Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
11, Aug, 23

The Best Dinosaurs in MTG for Commander

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When it comes to building a Commander deck in MTG, you have a lot of options to suit your fancy. There are casual decks, competitive decks, combo decks, and goodness knows how many themed decks. Today, we’ll be focusing on one of the latter MTG archetypes, specifically, as the title gives away, Dinosaurs. 

Despite hardly being the more common creature type in MTG, Dinosaurs are currently the 10th most popular Typal archetype in Commander. With their short little arms, big bitey faces, and devastating stats, we can definitely see why. The question remains, however, if you’re looking to build a Dinosaur Typal/Themed MTG deck, what are your best options? 

Thankfully, we’re here to help answer exactly that! So, whether you’ve got dinosaur fever or just early hype for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, we’ve got you covered! Now, without any further ado, here are the best dinosaurs in MTG for Commander!

The Best Dinosaur Commanders in MTG

Of course, if we’re talking about building a Dinosaur Typal MTG deck, we’re going to need a Commander for it. Subsequently, to kick off this list, we’ll be highlighting the best Legendary dinosaurs that can be your Commander. With 20 big and stompy options to choose from, Dinosaur Typal has a lot of awesome and compelling choices. If you’re looking to build the strongest deck around, however, here are your best options.

Zacama, Primal Calamity

Zacama, Primal Calamity | Commander Masters

Having recently been reprinted in Commander Masters, there’s no doubt that Zacama, Primal Calamity is a good Commander. Thanks to that recent print, they’re also now rather cheap, being available for around $4! While this is surprisingly affordable, don’t let that price point fool you, Zacama, Primal Calamity is an absolute powerhouse. 

For starts, Zacama, Primal Calamity can be effectively free so long as you cast them. If you spend the nine mana to do this, all your land will be untapped, letting you keep casting spells. As you might expect, this ability never stops being useful and helps to combat the ever-increasing Commander Tax you may be paying. 

While untapping all your land is already powerful enough, Zacama, Primal Calamity goes above and beyond that powerful ability. Similar to the boring ol’ human Kenrith, the Returned KingZacama has a suite of abilities you can spend your mana on. Allowing you to damage creatures, destroy artifacts or enchantments, or even gain life, Zacama does it all!

Atla Palani, Nest Tender

Atla Palani, Nest Tender | Dominaria United Commander

While Morophon may have gotten away with being a Changeling, Atla Palani, Nest Tender, doesn’t have that luxury. Instead, they’re just a Human Shaman, even if they are dressed up in some fancy dinosaur-themed garb. Thankfully, while they may not be a dinosaur, Atla Palani still cares for dinosaurs, which gives them a pass for this list.

Putting the thematic scrutiny aside for a moment, Atla Palani, Nest Tender is absolutely worthy of being your Commander. This is thanks to their egg-generating abilities that allow you to cheat our creature cards from your deck. Should you have a reliable way to kill the egg tokens, this can circumvent the immense cost of many dinosaur MTG cards!

For better or worse, while this availability is very powerful, your opponents will know too. Subsequently, they’re not going to want to kill the eggs unless they really have to. Thankfully, since these Egg Tokens have Defender, opponents may not have much choice in the matter. If that doesn’t work, however, using a card like Marauding Raptor also does the trick. 

Gishath, Sun’s Avatar

Gishath, Sun's Avatar | Ixalan

Last but certainly no means least, we have the most powerful Legendary Dinosaur by quite some margin. Leading the charge of over 11 thousand Commander decks, Gishath, Sun’s Avatar is more than deserving of their popularity. After all, they are an incredibly devastating dino and an awesome Commander choice.

To dive into their power similarly to Atla Palani, Nest Tender, Gishath, Sun’s Avatar is capable of cheating out dinos. In fact, should you land a clean hit on your opponent, it’s possible Gishath could put seven dinosaurs onto the battlefield. Obviously, considering the high cost of many dinosaur cards, this is an incredibly useful ability.

Unfortunately, while they are strong, Gishath, Sun’s Avatar’s ability does come with a catch. Namely that you have to deal combat damage to a player to activate the effect. Thankfully, Gishath does have Trample, Vigilance, and Haste, however, they are still blockable and killable. Despite this minor drawback, as a Commander, Gishath still excels. Especially since you have multiple chances to activate this potentially game-ending effect. Try granting your Gishath Double Strike with cards like Duelist’s Heritage and Embercleave for a particularly devastating swing in your favor.

