Outlaws of Thunder Junction - Allied Colors and Shards

Travis Stanley • April 10, 2024

Annie Flash by Kieran Yanner

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands | Allied & Shards | Enemy & Wedges | cEDH | Reprints | Pauper/Budget

The Friends, The Foes, and The Grisly

Saddle up partner, we're ridin' into Thunder Junction, and who knows what outlaws we'll find there. Hold on to your horses, because this set review is a doozy; we got all sorts of legends to introduce and cards to see, so let's not waste anymore time and get this rodeo started.


Kellan, the Kid

We start with Kellan, the Kid, our main character through this arc of the Magic story. On a quest to find his father, and it turns out his father is exactly who we'd thought he would be, and not quite what Kellan expected. Oko may be a trickster fae, but it ain't no trick that Kellan is a powerful card. A flying, lifelinking 3/3 for three mana, even if it's all colored mana, is still an extremely good rate. His ability to give you a free permanent spell or a land from your hand is very reminiscent of another powerful Bant card from Eldraine: Chulane, Teller of Tales. Kellan wants Adventure cards, suspend cards, even cards that cascade in his deck.

Picture this sequence: cast an Annoyed Altisaur, which cascades into Sweet-Gum Recluse; by casting it, Kellan allows you to cast an Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty from your hand, allowing you to cascade even further into your deck. This is the type of absurd value that Kellan, the Kid can provide. The floor of this card is that if you don't have a permanent spell to cast, you just get to put a land from your hand down and untapped for free. This commander is so incredibly open in whatever way you want to build him, mirroring the end of the story and the state in which we leave Kellan.

Decks that Kellan would love to be a part of would be any combination of these Doctors and Companions, as most of these Doctors care about casting things from anywhere but your hand. Galea, Kindler of Hope, Falco Spara, Pactweaver, and Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists all cast spells from places other than your hand that Kellan would do very well in. If you decide to go the Adventure route, then Gorion, Wise Mentor will be your best friend, as a commander or in the 99. 

You can find a decklist for Kellan, the Kid written by our own Queer Phyrexia right here on Commander's Herald!

Annie Flash, the Veteran

With her golden eye, this sharpshooter comes into the battlefield in a flash, with flash, and does a pretty good Sun Titan impression. Side note, Sun Titan would go great in a deck commanded by this outlaw. For Annie Flash, the Veteran, her versatility is in that second ability, getting to impulse draw two cards whenever she becomes tapped. Vehicles, combat, and the new saddle ability on the new Mounts are the first strategies that come to mind.

Her high mana cost, paired with a 4/5 body, means that she probably won't see the battlefield anytime soon, and when she does she'll probably need some help getting into the red zone, but her power is fantastic for crewing and Mounting up steeds/planes/trains/automobiles. With the many ways of gaining infinite mana in these colors, Annie Flash, the Veteran's first ability can be used and reused to get cards back that don't require tapping, like Dockside Extortionist or Eternal Witness, and with a sacrifice outlet, you'll be able to bring those back an infinite amount of times.

Pivoting in another direction, Annie Flash, the Veteran could be a neat Voltron commander. Her ability brings back any permanent, so Auras and Equipment are on that list. Make sure you are playing cards like Alley Evasion to save Annie Flash, the Veteran's mana cost. As a card in the 99, Annie Flash, the Veteran could see play in an Equipment/Aura deck led by Dogmeat, Ever Loyal.

Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds

Another Naya commander, Ghired is making an appearance on Thunder Junction with his second card. The last time we saw him was all the way back in Commander 2019. A 3/3 for three mana, he makes a copy of a token that you control that entered the battlefield this turn when he enters the battlefield. If you have him out and play a Desolation Twin, now you'll have two 10/10 tokens by copying the token that came in.

Cards that'll play nicely with the new Ghired would be Bramble Sovereign, Flameshadow Conjuring, and any haste-enablers, like Rhythm of the Wild or Fires of Yavimaya. The good thing about both Ghireds playing in the same space is that they're pretty interchangeable in each other's decks. Jetmir, Nexus of Revels would be a great spot, as Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds would help spit out many creatures quickly and get up to that nine creature count that Jetmir loves to see.

Rakdos, the Muscle

Rakdos is back, and this time he isn't just a Patron of Chaos, he's now Rakdos, the Muscle. This muscle-bound Demon wants you to be sacrificing your own stuff to exile cards from anyone's library. Good thing Rakdos is absolutely full of cards that benefit from this particular strategy. Mayhem Devil, Juri, Master of the Revue, and Judith, the Scourge Diva can be key pieces in those colors.

