Thunder Junction Day One Spoilers

Get the latest on Thunder Junction with day one spoilers. Dive deep into new Magic: The Gathering card reveals and their potential impact.

Spoiler Season Begins

Outlaws of Thunder Junction will be upon us before you know it and we’re into day two of spoiler season! There are still plenty of cards we haven’t seen yet, but for our purposes here, I want to look at cards that might make a meaningful impact in the Arena metagames with a focus on Standard.

Recent sets have caused significant shakeups in Standard and, based on the power level of what we’ve seen so far, I fully expect Outlaws of Thunder Junction to do the same.

Commons and Uncommons Worth Noting

Magic the Gathering Card - Festering Gulch - MTG Circle

Thunder Junction is home to a new cycle of lands that brings with it a familiar design and a welcome return to a subtype we haven’t seen in a while. Deserts were archetypal in Amonkhet but now appear as dual lands for the first time. These commons enter tapped but dome a single opponent for one damage to act as a counterpoint to the gain life lands we see so often such as Blossoming Sands or Dismal Backwater.

I don’t anticipate these lands will see significant competitive play, barring a payoff we haven't seen yet, but this might make some past desert synergies a bit more achievable in Explorer while also offering budget players additional common land options for multicolor brews. I also love the idea of hitting my land drop for lethal.

Magic the Gathering Card - Honest Rutstein - MTG Circle

Old Rutstein has been on the edge of playability in Standard for some time but just hasn’t fit because his impact on the board wasn’t significant enough. Honest Rutstein, however, is an aggro threat that can trade up by having three power and also impacts the board when he enters. Being able to cast it on turn five to raise dead your Glissa Sunslayer and reduce her cost so she can be cast too seems downright excellent. I honestly think this card will see play in the Golgari midrange decks.

Magic the Gathering Card - Make Your Own Luck - MTG Circle

Make Your Own Luck showcases the Plot mechanic. When a card is plotted, it goes into exile face up and can be cast for free at sorcery speed on any future turn. It is delayed gratification freecasting in this case because Make Your Own Luck essentially draws you three cards with the option to plot one of them. If you plot an Atraxa, Grand Unifier or Portal to Phyrexia, you’re getting a tremendous mana advantage. I honestly think this is too slow to work in most decks out there, but as a cheeky sideboard card or mainboard one-of in the Squirming Emergence decks that are running huge bombs anyway, it might steal a few games.

The Rares

Magic the Gathering Card - Blooming Marsh - MTG Circle

Enemy fast lands are getting a reprint which will bring all ten fast lands to Standard. There’s little to say other than ‘this is great’ or ‘hooray,’ but it deserved a mention.

Magic the Gathering Card - Tinybones Joins Up - MTG Circle

There will apparently be a whole cycle of legendary enchantments showcasing the moment the different outlaws joined Oko’s crew, similar to the cycle of oaths showing when planeswalkers entered the Gatewatch (see Oath of Teferi). Tinybones Joins Up costs only one mana and forces any number of players to discard a card, plus there’s upside if legendary creatures enter the battlefield under your control. The fact that each ability can target your opponent is obviously good, but you can also opt into it yourself. If filling your graveyard is valuable, selectively milling or discarding might be very useful.

And, of course, one mana to stick an enchantment and force a discard is good. We already see that with Hopeless Nightmare.

Magic the Gathering Card - Great Train Heist - MTG Circle

Great Train Heist makes use of a new mechanic in Thunder Junction in Spree. We often joke that every mechanic is Kicker, but Spree really is. Cards with Spree have additional costs you can pay that each add a new effect to the spell, but you can mix and match them how you see fit. It’s a forced Kicker, if you will. Notably, as far as Discover or Cascade, Great Train Heist is only a 1-drop, but if you spin into it, you’ll have to pay at least one of the additional costs if you want to cast the spell.

The heist itself is notable because it modally can be Relentless Assault, Goblin Oriflamme, or simply an amazing treasure source. It would cost you seven mana to take advantage of every mode, but given how situational each mode is, aggressive decks can find uses for this at four or three mana to end games or simply cause massive blowouts.

