Outlaws of Thunder Junction - cEDH Set Review

Jake FitzSimons • April 11, 2024

[el]Molten Duplication by Justyna Dura

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

Howdy y'all, Jake FitzSimons in a cowboy hat here to review the best new cEDH cards from Outlaws of Thunder Junction. And when I say howdy, I mean boy howdy, because this might be the best set for cEDH in a year. At the very least, it's one of the most interesting. We've got a white Dress Down, a "strictly" better Rule of Law, a second Magda, a third Heat Shimmer, the best ninja since Yuriko, an Izzet spellslinger with a number of one card wincons, and an incredibly polarising Orzhov board wipe. Let's saddle up. 


Aven Interrupter

We're starting with an absolute banger, and the closest thing white has to a playable counter spell. Yes, yes, I know Mana Tithe and Lapse of Certainty exist, but you're not taking yourself seriously if you're playing those in cEDH. Aven Interrupter will exile and plot an opponent's spell when it enters, which will delay it at worst or render it completely useless at best. If you haven't been keeping up with the new mechanics from Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Plot is a new keyword that reads "You may pay [cost] and exile this card from your hand. Cast it as a sorcery on a later turn without paying its mana cost. Plot only as a sorcery."

Crucially, plotted spells still follow regular timing restrictions. This means an opposing counterspell will only become available long after it was cast, and at sorcery speed, rendering it impotent. For other spells, Aven Interrupter is much closer to blue's Delay, a perfectly playable counter in its own right, except the plotted spell's controller will still have to pay (2) for the privilege, courtesy of the bird's second line of text. And what a line of text it is!

Despite the obvious synergy with Aven Interrupter's enter the battlefield effect, the additional (2) for casting anything from the grave or exile is a huge detriment to two of the most popular winning combos in cEDH: Underworld Breach and Food Chain loops. Aven Interrupter also causes incidental trouble for cards like Jeska's Will, Dauthi Voidwalker, Isochron Scepter, and being a 2/2 with flying, it's even a great attacker for Tymna the Weaver decks. It's also completely asymmetrical. This is a new cEDH staple for white decks and one of the best cards in the set. 

Final Showdown

A white Dress Down? Almost, but there are some major differences. For one, it is an instant rather than an enchantment, a difference that goes well beyond the sort of cards that can tutor it and the sort of cards that can counter it. Specifically, as an instant, it only effects creatures in play at the time Final Showdown resolves, where Dress Down endures for the duration of the turn. That isn't a good thing, but it's not always a bad thing either. 

In practice it means you can't stop a Thassa's Oracle or a Dockside Extortionist, because if you cast Final Showdown in response to either card, they're not on the battlefield to have their abilities neutered. If you cast Final Showdown after they've resolved, it's too late, their enter the battlefield effects have already happened. This seems like a strict downside, but it can actually be an upside if you want to land a Thoracle/Dockside and there are stax creatures stopping you. Simply activate the first mode to turn off problematic creatures like Hushbringer or Archon of Emeria and then combo to your heart's content. 

The additional modes are a little less useful. Indestructibility does nothing against popular removal pieces like Swords to Plowshares and Deadly Rollick, but it can still save a creature from an Abrupt Decay or a Fire Covenant, which is something. The third mode is the least likely to see the light of day as it'll be six mana for a boardwipe, but additional modes don't hurt, and if you pair it with the second mode, you can save one of your own creatures.

High Noon

I didn't have a "strictly" better Rule of Law effect on my bingo card, much less one with such a cool name. I'm using air quotes for "strictly" because this is Commander, and color identity matters. It's all well and good to pay only two mana for your Rule of Law and have a removal effect as an activated ability, but the red pip precludes High Noon from decks that might otherwise play it. Speaking of that activated ability, it might be expensive, but it opens interesting possibilities for a stax player to remove their own stax piece in order to combo off. That likely won't come up often because if you're playing stax, you're playing combos that win through stax, but it's a possibility nonetheless. 

The biggest problem with High Noon is the archetype it's designed for. Stax is at an all time low in cEDH right now, with midrange decks absolutely dominating the metagame. Looking at the top 16 decks on edhtop16, stax is nowhere to be seen. The days where Winota was steamrolling the format and grinding games to a screeching halt are long gone, and a worthy successor is yet to rise from the ashes. Selfishly speaking, I'm thrilled.


