Outlaws of Thunder junction Commander Set Review

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander Set Review

Kristen GregoryCommander

Take a seat, partner, and get stuck into the Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander Set Review. It’s cowboys, it’s cacti, it’s some crazy strong enchantments. And some really neat new Commanders!

You can find other recent Commander set reviews here:

As always, we’re only looking at the all-rounders. For example, we won’t cover cards like Another Round. It’s sorcery speed flicker, which is for most purposes unplayable. You can achieve the same with a high roll on Lae’zel’s Acrobatics


Kicking things off is Aven Interrupter. As well as being a solid cEDH hatebird, it can also work within a Flash-based or Flicker-based deck (which usually end up being the same deck). Think of it kinda like a Spell Queller but… corporeal.

Finally, we get another white ramp creature that’s actually on par with Knight of the White Orchid. The adjacent effects we’ve seen haven’t been as good, with only Archaeomancer’s Map being one I actually have enjoyed playing. Like Knight, it has a brilliant body for attacking and blocking.

My my. As I said on socials when this thing was previewed, we got a Sunforger wrath. This thing is seriously good, and even as a six mana Rout can do a lot of work. Remember, the spell resolves in order, so your creature can become indestructible over the top of the humility effect, which will negate any Heroic Interventions. SWEET.

It’s Far Traveler, but on a creature? Kinda cute, given you’ll need a mount to travel far. In play this will be a solid little engine that should stick around.

High Noon is a Rule of Law effect that can sacrifice itself. If you don’t usually play with this effect, you might not know how huge that is. While it’s likely to be constrained to higher-power tables, being able to crack it to unlock your turn is dastardly.

One Last Job is a solid recursion spell, getting you more stuff back to play for the amount of mana you put in. While it is a good rate, I think outside of decks that play Mounts and Vehicles, I’d prefer an Unfinished Business

Top 5 White Common/Uncommons:

  1. Requisition Raid – Excellent Disenchant that can gain a target and/or buff the team. 
  2. Bovine Intervention – Beef Within. Make Your Mooove. Watch as those puns go pasteurize. 
  3. Getaway Glamer – I see this as a Flicker spell that’s occasionally a removal spell. 
  4. Bounding Felidar – Lifegain decks that rely on Soul Sisters and tokens to achieve their aims will quite enjoy this late game swing.
  5. Shepherd of the Clouds – It’s basically a big Pegasus, which we don’t get often.


Archmage’s Newt is a Snapcaster Mage on-combat damage, and that’s pretty cool. If you saddle it, you get to change that Flashback cost to {0}. This is going to be obscenely good in decks that can self-mill or Entomb cards repeatedly. You’ll want to be casting big spells like Mnemonic Deluge or River’s Rebuke for free, and then reaping the rewards.

While this is templated for Outlaws decks like the new Marchesa, in practice it speaks to a lot of decks already in blue: Rogues, Pirates, and Warlocks. Solid piece of value, and yes, it counts Tribal type spells like Nameless Inversion.

Duelist of the Mind is going to be insane in Raffine decks. That deck already wants a cheap flyer that attacks freely, and plays off of discarding cards with cards like Archfiend of Ifnir. Frustratingly an Advisor and not a Wizard, otherwise, which is probably for the best.

Fblthp, Lost on the Range is pretty solid for a Futuresight-adjacent effect. While true versions of this effect cost more, what you get for three mana here is more than reasonable. Ward {2} keeps it in play a little longer, but I feel like this was always going to die in the first boardwipe anyways. 

A new Geralf, and this time, he’s firmly in the Rooftop Storm school of thinking. Accruing Zombie tokens is nice, but remember that they are also Rogues, which have a lot of synergy in blue also. His second ability encourages you to play cards like Rise from the Tides, because those Zombies will enter swole

The Key to the Vault is a very strong equipment. Sure, it slots into U/W/x Ardenn partner decks, but it does so much more than this. Top deck manipulation can lead to some serious mana and card advantage, given this can cast anything from a Kaldra Compleat, to a Spectral Deluge, to an Omniscience. Any top deck tutor unlocks some wild plays with this card, and I expect it to spook many tables. 

Three Steps Ahead is gonna be in demand due to Standard play, so probably worth grabbing one if you see one for a good price. I like it in Commander for the same reason I like a lot of cards: Modality is King. This can be anything you want it to be.

Top 5 Blue Common/Uncommons:

  1. Fleeting Reflection – Maybe the best Uncommon in the set. Hell of a flexible trick. 
  2. Geyser Drake – Flash decks will eat good off of this.
  3. Shifting Grift – Getting a cheap Switcheroo with kicker is neat.
  4. Slickshot Lockpicker – It’s a three mana one-shot Archaomancer that’s an Outlaw, and it can be plotted. 
  5. Emergent Haunting – The first paragraph is flavor; an infinite mana Surveil outlet is what’s interesting here.


