It’s finally possible to play Rampaging Ferocidon on MTG Arena! The card was unbanned from best-of-3 play and I finally got a chance to play with it–and it was a blast!
I had a Gruul Dinos deck in mind that I thought would be fun but probably not competitive, but the deck totally over-performed and Rampaging Ferocidon was an all-star.
Andrea Mengucci – Standard Gruul Dinos
4 Unclaimed Territory 6 Forest (347) 4 Rootbound Crag 4 Stomping Ground 6 Mountain (343) 4 Marauding Raptor 4 Otepec Huntmaster 3 Regisaur Alpha 4 Ripjaw Raptor 4 Shifting Ceratops 3 Ghalta, Primal Hunger 4 Rampaging Ferocidon 4 Lava Coil 4 Commune with Dinosaurs 2 Savage Stomp Sideboard 2 Vivien Reid 3 Cindervines 4 Fry 3 Veil of Summer 3 Sentinel Totem
Rampaging Ferocidon replaced Rotting Regisaur and it was so much better. Hard-locking Field of the Dead decks and denying life gain all over Standard, from Bolas’s Citadel decks and their Wildgrowth Walker and Bond of Flourishing, to Oath of Kaya, Yarok, the Desecrated and Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord. Plus menace is incredibly relevant in a deck that attack this hard!
I cruised from Platinum 3 to Diamond 2 in four hours with ease with this deck. I defeated all the Field of the Dead, Mono-Red and Kethis, the Hidden Hand decks I’ve played against. The deck struggles against control decks, but if you are on the play with a great hand, you don’t fear anyone.
We have an extremely explosive start possible that can see a Ghalta, Primal Hunger into play attacking on Turn 4! The dream curve is Otepec Huntmaster followed by a flurry of Dinosaurs that come into play cheap and hasty! Otepec Huntmaster and Marauding Raptor are the key to the deck, and you should mulligan aggressively as you need a strong curve to keep up.
I decided to cut black and Rotting Regisaur just because I believe the card isn’t needed; splashing isn’t free–it comes with an expensive cost of playing more shocklands and fewer lands of other types.
I was always against splashing black for sideboard slots too, since Unclaimed Territory doesn’t fix for those and you just can’t afford to splash Duress and Noxious Grasp regardless. Lava Coil is my removal of choice, and while it doesn’t go to the face and can’t pump your creature like Collision // Colossus used to do, Lava Coil is the best answer to Kethis, the Hidden Hand, which is still the deck I’m the most concerned with.
The first one is to answer Kethis Combo, as with a Totem in play you can slow them down of a turn, meaning you can race without needing to answer every single of their creatures, plus the scry helps make it a little easier to cast. I prefer Sentinel Totem much more than Grafdigger’s Cage or Leyline of the Void because those cards are too weak against Teferi, Time Raveler, whereas the Totem could be used in response of Teferi’s -3 activation.
Cindervines used to be seen against Simic Nexus but it does a good job against Kethis as well, as they need to recur Mox Amber to kill you–they’ll need to answer your Cindervines with Teferi before going off, and you can still pick off a Mox and deal 2 damage in response. Remember that we aren’t a control deck, so we attack very hard and all this small damage matters a lot, especially when you pair Cindervines with Rampaging Ferocidon.
We turn into Gruul Midrange, adding 10 answers to deal with our opponent’s creatures. I’m cutting Commune with Dinosaurs and Otepec Huntmaster since we’ll be slower and more clunky with 10 reactive spells, but we’ll have plenty of interaction to always kill anything our opponent tries to do. So far, I’ve beated Kethis Combo four times on stream–I still need to practice more, but I could see this deck being okay against it.
Field of the Dead with Yarok, the Desecrated
Yarok is the most popular way to build Field of the Dead decks these days, especially with lots of copies of Assassin’s Trophy, which is excellent against Kethis and the field. We want Veil of Summer to protect us from that one, and Fry to kill Yarok and Risen Reef.
Granted, Yarok isn’t that scary if we draw Rampaging Ferocidon since its lifelink won’t work and its ability to make multiple Zombie tokens will turn into a downside. I went 3-0 against Yarok Field too, and I really felt like this match-up was super easy.
Against many aggressive decks like Vampires, the mirror and Elementals we don’t sideboard anything since our deck is well-built and solid against those strategies.
There is a lot to change here, but all the cards we board out are very bad, and the ones we bring in are excellent. You need to always kill Teferi so that your Veil of Summer will be Cryptic Command for one mana. You have to watch out for Kaya’s Wrath, and Vivien Reid will be crucial to beating it. I haven’t played this matchup yet, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be quite bad, just like Gruul has always been against Esper. Haste is the key, just get in for as much damage as possible!
I’m glad they unbanned Rampaging Ferocidon and I wish they had done this earlier, as I don’t believe it was overpowered at all, but it’s nice to have an aggressive deck that can keep up with Kethis Combo as well as with Field of the Dead.