The Crow's nest
5 min read

Archetypes in OTJ draft

Archetypes in OTJ draft

Howl at the moon, Planeswalkers, for we’ve arrived at the dusty plains of Outlaws of Thunder Junction draft! This comprehensive guide will be your trusty sidearm as you navigate the lawless landscape of this exciting format. We’ll delve into the heart of each archetype, dissecting its core mechanics, identifying its key champions, and unveiling the strategic nuances that separate a tumbleweed from a top dog.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction throws open a treasure chest overflowing with strategic possibilities. Here, you can unleash a relentless swarm of creatures, overpower foes with cunning spells, or exploit hidden synergies to craft a truly cutthroat deck. Buckle up, sharpen your strategic sense, and prepare to build decks worthy of legend. With this guide by your side, you’ll be drafting like a seasoned gunslinger in no time, ready to dominate the table and claim your rightful place as champion of Thunder Junction.

Lazav, Familiar Stranger

Nimble Brigand

Intimidation Campaign

I’ll put those two together because almost all the committing crimes payoff in blue are also outlaws and black, and imo work better as a splash in a rakdos shell. Blue gives us some card advantage and Lazav is a really solid magic card but the true powerhouses are in black and red.

Blood Hustler

Vadmir, New Blood

Rattleback Apothecary

Not only both Vadmir and Blood Hustler keep getting bigger with each crime, but the latter can also enable itself for a mere 4 mana. Rattleback Apothecary it’s not limited to once per turn and a giant menacing lifelinking Blood Hustler can become a real pain really fast.

For the dream team we also have our broken friend Gisa, the Hellraiser that also works very well with Forsaken Miner

Deadeye Duelist

Longhorn Sharpshooter

Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier

Red really shines in the enabler department. Deadeye Duelist is a cheap crime once per turn, our mino friend is simply overall great and Vial Smasher in this shell becomes a crime spitting machine.

At Knifepoint

Laughing Jasper Flint

Marchesa, Dealer of Death

You can also leverage the mercenary mechanic with the support of the great At Knifepoint, also enjoying the first strike. And if you’re also lucky enough to get a Jasper Flint or a Marchesa, be ready to get and endless stream of card advantage to fuel your committing crimes outlaws and drown your opponent in despair.

Doc Aurlock, Grizzled Genius

So plot eh? Don’t get me wrong, plot cards are overall strong but the only real payoff in simic is our bear friend so i don’t really see a good reason to go all on a simic plot strategy. Blue plot cards are way stronger in an azorius shell, or even in izzet where they help you double spell, and green one are just good so you can play them anywhere.

And probably anywhere is a better place than a dedicated simic shell.

Seraphic Steed

Miriam, Herd Whisperer

Intrepid Stablemaster

Selesnya bring us the saddle mechanic and, oh boys, is a wild ride. The enablers and payoffs are all cheap and great cards on they own, but the synergy is over the roof!

Shepherd of the Clouds

Congregation Gryff

Throw from the Saddle

You have strong contenders both on air and on the floor, access to the some great removals spells, some card advantage and a lot of incident life gain. Put all together and we have one of the strongest color pair of the set.

Wrangler of the Damned

Prairie Dog

Emergent Haunting

Azorius rewards us awesomely for not playing spell from OUR HAND. That may seem a little bit counterintuitive in draft but we have a great solution…PLOT CARDS! That’s a good shell to host all the fantastic blue cards without a home!

Holy Cow

Stoic Sphinx

Dust Animus

Also that’s a great place for all the flash creatures, and instant speed interaction you can get. Even some counterspells if you are a bad person.


Kraum, Violent Cacophony

Shackle Slinger

So izzet give us enabler and payoff for doing something we already want to do, double spelling! Kraum do a lot of work here, growing bigger every turn and fueling you card to keep cast those spells! You also got an ublockable backup plan in Razzle-Dazzler!

Slickshot Lockpicker

Outlaw Stitcher

Loan Shark

That’s probably the best shell for all the blue plot card. Slickshot Lockpicker is even a double spell all by himself! Also grab a Brimstone Roundup if you can, get some spare tokens for doing something you already want to do is nice.

Ertha Jo, Frontier Mentor

Form a Posse

Outlaws’ Fury

Just flood the boards with cheap creature and token maker like Prickly Pair, pump them all with Outlaws’ fury and just alpha strike your opponent. Nothing real fancy here, but it works pretty well.

Baron Bertram Graywater

Ruthless Lawbringer

Prosperity Tycoon

Orzhov of the other hand go with a sacrifice plan. The problem is that it lacks things or token that you want to sacrifice… The answer is simple, just splash black in the boros shell! Double your token production with baron and get also something from them dying! It also make the boros shell a little more compelling to play.

Honest Rutstein

Hollow Marauder

Rise of the Varmints

Almost every set has some golgari shenanigans and in almost every set is a little lackluster. Here’s the same but at least Rutstein is a good card on his own.

Spinewoods Armadillo


Badlands Revival

You can maybe make something fun, reanimating an early armadillo, but there are way better strategies to follow.

Scalestorm Summoner

Jolene, Plundering Pugilist

Outcast Trailblazer

Gruul SMASH! And that’s it. The payoff are awesome and the enabler are great too! And playing big creature is always a good strategy in draft.

Colossal Rattlewurm

Terror of the Peaks

Roxanne, Starfall Savantq

That’s also a great home for some of the best rare and mythic of the set, if you are lucky enough to draft them!. Also Savage Smash and all the fight cards are your best friends here.

Congratulations, Planeswalker! You’ve reached the end of this comprehensive guide to Outlaws of Thunder Junction draft. By now, you should have a firm grasp of the various archetypes this wild west-inspired set throws your way. Remember, the key to success lies in identifying open lanes during the draft and capitalizing on the synergies each strategy offers. Don’t be afraid to experiment, adapt your picks based on what the table reveals, and most importantly, have fun! The frontier is full of surprises, so keep your wits sharp and your trigger finger ready.

May your drafts be filled with powerful creatures, devastating spells, and cunning plays. Go forth and conquer, Planeswalker!

Sam T. Crow