Jundrassic Park – A Historic Jund Dinosaurs Deck Guide
“Jund…uhh…finds a way.”
With this totally authentic and unaltered quote, welcome and enjoy this introduction to my newest deck!
This time, we are visiting…
As a Dino myself (really…it’s actually my name!), I felt obliged to share my inner Timmy with you! Geometra reached #180 mythic with Jund Dinosaurs recently, which shows that there is a lot of potential within this sweet tribe for the budding paleontologists among you to investigate!
Without further ado, let’s creak open the old, rusty gate and see what awaits us (and our opponents) in Jundrassic Park:
How to eat Enemy Faces – Our Game Plan
- Jund Dinosaurs is an aggressive, go-big deck. After playing one of your ramp-creatures, mainly Marauding Raptor and Otepec Huntmaster, you want to overwhelm the opponent with big bodies and finish them with Embercleave or Ghalta, Primal Hunger.
Commune with Dinosaurs and Ripjaw Raptor help to dig for the right Dino or refuel your hand.
Savage Stomp and Domri, Anarch of Bolas can remove annoying creatures or blockers.
The Apex Predators – Strengths
- This deck can get VERY explosive. We can cheat out big bodies, give them haste via Otepec Huntmaster or Regisaur Alpha, and even attach an Embercleave to them. Ever stared down a Ghalta, Primal Hunger with haste on it or the infamous Rotting Regisaur wielding a sword? Yeah, that hurts.
- We have a huge density of high quality threats, which are also often quite difficult to remove. Stomp misses most of our threats, as does Eliminate and Claim the Firstborn, which have no relevant targets in the late game. Shifting Ceratops is a nightmare to deal with for blue-based decks, since it’s immune to your usual annoyances like T3feri, Petty Theft, or Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.
- Jund gives us access to many excellent Sideboard cards, which allow us to adapt to a lot of different environments, like Cindervines, Lava Coil, and Duress.
- Commune with Dinosaurs is a great tool for guaranteeing our curve plays, in that it increases our odds of finding whatever dinosaur fits the spot on the curve we’re missing.
Why they went extinct – Weaknesses
- A big chunk of our winrate depends on sticking one of our 2-drops. We are not as explosive if we don’t draw them or if they get removed. A turn 3 T3feri can also slow us down in many ways: if he bounces one of our enablers, we struggle to answer him immediately, as none of our early creatures have haste. He forces us to replay our enabler or waste mana on things like Noxious Grasp, and this gives the opponent the chance to answer our board and keep Teferi alive. He also turns Embercleave into a very expensive and clunky equipment.
- We can run out of fuel quite fast, since Commune with Dinosaurs does not create advantage and we’re not guaranteed to draw cards from Ripjaw Raptor.
- Our removal is useless if we don’t have a large creature on the board, so decks can go under us if they play good, cheap creatures and remove ours at the same time.
A lesson on Dinosaur Biology – The creature spells
The forerunners of the pack – Enablers:
- Marauding Raptor: This is the backbone of the deck. It has great stats, makes our Dinos cheaper, combines with Ripjaw Raptor to always draw a card, and is a solid beater that will often attack for 4 by itself. You want this card in your starting hand as much as possible.
- Otepec Huntmaster: The other big enabler. While the body is weaker, it gives us access to a truly terrifying keyword: Haste. Most big beaters these days have the problem of not impacting the game fast enough, but Gruul Aggro has shown us what happens if you can avoid that problem. With Regisaur Alpha as another enabler, the threat level of cards like Ripjaw Raptor, Rotting Regisaur, and Ghalta, Primal Hunger rises a lot, and changes the whole dynamic of a Stompy deck.
- Drover of the Mighty: This is not as potent as the other 2 enablers, so it’s mostly here as a 5th copy of Marauding Raptor.
The meat and potatoes – Threats:
- 3 Regisaur Alpha: While it’s not as threatening as our other beaters, it’s still a lot of stats for its cmc with the massive upside of giving your other Dinos Haste. Bonus points for reducing the cost of Ghalta and Great Henge. It also counts as 2 bodies for Embercleave.
- 4 Rotting Regisaur: This card by itself is very hit-or-miss, but in the context of Haste, Embercleave, Ghalta, and The Great Henge, the benefits and explosiveness it can provide are heavily amplified. Be careful not to get 2-for-1 by smart opponents, who will remove it after its upkeep trigger! It’s advisable to play him as the finisher, after your opponent used up most of their removal, if you don’t need the big body on turn 3.
- 4 Ripjaw Raptor: Similar to Rotting Regisaur, the supporting cast of the deck makes this card very powerful. With one (or even two) Marauding Raptors, you are guaranteed to draw some cards. This is especially tough to deal with for red removal or smaller Aggro decks, as there is usually no way for them to avoid giving you card advantage in killing the Raptor.
- 4 Shifting Ceratops: A meta call for sure but, with how relevant blue is right now, it hardly ever feels lackluster. The floor on this card is rather high, in its worst case, is still a 5 mana beater with 5 power and haste.
