5 MTG Decks for Day 1 of Outlaws of Thunder Junction

It’s high noon, partner!

Outlaws of Thunder Junction is a wild collection of sets. Between the set proper and The Big Score, a lot is coming out that will impact just about every format. The Fast Lands (Blooming Marsh, Concealed Courtyard and company) are now all back in Standard, finally, and Standard itself is the largest it has ever been.

I also had one of the largest deck dumps yet, a round number of 69 (nice) decks for Standard, Modern, and Pioneer! If you want to check out the full list, you can do so below!ARTICLE SPOTLIGHT50+ MTG Decks for Outlaws of Thunder JunctionHere’s (at least) fifty ways to say “Yee-haw!”Yoman54/5/2024

During all my brewing, there are a few overarching lessons from this set, especially in Standard, which is basically old Extended at this point.

The mana in Standard is absolutely incredible. While we don’t have all ten Tri-Lands, every two-color combination has access to eight untapped duals early and another four that come in untapped late-on. This means that Aggro archetypes can finally dip into additional colors without severe penalty. This is extra true for one color combination, in particular, that has been suffering for over a year.

Inspiring Vantage
Battlefield Forge
Sacred Foundry

Market Price: $18.09

Boros Aggro decks have been playing just miserable mana bases and have seen success despite that (I’m looking at you, Thran Portal). Boros Convoke especially is a Pioneer with a Pauper-level mana and will now get to mulligan something like 1.5 times fewer per match. That’s a huge deal for a deck that already gatekeeps the metagame.

This set (or pair of sets) also brings some of the most powerful sideboard haymakers Magic has ever seen. Rest in Peace is back to ruin Aftermath Analyst and Insidious Roots. The anti-tokens cards are absurdly powerful this time around, and High Noon is a potent Rule of Law-style effect with a relevant buyout clause. More and more Wizards of the Coast is giving us the accessibility to hate out the decks we want to. If you personally never want to lose another match to Boros Convoke, there are options in every color to dunk on all but their fastest draws.

High Noon
Rest in Peace
Pest Control

There’s also a new batch of combo cards in these sets, ranging from pseudo combo options like Smuggler’s Surprise that pretend to play fair all the way to Obeka, Splitter of Seconds, which is such a strange card yet a highly popular one in Commander. Honest Rutstein is the most transparently powerful of these, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see new combo decks pop up as far back as Modern with the arrival of Outlaws of Thunder Junction.

Lastly, endgame cards are just so powerful now. There are so many cards that are incredible solo plays while scaling super well with the rest of your deck. Wizards seems to be pushing the power of these endgame cards again in an attempt to push past the Midrange soup in Standard and give decks strong secondary plans to punch through strong sideboard hate. Bonny Pall, Clearcutter, for example, is absurdly powerful in the Aftermath Analyst decks while not losing out to cards like Negate and Rest in Peace.

Honest Rutstein
Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds
Smuggler's Surprise

The Standard card pool is just so large now and it makes deckbuilding that much harder and that much more rewarding. There are more than 3,300 cards in Standard now, and very few tools don’t exist. You won’t always get the power level that you want, but if there’s a card type you want to remove or a specific creature you want to kill, the options are there. Everything has answers now so holistic that the deckbuilding is more important than ever. I’m excited to see the decks from Pro Tour Seattle and the innovation that follows leading into the Regional Championships in Dallas.

For my Top 5 of this set, I really wanted to focus on the new Pioneer additions since that’s the current Regional Championship Qualifier (RCQ) format, but for those of us playing Regional Championship Dallas is still an important focus, and I have some fun and powerful builds I liked. Let’s start with those!

