Best OTJ Commanders: The Hateful Eight from Thunder Junction | Magic: The Gathering

In our last article, we reviewed the new Outlaws of Thunder Junction precons and took a look at the deck's commanders, new cards, as well as the best reprints. Today’s approach is going to be a little different though: We are going to talk about Thunder Junction's Hateful Eight! Eight new commanders from the main set that don't shy away from crimes and - if built the "right" way -can easily make them the most wanted at the table. 

Those legendary creatures will be have decks built around them that focus on committing crimes, removing every threat from the opponents' boards, or even preventing the other players from playing the game.

But let's get down to business! We are going to go from the least to the most popular commanders, based on how many decks there are on EDHRec.

Commanders from OTJ: Vraska, the Silencer | MTG

Our first commander is Vraska, the Silencer. This Gorgon Assassin is a new take on the "classic" 3/3 deathtouch Glissa type-of-card in Golgari, but the most appealing part about her is the ability to return your opponent's nontoken creatures that die under our control for just one mana. These creatures will come back as Treasure artifact tokens with no other types, but this is the point where deckbuilding starts to get interesting! We only need to find some cards that remove this clause - or make better use of it ...

Vraska, the Silencer

First, we need cards to commit some crimes (namely removal spells) to make sure that our opponent's creatures die. In this case, we have access to Golgari classics like Abrupt Decay, Assassin’s TrophyPutrefy or countless mono black removal spells.

Assassin’s TrophyAbrupt DecayPutrefy

Of course, having more effects that trigger when creatures die are helpful, for example cards like Chevill, Bane of Monsters or Morbid Opportunist. There are also many ways to make use of the Treasures we gain, like Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest or Deadly Dispute.

Chevill, Bane of MonstersMorbid Opportunist

 Mazirek, Kraul Death PriestDeadly Dispute

The most interesting thing to do with Vraska is trying to maximize her ability. For example by doubling any possible triggers those creatures provide with cards like Panharmonicon. Sacrificing those Treasures with cards like Kinzu of the Bleak Coven or Nightmare Shepherd in play means that we can create a creature token out of the Treasure, and blinking them with Conjurer’s Closet removes the Treasure restriction and gives us the regular creature!

PanharmoniconKinzu of the Bleak Coven

 Nightmare ShepherdConjurer’s Closet

There's also the option to animate these Treasures to turn them into creatures again, using cards like Xenic Poltergeist, Titania’s Song and Tough Cookie.

Xenic PoltergeistTitania’s SongTough Cookie

Commanders from OTJ: Tinybones, the Pickpocket | MTG

Our second commander is Tinybones, the Pickpocket. This mono black commander allows you to cast nonland permanent cards from your opponent’s graveyard if you deal combat damage to them with Tinybones. This a pretty straightforward build that most importantly requires cards that grant evasion in order to deal combat damage with your commander.

Tinybones, the Pickpocket

Equipment like Whispersilk Cloak and Silver Shroud Costume will help you get through with Tinybones and trigger its ability. Then, all you need is to make sure your opponents have some awesome permanents in their graveyards for you to cast! Here is where discard spells like Dark Deal or Mindslicer come into play, or even the new Tinybones Joins Up, which will add some extra flavor, too!

Whispersilk CloakSIlver Shroud CostumeDark DealMindslicerTinybones Joins Up

Commanders from OTJ: Gisa, the Hellraiser | MTG

Let’s move on to another mono black commander that loooves commiting crimes, but this time with an even spicier payoff! We are talking about Gisa, the Hellraiser, who rewards committing crimes by making two 2/2 Zombie tokens (but only once each turn). She also pumps  your Zombies and Skeletons and gives them menace!

Gisa, the Hellraiser

It of course makes most sense to build your deck as Zombie typal deck, featuring lord effects like Death Baron, Cemetery Reaper or Undead Warchief. But the real fun starts when you use some more unknown Zombie cards that can commit crimes themselves in order for Gisa to create even more Zombies! Sweet examples are cards like Withered Wretch, that can commit a crime every turn for just one mana, or Zombie Trailblazer, that also can commit a crime per turn without spending mana if you have enough Zombies on the board.

Death BaronCemetery ReaperUndead WarchiefWIthered WretchZombie Trailblazer

If you are all-in on the Zombie theme, Endless Ranks of the Dead will create an actual Zombie horde. Another fun option is using Gravespawn Sovereign to let your Zombies reanimate your opponent’s creatures. And committing a crime while doing it, by the way ...

Endless Ranks of the DeadGravespawn Sovereign

Commanders from OTJ: Kambal, Profiteering Mayor | MTG

Next up is Kambal, Profiteering Mayor. This one is quite different from the others we highlighted so far, as this is a deck with a clear token theme. That is also very annoying for anyone at the table generating tokens themselves!

Kambal, Profiteering Mayor

Of course, the most important thing is creating tokens yourself, especially if you use cards like Rabble Rousing that generate multiple tokens every turn. A very interesting aspect of Kambal's ability is being able to use cards that create tokens for your opponents, turning this downside into an upside. Hunted creatures like Hunted Bonebrute come to mind, or you can use Forbidden Orchard to add mana and create tokens.

Rabble RousingHunted BonebruteForbidden Orchard

Other ways to capitalize on token creation are cards like Bennie Bracks, Zoologist who provide additional cards every turn. The same is true for the new Baron Bertram Graywater who adds more tokens and card draw to the mix. Finally, Mirkwood Bats will drain life every time you create more tokens.

Bennie Bracks, ZoologistBaron Bertram GraywaterMirkwood Bats

Commanders from OTJ: Rakos, the Muscle | MTG

Let's take a look at Rakdos, the Muscle, another member of Oko’s crime ring. This Demon Mercenary has everything you need for your sacrifice deck to work in one creature, since Rakdos is both the value engine and the sacrifice outlet himself.

