When Ixalan came out, I was initially committed solely to producing a Gishath/dino EDH deck. And while that happened (and I will post that decklist next week), I became infatuated with Raptor Hatchling. I felt the card’s ability could be abused easily in Modern, so I decided to take a swing at it. Green is a particularly strong color for Dinos, but I decided to try and make this deck a bit faster by reducing the color curve to 2 colors, and unfortunately, green was the color that had to go because I need the white for its Indestructible spells.
Raptor Hatchling has one of the best Enrage triggers of the set. While Standard offers plenty of options (Rile, Dual Shot, Sheltering Light) for triggering Raptor Hatchling, I felt I was better off going to Modern to make the trigger a little more reliable, primarily focusing on getting the Dinosaur Token total up quickly and relentlessly. Here’s the decklist:
- Raptor Hatchling x4
- Tilonalli’s Skinshifter x4
- Instants and Sorceries
- Boros Charm x4
- Rootborn Defenses x4
- Make a Stand x2
- Wake the Reflections x4
- Seismic Shudder x1
- Subterranean Tremors x2
- Earthquake x1
- Sudden Demise x2
- Marrow Shards x2
- Nahiri’s Machinations x4
- Intangible Virtue x4
- Boros Guildgate x4
- Mountain x9
- Plains x9
- Stuffy Doll x4
- Sky Terror x4
The Instants and Sorceries are balanced in such a way to provide Indestructible and damage to all creatures frequently. Rootborn Defenses provides Indestructible and Populate for our Dino tokens. Sudden Demise helps ensure only the Hatchlings are taking damage and not the Dino tokens unnecessarily. Boros Charm is a must in any red/white deck, and its benefit here is no different.
Nahiri’s Machinations supplies Indestructible to one attacking creature each turn, and also can be an extra trigger if Hatchling is a blocker. Intangible Virtue is a must to give those Dino tokens just a little extra juice. Their numbers, plus the Trample, plus the constant field damage, should keep them as the alpha predators on the battlefield.
The creatures are the fun part of this deck. Raptor Hatchling is the engine, and Skinshifter helps to ensure that there are extra triggers for the Dino tokens. Stuffy Doll is a fun little sideboard addition, as it will ping the opponent a little more from being triggered from all the field damage. Sky Terror is an option if your opponent is running a hefty number of Flying.
- (Mountain) Raptor Hatchling
- (Plains) Tilonalli’s Skinshifter
- (Plains) Nahiri’s Machinations, Intangible Virtue
- (Mountain) Swing with Raptor Hatchling and Tilonalli’s Skinshifter (copy Raptor Hatchling), Boros Charm making creatures Indestructible, Marrow Shards to deal damage to each attacking creature, create 2 Dinosaur tokens.
- Swing with Raptor Hatchling and Tilonalli’s Skinshifter (copy Raptor Hatchling), make Skinshifter Indestructible via Nahiri’s Machinations, Sudden Demise on red, create 2 Dinosaur tokens, Wake of Reflections, create 1 Dinosaur token.
- Swing with Tilonalli’s Skinshifter (copy Dinosaur Token) and 5 4/4 Dinosaur tokens with Trample and Vigilance.
This deck takes a while to get going, but it eventually builds a formidable army. It reminds me a lot of my Golem army deck (which I’m sure I will post in the future), but this one takes a bit more fenangling to get the tokens coming out regularly. It’s important for the deck not to rely on Hatchling or Skinshifter to get blocked, but if they do, that’s just one more token for your army. You can always sit back with Hatchling as well, which will either delay your opponent’s desire to attack, or earn you extra tokens via Nahiri’s Machinations. The deck is slow, but the field damage helps keep the battlefield under control the first few turns until your Dino tokens start showing up.
I have a feeling this deck will go well the first few times it is played, because your opponent may not see the constant Indestructible saves and field damage coming, but it could teeter off in success once your opponents catch on. I think this deck will deserve a tweak in the coming months as I figure out what works well and what should be taken out.