The next Magic: The Gathering set wants you to do crimes

A cowboy painfully dissolves into tetrominoes
Art by Michael Walsh (Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

One of the mechanics coming to Magic: The Gathering in the western-themed Outlaws of Thunder Junction set is called Crime. It's a way of rewarding outlaw behavior, with Crime specifically defined as using your spells or abilities to directly target an opponent, anything they control, or even their discards. When you do so, that's called committing a Crime, and it'll trigger effects from all your other criminal-themed cards in play. 

For instance: Magda, the Hoardmaster pays you a treasure token if you commit a crime that turn, and will eventually let you spend three accumulated treasures to summon a 4/4 scorpion dragon. The Freestrider Lookout lets you scout out the top five cards of your deck when you commit a Crime, while the Hardbristle Bandit untaps, so you can use them to block after an attack if you've done Crime that turn.

It's all about rewarding aggressive play. You've got to act boldly in a western, goshdarnit. Cowboys are supposed to shoot first, and Outlaws of Thunder Junction rewards them for doing so.

To make it easier to commit Crimes—and easier to realize when you have so you remember to collect your rewards—Outlaws of Thunder Junction includes a bonus sheet of Crime cards with a special "breaking news" treatment. They look like front-page news stories from Thunder Junction's rag, the Prosperity Post. Some of them even come with eye-catching headlines any subeditor would be proud of, like this one from the Voidslime card: SLIMY SERVICE AT SALOON SENDS SCAMP SCRAMBLING.

You wouldn't want to commit a Crime without realizing it. Especially if you've got Gisa, the Hellraiser in play, who summons a pair of 2/2 zombie rogues once a turn when you do. These newspaper treatments make it a cinch to realize you've done wrong in the right way by, say, destroying a creature by casting Terminal Agony. Wizards of the Coast has sent us four such Crimes to preview, along with their art cards, and you can check them out in the gallery below.

Prelease events for Outlaws of Thunder Junction begin on April 12, and you can attend them at your local WPN store. The set will arrive online in Magic: The Gathering Arena on April 16, then follow in paper Magic on April 19. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.