2, Apr, 24

MTG Thunder Junction Commander Hints Reveal Triumphant Return of Sand Warriors!

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Article at a Glance

Over the past week, we’ve been getting bombarded with Outlaws of Thunder Junction spoilers. This includes cards from the main set as well as the Breaking News and Big Score bonus sheets. From intriguing new mechanics to powerful pricy reprints, this Wild West set has a lot to offer.

However, the fun doesn’t just stop there. As with other premier sets, there are going to be four new Commander Precons for players to look forward to. We already know the general themes of each Commander deck as well as what each primary Commander does. However, the rest of the cards in each deck remain a mystery…

That is, for now. According to MTG designer Gavin Verhey, the full decklists will be revealed on Thursday. That’s only a few days away, and to help give us a bit of a sneak peek regarding what to expect, Gavin Verhey also released a video highlighting some hints about the cards featured in the various Commander decks. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more intriguing ones.

Sand Warriors are Back!?

First up, we have a hint that almost certainly suggests a unique inclusion for the Desert Bloom Commander deck. The Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander decks will feature a new card that creates Sand Warrior tokens! Up to this point, two specific cards make Sand Warrior tokens: Hazezon Tamar and Hazezon, Shaper of Sand. Not only are these cards both Naya legends, but Hazezon, Shaper of Sand interacts favorably with Deserts.

Kiri, Talented Sprout Art by Simon Dominic

It seems reasonable that Hazezon could be reprinted in the Desert Bloom deck, considering the whole purpose of the deck is to discard or sacrifice Deserts and bring them back. Notably, though, Gavin Verhey did highlight the artwork for the Desert Bloom backup Commander: Kiri, Talented Sprout. While this adorable baby Cactus should draw a lot of attention, I’d be surprised if this new card is responsible for Sand Warrior token production. This begs the question: what would a new card that creates Sand Warrior tokens look like?

It is possible that a new Hazezon Creature sees the light of day. Interestingly, though, Gavin Verhey didn’t state that the new card was guaranteed to be a Creature. This card could just as easily be an Enchantment that provides a flow of Sand Warrior tokens as Desert cards enter or leave the battlefield. Or, we could see a card like Hour of Promise that synergizes with Deserts, but this time generates Sand Warrior tokens instead of Zombies. There are a lot of different avenues the design team could have taken this card, but additional Sand Warrior support is always welcome.

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Two-Drop that Taps for Two Mana

Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea

Our next hint is that there will be a two-drop that can tap for two mana, but there is some sort of restriction. Restrictions aren’t that uncommon to see on mana producers, as you can see with Gwenna above. Two-drop examples include cards like Beastcaller SavantElfhame Druid[/tooltips]. These cards can be quite strong, but typically need to be on-theme with the rest of your deck to maximize.

The reality is, two-drops that can tap for more than one mana are hard to come by. Sure, there are some cards like Bloom Tender that go above and beyond, but this is out of the ordinary. Chances are that the restriction on this card is quite specific to the Commander deck it represents. For example, some players have suggested that this card could be restricted to casting cards you don’t own. This would fit perfectly alongside Gonti, Canny Acquisitor, but would make it difficult to utilize in traditional ramp decks in Commander.

Even though it’s most likely that this mana producer is green, this is not guaranteed. For instance, we’ve seen non-green cards like Giada, Font of Hope that care about specific Creature types and can only add mana to cast Creatures of that type. Perhaps a two-drop that can tap for two mana to only help cast Outlaws could help accelerate Olivia, Opulent Outlaw. After all, green always gets the best ramp elements, so why not help other colors out?

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Command Tower Matters

Commander Tower

Arguably the most interesting hint on this list, we now know there is a card that cares specifically about Command Tower. There are a couple different avenues a card like this could go. First, we could have a card that directly benefits from Command Tower being in play.

There was actually a playtest card from one of Gavin Verhey’s “unknown” events named “Command Power Plant” that could tap for additional mana with Command Tower in play (referencing the Tron Lands). Some players think this new card could be directly related to the playtest card in some way, and having a card that can tap for additional mana or gain some other benefit from Command Tower’s presence would be pretty cool.

Another direction that could be taken is to have a card that can search for Command Tower from your deck. There have been plenty of cards in the past, such as Bogbrew Witch, that can tutor up unique cards. Given how prevalent Command Tower is in EDH and how much it can help fix a player’s colors, having a simple way to grab it from your deck does not seem far-fetched.

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An Odyssey Reference

Pedantic Learning

“I am going to guess the reference to Odyssey will be a colorshifted Pendantic Learning for the desert deck.”

@MagnaMagum

The last hint we’re taking a look at is a rather interesting one. Supposedly, a new card will reference a blue rare from Odyssey block. This doesn’t help narrow things down too much, but some players have presented some cool ideas for what this new card could do. One player mentioned that a colorshifted version of Pedantic Learning could appear in the Desert Bloom deck.

Even though Pedantic Learning only cares about Lands entering your graveyard from your library only, the main Commander Yuma, Proud Protector makes sure to generate Plant Warrior tokens when Deserts are put into your graveyard FROM ANYWHERE. This leaves the door open for some milling shenanigans, where a card like Pedantic Learning would be useful.

“Ref to Odyssey block blue rare: Spelljack from Judgement In the Gonti deck, you will counter a spell and plot it for yourself”

@ApoEdvarg

Another player suggested that the card being references could be Spelljack. Gonti, Canny Acquisitor rewards you for casting cards you don’t own, so getting to counter a spell, Plot it, and cast it on a future turn seems quite flavorful.

With each of these hints, there are a lot of different directions the design team could take these new cards. There are plenty of other cool hints to speculate on, too, including a new Storm card and an eight-mana black board wipe of sorts. All will be revealed on Thursday, so for now, we’ll just have to wait in anticipation.

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