16, Apr, 24

New Sheriffs in Town: The Best Commanders from Outlaws of Thunder Junction

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Wondering who deserves a commander slot in Outlaws of Thunder Junction? These are our top candidates for the job.
Article at a Glance

It may not be a dedicated Commander product, but Outlaws of Thunder Junction still has some of the best Commanders we’ve seen in years. This is partly due to the spike in power level it represents compared to other recent sets. It’s also partly to do with the huge number of legendary creatures, new and returning, who have ended up in Thunder Junction for the set’s storyline.

Whatever the reason is, it’s hard to deny the sheer number of good build arounds the Junction has to offer. Whittling them all down to just my top five picks was difficult, but the deed is done, and you can now reap the rewards. Read on for my picks for the best Commanders in Outlaws of Thunder Junction.

5 | Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds

Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds | Outlaws of Thunder Junction

Ghired is the kind of card that makes you double take after you read it for the first time. It lets all of your nontoken creatures copy tokens? Tokens of any kind? No annoying once per turn restrictions? It feels like a relic from the wild west days of Magic design, which is appropriate for Thunder Junction.

It’s not hard to imagine scenarios where this card can completely take over a game. Even restricting ourselves to cards from Thunder Junction itself, we can copy Vaultborn Tyrant and Molten Duplication tokens for huge value, potentially multiple times since each of your non-Ghired nontoken creatures can do it too. As long as you have some creatures in play, every mid-size token generator is a huge threat to your opponents.

The dream here is obviously putting together a full board of Marit Lage tokens or the like (while stripping the Legend Rule), but the real power of Ghired lies in his flexibility. Since he works with non-creature tokens, you can multiply your Treasures or Clues as well, giving you alternative angles. Throw in Haste, which lets Ghired get back into action quickly after being recast, and you have a top-tier tokens commander.

Read More: Best MTG Thunder Junction Commander Precon Can Generate Treasure with Other Treasures!

4 | Obeka, Splitter of Seconds

Obeka, Splitter of Seconds | Outlaws of Thunder Junction

Thunder Junction’s new Obeka needs no introduction. She’s already caused a major stir on the secondary market thanks to her unusual ability. Whenever she lands a hit on an opponent’s smug mug, she grants you that many additional upkeep steps immediately afterwards.

The upkeep isn’t a phase most players tend to think about. It’s nestled in between the untap and draw steps, and exists largely to enable instant-speed shenanigans and pre-draw interaction. There are a surprising number of effects that trigger during your upkeep, however, all of which can be multiplied many times over by a single Obeka attack.

Whether it’s Armageddon Clock for straightforward AOE damage, As Foretold for a three mana Omniscience effect, or the Grixis-colored Courts from Commander Legends, there are plenty of spicy plays you can make with Obeka. And since her ability scales based on the amount of damage she deals, she plays brilliantly with Auras and Equipment.

3 | Kambal, Profiteering Mayor

Kambal, Profiteering Mayor | Outlaws of Thunder Junction

Kambal is both a tech card and a win condition, all rolled up into a nice three mana package. In Commander, dedicated token decks are fairly common. Even outside of those, decks tend to create one or two over the course of a game. Kambal ensures you get your cut whenever this takes place, copying one batch of tokens per opponent per turn.

This can serve as a deterrent for Combo decks, preventing them from popping off quite as early as planned. Since Kambal has a solid 2/4 body to back that ability up, he’s not the easiest to remove, either. Just having him in play is enough to slow down many of the most degenerate decks in the format, giving you ample time to do something degenerate yourself.

For the other side of the Kambal coin is his drain ability. This is a simple effect, draining one life from each opponent for each batch of tokens you create. With the right build, however, this can easily win you the game on the spot, to say nothing of its obvious synergy with his first ability.

Overall, Kambal is the rare Commander that supports a strategy while also hosing another. Since he’s so cheap and well-statted, just dropping him early and passing will often be enough to majorly shake up a game.

Read More: Best MTG Outlaws of All Time

2 | Doc Aurlock, Grizzled Genius

Doc Aurlock, Grizzled Genius

Uncommons don’t tend to be worth getting excited about in Commander, but Doc Aurlock is the happy exception that proves the rule. At first glance, he appears to be little more than a support piece for the new Plot mechanic. Look deeper, however, and you’ll find a Bear Druid who can enable all sorts of powerful interactions.

Aurlock’s cost reduction effect doesn’t just discount Plotted cards, but those with Flashback, Foretell, Madness, Adventure, and more. This gives you a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to building your deck. Do you want to go for a Flashback self-mill brew, or an off-the-wall exile strategy? The good Doctor enables both, and can even allow for interesting mixed builds as well.

And of course, you can just run a dedicated Plot deck with Aurlock if that’s what you’re feeling. He works particularly well with Fblthp, Lost on the Range, a close contender for inclusion on this list, to keep a steady stream of discounted spells flowing. Throw it all together with 2/3 stats and adorable art, and you have one of the best Commanders in Outlaws of Thunder Junction.

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1 | Vraska, the Silencer

Vraska, the Silencer

Vraska looks like a fair enough card on first read. She lets you convert your opponent’s dead creatures into Treasures on your side of the board for one mana apiece, letting you effectively ‘bank’ mana for future turns. While her ability does remove the other card types of the resurrected creatures, it doesn’t remove their abilities, leaving the gates of Shenanigan Town wide open.

Creatures with powerful enters and leaves triggers are rife in Commander. This means the one mana cost on Vraska’s ability will often seem cheap for what you end up getting. Even just nabbing a one mana Solemn Simulacrum is a brilliant deal, and that’s not close to the best thing you can do with Vraska. Just make sure you have plenty of removal on-hand to snag the best creatures on the board when you need them.

The mana aspect is still relevant as well, of course. Vraska’s power level makes her a kill-on-sight kind of Commander. This means you’ll likely need to pay a premium in Commander tax to keep her in the game. Her Treasures help you do that, while also enabling all manner of other spicy plays to boot. If you like green/black, and you like winning games, then Vraska is the Commander for you.

Read More: New Thunder Junction Mechanics Smash MTG’s Parasitic Design

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