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The Mechanics of Outlaws of Thunder Junction: Spree


What is Spree in Outlaws of Thunder Junction?

Spree is a new mechanic introduced in Outlaws of Thunder Junction that functions as a modal spell with an initial mana cost. The reminder text for Spree reads "Choose one or more modes, as an additional cost to cast this spell, pay the costs associated with those modes." Think of it like those western movies with the Colt Revolvers; the amount of mana you pay is equal to how much you fan the hammer of the gun or in other words how many choices you pick from the spell. You can pick as many modes as you want, but each mode can only be used once. For the Spree spell to resolve you need to choose at least one of the modes and pay the additional cost.

You can spot a Spree spell by looking for a + symbol near the card's mana cost in the upper right corner of the card. The + symbol serves as a reminder that there is an additional cost associated with the spell. There are also + symbols next to the additional costs as another reminder of the costs.

With the release of Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Magic: The Gathering has 21 spells with the keyword Spree to play with. With the sun on high in Thunder Junction let's duel it out with Spree!

Great Train Heist
Requisition Raid
Rush of Dread
Got a train to catch?

Move to Resolve

When you cast a Spree spell you choose the additional modes and pay those costs as it goes on the stack. Once the spell starts resolving, players cannot cast spells or activate abilities to interrupt the effects of the Spree card until all chosen modes have resolved. The order of the modes resolving is from top to bottom on the card. For example if we look at Smuggler's Surprise, we can pay for it and the first two modes for a total of 6gg mana, then as it resolves we can Mill, put two creatures into our hand, and put them onto the battlefield without worry of a Bojuka Bog on our graveyard. After the Smuggler's fully resolves, THEN we'll resolve any Enter the Battlefield effects or any effects caused by milling ourselves like Crawling Infestation or Syr Konrad, the Grim.

Synergies with Spree: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

With Spree being a new mechanic with Outlaws of Thunder Junction, we don't have much in the way of direct synergies. Instead this set of Spree cards gives us more versatile options for our Spellslinger decks, getting discounts via Goblin Electromancer or convoke through Invasion of Segovia // Caetus, Sea Tyrant of Segovia's backside. Based on current rulings these discounts can and will reduce the total cost of the spell, including any additional costs you pay from choosing modes. Along with reducing the mana cost, copying the Spree spell will net you another resolution of the modes you've already chosen. As noted by the Gatherer database, copying a modal spell such as one with Spree will always retain the chosen modes and any X values associated with the original spell.

Return the Favor
Three Steps Ahead
Copies? We've got you covered.

Downsides of Spree start to appear as we look at a main utility of the Spellslinger; casting spells without paying their mana cost or looking at the card's mana value for abilities. Cards like Baral and Kari Zev, Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch // Temple of Cyclical Time, and Arcane Bombardment let you cast the Spree spell for free right? Well what about the chosen modes? Well you'll still have to pay the mana costs for those, leaving Spree spells in a middle space where you cast them for free, but in reality it's more like a small discount depending on how many and how much the spell's modes will cost for mana. Then we look at the Spree spell's mana value. Cards like Trash the Town can have you paying up to five mana to cast all the modes, how do other cards see that mana cost? Well examples like Deekah, Fractal Theorist or my personal favorite Ovikia, Enigma Goliath will only see Trash the Town's starting cost of g for the purpose of their effects, neeting you a Fractal creature with one +1/+1 counter and one Phyrexian Goblin, despite paying five mana for the spell.

Spree in Commander

For Commander, the only option that Spree gives direct support to is Riku of Many Paths, a Temur Human Wizard. Riku focuses on modal spells and only when they are cast and modes are chosen rather than cards that let you choose effects when conditions are met. As such there are a total of 202 cards Riku players can choose from for their decks. Spree cards have a wide variety of applications, but choosing Spree spells over other modal instants or sorceries may leave a player without the mana for the modes they need when they need them. I personally see Riku players picking spree spells that go along with any subthemes they might be enabling, rather than having Spree as a core modal spell to their deck.

Spree cards shine when you are adding versatility to a deck's core concept. Smuggler's Surprise, for example, works in reanimator or high mana cost creature decks since it can fetch targets for Necromancy or put your Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant and Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sickness onto the battlefield for six mana instead of fifteen to cast both of them. Just keep in mind you'll want to put it in decks with ETBs rather than on cast effects (no free Cascades off of your Apex Devastator). I'm sure the Spellslinger players have also looked at the discount Deflecting Swat that is Return the Favor, allowing a change in targets for a spell but also potentially a copy to do even more damage with than your opponent may have intended. Spree offers a new range of options for decks that want to dip their toe into a choice while still getting a primary benefit from the card.

Decisions at Sundown

Overall, Spree is a mechanic that I can't wait for Wizards of the Coast to play with more in the coming sets. Spree offers a level of utility while keeping the minimum curve of the cards relatively low unless you are paying for every mode. Some more synergistic cards may be required, but with the crime mechanic and modal commanders like Riku I can see Spree popping up in quite a few decks in the future. I for one will be adding these into my utility belt on future decklists.

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