The top of the food chain – Finishers
- 3 Ghalta, Primal Hunger: If not for Ghalta, why would we even run Dinos? Jokes aside, this card just screams “this deck supports me” in every possible way: we have big stats to play Ghalta early and Haste to give the opponent no time to react. A 12/12 Trampler attacking right away should please anyone’s inner Timmy (at least it certainly does mine…).
- 2 Embercleave: We should all know by now how powerful this card is. While we don’t get it into play as fast as lower curve decks, the results are even more devastating when equipping it on a Rotting Regisaur.
Raptors lurking in the Bushes: Sideboard
- 2 Chandra, Awakened Inferno: Helps us finish Control decks off if they manage to stabilize against us.
- 3 Rampaging Ferocidon: We can expect Field of the Dead decks to increase in popularity, with the recent bans. Ferocidon forces them to remove it or get heavily punished.
- 3 Flame Sweep: Helps us stabilize against wide Aggro decks, as it has nearly no effect on our board. Damaging our creatures can even be an upside with Ripjaw Raptor!
- 1 Lava Coil: Great vs Questing Beast and other bigger threats.
- 3 Noxious Grasp: Hits most threats played by Gruul, Simic and Azorius, which are well represented in Historic. This is a great card for the current meta.
- 1 The Great Henge: Helps us in grindy matchups; we can reduce the cost of it very fast with Rotting Regisaur or Regisaur Alpha.
- 1 Thrashing Brontodon: Nice body, with the upside of killing important Artifacts/Enchantments.
- Carnage Tyrant: Who was on the receiving end when this card was Standard-legal? Without a Sweeper or Edict effect ready, this rather fittingly named Death Lizard means lights out for most control decks.
- Cindervines: This card mostly helps us to pressure decks that don’t play creatures, while getting rid of pesky Enchantments or Artifacts like Witch’s Oven, Wilderness Reclamatio, or an opposing Embercleave. After the banning of Nexus, I’d recommend relying on Thrashing Brontodon until we get a clearer picture of the meta, as we don’t know how many decks will be punished by the damage Cindervines provides. Brontodon is more versatile, allowing us to beat down and curve out better.
- Duress: If a large portion of the metagame contains sweepers, consider boarding in Duress to prevent your early boards from getting reset.
How to tame your Dinosaur – Gameplay tips
- Try to mulligan for your enablers! The deck is very slow without them.
- Always get the most out of your cards! If you have a Marauding Raptor in play, you should play your Ripjaw Raptor before other threats. A Rotting Regisaur is rarely a good idea if you can’t give it haste or follow up with an Embercleave on the next turn.
- Be careful of sweepers! This deck is very prone to running out of steam after a sweeper, as our top decks are average at best, if not supported by our enablers. Regisaur Alpha and Shifting Ceratops are ideal to keep the pressure going, so hold onto them if you expect cards like Shatter the Skies.
- Plan your land sequencing ahead of time! It’s easy to forget that Unclaimed Territory doesn’t help casting Otopec Huntsmaster or Embercleave.
- Do not always play out creatures just to make Ghalta or The Great Henge cheaper! As mentioned before, running out of steam happens easily.
- Marauding Raptor is a real threat! Don’t miss out on possible lethal swings by always dropping the biggest thing in your hand. If you have two Raptors on board, playing 2 or 3 small creatures can be better than one big.
What John Hammond taught us – Closing Thoughts
With the recent banned and restricted announcement and Jumpstart just released, it’s hard and possibly unwise for me to evaluate where this deck ranks power-wise, so I will just provide my thoughts on it. The game plan, strengths, and weaknesses we covered in the beginning hold firm, so expect Dinosaurs to do well when Stompy decks are well-positioned.
My thoughts for now are that Bant Scapeshift with Field of the Dead will be the Boogeyman to beat. The Matchup calls for a very fast clock, which we definitely can deliver. It can swing both ways though, as T3feri and Shatter the Sky, combined with the inevitable late game of Field of the Dead, could pose serious problems. Cards like Duress could help address this.
On the other hand, if Combo decks (Kethis, Underworld Breach, Song of Creation and so on) try to prey on Field of the Dead strategies, we could be well positioned to beat them, just as Gruul does already. From a laddering standpoint, it’s never completely wrong to go with a strong, linear, and proactive gameplan. I think this is also underlined by results like Geometra’s.
But you might ask: “Aren’t Dinosaurs extinct? Will there even be new cards for the deck?”
Personally, I think there is a high chance that the deck will see future support. Here is a small list with all the planes that still feature dinosaurs:
Core Set 2020 also introduced very powerful cards like Marauding Raptor, Shifting Ceratops and Rotting Regisaur. Given this information, it seems very likely that Wizards of the Coast will keep breeding new and terrifying reptiles that we can add to our collection. So, if you are a sucker for big, gnarly Dinosaurs (and have the Wildcards to spare), make sure to visit Jundrassic Park!