Outlaws of Thunder Junction: An Elves All The Way Down Review

After many years of players asking, Magic: The Gathering is finally trying its hand at the Western genre in its latest set, Outlaws of Thunder Junction. So grab your hat, mount your snorse (that’s a snake-horse) and jingle-jangle your spurs as we dive into all of the cool new (cowboy) Elves the set has to offer!

Well, that was a bit disappointing. We go to a Plane full of unchartered wilderness and you’re telling me the Elves didn’t show up? I guess pointy ears must clash with the cowboy hat aesthetic. Regardless, we’re still going to review the set. I’m sure I can scrounge up some other cards to talk about.

As always, this review focuses exclusively on a card’s application in Elves decks across Magic‘s many formats. If you think there’s a cool card for your Horse Girl themed EDH deck, this isn’t the review for that. (That card’s still cool though, whatever it is.) The rating given at the end of each entry is out of five Trees and applies to whichever format the card suits best.

The Elves Elf

Selvala, Eager Trailblazer

At least one Elf was eager to show up for Outlaws of Thunder Junction.

Selvala’s third appearance on a card continues the trend of producing silly amounts of mana. This time, it’s gated behind having creatures with different powers. But don’t worry, Selvala also provides a handy way of modulating your creatures’ power. For each creature we cast, we get a bonus Mercenary token who can provide a power boost.

I gave Selvala a try in Standard on Stream and was pleasantly surprised. I’ll be honest, I generally don’t expect much out of a mana dork that needs you to already be at four mana to cast. As a result, I didn’t think Selvala would have too much of an impact. I had undervalued the bonus tokens and the fact that she’s a 4/5 vigilant creature for four mana. Playing her out a turn ahead of schedule often meant she was the most important permanent in play.

Even after she had been dealt with, the mercenaries that were left behind continued to impact the game. A power boost of one or two can really change what creatures you can attack with into an established board.

Overall, Selvala, Eager Trailblazer won’t be breaking into Elf decks in older formats, but she’s a powerful card in her own right.

Everything Else

Aven Interrupter

I’m always on the lookout for interesting creatures that I can add to the Chord of Calling toolbox and Outlaws of Thunder Junction provides a doozy.

Aven Interrupter is effectively a counterspell that delays the spell by a turn rather than dealing with it forever. Fortunately for Elves, the extra turn this can buy you against a boardwipe is normally enough to end the game. It even beats out uncounterable boardwipes like Supreme Verdict.

As a bonus, if you hit a counterspell with his ability it does get rid of it forever. The limit of plotted cards being only castable as a Sorcery means that counterspell will never be able to be put on the stack when there’s a target for it.

I also like the fact that the last ability, while meant to make the plotted card harder to cast, hits other effects as well. Most notably, it means Living End and Crashing Footfalls decks need an extra two mana to pull off their main gameplan. The effect even helps against spells being cast from graveyards when that’s relevant.

You can even ‘save’ your own spell in a pinch and the Interrupter won’t tax your cast from exile.

Overall, I’m looking forward to trying out Aven Interrupter in formats like Modern or Pioneer: anywhere that I heavily play Chord of Calling as a one-of in the sideboard.

Magebane Lizard

Our next card is another potential sideboard toolbox option. Magebane Lizard seems specifically designed to beat up anyone trying to storm off. At first glance, that looks like a slam-dunk sideboard option. However, in the formats where that is relevant have other more powerful options that straight up prevent additional spells from being cast, rather than just punishing them. As such, that limits Magebane Lizard to only being relevant in the newer formats, where threats like Storm don’t exist.

I guess if you’re dying to Slickshot Show-Off in Standard, the lizard will at least make your opponent suffer before killing you.

Parting Thoughts

Well, that was a short review. At least with a card like Aven Interrupter, my brain gears start spinning as I try to come up with interesting applications for it. I look forward to trying it out in the near future.

Unfortunately, our next Standard set will take us to a plane where all of the normal creature types have been replaced with animals. I can’t be too mad, though, since they are very cute animals. I’m still looking forward for what Modern Horizons 3 will have in store for us in the meantime.

As always, I’ve been trying out some Outlaws of Thunder Junction cards on stream, so if you want to see some of them in action, head over on a Thursday evening (UK time). Always happy for new viewers in chat to talk about these new cards with. If you’re interested in previous sets, you can find all of our older Elves All The Way Down reviews here.