Outlaws of Thunder Junction Reprint Review Part One

Nick Wolf • April 12, 2024

Archangel of Tithes by Denys Tsiperko

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

It's Much Easier to List the Places They Haven't Been

Let's just get this all out of the way right here at the top. 

There's the yeehaw, the "wot in tarnation?", the "just throw a cowboy hat on it and call it a day." We're not here to rehash played-out jokes. This is a Reprint Review. We're irony-free. 

And as far as reprints go, Outlaws of Thunder Junction and its associated Commander products, bonus sheet, and Aftermath Big Score bring a lot of them, so there's no time to waste lollygaggin' on the arid mesas of Cowboytown like a sentient cactus.

First up, the "main set," insofar as whatever that means these days, and as always, dollar figures mentioned herein are USD, deck stats are courtesy of EDHREC, and hats are 10 gallon, at a minimum.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction

Archangel of Tithes

Did we need it?

This particular iteration of the Ghostly Prison-esque Angel (or maybe it's Windborn Muse, or Archon of Absolution, or Baird, Steward of Argive, or Onakke Oathkeeper, or Norn's Annex) is clearly similar to many of these cards, but it's also significantly more expensive than any of them. Is it the second ability preventing blocking without tax the reason it's so pricy? Or is it the fact that until now, it's only appeared once at mythic rare in Magic Origins and once briefly on The List? Regardless, we're getting a reprint of a $15-ish card in a main set, which is always welcome, especially when it means the newest version is preordering for only half that price.

Did we want it?

Archangel of Tithes carries with it a very popular creature type and a pretty good ability at a reasonable cost, so it's got a lot going for it. According to EDHREC, we see it in a shade more than 21,000 decks, good for 1% of all decks playing white. That triple-W pip casting cost somewhat limits its usage in decks that are fiddling with several colors beyond white, but when it comes to Angels, that doesn't seem to be a problem. Most commonly, Archangel of Tithes is in the 99 of Giada, Font of Hope (55.42% of lists, or 8,397 decks), Lyra Dawnbringer (47%), and Kaalia of the Vast (1,115 decks), with that last one notably sidestepping the WWW restriction. 

So while I wouldn't say it's universally beloved, there's certainly a subset of players who are very pleased to see a return of Archangel of Tithes.

Terror of the Peaks

Did we need it?

Going from one iconic mid-range, flying, single-color creature type to another, OTJ is also providing us with a main set reprint of Terror of the Peaks. Unlike Archangel of Tithes, however, the value of the reprint is markedly higher here. Also a mythic that debuted in a Core Set, Terror of the Peaks has been a Warstorm Surge with legs since Core Set 2021, and basically nowhere else. That exclusivity, coupled with the fact that it's extremely powerful in the right deck and also a bad-ass Dragon, means that if you wanted one you'd be paying around $30 for the cheapest version. 

Its reprint in OTJ will likely soften that financial blow a bit, but don't expect to be able to put it in a Pauper deck any time soon. Like Archangel of Tithes, the newest version might halve that price, but half of $30 is still more than some players are willing or able to pay. 

Did we want it?

I was fortunate enough to open one of these in a random pack of Core Set 2021, and I've been playing it regularly ever since. It's a great and fun card, even if it has a proto version of keyword villain du jour in "Ward: pay three life." (The ability doesn't counter the spell, but it's basically the same). 

And even with its pricetag, Terror of the Peaks is pretty dang popular in Commander, appearing in almost 95,000 decks, or 5% of all decks playing red. As you might expect, the vast, vast majority of those decks are Dragon-centric, with Lathliss, Dragon Queen (57%) and The Ur-Dragon (53%) leading the way in inclusions. Also shoutout to our thousand or so friends playing Terror of the Peaks in Norin the Wary decks, you're the real heroes.

Blooming Marsh

Did we need them?

With OTJ also comes the enemy-colored fast lands that debuted in Kaladesh. Along with Blooming Marsh, we're also seeing Botanical Sanctum, Concealed Courtyard, Inspiring Vantage, and Spirebluff Canal. There are also borderless versions, too. While never terribly expensive, these enemy-colored fast lands are seeing their first true reprint in a main set, with their only other appearance reserved for a Whovian Secret Lair last year. Notably, the borderless treatments of the OTJ versions are already the most expensive, with a 3x multiplier (to use Balatro terms) over the regular ones. 

Did we want them?

Not everyone can afford a "perfect" mana base, so sub-$5 multicolor lands are going to be very popular. There's the argument that being able to effortlessly play three-plus colors should come at a cost, but that cost shouldn't be financial. Four of the lands appear in the 21,000-27,000 range in terms of usage in decks, while Concealed Courtyard is found in 41,000 lists. It's an interesting quirk in usage that could indicate the popularity of Orzhov as a color combination, or perhaps Magic players just prefer alliteration on their lands. How else can you explain the love for Cabal Coffers?

