11, Apr, 24

Synergistic MTG Uncommon Powerhouses Set to Rule Thunder Junction Limited!

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Article at a Glance

Outlaws of Thunder Junction is a really interesting set with a lot going on. Unsurprisingly, the fact that there are two bonus sheets for players to make use of is a huge selling point for the set. Cards from The Big Score are making their way to Standard, while some elite Breaking News reprints like Mana Drain and Reanimate are sure to shake up the Timeless format on MTG Arena.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of these bonus sheets, however, is that these cards can all be found in play boosters. This means that if your opponent was lucky enough to open Oko, Thief of Crowns in draft, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Meanwhile, the set naturally has some incredible rare and mythic rare bombs, such as Terror of the Peaks and Stoic Sphinx.

As such, you may feel a bit frustrated if you didn’t open any game-breaking cards of high rarity. Luckily, not all hope is lost. One thing that really stood out to me during spoiler season was simply the vast number of incredible uncommons the set has to offer for Limited gameplay. There are plenty of strong synergies to build decks around, and a powerful, cohesive strategy can give even the most bomb-filled decks a run for their money.

Plot Payoffs

Kraum, Violent Cacophony

Perhaps one of the most crucial mechanics for Limited gameplay in Outlaws of Thunder Junction is Plot. On the surface, Plot may not seem that strong. After all, the Plot costs of most permanents is comparable to their casting costs. So, what’s the point in exiling Plot cards to cast on a future turn when you could simply play the cards like normal?

The answer is that there is a plethora of incredible payoffs for Plotting cards. First up, we have cards like Kraum, Violent Cacophony and Slick Sequence that reward you for playing multiple spells in the same turn. All things considered, both of these cards would likely be strong even if thrown into a random set. In Outlaws of Thunder Junction, though, they look like all-stars given how easy it is to cast multiple spells on the same turn.

For instance, in most sets, triggering Kraum’s ability the turn you play it is tough. You either need a lot of mana or access to a really cheap spell. Otherwise, if you simply slam Kraum turn four and pass, you risk it getting removed before you get value. With Plot, however, it’s easy to Plot a card from your hand on turn three, play Kraum turn four, and immediately follow up by casting the Plotted card for free. After that sequence, Kraum is already a 3/4 Flier that drew you a card, which is amazing on rate for a four-drop. If your opponent can’t kill it, it threatens to completely take over the game.

In a similar sense, Jem Lightfoote, Sky Explorer can dominate a game if left unchecked. A 3/3 with Flying and Vigilance for four mana is arguably above the curve already, but the fact that you can start drawing cards with it if it isn’t killed right away is incredible. All you have to do is not cast cards from your hand during your turn.

Obviously, this works well with Instant-speed interaction, but once again, you have free reign to use your mana to Plot cards and develop your board by casting previously Plotted cards from exile. As you can see, these uncommons are not messing around and combo nicely with the mechanics of the set.

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Crime Payoffs

At Knifepoint

Another mechanic that works well with some elite uncommon payoffs is Crime commitment. In order to commit a Crime, you need to target either your opponent or any of their stuff. This includes permanents they control, their hand, and their graveyard. Given how plentiful basic Creature removal is in Limited, committing Crimes is likely going to be rather easy.

Fortunately, the reward is also there for doing so. Take At Knifepoint, for example. By itself, this card does very little. Assuming you can commit crimes reliably, though, this card threatens to spit out 1/1 tokens turn after turn.

At Knifepoint is restricted to triggering once each turn, but if you can commit Crimes on your turn and your opponent’s turn, you will still get multiple 1/1s out of the deal during the turn cycle. This may sound difficult, but thanks to the various Deserts such as Jagged Barrens that commit crimes with no mana input needed, it isn’t too far-fetched.

With access to lots of Crimes, At Knifepoint can completely take over a game. It isn’t the only card that provides a level of inevitability, though. Intimidation Campaign is amazing in grindy games, as you can keep bouncing and replaying it. Nimble Brigand can easily draw you a card every turn cycle until your opponent can kill it. Forsaken Minor is also strong in attrition battles, assuming your deck is aggressively slanted.

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Great Cards on Rate

Marauding Sphinx

Part of what makes this set so interesting is the wide range of synergies players can build around. There are lots of powerful cards that incentivize players to build their decks around them. Beyond just Crime and Plot payoffs, there are also rewards for playing lots of Outlaws, like Rakish Crew, and filling your graveyard with Creatures, like Rise of the Varmints.

That being said, there are also plenty of uncommons that take little to no work to make strong. Take a look at Marauding Sphinx, for instance. Sure, the card rewards you for committing Crimes, but the reality is, a 3/5 Flier with Vigilance and Ward 2 for five mana is good by itself. Likewise, Congregation Gryff is already solid as a 1/4 with Flying and Lifelink for three mana. Add some Mounts to your squad and the card becomes devastating.

Shepherd of the Clouds is yet another evasive threat that is great on rate but becomes elite if you have a high density of Mounts in your deck. The list of uncommons in this set that can swing a game in your favor is rather large. So, even if you didn’t open the bomb rare you were hoping for, there’s no need to panic, since the lower rarity cards in this set certainly deliver.

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