Hey there, I’m ImpetuousPanda and I recently climbed from Diamond 4 to Master Tier I in just two days playing Mono Green Dinos on MTGA. Although I am not a MTG veteran, having just started playing on and off about a month ago, I do have a lot of experience with Gwent and have
achieved #1 on ladder multiple times as well as having qualified to LAN events.
I think the current list is very close to perfect, at least the extremely aggressive version I enjoyed climbing with. There may be other variants you can branch out to within Mono Green Dinos, but I think this is currently one of the strongest lists available.
Coming from UB control pre-dom, this deck is lightning quick and fantastic for grinding wins.
Honestly, card draw and a very linear gameplan. Although it excels at many things, it sports a very straightforward gameplan and a singular win condition, go face with big dinos that have trample. If your opponent draws well and can deny your early ramp as well as your big dinos,
once you run out of fuel on turn 7-9 if you haven’t already put a lot of pressure on your opponent it may very well be too late.
There’s also an insane difference in how the deck performs if you draw optimally(Llanowar Elves turn 1 or Merfolk Branchwalker Turn 2 as opening plays), as opposed to not
drawing any one or two drops and falling way behind the curve. Luckily for us, this deck is extremely
consistent and with proper mulliganing you should always have viable openers no matter your luck.
This deck will lose out against control and swarm decks that draw very well, otherwise you have a fighting chance in every matchup, especially if you can ramp up efficiently in your first 5 turns. It’s also a tad bit expensive for new players, with 12 rares and 7 mythics
making up the optimal list.
This is a consistent deck that is optimal for grinding. It’s fun, it’s generally easy to pilot once you get the hang of it and it’s extremely aggressive, ending games in 4-5 turns very often and allowing you to grind out rewards in “Quick Constructed” rapidly. There are
honestly not many decisions to be made throughout a game, especially in comparison to what I was previously playing UB Control, which allows much less room for error for players just starting out with MTGA.
Why play Mono Green Dinos?
Simply put, it’s a powerhouse deck that for the most part finishes games just as quickly as RDW. And honestly, what would you rather grind quick wins with, a parade of pirates and monkeys or a badass elf knight riding a dino lizard? Cards like
Rhonas The Indomitable,
Ghalta, Primal Hunger, and
Carnage Tyrant are extremely satisfying to play, and there’s a ton of consistency thanks to a myriad of three drops, Llanowar Elves openers and the ability to dodge mana screws thanks to
Merfolk Branchwalker and
Ranging Raptors. Not only does the deck naturally get extremely quick wins when you get your big dinos out to play, but you get even quicker games due to opponent forfeits. Due to the deck’s extremely linear gameplan, it’s very easy for an opponent to identify a loss a turn or two in advance, causing an elevated number of early forfeits as soon as turn four.
Ideally, you’re looking for at least 2 lands(no more than three), Llanowar Elves as a one drop and then Rhonas/Steel Leaf Champion into
Ghalta turn four. This doesn’t happen extremely often though, so you’ll have to compromise for a whole host of different, and less ideal, hands.
The mulligan revolves around Llanowar Elves, as they completely change the amount of pressure you can put on your opponent. Regardless, for the sake of playing it safe, not having a turn one play with two forests and a Merfolk Branchwalker is a perfectly viable hand to keep. Most of these rules change drastically as soon as you go into your second mulligan and I very rarely go further than that, unless you don’t draw lands obviously.
Mono Green Dinos deploys a fairly simple and linear gameplan. Play extremely value efficient creatures sooner than you should realistically be able to. Llanowar Elves is the hard carry to making this
deck so powerful, as a turn two 5/5 with indestructible and deathtouch followed by a turn three 5/4 is well...devastating. Regardless, if you don’t happen to draw into Llanowar Elves, you’re still playing
absolutely amazing value in pretty much every single card, allowing you to quickly overcome your opponent who won’t be able to effectively trade in combat.
This is definitely a very aggresive bursty deck, but Rhonas The Indomitable ’s ability, as well as Hashep Oasis
and eternalized Resilient Khenras helps up with efficient manasinks later on that double as win conditions onto our trampling big
dinos(Carnage Tyrant and Ghalta, Primal Hunger and don’t screw with our early game consistency.
Ghalta is going to be our win conditions most games, as we’ll typically be able to play him turn four for two mana and pressure the opponent into an immediate answer(which in most cases is a swift forfeit). The magic of this deck is that everything synergizes in perfect
harmony, from Resilient Khenra’s enabling early Rhonas attacks by buffing weaker 3 drops to enabling Ghalta turn four thanks to the absolute beefiness of Rhonas The Indomitable
and Steel Leaf Champion.
I think it’s apparent why this card is so powerful. It may very well be the most impactful one drop in MTGA at the moment. Without this, the deck would be strong but drawing into this outright wins you games by giving your opponent one turn less to react to your onslaught of
creatures. Llanowar Elves obviously peak as a one drop, and they hold diminishing returns later on as ramping up isn’t as important. They’re still a decent play turn two if you’ve already played one turn
one and have a Merfolk Branchwalker to drop alongside it. Later on they lose a lot of value, as generally you’re looking to breach the gap between mana at the point where it creates the most impact,
which generally tends to be from 2 drops to 3 drops. You also tend to have very little card draw with this deck aside from a single Ripjaw Raptor, so it’s hard to justify keeping this from a
Merfolk Branchwalker scry later into the game when you really need to get cards that are as impactful as possible.
