Since the release of the Doctor Who Commander decks, we have been bombarded by additional Universes Beyond crossover content. We got a first look at the MTG Fallout crossover, as well as a major announcement about a multi-set partnership between Magic and Marvel. These sets are definitely coming with a lot of hype, but we don’t want them to take away from the excitement surrounding another crossover on the horizon. Soon enough, it will be time for the release of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, and with it, Jurassic World cards alongside an MTG Jurassic World Secret Lair.
Today, we will be going over a handful of spoilers associated with Jurassic World. From flavorful cards with a Dinosaur focus to a beautiful Secret Lair reprint with a unique design, there’s a lot to look forward to. Notably, these cards will not be legal in Standard, Modern, or Pioneer like the typical cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. If you enjoy Jurassic World or are looking to potentially upgrade your Dinosaur-themed Commander deck, however, look no further.
Ravenous Tyrannosaurus, unsurprisingly, is a huge Dinosaur capable of swinging a Commander game in your favor. For six mana, you get a 6/6 with a few decent abilities. First, the card has Devour 3, meaning it grows a bunch for each Creature you sacrifice to it. Then, when you attack with it, you can have it deal damage equal to its power to another Creature. Here’s the kicker, though. Excess damage goes to the Creature’s controller. In this sense, the bigger the Dinosaur is, the bigger chunk of damage can be dealt to opposing Creatures and players.
Obviously, playing a bunch of small Creatures and token producers to sacrifice to the Devour ability can be quite strong. Ideally, you would have a Haste enabler in play, such as Concordant Crossroads in order to take advantage of the Dinosaur’s abilities right away. Throwing in some pump spells like Increasing Savagery and ways to add additional +1/+1 counters to it can make the Dinosaur extra scary.
Unfortunately, though, Ravenous Tyrannosaurus is not legendary, so building around it as your Commander isn’t an option. That being said, it does work nicely with Atla Palani, letting you sacrifice Egg tokens in a beneficial way, so it’s definitely worth considering as an addition alongside the Dr. Ian Malcolm Atla Palani Secret Lair card.
Dino DNA is a really interesting and flavorful card. It gives you the ability to exile a Creature card from any graveyard, then you can create a token copy of a card exiled with Dino DNA by investing six mana at Sorcery speed, except the copy is a 6/6 green Dinosaur with Trample (just like Colossal Dreadmaw). The idea is to showcase the extraction of DNA from the Dinosaurs that perished (hence, exiling a Creature specifically from the graveyard) to replicate their existence, which is extremely flavorful indeed. The flavor text states, “Dinosaurs left their blueprints behind for us,” which further enhances how this card directly references Jurassic World.
Dino DNA isn’t just an awesome design, though. It’s also a relatively powerful Commander card. While six mana can be a bit steep of a cost, getting to repeatedly make enormous token copies of strong Creatures every turn is a great option to have. Notably, while exiling a card from a graveyard requires tapping Dino DNA, making a token copy does not, so you can do both on the same turn or theoretically make multiple token copies of Creatures on the same turn. Making copies of cards with great enters-the-battlefield effects, such as Dockside Extortionist, is a great way to get maximum value out of the Artifact.
Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists
Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists is a Commander card that shows off one of the unique mechanics from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. You can use Ellie and Alan to exile a Creature card from your graveyard to Discover X, where X is its mana value. Discover works similarly to Cascade, where you reveal cards from the top of your library until you find one a non-Land card to cast. There are a couple differences, though.
First, while Cascade specifically looks for cards with lesser mana value, Discover looks for mana value equal to X, or less. Second, you can choose not to cast the revealed card and instead put it into your hand. This is helpful in situation when you reveal a card that isn’t helpful right at that time, such as Reclamation Sage with no good targets.
As long as you can keep your graveyard stashed with Creatures, Ellie and Alan provide a lot of value. Unfortunately, the ability to activate only at Sorcery speed does take away some of its utility. With ways to untap Ellie and Alan, such as Umbral Mantle, you can still generate a decent flow of card advantage regardless.
