Outlaws of Thunder Junction - Minotaur Set Review

Minotaur Reviewer • April 13, 2024

(Hellspur Brute by Caio Monteiro

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

No Country for Old Leather

Hello, all you Cowboys and Cowgirls and people that just like cows. We're in the wild frontiers of Thunder Junction, where everyone has a story to tell over whisky and there's tomfoolery afoot. We got villains, we got snake oil salesman, and worst of all.... cattle rustlers. And any good kind Minotaur can't let rustlers roam free. I think we need to form a posse.

Now that the Omenpaths have opened up, this is a whole new world, and everyone dogged by the law or running from their pasts is trying to stake a claim, so I reckon us Minotaurs have been the undercows for a while now; it's only right we make a claim of our own.

And what a claim we have, as for the first time since The Brothers' War, We have two new Minotaurs in Standard! I can barely contain my excitement to tell you folks about them.

As always, this review is targeted toward the formats of Pioneer and EDH, but by all means, you're welcome to apply my thoughts to other formats.

Saddle up, partner. We got hunting to do.

(And if you're on desktop, I recommend opening this song on loop while reading for an ideal reading experience)


Caustic Bronco

To start things off, we have what has to be the most unsettling Horse ever, but putting that aside, what we have is a really useful creature for Minotaur decks in any format. The Bronco is mostly comparable to Dark Confidant, in that it will draw us an extra card each turn while losing life equal to its mana cost.

This is good because it prevents us from running out of gas and it provides more cards to use for our discard synergies. Plus, in my experience, Minotaur decks usually have a lot of life due to our opponents needing to be defensive, and the fact that the Bronco costs two mana makes it easy to slot into most Minotaur deck curves, with three mana being the most competitive.

Later on in the game, if there are some creatures we don't want to attack with, such as our lords, we can saddle up the Bronco, which will then help in our aggression as our opponent will lose the life instead of us while we draw a card.

Hollow Marauder

The Marauder is perfect tech to include in Minotaur EDH decks because either discard or pure Minotaur kindred strategies can benefit.

The key is that the Marauder becomes cheaper when we have creatures in the graveyard. It only takes three to four creatures for this to become a reasonable rate to cast, but as the game goes longer it will cost next to nothing for its effect. This shouldn't be hard to achieve as we will lose Minotaurs in battle or through discards, and it being a flyer helps too, as cows are infamous for being unable to fly.... well, most of the time.

However, the real reason I care about this Spectre is that it applies hand attack to our opponents, but unlike most hand attack, this will draw us cards if our opponents don't get rid of a high mana card.

This gets around the usual problem with hand attack spells, as our opponent can choose to ditch a land. Here, there's a deeper choice to be made. Either give us huge card advantage or protect your ace in the hole. In either case we get a small victory.

Rush of Dread

Oh, what a feeling, what a rush it will be to cast this on unsuspecting pod.

Rush of Dread looks like a fun way for Minotaurs to catch up in EDH. I won't deny that Minotaurs often struggle at the start, as they need time to build their momentum. This is due to Rakdos lacking ramp and lacking effective low-cost Minotaurs, so once Minotaurs do start to hit their stride, it's often necessary to level the field a bit.

That's where Rush of Dread fits in, as every mode can uniquely set back our opponents or decimate one opponent that is getting out of control. The main issue is just how expensive it is to use all three modes, which holds it back for me, but that can be alleviated through Treasure tokens or Irencrag Feat.

Shoot the Sheriff

Well, here we have it folks, another round of  a "Two-Mana Conditional Black Removal Spell"! Shooting the Sheriff (but not the deputy) has some stiff competition, so let's have a look at what it can offer Pioneer Minotaurs.

Being that it can only destroy non-outlaw creatures, this is pretty good for a conditional black removal spell. However, given how wide of a net the term "outlaw" casts, it's bound to create situations where we can't kill what we need to, so, ultimately, it just ends up being worse than Power Word Kill. With that, I wouldn't recommend running this over Power Word Kill, unless you know in your meta that Angels, Demons, or Dragons are somehow more prevalent.

Tinybones, the Pickpocket

Tinybones is really just perfect for any EDH deck that's playing black, and that includes Minotaurs. Being able to steal cards from our opponents' graveyards is just good value, even if the stolen cards aren't Minotaurs.

But what makes this so much better with Minotaurs is that Tinybones costs one black mana. Minotaurs criminally lack any low-cost minions and, unlike most other one-mana minions, Tinybones can be effective at any point in a game. He can be early game advantage or, in the late game, can steal an impactful spell that can change the balance of power.

Hostile Investigator

This Ogre is deceptively amazing for Minotaurs in EDH, specifically in discard synergy decks: the Investigator appears to be designed for hand attack decks, but, because the second line of text says "players", this also includes our self-discard.

Why this is so effective is that we are basically storing cards with every discard: by discarding we create a Clue token that can be cashed in later for a new card. It solves a problem most discard decks face when they run out cards in hand. Now we have a stack of Clues we can use to refill our hands as needed.

You might say, the law is on our side here.


Hellspur Brute

Oh, boy, we got ourselves a real cowboy (just don't say that in front of the brute)! And while I'm always thrilled to see new Minotaur cards, this one is a bit disappointing. This is because a direct parallel can be made with Shatterskull Minotaur, where Shatterskull has its cost reduced through party and the Brute through outlaw.

