[Standard][Budget] The Elder Ghalta and his R/G Dinosaurs ($25 Paper/5 MTGO TIX)

In case you missed it, [[Ghalta, Primal Hunger]] was spoiled today in a Wizards of the Coast (WotC) article.

As a sort of half-news-half-deck-tech-article, we’ve got a fun, thematic deck made out of only Ixalan cards that is meant for newer players to get used to the way dinosaurs play before Ghalta’s arrival.  This is a budget-friendly deck (only $25!) meant to introduce beginners to the Standard tournament format and to the deck archtype of mid-range aggro.  It can be made out of “draft chaff” (the cards that you get to keep after the draft is over) and some select rares that you may have picked up along the way and is ideal for someone who has been following along the Ixalan events, starting with the prerelease, through the official draft weekends, and finally maybe a handful more drafts or even bought a box of Ixalan!

So let’s open the door, get on the floor, and walk this Elder Dinosaur.

The MTGGoldish decklist can be found here, but I have also embedded it below:


Wait, where is Ghalta?!  Well, Ghalta is not Standard legal until the official release of Rivals of Ixalan on January 19, 2018.  Because the Store Championship season starts earlier, on December 30, 2017, I left Ghalta out of the decklist because I didn’t want to mislead a new player into thinking that they could slap their participation prize Ghalta into their 59 card deck and then play with Ghalta in the Store Championship tournament.  Thankfully, a [[Charging Monstrosaur]] was kind enough to keep Ghalta’s spot warm.

Speaking of Charging Monstrosaur, you may notice several “one-ofs” in the decklist.  Again, this deck is meant for a newer player who may only have a prerelease kit, some draft chaff, and a couple spare packs.  If you happen to have one or two more of the rares in the deck: [[Rampaging Ferocidon]], [[Regisaur Alpha]], or [[Burning Sun’s Avatar]], then feel free to remove a Charging Monstrosaur or two and put them in instead.  Maybe you even picked up a box of Ixalan and got a couple of the cool promo, alternate art Burning Sun’s Avatars!

This promo was given out to those who bought a box of Ixalan.  You can read the full WotC article here.




No, seriously.

Your goal is to play a creature every turn starting on turn two.  The deck has a way of ensuring that you do just that by filtering through your deck for the cheaper dinosaurs with [[Commune with Dinosaurs]].  You also have a way of speeding up the quality and size of your creatures with the additional mana sources: [[Drover of the Mighty]] and [[Otepec Huntmaster]].  These are your helper cards.  They let you draw cards or ramp up the amount of mana that you have available.  The drover even becomes its own beatstick once you get your first dinosaur into play.

Once your opponent plays a few blockers and your dinosaurs are becoming apprehensive about attacking the opposing player, get those blockers out of the way with [[Lightning Strike]], [[Savage Stomp]], and Burning Sun’s Avatar before you swing with the team.

Some of the dinosaurs help eachother.  [[Thrash of Raptors]] gets bigger if you have another dinosaur in play.  Ghalta also rewards you by playing a lot of dinosaurs, because Ghalta’s mana cost is reduced by the power of every creature (even non-Dinosaurs!) that you have in play.  With enough power, you can play Ghalta as early as turn 5 and for only two mana!



If you started before Ixalan or bought some packs of older sets, you might have some stuff lying around that can improve this deck like [[Abrade]], [[Shock]], and [[Sheltered Thicket]].  Improve on the above decklist by using some of the cards and strategies described in this WotC article by 2017 Player of the Year Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and in this deck-tech video by Magic the Amateuring‘s Maria Bartholdi.  After the Store Championship, don’t forget to add Ghalta to the deck!



In addition to Ghalta, deckboxes and a sweet treasure map playmat were spoiled in the article:




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2 Comments on “[Standard][Budget] The Elder Ghalta and his R/G Dinosaurs ($25 Paper/5 MTGO TIX)

  1. Pretty good. Think a verdant sun’s avatar should be included though. 12 life from ghalta seem worth it.


    • That’s a great idea! I was trying not to use too many rares since it’s a budget deck. If you would like to swap out the Ferocidon for a Verdant Sun’s Avatar or any other dinosaur rare, go for it!


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