IntroductionAncient Imperiosaur is a 6/6 Dinosaur for seven mana. This big old dino debuted in March of the Machine and is currently valued at just under $2.00.
Over the years Magic has seen a huge number of big Green beaters who, due to their high cost and the increasingly fast pace of the game, are doomed to see play almost exclusively in Commander. Cards like The Tarrasque and Rampaging Brontodon. Ancient Imperiosaur seems to have broken out of this prison and is performing surprisingly well in Modern. This is thanks to the card’s Convoke mechanic enabling it to be played far earlier in the game than might be expected. A deck built around the card, and designed by content creator Aspiringspike, has gone 5-0 in a recent Magic: the Gathering Online Modern League. This deck has the potential to get the Imperiosaur into play as early as turn two or three and buff it into a 20/20. Let’s discuss this dynamic dinosaur deck.
The Deck List
Naturally, Ancient Imperiosaur is the centrepiece of the deck, so it runs four copies of it. Its Convoke ability allows creatures to be tapped down to pay it’s mana cost. It has Trample, to push damage through when blocked, and Ward 2, making it more expensive for the opponent to answer. The thing which makes the card most unique is the fact that it gains two +1/+1 counters for every creature that Convoked it. This means that if its entire seven mana cost is paid by tapping down creatures then it enters play with 14 +1/+1 counters, giving it a formidable 20 power and toughness.
Next up are the artifacts Ornithopter, Memnite. Both of these cards can be played for no cost and provide free bodies that can be used to Convoke out the Imperiosaur. They can also be sacrificed to either Kuldotha Rebirth or Gleeful Demolition to generate three 1/1 Goblin tokens, providing even more fuel to summon the Imperiosaur. Chromatic Star can also be sacrificed to summon Goblins. It draws a card when it goes, digging through the deck to deploy the deadly dinosaur.Voldaren Epicure works great in this deck, as it has several useful effects for only a single Red mana. It provides both a creature to Convoke with and an artifact to sacrifice to Kuldotha Rebirth or Gleeful Demolition. The one damage it deals to the opponent as it enters play is also a nice bit of icing on top. Burning-Tree Emissary is a classic of both Modern and Pioneer. In this deck it both refunds itself and provides a body, making it incredibly useful. The Emissary also synergizes wonderfully with the card Chatterstorm. A string of three or four Burning-Tree Emissaries can be used to build up the storm count, before casting Chatterstorm. This will bring several Squirrels into play for only two mana. With this many creatures on the board, Ancient Imperiosaur can be Convoked out without any lands needing to be tapped at all. It will also enter play as 20/20 thanks to the +1/+1 counters it places on itself.
Finally, the cards Goblin Bushwhacker and Reckless Bushwhacker are in the deck to give the Imperiosaur Haste. Even though Ancient Imperiosaur has Ward 2, making it tricky to target, players looking to play it safe can grant it Haste to ensure that opponents need to destroy it at instant speed or risk taking a potentially game-ending amount of damage.
The ideal game plan for this deck might look something like this.
Turn 1: Play a Stomping Ground or a Copperline Gorge, cast an Ornithopter and a Memnite, then sacrifice one of them to Kuldotha Rebirth or Gleeful Demolition to create three 1/1 Goblin Tokens.
Turn 2: Make a second land drop, cast a Burning-Tree Emissary, and use the mana generated by the Emissary to cast Chatterstorm, creating two 1/1 Squirrel tokens. Tap all seven of your creature down in order to play Ancient Imperiosaur.
Turn 3: Swing in for lethal with your Ancient Imperiosaur and its motley crew of Squirrels, Goblins, Gruul clan members, and Memnites.
Naturally, not every game using this deck will get things in motion quite so quickly, but it’s still definitely possible to get Ancient Imperiosaur out very early on.
What’s fantastic about this deck is that it provides power at a low price. In an era where Modern decks are increasingly costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, this deck can be put together cheaply. None of the cards, outside of the land base and the sideboard, cost more than $5.00.
While there are some natural weaknesses, getting your Imperiosaur countered will definitely sting (especially since you will have tapped down your board to cast it), this deck is still both a great budget brew, and more importantly incredibly fun to play around with.