Caustic Bronco is kind of like a Bob that has to attack, except if you saddle it, you’re burning opponents instead of yourself. For two mana, this seems very strong, and in decks that can pop off extra combats or double attack triggers, you’re laughing. Isshin is just the right size to get on this thing, though it’s clear that Two Hells as One birthed it. 

Gisa has Ward {2}, and I’m kinda okay with it. It’s not Voja, is it? Gisa is a five mana lord, basically, and she also makes you some dudes once a turn to lord over. This is the kind of creature I’m okay with having Ward, and would go as far as to say that pieces that need to stay in play like Lords should be the ones to see some soft Ward costs. 

Okay, so Insatiable Avarice just seems good. I think you’ll play this in multicolor decks most often as a sorcery speed Vampiric Tutor, if you’re greedy, but I actually think the correct play pattern is to include this as a draw spell in mono black and then unlock a tutor as the game goes on. I kinda hope that if you’re greedy with this you get punished. 

Oh hey, it’s a new pickup for Toshiro Umezawa! Giving Toshiro the ability to recur spells outside of the Command Zone is excellent, and adding on the ability to recur midrange bodies and game ending threats on the same card is some serious advantage. Outside of Toshiro, I still think this card is good, and I think most of the Golgari playable Crime spells are especially good, given Golgari’s access to reanimator and propensity for running creatures that commit crimes as part of the 99 anyways. 

Pitiless Carnage is a Reprocess that can also sacrifice enchantments and planeswalkers, that’s easier to cast, and that can be plotted. I think this is a rare case when we can actually use the term “Strictly Better”. 

Rush of Dread is a very powerful, very anti-social kind of spell. It’s the kind of spell you need to run in a deck that can really push it, like Anhelo the Painter, who can Casualty it to make the final mode hit two players. You’ll probably want to run it in this way most often, with Wound Reflection effects. 

Tinybones, the Pickpocket is a fun little rattlesnake that lets you dip into an opponent’s bin. If you can take advantage of it being a Skeleton, Rogue, or having Deathtouch, it gets a lot better. And you know, milling people.

Top 5 Black Common/Uncommons:

  1. Forsaken Miner – It’s Gravecrawler Mk.2
  2. Rakish CrewBastion of Rememberance, but Outlaw flavor.
  3. Rattleback Apothecary – Hear me out: this’ll push through a lot of damage in midrange reanimator decks
  4. Shoot the Sheriff – I always love running a spell that is inert when my opponents steal it off me
  5. Servent of the StingerDemonic Tutor with extra steps. Honestly pretty decent in the right build. 


Calamity is the latest copy-creatures Commander, and at six, it has to make a strong argument to be worth playing over Rionya or Delina. Thankfully, it makes a strong argument. Given you can over-saddle, that means you can copy two different creatures, or just two of the same one. It opens you up to different lines. In the 99, it’s also pretty strong. 

Sunforger-able extra combat? Yes please. My Sunforger Syr Gwyn deck is getting hooked up this set. I love that this, for an additional red, can also generate you a bunch of mana for next turn, too. 

Outlaws decks will enjoy having a haste enabler at four that brings a couple of Outlaws with it. 

New Magda isn’t quite old Magda, but she still makes a strong case for being included in the same lists, especially in Dihada, where making flying blockers is excellent. Tapped treasure once a turn is a much-needed nerf to treasure production, but the card’s still great. 

Top 5 Red Common/Uncommons:

  1. Return the Favor – It’s a Wild Ricochet that you can choose to focus on just what you need for one fewer mana
  2. Rodeo Pyromancers – Anything that gives free mana can help a deck storm off
  3. Reckless Lackey – A pickup for Winota cEDH
  4. Magebane Lizard – Halts a storm deck, but also Enchantress and Equipment decks. Cool tech.
  5. Highway Robbery – The latest “lose something to gain 2 cards” effect lets you sac a land, and also plot it. 


Bristly Bill asks if you’d like a Landfall Commander that isn’t the usual suspect. My answer is no, but I’ll happily slot him in my +1/+1 counters deck, or existing Landfall deck. 

As I mentioned above, Golgari gets to capitalize on crime in reanimator decks, given your Ravenous Chupacabras and Noxious Gearhulks are very much criminals. Freestrider Lookout sits back and blocks pesky flyers, and lets you ramp when you commit crimes. 

Did this thing need to have all of those keywords? Probably not. But it does. Exile this thing with extreme prejudice. 

I’ve been a little off of Beast Whisperer lately, outside of elf decks. Outcaster Trailblazer heard my thoughts (which is concerning, right?) and offers some EtB draw, rather than cast draw. It’s also plottable, giving an extra mana on a later turn if that’s something you think might help. Otherwise, in practice, you get to pay two mana for it and follow it up with something to draw a card.

