Are there any other notable ways to generate thopters other than Hangarback Walker and the above-mentioned Tezz? I don't think this is a good card, but it is a neat card.
There's always the Thopter Foundry + Sword of the Meek combo. There's also a mediocre 3-card combo with Retofitter Foundry + Sword of the Meek + Sac outlet.
- Trinket Mage target. Works well with skullclamp.
- Voltaic Key / Voltaic Servant shenanigans. Possibly with Steel Overseer. I know Animation Module saw a tiny amount of play a little while ago. This seems a bit more consistent, but is worse against stony effects.
- Opposes planeswalkers. Can even help with board stalls (flying / 4/4s).
- Ramps Tolarian Academy
- Chump blockers. Constant food for Ravager (given non-workshop, non-tomb mana is available).
- Mental Misstep
- Stony Silence effects
- Paradoxical specifies nontokens.
- Mana intensive.
I played in the Vintage Challenge last Saturday with Saheeli Punishing Oath and found it to be very clunky to deal with any oppression. I mainly faced Mentor decks with cages in their sideboards so any anti hate I brought to the field was immediately moot.
Problems I faced:
- 2 copies of As Foretold with 2 Ancestral Visions was very clunky. Definitely not playing those again in this list.
- Vault / Key was in there to focus on Sun Titan synergies. Usually these cards were dead.
- Saheeli was cast a lot more times that she should have been.
- I saw so many Sun Titans in my draws I couldn't even activate Oath when I needed to.
There were times where I Oathed but could win because I only had one Saheeli available. I couldn't "win" after I got my turn two combo.
I also had unavoidable mulligans that cost me quite a few games. I guess that combined with a very clunky build resulted in my 0-4 on Saturday.
How about this + Etherium Sculptor / Foundry Inspector + 2 Sensei's Divining Tops?
T1: Shops -> Foundry Inspector
Black Lotus -> Aetherflux Reservoir
Free -> Top1, tap to activate and draw, put on top
Free -> Top2, tap to activate and draw, put on top
Infinite spells. Infinite life.
Pay 50 life infinite times.
Those are also combo pieces that work really well on their own too. This could be a very nice shell.
Fleetwheel Cruiser like you said seems like a solid contender in recent versions of shops. Revoker, factory, mutavault, etc are all great options to easily enable this guy turn after turn.
Skysovereign will probably be anywhere from 1-3 in decks based on how good it is. One of the big caveats of playing shops in the past has been how bad the removal besides dismember was.
Smuggler's Copter can work in some sort of shell, but I don't think it's what current versions of shops need.
Renegade Freighter wasn't really something that was on my radar, but I think I'll stick to Cruiser. The only upside I see is that it has one extra toughness while being blocked.
Cultivator's Caravan, on the other hand, caught my eye. This card could easily allow for more options to play with actual colors of magic. I would love to splash blue power and tezzerator type cards into my shops deck.
One card that has been on my radar going through gatherer has been Haunted Plate Mail. This card enables all artifacts and vehicles to always be enabled when you want them to. This combined with factories and mutavaults can really foil Oath's plan.