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Early Winners From Outlaws Of Thunder Junction


Outlaws of Thunder Junction has arrived with a rowdy YeeHaw and has begun to make waves in all of the major Constructed formats.

While Outlaws of Thunder Junction cards have been showing up in Modern, Pioneer, Historic, and various other formats, all eyes are turning to Standard with Pro Tour Outlaws of Thunder Junction just one week away. This is the closest we've had a Pro Tour to a set release in a long time, which makes the excitement two-fold. The ink is barely dry on the cards and now they're expected to perform at the highest level, meaning we may be in for some big surprises at the Pro Tour as teams scramble to break the format with the new cards. And even better, Outlaws of Thunder Junction enters perhaps the most robust and exciting Standard format in recent memory, with a huge variety of decks representing all archetypes.

Today we're going to look at some of the cards from Outlaws of Thunder Junction that have already made an impact, and stand to make more noise going forward. These are the cards you're going to want to either be getting on board with now or figuring out to beat, because there's a good chance this success will continue and they will become staples.

So, let's go!

Duelist Of The Mind

Duelist of the Mind

2022 World Champion Nathan Steuer's prize for winning the World Championship (aside from $100,000 and eternal glory I guess) was to make his own Magic card, and Duelist of the Mind is no joke. Cheap, reasonably durable, plays offense and defense, is able to loot away unneeded cards, and most importantly plays super well with card draw effects, Duelist of the Mind is quite the package for only two mana.

Raffine, Scheming Seer
Proft's Eidetic Memory

Duelist of the Mind slots perfectly into Esper decks based around Raffine, Scheming Seer, providing the deck with a two-drop that curves perfectly into Raffine, wears +1/+1 counters like a champ, and also presents a very fast clock once things really get going. With Esper already being a premier deck in the format and the resume that Raffine has racked up since her printing, it would not be surprising to see Duelist of the Mind take Esper back to the top of the format.

Another card that has been making waves lately in Standard and Pioneer is Proft's Eidetic Memory, which is similarly awesome with Duelist of the Mind. As with Raffine, adding counters to a flying, vigilance threat is awesome, and everything that is good with one of them is good with the other. The Dimir Memory deck was very interested in a better 2-drop to replace Evangel of Synthesis, and Duelist of the Mind is everything the deck could ever want. With access to the great Black removal spells as well as Sheoldred, the Apocalypse (which is even better than usual thanks to all the card draw), this is a deck to watch.

With Duelist of the Mind's ability to loot like Ledger Shredder and a really solid rate, expect it to show up other places as well.

Tinybones Joins Up

Tinybones Joins Up

If you want to commit crimes, it's all about Tinybones Joins Up.

Marchesa, Dealer of Death
Magda, the Hoardmaster
Gisa, the Hellraiser

Most of the big crime cards from Outlaws of Thunder Junction are legends, which makes the ability of Tinybones Joins Up to allow each of them to commit a crime upon entering the battlefield an extraordinarily powerful effect. These are all cards that require crime to work, and run the risk of not having a crime to cast or being able to use them immediately. Tinybones Joins Up solves all of these issues for the lowest mana cost possible, while also at minimum always trading one for one on cards with your opponent. Gisa, the Hellraiser is perhaps the most important of all of these as far as committing a crime right away, putting her in as a five-mana Grave Titan with upside.

There is currently zero consensus about how a crime deck should be built in Standard (other than being black), but with some of the formats best cards like Deep-Cavern Bat and all the great black removal being crimes, it stands to reason that once it is found it will be an excellent deck.

Slickshot Show-Off

Slickshot Show-Off

Already making waves in Modern, there's no doubt that Slickshot Show-Off is one of the most powerful cards in the set.

Like most cheap prowess threats, Slickshot Show-Off is always going to be most impactful in older formats that have a higher density of cheap spells, but its "super prowess" effect combined with haste and evasion has it as a potential player in almost every format. Even something as simple as a Monstrous Rage and a Twinferno is 16 damage in one shot, and things only scale up from there.

Monstrous Rage

However, the real draw to Slickshot Show-Off is the plot ability, which allows you to invest early without exposing yourself to removal. Then ever turn thereafter your opponent must respect your ability to kill them in one shot if they ever tap out. I'm not looking forward to being in this squeeze, as it is going to make playing out the rest of the game very difficult.

Slickshot Show-Off is another card that is already making waves, but definitely isn't done yet.

Simulacrum Synthesizer

Simulacrum Synthesizer

The "Karnstruct" tokens made by Karn, Scion of Urza, Urza's Saga, and Urza, Lord High Artificer are extremely potent in high-synergy artifact decks, often dwarfing most things on the battlefield, so any card that makes more of these is worth paying attention to.

Simulacrum Synthesizer does this for no mana cost, but of course requires you to build your deck in a certain fashion. While it hasn't been cracked in other formats yet, the Modern option is the obvious one.

Thought Monitor

Affinity cards are the logical choice to pair with Simulacrum Synthesizer, as you can play them immediately after playing it to produce value in the same turn. Affinity had fallen off a bit in Modern as of late, but this may be the push it needs to get back in the saddle.

Sideboard Cards!

Rest in Peace
Torpor Orb
Pest Control

While it is somewhat odd to have the cancelled Aftermath set just in booster packs, the Big Score sheet is definitely Constructed-focused and features a lot of cards poised to make waves in various formats. However, aside from new build arounds, there is also a trio of very powerful sideboard cards that are going to be very important in Standard and Pioneer.

Rest in Peace is one of the best and most absolute graveyard hate cards ever printed, and now enters Pioneer as well as Standard, which is a huge game changer for any graveyard deck. Decks like the Temur Fireball combo deck as well as any Reanimator deck in Standard must have a plan for Rest In Peace, and it's also a huge tool against Izzet Phoenix in Pioneer.

Torpor Orb is a little more narrow, but incredible against both creature combo decks like Amalia Combo in Pioneer or against almost any typal deck that cares about creature abilities. This is a surgical tool that is lights out against certain decks.

Lastly, we've got a new one in Pest Control, which looks to be a nightmare for go-wide or token decks like Convoke. Pest control is also the kind of card that gets better the larger the format is, as bigger and more powerful formats always tend toward lower mana costs.

All of these cards will have a big impact in post-sideboard games in various formats and must be respected.

A New Frontier

It's actually amazing how big of a splash many of these cards are making so quickly, but also in a way where it feels like we're only scratching the surface of them.

I know one thin; I've certainly got my work cut out for me trying to put it all together with the team before deck submission this coming Wednesday!

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