“3x Dinosmasher’s” returns. Konami announced on 23 April that Miscellaneousaurus—one of the Dinosaur archetype’s most outstanding playmakers, and also Dinos’ ticket to a disruption-free good time—would be returning to its pre-September 2017 glory.
Of course, almost two years have gone by. Six major sets, several structure decks, and as many deck-building sets have been released in that time. The Yugioh landscape has vastly changed. The competitive scene is overrun with challenges Miscellaneousaurus never had to face previously.
Almost two years later, where do the Jurassic killing machines fit in? Let’s look at Dinos’ resources, what’s going for them, and what might hold them back.
Table of Contents
Two weeks before the Miscellaneousaurus trio became a one-Dino band, Dinosaurs added a couple of particularly interesting members to the family, thanks to Battle of Legends: Light’s Revenge.
Giant Rex was the significantly more played of the two. Giant Rex summons itself when it’s banished, which made it a prime tech option for numerous mill and banish-oriented decks.
The less-played addition prior to Miscellaneousarus’ limitation was Double Evolution Pill. Double Evolution Pill could turn two dead monsters into a big, shiny Ultimate Conductor Tyranno with ease. Why UCT? Well, because the Double Evolution Pill didn’t truly become useful until almost five months after its release, four and a half months into Miscellaneousaurus’ rendition of “One is the Loneliest Number”.
…and the Present
Over the next year and a half following the September 2017 ban list, Dinos received a slew of interesting support. The first, Overtex Qoatlus, validated Double Evolution Pill’s existence. Released in Extreme Force, the addition of Overtex allowed Dinos both a way to search out Double Evolution Pill and an easy way to put spell/trap negation on the board. It doesn’t hurt that Overtex comes equipped with a nice 2700ATK to boot.
The next wave of welcome additions wouldn’t greet Dinos for another five months when they welcomed Pentestag and Reprodocus to the gang from Starter Deck: Codebreaker and Cybernetic Horizon, respectively. Pentestag, a non-Dino generic link-2, gives Dinos a brutal extra OTK capability, letting UCT hit every defense-position monster with massive piercing damage. Reprodocus, a somehow even more generic link-2, gave Dinos a way to make Summon Sorceress (R.I.P.) with non-Dino monsters like the True Kings.
Soul Fusion, a few sets later, changed not only Dino but the meta as a whole. Soul Fusion introduced the Dinowrestlers, headlined by arguably one of the best cards in the past year, Dinowrestler Pankratops. While the rest of the archetype fell ringside, Pankratops became an immediate two- or three-of in every single main or side deck. It serves as a generic, special-summonable beater who also gets rid of any problem card. The Dinowrestler field spell, World Dino Wrestling, has seen marginal play as accelerated access to Pankratops, but the rest of the archetype can only be described as lackluster, with Dinowrestler Systegosaur being the only other possible standout.
Despite all of this support, Dinosaurs still haven’t been compelling enough to return to the spotlight.
What Stands In Their Way
It’s been pretty clear that Dinos haven’t done much in the meta since Miscellaneousaurus got hit in 2017. Taking a few regional tops here and there, the deck’s current most popular use is as a mix engine for Thunder Dragons. Here’s what has been the biggest blockers for the deck competitively.
Since Miscellaneousaurus went away, hand trap vulnerability has been a particular issue for Dinos. Their main starter, Souleating Oviraptor, is quite vulnerable to the modern slew of hand traps: Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Effect Veiler, PSY-Framegear Gamma, and Infinite Impermanence all can bring a Dino player’s turn to a halt without suitable extenders. Ash Blossom also brutalizes Double Evolution Pill, bringing what could be a huge damage push to a grinding halt.
Unfortunately, the struggle doesn’t stop there. Dinos depend a surprising amount on the strength of their GY. Along with D.D. Crow making a modern comeback, Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion, Artifact Lancea, Called by the Grave, and Sky Striker Mecha – Shark Cannon have all been popular cards over the past year as ways to stop GY-reliant decks in their tracks. This had quite a negative effect on Dinos’ potency.
This isn’t seen nearly as much currently, but Dinos don’t have inherent counters to cards like Salamangreat Roar and Solemn Strike. With no inherent reliance on back row of their own, Dino players have needed to rely on Twin Twisters, Red Reboot, and Pankratops to play over or through the spell-speed-three pain that is hard negation. If they can’t, it has typically spelled inevitable defeat.
At this point, I wouldn’t blame you for asking, “What the hell? Why bother writing this at all with that much in the way for Dinos?”
