Walking the Dinosaur

There are a lot of tribes to be excited about in Ixalan, but Dinosaurs are easily at the top of the list. We’ve never seen Dinosaurs before, and there are many players who are excited to find out if the tribe has what it takes to keep up in Standard play. There are plenty of pushed cards to take advantage of, but what the shell looks like is definitely in question:

Carnage Tyrant
Most of the initial takes on Dinosaurs I’ve seen have been largely ramp-oriented, featuring cards like Hour of Promise to help cast some of the larger Dinosaurs to try to overwhelm opponents in the late game. This build has a more aggressive slant than those variants, focusing on some of the cheaper and more midrangey threats rather than the giant haymakers.

The first important thing to note is that Drover of the Mighty gives us one of the better mana creatures we’ve seen in the last couple of years. It still ramps you from two to four, but stays relevant on subsequent turns as long as you can keep a Dinosaur on the table. In addition to Drover, you also have Otepec Huntmaster as a two-mana accelerant. This one even has the added upside of making your follow-up Dinosaur hasty to get the pressure on your opponent as quickly as possible.

As far as actual Dinos go, Regisaur Alpha is your best threat by a substantial margin. However, Deathgorge Scavenger does a great job of pressuring control decks and stabilizing the board against aggressive decks, while Ripjaw Raptor is a reasonable threat that gives you extra looks at your other monsters if your opponent doesn’t have a removal spell immediately. Carnage Tyrant tops the curve as a card that gives control decks headaches, but isn’t necessarily what you’re looking for against more aggressive decks.

If you want to beat down with Magic’s newest tribe, this is a reasonable shell to do it in. You have clean mana, plenty of acceleration, and powerful threats up and down the curve. You even get eight super efficient removal spells to keep pace against aggressive decks and great board stalls against midrange decks. You may struggle somewhat against control decks depending on what exactly they look like in this format, but you can always play more Carnage Tyrants.

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