It’s another way to have creatures enter with more counters, and it can be plotted. I think most of the time I’m happy to pay five for this if I’m already wanting this effect. 

Smuggler’s Surprise is a hell of a piece of interaction. It’s a second copy of Heroic Intervention, by and large, for a lot of green decks. What else does it do? Well, it can shove two creatures from your hand into play that can’t be countered, provided the spell itself resolves. The bonus mill means it can sometimes still work with a dead hand. Solid card.

Top 5 Green Common/Uncommons:

  1. Trash the Town – A modular combat trick that more than replaces itself
  2. Full Steam Ahead – A nice overrun if your meta has a lot of tokens decks
  3. Dance of the Tumbleweeds – Searches up Scavenger Grounds, makes a chunky blocker
  4. Map the Frontier – Most desert cards seem desert-oriented, but this grabs Scavenger Grounds too.
  5. Gold Rush – R/G/x decks that enjoy Ancient Copper Dragon and Old Gnawbone get a cheap finisher.


Some of the multicolor cards in this set aren’t too amazing in EDH. Akul’s ability being sorcery speed on a hard to cast card really hurts it; Annie Flash will likely perform worse than Guardian Scalelord or Sun Titan. There’s a lot to cover here so let’s concentrate on the best of it.

Annie Joins Up gives Voja double ward, double draw, and double counters. Shove Roaming Throne in and it’s your game to lose. Outside of Voja, it’s still a strong effect, and more than playable. 

Ghired might not be in Ravnica, but he’s still in Naya He works in the same design space as the previous iteration, giving a pseudo-tap: populate to your nontoken creatures. I think this is a great little Magic card, both as Commander and in the 99. 

Marchesa, Dealer of Death is a pretty solid rate for what you get. How do you build her? Well, my angle is to build a reanimator style win condition within a control deck. You’ll want cards like Birgi and Storm-Kiln Artist to make your mana go as far as you can make it, and try to get some free or cheap repeatable crime like Bloodthirsty Blade and Gravestorm. The new two color deserts are also “free” crimes. 

Kellan, the Kid is a card with a heckuva paragraph of text. It’s one of those paragraphs that sounds “quite good”, and then you play against it, and realize it’s actually yes, indeed, quite good. It’s held back by most telegraphed spells from exile in Bant colors being relatively low cost, but as a more control-oriented Commander, Flying and Lifelink will let you survive to the mid-game where you can stake your claim. 

Wizards keeps printing cards to glue together disparate mostly mid at best cards by providing a value engine Commander as a reward for going narrow and mid. Riku of Many Paths is a solid card, but maybe a little uninteresting. 

Speaking of tying together a theme, Eriette, the Beguiler lets you skip straight over the usual goad and pacifism effects and just steal whatever you like to put together a game plan with. In practice, it turns your Auras into removal spells, while giving you a resource. This is very tempo efficient, and should prove to be a strong Commander. I’d put the other Eriette and Zur, the Enchanter in the 99. 

Ah, the most popular Commander of the set, I imagine (yeah, EDHRec says so). Whenever we get a new doubler of effects, it’s a strong consideration. Obeka can more than double upkeeps, though, and so that’s why she’s captured the hearts of the masses. She’s definitely going to be a fun deck, but you will absolutely struggle to resolve your Obeka and keep her in play, so pack some counterspells.

It’s another Simic ramp+draw Commander. This one, however, isn’t Merfolk or Sea Creature themed, so if you’re a freshwater Commander player, you’ll be thankful for some good, honest farming. 

Izzet is firmly in the second-spell-matters design space for OTJ, and both Malcolm and Breeches are solid cards for the archetype. Breeches can copy spells or trigger a premature explosion, burning face (or faces, I guess). Malcolm, meanwhile, is only two mana for a hasty boi who gives you clues for your troubles. They’re clearly designed to be played together, and very good build-arounds or just good value engines.

Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot also plays in this space, but she instead asks you to do a mini-Mizzet and stick to multicolor spells, please. Multicolor storm will definitely have a different decklist, and I’m a big fan of keeping decklists in Commander fresh. How good is she? Well, the best of what’s on offer for her to Storm off with is likely to come from Strixhaven, and she’s likely to want to try and copy a Stitch in Time a bunch of times. 

Over to Golgari, and The Gitrog, Ravenous Ride is another fan of STX, this time utilizing the chonky Witherbloom demons like Daemogoth Titan to curve through and gain truly wild amounts of value off of Sadd-rificing. This card is the most value oriented golgari lands Commanders in a hot second, and I think it’s rather powerful. 