The Rest of OTJ

  • Corrupted Conviction: This one's a recent favorite, as the card has appeared only once before in March of the Machine and is a $1 common. Pretty good reprint, since no common from a set almost exactly a year ago to the day should be more than a few pennies. 
  • Fake Your Own Death: The Streets of New Capenna common gets some Tinybones art and is otherwise the heir to the "Abnormal Endurance" throne, though we'd probably make better use of a reprint of Undying Evil instead. Damn those set-specific keywords!
  • Skulduggery: First (and only) seen in Ixalan, Skulduggery is a draft common quasi-removal spell that is most important for teaching us that "skulduggery" is spelled with only one L. 
  • Snakeskin Veil: It's surprising that Snakeskin Veil first appeared only a few years ago in Kaldheim since it feels like we've been using it to protect green commanders for much longer than that. Or maybe I'm confusing it with Sheltering Word. Or Woodcutter's Grit. Or Blossoming Defense. Or Ranger's Guile or Tamiyo's Safekeeping or Gaea's Gift or Royal Treatment or Wild Shape.
  • Take Up the Shield: First appearing in Dominaria United, the last of the OTJ reprints (besides basic lands) is basically white's version of Snakeskin Veil. 

Okay, that's done. Let's get into the Commander deck reprints before we collectively decide to turn heel and rob a vault. There are 266 of them, and we will not be talking about them all. If you absolutely need discourse on Sol Ring and Arcane Signet, please look elsewhere.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander

Breena, the Demagogue

Did we need it?

Every time I write one of these Reprint Reviews (and I've been doing it for awhile now), I learn via its reprint that a card was inordinately expensive. That card this time around is Breena, the Demagogue. Debuting in Commander 2021, a.k.a. the Strixhaven-themed Commander decks, Breena had reached heights of $30 for the borderless version and nearly $10 for the regular (albeit strictly foil) one. Next thing you'll tell me is another Commander deck legend is ninth in the Top Ten Most Expensive Legendary Creatures list. 

Breena's not nearly as hard to obtain as ol' Ed, but the Bird Warlock is still pretty expensive. Good thing anyone can now get a copy if they buy the Most Wanted deck, which is the same advice I gave three years ago when Silverquill Statement was released, and if you had listened to me then, you'd also have an Inkshield.

Did we want it?

Breena is the 282nd most popular Commander on EDHREC, with 3,923 decks to its credit. That's about a tenth of one percent of the decks logged on the site, and most of those decks are likely the preconstructed list in which it debuted, or slight alterations of it. As a member of the 99 of other legends, it's much more popular, appearing in nearly 28,000 decks, good for 3% of all decks playing both white and black. Isshin, Two Heavens as One and Queen Marchesa are big fans of the owl in particular. 

Will we see an influx of Breena decks thanks to its inclusion in OTC? Maybe. It's a fun card if you're into politicking, and if you're in the USA, it's about that season.

Oh, and also reread this entire section here, but every time I mention Breena, just replace it in your head with "Veyran, Voice of Duality." That was also reprinted in OTC, and for the most part, everything still applies.

Shark Typhoon

Did we need it?

Nothing says "Wild West plane" like sharks. First showing up as a meme in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, Shark Typhoon grew past its cheap reference origins to become a pretty dang good card in its own right, even impacting formats other than Commander that I'm told exist. Because of that usefulness, the tagteam that never was (see photos below) could cost you upwards of $6-7 for the cheapest version.

And now with a reprint in a preconstructed deck, there's no reason for Shark Typhoon to be that much money. Or in the immortal words of the late, great John Tenta, "I'm not the shark. I'm not a fish. I'm not an avalanche. I am a man! John Tenta! A 500-pound man!"

Did we want it?

We see Shark Typhoon in around 2% of all decks playing blue, or 46,453 lists to be exact as of this writing. Surprisingly, those lists aren't entirely just Gavi, Nest Warden, as we also see it commonly in Hinata, Dawn-Crowned, Anhelo, the Painter, and Narset, Enlightened Master. Basically, if you're casting noncreature spells and want to make sharks instead of monks, Elementals or Drakes, you can do much worse.

Winged Boots

Did we need it?

The Forgotten Realms Commander footwear is around $6-7 today for a pair, which isn't enough to remortgage your house or anything, but it's a lot for a random piece of Equipment not called Sword of Fire and Ice or Commander's Plate. If you wanted to mark out for a pair of socks, however, you'll be paying around $85 instead. If you want to learn more about that whole thing, go here.

Perhaps the most surprising part of this reprint is the fact that they didn't give it new cowboy boot art, but I guess we'll take what we get and like it. 

Did we want it?

