multiverse, from weapons and armor to trinkets and treasures. Some artifacts even represent cars, airships, and other vehicles that can get your creatures across the red zone.

Like equipment, vehicles are a special type of artifact, and there are special rules that govern them. Just as a piece of equipment needs a creature to pick it up and wield it, every vehicle needs at least one creature to get behind the wheel and steer. To understand how these vehicles work, we first have to understand their signature keyword mechanic: crew.

What is Crew?

You may notice that vehicles have a power and toughness, just like creatures do. In fact, vehicles can attack and block just like creatures — but only if creatures are crewing them.

To crew a vehicle, tap any number of creatures whose total power is greater than or equal to the vehicle’s crew ability. For example, if a vehicle has Crew 3, you could tap any number of creatures whose total power is at least three. Some creatures have abilities that trigger when they crew vehicles, so look out for those are you build decks with this mechanic.

Summoning-sick creatures can crew vehicles, just as they can tap to activate other abilities like convoke. So, if you’re playing a creature with sufficient power every turn, you can keep crewing your vehicle and attacking with impunity. However, vehicles themselves are susceptible to summoning sickness — you can always crew a vehicle and use it to block, but you can’t attack with it the turn it comes into play unless it has haste.

Once you’ve crewed your vehicle, it becomes an artifact creature with the power and toughness specified on the card until end of turn. You’ll need to crew a vehicle every turn you wish to use it, so make sure you have some untapped creatures around.

Vehicle Cards

Check out some of Magic‘s most powerful vehicles below.

Smuggler’s Copter

Vehicles were first introduced in Kaladesh, and Smuggler’s Copter remains one of the best in the game. The Looter Scooter lets you filter through cards every time it attacks or blocks, and its evasiveness and low crew cost make it a powerhouse. What’s more, its colorless casting cost makes it an auto-include in many decks, which led to bans in the Pioneer format and during its time in Standard.

Heart of Kiran

Heart of Kiran is another vehicle that’s seen a lot of play in Constructed formats. Like Smuggler’s Copter, it has great stats for its mana cost, but its crew cost is substantially higher. Fortunately, your Planeswalker cards can help the Heart take to the skies.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

If you want to go even bigger, Skysovereign, Consul Flagship is your best bet. This massive vehicle can deal substantial damage, and deal damage to a creature or Planeswalker to boot!


Check out the rest of our keyword ability primers:

First Strike & Double Strike
Flying & Reach