Is there anything a seven year old boy could love more than dinosaurs performing fatalities?

Because I want to write about anything but keto today (it’s… going. At least I had a couple of lil’ baby poops today), I’m gonna turn my attention to some of the new Magic the Gathering spoilers for Rivals of Ixalan. If Magic ain’t your thing, come back tomorrow (when I’ll most definitely mention poop again).

Dinos, pirates and… vampire conquistadors? Oh my. Rivals of Ixalan is a mere week or two away and I’m excited to dig into these EDH goodies. While standard will no doubt continue to be relatively stale while Scarab God and the full energy suite are in the format, Ixalan is at least buffing up Commander with some fun new toys. In sublimely selfish fashion, I’m gonna look at some nifty gains for my Primal enRage deck helmed by Marath of the Wild. Let’s get into it!

I talked about what the deck would resemble here, but as a basic primer for what the deck does, it tries less to be a boring Marath toolbox and more to enable Enrage shenanigans (or legacy Enrage style abilities like Stuffy Doll, Boros Reckoner, Spitemare, Sprouting Phytohydra, etc). Most everything in there passes the Aether Flash test and if I ever get out Pyrohemia, it’s a good time (for me, not others). It’s been playing alright, but has needed a couple more cards to eke out wins. What does Rivals bring us?

First up we have Zacama, Primal Calamity. This big ol’ dino comes in and stomps the world around him flat. Have you got a fancy robot or aura? Dead. What about your precious tiny critters? Taste Zacama’s heel! Nine mana is a ton. There’s no getting around that. However, my Marath deck does a fair bit of ramping thanks to the usual complement of staples (Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate, format all star Fertilid, etc) and the deck’s MVP: Ranging Raptors. Getting to 11 mana isn’t uncommon or difficult, so Zacama will do its fair share of work. Thankfully I don’t run Temur Sabretooth or Cloudstone Curio. I’m not interested in winning with cheesy infinite mana combos.

Forerunner of the Empire isn’t a dino, but he grabs them. The card isn’t amazing, but it has a couple of features I like. First off, he passes the Aether Flash test. Secondly, he grabs dinos while enabling them. That static ability not only does work (especially with a Rite of Passage in play) with getting Enrage online, but it’s a “may” ability to prevent me from destroying all of my own stuff. I expect that Raptor Hatchling will be BFFs with this dude (after it gets a +1/+1 counter or two from Marath).

Forerunner’s next best friend is bound to be Polyraptor. This silly bulk mythic is a pumped up version of Sprouting Phytohydra that can actually attack and makes 5/5s, which have a habit of ending the game. I’ve gotta watch out for its interaction with Aether Flash, which creates an endless loop if I don’t have some way of ending it. In goes Impact Tremors, so I can at least burn out all my opponents while I’m at it. If this thing costs eight to cast, I’m alright with an unwieldy three card combo to close out games.

Another fat, splashy dino is what’s being translated at the moment as Silver-Armored Ferocidon. The ability could work out to be pretty mean, or at the very least help me end games. Running Pyrohemia, this could put the kibosh on my opponents’ boardstate, especially with Seedborn Muse on the table. These are the kind of large scale Enrage effects the deck was missing.

Speaking of large scale Enrage effects, “Trapjaw Regisaur” is a doozy. There are some serious Deepthroat shenanigans going on with this lizard. Does it have a black hole for a stomach? In any case, while I don’t expect it to survive forever, it should manage to keep a couple of my opponents’ creatures at bay while the rest of mine slay. It’s competitively costed and sized and earns its slot. God forbid if I manage to give it indestructible or hexproof. Or what if I pinged it a bunch of times in response to a wrath in order to save my other dinos?

Like this lil’ guy. Siegehorn Ceratops. It starts out tiny, but gets massive pretty damn quickly. It’ll need help from Marath to survive Aether Flash, but if it does I’ll have gained a 4/4 for 3 that’ll only grow. Imagine having a 5/5 Marath and this, having the capacity to make a 12/12 at will? Seems sweet as fuck.

The last dino I’m considering is less fierce, but a useful roleplayer. Also it saves Siegehorn Ceratops from Aether Flash. Temple Altisaur. See, my favourite sweeper in the deck is Blasphemous Act (for good reason. It’s like dropping a Brick… House on the board). It plays very well with all of the Stuffy Doll variants. It does, however, kill my critters, even if my Enrage dinos give off a parting shot. In other words, it’s a saur spot. The Altisaur doesn’t survive Blasphemous Act, but it’s pretty much dino Jesus, sacrificing itself for the rest of the herd. Or, y’know, it just puts on Darksteel Plate and goes to town. If Boros Reckoner gives its life by dealing 13 damage, I’m probably okay with that.

I’d always hoped that Rivals would give Primal enRage the boost it needed. In a few weeks, there’ll be no more need for dreams. The set isn’t even all spoiled, but I feel like I have been.

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