Think Outside the Box – Becoming an Alpha in Ixalan!

Hi everyone and welcome back to my column!

With Ixalan just around the corner, the noise of the dinosaurs grow ever closer and man, am i excited! Let’s dive straight into this and say this card is my favourite card spoiled from the new set and can’t wait to jam it into any of my decks.

Anyone that knows me, should probably know how much I loved the GR Dragons deck that was around nearer the end of the origins block. I loved how this deck played out: early acceleration, decent removal spells and big finishers. The dinosaur decks get the same thing which makes me excited to get building this type of deck. Let’s look at some card choices and how I think I would start building this type of deck.

I naturally have to start with regisaur alpha I think this card is insane! In terms of stats, we pay 5 mana for 7 power! “other dinosaurs you control have haste” this is just a bonus if you ask me, being able to get in with the minisaur as soon as you cast the alpha is pretty sweet. The fact is this card is killed, it still leaves a 3/3 behind.

A 4/5 for 4, what could go wrong? *cough* siege rhino *cough* OK i get this card isn’t the torment of standards past, but this happy raptor is just as strong in my opinion! the fact that most removal spells now are damage based, it means that this card will sometimes be a 2 for 1, the kind of thing that a green based creature deck needs oh, and you draw some cards too! rile could be good with this card alone, but ill get into this later. I think we all need to get used to this card, its going to stick around.

An accelerator that get +2/+2 when you control a dinosaur seems deece, right? auto include I reckon. The fact that it can be a 3/3 for 2 will sometimes be relevant, in this type of deck though, is 4 or 8 mana accelerators correct? I guess time will tell.

All the lists dotted around online have this card in some number between 1 and 4, I know i’m stating the obvious here and it probably isn’t just me that is wondering what the correct number of this card is in the deck, I think that personally this card is slept on and will be very good. For example: if we play 8 mana accelerators then 23/24 lands will be correct, so being able to “ramp” with this card and slightly thin our deck could be relevant. Again, rile could be great with this card, but more on that later.

I’m going to go right out and say it, i really like this card. It’s no scavenging ooze but i’ll take it! Having incidental life gain is pretty sweet and becoming a 4/3 is pretty good. Getting rid of embalm or eternalize creatures such as earthshaker khenra will come up alot. An ideal 3 drop i reckon, the numbers of this card i reckon should be 2 or 3, this may not be correct, again only time will tell.

I like this card as a 1 of, searing blazeosaur i reckon fits pretty well up on top of the curve.

OK this one is a no-brainer, it’s really powerful and it’s a big dinosaur! Can’t be countered is one thing, giving this thing hexproof too? Pushed? maybe. All i know is i’m happy to jam a couple of these at the top of my curve. This card is going to be a nightmare for some decks to deal with and again, get used to this bad boy, he ain’t going anywhere.

I don’t know, I really don’t know. Is it necessary? Is it better than the likes of channeler initiate or servant of the conduit? It’s something that me and some friends have discussed in some length. I’m leaning towards the cost reduction and haste being more relevant, it may not be correct but it’s what i prefer. My main reasoning was if we cast this and initiate on 2, ones a 1/2 the others an 0/1.

This card is prettty good! Keeps the dinosaur shaped gas tank full, also finds the lands that we may need. I think this may be the glue that holds the deck together.

Remember I compared this deck to RG Dragons? This is the dinosaurs answer to draconic roar 1 mana fight your guy, enable enrage, put a counter on my guy and clear out a blocker? COUNT ME IN!! This card is pretty good and is the removal spell this deck wanted I reckon.

This card I think deserves an honourable mention. While I personally, will be building GR variants, I do believe this card is good and will find a home in a deck more along the lines of a ramp type strategy.

I said i would talk about this one briefly. I don’t like this kind of card. I believe that if i want this type of effect in my deck i want it on walking ballista my main reasoning is, if we topdeck the ballista its far better than rile if we have nothing else, again this may not be correct but it is just self preference.

Now that I have gone over some of the cards that the new set has to offer us, let’s have a look of the sample decklist that I will be trying out.



rootbound crag

sheltered thicket

hashep oasis

2 ramunap ruins

6 forest

4 mountain


drover of the mighty

4 otepec huntmaster

ranging raptors

deathgorge scavenger

ripjaw raptor

2 walking ballista

regisaur alpha

carnage tyrant

burning sun’s avatar


commune with dinosaurs

savage stomp


samut, the tested



shapers’ sanctuary

sweltering suns

chandra’s defeat


heroic intervention


rhonas the indomitable


Well to wrap it up, I think that dinosaurs could be a real player in the new standard and it might take some time to find the right build and the right numbers.

What do you think? Will the dinosaurs walk the planes as they once did on this earth so long ago? They met a star of extinction once, can’t happen again right?

As always thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment with any questions for myself.





Aaron "Ronnie" Brown

Aaron "Ronnie" Brown

Hi! I'm Aaron Brown, more know as "Ronnie". I'm from north Ayrshire in Scotland. I have a 2 year old daughter and a very supportive fiancée. I aspire to play magic for the Scottish national team and to one day play on the Pro Tour.

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