The prerelease for Ixalan is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing… it’s time to brew!
The coolest part about this time of the season is that nobody knows what is going to end up happening. The possibilities are whatever you can imagine.
One of my favorite activities with a new set is to come up with decks that are based around the cards and mechanics I find the most interesting. Even if you don’t break it, trying out new ideas is a great way to learn about a new format.
In a few weeks, once the tournament results start to pour in, we will have a much better idea of what that format looks like. It doesn’t seem like a reach to say that Ramunap Red and Temur Energy will continue to be solid decks, but I’m hoping that there will be a cool Dino deck.
So I built my own.
The deck that I’ve been working on is an aggressive G/W synergy deck, and it turned out pretty decent. It’s a bit of a glass cannon, but it wins a lot of games.
Most people who have explored the Dinosaur tribe haven’t gone much further than to cobble a bunch of midrange ramp spells together to reach the top of the food chain:
If I had to play a Dinosaur deck that didn’t feature Carnage Tyrant, I’d be sad. It’s obviously the coolest and most busted in terms of its impact and power level. There are several other haymaker Dinos in the 6+ mana category, and all of them are so enticing.
While Carnage Tyrant is obviously great (and I can’t help but slot a few into my deck), the Dinos I am most drawn to are actually:
These are both solid Magic cards. The Raptors can attack, block, and trade while netting a free Rampant Growth every single time they are dealt damage. I would be shocked if Ranging Raptors wasn’t one of the most played Dinosaurs in Constructed. The card is powerful and easy to make great.
Can you even imagine pumping Ranging Raptors with a combat trick so that it eats a bigger creature and you get a land? My deck does that and it’s a pretty wonderful feeling.
Kinjalli’s Sunwing is another stacked Magic card in the stats department. It flies, and has an ability that dominates the battlefield when you are being aggressive. Sunwing essentially turns off haste and makes opposing blockers a turn late to the party.
I also noticed that there was a critical mass of double strike creatures in white at the moment, and it might be worth investigating whether or not there was a deck there. Some of the pieces carry over from the R/G Pummeler deck that was solid last year.
Hans and Frans would be so proud of this deck.
In particular, there are some solid pump spells that also grant trample, which is perfect with double strike. Appeal // Authority also has the unique ability to tap down opposing blockers to go for an uncontested alpha strike. It’s big game.
These cards obviously get better in the Dinosaur shell. I like the way that all of my creatures (regardless of whether they are Dinos, Dino-synergy, or misc.) are cheap, aggressive, and decent in their own right.
Another interesting aspect of this deck is that it makes terrific use of Dusk // Dawn.
Most of my creatures are small and immune to the front side of Dusk. The reason I’m going out of my way to play the card is that most of the decks in the format have a real problem with Dusk. Aside from Red Deck Wins, the majority of decks are midrange and play creatures that don’t survive Dusk.
G/W Dinos makes solid use of both sides of Dusk // Dawn. It has very few creatures that get swept up in the front half and most of the creatures can be rebought with the aftermath side.
Dusk // Dawn has the potential to be an all-star in the new format because it is so strong against Temur, B/G, and any other midrange strategy.
I’ve been really impressed with both of these cards. The Vanguard is a house when attacking and the Branchwalker is great at digging for whatever you need. I’ve currently got a split because both of these cards feel pretty good.
The sideboard is loose at the moment. I haven’t gotten to test many matchups yet, but I do have quite a few cards for Red Deck, which seems like a safe place to devote sideboard space. I don’t exactly know what I’m even sideboarding for at this point besides the few carry-over decks!
I hope you are all enjoying the lead up to Ixalan as much as I am. I love the flavor of the set and the artwork is delightful. There are going to be a lot of memorable cards coming from this release, and I predict that the biggest takeaway will be Dinosaurs. I mean, duh. Who doesn’t like Jurassic Park? (Besides the characters in the movie.)
Ixalan is a plane about exploring and adventuring, which makes it the perfect set to try out some new brews and ideas.