Life Finds a Way
Life Finds a Way is a neat way to potentially generate a ton of extra value. The goal with the card is to have a relatively powerful Creature token of some kind on the battlefield to make additional token copies of with the Populate ability. You get to make token copies any time a non-token Creature with power four or greater enters the battlefield under your control. It’s hard to go too crazy with this card since you need to play big, non-token Creatures in order to get value out of Life Finds a Way. Still, this card can shine in situations where the token you are making copies of is extremely impactful.
For example, imagine you utilize Dino DNA to make a token copy of a massive threat with a good enters-the-battlefield effect, such as Terastodon. With Life Finds a Way in play, every big Creature you play comes with another copy of Terastodon. Life Finds a Way also works well with Discover, since if you reveal big Creatures, you can cast them for free and get additional triggers off of the Enchantment. Life Finds a Way definitely takes some work to get going, but can be powerful in the right situation.
Indoraptor, the Perfect Hybrid
Indoraptor, the Perfect Hybrid is a cheap Commander card, but takes some work to maximize its potential. First up, the card has Bloodthirst X, so it enters the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters equal to the damage dealt to your opponents during your turn. Assuming you can deal a decent chunk of damage, Indoraptor has the potential to be a very large Creature with Menace, making it difficult to block.
From there, Indoraptor has Enrage, which forces an opponent at random to either take damage equal to Indoraptor’s power or sacrifice a non-token Creature. As a large Creature with Menace, this card can hit hard. Where Indoraptor really shines, though, is alongside ways to repeatedly deal small amounts of damage to it.
Using cards like Goblin Sharpshooter can create awesome synergies. You use Sharpshooter to target your own Indoraptor, triggering Enrage. Then, either your opponent takes a bunch of damage, or they sacrifice a non-token Creature, which simply causes Sharpshooter to untap, allowing you to repeat this process. With a large copy of Indoraptor and ways to repeatedly deal small amounts of damage to it, the world is truly your oyster.
Atla Palani, Nest Tender
Atla Palani, Nest Tender is featured in the MTG Jurassic World Secret Lair. Similar to the Godzilla cards showcased in Ikoria, Atla Palani is given a new title and artwork reminiscent of a specific character. In this case, that character is Dr. Ian Malcolm. However, this title functions just like flavor text would, so the card acts identically to Atla Palani normally would. Still, this is a very cool looking card nonetheless and could be a great pickup for Atla Palani Commander players that enjoy unique artwork and design.
As for the card in Commander, the goal when utilizing Atla Palani is very simple: make Egg tokens and sacrifice them. Presumably, if you fill your deck with huge haymakers, you can consistently convert your Egg tokens into massive threats. While you can certainly try to block with the Egg tokens, it’s more reliable to set up ways to remove them yourself, such as Skullclamp or Goblin Bombardment.
In addition, Atla Palani states that you get to get a Creature from your library whenever any Egg you control dies, not just a token created with Atla Palani. As a result, cards like Maskwood Nexus can be super effective, making it quite difficult for your opponents to remove your enormous threats without things cascading out of control.
Last but not least, we have a reprint of Command Tower. Command Tower is exceptionally strong in Commander, adding a ton of consistency to multi-color manabases. Whenever you have access to Command Tower, you are essentially playing with a painless City of Brass. For players looking to play with four or five-color Commanders that understandably don’t want to spend a bunch of money buying Fetchlands and Dual Lands, cards like Command Tower help make sure you can still have the requisite colors of mana to cast your spells, and most importantly, your Commander.
Command Tower is a staple of the Commander format, and it’s easy to see why. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan looks like an absolute blast so far, and the added bonus of Jurassic World cards adds a nice touch. Cards like Dino DNA blend flavor and power together in a very cool way, so for fans of Commander and Jurassic World, these cards are a welcome addition to our beloved game.