Today, I’m going to be talking about the prehistoric big boys in Magic the Gathering. That’s right, it’s time to discuss the best MTG Dinosaurs MTG.
This big and expensive creatures were first features in the original Ixalan set, where they utilized the enrage mechanic. The Dinosaurs with that mechanic granted you a bonus when they were dealt damage. This year, they are returning to Magic with Lost Caverns of Ixalan in November 2023.
That’s why this article got an update this year, and you can expect another one later, once more Dinosaurs from the new set are previewed.
Anyway, this list will include some of the best Dinosaurs in the game, with most focus on Commander. However, you’ll be able to use this card even in your 60-card decks.
Before we get to the actual Top 10 list, here are some strong Dinosaurs, that didn’t quite make the cut.
This first bunch are all cards related to the enrage mechanic. This mechanic consists of creatures gaining abilities when being dealt damage. In this way, they need to get angry to fully get all their abilities. Which is a great ability for Dinos.
- Ranging Raptors provides ramp when being dealt damage.
- Ripjaw Raptors provides card draw when enraged.
- Siegehorn Ceratops doubles its power and toughness by gaining +2+2 whenever enraged.
- Marauding Raptors deals damage to every creature entering the battlefield, enraging them. It also gains extra abilities by dealing damage to Dinos. It also makes all creatures 1 cheaper.
- Finally, Raging Swordtooth deals 1 damage to all creatures when it enters the battlefield, enraging the whole board.
Big Green Creatures
This bunch of Dinos are simply big creatures with various abilities which make them great to cast.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger cost less equal to the amount of power on the board. This makes it super easy to cast. And when it enters the battlefield it is a 12/12 with Trample. Scary!
Carnage Tyrant is a creature with Hexproof and with the ability of not being able to be countered. It is also a 7/6 with Trample for 6. Which is really efficient and a great way to counter Control decks.
Shifting Ceratops is another great card to play against Control strategies. It is a 5/4 for 4 with the ability of not being able to be countered. It also has protection from blues, as well as being able to gain reach, trample, or haste for 1 green. Great answer to many decks.
These two cards are a part of the Ikoria set, which presented really different abilities to the base game.
Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt is a part of the Legendary mutated creatures of the set. It presents lifegain and creature damage strategies when mutated. This is in line with its Mardu colors. It also has double strike, which is a plus.
Yidaro, Wandering Monster, on the other hand, is a part of a group of Cycling based cards that came out of that set. It has a fascinating mechanic of being able to be put from the graveyard to the battlefield when it has been cycled 4 times. It also goes back into your library whenever you cycle it. This makes it easier to be cycled plenty of times. It also has haste and trample, which makes it an impactful attacking creature whenever you manage to play it.
Now let’s move to the top 10 list of the best MTG Dinosaurs.
#10 Thrashing Brontodon
This is one of the best supporting Dinosaur cards out there. It was a part of many Standard decks when it was a part of the format. And it sees a lot of play in many decks in Commander.
What makes this creature so great is its defensive stats. It is a 3/4 for 3 mana which is already pretty great. It also has the extra ability to destroy target artifact or enchantment. This makes it a great reactive and proactive creature.
#9 Wakening Sun’s Avatar
This creature is just really cool and destructive. It is a boardwipe in the shape of a 7/7 Dinosaur Avatar. It is insanely expensive at 8 mana. But its impact is great. Especially on a Dinosaur tribal deck. Imagine casting this card on a board full or your Dinos and destroying everything and keeping your good boys. Great late game play.
#8 Kinjalli’s Sunwing
Kinjalli’s Sunwing is another great defensive Dinosaur card. It is a 2/3 for 3 mana, which is decent. It has flying, which is helpful against other flying creatures. And it is also useful for sneaky attacks. But its main strength is in the fact that it forces all creatures your opponents control to enter the battlefield tapped. This makes it easier to attack and defend. Solid card.
#7 Rampaging Ferocidon
You know a card is a bit too good when it gets banned. This card was problematic for many reasons when it was a part of Standard. First, it is extremely efficient 3/3 for 3. Plus, it has menace, which makes it harder to block. Then, it has the ability to block players from gaining life.
And if that wasn’t enough – whenever another creature enters the battlefield, it deals 1 damage to that creature’s controller. It is crazy aggressive, which makes it a great card in certain decks.
#6 Quartzwood Crasher
Speaking of aggressive cards, this creature is exactly that. It is an incredibly impactful card in Commander. It also made waves in the Standard meta when it first was released. This has died down, but its presence in Commander is still felt. It is an excellent Gruul card. As soon as it touches the board, it becomes an automatic target.
It is a 6/6 for 5 mana with Trample, which is already insanely efficient. Then, the ability to create an X/X Dinosaur with Trample whenever one or more creatures with Trample deal damage to a player. (X being equal to the amount of damage those creatures dealt to that player.) This is a great way to create more board presence without committing additional cards from your hand.
