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Magic: The Gathering’s next set sees a gang of outlaw cowpokes conducting a heist

Be gay, do crimes.

Images of Oko, Thief of Crowns and Thoughtseize Magic: The Gathering cards.
Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

The next set for Magic: The Gathering will revolve around a gang of outlaw cowpokes attempting to pull off an epic heist.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction is the next major set for the trading card game Magic: The Gathering. This new set will apparently be the first of several upcoming sets with different thematic concepts, a choice that’s been spurred on by the in-universe events of the March of the Machines set released last year.

With the invasion of the Magic: The Gathering multiverse depicted in March of the Machines, a series of gates have appeared connecting various different planes to each other. Thanks to this, characters and creatures that usually don’t have the ability to travel between planes - essentially, anyone who isn’t a planeswalker - suddenly have the chance to cross over from one plane to another.

In lieu of this, a group of ne’er-do-wells from across the Magic: The Gathering universe, some of which may be familiar to players of the TCG, have gathered in the world of Thunder Junction in order to commit some crimes.

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This gang of outlaws is led by Oko, The Ringleader, a shapechanger faerie planeswalker who originally appeared in the Throne of Eldraine set. Oko has gathered a team of misfits from across the multiverse - including Tinybones, The Pickpocket, Annie Flash, The Veteran, Kellan, The Kid - also Oko’s long-lost son - as well as Vraska, the Silencer and Rakdos, the Muscle: who are both originally from the Ravnica plane.

This group forms the collection of major characters found in Outlaws of Thunder Junction, with each character card having its own set of abilities for players to utilise in their decks. Besides their standard versions, each of these characters will also be released in alternate wanted poster-style versions players can find in collector and play boosters.

Thunder Junction itself is a wild-west inspired setting in which various shady figures attempt to make a living for themselves whilst trying to survive on an otherwise barren world. The major landmark based in Thunder Junction is the Fomori Vault: a high-security vault designed to protect precious valuables owned by wealthy Fomori. It’s this exact vault that Oko and his gang of outlaws are aiming to target with their planned heist.

An image of Oko, The Ringleader cards for Magic: The Gathering.
Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

The cowpoke-heist story for Outlaws of Thunder Junction is reflected in the collection of new gameplay mechanics being included in the upcoming set. Outlaw is a new keyword that collects assassins, mercenaries, pirates, rogues and warlocks under its belt, meaning that if a card includes any of those keywords then it also counts for outlaw.

Crimes is a gameplay mechanic that triggers whenever players use a spell or an ability that targets an opponent, an opposing permanent, an opposing spell or an opponent’s card from their graveyard. Committing crimes in Outlaws of Thunder Junction will enable players to take advantage of various combos and benefits found on cards throughout the set. For example, one of Oko, The Ringleader’s abilities enables players to draw two cards and only discard one, instead of two, if they’ve committed a crime that turn. Meanwhile, Magda, the Hoardmaster, will allow players to create a treasure token whenever they commit a crime.

Plots allow players to pay an extra mana cost to exile a card in order to pay the cost for its ability/benefit now but have the option to actually use it at another time in the game, like you’re investing for a future turn. For instance, Slickshot Show-off is a creature that can be cast using plot - with the player able to cast it as a sorcerer on a later turn without having to pay its mana cost then.

Image of Unfortunate Accident and Slickshot Show-Off Magic: The Gathering cards.
Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

With spree, players will be able to activate more than one ability/benefit on a card by paying the additional cost required. Unfortunate Accident is an upcoming card that features the spree keyword, allowing players to pay two of any mana and one black mana in order to destroy a target creature, as well as perform the ability that costs just one mana on its own: which creates a 1/1 red mercenary creature with the option to gift a creature the player controls a +1/0 until the end of their turn.

Mount & saddle is a gameplay mechanic being introduced in Outlaws of Thunder Junction that allows players to tap any number of owned creatures that have a certain ability in order to ‘saddle’ them together, thereby ensuring that anything that affects one, affects all of them. One such card is The Gitrog, Ravenous Ride - a 6/5 that allows players to sacrifice a saddled creature whenever it attacks, which then enables the player to draw a number of cards equal to the sacrificed creature’s power, as well as play that number of land cards from their hand onto the battlefield, tapped.

Apart from the cards found in booster packs, the Outlaws of Thunder Junction set will include a collection of four commander decks for players to choose from, as well as an entirely new commander game mode called bounties. With bounties, players will be attempting to complete the objective/s found on the top card of a bounty deck in order to win the reward before their opponent/s do.

Stella Lee, Wild Card and Olivia, Opulent Outlaw.
Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

The four commander decks for Outlaws of Thunder Junction include one containing the legendary character Olivia, Opulent Outlaw - which is themed around outlaw cards dealing combat damage, thereby creating treasure tokens you can sacrifice to bulk up your creatures. Quick Draw is another new commander deck, one that takes the classic blue/red mana sorcery deck and gives it a western twist. Desert Bloom will see players discarding and sacrificing land in order to gain various benefits, whilst Grand Larceny sees players casting spells they don’t own at a cheaper cost.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction is set to be released on April 19th.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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