Quick Draw Commander Precon Upgrade Guide

Quick Draw Commander Precon Upgrade Guide

Tom AndersonCommander

Watch yourself pardner – there’s some new Commander precons in town, and they’re lookin’ for trouble wherever it can be found!

Outlaws of Thunder Junction has arrived to share its impeccable Weird West aesthetic, and a unique twist on the Commander format. Like fan-favorite Planechase, the new Bounty game modifier adds randomized secondary objectives to the table, which any player can complete to receive rewards. The longer a bounty goes unclaimed, the bigger your eventual payoff… but don’t get so greedy someone snatches it out from under you!

With the marketing emphasis on the Bounty mechanic, the precon decks themselves have dipped back into some classic themes of their colors. In the case of the blue-red Quick Draw precon deck, that’s casting some large number of instants and sorceries in one turn!

Meet the Commander

A knife-slinging dynamo from the nomadic Atiin people, Stella Lee is acclaimed as Thunder Junction’s fastest hand in a duel. That sleight of hand is represented with abilities which reward you for casting two or three instants or sorceries in a single turn.

This can tend to run you out of cards if you aim to repeat the trick every turn, but Stella does naturally help herself in this department: the trigger for casting two spells helps you impulse-draw your way into the third.

The extra nice part is that while Stella’s trigger can go off “each turn”, the exiled card remains playable “until your next turn” – giving lands and sorceries a much higher rate of usability and allowing you to potentially bank up spells for a flurry on your next turn.

Stella’s abilities may not be the most original in implementation, but she is cheap to cast, immediately impactful and has an infinitely high power ceiling. Since her copy effect has no limitation on uses per turn, and no cost other than tapping, all you need is an instant or sorcery which can untap Stella while producing any other cumulative benefit. 

The only difficult part is casting two other spells to start the turn with mana left over for the untap spell. With those conditions met you put the untap spell on the stack, tap Stella to copy it targeting herself, let the copy resolve (untapping her), then use her ability again on the original spell to reset the loop. This works with Hidden Strings, Dramatic Reversal, Toils of Night and Day, Twisted Fealty, Reality Spasm, Involuntary Employment and many others!

How close you are to actually winning the game after this infinite depends on the spell involved and whatever secondary benefit it lets you accumulate while endlessly untapping Stella. Twisted Fealty wins by itself thanks to the life loss from Wicked Roles, while many of the other options merely provide infinite mana and untapped permanents. But given how easily this combo comes together and the relatively low mana requirements, I expect Stella will quickly gain a “kill-on-sight” reputation in many playgroups akin to Najeela and other dangerous combo commanders.

I do like that her abilities are open ended enough to allow for alternative build, should easy infinites not be to your taste. But given how hard it might be to convince other players to leave Stella alone, such players may prefer a pivot to Quick Draw’s second built-in commander choice.

Eris, Roar of the Storm is a flavorful and straightforward design, still offering clear direction for a UR spellslinger deck but without the implied volatility of Stella Lee. That’s not saying this card is weak! I never rule out a commander with built-in cost discounts, since their near-constant battlefield presence is a major advantage. 

A dedicated UR build can load the graveyard very easily with self-mill and looting effects, so I could even see Eris hitting play around the same time as Stella despite the huge gap in mana cost. I’m not so sure that the elemental warlock can close the gap in relative power ceiling. A free dragon each turn cycle just lacks the dynamism you’d want from your commander slot in 2024. 

We can change our deckbuilding to raise that level of output – either by flickering or cloning the commander, or by rationing out spells to trigger the ability on each opponent’s turn. But even with a significant effort, it still won’t be punching on the level of Hidden Strings Stella – and worse, I suspect the inherent inconsistencies of the card will lower its “fun ceiling” as well.


The other fresh card designs included in Quick Draw really emphasize the instants-and-sorceries theme, as well as the signature cowboy flair of Thunder Junction. There are a few mechanics which really boost the deck’s ability to chain-cast spells and get either commander’s ability rolling earlier, which is nice for a precon which lacks the kind of fast mana sources you usually find in this kind of deck.

Lock and Load

Outlaws of Thunder Junction had to find a mechanic which could represent the sudden flurry of a quick-draw duel – deliberate stillness broken by decisive action.