Fblthp, Lost on the Range

It's incredible to me just how far a throwaway joke from a Gatecrash common has come. This is Fblthp's fourth appearance as a creature, and arguably the second time he's had some cEDH potential. The first was Fblthp, the Lost, courtesy of the ability to stack your entire deck if you targeted him with Proteus Staff and draw two cards. Now, I say arguably, because I never saw any merit in that deck, and I see even less value in Fblthp, Lost on the Range

Sure, you can plot card after card from the top of your library, but plotted counterspells are totally useless and you're going to be relegated to mono blue. On the other hand, I'm not Sam Black, and he seems to think there's some potential here, so I'll leave it to him. Also he's wearing a cowboy hat. Funny, right?


Kaervek, the Punisher

The secret ingredient is crime. Before you get too excited about Kaervek, the Punisher the way I was, reread the text and make sure you understand you still need to pay the cost of the spell you exile from your bin, so keep your hat on. Speaking of crime, this is the first card on the list the cares about committing them, so let's go over that quickly: targeting opponents, anything they control, and/or cards in their graveyards is a crime. It's a very easy condition to meet, but for a card/commander that needs crime to do anything, there are a handful of repeatable options out there.

The best of the bunch are Hex Parasite and Merrow Bonegnawer, both of which will give you a consistent source of crime for only a single mana. The bigger question is what you actually do with that. You can double up on your Demonic Tutor effects, on your Dark Ritual effects, even on a storm win condition like Tendrils of Agony, but I'm not convinced there's enough redundancy or consistency to really make a Kaervek, the Punisher cEDH deck here. The milk just ain't worth the udder, so to speak. 

Lively Dirge

Three mana for half a Buried Alive isn't exactly a dreamy rate, but when you add another two to reanimate two creatures up to four mana in value from your graveyard, Lively Dirge does have potential. The shame is it's colorless mana you need to pay for Lively Dirge. If it was all black pips then this would have a lot of potential in K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth decks. My best guess for a home is in Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, where the ability to tutor and reanimate Spellseeker is the exact name of the game. 

Tinybones, the Pickpocket

This is the first card from Outlaws of Thunder Junction we saw, all the way back in February. Sadly, despite all that time to test the little boner, I still haven't seen anyone play him. It's a shame, because as a one mana creature with a payoff for connecting, it looks like he'd be a great attacker for Tymna the Weaver decks in the same way Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is. Unfortunately, you have to cast the card when you connect, which means pulling a counterspell out of an opponent's bin for protecting a combo isn't an option, but Tinybones, the Pickpocket can still play a Lotus Petal or a Jeweled Lotus out for some mana generation. 

There are two major issues holding Tinybones, the Pickpocket back. One is that you're at the mercy of what your opponents have in their graveyards, and sometimes there won't be anything worth playing. The other is that he's a 1/1, and we live in a post-Orcish Bowmasters world. The little bony boy is just too vulnerable, and suffers from the same thing that every other x/1 creature in cEDH is suffering from. 


Generous Plunderer

Nope. Don't even think about it. I don't care how much you want to produce Treasures or what sort of chicanery you think you can get up to by giving your opponent an artifact, Generous Plunderer is not worth it. Giving your opponents resources is almost always a terrible idea, and when you're handing them out at the same rate you're producing them, you're wasting your time. The menace and additional damage is cute, but definitely not enough to matter given how little play Sardian Avenger has seen. Next. 

Magda, the Hoardmaster

A new Magda that will slot into the old Magda like a thunder blaster in a leather holster. Magda, the Hoardmaster ticks all the boxes for the best mono-color deck in cEDH. First thing's first, she's a dwarf. Magda, Brazen Outlaw already runs just about every dwarf that costs two or less, so we're off to a good start already. Secondly, she can produce treasures without tapping. Only one per turn and they might enter tapped, sure, but it's trivially easy to commit a crime in a mono-red deck and Magda doesn't care what state the treasures arrive in.

