26, Feb, 24

MTG Thunder Junction World Championship Card Revealed!

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Article at a Glance

Competitive Magic is a difficult hill to climb, but every level of play offers a sort of milestone that players covet to achieve. First, players can attend Regional Championship Qualifiers to attempt to qualify for the Regional Championship. From there, the Regional Championship offers Pro Tour and World Championship qualifications. Attending the Pro Tour is a particularly difficult achievement, and the World Championship is even more difficult.

For the brilliant few who manage to win an MTG World Championship, there’s more to immortalize their feat than just accolades and some money. Magic’s World Champions gain the opportunity to immortalize themselves in the game itself, helping to create an MTG card that will share their likeliness!

For example, 2021’s World Champion Yuta Takahashi created Faerie Mastermind. The player is well known for his immaculate Faerie piloting from back in the day, and wanted a card that could do work in the Legacy format. Faerie Mastermind filled its role well, profiting off opposing Brainstorms and pitching to Force of Will.

During the Pro Tour Chicago top eight, Magic’s 2022 World Champion Nathan Steuer revealed his card to the world. It will be appearing in Outlaws of Thunder Junction as a rare. Let’s take a look!

Duelist of the Mind

Duelist of the Mind is the newest Outlaws of Thunder Junction spoiler to hit the scene. As mentioned at the bottom of the card, this is also Nathan Steuer’s card memorializing his achievement as the 28th MTG World Champion.

Before we start discussing Duelist of the Mind in more detail, this card utilizes a new(ish) mechanic being introduced in Outlaws of Thunder Junction: committing a crime.

MTG players have been committing crimes for years now! We just didn’t know it. Basically, you commit a crime when you target an opponent, or their stuff, with a spell or ability.

Discussing the card during its reveal at the Chicago Pro Tour top eight, Steuer mentions that, when creating it, he wanted to ensure that he had a card that wants to interact with the opponent as much as possible, was a cheap creature, and could somewhat emulate elements of the Grixis strategy that he won with the World Championship with, namely a way to emulate card selection and get cards to the grave. Duelist of the Mind definitely has these qualities, and is a rather bizarre creature overall.

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Duelist of the Mind really wants you to draw cards. The more you draw, the more powerful this threat can become. Pairing this with cards like Brainstorm and Treasure Cruise, as Steuer himself mentioned, could create some incredibly powerful scenarios, allowing Duelist of the Mind to attack for four damage. Considering that this creature has both Vigilance and Flying, this damage will be rather difficult to stop.

Allowing looting when committing crimes, however, beautifully enables Duelist of the Mind to offer card selection while interacting with the opponent. If this effect did not trigger once per turn, the card would be a lot more powerful.

Talking about playability, Duelist of the Mind seems apt for the Standard format. Committing crime payoffs will likely become central to the metagame thanks to being relatively easy to trigger, which will make Duelist of the Mind synergize with a lot of other cards that want to do the same thing.

While I personally doubt Duelist of the Mind will quite make it to Legacy, the ceiling on this card is rather high. It’s a bit bizarre, but when used properly, Duelist of the Mind offers a fast clock, card selection, and encourages interaction, just like Steuer wanted.

Considering that Pro Tour Outlaws of Thunder Junction is a Standard format, we may get the rather novel opportunity to see a World Champion at a top level event play their card! Whether Duelist of the Mind is viable in the Standard format is yet to be determined, but I personally hope that, whether its Limited or Constructed, we get to see Nathan Steuer cast himself in a game of Magic.

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