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Next Monday can't come soon enough, as on September 25th Ixalan will finally be available to play in Standard on Magic Online. With #SCGDFW looming only four days later as our first dip in the waters of Ixalan Standard, the time to figure it all out is short!
One of the most dangerous things in the brewing process is getting caught up in an echo chamber, where an idea about a card or decklist looks good to you so you stop thinking critically about it. We spent a large amount of time working in formats that are mostly defined, so typically what "works" already works for a reason. This is the exact opposite of a new Standard season, as we have no idea what actually works. This lack of results and empirical data means we need to experiment with a wide variety of cards and ideas, something that is often alien to us.
Aside: I just want to show some love to fellow SCG premium writer Sam Black, who is perhaps one of the best "outside the box" thinkers in the game. Sam does a phenomenal job identifying and examining the not-obvious cards in every new set and is able to see creative ways to use them very quickly. It's frustrating sometimes following him every week, as he will often hit a card I plan to write about and have twice as many awesome ideas for it than I did (hello, Legion's Landing), but you've gotta respect excellent work when you see it.
There are a lot of exciting cards in Ixalan, and because so many of them are synergy-based rather than power-based it's not going to be easy to figure out exactly where everything goes.
There are a number of cards that haven't made it into our Ixalan Standard decklists, and today we are going to look at a potential game-changing card for many of the possible Ixalan Standard archetypes.
Let's start with the Elephant… I mean, Dinosaur in the room, G/R Dinosaurs.
Deck: G/R Dinosaurs
Missing Piece: Rile
Most G/R Dinosaurs lists we've been seeing (aside from Gerry Thompson's, who is also high on the card) have either been short on or completely eschewed Rile, which feels like a huge error.
Most of the G/R Dinosaurs lists we've seen so far have looked more like G/R Monsters decks than tribal decks.
There's no question that super-pushed cards like Regisaur Alpha are absurdly powerful, and slamming all of them together with some mana creatures and removal is a path to a reasonable decklist. Most of the Dinosaur cards get there on rate alone, but there's more to the Dinosaur deck than Siege Rhino-level stats. There are still tribal and Enrage synergies to be had, and when you have individually powerful cards working together with synergy as well, the result is often a Tier 1 deck.
It also pushes Ranging Raptors, a card that is already underrated, into a major role in the deck. Ranging Raptors joins Ripjaw Raptor to form a great Enrage one-two punch, which also have fantastic synergy with the also excellent Savage Stomp. The card advantage that Ranging Raptors and Ripjaw Raptor provide will be a major factor in ensuring that G/R Dinosaurss can win a long game and overcome cards like Fumigate.