Mardu Aristocrats (Standard)


Mardu Aristocrats

Market Price:$88.68

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (30)

  • 4Nezumi Linkbreaker
  • 4Bartolomé del Presidio
  • 4Harried Spearguard
  • 4Resolute Reinforcements
  • 3Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim
  • 4Knight-Errant of Eos
  • 3Vraan, Executioner Thane
  • 4Crawling Chorus

Instant (4)

  • 4Corrupted Conviction

Enchantment (4)

  • 4Warleader’s Call

Land (22)

  • 1Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance
  • 2Sulfurous Springs
  • 1Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
  • 4Concealed Courtyard
  • 4Blackcleave Cliffs
  • 4Inspiring Vantage
  • 1Mirrex
  • 2Battlefield Forge
  • 3Caves of Koilos
Nezumi Linkbreaker
Harried Spearguard
Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim

With Inspiring Vantage back in Standard, Convoke will lose its worst matchup: its mana base. That means people will respect it more than ever, and having a secondary or sideways plan to win through interaction is very appealing.

An Aristocratic-style package still works well with Knight-Errant of Eos and Warleader’s Call, fighting through opposing interaction to drain them out. It’s even possible we should still be playing Imodane’s Recruiter.

Slogurk (Standard)



Market Price:$381.16

Maindeck, 61 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (21)

  • 4Slogurk, the Overslime
  • 4Rona, Herald of Invasion
  • 4Honest Rutstein
  • 4Inti, Seneschal of the Sun
  • 2Titania, Voice of Gaea
  • 2Ertai Resurrected
  • 1Annie Flash, the Veteran

Instant (5)

  • 2Cut Down
  • 3Go for the Throat

Artifact (4)

  • 4Relic of Legends

Enchantment (2)

  • 2Tinybones Joins Up

Land (29)

  • 4Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
  • 1Swamp
  • 2Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance
  • 4Otawara, Soaring City
  • 2Boseiju, Who Endures
  • 4Darkslick Shores
  • 4Plaza of Heroes
  • 2Cavern of Souls
  • 1Spirebluff Canal
  • 1Blooming Marsh
  • 4Ziatora’s Proving Ground

Where do I even start? This card amplifies everything the deck was already doing. Cost reduction, grindy midrange value, and combo or pseudo combo applications paired with other legends in the deck. There’s now a full combo that doesn’t even involve Slogurk, the Overslime by looping two copies of Honest Rutstein with Rona, Herald of Invasion, and Relic of Legends

Tinybones Joins Up
Annie Flash, the Veteran
Honest Rutstein

Tinybones Joins Up is a kill condition for the aforementioned infinite loop and also just a solid little value engine whenever you have the spare life to mill yourself. Annie Flash, the Veteran is a complete powerhouse of a card. A Sun Titan-esque card with flash that also synergizes with Relic of Legends is absolutely incredible. You certainly can’t play four, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the refined lists end up playing more than one.

Acererak Combo (Pioneer)


Acererak Combo

Market Price:$434.70

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (28)

  • 4Honest Rutstein
  • 4Acererak the Archlich
  • 4Llanowar Elves
  • 4Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea
  • 4Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
  • 4Rona, Herald of Invasion
  • 4Elvish Mystic

Sorcery (4)

  • 4Eldritch Evolution

Instant (4)

  • 4Collected Company

Artifact (4)

  • 4Relic of Legends

Land (20)

  • 4Darkslick Shores
  • 4Botanical Sanctum
  • 1Boseiju, Who Endures
  • 1Overgrown Tomb
  • 1Breeding Pool
  • 4Mana Confluence
  • 1Forest
  • 4Blooming Marsh

Sideboard (2)

  • 1Thassa’s Oracle
  • 1Jegantha, the Wellspring
Rona, Herald of Invasion
Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy

Market Price: $12.90

Honest Rutstein

Acererak the Archlich is a weird card, but the combos involving it are built around making him mana-neutral so that you can venture infinitely. Typically, you use Lost Mine of Phandelver to deal them damage equal to the number of cards in your library or assemble a very large board.

These cards all contribute to the goal of making Acererak mana-neutral. Relic of Legends essentially discounts Acererak by one, Honest Rutstein does discount Acererak by one, Rona, Herald of Invasion can pair with Relic to get back additional mana. Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea provides a two-mana discount for continuing to cast Acererak, and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy causes Gwenna to tap for three. Notably, Kinnan only doubles Relic itself, not the legendary-tapping secondary ability, but Kinnan’s narrowness is compensated for in his mana sink ability.