A typical Magda deck has Abrade, Chaos Warp, Deflecting Swat, Galvanic Blast, Lightning Bolt, Pyroblast, Pyrokinesis, Red Elemental Blast, Tibalt's Trickery, Wild Magic Surge to commit crimes at instant speed, not to mention a baker's dozen incidental abilities attached to dwarves and artifacts that can target enemy permanents. As long as you've got cards in hand, Magda, the Hoardmaster will be rewarding you with treasures. 

Lastly, her final ability functions as an infinite treasure outlet. Magda already had ways of turning infinite treasures into a win, but with Magda, the Hoardmaster in tow, she has a dwarf that can fill the board with an infinite number of hasty dragons. What a card!

Magebane Lizard

Magebane Lizard is basically Rug of Smothering but instead of a furnishing that ties the room together, it's a reptile. And it's a little cheaper at one and a red instead of three colorless. The lack of flying barely matters, nor does the four toughness given both cards can block Tymna the Weaver handily, so there's not an awful lot to say about Magebane Lizard. If you were already in the market for a way to shutdown opponents that required a lot of successive casts to win the game, the Lizard is a small upgrade over the Rug, just bear in mind that it won't shut down creature based combos like Temur Sabertooth and Dockside Extortionist

Molten Duplication

Molten Duplication is that third Heat Shimmer effect I was talking about, the second being Twinflame. All three are important cEDH cards on account of their ability to go infinite when paired with Dualcaster Mage as illustrated below.

csb logo


Each card is slightly different, but the end result is the same: infinite 2/2's with haste. Molten Duplication is close to a strict upgrade on Twinflame as the Journey Into Nyx card's strive ability is borderline useless. I'm sure there's someone out there that's seen the strive cost paid, but in five years of playing and playing against Twinflame, that someone is not me. It also has the advantage of being able to copy artifacts, meaning you can begin the chain without a single creature in play, relevant in the event of trying to combo in the immediate wake of a Toxic Deluge. The fact it actually turns the targeted creature into an artifact may also matter for Magda decks, as they require one dwarf to be an artifact in order to combo with Clock of Omens. All in all, a simple but powerful card.

Return the Favor

The last of the strive cards on this list, Return the Favor is a little pricey but has amazing versatility. For two red and a colorless, you can copy and redirect an instant, sorcery, activated ability, or triggered ability, an incredible tool for an endless list of uses. Copy a Demonic Tutor. Copy an Ad Nauseam. Copy a Sisay, Weatherlight Captain activation. Copy your Godo, Bandit Warlord entering the battlefield. Copy a Dockside Extortionist. Hell, copy a Thassa's Oracle entering the battlefield and use that Demonic Consultation you've been sandbagging to win over the top of an opponent! It's kind of outrageous how many uses there are for Return the Favor, and that's only the first half of the card. 

The second half needs less explanation given it functions almost identically to Deflecting Swat's effect, but in case you've forgotten, you can redirect a removal spell toward something you don't control or redirect a counterspell onto Return the Favor itself, rendering the counter useless. Just bear in mind that Return the Favor requires that the spell or ability in question has only a single target, so you can't do anything about a Fire Covenant

It's possibly a little mana and color intensive for decks with three or more or colors, but I have no doubt we'll be seeing Return the Favor in red heavy decks for years to come, particularly Godo, Bandit Warlord and Magda, Brazen Outlaw


This is where I'd put the good green cards. That is, if Outlaws of Thunder Junction had any good green cards. If I wanted to start a shootout in the comments, I'd say that green is by far the worst color in cEDH, but I don't, so I won't.

Colorless and Lands

Fomori Vault

It's not often we get new lands for cEDH, so I'm approaching Fomori Vault with an awfully skeptical eye. Obviously, you're going to want an artifact centric deck to make good use of Fomori Vault. Think Urza, think Jhoira, think Oswald Fiddlebender. If you've got enough artifacts, Fomori Vault can do a decent job of digging through the top of your deck in search of a better card than whatever you discarded. However...

It's a colorless land, it costs three to activate, and it's card neutral. It's hard to come up with situations where Fomori Vault outperforms War Room. War Room costs the same to activate, doesn't require a density of artifacts, and while it loses the card selection element, it's genuine card advantage. If I were you, I'd leave this vault unopened. 