The issue is at least half of all Minotaur cards are Warriors and a few are Wizards, where currently, only one Minotaur Pirate and one Minotaur Rogue exist, so in a Minotaur kindred deck you're going to be paying full retail for Hellspur Brute, where Shatterskull will likely get at least a one-mana reduction. Leaving both cards, in most cases, to cost the same.

Therefore, how you evaluate Hellspur over Shatterskull comes down to how you value haste over trample. Personally, I value haste: damage now is better than damage next turn. That being said, that's something I'll leave the rest of you to settle.

In any case, this guy is going to be very good in Limited, and I'll be looking forward to cracking some skulls with him at prerelease or draft.

Highway Robbery

This is a very strange card to me; it appears to be the middle ground between Tormenting Voice and Thrill of Possibility due to the ability to plot it. It can also sacrifice a land if you wish to curb your tempo instead of your hand size.

I think Thrill of Possibility is still better, as I'd rather have card draw at instant speed rather than set it up next turn. and I definitely don't want to destroy my own lands when the decks are built around discarding cards.

Longhorn Sharpshooter

And just when you thought only one cowboy was enough, we got two! Unlike the last one, this Minotaur fully embraces the cowboy aesthetic and his here for the Rootin', Tootin', and Shootin'.

To start things off, a Minotaur with reach has never existed before. To date, the only Minotaur with a comparable ability is Talruum Piper, a creature that costs two more mana and forces flyers to block it. I can't tell how you nice it's going to be in EDH to not just let the the birds fly over my horns.

But that's not all this this cow is packing. He has the ability to plot for one extra mana, and when we do we effectively cast Shock. This has some made people compare Longhorn to Bonecrusher Giant, as Giant also delays its casting for an Adventure that casts a shock. The difference is that Bonecrusher's Shock gets past Fog, the Giant does more damage, and you cast the Adventure on turn two rather than turn four.

This is all to say, Longhorn will be good for Minotaur kindred in EDH, but for Pioneer I don't think it makes the cut as there are just better things we can do and faster than the Longhorn.

Pyretic Charge

Discard your hand, draw four cards, buff creature power for each card discarded... Holy Cow!

This Commander-legal card is perfect for Minotaurs. Discard decks squeeze the most juice out of it, but even typical kindred lists can get some decent power.

For discard decks, this works best when your hand and/or battlefield has discard payoffs ready to go. The ability to flush your hand gives Glint-Horn Buccaneer a lot to work with, as well as any madness cards you might have, but being able to refresh your hand afterwards goes along way to keep up with the game and provide more cards to discard later.

For Minotaur kindred lists, I see this card working more as a hand refresh and as a way to pump up our board for an attack, especially if our cards in hand don't help with the current board state.

The downside of Pyretic Charge is that it frankly costs a lot. Either we pay five mana, which is overkill compared to Trumpet Blast's three mana, or we plot the card and telegraph to the pod what we play to do next turn, which opens us up for disruption or a board wipe.

So while I think the applications of Charge are broad and useful, the costs here are a bit steep for what it does, and I think it requires some hoof on the ground testing to truly determine how to best apply the spell.

Stingerback Terror

This Scorpion Dragon is hellbent on doing some massive damage for us. What makes this notable is that it gets more powerful the fewer cards we have in hand.

This is something we already want when activating Neheb, the Worthy, so Minotaur decks, especially the discard-oriented ones, can easily allow Stingerback to be a 6/6 or 7/7. It also is costed such that it won't hurt our usual curve while not being too expensive to reasonably cast in a game.

I can see this being played in both EDH or Pioneer, but more so on the Pioneer end of things I think. More times than I can count I have been on one or zero cards in hand so drawing a four mana 7/7 would be just gravy.


Rakdos, the Muscle

Rakdos here is a card I'm very undecided upon. The reason I'm even considering it is because there is a very small subset of Minotaurs that care about sacrifice effects.

We then have our iconic Demon that effectively gives us card draw every time we sacrifice our creatures. However, since these cards are exiled, they can't be discarded, but they also don't disrupt Minotaurs like Neheb, the Worthy.

As of now I don't think Rakdos is good enough to join our posse, but depending on if Minotaurs get more sacrifice support, he might become a perfect card for us.

Taii Wakeen, Perfect Shot

Taii was a big surprise for me, as she slots in so well with Firesong and Sunspeaker. As for them, the white spells deal three damage to any target and the red damage spell give us healing, so when we're slinging spells, Taii is perfect to draw cards to keep on blasting our enemies.

Taii also has the ability to power up cheap damage spells, such as turning a Shock from dealing two damage to easily up to whatever you need to snipe a creature, which then ties back into Firesong and Sunspeaker with their ability to give red spells lifelink.

Outlaws for Inlaws

And with that, the sun is setting and a few outlaws have joined the herd. Only time will tell if we'll wrangle any more, but I think this plane is too small for Minotaurs. Seems this is Ox territory, and far be it for me to intrude on another kindred's space. I saw we ride for the next omenpath and see what Modern Horizon is in store for us. The days are hot and the nights are cold, but at least us Minotaurs have each other.

Until then, be sure to check out the other set reviews found on the Commander's Herald news sheets, for other perspectives on this new set.

Till next time, partner.

(And just for fun, here is my favourite scene in a western movie)

Hello everyone! I'm the Minotaur Reviewer. Hardcore Minotaur enjoyer and casual Johnny/Timmy Simic Hybrid. You may know my most from my Minotaur Set Reviews which started on Reddit. When I'm not jamming MTG I like to play Guild Wars 2, Duelyst 2 and Lufia the Legend Returns