I don't typically buy into new strategies on the basis of their competitive potential alone, but luckily you don't have to compromise tournament success to play this uniquely cool Dinosaur theme. In fact, several duelists scored Regional Top 8's immediately following the deck's release. Kyle Colon played a relatively pure build with True Kings at Charlotte North Carolina, while another duelist topped the Fort Worth Texas Regional with a mix of Dinosaurs, Yang Zings, and Zoodiacs.
Dinosaurs are poised to be a highly competitive strategy for months thanks to new True King support in Maximum Crisis. It's a great pick in the yet-to-be-announced Link Summoning era, and it's currently the deck-to-beat in the OCG. Code of the Duelist hasn't been out for long though, so things could change as OCG players continue to experiment with the Link mechanic.
Meanwhile, Dinosaurs represent another serious match-up here in the TCG. A respectable Regional weekend is only going to encourage more players to pick up and play the deck now rather than wait until May. I think it's time to make one last major revision to our Side Decks before Maximum Crisis is released.Dino Do's And Don'ts
Triggering the baby Dinosaurs is the easy part: True King Lithosagym, the Disaster is the go-to method of destroying monsters in your hand. In Maximum Crisis the burden on destroying cards in the hand shifts to the True King/True Draco Field Spell Dragonic Diagram and the deck's consistency will spike as a result. In the meantime there are plenty of times when you'll have a hand full of baby Dinosaurs without a way to net their effects, and that can be a bit of a problem against more consistent strategies.
The deck's many search cards help maintain a respectable level of consistency. Souleating Oviraptor can search any Dinosaur, including Dogoran, the Mad Flame Kaiju and Ultimate Conductor Tyranno. Make no Mistake: Ultimate Conductor Tyranno is better than your average Structure Deck boss monster. It has a powerful Book of Eclipse-like effect that can activate during either player's Main Phase, and it can also trigger a baby Dinosaur in the hand. It's extremely powerful now and potentially even better when Links arrive.
Lost World makes your opponent's Dinosaurs much more difficult to battle. All of your monsters will lose 500 ATK and DEF, and if you control a Token of any kind you won't be able to target your opponent's monsters with card effects. Lost World also protects Normal Monsters, including any Tokens you control. The 'cost' of that protection is the destruction of a Dinosaur in the deck, which is effectively another Summon for your opponent. Using Zoodiac Barrage or a Metalfoes Pendulum Monster to kick away a Token will Backfire spectacularly. Lost World turns would-be dead draws of Sabersaurus into reasonable Normal Summons.
The Dinosaur Extra Deck is formidable. Access to Evolzar Laggia and Evolzar Dolkka on top of the usual Rank 4 Xyz options provides excellent negation and utility picks. Jurrac Aeolo opens up paths to Denglong, First of the Yang Zing, which in turn enables Rank 9 Xyz Summons and the potential for Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon through Ultimaya Tzolkin. Even Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier is playable here.
Dinosaurs can compete in longer duels by leveraging Miscellaneousaurus and Souleating Oviraptor's search and Summon effects. The two of them together can repeatedly put Rank 4 Xyz onto the field each turn, similar to what we've seen with decks like Satellarknights. As the duel stretches on the threat of Tyranno Infinity looms larger, and it will force you to dedicate more resources to prevent a 5000+ ATK Level 4 monster from erasing the last of your Life Points. It's a well-paced, relatively consistent strategy with enormous damage output and a highly flexible Extra Deck. I think it demands at least some Side Deck attention, but as always we should prioritize cards that already cover common match-ups.Accelerating Extinction
Establishing a blanket-banishing effect is easier said than done. Banisher of the Radiance is out of the question for most decks beyond rogue stun builds like Barrier Statues, so what about a short-term effect? Different Dimension Ground continues to see Side Deck play against 60-card strategies with That Grass Looks Greener, and there's no reason its match-up utility shouldn't extend to Dinosaurs. Chaining Different Dimension Ground to True King Lithosagym, the Disaster's effect will still net your opponent a Summon, but they won't be resolving the effects of those destroyed baby Dinosaurs.
You can also banish your opponent's monsters as a byproduct. Debunk negates and banishes True Kings, Miscellaneousaurus, and the baby Dinosaurs. The banishing aspect especially important against True Kings. Solemn Strike or Solemn Warning will still trigger their second effect, but Debunk sidesteps it completely. D.D. Crow can snipe Dinosaurs out of the graveyard when they're targeted by Souleating Oviraptor, and preemptively knocks out Miscellaneousaurus.
Alternatively you could side cards that prevent your opponent from banishing cards. That would effectivel shut off Miscellaneousaurus and Ultimate Conductor Tyranno, but there's less utility in the match-up. Artifact Lancea can stall out certain effects and Summons, but in general D.D. Crow accomplishes the same feat. Crow also counters Elder Entity Norden and any teched Zoodiac engine. That said, there's one major reason to consider Lancea: Lithosagym's Extra Deck banishing effect. Chaining Lancea to Lithosagym's effect won't stop its Summon or the effects of the cards it destroys, but it will keep your Extra Deck safe.
Gozen Match is also worth playing if you're looking for a floodgate that'll stop your opponent's best plays. It won't shut your opponent out of playing, but it will usually burn a turn by forcing them to Summon Diamond Dire Wolf with two Earth monsters. Only Rescue Rabbit or a pair of highly specific Summons can outplay Gozen Match. Keep in mind that Oviraptor is Dark and Miscellaneousaurus is Fire. That leaves just Sabersaurus and Tyranno Infinity.
Rivalry of Warlords can be chained to True King Lithosagym, the Disaster to leave your opponent with nothing more than a 2500 ATK beatstick. The effects of Babycerasaurus and Petiteranodon won't be able to activate while your opponent controls a Wyrm, so even if you lose three cards in your Extra Deck you'll have effectively forced your opponent to discard two cards with a Continuous Trap. Rivalry can also prevent a Wyrm from hitting the field in the first place if your opponent already controls a Dinosaur. Lastly, Rivalry also prevents your opponent from Xyz Summoning any Rank 4 Xyz with Dinosaur monsters.
Destruction effects run rampant in Dinosaurs. Although few of them actually target your cards, there are a number of effects that destroy your opponent's own cards. For example, Souleating Oviraptor can destroy a Level 4 or lower Dinosaur on either side of the field. My Body as a Shield can negate Oviraptor regardless of whose side of the field its target is. It's also a great solution to Evolzar Dolkka if your opponent tries to negate a monster you control.
The single-best Side Deck card for this match-up is the upcoming Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring in Maximum Crisis. It's easily the best hand trap since Maxx "C", and next month you can bet it'll be among the most demanded cards in the game, if not the most. Ash Blossom stops everything: Souleating Oviraptor's search effect, Miscellaneousaurus, Babycerasaurus, and Petiteranodon's Summon effects, Fossil Dig, Terraforming, Unexpected Dai, and Denglong, First of the Yang Zing's Wyrm-sending effect.
Unless you're trying to fit Gozen Match or Rivalry of Warlords into your Side Deck you might not need to change it much to cover this match-up. That stays true after Maximum Crisis, where Ghost Ash is as close to a must-play card as we've had in a long time. There's a lot of room for Dinosaurs to grow before between now and May 5th, so knowing how the deck's core cards interact can help you much more than any specific Side Deck card.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigan gamer, writer, and college student. In addition to writing on TCGplayer, Kelly writes personal blog covering Yugioh, Destiny, and other hobbies. You can follow him on Twitter and check out his Youtube channel. He is currently studying marketing at Western Michigan University, and hopes to graduate before Dragon Ravine is Unlimited.