Silent Extraction
2, May, 24

New Thunder Junction Spoilers Reveal Bizarre Tutoring Counterspell!

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Considering Outlaws of Thunder Junction launched on April 19th, you may think the set is all said and done. In the weeks since its release, we’ve seen no end of new strategies, price spikes, and even a whole Pro Tour! Despite all these goings on, Outlaws of Thunder Junction still has one last trick left up its sleeves.

As if three sets worth of content wasn’t enough already, next week, Alchemy: Thunder Junction is launching on MTG Arena. Finishing the set off for good, this latest release features 30 brand-new rootin’ shootin’ cards that are exclusively on Arena. Unsurprisingly, many of these cards are rather unorthodox as they leverage the digital-only possibilities of the platform.

With the release date of Alchemy: Thunder Junction, May 7th, drawing ever closer, new spoilers are being released each day. For better or worse, some of these spoilers are just downright bizarre. Silent Extraction, for instance, might just be the strangest counterspell ever printed in MTG!

Silent Extraction

Silent Extraction

Since the earliest days of MTG’s long existence, Counterspells, like Counterspell have followed the same formula. No matter what color combination or mana cost is required, the words “counter target spell” usually feature somewhere. Despite this long-running and well-established trend, Silent Extraction has decided to be different.

Rather than simply targeting a spell, Silent Extraction specifically has you choose a spell. Once you’ve done this, the actually countering happens, unless your opponent pays two mana. Being a two mana counter spell that can be prevented fairly easily, Silent Extraction is just okay in the grand scheme of things.

Despite being fairly uneventful, Silent Extraction has still garnered a fair bit of interest thanks to its wording. After all, there’s only one counter spell in all of MTG that functions the same way; Flavor Judge from Unsanctioned. As a silver-bordered Un-set card, it’s safe to say this card, and Silent Extraction is rather odd.

Thankfully, as much as some MTG players online may be confused, there’s an easy explanation for Silent Extraction’s strange wording. This is all thanks to its Threshold ability, which doesn’t require you to properly counter the spell you choose. Instead, so long as you choose a spell and have Threshold active, you’ll get the potentially potent Seek effect.

Unfortunately, while this weird wording technically makes Silent Extraction more reliable, this Seek effect isn’t the most useful. In theory, it could be used to tutor a combo piece with optional deck construction, but that theory is hardly reliable. After all, you’re relying on both having seven cards in your graveyard and your opponent casting the right mana cost spell.

Ultimately, while more interesting than your garden variety counterspell, Silent Extraction isn’t all too powerful. Subsequently, it probably won’t see play outside of Brawl.

Jessie Zane, Fangbringer

Jessie Zane, Fangbringer

Thankfully, not every new Alchemy: Thunder Junction spoiler is an oddity that defies convention. In comparison, Jessie Zane, Fangbringer is downright ordinary in the grand scheme of Alchemy cards! Sure, it might not be playable on paper, but Conjure and Perpetually effects are nothing new at all.

Sadly, given the state of the Alchemy metagame, Jessie Zane, Fangbringer likely won’t see any competitive play. Instead, this new legendary creature seems purpose-built for Snake-Typal decks in Brawl. Here, Jessie Zane, quite literally brings the fangs, as they give you a steady stream of Ambush Vipers.

Thankfully, despite the copies of Ambush Viper being Conjured toward the top of your library, they shouldn’t clog up your hand. This is due to every Conjured viper getting the Perpetual ability to draw you a card when it enters the battlefield. Ideally, so long as you can pay their cost, this should keep Jessie Zane, Fangbringer from disrupting your game plan too heavily.

Should you maximize their potential and keep playing Ambush Vipers, Jessie Zane, Fangbringer can easily be very annoying. Since these little Conjured snakes have Deathtouch, you could efficiently build an almost impenetrable wall. Throw in a Fynn, the Fangbearer, and suddenly all these snakes become a major threat!

Ultimately, while Jessie Zane, Fangbringer offers some interesting snake-based shenanigans, they’re hardly the best mono-green Commander on Arena. Since Snake-Typal is missing a lot of support, this archetype is largely going to remain a novelty for the time being. Still, if you’re a fan of fangs and want to build a custom deck around them, Jessie Zane, Fangbringer should be a lot of fun.

Intruder’s Inquisition

Intruder's Inquisition

To return to the more unusual side of the Alchemy spectrum, Intruder’s Inquisition appears to be the wrong colors. Typically, Bite effects, like Rabid Bite are in green, so having Intruder’s Inquisition be Rakdos is certainly odd. Well, that’s what it may appear like at first glance, at least.

Looking back through Magic’s history, there are numerous Bite effects in red such as Soul’s Fire. Thanks to this, Intruder’s Inquisition isn’t as out of play as it may first appear. When you couple this detail with the black-aligned Discard effect, this new Alchemy spoiler appears to be downright reasonable!

Beyond just being reasonable from a color perspective, Intruder’s Inquisition is also a very powerful card. For two mana, this card can potentially remove a threat while also scuppering your opponent’s plans through its discard mechanic. Admittedly, this discard effect isn’t quite on the level of Thoughtsieze, but it’s nonetheless powerful.

Outside of Limited events, it’s rare that you’ll just have a massive high-mana threat sitting around in your hand. Usually, that card will be your top-end bomb or a final combo piece to secure the win. Should Intruder’s Inquisition even sneak in with a single damage your opponent’s hopes of casting that spell will be over.

Currently, while powerful, Intruder’s Inquisition may struggle to see play since many Rakdos decks are too fast on MTG Arena. Due to these aggressive sensibilities, players may struggle to get the optimal value out of this unique card. Thankfully, Modern Horizons 3 is coming soon to MTG Arena to flip the script. 

Along with the myriad busted cards in the main set, Modern Horizons 2’s Evoke Elements are coming too as Special Guests. Once on Arena, Intruder’s Inquisition will work fantastically with these high-power but low-cost powerhouses.

Switchgrass Grazer

Switchgrass Grazer

Last but not least for the latest Alchemy: Thunder Junction spoilers, we have a Horse. Offering decent stats and a ping ability, this Horse is really nothing all too special, unless you Saddle it, at least. Once Saddled, Switchgrass Grazer’s ping ability becomes permanent, as any creature hit by it stops having damage removed during cleanup steps.

While this ability is nothing new in Alchemy, not removing damage as usual can completely change the way you play. Rather than being able to block with walls and massive threats, suddenly any point of damage anywhere becomes consequential. In theory, this could make Switchgrass Grazer quite a potent piece of aggressive tech to disentivise blocking.

Ultimately, while Switchgrass Grazer may have some utility, in theory, aggressive decks already get the job done. Thanks to new staples like Slickshot Show-Off Mono-Red Aggro decks have no trouble forcing blocks through damage alone. On top of this, existing aggro decks are too fast and efficient for a four mana Horse, even if it does have Haste.

For now, it seems that Switchgrass Grazer is only going to be relevant in Alchemy: Thunder Junction Limited. Potentially, should a lot more Horses be printed, they could become part of a Shadowfax, Lord of Horses Brawl deck in the future. Right now, however, this Typal archetype is severely lacking support, so I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Read More: Leaked MTG Commander Cards Debut First-Ever Kindred Spell

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