Thunderherd Migration marks the return of some of the most powerful ramp we’ve had in the modern era of Magic design. A short history lesson: When Llanowar Elves and Birds of Paradise were no longer facing the likes of Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile, they were deemed too powerful to be printed in Standard legal products. Farseek and Rampant Growth quickly fell by the wayside as well. Why? Because they allowed players to cast their spells well before expected and the ones that grabbed lands couldn’t be stopped by Doom Blade, Silkwrap, or Lightning Strike like the creatures could.
In comes Thunderherd Migration, and we learn that if we’re willing to pay a deck building cost, we get that power of Rampant Growth right back! Thunderherd Migration should be reserved exclusively for your decks playing Dinosaurs unless you have a need to get extra lands on the battlefield (you can get the City’s Blessing just fine with Gift of Paradise). Thus, the first place I would look would be at the plethora of amazing Dinosaurs Ixalan has to offer. If you thought Dinosaurs were close to forming a deck all on their own before Rivals of Ixalan, the show’s really about to start.
For Thunderherd Migration to make an impact, you’ll need to be able to reasonably expect to play ahead of schedule. This ramps you from 2 mana to 4 mana if you play it on time, so the first thing I look for is great 4-drops. Ripjaw Raptor is great because it’s both a Dinosaur to reveal and one I’d want on the battlefield earlier, pressuring my opponent and enabling more enrage triggers. A turn-4 Regisaur Alpha sounds appealing, and while ramping you could follow it up with a turn-5 Burning Sun’s Avatar that also has haste.
Even though it isn’t a Dinosaur, Knight of the Stampede is a great followup to Thunderherd Stampede. At 4 mana, this card is pricey, but the two together make a great team. On turn 4 you could play a land, and have access to 7 mana for a single Dinosaur spell or 9 if you play two. For 9 mana, you can play Regisaur Alpha and Ripjaw Raptor and get the team in there! You could also play Silverclad Ferocidons and combo it with Riles and Savage Stomps to cause your opponents to sacrifice all of their permanents.
If you want to go even bigger, I can see some controlling and bigger ramp Dinosaur decks popping up because of Thunderherd Migration. You can be base-G/W and building up to Gishath, Sun’s Avatar and Wakening Sun’s Avatar. These two can completely annihilate your opponent’s board positions if they’re not prepared, and the acceleration Thunderherd Migration offers up makes this a lot more playable.
Are there enough good Dinosaurs for a Standard Dinosaurs deck? I’m betting there are enough to at least get it solidly into the picture. And just to help out, you still have Commune with Dinosaurs to help find a turn-2 Dinosaur in case you need one to reveal to your Thunderherd Migration.
Thunderherd Migration excites me a ton. There are plenty of different Dinosaur decks that can be built as well with the card. It solves any potential mana base issues, doesn’t die like Drover of the Mighty, and really gives the redundancy the Dinosaur deck needed to avoid falling behind by using ramp.
Here’swhere I would start with Dinosaurs:
I can’t wait to get ahold of some Thunderherd Migrations and start playing some Standard. I’m excited to see what Rivals can do to shake up the metagame as I think this card will be the focal point of your midrange and ramp Dinosaur builds!