Best Dinosaur Cards in MTG for Commander

Now that we’ve gotten our top picks for dinosaur Commanders out of the way, it’s time to start fleshing out the deck itself. As usual for a Typal/Themed deck, this means we’ll need a lot of cards that fit that theme! Thankfully, just like the Commander options, dinosaurs don’t disappoint in this regard. With plenty of huge, expensive, and threatening dinos to choose from, we’re practically spoilt for choice. 

The question remains, however, which out of the dinosaur cards in MTG is best for your Commander deck? Technically, the answer to this question will depend on which Commander you’ve picked and what colors you’re playing. Thankfully, all the Commanders we picked above are all Naya, so this isn’t a problem this time around. Subsequently, we don’t have to wait any longer before diving into the best dinosaur cards in MTG for Commander!

Kinjalli’s Caller

Kinjalli's Caller | Ixalan

Once again, Kinjalli’s Caller technically shouldn’t be anywhere near this list. After all, they’re not a dinosaur, so don’t be fooled by their fancy hat! Thankfully, despite this discrepancy, Kinjalli’s Caller does at least have a dinosaur in their art, and a dinosaur-centric ability. Subsequently, for this list, they get a pass. 

As for the card themselves, Kinjalli’s Caller is incredibly straightforward, they make dinosaur spells one mana cheaper. Costing only one white mana themselves, this makes Kinjalli’s Caller an incredibly efficient ramp engine. Sure they’re weak, without any power to speak of, however, casting the biggest and baddest dinos is always a nice bonus. Even in a format like Commander, which has oodles of fast mana.

While Kinjalli’s Caller is the cheapest option for cost reduction, Dinosaurs actually have access to a few of these cards. Otepec Huntmaster, for instance, offers the same effect, albeit for two mana. While this is strictly worse, Otepec Huntmaster does have another ability to give a dinosaur Haste until the end of a turn. Should this alternative not be to your fancy, Marauding Raptor and Knight of the Stampede are other cost-cutting options.

Thanks to them being the cheapest around we’d argue that Kinjalli’s Caller is the best of the bunch here. That being said, however, there’s little reason not to include all four of these cards in a deck. After all, dinosaurs are some of the most expensive creatures in MTG, so you’ll need all the cost reduction you can get!

Regisaur Alpha

Regisaur Alpha | Ixalan

While they may not be the biggest or ability-riddled dinosaur around, Regisaur Alpha is not to be scoffed at. This is largely thanks to them being surprisingly cost-effective, offering seven toughness for just five mana. Playable in the early stages of a Commander game, this will prevent you from being overwhelmed before you can start casting bombs.

Alongside offering a compelling stat line, Regisaur Alpha also gives other Dinosaurs you control haste. While many of the biggest and the baddest dinos already do this, it’s nevertheless a great added benefit to have. After all, there’s nothing worse than playing a massive green creature, only for it to be killed before it can ever attack.

Runic Armasaur

Runic Armasaur | Core Set 2019

Unlike many Typal decks, Dinosaurs have a fair few options to keep their hand stocked up with cards. Garruk’s Uprising, for instance, is almost always a source of card draw. Similarly, Colossal Majesty can easily provide you with a card each turn. If that’s not good enough, The Great Henge is not only useful but in dinosaur decks, it’s cheap too!

Thanks to these cards, card draw shouldn’t be too much of a problem. That being said, however, there’s no harm in having even more of it! To do just that, we have the surprisingly efficient Runic Armasaur. Capable of drawing multiple cards each turn, Runic Armasaur isn’t just good, they’re also rather oppressive.

By drawing a card off every non-mana ability from a creature or land, Runic Armasaur forces your opponents to think twice about their actions. After all, if they don’t, they may inadvertently give you the tools needed for their destruction. Ultimately, while this can be effective, Runic Armasaur isn’t impossible to play around or kill. Despite this, however, they’re still a dino that is well worth including in your deck. 

On the theme of oppressive dinosaurs, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Kinjalli’s Sunwing. Forcing your opponent’s creatures to enter the battlefield tapped, Kinjalli’s Sunwing can be incredibly frustrating to play against. Coupled with Runic Armasaur, you have a mini taste of Stax, however, you may find a target painted on your back thanks to this.

