Outlaws of Thunder Junction Set Review - Artifacts and Lands

Luxurious Locomotive | by Leon Tukker

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands | Allied & Shards | Enemy & Wedges | cEDH | Reprints | Pauper/Budget


Hello, everyone! It’s your friendly neighborhood Jesguy here, and welcome to the Outlaws of Thunder Junction Artifacts and Lands set review!

It's time for another rootin' tootin' review, chock full o' brand new cards! Let's not dilly dally and hit the dusty trail!


Assimilation Aegis

Despite being an Equipment, I see Assimilation Aegis simply as an artifact version of Journey to Nowhere with marginal upside.

There are plenty of great creatures that you can steal and copy, but again, that's just the back half of the card to me. The big draw is being unconditional removal for creatures that also happens to be an artifact. It isn't super easy to destroy, it's really easy to recur, and has plenty of synergies in any Artifact deck!

I like Assimilation Aegis a lot, even before you consider the copy effect; that's just gravy! The only downside is that it's in two colors, but luckily those two colors have plenty of synergies with it!

The Key to the Vault

The Key to the Vault is pretty pricey mana-wise, but the upside to it is real. The harder you hit 'em, the better your reward!

I can really only see The Key to the Vault in dedicated Equipment decks that desire more card advantage. In those lists it's incredibly easy to bypass the three mana equip cost and go straight for the gold. This looks especially good in any Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist deck that has blue in it. Those decks already run splashy Equipment that cheat on equip costs, so The Key to the Vault fits in perfectly here!

It's niche, but I think this card definitely has a home. While it might not boost power or toughness, it gives Equipment decks an effect they haven't had before, and that's pretty neat!


  • Lavaspur Boots is the newest talk of the town! It's a nice addition to our format as a mini pair of Swiftfoot Boots that also gives a little bonus power! Ward 1 isn't nearly as powerful as hexproof or Shroud, but it can still deter expensive removal spells and effects all the same. I don't think it's booting out its predecessors, but it is a nice option to have!
  • Luxurious Locomotive is expensive, but it can recoup its mana cost pretty quickly. I really don't know how many creatures you can afford to Crew with it during your average game, but it's still a really cool design. If you can maximize the Treasure output, I would say try it out!
  • Thunder Lasso is an aggressive little Equipment perfect for, well, Equipment lists! The first equip is free, and then it keeps the best blocker out of the way each attack! Sounds good to me!


Fast Lands

In EDH, the "Fast Lands" amount to slightly better, more expensive Guildgates. They have no synergies, unlike Guildgates, and will enter tapped nearly every time. This is a nice reprint for 60 card formats, but for EDH, not so much. They hover around a 25,000 deck inclusion rate (except for Concealed Courtyard which is over 40,000 for some reason), which is fine  but nothing to write home about. If you really need fixing, these are here for you, but they won't ever be much different than your average draft chaff common dual.

Crime Lands

Speaking of common draft chaff common duals, we have a cycle of color-fixing Deserts! They don't really do much, but they're here! If you need budget duals, or you don't care about lands that enter tapped, these have you covered. I will say, having lands that deal damage to opponents is interesting if you have a way to loop them, but the juice isn't worth the squeeze.


Outlaws of Thunder Junction also has five Deserts between uncommon and common; Sandstorm Verge, Arid Archway, Conduit Pylons, Mirage Mesa, and Bucolic Ranch. Of these, the only one that may see play outside of dedicated Desert decks will be Arid Archway. Guildless Commons sees play in over 50,000 decks, so I can't see why Arid Archway can't put up similar numbers. It'll be a staple of colorless decks for sure!

