5, Apr, 24

The 13 Best MTG Outlaws of Thunder Junction Cards!

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Magic’s newest set has just about finished up its spoiler season. Prerelease is one week away, and players may be wondering what cards they should be watching out for.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction looks like an incredibly powerful set. Between some surprising reprints and some jaw-dropping cards, Standard is likely to get totally renovated by what this set has to offer. Even older formats like Modern may not be able to escape. It certainly wasn’t able to escape the surprisingly major impacts of Murders at Karlov Manor.

Here, we’ll go over what we believe the best cards are from the main set of Outlaws of Thunder Junction. We’ll either be outlining cards in a competitive or Commander sense, and we’ll be sure to let you know the reason we’re featuring them.

What we will not do is talk about any reprints, Commander-only cards, or cards from any Bonus Sheets. If we were talking about reprints, Inspiring Vantage would likely be the best card on the list simply because it supercharges the manabase for Boros Convoke decks in Standard.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at our predictions for the best new Outlaws of Thunder Junction cards from the main set!

Honorable Mention: The Key to the Vault

Our honorable mention for Murders at Karlov Manor happened to be Leyline of the Guildpact. The reasoning, at the time, was because the Leyline appeared to either be busted or absolutely terrible at release, and many players didn’t really know which it was. As we all know now, Leyline of the Guildpact is definitely busted in Modern.

Key to the Vault offers a similar question. This card has the potential to be absolutely busted, able to cast stuff from the top of your library for free. That said, a lot of hoops need to be jumped through in order to make this happen. It’s tough to know whether Key to the Vault is the real deal or not as a result.

Double Down

Double Down has Commander written all over it. Showcasing the new Outlaw Batching mechanic, any card within the Outlaw Batch will have itself copied on cast when Double Down is in play.

If you’re unsure of what creature types are considered Outlaws, Double Down has it all written out for you. Assassins, Mercanaries, Pirates, Rogues and Warlocks are all Outlaws. Any typal decks using these creature types will definitely want to add Double Down to their arsenal.

Stoic Sphinx

While Double Down had Commander written all over it, Stoic Sphinx is the opposite. This card looks quite capable in formats like Standard. Flashing this in at instant speed and backing it up with controlling effects is a great way to force your opponent to react to the situation. The card could end up being a mirror breaker for control matchups, as no one really wants to do anything unless forced to.

Freestrider Lookout

Freestrider Lookout

Freestrider Lookout looks strong in Commander and ok for constructed, but the payoff is a bit harder to pull off in two-player formats. As long as you’re consistently Committing Crimes in your early turns, Freestrider Lookout can ramp you a ton. Triggering this card more than once per turn rotation makes the payoff absolutely ludicrous. This, of course, does make the card better in Commander since you’ll have four opportunities to trigger it instead of two.

Sadly, three mana is a lot for this effect, which may end up relegating the card to Commander.

Fblthp, Lost on the Range

Fblthp, Lost on the Range

Ever wonder why Plotted cards could only be cast at sorcery speed? Plotting counterspells from cards like Fblthp could have proved to be a massive issue.

Even if Fblthp can’t create free counter magic, the ability to Plot nonland cards from the top of your library can still be rather powerful. Ward 2 makes Fblthp stickier than he looks, and the longer he sticks around, the more value he can Plot off the top of your library.

Fblthp needs the right deck to shine, but any deck that can Plot a ton of cards with Fblthp’s ability in quick order should consider it.

Final Showdown

Final Showdown offers a bunch of powerful effects that both constructed and Commander players could have some interest in.

The first effect allows for a psuedo Dress Down, which has been relevant in competitive play. That said, most decks interested in this effect will continue to play Dress Down since it replaces itself, and it’s tough to know right now if the formats where Dress Down is illegal even want this ability.

While the other abilities could lend themselves to slower strategies in competitive formats, they are absolutely fantastic in Commander. Destroying all creatures at instant speed is a fantastic effect, and having the ability to protect one of your creatures in the process can do a poor Cyclonic Rift impression. All in all, this seems fantastic for Commander and has competitive potential.

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Bristly Bill, Spine Sower

Bristly Bill certainly has a few homes right out of the gate. This card is great in Landfall decks, Hardened Scales decks, and anything in between.

While the card certainly has Commander potential, competitive is a bit more of a question mark. I could easily see some experimentation in Hardened Scales, but Bristly Bill may actually be too slow for that deck. Otherwise, this card could see some Standard play.

Duelist of the Mind

Any card created by an MTG World Champion is worth keeping your eyes on, and Duelist of the Mind is no different. This card is incredibly powerful in certain scenarios, and otherwise provides a creature that offers card selection on an aggressive clock. That said, this card certainly cannot just go anywhere. Duelist of the Mind wants to go in decks with a fast curve that Commits Crimes and draws cards. If that deck exists, this card could become a massive threat.

Read More: New Quick Draw Commander Deck Delivers Insane Copy Effects

Annie Joins Up

The new Joins Up enchantments all look particularly interesting for legends matters Commander decks. Offering an ETB ability as well as a payoff for legendary creatures, many of these cards look powerful for both Commander and competitive Magic

Annie Joins Up offers the ever-popular doubling ability that Commander players go crazy for. This time, any legendary creature triggers will get doubled up. Considering that Commander are generally legendary creatures, it’s safe to say that this is going to be a popular Commander card.