Wayward Swordtooth

Wayward Swordtooth | Commander Masters

While card draw is incredibly useful no matter what deck you’re playing, it does have a downside. Draw too much, and your hand may be flooded with too much land for your own good! Thankfully, there is a way to combo this, even in a dinosaur deck! Begone the strictly better Exploration, now is the time of Wayward Swordtooth!

Joking aside, Wayward Swordtooth is an incredibly powerful card in any Dinosaur Typal deck. This is all thanks to it providing a steady stream of ramp through playing additional land. When combined with good card draw, this can keep you ahead of your opponents and casting massive threats sooner! 

Considering Dinosaur Typal decks are absolutely loaded with high-cost and powerful cards, having additional lands in play is a huge boon. Subsequently, there’s nary a reason why Wayward Swordtooth shouldn’t be in your deck! Sure, they might not be able to attack unless you have the City’s Blessing, but that’s easily achieved in Commander, so don’t worry about it! 

Quartzwood Crasher

Quartzwood Crasher | Ikoria Lair of Behemoths

Like most dinosaurs in MTG, Quartzwood Crasher is really good at crashing in for massive damage. Well, they’re not so great at that themselves since they’re just a 6/6, however, their ability more than makes up for that. Synergizing with creatures with Trample, like many dinosaurs, Quartzwood Crasher is capable of creating some absolutely massive tokens.

Scaling based on combat damage dealt to a player Quartzwood Crasher could theoretically create 40/40 dinosaur beast tokens. While these could easily be removed with a Stern Dismissal or any similar effect, we can hardly deny this awesome potential. Sure, the token may be ineffectual considering you’re capable of eliminating opponents outright, but it’s still cool! 

Even if we ignore the tantalizing potential for a 40/40, Quartzwood Crasher is still a very powerful card. After all, this dinosaur is able to steadily build your board by up to three tokens per turn. While this will require you to be attacking a lot, this is nevertheless an incredibly useful ability. Even more of one if you’ve got a Doubling Season and or Anointed Procession in play.

Wakening Sun’s Avatar

Wakening Sun's Avatar | Commander Masters

When you’re building a Commander deck, there’s one type of card that you almost always want to include: board wipes. Aptly allowing you to wipe the entire board, before rebuilding yourself, board wipes are a staple in Commander. As good as they are, however, there is one downside with these ubiquitous cards, they usually affect everybody. 

Thankfully, Wakening Sun’s Avatar is one of the exceptions to this expected rule. Rather than getting rid of absolutely everything, Wakening Sun’s Avatar only destroys non-dinosaur creatures. This allows you to protect your board while clearing the path for a potentially game-winning swing! 

Unfortunately, as powerful as Wakening Sun’s Avatar, there is a catch. Namely that you have to cast them rather than cheating them into play. Since they do cost eight mana, this isn’t going to be the easiest thing to always pull off. Saying that, however, Commander does have oodles of fast mana, and there are the cost-reducing creatures we mentioned before. Thanks to this, Wakening Sun’s Avatar is definitely a great inclusion in any Dinosaur Typal deck. 

Invasion of Ikoria 

Invasion of Ikoria | March of the Machine

Technically, Invasion of Ikoria isn’t a dinosaur. Instead, as you can see above, this card is a Battle, and a good one at that. Capable of tutoring or resurrecting any card in your library or graveyard, Invasion of Ikoria is always useful. After all, just like other tutors, it allows you to find what you need, when you need it. The only downside with this card is that it costs 2 mana, on top of whatever you’re trying to tutor.

Thankfully, while the front face may not be a dinosaur, on the flip side, we have Zilortha, Apex of Ikoria. Clocking in at 8/8, this titan of a dinosaur lets all your dinosaurs completely ignore their blockers. As you can imagine, this powerful effect can be used to completely devastate your opponents, as they can’t stop the damage. Well, not without a trusty Fog at least.

Sadly, while Zilortha, Apex of Ikoria is a very useful and powerful dinosaur, you do have to defeat the battle to get them. Thankfully, however, this really isn’t an issue, as Invasion of Ikoria is well worth playing, even without the flip side. Subsequently, we’d argue it’s definitely deserving of a spot on this list, even if it’s definitely bending the rules.