Magic the Gathering Card - High Noon - MTG Circle

Of course, there had to be a standoff card in this set, and here it is. Even if you don’t like Westerns, you’ve probably seen the classic moment of stillness as two opposing cowboys square off and the music swells. This card represents that mechanically by slowing the action down and only allowing a single spell each turn. Additionally, you can be quick on the draw at instant-speed for 4R and blast your opponent for 5, or remove one of their creatures.

This will be a great sideboard card like other Deafening Silence effects before it, and the added bonus of a Lava Axe in the late game for Boros mages is a nice plus. Also, just A+ flavor.

Magic the Gathering Card - Colossal Rattlewurm - MTG Circle

If I’m honest, this card might be one I’m most excited about for Standard. Mono Green has struggled to survive in Standard for years given how slow it is compared to other aggro options and how squishy it is to removal and sweepers. This card elegantly answers those issues by having Flash if you control a Desert. Having a clean follow-up to a turn-five Sunfall that can deliver 6 trample damage will be a big deal in the Domain matchup.

Also, the stat line of 6/5 for 4 seems extreme, but I honestly think it’s totally fair. Green was always supposed to have large creatures at a lower rate than the other colors because that’s just it’s thing, so I feel like this rate is on par with the overall power level of the other colors in the format.

The Mythics

Magic the Gathering Card - Gisa, the Hellraiser - MTG Circle

I’m leading off with a card I think is very interesting and powerful but doesn’t currently have a home. Giving all zombies and skeletons +1/+1 and menace could lead to some devastating combats in aggressive Mono Black or Dimir zombie builds. If you can soften your opponent up early, that damage should, hopefully, finish them off.

She also shows off another new mechanic in committing crime. A crime is defined as any time you target your opponent or anything they control. This includes their graveyard, life total, permanents, and spells on the stack. In Gisa’s case, her crime payoff is strong but I would caution against building around it given how late she’ll arrive in most games.

Magic the Gathering Card - Rakdos, the Muscle - MTG Circle

This card reminds me a lot of Immersturm Predator except for an additional mana it nets you card advantage off your opponent’s deck, trample, and a significant stat boost. The first ability triggers every time you sacrifice a creature, not only when you sacrifice to Rakdos’s ability, so you can use other sacrifice outlets like Bartolomé del Presidio to dig through your opponent’s deck assuming you have bodies with mana values to sacrifice.

Magic the Gathering Card - The Gitrog, Ravenous Ride - MTG Circle

Golgari midrange is already a viable archetype and we’ve seen cards like Froghemoth perform well in the past. Haste is really what sells it for me because 5-drop aggressive creatures are at a huge disadvantage with cheap removal and sweeper options being so present these days.

Notably, Gitrog also shows off a new mechanic in Saddle. Saddling is reserved for Mount-typed creatures and it’s reminiscent of Vehicles or Enlist from Dominaria United (see Guardian of New Benalia).  A mount can be saddled to unlock another ability but, unlike Vehicles, it is a creature capable of attacking and blocking independently at all times.

Magic the Gathering Card - Jace Reawakened - MTG Circle

We only get one planeswalker per set these days, and this one has a lot of potential. The passive preventing early play balances this card beautifully because the +1 abilities would be very strong if you could start them on turn two consistently. Even having to wait until turn 4 isn’t much of a drawback, though, because it allows you to hold up a 2-mana counterspell to protect him as the value ticks up. Also, if you have something as simple as Quick Study in hand to plot, you get significant value even on the first activation.

Also, having a planeswalker that’s legal in Lurrus of the Dream Den decks strikes me as just fun.

Magic the Gathering Card - Final Showdown - MTG Circle

Given the name, this had to be the final card we touched on today. Every set, apparently, needs a Commander-viable sweeper and this one is a banger. The first two Spree modes give you incredible combat tricks that can negate your opponents’ plans in huge ways by stripping abilities or protecting your own creature, but the additional option of wiping the board at instant speed for as little as 6 mana really takes this over the top. I anticipate this card will see play in a myriad of formats and be a subject of much Commander discourse on Twitter, if past trends are any indication.

Graham, also known as HamHocks42 on the internet, is a Twitch streamer who adores Magic: the Gathering in all its forms and tries to find the fun, even in the most competitive and sweaty environments.

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