Interestingly, Annie Joins Up could also be competitively viable if a legends deck is popular in any given format. Generally, the issue with doubling cards in competitive Magic is that they offer a temporary tempo disadvantage for massive value with other cards. Enchantments like Anointed Procession don’t do anything on their own, and can only provide value when used alongside other cards.

Annie Joins Up fixes that issue by offering removal on entry. Able of taking out massive Standard threats like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Annie Joins Up could be more useful than many anticipate.

Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds

If you squint hard enough, Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds has a different name. Splinter Twin certainly seems eerily familiar, and that’s the name that this card could have.

Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds is capable of going infinite with just a little bit of setup in any format its legal in. The question is moreso if these setups will be easy enough to execute consistently.

Even outside of constructed, Ghired is an easy inclusion in any Naya Commander decks that care about tokens. Ghired granting his activated ability to all Nontoken creatures allows you to seriously ramp up the rate of just how quickly this card gets out of hand.

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Tinybones, the Pickpocket

Tinybones, the Pickpocket

Many MTG players are comparing Tinybones, the Pickpocket to Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. The comparison has some similarities, but Tinybones is obviously a lot weaker than the Modern monkey. That said, the similarities are large enough that Tinybones will likely be feared upon release.

A 1/1 with Deathtouch makes this card a difficult one to block. That said, many players will gladly throw their prized possessions in front of this thief if that means it won’t connect to their face. Should Tinybones connect, it will start stealing nonland permanents out of their grave. This is a disgusting amount of advantage with just a few connections.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to know how impactful Tinybones will be. Unlike Ragavan, Tinybones needs the game to have progressed somewhat for his trigger to do anything. While Ragavan does its best work in the early game, Tinybones may not get much done on-curve.

Kellan Joins Up

This is yet another part of the ‘Joins Up’ enchantments that perform well in both Commander and competitive. Kellan Joins Up, in particular, takes this aspect to an 11.

Kellan Joins Up’s Plot mechanic has a nasty interaction with a card with a bad reputation. Valki, God of Lies did not play well with Cascade when it was released, and ended up causing an errata for the entire mechanic. Turns out being able to consistently cast Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter on turn three was a problem.

Kellan Joins Up presents the same problem, but under new management. Because the only restriction on Kellan Joins Up’s ETB effect involves a card with mana value three or less, exiling Valki, God of Lies is fair game. Next turn, you can cast Tibalt for free since the card is Plotted.

This means that free Tibalts on turn three are now a possibility. Just partner Kellan Joins Up with a mana dork, and you’re off to the races. Now, Kellan Joins Up is still worse than the Cascade mechanic, as this requires Valki to be in your hand for it to work. Either way, this scary interaction, combined with Commander potential for legends matters decks, is enough for us to give it a strong nod.

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Slickshot Show-Off

Slickshot Show-Off

Slickshot Show-Off got a major response from the MTG community as soon as it was revealed. This card easily looks like a candidate for Pioneer and Standard play, and could even reach further.

The Plot mechanic’s power and complexity is beautifully showcased on this card. Thanks to the Show-Off’s ability to dish out a ton of damage, saving it for a turn when you can cast a ton of noncreature spells make a lot of sense. Plotting ahead can prevent your Bird Wizard from getting removed via a rogue removal spell before you can push a ton of damage. That said, if you don’t expect instant speed removal, Plotting Slickshot Show-Off can be a mistake. This card can generally at least swing in for one point of damage, which makes the decision a lot more complex.

Either way, Slickshot Show-Off slots into a lot of existing archetypes in Standard and Pioneer, which puts it particularly high on our list.

Satoru, the Infiltrator

Every once in a while, a card is spoiled that appears to be instant upgrade for an established archetype. Not Dead After All from Wilds of Eldraine certainly follows this logic, and got a lot of players either excited or scared for what it meant for Rakdos Scam. That archetype has since received a nasty ban, but Not Dead After All was a marginal improvement on an already terrifying deck.

Satoru, the Infiltrator offers Dimir Reanimate/Scam in Legacy a similar opportunity. Considering that archetype also utilizes similar Grief Scam scenarios, Satoru the Infiltrator can draw a ton of cards. While the Grief Scam play pattern generally exchanges three cards in your hand for two of your opponent’s and a body, Satoru makes it so you’re replacing two of those cards.

As Up the Beanstalk has demonstrated, cards capable of drawing cards from free spells can take things too far. That card is currently a Legacy staple and banned in the Modern format. While Satoru does not appear to be quite as good as the enchantment, it still has a ton of potential.

Potential Galore

Frankly, this best Outlaws of Thunder Junction cards list could have been a lot longer. So many powerful and intricate cards are coming out in this set. There’s also a lot of other cards like Kambal, Profiteering Mayor, Marchesa, Dealer of Death and Another Round that definitely have their places in decks that want them.

My advice would be to dive into this set with two open hands. There’s a good chance that a bunch of cards from it will become more sought after as time comes by.

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