When building around Rakdos, stay away from tokens, as they won't exile any cards from anybody, but cards like Orca, Siege Demon and Solemn Simulacrum are great sacrifice pieces as they do something when they do get sacrificed, and they'll exile a solid number of cards from folks' libraries. To benefit from casting those cards, Prosper, Tome-Bound, Wild-Magic Sorcerer, and Nalfeshnee will make those spells go that much further. We didn't even get to his base stats, a 6/5 flyer with trample all for five mana, with a way to protect himself, that ALSO triggers his first ability? Now that's a Magic card. Side note, we almost have enough Rakdos cards that you could feasibly make a Rakdos deck that is full of nothing but Rakdos. Food for thought.

Selvala, Eager Trailblazer

Our first of two visitors from the plane of Fiora, Selvala, Eager Trailblazer has had two cards before this newest version; let's see what's changed. She still creates mana, but this time is all about how many creatures you have that all have different powers, very similar to the coven mechanic from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. To aid in this, she creates 1/1 Mercenaries whenever you cast a creature that can help increase the power of creatures you control. Building her would be a lot like building, Leinore, Autumn Sovereign, as both require you to have a variety of creatures with different powers. If you head in that direction, cards like Sigardian Zealot, Stalwart Pathlighter, and Leinore, Autumn Sovereign, herself, would be great in the 99.

Selvala, Eager Trailblazer is a 4/ 5 with vigilance, and the tokens she creates are 1/1s, so as long as the creature you cast doesn't have a power of four or one, she'll tap for three mana. Yes, this can go infinite with Umbral Mantle as long as you're making more than three mana per activation. Since she is an Elf, as with her prior cards, Elf kindred could be a good use for her, as many Elves vary in their power; she could even play her other versions! Throw Selvala, Eager Trailblazer into decks like Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second, Galadriel, Light of Valinor, and the aforementioned Jetmir, Nexus of Revels, as they would all benefit greatly from her triggered ability.

Assimilation Aegis

Upon first reading of Assimilation Aegis, my first thought was 'huh, that's neat". This Equipment costs three and exiles a creature when it enters, then brings the creature back when it leaves, essentially an equipable Oblivion Ring. When you equip it to a creature, that creature changes into whatever is exiled underneath the Assimilation Aegis until the Equipment is taken off. Of course, this seems like a great way to get rid of an opponent's threat while making your own creature (say a 1/1 Soldier token) into that very same threat. A completely reactive card, this fits into Equipment-style builds with Galea, Kindler of Hope, or into artifact builds. like Ayesha Tanaka, Armorer or Urza, Prince of Kroog.


Eriette, the Beguiler

Not quite back to back, but it hasn't been long since we were first introduced to Eriette; now she's back and up to her usually no-good as Eriette, the Beguiler. Still caring about Auras, she no longer cares about how many you have, she cares about how high their mana value is: the bigger the mana value, the bigger mana value creature you can steal from your opponents.

Adding Control Magic to each of your Auras is quite powerful, especially with Auras like Eldrazi Conscription, Followed Footsteps, or Octopus Umbra. Doing a little bit of research, there are a number of high-mana-value enchantments that already have a Control Magic ability on them, though it's never bad to have more redundancy in your deck. The nice thing is that, once that Aura is on the creature, it's yours until that Aura falls off, so Umbra Mystic is great insurance for your Auras. Of course, you gotta include her previous self in the deck: not only will it put in work, but it's a flavour win.

Eriette, the Beguiler has her own niche; sure, she could go into Zur the Enchanter or Alela, Artful Provocateur as a great support piece for an Aura/enchantment strategy, but as in the story, she does her best work leading her own scheme.

Marchesa, Dealer of Death

What's Queen Marchesa doing here? Who knows. All I know is that this is her third card, and her second Grixis card. This time it's all about committing crimes, something that Marchesa is very adept at. Every time you commit a crime, you can pay an extra one mana to look at the top two cards of your library, put one into your hand and one into your graveyard. The lack of specificity and driven direction for Marchesa means she's pretty open and flexible for the decks that'll be built around her. For instance, Marchesa could go in a flashback direction, so that when you send that card to the graveyard you'll be able to cast it again.

In fact, with cards like Dream Twist, Rotten Reunion, and Siphon Insight, you'll be able to trigger Marchesa again. She could also go in a reanimation direction: Too Greedily, Too Deep, Reanimate, and Dread Return, with cards that benefit seeing things go to the graveyard, like Syr Konrad, the Grim, or casting creatures out of it, Chainer, Nightmare Adept. In any Grixis shell, Marchesa, Dealer of Death will make a good value piece for card selection when Grixis does what it does best: interact with your opponents and their things.

