Deadeye Duelist | Outlaws of Thunder Junction | Art by Diana Cearley
15, Apr, 24

5 Surprise Hits From Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited

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Post-Prerelease, we take a look at the biggest surprise hits from Outlaws of Thunder Junction for Limited.
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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of moseying on down to my Local Game Saloon to partake in the time-honored tradition of Prereleasing. Packs were cracked, spells were slung, and some surprise hits for Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited were uncovered. Once the dust settled, while I was unable to secure the 4-0 sweep I envisioned on the walk over, I did come away with a new perspective on many cards I’d brushed aside during preview season.

Limited and Constructed are such different beasts. It’s often hard to properly evaluate cards for one if you focus primarily on the other. Humble commons may do the work of mythic rares when thrown into the self-contained ecosystems that are Draft or Sealed. To that end, I’ve put together the following list of easily overlooked gems that you should look out for next time you’re panning through your Limited pool. Put some respect on their names, and it may just win you an event.

5 | Spree Cards

Phantom Interference, Explosive Derailment, Dance of the Tumbleweeds | Outlaws of Thunder Junction

By this point, most players have agreed that Final Showdown and Three Steps Ahead are going to be major players in Constructed. This entry isn’t just talking about the rare and mythic Spree cards, however. Down in the depths of common and uncommon, you’ll find that nearly every Spree card isn’t just playable in Limited, but excellent there.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, is the innate flexibility of the mechanic. This gives each Spree card utility at different points in the game, with many serving as removal with extra bells and whistles attached.

Secondly, Spree cards have potential as mana sinks. Limited games go far longer than their Constructed equivalents on average, so what may seem like an outlandish total cost on the surface will feel very reasonable in a real match. I even managed to cast a Rush of Dread with all three modes more than once. Overall, Spree cards just feel brilliant to play in Limited, and I never felt bad drawing one either early or late.

Read More: The Best MTG Outlaws of Thunder Junction Cards

4 | Deadeye Duelist

Deadeye Duelist | Outlaws of Thunder Junction

For a two-mana common, Deadeye Duelist does an astonishing amount of work in Thunder Junction Limited. At a base level, a 1/3 with Reach is great for dealing with Mercenary tokens and the terrifying Raven of Fell Omens. The card is also an Outlaw thanks to its Assassin typing, turning on synergies with the likes of Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier and Rakish Crew. Its best attribute by far, however, is its ping effect.

Dealing 1 damage to an opponent each turn isn’t generally exciting, but in Outlaws of Thunder Junction, it also counts as committing a Crime, which is extremely relevant. This lets you fuel cards like Hardbristle Bandit, and even turns on Take for a Ride at instant speed, leading to massive blowouts. And while I bashed the ‘1 damage a turn’ aspect earlier, it’s actually quite good in long games, even without the Crime bonuses.

Read More: Best MTG Outlaws of All Time

3 | Rooftop Assassin

Rooftop Assassin | Outlaws of Thunder Junction

Rooftop Assassin is a card I overlooked initially because the ceiling on it seemed so hard to reach. The removal effect, referred to as a ‘Euthanist’ effect in-house according to Gavin Verhey, is, admittedly, very conditional. Look beyond it, however, and you’ll find a creature that can carry games on its own and one that meshes perfectly with the set overall to boot.

Flying and lifelink is a terrifying combination, even when you’re paying four mana for a 2/2, and this is doubly true thanks to the abundance of Mercenary generators in Outlaws Limited. Tapping a couple of those can get you huge life swings in the air once you reach the point where a 1/1 on the ground is no longer useful. The Flash here is relevant if you’re splashing in some of the blue/white ‘no spells cast this turn’ cards, and the Assassin is even an Outlaw as well, which caps things off nicely.

Read More: New Outlaws of Thunder Junction Card Creates Two-Card Standard Death Combo!

2 | Throw from the Saddle

Throw from the Saddle

It’s common knowledge that removal is second only to bombs in the Limited pecking order, but fight/bite cards, i.e. green removal, are surprisingly easy to gloss over regardless. After getting absolutely bodied by Throw from the Saddle more than once, I quickly learned that lesson. The combination of buffing a creature and killing one of yours is a huge swing, and it feels even better than usual since doing so also counts as a Crime.

A lot of the card’s power lies in the high number of accessible Deathtouchers in the format, such as Ankle Biter and Rattleback Apothecary, which essentially turn it into an unconditional removal spell. The Mount synergy is also not to be dismissed, as many of the well-statted mid-game creatures just so happen to be Mounts. For a two mana common, this is a very serious candidate for a first pick in Draft.

Read More: Top Five Most Expensive MTG Outlaws of Thunder Junction Cards

1 | Ping Deserts

Forlorn Flats Jagged Barrens, Festering Gulch

By far the biggest surprise hit for Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited for me was the new cycle of two-color Ping Deserts. At first glance they look like your typical taplands with a tiny damage bonus, but the fact that playing one counts as committing a Crime launches them into the stratosphere. With a single card, you can chip away at your opponent, trigger your Crime synergies, and fix your mana. And as good as that looks written down, it’s even better in practice.

I saw players including Ping Deserts that only fit one of their colors just for the cheap Crime triggers and lost multiple games to a Gisa, the Hellraiser followed immediately by a Ping Desert, building a board before I could even respond. Naturally, the black members of this cycle are the best, since most Crime cards are concentrated there, but the rest are great too. Don’t sleep on these in Limited: they do a ton of work for a very low opportunity cost.

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