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Much Abrew: Dino Prison (Legacy)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. What's the first card you think of when it comes to Legacy? I know that for me, the answer is Force of Will, and it isn't especially close. Last time I checked the data, more than 50% of decks in the format played the free counterspell. Blue is such a powerful and popular color in Legacy that Carpet of Flowers—a card that is quite literally dead if the opponent doesn't have Islands—is among the most played cards in the entire format. Plus, even with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer banned, Izzet Delver is the most played deck in the format. All of this is to say that Legacy is all about free counters and blue decks.

So, what should you do if you want to stick it to blue players? Play Dino Prison, of course! The idea of today's deck is simple: ramp into uncounterable and hard-to-kill Dinosaurs like Carnage Tyrant and Shifting Ceratops as quickly as possible (maybe as soon as Turn 2) with the help of fast mana. Back them up with prison pieces like Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere, and (hopefully) stomp all the blue players into the ground as they look sadly at their hand full of useless free counters and cheap interaction. Are Carnage Tyrant and Shifting Ceratops the solutions to Legacy's blue problem? Let's get to the video and find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Dino Prison

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  • Record-wise, we played two leagues with Dino Prison and finished 2-3 in both, which isn't super exciting, although I will say that we probably got a bit unlucky matchup-wise. We didn't play against the most popular deck in the format—Izzet Delver, a deck that Dino Prison is designed to crush—a single time, which is pretty unlikely considering it currently makes up more than 20% of the meta. 
  • The plan of Dino Prison is simple: mulligan aggressively with the help of Serum Powder for a hand that can do something powerful on Turn 1 or 2. This can be sticking a lock piece like Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere, or playing a massive, uncounterable Dinosaur with the help of fast mana like Grim Monolith, Lotus Petal, and Ancient Tomb. We had one game where we cast a [[Carnage Tyrant] on Turn 2!
  • The backup plan is Urza's Saga, which can potentially win us the game by making huge Constructs (which are even bigger in our deck than in most thanks to all of the random artifacts we have floating around to grow them) and also tutor up things like Shadowspear for lifelink or Manifold Key to untap Grim Monolith.
  • Overall, the deck felt like it could be incredibly strong but also very matchup dependent. Dino Prison really wants to play against blue decks, where Carnage Tyrant and Shifting Ceratops shine. Things are tough if we run into random creature decks. We still can potentially get our opponent with our lock pieces, but in those matchups, emptying our hand for a Carnage Tyrant or Shifting Ceratops isn't likely to be enough to win us the game because our opponent's creatures can take down our big finishers in combat. Sadly, something as small as a Baleful Strix or Ice-Fang Coatl can kill a Carnage Tyrant if we run into the wrong matchup.
  • The biggest issue we had with the deck (outside of having really good or really bad matchups) was consistency, especially with our mana. Dino Prison has a lot of colorless lands, and we had a few games where we had a ton of colorless mana but not enough green mana to cast a Shifting Ceratops or Carnage Tyrant. This probably shouldn't be a surprise, considering that only 11 of our 21 lands make green mana and that we're often starting the game with five or six cards in hand after mulliganing for a fast start, although it was awkward to have everything we needed to win the game with a huge Dinosaur but not be able to cast it because of a lack of green mana. Oh yeah, City of Traitors was a nightmare in the deck because of our need to play two green sources, to the point where it might need to be cut altogether. We had a lot of games where we needed to play City of Traitors early to do anything but then would be forced to sacrifice it a couple of turns later when we played a Forest or Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth to give us the mana we needed to cast our Dinos.
  • Speaking of nonbos, there were also some awkward interactions between Chalice of the Void and the one mana artifacts we're playing to tutor up with Urza's Saga, like Expedition Map, Manifold Key, Shadowspear, and some sideboard cards. While these cards are probably still worth playing in the deck, we did have a few times where we'd play a Chalice of the Void on one only to draw a one-mana artifact the next turn and be unable to resolve it.
  • It's also worth mentioning that Dino Prison is a very all-in deck. We only have eight real finishers in the deck in the four copies of Carnage Tyrant and four Shifting Ceratops, and we often spend a lot of resources to get one of these cards on the battlefield early in the game by tapping Grim Monoliths and sacrificing Lotus Petals. This is fine when the Carnage Tyrant kills our opponent, but it can be hard to rebuild if our opponent can deal with our big threat.
  • So, should you play Dino Prison in Legacy? I think it really depends on your local meta. It's great if you're playing exclusively against Delver and other blue decks without Swords to Plowshares, thanks to the Dinosaurs, and Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere can be game over against combo decks. On the other hand, if we don't hit a lock piece, Carnage Tyrant and friends typically aren't fast enough to race control. Creature decks like Elves, Death and Taxes, and Merfolk (which we somehow managed to play against twice, even though it's not really a part of the meta anymore) are incredibly tough matchups because they don't care all that much about our lock pieces (or can answer them), and they don't really care all that much about a fast Carnage Tyrant or Shifting Ceratops because they can usually trade a bunch of their random dorks for it in combat and then rebuild faster than we can. While many of our matches were close and most went three games, our overall record was middling, at 4-6. Overall, Dino Prison felt like a deck that could easily 5-0 if it hits its good matchups but just as easily 0-5 if it hits its bad ones. That said, the look of terror on a blue player's face when they see a Carnage Tyrant hitting the stack makes the bad matchups more than worth it because it's such a hilarious way to jank people out in a format as big and powerful as Legacy!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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