Etali, Primal Conqueror

Etali, Primal Conqueror | March of the Machine

Having only just been released in March of the Machine, Etali, Primal Conqueror is the newest card on this entire list. As if that wasn’t enough of a claim to fame, they’re also one of the best, no matter which face you look at. 

To start sensibly with the front side, Etali, Primal Conqueror will give you four non-land cards for completely free. Exiled off the top of each player’s library, this effect can also mill through a bunch of land! While this may not be as effective later in the game, potentially detrimental even, getting four free spells isn’t to be scoffed at. You just have to hope that your opponents will have something good for you to find.

As if four free cards, alongside a 7/7 for 7 wasn’t good enough, Etali, Primal Conqueror is also Etali, Primal Sickness. After being transformed for ten mana, Etali remarkably becomes even more devastating, as they now inflict poison counters. Boasting an 11/11 stat line, alongside Trample and Indestructible, Etali can two-hit any opponent. Even if you have to pay a combined seventeen mana, that’s very hard to ignore.

Goring Ceratops

Goring Ceratops | Ixalan

Last but not least, we have another dinosaur capable of ending Commander games with ruthless efficiency. To do this, Goring Ceratops doesn’t complicate things, as they just give all your attacking creatures Double Strike. While Goring Ceratops will have to attack to enable this effect, and it only last until the end of turn, it’s nevertheless utterly devastating. 

To state the obvious, on their own, Goring Ceratops reduces to total power required to end a game by half. This ability is powerful in any format, however, it’s especially useful in Commander. After all, rather than needing 120 power for a three-player kill, you only need 60. If that wasn’t enough, you can throw in Unnatural Growth to lower the required power to just 30! 

Considering the stat line of many dinosaurs in MTG, this is a surprisingly achievable goal. Thanks to this, Goring Ceratops is always a worthwhile inclusion in any Dinosaur Typal deck. In fact, in many situations, they may well be the hands-down best dinosaur thanks to their game-ending potential.

The Best of the Rest

Colossal Dreadmaw | Core Set 2021

Ultimately, we’ve only covered ten of the best dinosaurs in MTG today. While this may well help you build your next deck, Commander decks do contain 100 cards. Thanks to this, there’s little reason that you can’t include all the cards we covered today, since they all fit within a Naya deck. In fact, even if you do include all the cards we’ve covered thus far, you’d still have plenty of room.

Subsequently, to finish off this article, we’ve got the best of rest to help fill out your Dinosaur Typal MTG deck. To start this, nothing would be better than the biggest dinosaurs around. As one of the defining traits of the creature type, it would quite frankly be rude not to include these cards in your deck. If that’s not enough to convince you, just look at their stats! These dinosaurs are insanely huge!

  • Ghalta and Marven
  • Ghalta, Primal Hunger
  • Titanoth Rex
  • Tyrranax Rex
  • Carnage Tyrant
  • Colossal Dreadmaw

To go along with all the big and bitey dinosaurs in your MTG deck, there are also a few interesting combos. For example, playing both Apex Altisaur and Temple Altisaur can allow you to chomp your way through ten creatures! Sure, this may not be as effective as Wakening Sun’s Avatar, but it’s still very fun!

If you’re after more combos, thankfully, dinosaurs don’t disappoint, as there’s even a way to go infinite. Should you play Polyraptor when you have a Marauding Raptor in play, you get infinite tokens! As if that wasn’t good enough, Marauding Raptor will also get infinite power! Should you give this deadly dino Tample, then an opponent is as good as dead!

Plenty More Decks in the Sea

Thankfully, even if you don’t quite like the outlook of a Dinosaur Typal MTG deck, you’re not out of luck. After all, MTG has over 250 creature types, each one of which could theoretically be a deck’s theme. Alongside this, you’ve also got mechanics and just Commanders to build around if you wish! Subsequently, if you’re not after a dino deck, worry not, there are plenty more decks in the sea!

If you want to give a gander at some of the other options, we’ve already covered plenty of them! So, whether you’re wanting to build around Cats, Dogs, Angels, Zombies, Eldrazi, or Frogs, each deck is just a click away! 

Read More: MTG Finally Gets Duel Masters Crossover With New Promo Cards

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