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By: stsung, Jaroslava Stefankova
Oct 17 2017 11:00am
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In my previous article I talked about Grixis Pirates and today we will look at another of Ixalan's tribes - Dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs are in 3 colors in Ixalan, red, green and white. The white-green Dinosaurs are rather defensive, red-white are the most aggressive and red-green are either midrange or ramp. In a limited environment either works well (even though the format is very aggressive) but in EDH being aggressive with creatures that can hardly stick or die when they meet opposition is not a good thing. Midrange doesn't apply here as well since what we want to do is cast Dinosaurs and many of them are not particularly good. The deck I'll talk about is thus a ramp deck.

 

Gishath, Sun's Avatar

Unlike Pirates that already saw play in EDH from time to time Dinosaurs are true novelty. As far as I know there was actually one creature with the type Dinosaur - Pygmy Allosaurus from Ice Age (not available on Magic Online). Apart from this creature those creatures that looked like they could be dinosaurs and even had a name suggesting that were either Beasts or Lizards. In the past there could be a Lizard deck but there wasn't enough dinosaur looking Lizards to make a Dinosaur deck. Ixalan brought 38 Dinosaurs and with that certain Lizards or Beasts acquired a new creature type - Dinosaur. For example Deathmist Raptor is a Dinosaur now.

 

 

For whom is the deck?

If you think Dinosaurs are cool, you like casting big creatures and you don't mind swinging with them, the deck will be definitely for you.

 

 

 

Card Choices

There are 51 Dinosaurs we can choose from with the vast majority being from Ixalan. From those I omitted the inexpensive aggressive ones because what I want to do early game is ramp.

 

Ramp

In order to make this deck work - because it features rather expensive cards - is to ramp. Who wouldn't want to cast 6 drops on turn 4 or Gishath on turn 6? This won't be happening often but the deck needs a lot of lands. Since this deck is green it can choose from a vast variety of cards. There are cards like Nature's Lore, Cultivate and even Splendid Reclamation that works nicely with all the fetchlands. There is also a little bit of ramp in the form of lands, more specifically Krosan Verge and Blighted Woodland. While I'm not a big fan of these cards in general, having access to a ramp effect on a land saves a deck slot for something else which this deck certainly needs. There's also Drover of the Mighty and Otepec Huntmaster that has a Dinosaur cost reduction ability.

 

Removal

There are two types of removal and both are needed. Since certain Dinosaurs have the ability called Enrage I chose cards that do the old Arena 'Fight' (with the exception that you can target your own creature). There is a Dinosaur Fight named Savage Stomp that in the case of you having Dinosaur around costs just G but is a Sorcery. There's also Prey Upon, Pounce. The more versatile fight spells are Dromoka's Command and Domri Rade. Global removal in the deck is twofold. There is Wrath of God and Day of Judgment because sometimes you really need to reset the game or wipe the board of an opponent piloting an aggressive deck. Wakening Sun's Avatar, nicknamed Wrathosaur among the players I know, can clear the board of non-Dinosaurs. Similarly Burning Sun's Avatar (nicknamed Titosaur) can also deal with a creature while leaving behind a big body (hard to believe that Monstrosaur is actually a part of a card name, usually nicknamed 'uncommon Reality Smasher'). The other type of global removal is Earthquake, Rolling Earthquake and Pyrohemia. These cards deal damage to all creatures and players. I liked the idea of this because it can win you the game on its own and also trigger Enrage on Dinosaurs at once.

 

Tricks

Sometimes casting big bodies doesn't do the trick and little bit of evasiveness is needed even in Dinosaur themed decks. For that reason I looked for cards that could make me alpha strike for the win through a big opposition. Those cards in question do different things. There is Naya Charm that I immediately fell in love and used to play in Pyromancer Ascension decks in Standard. In this case though it won't be returning a Time Walk effect but rather tapping opposing creatures down. It can also kill a creature or return a card one would need. Gruul Charm is another versatile card. I put it there because against many deck it will just mean that your creatures will become unblockable unless you ran into a Faerie tribe! Against those though it has another nice mode - deal 3 damage to each creature with Flying. If your creatures would by a chance commit a mutiny en masse they could be forced to come back with this card as well (not that likely to happen). Boros Charm doesn't allow creatures to get through but it can give one creature double strike. If that creature will be Gishath it can mean many Dinosaurs coming into play, or it can simply deal a lot of damage when cast on creatures like Gishath, Carnage Tyrant etc. Wakening Sun's Avatar is also a card that suddenly allows you to attack with Dinosaurs into an open board, unless you are facing Dinosaurs as well.

 

Protection

Since I didn't expect to be the only person casting Wrath of God I also added some effects that could save my Dinosaurs from extinction. After paying a lot of mana for your dinosaurs you don't want them to just immediately die. That is the reason why I included cards like Heroic Intervention and Boros Charm. Steely Resolve also helps with targeted removal.

