Dinosaurs – Not so Extinct
- Sherif Lewis
Have you ever tried making dinosaurs competitive in the past? By "past" I do not mean pre-historically. As a matter of fact, I can argue that this type was extinct up until April 2017. Was it a meteor or aliens that brought them to life? Nope, it was the Dinosmasher's Fury structure deck that changed everything.
Apart from Evols, dinosaurs didn't really have much going on. Sure, Babycerasaurus was released in 2006's Power of the Duelist and Fossil Dig was released in 2009's Ancient Prophecy. Evols also gave us Evolzar Laggia and Evolzar Dolkka. But there never was a real, competitive dinosaur deck until a couple of cards came along and brought these creatures roaring back to life.
Get to Know Your Dinosaurs
The most impactful card is Souleating Oviraptor. It is the go-to normal summon and the combo starter. It searches and destroys your own dinosaurs to activate their effects and can summon others from graveyard in addition to having a respectable 1800 attack. Its partners in crime are Lost World and Miscellaneousaurus which debuted two months prior in Raging Tempest. Lost World ensures that your dinosaurs cannot be targeted while providing your opponent with a token that Oviraptor can attempt to destroy, prompting Lost World to destroy a Babycerasaurus or Petiteranodon from your deck to activate their effects and field more dinosaurs. Miscellaneousaurus also protects your monsters and can summon other dinosaurs from deck by banishing itself — either alone or with other dinosaurs.
The last impactful card from the structure deck is no other than your boss monster, Ultimate Conductor Tyranno. The card is simply incredible. It has very easy summoning conditions, a formidable 3500 attack, and the ability to flip your opponent's monsters face down and attack each of them while sending the ones in defense position to the graveyard without destroying them. I would say that it is the definition of what a boss monster should look like.
Later on, Battles of Legend: Light's Revenge brought us the rest of the package: Double Evolution Pill and Giant Rex to complete the deck in its first form. This was reliant on the True King Engine — mainly Dragonic Diagram, True King Agnimazud, the Vanisher, and True King Lithosagym, the Disaster. The last card has so much synergy with the deck as it can destroy Babycerasaurus and Petiteranodon to trigger their effects while triggering its own effect to banish three monsters from the opponent's Extra Deck. The card was so unfair at the time that it ended up on the forbidden section of the banlist and only recently returned back to a single copy, same as Diagram. Miscellaneousaurus served its time on the limited section of the banlist as well but is now back to three copies, and that couldn't have been better for the deck these days.
Also, at one point, Shaddoll Dinosaurs was a popular deck. It utilized Shaddoll Fusion to send a Shaddoll monster in addition to Overtex Qoatlus to summon a El Shaddoll Winda, triggering Qoatlus's effect to add Double Evolution Pill to hand in order to summon an Ultimate Conductor to the field to complement Winda. Scary stuff, right? Well, it was at the time.
Dinos After DUOV and ETCO
The deck always had the ability to steal a spot or two in a top cut, especially after the release of Pot of Extravagance in January 2019, which made it a lot more consistent. However, the strategy still faced trouble due to consistency issues and its inability to go first. Fast forward to 2020 and we have two versions of the deck that can hold their own in today's metagame, making this a solid tier-two strategy.
First, we have the combo version utilizing our friend Crystron Halqifibrax from Duel Overlord, enabling the deck to do much better when going first and thus addressing the deck's weakness of not having enough plays when going first. This version needs Jurrac Aeolo as it can be tutored out of the deck with the effect of Miscellaneousaurus. There are two routes for how the Halqifibrax combo can go here: one is ending up with True King of All Calamities to lock your opponent out of playing the game; the other is to end up on negates such as Borreload Savage Dragon and Herald of the Arc Light in addition to Ultimate Conductor.
The second version is the pure version that depends on the newest addition to the deck: Animadorned Archosaur which came out in Eternity Code. Archosaur is a fantastic card that solves a lot of problems. First of all, it is a great replacement to the True King package since it can destroy any Dinosaur from hand or field regardless of its attribute. Once this effect resolves, you can add from deck to hand either a Reptile, Sea Serpent, or Winged Beast monster that has the same level of the monster you destroyed, or even better, a Double Evolution Pill. The card is also easily summoned from deck via the graveyard effect of Miscellaneousaurus and it is also the second best normal summon in the deck after Oviraptor. With less True Kings being played and room for more hand traps and cards such as Linkuriboh, Double Evolution Pill is live most of the time and can quickly get you to your Ultimate Conductor to seal games quickly.
While it is possible to mix both versions together, I find that the pure version is much better because Halqifibrax is a choke point for the deck. One well-timed hand trap might interrupt the flow of plays and cause the deck to end on a suboptimal board. While the pure version might have had some trouble going first in the past, it now packs enough consistency and protection to field cards like Dinowrestler Pankratops and also has other options such as Evolzar Laggia and Evolzar Dolkka. Another thing worth mentioning is that the deck is very good at making Rank Four monsters with ease. Mainly you will make Dolkka and Laggia; however, there is room for other monsters such as Abyss Dweller and Tornado Dragon to act as problem solvers since dinosaurs do not really rely on the Extra Deck.
The deck has topped many online tournaments since Eternity Code got released. The last high-profile top was a top sixteen place in the Luxury Championship Series 4 by Arjun Radhakrishnan about a month ago. Here is the decklist he used for the majority of the tournament:
|Dinosaurs by Arjun Radhakrishnan|
|Main Deck||Extra Deck||Side Deck|
It is a very aggressive strategy that utilizes big pre-historic creatures to chomp on your opponent's life points, so what is not to love here? The deck will always remain somewhat under the radar and peek into top cuts, and if you do not know how to stop it, get ready for a scene from Jurassic Park!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.