Providing its wearer flying and ward 4 is a pretty good deal for two mana upfront and one to equip. The blue mana cost is restrictive, but even so, we see it played in 26,407 decks, the significant majority of those being Galea, Kindler of Hope. Personally, I like the lore visualization of putting them on Charix, the Raging Isle, and it seems around 990 other players think the same way I do.

Command Beacon

Did we need it?

The other land with the word "Command" in the name, Command Beacon has seen more reprints than most of the cards we've talked about so far, but it's still a $10+ card. It first showed up in Commander 2015, then popped back up as a Judge Gift Card, had a stint on The List, then was reprinted in earnest in Commander Legends. Since then, it got a Secret Lair treatment (featuring UFOs, naturally) before gracing us with its presence in OTC. People love feeling like they got a deal, and when you're trying to cast your commander for the fifth time in a game and want to skip that commander tax, Command Beacon provides you with one such deal.

Did we want it?

It's a land that can go in any deck and can make your commander hit the table more frequently in a game, so it's going to be popular. According to EDHREC, that popularity is measurable and comes to a sum of 185,467 decks containing the card. That's 5% of all decks on the site, since any deck can play it. Not every deck should, of course, but that's another debate entirely. 

It's seen most in Muldrotha, the Gravetide decks, where it's in 5,082 total, but from a frequency standpoint that crown is worn by Phage the Untouchable. In total, 88% of all Phage decks also have a Command Beacon in the 99. Very sneaky technology, there.

Rain of Riches

Did we need it?

From New Capenna Commander to Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander, Rain of Riches sees its first-ever reprint. It's a $6-7 card and will probably stay that way despite the reprint, but it's still cool to see its return. I'm especially happy they kept the original Evyn Fong art. Seriously, look at that scaly guy, just loving life. I wish I knew the purity of that happiness. Sheesh.

Did we want it?

It says Treasure and cascade on it, which, for a lot of Magic players, is all it needs to say. As such, we see it played in exactly 29,000 decks, or 2% of all decks playing red. It's all about that Treasure output, with Jolene, the Plunder Queen leading the way (68%, or 2,117 decks), followed by Vazi, Keen Negotiator, Prosper, Tome-Bound and Ziatora, the Incinerator also being big fans of the card. I think it's safe to say that we could use a few more copies of this one floating around out there. It's pretty fun, which is probably the only metric that matters when it comes to judging EDH reprints.

Fallen Shinobi

Did we need it?

Zombies conventionally aren't known for their agility, which makes those of them in the Ninja profession a bit of stretch in terms of believability. That said, Fallen Shinobi has been a pretty cool zamber since it debuted it Modern Horizons. Since then, it received a reprint in New Capenna Commander before appearing again here, presumably under the employ of one of the Cecani twins. Where the corpse/corpses came from to create such a creature will be a topic of debate among Vorthosi players for years to come. And by years, I mean a few weeks until the next spoilers start and everyone forgets about cowboyland. 

The original printing of Fallen Shinobi is around $2.50, and the one from NCC is a few cents more, so it's likely that it's third appearance here in OTC won't change that figure much. At least we got new art, though I think I'm partial to the Tomasz Jedruszek version

Did we want it?

It's a Zombie and it's a Ninja, so immediately it draws the attention of two discrete creature type fandoms. Because of its intersection of relevent subtypes, it shows up in 37,670 decks across EDHREC, or roughly 4% of all decks playing blue and black.

Amusingly, Fallen Shinobi's most favored commander in terms of frequency isn't a Zombie or Ninja at all, but a Cephalid Rogue in Kamiz, Obscura Oculus. Nearly 70% of Kamiz decks play Fallen Shinobi. Close behind, however, is Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, where Fallen Shinobi is in 13,111 decks, or 66% of all Yuriko decks on EDHREC. Zombie-related commanders tend not to care much for our guy, with The Scarab God being the most likely to play it at 7% of its lists.

Desolate Mire

Did we need them?

As OTJ brought us reprints of a half-cycle of enemy-colored dual lands, OTC brings us another, although this one is much more interesting. Nicknamed the Signet Lands (for obvious reasons), Desolate Mire and its friends in Ferrous Lake, Overflowing Basin, Sunscorched Divide and Viridescent Bog are receiving their first-ever reprint. Why is that interesting? Two reasons.

The first reason is their reprint comes a whopping 42 days after they first appeared, which, without checking, might be a record shortest time between first appearance and first reprint. The second reason is that that first appearance was in the Fallout Universes Beyond Commander decks, which means it's one of the first instances we've seen of a card that first appeared in a Universe Beyond being reprinted in a regular Magic set. 

The lands themselves are good, obviously. They're signets, but in land form. Players have been enjoying the use of the allied-color versions, like Darkwater Catacombs or Shadowblood Ridge, for about 23 years now, when they first showed up in Odyssey, so it's a cycle that took more than two decades to complete, was done so in a Universes Beyond product, then reprinted six weeks later in Commander decks. What a weird, abrupt end to a winding journey for this particular dual land cycle.

