I was not a fan of Gruul Dinosaurs. I didn’t feel the power of the deck, and it was too slow and clunky. But once I tried Dinosaur lists with Otepec Huntmaster alongside Marauding Raptor, I was in love.
We all know how good Marauding Raptor is at this point, and how strong the synergy with Ripjaw Raptor is. But only 4 mana dorks weren’t enough, and Llanowar Elves and Drover of the Mighty aren’t as good.
Finding Otepec Huntmaster was definitely a great surprise, as it enables all the crazy draws and all the possible turn 4 kills.
Jund Dinosaurs in Standard
3 Blood Crypt 1 Dragonskull Summit 2 Forest (347) 4 Overgrown Tomb 4 Rootbound Crag 4 Stomping Ground 4 Unclaimed Territory 2 Woodland Cemetery 1 Drover of the Mighty 3 Ghalta, Primal Hunger 4 Marauding Raptor 4 Otepec Huntmaster 3 Regisaur Alpha 4 Ripjaw Raptor 4 Rotting Regisaur 4 Shifting Ceratops 2 Collision/Colossus 4 Commune with Dinosaurs 1 Domri, Anarch of Bolas 2 Savage Stomp Sideboard 3 Flame Sweep 3 Lava Coil 2 Return to Nature 1 Theater of Horrors 3 Thrashing Brontodon 3 Veil of Summer
The deck is incredibly consistent and wants to curve 2-3-4 every game. Don’t be afraid of mulliganing if your hand doesn’t have Commune with Dinosaurs or a 2-drop. You need to be fast and have acceleration.
The deck comes from Corey Baumeister, who won a Team SCG event with it. It’s treated me very well so far; I haven’t found any bad matchups and I ended the July season in 19th place with it. It’s possible to have some crazy fast starts if your opponent doesn’t interact, and it can do things like a hasty Ghalta, Primal Hunger out of nowhere even when you’re behind.
Splashing black for just a three-drop feels weird, but this bad boy beats hard! Paired with Otepec Huntmaster it attacks for 7 on Turn 3, and even leaves you with an extra mana to Savage Stomp something.
The drawback is real, but very often you’ll empty your hand quickly thanks to Marauding Raptor and Otepec Huntmaster’s cost reduction.
This deck would love access to Noxious Grasp and Duress, but our mana base can’t afford it. We have 10 black sources to cast any spell, and that simply isn’t enough to play spells that you want to cast in the early game. I’m still happy to play a singleton of Theater of Horror, since you can afford to play it late game in the matchups where you sideboard it in.
I added Return to Nature, because against Wilderness Reclamation decks removing their enchantment is a huge when paired with a strong aggressive curve–it’s the same reason I was boarding in Demystify from White Weenie.
Flame Sweep is good against Scapeshift when they cast it at sorcery speed, but it doesn’t shine against Vampires. It could still be worth bringing it in on the play, but I too often died to Sorin and Adanto’s Vanguard with this over-costed Pyroclasm in my hand. Veil of Summer has been insane against Esper, which I still have never lost against when piloting either Jund Dinosaurs or Vampires. Veil creates a huge 2-for-1 for just one mana, and I would never play green without three copies of this card in my sideboard.
Lava Coil isn’t particularly good at dealing with Ghalta, Primal Hunger or Ripjaw Raptor, but again I really don’t want to play a 2-mana removal spell like Noxious Grasp with just 10 sources in my deck, and I don’t think I can afford to change the mana base to make room for more sources. Maybe the payoff is enough to risk it, but I don’t think so, especially when Lava Coil is still efficient at dealing with the 2-drops as well as Shifting Ceratops and Champion of Dusk.
I’ve lost twice to Biogenic Ooze + Wilderness Reclamation and I now want to be ready for it with some Lava Coils. I don’t think you need much to present lethal against Nexus, so it’s fine to have some mulligans if they don’t draw the Ooze. You are both trying to goldfish as much as possible, so make sure to mulligan to a hand that can kill at least by Turn 5.
I’m once again boarding out Ghalta because the game will be decided before it will be relevant. It’s usually a win-more in those games where you want cheap and efficient threats. I keep both my Savage Stomp and my Collision // Colossus because they’ll have Deputy of Detention and Hydroid Krasis, and you want to have some cards to interact with those.
The matchup is like Nexus, you need to goldfish fast and make sure to kill Teferi, Time Reveler whenever you can because if they can cast Scapeshift with flash, it allows them to avoid sweepers and often presents lethal.
While both Veil of Summer and Flame Sweep could be good in some scenarios, I’d rather not shake up the deck too much. Sure, you’d love to get a 2-for-1 with these cards, but that means you may be giving up a dream curve that would be hard to beat regardless. Decks like Jund Dinosaurs are a very fragile puzzle, and it’s hard to touch any pieces.
Jund Dinosaurs is now my frontrunner for best deck in the format, I like aggressive and efficient strategies and this–and Vampires–are right up on my ally.