There is more than one way to build dinosaur decks. In this build I am looking at a more traditional ramp build.
(1) The ramp-
a) I started the deck build by putting together the ramp package. I know that turn 2 is the turn where I play my ramp card, getting me ahead on turn 3. I want this to happen every game so I have dedicated 8 slots to achieving this goal. You always want to play Thunderherd Migration
on turn 2 (if you have it). Nothing is better than guaranteed ramp. Drover of the Mighty
is our second option. Drover is great, but easily removable on turn 2. *** Note: a smart opponent will always kill the Drover, holding back your removal for the bigger threats is the wrong play. The better choice is to kill the card that lets us play our threats, without Drover we may never get to cast some of the midrange bombs.
b) Our turn one plays are ramp enablers as well. Commune with Dinosaurs
serves the purpose of fixing our mana or getting a Dino so we can play Migration turn 2. It also helps guarantee that we have a Dino we can drop on turn 3 (what point is it to ramp for turn 3 if we have nothing worth playing that costs 4/5 mana. Kinjalli's Caller
is our second option here, as a two of. Great ramp enabler on turn 1 that makes dropping multiple Dino's possible midgame. Only playing a two of because, unlike Drover, this is not a good top deck midgame.
(2) Dinosaur package-
a) The auto includes are the usual culprits: Ripjaw Raptor
, Regisaur Alpha
, and Carnage Tyrant
. They are just the strongest options available and are all devastating and need no explanation.
b) The 3cc slot is the most flexible in the deck and could change based on your meta. I'm playing Rampaging Ferocidon
because it is good in all matchups where we are the more aggressive deck. In cases where we are not the more aggressive deck I'd side in Kinjalli's Sunwing
. The sideboard also has Deathgorge Scavenger
in the sideboard for matchups versus aggro, however it is not meant to replace the Ferocidon, but instead is there to replace a 6cc creature, to lower our curve and gain us a few life ***Note: Deathgorge Scavenger
is also a go to card against graveyard shenanigans
c) The rest of the Dino's are bombs. Thunderous Montosaur is fierce to face down on turn 3/4. It's big enough that it must be answered and is doing at least a couple damage the turn it hits the board. The last Dino is Burning Sun's Avatar
. A 6/6 for 6 is right on curve, however dealing 6 total damage as an ETB puts it over the top.
3) Utility Cards-
a) I've already talked about how essential Commune with Dinosaurs
is to both our ramp and card draw. It is the best card in the deck as it does the two most vital things the deck needs in a utility card and at one mana.
b) The removal is conditional, but very solid overall. Savage Stomp
is one mana removal for basically anything we face (outside of Hazoret or Emrakul). The +1/+1 counter also is a nice bonus. Dromoka's Command
serves many of the same purposes as Savage Stomp
, but at instant speed. Between the instant speed and the ability to kill enchantments, there is a solid argument for playing 4 Command and only 2 Stomp. I do not mind that Savage Stomp
is sorcery speed, which is counter to my opinion of removal in general, because most times you are using it to clear a path
before you attack. It may come down to how important enchantments are in the format: do the midrange decks play white enchantments for removal (Stasis Snare
, Cast Out
,.....) and is Search for Azcanta
more relevant than Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
4) Mana base-
a) Being a tribal deck makes Unclaimed Territory
playable, which really smooths things out a lot.
b) With the deck being a Shard, you really have a smooth mana base with the fetch lands.
c) Playing a one of Rogue's Passage
. I considered Field of Ruin
, however with the speed of our deck I just feel like I'm not going to be worried about there mana base as much as getting through the last few vital points of damage in phase three.
d) Playing a decent number of basic lands. We want our lands to not come out tapped when we need it, especially when fetching. Also, Thunderherd Migration
grabs basics. A final point to consider is that Settle the Wreckage
will probably be our main foil, and its nice to have a few basics to grab with it to really ramp to naturally play our bombs left in hand or that are top-decked.
a) I already discussed the purpose of the 3cc Dino's.
is a dual purpose card, but it is mainly played to deal with two cards: God Pharoah's Gift and Aetherwork's Marvel. It also comes in against vehicles and is nice against Torrential Gearhulk
c) Blossoming Defense
will be sideboarded in a lot. Why go through all the trouble of ramping if our fatty just gets removed? It may even get moved to the mainboard in replacement of Savage Stomp
if the meta goes more midrange and control, moving away from red aggro based decks.
d) Settle the Wreckage
is just the great answer to major creature problems. It is so one-sided against the decks that you fail to race.
e) Tormod's Crypt
just wrecks graveyard decks. The truth of frontier is that if an opponent is playing blue then you should be siding in Tormod's Crypt
either to fight reanimator or delve. One disadvantage is it only wipes one yard, so if a Scarab God decks pop up that are creature heavy, we may need to switch to Sentinel Totem
f) Trapjaw Tyrant
is a powerhouse and a liability
all rolled into one, however in this type of aggressive deck I believe he will rarely be a liability
. At the very least he is a tempo play, and at our tempo that probably means game over. Targeting this guy with the fight mechanic is just broken. You kill a creature, get a +1/+1 counter (in most cases), and then exile
another creature. This will get sided in against all creature heavy strategies, the only reason it is not mainboard is Charging Montosaur makes an immediate impact on the board every time it hits, regardless of matchup; whereas Trapjaw needs our opponent to have creatures on board and for us to be able to either damage or force or opponent to damage it. It has the most upside, but less consistency.
***The deck has some issues***
-The decks main goal is to ramp to play 4cc on turn 3, however Ripjaw Raptor
is the decks only 4 drop creature. The problem is lessened by the fact that Commune lets you dig for a Ripjaw if you start the game without one and Kinjalli's Caller
lets us go to 5cc on turn three.
-This leaves me thinking I may have to make some hard deckbuilding choices. I need to either add a 4cc creature in two slots (that will be inferior) or I need to add two more Kinjalli's Caller
. The cut would be two Savage Stomp
. This may be the eventual move.
-With the unlikelihood of seeing more Dino's soon, I personally hope we see a solid 4cc Shapeshifter
in Naya colors or in artifact form. (lol)
Cuts- 1 Savage Stomp
, 1 Rampaging Ferocidon
, 1 Kinjalli's Sunwing
Additions- 2 Kinjalli's Caller
, 1 Stasis Snare
-The need for consistency. I want to hit 5cc on turn three as often as possible as it opens up many options for playing nearly all the decks Dino's turn three, not just the 4cc Ripjaw Raptor
. Eventhough drawing a Kinjalli's Caller
midgame is a dead draw, the upside of playing it turn 1 when we do not have a Ripjaw Raptor
in hand is huge.
-Only playing two maindeck 3cc creatures in the main means only needing two in the side. The deck could use an instant speed removal card to help against Hazoret and Emrakul, Stasis Snare
is currently the best option.