Rakdos, the Muscle

Playing with your opponents' cards can be tricky, as you depend on whatever they have in their decks (and also need a bit of luck to hit the good ones), but the sacrifice outlet is great to protect your commander.

Some cards you'll be happy to add to the deck are the classic "play from exile" or "play from anywhere other than your hand" cards like Prosper, Tome-Bound or Nalfeshnee. Of course, cards that auto-sacrifice themselves can be really helpful, for example evoke creatures like Shriekmaw and Ingot Chewer.

Prosper, Tome BoundNalfeshneeShriekmawIngot ChewerSeize the Spotlight

You can also combine Rakdos with threaten effects in order to attack your opponents with their own creatures and then sacrifice them to your commander before you give them back to your opponents.

Commanders from OTJ: Marchesa, Dealer of Death | MTG

Okay, maybe Marchesa, Dealer of Death doesn't look that hateful at first glance, but hear me out: This commander gives you card selection and advantage every time you commit a crime - and you know how we'll keep this engine going, right? Right? Targeting our opponent's all the time with disruption!

Marchesa, Dealer of Death

Whatever way we choose to build this deck, therer's one simple thing to keep in mind: We need to commit crimes every turn, ours or the opponents'! For that reason, we should add cards like Orcish Bowmasters, Mayhem Devil, Blood Artist or even Spellskite to have the option of targeting stuff from our opponents every turn.

Orcish BowmastersMayhem DevilBlood ArtistSpellskite

Since we’ll be committing crimes anyway, we could add some of the new otlaws to get more payoffs, like the previously mentioned Gisa, the Hellraiser, Magda, the Hoardmaster or Raven of Fell Omens.

Gisa, the HellraiserMagda, the HoardmasterRaven of Fell Omens

Commanders from OTJ: Eriette, the Beguiler | MTG

Next up is Eriette, the Beguiler, who, yes, will be the leader for an Aura deck. The twist: Eriette explicitly wants us to enchant other player’s stuff, since she allows us to gain control of nonland permanents that we enchant if they have lesser mana value than the Aura cast onto them.

Eriette, the Beguiler

We should focus on Auras that would normally look a bit clunky because of their high mana value, cards like Angelic Destiny, Sage’s ReverieRighteous Authority, or Followed Footsteps for example. The latter is especially spicy, as you will make copies of the permanent you steal.

Angelic DestinySage’s ReverieRighteous AuthorityFollowed Footsteps

Since we are going to play expensive Auras, we can for sure make good use of some cost reducers like Starfield Mystic, Transcendent Envoy, or Killian, Ink Duelist. There's also the option to cheat some of these higher cost Auras into play from our graveyard (or even deck!) with effects like Songbird’s Blessing, Retether or, if your budget allows it, Replenish.

Starfield MysticTranscendent EnvoyKillian, Ink DuelistSongbird’s BlessingRetetherReplenish

We have great card advantage options in Sram, Senior Edificer and Hateful Eidolon, both draw cards for different game actions happening. Hanna, Ship’s Navigator and Codsworth, Handy Helper would be nice additions, too.

Sram, Senior EdificerHateful EidolonHanna, Ship’s NavigatorCodsworth, Handy Helper

Commanders from OTJ: Obeka, Splitter of Seconds | MTG

The last commander for this article is also the most popular one, given that (at the time of writing) it already has almost five thousand decks on EDHRec! The talk is of Obeka, Splitter of Seconds, the new legend that provides extra upkeeps after she deals combat damage to an opponent.

Obeka, Splitter of Seconds

Building this deck is straightforward. All you need is ways to make Obeka unblockable to ensure she deals combat damage, and plenty of cards that provide value and advantage on your upkeep(s). Because let me tell you this much: you will have a lot of them. 

For evasion, the same equipments as we dicussed with Tinybones above are options, although having access to blue gives you some extra tools like Thassa, God of the Sea or Aqueous Form. Once you can reliably deal combat damage to an opponent every turn, the real fun starts.

Thassa, God of the SeaAqueous Form

There are many cards with meaningful effects that trigger on upkeep, so let’s group them to make it easier. First we have the court cycle, enchantments that have upkeep triggers and get better if you are the monarch, which - surprise! - you will be as you just dealt damage with Obeka. Court of Ire dealing damage, Court of Ambition attacking life totals and cards in hand, and Court of Vantress giving you extra courts or other enchantments are a nice way to start.

Court of IreCourt of AmbitionCourt of Vantress

You can also get free spells or cheat cards into play with cards like As Foretold, Sheoldred, Whispering One or Braids, Conjurer Adept. And you can punish your opponents really hard with cards like Twilight Prophet.

As ForetoldSheoldred, Whispering OneBraids, Conjurer AdeptTwilight Prophet

If you like to play a bit more janky decks, you can use some really fun cards that will leave the table in disbelief if you manage to pull off a win with them. Cards like Triskaidekaphile or Triskaidekaphobia (if you are not afraid of the number 13, of course …) come to mind here. You could also try winning games by milling your opponents out with Patient Rebuilding or Court of Cunning.

TriskaidekaphileTriskaidekaphobiaPatient RebuildingCourt of Cunning

And that’s all for today’s article! I hope you had as much fun reading as I had writing it, and hope to see you again in our next article really soon.

Author: Infrecuentes

Infrecuentes is a community of Spanish-speaking players and content creators that aims to bring the world of TCGs, boardgames and role-plays to all audiences. They have established themselves as the largest YouTube channel in Spain in this field in their first year.