Interview: Nico's Dinosaurs from the Top 8 of LCS XI

Luxury Champion Series XI was the first event to follow the new ban list, and it was not entirely clear which decks would perform best in the fresh format. Nico Thielen managed to make it all the way to the Top 8 with his Dinosaurs, so how about a look at the list and an interview with the pilot?


A total of 223 players participated in the Luxury Champion Series XI on March 13/14. Even though the update to the Forbidden and Limited List would not officially go into effect until the following Monday, LCS XI already followed its stipulations. Since both Virtual World and Drytron were hit with bannings, it was not clear how the new format would shape up. My friend Nico decided to enter the tournament with his Dino deck and ended up getting into the Top 8. Before we get to the interview, I want to show you his decklist.

souleating oviraptor Ultimate Conductor Tyranno

The Interview

Robin: Judging from your decklist, I assume you opted to go second in every game. Why did you decide to follow a blind second strategy instead of trying to go first?

Nico: I think blind second is the optimal way to play Dinos. You can run all the broken going-second cards like Lightning Storm, Triple Tactics Talent, or Dark Ruler No More. Also, Gamma is even more broken going second because you can chain it if they handtrap your Pot of Extravagance, Fossil Dig, or Miscellaneousaurus.

Nico Thielen

Robin: Why did you decide to enter the tournament with Dinos in the first place?

Nico: I really like Dinos and I have been playing the deck since its initial release. It is also the deck which I know and have mastered the best. Since Very Fun Dragon was banned on the most recent ban list, it was also foreseeable that Dinos would become one of the top contenders again.

Robin: What decks did you play against and which were your hardest matchups during the event?

Nico: I played against a lot of different decks like Virtual World, Guru Dragoon, a Zoodiac deck featuring Sky Striker spells, Eldlich Stun, Zoodiac Eldlich, Buster Blader Dogmatika, Dogmatika Invoked, the Dino mirror match, and Dragon Link. The hardest among those was Dragon Link. I only had to face Dragon Link once during the event and I lost that game against the player who ultimately won the event. The Dragonmaid trap is extremely powerful against Dinos because it can bounce Misc back to the hand. If you cannot one-turn-kill on your turn, it is very hard to build a board that can stop Dragon Link from comboing off on their turn again. With Starliege Seyfert and the Dragonmaid trap they have so many possible followups at their disposal, which makes it hard to stop them when they combo off again.

Possibly Drytron would have been another hard matchup because they can search Artifact Lancea, which is rough for Dinos. However, I did not have to face a single Drytron deck during the event. All the other matchups were okay. Ultimate Conductor Tyranno outs almost any board on its own. Sometimes El Shaddoll Winda can be a problem. A weird matchup was Buster Blader: both Dolkka and Laggia are dragons, which make them pretty useless against the Buster Blader fusion.

babycerasaurus petiteranodon Dinowrestler Pankratops

Robin: Which cards in your deck have overperformed and which have underperformed?

Nico: Lightning Storm was definitely an overperformer, especially against back-row decks like Eldlich and Guru. Also, it doesn't really matter that the Eldlich traps can replace themselves because you can usually OTK them when you have cleared their back row. As expected, Misc was also an overperformer. The card is just nuts. In addition to that PSY-Framelord Lambda was great to use Gamma from the hand, and Gamma itself was insane in some matches too. Underperformers were Dogoran, the Mad Flame Kaiju, which I haven't used a single time, and Relinquished Anima because everybody plays around it.

Robin: Is there anything you would change about the deck in the future?

Nico: I would probably kick the Kaiju and replace Anima with PSY-Framelord Omega because you can force Dogmatika Invoked to use Shaddoll Schism with Omega, which can shuffle back their fusion materials. This way, it can be easier to out Winda. I learned this play from Ryan Yu. You can also use Omega to recycle Misc or simply to rip a card from their hand. For as long as Drytron does not return to the metagame, I would swap the Droll & Lock Birds with Nibiru, the Primal Being in the side deck because Nibiru is really good against Dragon Link.

Robin: Why did you choose Pot of Extravagance over Pot of Prosperity?

Nico: I will definitely try Pot of Prosperity in the future. However, I think the draw two effect of Extravagance is really strong going second. Having an additional card at your disposal is always nice. Even if you draw bricks, you can just use them for effects like UCT, Knightmare Phoenix, or Double Evolution Pill. Moreover, Dino rarely bricks. The advantage of Pot of Prosperity, however, is that you would not need to run any multiples in the extra deck.

pot of extravagance pot of prosperity

Robin: Many Dino players include Mystic Mine in their deck. Ryan Yu even opted to run three copies of it in his main deck. Why did you decide against Mystic Mine?

Nico: I simply hate Mystic Mine. I hate it when the card is used against me, and I do not want to play it myself against others. Everybody reading this: please do not play Mystic Mine! Moreover, Mystic Mine is not that strong against Dragon Link at the moment because they can simply bounce it with the Dragonmaid trap.

Robin: Some people use the Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds along with Simorgh in a going-first build to lock their opponents. What do you think about the Barrier Statue builds?

Nico: If the Barrier Statue combo succeeds, the play is incredibly strong. However, the combo loses to almost any hand trap. Ash Blossom, Skull Meister, or Infinite Impermanence can completely stop the combo, which makes the play very fragile. Moreover, you cannot really run Extravagance in the Barrier Statue build and you would have to play Pot of Prosperity. In addition to that you would also have to include the Statue itself as a brick in your main deck. I think blind second is the best way to play Dinos.

simorgh barrier statue of stormwinds

Robin: Do you have any advice for people who want to pick up the deck?

Nico: It is important to learn the standard combo. Any two-card combination of either Miscellaneousaurus, Babycerasaurus, or Souleating Oviraptor is full combo. Also, you should never scoop too early with Dinos. Very often you think you have lost the game, but somehow you can manage to put an UCT onto the field and clear their board.

Robin: Do you have any advice for people who want to participate in bigger tournaments such as the LCS?

Nico: In general, you should enter such a tournament because of the fun. Your mindset shouldn't be "I must win this tournament!" Furthermore, a lot of testing before the event is really helpful. Especially when you test against good players who play the decks of the current metagame.

Robin: Thank you very much for the interview and all your answers!

Nico: You're welcome!

This was the first interview I did for Cardmarket Insight. Do you want to read more such interviews in the future? Please let us know down in the comments!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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Ony67(27.03.2021 02:15)

More please!

DanVale(25.03.2021 09:46)

Side deck and extra deck are switched!

Yukimura(25.03.2021 09:58)

DanVale Yep, already noticed and it's going to be changed soon! Thanks for pointing it out though! :)

Yukimura(25.03.2021 10:15)

DanVale Should be changed now. :)

gsus6(25.03.2021 08:31)

I enjoyed the interview, I hope to see more in the future!

Yukimura(25.03.2021 10:01)

Gsus6 Thank you for your feedback! :)

RedBed(25.03.2021 00:19)

I love reading interviews like these, so definitely keep them coming!

Yukimura(25.03.2021 10:00)

RedBed Thank you for your feedback! :)