Collected Company

Market Price: $9.10

Acererak the Archlich
Eldritch Evolution

As much as I love this deck, consistency is a huge deal. You are trying to assemble multi-part combos, and every single one requires Acererak, the Archlich. This may be another home for Tinybones Joins Up to have a secondary kill combo with Honest Rutstein, but even then, this is a fragile, creature-centric combo deck. Pioneer is not kind to two and three toughness creatures, so time will tell if Honest Rutstein is enough to grind through the interaction.

Mono-Red Burn (Pioneer)


Mono-Red Burn

Market Price:$106.70

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (16)

  • 4Ghitu Lavarunner
  • 4Monastery Swiftspear
  • 4Slickshot Show-Off
  • 4Soul-Scar Mage

Sorcery (8)

  • 4Skewer the Critics
  • 4Light Up the Stage

Instant (12)

  • 4Monstrous Rage
  • 4Play with Fire
  • 4Wizard’s Lightning

Enchantment (4)

  • 4Kumano Faces Kakkazan

Land (20)

  • 4Ramunap Ruins
  • 3Den of the Bugbear
  • 12Mountain
  • 1Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

Sideboard (1)

  • 0n/a
  • 1Jegantha, the Wellspring

You know what doesn’t care about opposing interaction?

Just burn them out. Admittedly, the creatures in this deck are still weak to opposing interaction, and they are important for turning on key spells, but they only need to get in once to do their job where the vast majority have haste:

Monastery Swiftspear
Ghitu Lavarunner
Slickshot Show-Off

Market Price: $15.31

Slickshot Show-Off, in particular, is an absurd powerhouse, and Plot allows you to frontload the cost and hold that threat over their head while you pull ahead, taxing their interaction. I think this deck and adjacent variants will be really strong in the early days of the RCQ season before people have adapted from the current stale Pioneer metagame.

Naya Auras (Pioneer)


Naya Auras

Market Price:$290.53

Maindeck, 60 cards

Sortsort deckCreature (16)

  • 4Gladecover Scout
  • 4Skrelv, Defector Mite
  • 4Sram, Senior Edificer
  • 4Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice

Enchantment (25)

  • 1Alpha Authority
  • 4Ethereal Armor
  • 2Sentinel’s Eyes
  • 1Hammerhand
  • 4Demonic Ruckus
  • 2Gryff’s Boon
  • 1Rune of Sustenance
  • 4Audacity
  • 1Warbriar Blessing
  • 2All That Glitters
  • 1Kaya’s Ghostform
  • 2Cartouche of Solidarity

Land (19)

  • 4Inspiring Vantage
  • 4Mana Confluence
  • 4Copperline Gorge
  • 1Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
  • 1Boseiju, Who Endures
  • 4Razorverge Thicket
  • 1Temple Garden

Sideboard (1)

  • 1Jegantha, the Wellspring
Skrelv, Defector Mite
Gladecover Scout
Demonic Ruckus

This card singlehandedly revamps the Auras (or sometimes known as Bogles) archetype. The ability to threaten an invincible threat on turn two with Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice will ruin a lot of games. You can’t even get around Alpha Authority with Pick Your Poison because Demonic Ruckus can be sacrificed instead.

The rest of the threat suite is fairly standard. Skrelv, Defector Mite allows you to protect a turn two engine threat, and Gladecover Scout is the bane of every interactive deck’s existence. Sram, Senior Edificer is obviously not quite as strong as Light-Paws, but it’s the second-best auras threat and allows you to keep the cards flowing to fight against opposing interaction.

Bogles has never been a popular archetype, but Demonic Ruckus is a very strong upgrade to a deck that was once at the top of the metagame. I don’t know if this pushes it into the top tier once again, but it’s certainly going to be a deck you must respect. As much as Temporary Lockdown is a huge bummer, Izzet Phoenix can basically never answer a hexproof threat with Ethereal Armor.