 

 

How to play the deck

The deck ideally ramps in the first 4 turns so it can cast its 6+ drops from turn 4. Later on you want to play its big creatures and attack with them whenever possible. Since the deck has some removal it can try to get rid of some creatures that would stop the advance of the Dinosaurs. While at it you can try to trigger Enrage for more value. When the clear is path it is time also for the general that when hits usually finds some additional Dinosaurs and puts them in play. This should be enough to win the game. If this plan doesn't work the deck can sit back and wait for one of few tricks that can help get lethal damage through thanks to a Charm or Earthquake effect.

 

Oops. Sometimes you just miss.

 

Budget

Apart from lands the deck features these cards that cost more than 1 tix: Deathgorge Scavenger (1.7tix), Deathmist Raptor (1tix), Rampaging Ferocidon (2tix), Chameleon Colossus (3tix), Ripjaw Raptor (1.3tix), Carnage Tyrant (6tix), Rolling Earthquake (5tix), Wrath of God (2tix). The deck's price can go down to approximately 12 tix.

 

Carnage Tyrant can be replaced by any other six drop. Hexproof is not often relevant in this deck, Trample and the creature type is but that does not justify 6 tix. Alpha Tyrranax or Ancient Brontodon will have to do otherwise. Rolling Earthquake can be replaced with Magmasaur. This elemental is actually a Dinosaur so fits the theme nicely and also can wipe the board. The actual Wrath of God doesn't need to be in the deck and it does not even need to cost 4 mana. So if you have only End Hostilities for example it will do the job as well. I'd suggest buying Ripjaw Raptor and Chameleon Colossus because those are practically the best creatures in the deck. Rampaging Ferocidon and Deathgorge Scavenger are good creatures and can impact the game but are not as important as the previous two. For example a nice creature is Imperial Aerosaur. I'd replace the other card with Frenetic Raptor since you don't usually care about blocking either way and 6/6 body is big. Skyshroud Claim (almost a tix) can be replaced by Explosive Vegetation.

As for lands. The utility lands you want to keep are Krosan Verge, Blighted Woodland and Kessig Wolf Run which are all inexpensive. Shocklands and fetchlands can be replaced by other mana fixing lands but note that if you will keep Splendid Reclamation in the deck it should feature fetchlands. That doesn't need to be Wooded Foothills though. There's Naya Panorama or Evolving Wilds. The deck can also find use for Temple of the False God. An idea that I didn't pursue but is worth mentioning are lands with the Cycling ability, notably the new ones because they have a basic land type (thus can be found with cards like Nature's Lore, Wooded Foothills, Skyshroud Claim). If you wouldn't play these you can just cycle them away and recur them with Splendid Reclamation. My deck doesn't feature more recursion though so I didn't think that this would be relevant. In general you want as many lands as possible, so if you scry into a land and it is not your 9th land just keep it on top (but as far as I know scrying to the bottom, fetching and drawing a card will make me always draw the card I just scried to the bottom!)!

I hope you'll have fun with Dinosaurs,
thank you for reading
S'Tsung (stsung on Magic Online, stsungjp at Twitter)

Decklist

Nayosaurs
by stsung, 129tix
Creatures
1 Belligerent Brontodon
1 Bellowing Aegisaur
1 Bonded Horncrest
1 Burning Sun's Avatar
1 Carnage Tyrant
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Charging Monstrosaur
1 Colossal Dreadmaw
1 Deathgorge Scavenger
1 Deathmist Raptor
1 Drover of the Mighty
1 Fungusaur
1 Goring Ceratops
1 Grazing Whiptail
1 Kinjalli's Sunwing
1 Otepec Huntmaster
1 Mirror Entity
1 Raging Swordtooth
1 Rampaging Ferocidon
1 Ranging Raptors
1 Ravenous Daggertooth
1 Regisaur Alpha
1 Ripjaw Raptor
1 Shining Aerosaur
1 Snapping Sailback
1 Spike-Tailed Ceratops
1 Steadfast Armasaur
1 Sun-Crowned Hunters
1 Taurean Mauler
1 Territorial Hammerskull
1 Thrash of Raptors
1 Thundering Spineback
1 Ulvenwald Tracker
1 Verdant Sun's Avatar
1 Wakening Sun's Avatar
1 Xenagos, God of Revels
36 cards
Other Spells
1 Domri Rade
1 Commune with Dinosaurs
1 Cultivate
1 Earthquake
1 Farseek
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Nature's Lore
1 Prey Upon
1 Day of Judgment
1 Savage Stomp
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Three Visits
1 Wrath of God
1 Splendid Reclamation
1 Rolling Earthquake
1 Pyrohemia
1 Steely Resolve
1 Boros Charm
1 Dinosaur Stampede
1 Dromoka's Command
1 Gruul Charm
1 Heroic Intervention
1 Naya Charm
1 Path to Exile
1 Pounce
25 cards
Lands
3 Plains
1 Arid Mesa
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Mountain
1 Raging Ravine
4 Forest
1 Savannah
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Taiga
1 Command Tower
1 Temple of Abandon
1 Temple of Plenty
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Unclaimed Territory
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Plateau
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Stomping Ground
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Temple Garden
1 Blighted Woodland
1 Krosan Verge
1 Scalding Tarn
38 cards