Obeka, Splitter of Seconds

Another Grixis legend, and this time it's a character we haven't seen since her first appearance in Commander Legends as Obeka, Brute Chronologist: Obeka, Splitter of Seconds. A 2/5 for four mana with menace and a good combat damage trigger that gives you that many additional upkeeps after your combat phase equal to the amount of damage done. Immediately, the Shrine cycle, and the Court cycle come to mind as great payoffs for this ability. Throw in any number of suspend cards, like Ancestral Vision, Profane Tutor, and Rousing Refrain, and creatures, like Jhoira of the Ghitu and The Tenth Doctor, to give your other spells suspend.

You'll also want ways to give Obeka double strike to get as many upkeeps as your heart desires, like Fireshrieker, Blood Mist, and of course, Embercleave. Even though Obeka, Splitter of Seconds is more comfortable running her own show, she could be used in Nekusar, the Mindrazer to draw you more cards.

Satoru, the Infiltrator

Last of our returning characters in the rare slot, Satoru, the Infiltrator was from all the way back in 2022 with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty with his card Satoru Umezawa. Technically, he also appeared with Goro-Goro on Goro-Goro and Satoru, but I'm only counting appearances on his own card.

Starting off strong, Satoru is a two-mana 2/3 with menace, meaning evasion for some possible ninjutsu tricks in the future, but we'll get to that. His ability to draw you a card every time a nontoken creature enters and no mana was paid to cast it, or if it wasn't cast in the first place, gives a few avenues for this deck, like reanimation, blink, or, you guessed it, ninjutsu. Starting with reanimation, there are plenty of pieces in Dimir for reanimation, like Ever After, Victimize, Persist, and Obsessive Stitcher. The Scarab God and Gyruda, Doom of Depths could be solid choices for both in a deck or as the commanders of a deck for Satoru. A blink strategy would lean heavy into blue with cards like Ghostly Flicker and Essence Flux, but there's definitely something there.

Now, onto what Satoru was built for: ninjutsu! Being able to draw a card after every Ninja hits the battlefield is amazing value since each one would be a separate trigger. This means that Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow found another piece for her deck, and you could totally play a lot of the same cards found in her deck in this version of Satoru. You could also flip flop with the other Satoru Umezawa as well.

Roxanne, Starfall Savant

Roxanne! A Savant of Starfall! ROXANNE!

Song reference aside, Roxanne, Starfall Savant is in a really interesting design space for Gruul. She specifically focuses on artifact tokens, something that very few other commanders care about. Svella, Ice Shaper is a legendary creature that comes to mind as a good piece inside the deck, or a good deck for Roxanne to slot into. Building Roxanne, mana-producing artifact tokens are the name of the game, so Skyclave Relic and Powerstone-generators, like Sarinth Greatwurm and The Mana Rig, are great choices. Kibo, Uktabi Prince would be a fun pick: not only would you benefit more from the banana, but who doesn't love a monkey that grows when your opponents decide to use their artifacts?

Not all of your artifact tokens need to produce mana on their own: cards like Jaheira, Friend of the Forest and Night of the Sweets' Revenge give some (if not all) tokens the ability to produce mana. To really ramp things up, throw in a Helm of the Host to keep making copies of Roxanne, Starfall Savant to keep making meteorites and dealing two damage to targets, and on top of that making those rocks tap for even more mana.

For decks that Roxanne, Starfall Savant could see play in, Svella, Ice Shaper mentioned earlier would be a perfect fit, and Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy would appreciate another token type.

Akul the Unrepentant

The big bad, the villain of Thunder Junction, leader of a band of bad guys, Akul the Unrepentant has the base stats to back that up. A four-mana 5/5 flyer with trample that gives you the ability to sacrifice three other creatures to place any creature from your hand straight onto the battlefield. Of course, an ability this strong definitely has some conditions to it, like you can only do it once a turn and you can only activate it as a sorcery, so when you do activate it, you better make it count. This opens the door to all sorts of silly strategies.