Play Insurance is Back
With Miscellaneousaurus being simultaneously protection and a massive playmaker, Dinos need to see it as much as possible. A full set of Miscellaneousaurus makes that possible. With Oviraptor and Fossil Dig, Dinos can now see Miscellaneousaurus in 74% of go-first hands and 81% of go-second ones. This is a 10% boost from before, which might not seem like much until you put it into practice. Extra Miscellaneousaurus means extra hand trap shielding and more guaranteed plays, which usually means more wins.
Super-Poly is Legal and in Multiples
A resource that Dino didn’t have when Miscellaneousaurus was at three before, Super Polymerization, is going to change the entire landscape of this format. Not even the Winged Dragon of Ra – Sphere Mode could break a board quite like Super-Polymerization can. While Super-Poly doesn’t take care of back row-heavy decks, it can make light work of decks reliant on multiple-negation boards. Without the ability to chain to Super-Polymerization, players can shatter negation boards before they ever have to make a move, replacing an opponent’s hard work with the player’s own Starving Venom Fusion Dragon, Salamangreat Violet Chimera, or Dark Neostorm newcomer World Chalice Guardragon Almarduke.
The meta has also changed.
Summon Sorceress and The Phantom Knights’ Rank-Up-Magic Launch have been slammed by the ban hammer, and Phantom Skyblaster has been limited. This forces Orcust and Danger! Thunder Dragon players to rethink their game plans.
- Orcust likely will shift focus towards Dark Neostorm’s most hyped card, Dingirsu, the Orcust of the Evening Star. They’re likely to support it with more PK traps like Phantom Knights’ Fog Blade. Orcust also receives a new in-theme counter-trap in Dark Neostorm, Orcust Crescendo, that will likely make waves.
- Danger! Thunder Dragon will likely lean on Guardragons more heavily, or move back towards pure variants. They can no longer use Number 95: Galaxy-Eyes Dark Matter Dragon to set up floodgates, lowering their ceiling ever so slightly.
Sky Striker Ace – Kagari has been limited to 1, leaving Sky Striker players considering how to bolster their mid- and late-game consistency.
Pendulum players have some new toys with Endymion support now in circulation. They’ve also started using Guardragons to access Amorphage floodgates.
How does this help Dino? For starters, Dino now has solid matchups against the two projected leaders of the meta: Orcust and Danger! Thunder Dragon. Neither pack suitable negation to prevent Miscellaneousaurus from shutting them out of counterplay, nor do they have high enough attack power to throw hands with the likes of UCT. Plus, Dino is already relatively indifferent to Thunder Dragon Colossus’ one-sided Mistake effect.
Salamangreat players are going to suffer heavily if they don’t hit Miscellaneousaurus with Roar or Called by the Grave. Once Miscellaneousaurus goes off, the massive suite of hand traps the deck touts are rendered virtually useless, and with UCT being able to clear all but Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf from the field on the first round of attacks, any other monster presence that Dinos bring will force a tough uphill battle. Remember, Salamangreats have to get to a Link monster to make Salamangreat Heatleo or Violet Chimera.
Pendulum decks may turn into Dino’s easiest matchup. With two copies of Super-Poly, a searchable Dogoran, three Twin Twisters, and a suite of Miscellaneousaurus, Dino might actually take back the advantage in this matchup going either first or second. Pendulum has always struggled with UCT and now is no exception.
…But Some Things Stay the Same
As expected, Dino’s biggest problem will always be back row-heavy decks. Sky Striker, Subterror, and Altergeist will cause Dino’s pain, especially with Crackdown coming in Dark Neostorm. Miscellaneousaurus will be used to great effect in two of these matchups, but Striker has always been the deck’s greatest bane. It bypasses Miscellaneousaurus in chain order with multiple Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchors, while also playing both Called by the Grave and Shark Cannon to deal with the GY. Dino players will likely devote a significant chunk of their main deck techs and side deck specifically to dealing with back row and Sky Strikers specifically.
What’s to Come
I, for one, am quite excited to see how Dino plays out in the new meta. True King and Shaddoll builds are being tossed around left and right, but some Orcust builds have also crept up from beneath. The hype train is clearly going full-blast, as Double Evolution Pill tripled in price on the secondary market within an hour of the new ban list dropping.
Will Dino be tier 1? Probably not, but who knows. It seems within the last year that tier-2, tier-3, and rogue strategies have fared significantly better than in the past, meaning we might see Dino—and other decks—break out from the shadow of tier 1 and get their moment in the limelight. Maybe the deck’s just waiting for the right conductor to direct the hype train. While all this remains to be seen, you better believe that I’ll be looking forward to what’s coming!
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