#5 Wayward Swordtooth
This is one of the most efficient ramp cards out there. It is especially good in Commander. Any card that gives you the ability to play an extra land in this format is good. The fact that it is also a 5/5 for 3 mana is also good. However, there’s the downside – it can’t attack or block unless you acquired the city’s blessing. Nevertheless, that’s quite easy to achieve.
This card is a part of plenty of Land Matters decks, competitive EDH decks and casual decks. It is especially essential for Dinosaur tribal decks, where mana is really needed.
#4 Iluna, Apex of Wishes
Illuna is one of the best Dinosaurs with the mutate ability. Its subtypes are insane. It’s a Beast Elemental Dinosaur. Crazy stuff.
It is a 6/6 for 5 with flying and trample. Efficient. While its mutate cost is high, it does reward you. You exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland permanent. Then, you get to put it in play for free. As such, Illuna is quite a powerful Commander, although you need to build around it.
#3 Vadrok, Apex of Thunder
This is another mutate creature with fine stats. It is a 3/3 for 3 mana with flying and first strike. Its mutate cost is not bad at 4. This puts it a step ahead of Iluna. Both these cards can be exchanged in the list because they are pretty similar in nature.
Vadrok has a mutate ability trigger to cast any noncreature card with CMC 3 or less from the graveyard for free. This makes this card a great spell based card. Paired with other mutate creatures and this card becomes super good. As seen when it was a part of Standard.
#2 Keruga, the Macrosage
This is part of Companion cycle, introduced with Ikoria. Even though the companions were nerfed, they are still interesting to build around.
Keruga can be your companion, if your deck contains cards that cost 3 or more mana. Dinousaurs are typically quite expensive, so Keruga can be a nice inclusion. It can draw you so many card, that you won’t know what to do with them.
#1 Etali, Primal Storm
This is pretty much the most exciting Dinosaur to build around. It is best played as a Commander in an aggressive deck. Its art is cool, its stats are good, and its ability is kick ass.
It is a 6/6 for 6 mana which is efficient as it gets. Whenever it attacks, each player exiles the top card of their library, and then you are able to cast them – without paying for them! This is insane in any deck. And this is what makes this creature one of the most known MTG Dinosaurs out there.
Best Dinosaur Tribal Commanders
As it is a tradition, I also included what the three best Dino Commanders. Some of them could also be included on the Top 10 list, but since they are such amazing commanders, they deserve a separate section.
#3 Atla Palani, Nest Tender
The first Commander is surprisingly a non-Dino creature. What makes this card a great Dino commander is her potential to embrace this tribe. It is not only fitting in terms of lore and flavor as she is a Dino nest tender, but also mechanically.
Her ability is to create Egg tokens by paying 2 and tapping her. The second ability is to transform Eggs into creatures when they die. She reveals the top card of your library until you reveal a creature, and then you put it into the battlefield.
So basically you can get a huge creature by paying nothing. And if you play only Dinosaurs in the deck, it fits perfectly.
#2 Zacama, Primal Calamity
Zacama is probably the best and most powerful Dinosaur in the whole game. It has crazy abilities and keywords, and it is awesome in all meanings.
It is a 9/9 for 9 mana with vigilance, reach, and trample. That’s insane. It has great attacking and defending stats. It also has the great enter-the-battlefield effect of untapping all your lands (if you cast it). Which is pretty nice, as when you get all your resources back.
And if that was not enough, it has a tool box of activated abilities. It deals damage, it destroys artifacts or enchantments, and it gains you life. What more can you ask from your Dinosaur Commander?
#1 Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
This is the best Dinosaur tribal Commander in the whole game. It is a 7/6 for 8 which is not bad. It has trample, haste, and vigilance which are super important and powerful keyword abilities in combination with its second ability.
Its second ability is that whenever it deals damage to a player, it reveals cards from the top of your library equal to the amount of damage it dealt. Then, if they are Dinosaurs, they can be put into the battlefield for free.
Which is crazy good. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to get 7 Dinos from this activation. The fact that it has trample, vigilance, and haste makes this ability super easy to take advantage of.
Even though our list ends here, there are more good news for Dinosaur fans. First, there’s a brand-new Dinousaur tribal Commander precon being released in November 2023. It even has a cheeky name Veloci-Ramp-Tor. Referring to the fact that it’s full of Dinos and cards that ramp you.
This deck will be released alongside the main Lost Caverns of Ixalan set, which will also contain some of your favorite creatures. Here are just a couple of examples that you can get in your Caverns of Ixalan Set boosters:
The newest Ghalta sure looks amazing and fun to play with. Howecer, the Indominus Rex might look just a little too real for a Magic card. Does it remind you of another franchise? The reason for this is that we’re getting Jurassic Park MTG cards alongside this set. It looks like you could really enjoy this release, given that you likely enjoy casting Dinousaurs.
Anyway, that’s it for today. Until next time, I wish you lots of wins with your Dinos!