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What Are the Breaking News Cards in Outlaws of Thunder Junction?

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Outlaws of Thunder Junction stands as one of the largest Standard Magic sets of all time. Aside from the base set of 276 cards, there are three additional bonus sheets added to the set. These bonus sheets not only make OTJ one of the largest releases of all-time, but give the most variety in collectability and Limited experience with the sheer amount of different types of cards you can open in draftable booster packs.

Included in these bonus sheets are the Breaking News cards - a set of reprints in a special border and frame that depict various crimes reported across the plane of Thunder Junction.

The Breaking News bonus sheet contains 65 cards that are all reprints of spells across Magic's history. They vary in rarity and can be either Uncommon, Rare, or Mythic Rare. Similar to the Mystical Archive sheet in Strixhaven and the Enchanting Tales of Wilds of Eldraine, Breaking News provides a set of reprints that can be opened in both Play Boosters and Collector Boosters.

Flavor and Lore

At the heart of Thunder Junction lies Prosperity - the plane's booming metropolis. Being the home of hotels, saloons, casinos, and most importantly the railways that connect the plane, Prosperity acts as one of the major story points for the set. As you'll notice, each Breaking News card features a Prosperity Post Logo at the top middle of the card frame. This featured border is used to depict each card as if it were a report featured in the Prosperity Post - Prosperity's premier newspaper.

About half of the cards on this bonus sheet include witty flavor text that reads as if it were the headline of an issue of the Post.

Reprint Equity and Collectibility

In addition to being a flavor win for the set, the Breaking News cards feature multiple solid reprints across all Constructed formats. Cards like Leyline Binding and Indomitable Creativity get their first reprint, as well as Commander staples like Mana Drain getting a sleek new frame.

While I personally don't think every card deserves a reprint, these bonus sheets are nice ways of keeping the cost down on unique spells (like Indomitable Creativity) that see price spikes due to their importance in a certain Constructed format. This also gives collectors more unique arts to spice up their decks - I personally love the Skullcrack art as an upgrade to my Gatecrash versions.

It's also worth noting that the fifteen mythic rares featured in Breaking News also are available in textured foil if opened from Collector Booster packs.

Impact on Limited

The most notable impact Breaking News has is its importance to the Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited environment. Each card included in Breaking News has an effect that targets your opponent. Thus, every card on this bonus sheet counts as a way to "commit crimes," a key mechanic of this set that gives you a bonus when you target your opponent or their cards with any of your effects.

As a self-proclaimed Control deck draft master, two of my favorite crime-committing payoffs in this set are Deepmuck Desperado and Raven of Ill Omens. Deepmuck Desperado is a win condition that you can draft around that does my favorite thing in all of Magic - winning without attacking! Raven has proven to be an extremely powerful 2-drop that helps you offset life lost by your opponents' aggressive starts or dual land deserts. However, both cards are only really potent if you have ways to commit crimes - that's where the Breaking News cards come in.

Tyrant's Scorn was already a flexible removal spell, but in Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited it does so much more if you can get crime-committing bonuses off of it. This is what makes the Breaking News cards so important and valuable to the set's Limited environment. Since each card commits a crime in some fashion they easily enable payoff cards and let you build around cards like Intimidation Campaign or Freestrider Lookout during the Draft.

The inclusion of Bonus Sheets in Limited formats also make for some pretty wacky scenarios. I was fortunate enough to battle CommandCast co-host Rachel Weeks at a Friday night prerelease. While Rachel had a pretty sweet Azorius deck with an infinite combo of Mindslaver plus Esoteric Duplicator (both bonus sheet cards!) I was able to pull off a pretty sleek counter to her deck's gameplan.

In Game 1 of our match, I cast Shifting Grift to trade my measly treasure token made from my Redrock Sentinel for Rachel's intimidating Mindslaver that had just hit the battlefield. With enough I was able to activate Mindslaver and on Rachel's turn cast her Make Your Own Luck headfirst into her Phantom Interference - and that was just the first game I ever played of this Limited format!

Conclusion

Overall, the Breaking News cards are a unique bonus sheet that provides a fun and flavorful twist to this Standard release. While being a complete flavor win in their extended border design and artistic depictions, they are also a huge win in terms of providing great value to the Limited environment. This sheet includes a variety of cheap reprints that also make for nice visual upgrades to your Commander deck or Cube.

-Roman Fusco


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