Tarnation Vista

In a five color deck with a high density of monocolor permanents, Tarnation Vista could work as a sort of Bloom Tender land, but such a thing doesn't really exist. One of the few multicolor decks that plays wide variety of different colored permanents is Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, but many of them are multicolored. On top of all that, it doesn't matter that it's a rainbow land, because first and foremost, it's a land that enters tapped. Lands that enter tapped suck in cEDH.


Kellan the Kid

If one of Kellan's colors was red, he'd be a real contender in cEDH, but by the same token, if my grandmother had hooves, she'd be a horse. Bant is just an awkward slice of the color pie for Kellan the Kid to be sitting in. Don't be mistaken, there are endless ways to trigger his ability, like adventure, cascade, discover, escape, flashback, foretell, plot, rebound, retrace, suspend and a whole host more, but none of those mechanics really see play in cEDH. Cheating lands into the battlefield untapped is awesome. Casting free spells is awesome. It looks like Kellan the Kid has all the ingredients of a good cEDH commander. And yet, try as I might, I haven't been able to brew anything even close to playable. The synergy pieces are just too awkward. If you've got a brew, let me know, because I'd love to make Oko's son work. 

Loot, the Key to Everything

This Baby Yoda/Digimon/League of Legends looking thing hurts my eyes. It's about as welcome as a rattlesnake at a square dance. That's got nothing to do with how good it is in cEDH, but I had to say so. As to how Loot, the Key to Everything might function in cEDH, it will certainly make for a little card advantage, but little is the operative word and the card advantage is a bit limited. There are six possible non-land permanent types in Magic right now: artifact, battle, creature, enchantment, planeswalker, and tribal (now kindred). But realistically, in cEDH? There's three, maybe four. 

Creature is not a granted, given Loot, the Key to Everything doesn't see itself, but most any Temur deck will be running dorks so it shouldn't take long to achieve. Artifacts are next, just about every cEDH deck is running a critical mass of cheap mana rocks. Enchantments are slightly less common, but a Temur deck is going to be on Rhystic, Mystic, Carpet of Flowers, Sylvan Library and the forest auras. Planeswalkers are almost entirely absent except for Oko, Thief of Crowns and Narset, Parter of Veils. There is one single playable battle in the form of Invasion of Ikoria. And as for Kindred cards? Don't be silly. 

So in reality, you're going to be getting two or three cards into exile for the vast majority of your turns, maybe four if you're lucky and the game goes long. The bigger question is what you actually do with that card advantage. Temur can go infinite with Underworld Breach + Brain Freeze combos or tutor up the aforementioned Dualcaster Mage combos, but you run into the possibility of accidentally exiling a crucial combo piece before you have a chance to go off. The deck is also criminally weak to Drannith Magistrate. Loot ain't it. 

Marchesa, Dealer of Death

Ugh, if only you didn't have to pay for Marchesa, Dealer of Death's Crime trigger! We could have had a one card combo with Hex Parasite. What we have instead is a Grixis commander that rewards you for interaction as long as you have spare mana to invest into her only line of text. Given that cEDH decks operate on extremely thin mana margins, it's not going to be easy to pay for Marchesa, Dealer of Death whenever you want to, but card selection, advantage, and graveyard filling is a great payoff for a single mana. My gut tells me that this commander won't go the distance, but being a Grixis gal, she's in the best three colors she could be, so there's always a chance. 

Pest Control

Pest Control is the hardest card to evaluate in Outlaws of Thunder Junction, bar none. Opinions I've seen online have ranged from "this will fundamentally change cEDH" to "unplayable trash". Like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the extreme positions, but I'm not quite sure which end of the paddock I'm grazing in. 

On the one hand, cEDH is utterly awash with permanents that cost one mana or less. Esper Sentinel, Mystic Remora, Grafdigger's Cage, Deafening Silence, almost every rock, every mana dork, every single token, and all the enablers for synergy heavy decks like Yuriko/Magda/Winota/Sythis can be dealt with like the pests they are with a single two mana spell. Pest Control could be an easy one for seven or more. There's no question that Culling Ritual is a format all-star and Pest Control is half the price. It even has cycling!

