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I think it’s an innate thing instilled into every little boy to have a fondness for dinosaurs. You know what? My love for dinos has not gone away! I am so happy that they have been brought into Magic and not as Beasts and Lizards, which they were categorized as before in the game.

Ixalan has brought us an array of dinos to stomp around the field. Now I will admit, some of the dinosaurs are not the great, but when there are multiple fatties on the field, it can get really nasty, really fast!

Now there is a dinosaur that has been spoiled for Magic’s next set: Rivals of Ixalan. This card will definitely be going in this deck when it comes out. However, until it comes out, I am stuck with some subpar dudes.

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“Ghalta, Primal Hunger” by Johann Bodin, ©2018 by Wizards of the Coast


I decided I was going to make a deck that would take advantage of Gishath’s triggered ability and that could run effectively on its own. Since Gishath costs eight mana, it can be a pain to get him out and swinging. So, I wanted the deck to function well before he hit the field and after he dies. Unfortunately, Ixalan’s dinosaurs are either really good or really bad. The good thing, however, is the deck is built to cheat them out either through different effects or to reduce their mana costs where they are feasible to cast and you don’t feel bad about it.


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Gishath, Sun’s Avatar by Zach Stella. ©2017 by Wizards of the Coast

The List:

Now there are some cards that are in the deck (mainly some of the landbase) that you may look at and go, “why, Boggs, why?!” Well, I built this deck with what I had. I will be optimizing the landbase as I play the deck more. So, here is the initial version of this deck:

Commander:
Gishath, Sun’s Avatar

Gishath Doubler:
Strionic Resonator

Dinosaurs:
Ancient Brontodon
Bellowing Aegisaur
Bonded Horncrest
Burning Sun’s Avatar
Carnage Tyrant
Charging Monstrosaur
Colossal Dreadmaw
Deathgorge Scavenger
Goring Ceratops
Kinjalli’s Sunwing
Raging Swordtooth
Raptor Hatchling
Regisaur Alpha
Ripjaw Raptor
Snapping Sailback
Sun-Blessed Mount
Sun-Crowned Hunters
Thrash of Raptors
Thundering Spineback
Verdant Sun’s Avatar
Wakening Sun’s Avatar

Changelings:
Chameleon Colossus
Mirror Entity
Taurean Mauler

Non-Dinos:
Eternal Witness
Karmic Guide
Kinjalli’s Caller
Priest of the Wakening Sun
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

Top of the Deck Manipulation:
Congregation at Dawn
Noxious Revival
Scroll Rack
Reinforcements
Worldly Tutor

Cheat Into Play:
Descendants’ Path
Lurking Predators
Sunbird’s Invocation

Fighting/Enrage Triggers/Damage Dealers:
Domri Rade
Dromoka’s Command
Pyrohemia
Savage Stomp
Setessan Tactics
Warstorm Surge

Removal:
Aura Shards
Swords to Plowshares

Search:
Eladamri’s Call
Enlightened Tutor

Card Draw:
Greater Good
Elemental Bond
Herald’s Horn

Huatlis:
Huatli, Dinosaur Knight
Huatli, Warrior Poet

Protection:
Boros Charm
Eerie Interlude
Faith’s Reward
Heroic Intervention

Ramp:
Cultivate
Kodama’s Reach
Mirari’s Wake
Skyshroud Claim
Sol Ring
Wood Elves

Lands:
Battlefield Forge
Brushland
Karplusan Forest
Clifftop Retreat
Rootbound Crag
Sunpetal Grove
Command Tower
Path of Ancestry
Unclaimed Territory
Plateau
Temple Garden
Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground
Emeria, the Sky Ruin
High Market
Krosan Verge
Mosswort Bridge
Naya Panorama
Reliquary Tower
7x Forest
4x Mountain
6x Plains


Breakdown:

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So Gishath is a big, bad dinosaur, that is unmistakable. He’s got a big body and some nasty keywords and that makes him king of the dinos. He does require some ramping to get him out since he has a large mana cost, but that is okay, there’s plenty of setup involved in a Gishath deck. I built this deck around his ability of throwing dinosaurs into play through his combat damage. Why not take further advantage of his ability? Strionic Resonator will copy his ability, allowing us to dig further into the deck. It also pair nicely with other triggered abilities in the deck. And Warstorm Surge is in here to take advantage of dinos being thrown onto the field and because I put it into every red deck that I make. Duh.


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So like I said before, dinosaurs are either really good or really bad. I have some mixed opinions on the designs of this set (to me, it seems like the people making it didn’t communicate with each other or make their vision truly cohesive. Example, the mana costs of the Avatars and their lack of keyword abilities). But no matter what, they are nasty with Gishath – unlike me, Gishath isn’t picky about what he wants; he wants a herd of dinos to charge across the fields with him on a feeding and stomping frenzy.

The Avatars each does something drastically different but they do it well. Burning Sun’s Avatar is 12 damage for six mana. Verdant Sun’s Avatar can get you back up to a respectable life total since the deck can be slower and there’s no doubt that someone hasn’t been slamming into you because they know what Gishath is going to do to them. And finally, Wakening Sun’s Avatar slams into play and blows up the non-stompies. And it serves them right!


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Some of the dinos in the newest set have an ability called Enrage which allows things to happen when they take damage. I personally wish they would have thrown it on all the dinos, but whatever. Anyway, I thought “wouldn’t it be neat if I put some cards into the deck to take advantage of these angry dinosaurs?” Well, here they are. Cards that will hurt my opponent’s creatures and my own.

Domri Rade is just nasty. All of his modes are ridiculous. If I get his emblem, my opponents deserve what happens to them. Pyrohemia allows me to ping my dudes and clear the field of little fodder. If I am really spry, I’ll just burn us into oblivion! And Savage Stomp and the other fight-style cards acts as Enrage triggers and removal.


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Like I have stated, this deck can be slow and people are going to be gunning for it. That is why there’s a lot of protection in it. People need to calm down. I mean, the dinosaurs are already mad enough! Calm down!

Boros Charm works wonders in here – it provides protection if need be and if I want Gishath to have double strike to get more dinos, then he shall do that! He’s such a good boy!


Final Thoughts:

The deck is by no means good. By that I mean it’s not anywhere near the power level and synergistic interactions that are found in my other decks. Gishath is a Timmy-Style creature, meaning that he’s big and meant for stomping around. If you build Gishath, do not expect it to be off-the-wall ridiculous like other decks can be. The very nature of Gishath, his mana cost, colors, and triggered ability, all of those things really inhibit what can be done with him. However, since the deck has a high curve and powerhouse cards, it is possible to dominate the late game.


Well, that’s it for this week. Stay tuned for more Magic: the Gathering content from our own Big Daddy B: @brandondauer! We’ll be tag teaming more Magic: the Gathering Commander articles in addition to myself posting some other tabletop game articles. I mean, that’s why we’re all here, right? For the love of gaming!


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