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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Among MTG Outlaws Of Thunder Junction Limited Commons

Andy “Icky” Ferguson shares the top commons of each color in Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited, plus letdowns and cards that go beyond that.

Throw from the Saddle
Throw from the Saddle, illustrated by Eilene Cherie

White

Good

Mystical Tether

Do you feel like you’re always operating on Borrowed Time? Introducing Mystical Tether: white’s only reliable removal spell, now with instant-speed action! There is little to no removal for it, so it’s pretty close to just exiling a creature or artifact for three (or five).

Take Up the Shield

I’ve got Take Up the Shield pinned as the best white common right now. A protection spell, combat trick, and +1/+1 counter left behind is already very strong, as seen with Feat of Resistance. What is criminally underrated, however, is lifelink, which can often steal games.

Holy Cow

I love the design of this card, and I’m surprised Holy Cow hadn’t already been used as a card name in one of the Un-sets. Not only can you ambush unsuspecting Mercenary tokens or a brave Hardbristle Bandit, Holy Cow trades with most other two- and three-drops when needed. Whenever I read the creature type, I start singing “Earth Angel“, and now you will as well.

Bad

Armored Armadillo

I wouldn’t go so far as to say this giant roly-poly is unplayable, but it’s pretty close. Armored Armadillo can be a decent sideboard option against aggressive decks, and is a pain to get off the battlefield.

Ugly

Steer Clear

The individual in the Steer Clear illustration actually walked away from the hideous fall, only to pass away from typhoid fever 48 hours later.

Blue

Good

Phantom Interference

Limited counterspells continue to impress, and Phantom Interference is no exception. If an early- to mid-game Quench doesn’t fulfill your needs, the fail-safe of a 2/2 flash flyer is better than a dead card in hand. This card really shines, when you get to counter a spell and get the Spirit token, now that’s interference!

Take the Fall

Not only is Take the Fall a cheap and effective combat trick, it checks some boxes in Outlaws of Thunder Junction. In Izzet, it’s an effective spell to trigger the “cast your second spell” requirement to give them a little Razzle-Dazzler, and more importantly, it’s one of the most effective spells to trigger the commit a crime mechanic.

Jailbreak Scheme

Jailbreak Scheme is still a bit of a sleeper, similar to Buried in Books, due to the effect not being “hard removal”. 

Bad

Razzle-Dazzler

It takes a lot of razzle-dazzle to make Razzle-Dazzler work, and it doesn’t get all that scary when it does. A common scenario is it’s a 1/2 for two mana.

Ugly

Spring Splasher

You know, I don’t think the frog legs are worth it.

Black

Good

Consuming Ashes

Exiling creatures is highly relevant in Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited, considering potent graveyard recursion cards like Badlands Revival, Shepherd of the Clouds, and Mourner’s Surprise. Surveil 2 is a powerful upside that pushes Consuming Ashes to the top black common.

Desert's Due

I might have a bias for Desert’s Due, as I end up with a lot of Deserts in most of my decks. Having said that, this card has the potential to be underwhelming with two or fewer Deserts in your deck, though still a decent piece of removal.

Vault Plunderer

While not quite as busted as Inspiring Overseer, Vault Plunderer remains the best common creature in black. A nice upside is you can target your opponent to either deal a point of damage, commit a crime, or just be friendly!

Bad

Boneyard Desecrator

Not only is there a lack of fodder to sacrifice to Boneyard Desecrator, the activation cost is pretty rough. Even if you have extra Mercenary tokens, you set yourself up to lose against a removal spell.

Ugly

Ambush Gigapede

The fact that a gigantic insect called a Gigapede can ambush you is enough nightmare fuel to say it’s ugly (not within earshot, of course).

Red 

Good

Explosive Derailment

Explosive Derailment is the go-to removal spell for red, killing most early- and mid-game threats for three mana. While there aren’t a ton of artifacts in the set, picking off an Oasis Gardener or Sterling Hound isn’t too uncommon.

Prickly Pair

I really love the design of Prickly Pair, everything from the name and creature type, to the art, to the card itself. Having the extra token helps you push damage through on offense and chump block on defense, and enables too many other cards to list!

Thunder Salvo

If your deck has a decent amount of cheap instants and/or plot cards, it’s not difficult to have Thunder Salvo deal three to four damage when you need it to. Most often, this picks off a 2/2, which is great, considering you want to use Explosive Derailment on bigger threats.

Bad

Rodeo Pyromancers

I’m not sure who’s the target audience of Rodeo Pyromancers, but it ain’t me. On the plus side, bringing Pyromancers to a Rodeo sounds like a real barn-burner, or lit, as the kids say.

Ugly

Quilled Charger

Riding on the back of a Porcupine will most likely result in some very ugly injuries.

Green

Good

Throw from the Saddle

Throw from the Saddle is the best Rabid Bite we’ve seen in Limited. Unlike its predecessors, Hard-Hitting Question and Nature’s Way, this one is common. Leaving behind a counter can really change the tides of any early-game. 

Spinewoods Paladin

Spinewoods Paladin is a solid beater at five mana, and the lifegain helps stabilize if you’re behind. The option to plot this card on Turn 4 allows you to cast your second copy on Turn 5, which is actually pretty scary, speaking from experience.

Cactarantula

There’s not too much to break down with this monstrosity. Cactarantula is a giant threat that can block flyers, and if you do have a removal spell that can deal with it, you get taxed via card draw. Also, it’s a cactus tarantula, which is pretty metal.

Bad

Reach for the Sky

While Reach for the Sky can have a ceiling you want to reach for, it’s still very situational. Four mana is an expensive trick, and you can still easily end up on the wrong end of a two-for-one when trying to cast it.

Ugly

Dance of the Tumbleweeds

I don’t advocate for name-calling, but this has to be one of the ugliest tumbleweeds I’ve ever had the displeasure of gazing upon.

Round-Up

That was fun! Let’s do it again sometime.

Lose and Learn, Learn and Win.

***

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