On the other, part of what makes Culling Ritual so powerful is that it hits two mana permanents as well. A resolved Culling Ritual usually removes 80% of the permanents in play, and more importantly, it refunds mana for every single card it destroys, meaning it not only pays for itself, it's a Golgari ritual. The same can't be said for Pest Control. It's only removal, it can't accelerate your own game plan. The issue I'm seeing here is the play pattern. 

Maybe you can delay your own development if you begin the game with a Pest Control in hand and wait for your opponents to overextend into a huge blowout, but it's a card that shines brightest when you're at you're at your dullest. Going first, this is the last card I want to see, but it certainly mitigates some of the bad feelings that come with going last in turn order. Pest Control is a tricky one but my gut tells me that it looks better than it really is and it'll end up being meta dependent.

Roxanne, Starfall Savant

You don't have to put on the red light, but you do have to put cards like Food Chain and Squee, the Immortal in your deck if you want to go infinite with Roxanne, Starfall Savant. Or you could play Dockside Extortionist and Temur Sabertooth for infinite mana and infinite casts of Roxanne. Or you could give yourself infinite combats with something like Hellkite Charger or Aggravated Assault, but you're getting into janky territory there. Whatever you do, you want to build Roxanne in such a way that you can guarantee infinite casts or infinite combats, so that you make infinite Meteorite tokens and win the game. 

That's a couple avenues to victory, the only trouble is that Roxanne, Starfall Savant is quite pricey at five mana to cast and the mana rocks she makes enter the battlefield tapped, so she's not winning any races. Her mana doubling ability is cool, but it's a pale imitation of Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy's, so it's hard to think of a good reason to choose Roxanne over the pudgy Ikorian. Still, two damage pings on entry and with every attack step provides a decent amount of board control. I don't think Roxanne has what it takes to walk the cEDH streets, but I didn't think Etali, Primal Conqueror did either, and that deck's relative success has surprised me.  

Satoru, the Infiltrator

It took me a while to stop salivating when I first read this card, I had to wipe all the drool off my keyboard before I started writing this review. Satoru, the Infiltrator is the best legendary ninja since my true love was printed, and I am in awe of how cool he is. They even had the good sense not to give him a cowboy hat! 

Satoru, the Infiltrator is a powerful card in Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow decks for a number of reasons. For one, he's a ninja with inbuilt evasion at only two mana. That's already enough to pique my interest. For another, he's black and blue, meaning he can pitch to all the free spells Yuriko players love to run. He's also a beefy 2/3, keeping him fairly safe from Orcish Bowmasters. But the real meat on this bone is his triggered ability. 

With Satoru, the Infiltrator in play, every successful ninjutsu activation becomes a cantrip, and that's just the start. Ornithopter, Memnite, and Phyrexian Walker all draw a card for zero mana. Likewise Saprazzan Legate and Subtlety if you're among the few who play those two. This means that Satoru, the Infiltrator is the first time Yuriko players have ever had to not play our girl on turn two. If you've got Satoru, you can choose to play him instead because you'll end up drawing more cards if all goes well. This is because Yuriko entering triggers Satoru and Satoru is a ninja himself, so while you'll be down a card on turn two, you'll be up a card on turn three. 

So Satoru is a real stud in Yuriko decks, but what about as a commander in his own right? Trying to replace Yuriko he doesn't stand a chance, she's still the ninja queen, but I think Satoru has potential as an Anje Falkenrath style deck. Anje Falkenrath leverages the incredible number of cards with Madness to run a xerox style strategy where most of the deck is just cantrips that exist to keep her drawing cards. Satoru can do a rough approximation of that with zero mana creatures. 

The number of zero mana creatures in Dimir is surprisingly large, courtesy of all the X mana creatures like Stonecoil Serpent and Ugin's Conjurant. By my count, there are fifteen creatures that can cantrip without any help, plus Subtlety and Grief and then Street Wraith (kind of). Add Gitaxian Probe, and about 20% of a Satoru deck is just free card draw. As for winning, Thassa's Oracle remains as reliable as ever, but two free creatures or a free creature and a mana positive rock and a Hullbreaker Horror will draw your deck with Satoru. I'm also inclined to believe that Satoru is one of the best Displacer Kitten commanders yet printed, because blinking him (or anything else) will make for a free card. 