Did we want them? 

It's hard to say, since they've only existed for a month and change. The most played so far is Viridescent Bog, at 4,029. Those are rookie numbers, literally. I'll say that we'll revisit this topic in a year from now, but there's no chance I'm going to remember that.

Let's hit the rest of the notable reprints in rapid-fire fashion, shall we? And before you ask, yes, Sol Ring (with new art) was reprinted, as was Command Tower, Arcane Signet, Exotic Orchard, Swiftfoot Boots, Reliquary Tower, Lightning Greaves, Evolving Wilds, Fellwar Stone, Path of Ancestry, Path to Exile, Rogue's Passage, Rampant Growth, Terramorphic Expanse, Bojuka Bog, Chaos Warp, Kodama's Reach, Temple of the False God, Faithless Looting, Vandalblast, Windfall, and a bunch of Signets, checklands, painlands, charms, and cantrips. Would this even be a Commander deck release if they weren't?

  • Electrostatic Field: The $3 uncommon from Guilds of Ravnica gets its first reprint to continue doing Guttersnipe's job, but at half the efficiency. Guttersnipe was also reprinted for the 17th time by the way, and with its sixth art.
  • Three Visits: One of the priciest reprints of the entire batch at around $6, which either says a lot about the card selection this time around or the value of Three Visits, specifically. It was an expensive oddity from Portal Three Kingdoms for many years before getting its first reprint in Commander Legends, and now five times since then, but it's still held its value.
  • Mistmeadow Skulk: They dug deep for creatures to round out the "outlaw" batching, this time here with a Rogue not seen since Shadowmoor, and only once before that in Future Sight. 
  • Wreck and Rebuild: Another reprint of a card originally in Universes Beyond, this time from Doctor Who. It's not particularly interesting otherwise, but it still represents hope for those of you who refuse to use Universes Beyond cards but are still a little jealous of the neat ones. 
  • Cazur, Ruthless Stalker and Ukkima, Stalking Shadow: I've always liked the Whale Wolf, and it's cool to see these "partner with" pairs reprinted from time to time. It's the first time we've seen Cazur and Ukkima since Commander 2020. 
  • Stolen Goods: First reprint since Commander 2015 and only other reprint since it showed up in Avacyn Restored. Outclassed these days by some similar cards, but still a fun one (for the person casting it, at least).
  • Hex: When killing five just isn't enough.
  • Thieving Amalgam: First reprint for the Ape Snake since it debuted in Commander 2019.
  • Plasm Capture: It's been almost a decade since we last saw "THE NEW MANA DRAIN." If you were around during the spoiler season for Dragon's Maze, you know what I mean. 
  • Nesting Dragon: Once upon a time, Nesting Dragon was a nearly $20 card. That time was the pandemic. 
  • Curtains' Call: A great card for Vial Smasher the Fierce, we're getting a third reprint of the Commander 2016 kill spell.
  • Witch of the Moors: Not too many people have really been able to enjoy this particular card, as it only appeared until now in the original Jumpstart as well as The List, which is why it's around $5. It's a fun card, but not a $5 card.
  • Brainstealer Dragon: It's a Dragon Horror, and the art certainly matches that description, both on the original Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate version, and this new one.
  • Diluvian Primordial: The Gatecrash veteran has languished in a bunch of beginner product reprints, like Starter Commander Decks and Game Night: Free-for-All. The real power play would have been reprinting the green one of this cycle. Cowards!
  • Glittering Stockpile: Not counting a stint on The List, this is the first reprint since Streets of New Capenna, which isn't that long ago, but similar cards have been reprinted a half-dozen times in that span.
  • Third Path Iconoclast: First reprint since it debuted in The Brothers' War, and a card that makes me want to rebuild my Feldon of the Third Path deck every time I see it.
  • Impulsive Pilferer: First it was a (Commander) Legend, then it was a (Commander) Master, now it's got a cowboy hat. And the eye patch switched sides.
  • Dunes of the Dead: It's a desert set, so of course we're seeing the return of some Desert lands we haven't seen since they first appeared. Like this one, which is seeing its first reprint since Hour of Devastation. 

A View of Tomorrow's Possibilities

There are a lot more reprints, but we've got to keep this train a-rollin' through the prairie. Or whatever. I live in the Midwest, we have trees here, not cacti. 

There wasn't nearly enough room to include every reprint in one article, so you'll have to check back tomorrow for the second instalment, where we'll talk about all the headlines of the Prosperity Post as well as the trio of reprints from the Big Score. Believe it or not, both of those things are related to Magic cards. 

Until then, were there any reprints you were surprised to see make an appearance in Thunder Junction? Any that would have fit perfectly into the setting but were omitted?