The designers settled on Plot, a fair but powerful mechanic which is near its best on a card like this. A dedicated spellslinger build often needs a few of these big draw spells to refuel mid-combo, and the ability to cast it for zero mana means it’ll always be a live option in those key moments. Plot also opens up a lot of extra chances to copy this spell when you need to really load your hand.

Forger’s Foundry

Debate still rages in the Commander community around these three-cost mana rocks, and how much extra value they need to pack before they become attractive inclusions.

I don’t expect Forger’s Foundry will suddenly transform that debate, nor is it going to win many games on its own. But for an instant-heavy deck which can hold up 3UU with little effort, this offers a lot of extra security for almost no cost. Just watch out for a non-bo with cards which care about instants and sorceries in your graveyard!

Crackling Spellslinger

Part of me wonders if this text was ever considered for a legendary creature, and what early testing must have been like for it to end up here. The “if you cast” stipulation is straining under the potential bustedness of storm like Atlas holding up the earth. 

At bare minimum this will be a powerful and straightforward win condition, at best it will somehow break Legacy. I think it’ll end up being the former – but you should never sleep on Storm.

Leyline Dowser

This is a REALLY funky one to try and evaluate – singular in purpose, niche in application, and yet still not playing strictly within the obvious lines of classic spellslinger support cards. 

Obviously you want to have a high density of instants and sorceries to fulfill its potential as a draw engine – one mana per card multiple times a turn is a goal with shooting for. But how many legendaries should you be running to make that happen? Is there a sneaky combo you can unlock with this unusual untap activation? Would a Kethis, the Hidden Hand deck play this just for self-mill? So many questions…


Even just drawing up a few example hands, it’s clear to me that Quick Draw has serious legs without any need to upgrade. But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of room for improvement! 

The first step is deciding our overall vision for the deck, so we can make sure our cuts and additions are coherent. UR Spellslinger offers us a lot of flexibility as an archetype, since it generally loads up on efficient generic spells and cantrips that play well towards any win condition you choose. 

Stella’s combination of generic advantage and deadly finishing skills let us lean into the flexibility and pace of Spellslinger even harder, so her untap combo is the wincon I’m going to build towards. But these first changes – the big money cards – are mostly the kind of enablers which will help any Stella list thrive. The real decision that impacts your play experience will be how many other slots you replace with mana rituals, cantrips and tutors – but I’ll leave that choice up to you!

Knowing we can win through our combo informs our cuts, since there’s not a lot of obviously underpowered clunkers in the Quick Draw precon. I’ve also tried to shift the instant-sorcery balance towards instants, since it’s generally better for multiplayer and lets us trigger Stella more often.

Many players may want to keep pingers like Electrostatic Field and Guttersnipe, but to me the whole point of Spellslinger is that you can skip out on playing these sorts of intermediate permanents. Ideally, our deck should be nothing but resource generation and the best instant-speed interaction, with our victory coming as a simple result of playing enough spells to hit critical mass and combo off.

I have elected to leave in the triggered abilities which produce creature tokens or other forms of resource advantage, since those can more flexibly contribute to us staying alive and building towards our main combo. I’m even adding a few more to fill the vacated slots, though I’m prioritizing cards which help us generate the mana needed to get through a winning turn. 

Lastly, I’ll slip in a few of our best untap spells as potential wincons, plus tutors to find them; though if you’re enthusiastic about the gameplan then you will definitely want to add a few more of these effects to ensure consistent access. Here’s a full list to show where my $50 upgrade gets us to!

If you want to push the deck further in this direction, I would focus on adding mana rituals and lowering the average mana value of your spells. That then lets you cut a few lands for more cantrips, and ultimately make your combo machine ever-sleeker.


The design of new Commander precons continues to evolve in intriguing ways. The new printings in Quick Draw are quite modest, with only Crackling Spellslinger likely to make waves in the wider metagame.

But looking at the potential of its commander and of the stock decklist, the focus is clearly on providing an exciting and fun play experience available right out of the box. With how many other Commander products now exist to deliver new cards for enfranchised players, I’m glad to see that Quick Draw is optimized to give newbies a “real deck” from game one. Even a longtime player looking for a change of pace can pick up Quick Draw and get the classic UR spellslinger experience with little need to upgrade.

If you should decide to stick with your guns after those first games, Stella Lee certainly packs enough eye-watering combo power to hang at any power level. I don’t know that I’ll be going the full Storm route with my deck – but I salute all those players who are about to get their first taste of Magic’s most exhilarating combo playstyle.