Stella Lee, Wild Card

Stella Lee, Wild Card is a stellar Izzet card with an impressive amount of one card wincons. As long as Stella can copy a spell that draws a card and untaps herself (like Twitch, Refocus, or Cerulean Wisps) she can get her whole deck in her hand. The only catch is that this isn't really a one card wincon, because Stella needs you to cast two cards before that crucial combo card. The good news is that her first ability can help you achieve that goal by giving you an impulse draw after casting your first two, it's just crucial that you sandbag cards in anticipation of your combo turn. 

You can also set up the top of your deck with cards like Personal Tutor or Mystical Tutor and then gain access to them that same turn by casting any other spell. A small issue with Stella is that she enters with summoning sickness so you'd think she can't win the turn you play her, but thankfully there are plenty of cheap cards that solve this issue like Crimson Wisps, Expedite and even Claim the Firstborn

The density of redundant win conditions also means that Intuition can always get you to your win condition. As for winning after drawing your entire deck, the primary card is Twisted Fealty, which infinitely untaps Stella and drains your opponents with repeated Wicked Role tokens. Unfortunately turbo decks aren't seeing much play in cEDH right now, but if I was going to play one, it would be Stella

Vraska Joins Up

Vraska Joins Up is a card that cares about legendary creatures, and if there's a deck that cares about legendary creatures, it's Sisay, Weatherlight Captain. In fact, Sisay doesn't just care about legendary creatures, she cares about legendary permanents and legendary permanents with a variety of colors, making Vraska Joins Up read like it was custom made for her. It's cheap to tutor into play, it gives all those legends a reason to swing, and it even gives them pseudo-unblockable by way of deathtouch. If Vraska Joins Up doesn't see play in Sisay, I don't know where else it could!


Yee, and I cannot stress this enough, haw. The power level in Outlaws of Thunder Junction feels real pushed, and I couldn't be happier. The cards are interesting and strong and they make me want to brew decks. A year from now, I imagine we'll be seeing Aven Interrupter, Satoru, the Infiltrator, Magda, the Hoardmaster, and if stax makes any sort of comeback, a hell of a lot of High Noon. We'll also be seeing Molten Duplication for as long as Dualcaster Mage is relevant in cEDH. If the midrange meta chills out, I can only guess we'll see a bunch of Stella Lee, Wild Card as well. I pray to god we're not seeing Loot, the Key to Everything. So that's the power level and if you made it this far, that's what you came for. As to the flavor?

Forgive me my rant, for it has nothing to do with cEDH. I really enjoy westerns and I've been looking forward to "the cowboy set" for as long as it's been rumored. There are some parts of the set that I love. The firearms that aren't really firearms are perfectly fitting and they get the message across. The anthropomorphized cactii are incredible. The spree mechanic is interesting and flavorful. I dig the characters that look like they belong; Taii Wakeen, Stella Lee, Wylie Duke, Miriam, they're all awesome. I even enjoy the cheesy jokes like Holy Cow and the easy references like Cunning Coyote and Resilient Roadrunner

What I'm not crazy about is that it's all overshadowed by half the multiverse being present. And they're not just present, they're all wearing cowboy hats. Murders at Karlov Manor was full of characters wearing trope appropriate hats, regardless of how appropriate it might have been for the character in question. Enough with the bloody hats please. It just feels so incredibly lazy for a plane that has so much potential. Thunder Junction rules, it's these damn Outlaws that aren't doing it for me. 

Does Wizards think my tastes are as simple as Mr. Smithers seeing the new Malibu Stacy? Give me Lisa Lionheart damnit!!!

What do you think? Am I just a curmudgeon looking for something to complain about? Sorry, this was a cEDH set review, wasn't it. What did you think of the set? Is there anything I missed? What are you brewing?

Jake FitzSimons is a writer from Sydney and a Magic fiend. He's either the johnniest spike or the spikiest johnny, nobody is sure which. When he isn’t brewing or playing cEDH, he can be found writing, playing piano, and doting on his little cat.