When you think of tribal decks, you have to think linear aggro. The reason to restrict yourself to a single tribe is to take advantage of lords and other tribal payoffs, which like lords, are typically best when your deck is packed with creatures of your tribe of choice.
But building like that has proven problematic with Ixalan block since the tribes aren't deep enough with powerful role players and solid payoff cards to form a linear tribal deck. That may lead you to simply give up on tribal decks entirely and work on vanilla midrange lists chock full of good cards instead, but you don't have to be linear when building with a tribe, and today's list is emblematic of that fact.
Of all the splashy dinosaur cards, the one that is actually most exciting to me is Thunderherd Migration. Rampant Growth may not seem like much, but there's a reason the card no longer appears regularly in Standard, being replaced by three cost effects like Gift of Paradise. Ramping on turn 2 is a subtly powerful effect, and doubly so when you're the only deck that has access to the effect.
In order to cast Thunderherd Migration consistently for its discount cost, you really only need about 12-14 Dinosaurs, and this deck splits the difference with 13, only stretching a bit past playing generically efficient or powerful threats like Regisaur Alpha, Thrashing Brontodon, and Carnage Tyrant.
The rest of the list is a who's who of the most powerful threats in Standard with Rekindling Phoenix, Glorybringer, and Brad Nelson's Invitational Card, Merfolk Branchwalker. Pair these cards with a Rampant Growth and quality red removal and you easily have the makings of a solid, big aggro deck.
So while this may be a Dinosaurs deck in name, the Dinosaurs themselves are secondary threats that gain much of their value from enabling Rampant Growth to power out the excellent red fliers. That's not to say that they're irrelevant, because turn 4 Regisaur Alpha into turn 5 Carnage Tyrant is still a great curve. These may not be the ideal threats, but the sacrifice you make playing them can be more than offset by the addition of Rampant Growth.
It's easy to simply jam the 30 best Vampires or Dinosaurs or whatever tribe into a deck and say that's optimal for that tribe, but finding the right balance between payoffs from a tribe and sacrifices in restricting your choice of creatures is how you find an optimal deck. This list has that discipline, and as a result gets to play the best Dinosaur payoffs in the format without resorting to playing cards like Drover of the Mighty which matches up so poorly against Fatal Push, Magma Spray, Walking Ballista, etc. That's just good deckbuilding.
- 2 Burning Sun's Avatar
- 2 Carnage Tyrant
- 1 Deathgorge Scavenger
- 4 Glorybringer
- 4 Merfolk Branchwalker
- 3 Regisaur Alpha
- 3 Rekindling Phoenix
- 1 Ripjaw Raptor
- 4 Thrashing Brontodon