Outlaws of Thunder Junction Art
26, Mar, 24

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Mechanics Let You Mount Your Creatures

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After plenty of hype, anticipation, and a fair few leaks, Outlaw of Thunder Junction has finally been properly shown off. Following the set’s Debut Livestream, we’ve been given a taste of new art, spoilers, and reprints. On top of these, Wizards have also revealed the core new mechanics that players can find in Outlaws of Thunder Junction.

As much as the leaks may have spoiled the show a little, new information from Wizards was very much needed. Since Outlaws of Thunder Junction mechanics have a fair few intricacies, blurry pictures weren’t quite enough. Thankfully, we can now stop staring at unsurprisingly blurry pictures and dive into the details.

Between Crime, Mount, Outlaws, Plot, and Spree Outlaws of Thunder Junction certainly has a lot going on. Thankfully, we’re here to give you the rundown of each of these complex new mechanics ahead of the set’s launch.


Hardbristle Bandit

To kick things off, let’s talk about Crime… again. First announced during Outlaws of Thunder Junction’s First Look, this mechanic has already caused no end of discussion and confusion. Thanks to this, MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, even had to reveal the rules text for this mechanic to provide clarity.

“(Targeting opponents, anything they control, and/or cards in their graveyards is a crime.)”

Mark Rosewater

Following the reveal of this rules text, thankfully, much of the confusion surrounding Crime has disappeared. If you target your opponent or something of theirs, you’ve committed a Crime, good job. As funny as it is, sadly you can’t commit actual crimes to trigger this effect in MTG. That means no Wizards-sanctioned tax evasion.

While Crime is now fairly straightforward, it’s still worth keeping a few quicks in mind. For starters, targeting your own stuff, even if you’re killing your own creatures, isn’t a Crime. At the same time, if you play Healing Hands on an opponent, that’s still a Crime. Notably, spells that affect each player or permanent won’t commit a Crime. Finally, targeting cards in your opponent’s exile will not Commit a Crime.

Despite the name, during games, you’ll want to be causing Crime as much as possible. Thankfully, Outlaws of Thunder Junction has plenty of cards that facilitate this, such as a new Desert land cycle. On top of this, there are plenty of old MTG cards that are absolutely fantastic crime engines.


The Gitrog, Ravenous Ride

As if one curiously named MTG mechanic wasn’t enough, Outlaws of Thunder Junction has two of them! Appearing as two sides of the same coin, Mount and Saddle are both new mechanics in the set. As the name suggests. This mechanic allows you to mount specific creatures for a positive bonus.

Thankfully, outside of its somewhat entertaining name, Mount and Saddle are fairly simple mechanics. Seen as Saddle N, this mechanic can be found on creatures with the new Mount creature type. To Mount a creature, you must tap any number of creatures you control with total power N or more. This action can only be performed as a sorcery.

In the case of The Gitrog, Ravenous Ride when Saddled you get to draw cards and play lands from the graveyard. While this is a powerful effect, it does come at the expense of the creatures that saddled The Gitrog. Thankfully, not every Mount and Saddle effect will cause the creature to be sacrificed. 

While Mount technically is a new mechanic, it is obviously rather similar to Vehicles. In both these mechanics, you trade off tapping one or more of your creatures in order to power up another. The twist this time around is that Mounts aren’t next to useless when they’re not Saddled, since they can attack on their own still.


Slickshot Show-Off

Similarly to Foretell from Kaldheim, Plot allows you to pay for a card early before casting it later. The major difference between these two mechanics is that you don’t have to pay again for the cards you Plot. Instead, on a later turn, you can simply cast the Plotted card at sorcery speed. 

As seen on Slickshot Show-Off the Plot cost for a card can be the same as its regular casting cost. Notably, this won’t always be the case as some Plot costs will be more or less expensive. Regardless of the cost, you may be asking why on earth you’d want to Plot a card when you initially get no value.

Within Outlaws of Thunder Junction, and MTG as a whole, there are plenty of cards that care about casting multiple cards on a given turn. Thanks to this, Plot should be a very useful mechanic for when you want to trigger one of these effects but you’re limited on mana. Additionally, Plot can be used to power up Storm effects, although we doubt there’ll be a new Storm staple in the set.

Beyond the focus on casting multiple cards in a turn, Plot obviously allows you to manage your mana more efficiently. While this won’t always be exceptionally useful, you could Plot an army of creatures to drop after a board wipe in Commander. This should allow you to set up your future turns and give you a safety need if needs be.


Great Train Heist

Despite how confusing Crime was initially, Spree is probably the most unique mechanic in Outlaws of Thunder Junction. Bafflingly, if you just play a Spee card for its normal casting cost, you won’t get anything at all. In fact, to our understanding, that’s not even a legal option at the moment. Thankfully, with a bit more mana, you can get a whole host of effects to create a devastating spell.

At their core, Spree spells offer more options over a normal MTG spell, providing expanded utility. For better or worse, this optional utility does come at an added cost. For seven mana, using every effect on Great Train Heist may be over costed. Since you decide what abilities you pay for, however, this card should still prove useful.

While the Spree cards we’ve seen so far have featured fairly low additional costs, Spree cards have huge potential. Unlike Split cards, Spree cards can feature abilities of very disparate power levels and costs. Hopefully, this interesting design space has created some fantastic cards that should see some healthy play.


Kellan, the Kid

Last, and honestly least, Outlaws are technically a new mechanic in Outlaws of Thunder Junction. Given the name of the set, it would hardly be complete without this new creature-type-focused mechanic. At its core, this mechanic simply batches together five existing creature types; Assassins, Mercenaries, Pirates, Rogues, and Warlocks.

Similarly to past sets and mechanics like Party, there will be many cards in Outlaws of Thunder Junction that specifically refer to Outlaws. This may be if you control an Outlaw, or if you cast an Outlaw card this turn. In any case, you’ll unsurprisingly be seeing a lot of Outlaws in Outlaws of Thunder Junction, so it’s worth keeping in mind.

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