Slam a Kaervek the Merciless down and make your opponents scared to cast spells, or a Bladewing, Deathless Tyrant to get some Zombie Knights. Rakdos has many ways of producing sacrifice fodder. There's the token route, with cards like Krenko's Command, Bitterblossom, or Song of Totentanz. Bring a horde of creatures that get themselves out of the graveyard, like with Geralf's Messenger, Persistent Specimen, or the classic Murderous Redcap. After you have your sacrifice fodder ready, you'll need cards that take advantage of things dying, like Pitiless Plunderer, Mahadi, Emporium Master, and if you're sacrificing a lot of nontoken creatures, then Totentanz, Swarm Piper is your man.

Where Akul will really shine as a card in the 99 is in any decks playing black/red/X. Sedris, the Traitor King will put Akul to work, not only to fill the graveyard, but to cheat on costs that Sedris tries to pay from the graveyard. Henzie "Toolbox" Torre would use Akul to sacrifice already blitzed out creatures, draw some cards and drop a big huge creature that isn't going to go away at the end of the turn.

Laughing Jasper Flint

Laughing Jasper Flint is probably the most cowboy-esque name I have seen so far in this review. First off, a three-mana 4/3 is an incredible rate for a card that gets better the more turns it sits on the battlefield. Turning all creatures you control but don't own into outlaws means any creatures you cast off of his second ability just adds fuel to the fire. Rakdos, the Muscle would be a good fit, and vice versa; on the same token, Kellogg, Dangerous Mind can also permanently steal things, plus both of those cards are also outlaws, so they synergize in that way as well.

In the decks that this card goes in, I'll mention the commander of the Most Wanted Commander deck, Olivia, Opulent Outlaw, for obvious reasons. If you haven't seen, here's a deck tech/preview I wrote all about her. This card will also fit in another outlaw's deck, Don Andres, the Renegade. That card was the first card that jumped to my, and most folks', mind when Laughing Jasper Flint was previewed.

Wylie Duke, Atiin Hero

This card was definitely meant to be a creature that you used to crew and saddle various Vehicles/Mounts, but we know better: we know that cards like this are just a creative solution away from being infinite value engines. Drawing a card and gaining a life after tapping without a limit makes me intrigued. There are quite a number of ways to make infinite mana in Selesnya colors. Once you do so, throw in a Staff of Domination to untap/tap Wylie Duke, Atiin Hero an infinite amount of times and draw your deck and gain that much life. After a while, though, that gets boring, so what else is there?

For starters, we can just play this fair and just make this a Vehicle/Mount deck and just get our bonus the way the card intended. Get your Smuggler's Copter, Parhelion II, and Peacewalker Colossus revved up and ready to go, then head over to the stable and get all available Mounts, because in the morning, we ride.

Kellan Joins Up

I'll be covering three out of the five cards that make up the "Joins Up" enchantment cycle found in this set. First up is Kellan Joins Up, this enchantment for white, blue, and a green, enters and lets you plot a card from your hand that's three mana or less, which is quite good; sure, it's known information, and you have to wait a turn to cast it, but a free spell is a free spell. In addition, its second ability puts a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control whenever a legendary creature enters the battlefield under your control. Decks that play a lot of legendary creatures will want this in their decks as it's a more specific version of Cathars' Crusade. Some examples of decks that would want this include Alistair, the Brigadier, the Bant combination of Doctor Who Doctors and Companions, and the combo pairing of Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful and Thrasios, Triton Hero.

Annie Joins Up

Next up is the Naya enchantment, Annie Joins Up. For four mana (red, white, green and one generic), you get to deal five damage right off the bat to a creature or planeswalker your opponent controls, which is not a small amount of damage. This time mimicking a Panharmonicon, Annie Joins Up doubles the triggered abilities of your legendary creatures. In the pairing of Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful and Tana, the Bloodsower, you'll be able to make Yoshimaru bigger and create more Plants with Tana. In Aragorn, Hornburg Hero, you'll double his last ability, which would quadruple the counters on creatures when they deal combat damage. Pair this in a deck playing Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines and set a record for how fast people leave a Commander table to grab a drink while you count your triggers.

Rakdos Joins Up

Moving right along to the final enchantment I'll be talking about, Rakdos Joins Up. It's a five-mana enchantment that takes a creature out of your graveyard with an additional two +1/+1 counters on it. This card will fit in most Rakdos decks, as its reanimation ability alone is strong, and that's not even addressing its second ability. Keeping with the cycle of caring about legendary creatures, Rakdos Joins Up says that whenever a legendary creature you control dies, it deals damage equal to that creatures power to target opponent, which is pretty good insurance for your opponents to not mess with your commander and/or any other legends you got laying around. Mardu legends has lots of support and would love a card like this; Dihada, Binder of Wills, Shanid, Sleepers' Scourge, Piru, the Volatile, and of course, the pairing of Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful and Vial Smasher the Fierce are a few that come to mind.

