Outlaws of Thunder Junction Mechanics

MTG’s visit to the Wild West is bringing us exciting new cards with fascinating new abilities. In today’s article, you’ll be able to find all five Outlaws of Thunder Junction mechanics.

For each mechanic, you’ll also find an example, to better illustrate how it work. In order to keep everything simple, we’ll talk just about the basics of each mechanic. However, if you want to know more, there are also links to in-depth rules explanations.

Commit a Crime

The name of the first mechanic will be responsible for many puns and jokes. Hopefully, they’ll still be funny when you hear them for the tenth time. So, some cards in Thunder Junction care whether you’ve committed a crime. Of course, not one in real life, but one in a game of Magic.

So, what counts as committing a crime in MTG? Targeting opponents, anything they control and/or cards in their graveyard. Essentially, any time you mess with your opponents or their stuff, you’ve committed a crime.

Surprisingly enough, cards rewards you for committing crimes. Looks like crime pays off on the Wild West. Here’s one example of such a payoff.

Marauding Sphinx Thunder Junction Mechanics

For five mana you get a 3/5 flyer. But wait, there’s more. If you play a Lightning Bolt, targeting an opponent or any of their creatures, you get to surveil 2. Did you use Scavenging Ooze and exile a card from opponent’s graveyard? Also surveil 2.

Pretty much anything you do to your opponent is considered a crime. Sounds like something a salty Commander player would say.

You can find more details about Commit a Crime MTG rules here.


Some cards in this set care about outlaws, and reward you for controlling them. This is simply a grouping of five creature types. So, if your creature has at least one of the following creature types, it’s considered an outlaw:

  • Assassin
  • Mercenary
  • Pirate
  • Rogue
  • Warlock

You can remember all those creature types by using a word, “WRAMP.” Of course, you could also just refer to the reminder text, which will be present on most cards mentioning outlaws. That can be seen from the following example:

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Mechanics At Knifepoint

The first ability of this enchantment will give all of your outlaws first strike. That includes any creature you control that’s either an Assassin, Mercenary, Pirate, Rogue, or Warlock.


Plot is like an alternate casting cost, and is somewhat similar to previously used mechanics, such as foretell and suspend.

If a card has plot, that means you can pay its plot cost and exile that card from your hand (face up). You can cast it on a later turn without paying its mana cost. Plotting can only be done at sorcery speed. For casting a plotted card, its timing restrictions depend on the card itself. So, you can’t cast plotted creatures in your opponent’s turn, unless they come with flash.

Here’s an example for better understanding.

Irascible Wolverine Outlaws of Thunder Junction Mechanics

You can cast Wolverine for its regular cost, and ignore the whole plot part. However, you can also pay its plot cost. (In this case, that’s the same as its regular mana cost, but that won’t always be the case.) If you do so, you exile Wolverine. You’ll be able to cast it on any of your later turns for free.

So, you are paying a cost now, to be able to play the card for free later. In the set, you’ll find various synergies with this mechanic. For example, there are cards that care if you didn’t cast a spell during your turn. Now activating a plot ability doesn’t count as casting a spell.

Besides, there are plenty of other benefits for plotting. It enables an explosive turn, it allows you to spend your mana without playing into a board wipe, it saves your cards from discard spells and so on.

If you want, you can find more examples and details about MTG plot rules here.


It wouldn’t be a Wild West set without cowboys, and every cowboy needs a good mount. Saddle is a mechanic that only appears on Mount creatures. It’s somewhat reminiscent of crew, which is used on Vehicles.

Saddle always comes with an attached number. In order to saddle X, you need to tap any number of untapped creatures you control with total power X or greater. (This can only be done at a sorcery speed.) When you do this, a creature whose ability that was, becomes saddled until end of turn, which typically gives it a benefit of sorts.

Take a look at how this common does this:

For four mana you get a 4/3. Even without using its saddle ability, it’s still a creature that can attack and block just like any other creature would.

However, you can activate its saddle cost by tapping, let’s say your untapped Grizzly Bears. If you do so, Quilled Charger becomes saddled until end of turn. So, now you can attack with it, and it’ll get +1/+2 and menace for this turn, making it a 5/5. Now that’s a very relevant attacker.

Other creatures have different saddle costs, and different rewards. You can find more examples in our Saddle rules article.


The last of the Outlaws of Thunder Junction mechanics is yet another one in the vast line of mechanics, that are basically just kicker.

A card with spree will offer you multiple options, each with their associated costs. When you cast a card with spree, you decide which of the options you’ll be using. Then you pay the card’s regular cost plus all the costs of the effects you choose. You need to pick at least one effect.

That sounds complicated, but in practice it’s much simpler, as you’ll see from the following card.

Shifting Grift Mechanics Thunder Junction

The cost of the card seems to be just two blue mana, but that won’t be the case, as you need to pick at least one effect to cast it. Say you want to swap just two artifacts, in that case the cost of the card will be 1UU. However, if you want to swap two creatures, the cost will be 2UU.

Perhaps you want to do both? In that case, you’ll need to pay 3UU. Of course, you can also select all three effects and pay six mana total.

All in all, it looks like spree will enable some very versatile cards, as you’ll be able to change the card’s cost depending on what you’ll want it to do.

You can read more about MTG spree rules.

More Thunder Junction Information

That’s it for Thunder Junction mechanics. Of course, that’s not everything we know about this set currently. You can find Thunder Junction spoilers here. In that article, there are all officially previewed cards, as well as some early leaks. This time around, we’ve got quite a lot of them.

Oh, and if you’re an avid Commander player, you’re probably going to enjoy the four Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander precons. These decks are widely different from one another, and it looks like they’re going to be very exciting.

Of course, all the Thunder Junction products are already available for preorder on Amazon.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Play Booster Box

Until next time, have fun, and enjoy Magic’s trip to the Wild West!

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