Pillage the Bog is what you play after ramping a bunch with Gitrog if you still didn’t find what you were looking for. It’s a nice one to plot in advance of needing all of your mana to cast a huge, game warping spell. 

Vraska Joins Up is a hell of a strong card, and there’s plenty of Legendary-matters decks it can slot into already. It’s just a solid card either way though, especially given at the floor it’ll give your board deathtouch permanently and let your Commander draw cards.

Vraska the Silencer is similar to Shelob, Child of Ungoliant, in that the treasure created will still retain all the abilities of the creature that died, even if it doesn’t stay a creature. Is this a Commander for an edicts deck? It could be. That’s kinda hot.

Kambal has the cool part of Crafty Cutpurse as a static, though a less impactful version it has to be said. Still, in a deck that’s built around gain, drain, and tokens? This is a solid Commander and probably good in the 99 also as a second copy of Bastion of Remembrance, but with upside. 

Rakdos, the Muscle is second Rakdos card we’ve gotten in that many sets. In Thunder Junction, he’s a Mercenary, and he encourages you to sacrifice the members of your gang who aren’t pulling weight in order to score a hit from an opposing player. Being able to dodge conventional wraths is a nice way to give it an outlet without pushing it over the top.

Rakdos Joins Up is the more interesting Rakdos card to me, giving you a powerful enchantment for after you’ve cast your non-denominational Defy Death. It turns your legends dying into burn, and it means that you should be packing Living Death in your Legendary-matters Mardu decks. I mean, you should be playing it anyway. 


Yeah, be prepared for that at every table. This Roxanne puts on the Meteorite, a Manalith that shocks on entry. She also doubles up your mana for any artifact that’s tapped for mana, which makes the Gruul artifacts archetype that much more interesting. Melira decks are going to eat well.

Satoru gives you cards when your Ninjitsu creatures enter play. He also grants them for flickering them, or “putting” them into play, or reanimating them. Honestly, a pretty strong card in the 99, but also just solid in the Command Zone. It just enables all sorts of shenanigans by making them cantrip.

Heh, it’s finally another card that makes Angel tokens. For fans of the Angel Token deck, this one does want you to be in Selesnya, but it can be crewed saddled by the most common Angel tokens. A solid token maker.

Ah, Taii Wakeen, Perfect Shot. She’s so cool, with her sci-fi rifle. Whenever you “BOOM! Headshot!” a creature, you get to draw a card. She also helps you get there. In practice, she also turns your impact tremors into as much damage as you have mana available. That’s pretty dang strong, and opens up lots of new avenues to build around in Boros, which is always a good thing. I think she’ll be underplayed, but very fun. 

Top 5 Multicolor Common/Uncommons:

  1. Kraum, Violent Cacophony – Very good card draw on an evasive body
  2. Doc Aurlock, Grizzled Genius – Discount for Flashback and Plot makes for a useful dork. 2/3, though?
  3. Ruthless Lawbringer – I already love Rite of Oblivion. In Edgar this is free, which is funny.
  4. Ertha Jo, Frontier Mentor – Boros copier for activated abilities. Shame she can’t run Zirda as a companion, though.
  5. Honest Rutstein – Just good, honest value for Golgari decks.


Boom Box is honestly some really good removal, and I think people will dismiss it because it costs more than an Assassin’s Trophy or whatever. For decks that don’t get access to premium removal, or are artifact-heavy, this hits three targets, and can often cost just 6 or less. I like it more than I probably should.

So this ones a weird one. While you can only Crew 1 once a turn, you can tap any number of creatures during that initial crew, so you can pile everyone onto the train to commit the train robbery you always dreamed of. I quite like this in tokens decks, or in decks that can untap creatures through shenanigans, as it’ll end up being quite the mana producer. 

Don’t think too hard on the wording, it’s mostly for Arena, and to stop combos with multiple crews after the trigger goes on the stack.

Lavaspur Boots ain’t quite Swiftfoot Boots protection wise, but it’s not bad. Not bad at all. Again, with Ward, I think this shines best in decks that can stack Ward, because the Ward {1} becomes more valuable than on its own.

Finally, the Desert cycle. While they will find a home in Desert decks, if you’re in two color and run some of the ramp options, you can fix your mana while grabbing Scavenger Grounds. Yes, it’s the third and final time I’m mentioning this, but it’s a good play. 

What’s more, don’t sleep on them if you’re interested in committing crimes, playing Aftermath Ob Nixilis, or in a deck like Taii Wakeen, who can buff the damage.


And that’s a rootin’ tootin’ set review of Outlaws of Thunder Junction out of the way. (Please, I had a quota of cowboy puns to hit. It hurts me as much as it hurts you). 

I hope you found this review helpful, and that you’re as excited as I am to brew with some of these new cards.