Uncommons & Commons

Jem Lightfoote, Sky Explorer

These legendary creatures are all part of a ten-card cycle representing each color pair; they also serve as sign-post uncommons for drafting this set. Starting with Jem Lightfoote, Sky Explorer a four-mana 3/3 flyer with an end-of-turn triggered ability, meaning that they can come in and gain you some immediate value. Obviously built with the plot mechanic from the set in mind, this creature plays in the same space as another Azorius flyer, Vega, the Watcher, which coincidentally could be in this deck, or Jem could be in Vega, the Watcher.

Like with Kellan mentioned earlier, Jem will want cards with suspend, flashback, cascade, and Adventure cards to make sure that end of turn trigger happens. Where Jem will do the most work though is in the 99 of decks, so Kellan, the Kid would love to have her, along with the other commanders mentioned in Kellan's section earlier.

Lazav, Familiar Stranger

Which one is the real Lazav? There's too many to choose from!

Identity theft is a real crime and Lazav, Familiar Stranger intends to commit as much of it as possible. Acting as graveyard hate whenever you commit a crime, which, to remind you, is whenever you interact with your opponent or their things. Becoming a copy of the creature that you exiled for the turn means that you can take your opponent's cake away and eat it, too. Unfortunately, they slapped a "only once a turn" clause on this ability, so you get one shot per turn to turn Lazav into something that he isn't.

If this Familiar Stranger is your commander, then cards like Cackling Counterpart, Fated Infatuation, and Irenicus's Vile Duplication should be part of your disguise kit. Clone creature spells don't usually target, but another Magic: The Gathering villain, Volrath, the Shapestealer, is a targeting shapeshifter, so Lazav, Familiar Stranger gets to pick apart graveyards and transform into whatever your heart desires (as long as it's in a graveyard).

Jolene, Plundering Pugilist

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene! I'm begging of you please, define pugilist for me. I actually just looked it up, and it means a really good, possibly professional, boxer. Looks like this Plunder left her spot in Capenna and set up in the boxing ring that is Thunder Junction.

Reminiscent of her first printing, she lets you create a Treasure whenever you attack with one or more creatures with power four or greater, meaning that she can make only one, which is a tad disappointing. Oh, well, she can turn your Treasures you do get into damage, so slap a Grafted Exoskeleton on her and then you're cooking with gas. Feels like all of these returning characters could just slip into their previous cards decks, because this Jolene fits into the old Jolene's deck. Decks that care about attacking, like Karlach, Fury of Avernus, and any green Background, or Wulfgar of Icewind Dale, would benefit from Jolene being in their squads.

Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier

Last but not least on our trip through memory lane of legends past, here's Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier. Vial Smasher is back and a little less random with her damage ability: she deals one damage every time an outlaw enters the battlefield under your control. Pretty simple. Throw in a Maskwood Nexus: now she turns every creature entering into damage. Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier wants as many outlaws as possible, so newcomers Gisa, the Hellraiser, Hellspur Posse Boss, and Skeleton Crew are great as they have ways of creating even more outlaws. Of course, she'd play very nicely with the most opulent outlaw there is, Olivia, Opulent Outlaw.

Miriam, Herd Whisperer

We'll end this review on a new legendary creature: Miriam, Herd Whisperer is a two-mana 3/2 that works incredibly well with Vehicles and Mounts, protecting them by giving them hexproof during your turn. In addition, she also gives them a +1/+1 counter whenever they attack. If you're looking for something a little different when it comes to artifacts and Vehicles, Miriam may be the commander you're looking for.

You've got the artifact/Vehicle support of white, with the ramp and +1/+1 counter synergies of green. I say Vehicles mainly because at the time of writing this there are only 11 creatures with the Mount subtype; if more do come out, then Miriam will welcome them with open arms. Of course, with our friend Maskwood Nexus, every creature could be a Mount! This commander would be bolstered by another legend mentioned earlier in this review, Wylie Duke, Atiin Hero, as a value piece for crewing/saddling those Vehicles/Mounts.

The cards are dealt, the players set, and the saloon doors have stopped swinging. There is certainly a cast of characters this time around here on Thunder Junction, sure to be a bunch of bombastic brews coming out over the next few months.

Which one of these cards do you think you'll build around or do any of these demand a spot in the 99 of one of your decks? Let us know down below, and if you haven't already, check out the other reviews for Outlaws of Thunder Junction here and over on EDHREC! Until next time, see you later, partner.