Outlaws of Thunder Junction: The Big Score

  • Collector's Cage is a lot of work to play a card for free. Hideaway 5 is a big number, but you aren't even guaranteed to hit something good. Maybe it's best in a +1/+1 Counter deck, but even there I think you have better options. I'm not impressed with this card.
  • Esoteric Duplicator is a card that I am impressed with though. Should you have the mana, it is an excellent way to rebuy itself, or powerful artifacts like Portal to Phyrexia. Yes, you need a sac outlet, but those are easy to come by in Artifact lists. This seems really fun. Thumbs up from me!
  • Simulacrum Synthesizer looks best in decks that want to play a bunch of larger artifacts, or lists that want to maximize on artifact creatures. If you go down either of these routes, it'll be super easy to create an army in no time. This is definitely a build around, but in the right deck, I think it shines.
  • Worldwalker Helm is the perfect addition to artifact token decks like Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy, Clue lists, Treasure decks, or Food brews. These decks love spamming the board with artifact tokens, and this card helps with that perfectly. A+ in these strategies.
  • Memory Vessel is a cute, fixed Memory Jar, and fixed well it is. You can't recur it, you don't draw the cards, it needs colored mana...Overall it's a very tame version of this effect, and that is for the best. This is right at home in Rocco, Street Chef or other decks that care about playing cards from exile. powered down it may be, but at least there is a home for it!
  • Ancient Cornucopia is a strange card. This slots into green-based lifegain strategies pretty well... And that's kind of it? Having a mana rock that is restricted to green decks is an odd choice, especially at three mana. This card is just very strange and I am not a huge fan. It didn't need that 'only once per turn" clause here.
  • Lost Jitte is pretty bad. It is leagues below Umezawa's Jitte in power and utility, and it doesn't even fit into things like Equipment decks very well. I know I am going to get some of flack for this take, but I really don't see the draw here. What land do I want to untap in an Equipment deck? If I am not playing an Equipment deck, why am I playing this to untap a land instead of something better? If I wanted an equipment that would make a creature not block every turn, I'd just use something like Thunder Lasso. If I need counters put on my creatures, there are a hundred better cards. I'll need to be beat by this card before I change my opinion on this one.
  • Lotus Ring is a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. For the low, low price of six mana and saccing a creature you get...Three mana. With Puresteel Paladin and the like it gets a little better, but I don't think there are many Equipment Aristocrat decks lying around. I say pass.
  • Sword of Wealth and Power turns the "Sword of" cycle up to 11 👉😎👉. Is it good though? I'm unsure. In decks where you can cheat the equip cost it seems pretty cool, since it will get you a treasure every turn...But will you be able to use the copying instants and sorceries half? Conversely, would you be running this in a Spellslinger deck? I doubt it. It feels solid, but I'm unsure if it has a home since it can pull you in a couple different directions. Happy to still see some more swords though!
  • Nexus of Becoming is quite expensive for what it provides. Bare minimum it replaces itself, which is nice at least. The rest of the text is...Fine. It's a neat way to cheat out some powerful creatures and artifacts, but the fact that they are stuck as 3/3s isn't great. It also exiles the card instead of discarding, so that puts a hamper on potentially recurring the discarded creature or artifact. I'm not super high on this one, but I don't think it's bad. I'll need to see it in play before I am able to make a full decision on it.
  • Transmutation Font, like Nexus of Becoming, is pretty expensive for what it provides. It is neat that it can generate you three tokens of different types, but at that point, you're basically playing a slight variation of Tamiyo's Journal, which is super slow. This card is best in a deck like Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy that is already making artifact tokens in ways other than Transmutation Font.
  • Fomori Vault is excellent in any deck that can produce a bunch of artifacts. Binning a card late game in order to filter through the top x cards of your library is quite powerful, especially in decks with recursion that can take advantage of the discard. Being a land, the inclusion cost is quite low, so if you're an Artifact deck, I'd take a second look at Fomori Vault.
  • Tarnation Vista is slow, but is pretty decent in decks with lots of colors. It's not going to be as good as something like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is in monocolored decks, but having a bit of ramp in the your land base is always welcome. Entering tapped is rough, and only counting monocolored permanents if even rougher, but if you're fine with that, the card seems fine.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction: Commander Decks

  • Forger's Foundry is an interesting mana rock. It'll give you blue mana for anything, but for your little spells, if gives you the option to cash them in later. It doesn't even sacrifice, that that's pretty good! You'll only get to cast them for free once, but in a deck that cares about casting multiple spells in a turn, it seems like a slam dunk of a mana rock.
  • Leyline Dowser is a very niche card for Spellslinger decks. In a deck with enough instants and sorceries, it can easily draw you a card or two. I just don't know if this is worth an inclusion into those decks instead of just an instant or sorcery that can draw you cards. It's neat and fun, but I don't think this will put in much work.
  • Dream-Thief's Bandana is basically another Equipment that draws you a card. It is best compared to Rogue's Gloves, which surprisingly sees play in over 20,000 decks. Since this has a cheaper equip cost, and is ostensibly more fun, I can definitely see this putting up similar numbers. The precon effect should also certainly help.
  • Bounty Board is another "Manalith with upside" that WotC has been pushing over the last few years, and I like it quite a lot. Being something that is both a mana rock, and can incentivize interaction is a nice intersection for a card like this to be at. Even if it helps your opponents a bit, I think it is worth it, especially if utilized against the player that is clearly in the lead. It seems very fun!

What in Tarnation??

And there we have it! All of the artifacts and lands from Outlaws of Thunder Junction!

While there weren't that many of either in the main set, Outlaws of Thunder Junction: The Big Score more than made up for it. I think my favorite card from the set is definitely Esoteric Duplicator. It seems like there are so many fun things you can do with that card when you combine it with a sac outlet and a bit of mana.

What about you, though? What artifacts and lands are your favorite? Any standouts? Anything I missed on? Be sure to let me know down in the comments below!

Until next time, wrassle up some grub, and enjoy your time on the range!

You can reach me on Twitter (@thejesguy), where you can always hit me up for Magic- or Jeskai-related shenanigans 24/7. Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to leave them below or get in touch! Stay safe, wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep fighting the good fight. I support you. No justice, no peace.

Angelo is a Connecticut resident who started playing Magic during Return to Ravnica, and has made it his mission to play Jeskai in every format possible. Along with Commander, he loves Limited, Cube, and Modern, and will always put his trust in counterspells over creatures. He is still hurt by Sphinx's Revelation's rotation out of Standard.

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