Rhonas The Indomitable Rhonas has an extremely low mana cost for what it does, but a somewhat situational requirement attached to it. Luckily for us, thanks to cards like Steel Leaf Champion,
Resilient Khenra and even Savage Stomp, the sacrifice is basically non-existent. When you don’t even notice the secondary requirement
in a grand majority of games, you’re basically cheating the system by playing such an incredibly powerful card(with a incredibly synergistic ability and manasink to boot) for a measly three mana.
Rhonas can help convert mana into trample damage, basically reading as “Target Opponent loses two health” by adding it onto your already massive dinosaurs(Ghalta, Primal Hunger
and Carnage Tyrant). Rhonas can help trick less experienced opponents into making terrible trades(buffing your own units as
an instant cast during your opponent’s combat phase). Rhonas can help buff and attack with single units during a stalled out match where
Settle The Wreckage is a threat. And most importantly, Rhonas keeps the pressure on non-stop thanks to his indestructible and
deathtouch tags, allowing you to be the aggresor and either get face damage in early or force your opponent to make, well, terrible trades.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Again, we run into an extremely powerful card that would normally have a hard-to-meet secondary cast requirement. And yet again, we can completely ignore it for the most part and play a 12/12 dino with trample for two mana on turn four or five at most.
This card will be your number one win condition. It can get easily countered as it doesn’t have hexproof, but overall you’ll be able to either clear your opponent’s board entirely or just win the game outright thanks to the insane stats.
Rhonas The Indomitable and Steel Leaf Champion both make playing this for 2 mana incredibly easy, but Resilient Khenra at two mana is able to add 4 stats of power for that turn, truly enabling a consistent turn four Ghalta, Primal Hunger as you’d only need 6 power on the board, or five even with a Llanowar Elves in play.
This card is honestly the sleeper hit within the deck, and probably the deciding factor that is holding down less optimal mono green lists. Resilient Khenra does a fantastic job all around the board,
and truly enables consistency in so many ways. He provides an excellent manasink and card draw alternative through it’s eternalization. The eternalized Resilient Khenra works hand in hand with our direct
win condition, by directly buffing our trample dinosaurs. Khenra helps enable Rhonas early by buffing cards like
Ranging Raptors , Merfolk Branchwalker or Thrashing Brontodon.
she enables Ghalta by adding 4 stats of power for two mana, allowing a turn four Ghalta much more consistently.
It can be directly discarded to the graveyard thanks to our Merfolk Branchwalker’s explore ability.
And last but not least, it helps our early game consistency by adding a less optimal, but viable two drop early on.
You know you’re playing a fun deck when Carnage Tyrant is honestly one of the least interesting cards. His 6 mana cost is a long ways away, especially when his stats pale in comparison to cards like
Ghalta, Primal Hunger that can be played cheaply in turn four or five. But Carnage Tyrant has one things that the rest
of our cards don’t have, and that’s inevitability. As an uncounterable hexproof lumbering dinosaur of destruction, this is the number one win condition against one of the most common deck in the meta UW Control.
Only Settle The Wreckage can deal with this big boy in that matchup, so be sure to only attack with a pumped up Carnage Tyrant and
bait out those Settle The Wreckages to allow an all-in later on.
Hashep Oasis Hashep Oasis is a no brainer. It’s almost like this desert was made for this deck. There’s very little downside to playing it, as in most matchups your life total will be more than safe, so spending one
life point occasionally to guarantee plays like Steel Leaf Champion early is no problem. It really excels in the late game, as it provides a powerful manasink when you’ve lost all card advantage,
and helps finishing off games by buffing your trample dinosaurs even more and either going for better trades thanks to the +3/+3 stat buff. Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t also add trample to the creature it targets, so you’ll normally want to buff your trample dinos so as to
not allow your opponent more favorable trades elsewhere.
Savage Stomp Savage Stomp is an invaluable asset to this deck as it serves as a control/removal spell and has great synergy with cards like Ranging Raptors
and Ripjaw Raptor thanks to their enrage abilities. It also works with Rhonas to basically delete any unit that isn’t also indestructible because of Rhona’s deathtouch ability.
Savage Stomp also does a great job of trading with Thrashing Brontodon and also buffing up to a permanent 4/5,
enabling Rhonas The Indomitable to block and attack in the early game. You can deal with pesky creatures that have first strike, double strike, or even flying thanks to
Savage Stomp and it’ll be a fantastic card to draw at any moment. It’s also swings the boardstate completely in your favor, especially in a position where your opponent has a single creature you can
take down and then also go face that same turn.
Adventurous Impulse Adventurous Impulse does a fine job of fixing your hand as a one drop when you’re missing a Llanowar Elves opening.
It also fits in well as there is only one four mana spell and no five mana spells, so it’s useful as filler to not leave a single mana unspent. In the late game, it’s a great topdeck as you’ll be able to fish for your most impactful cards like
Carnage Tyrant or Ghalta, Primal Hunger quickly in case of a stall on board.
The Filler Dinos
The last three remaining cards we haven’t talked about are the three filler dinos, Ranging Raptors, Thrashing Brontodon and
Ripjaw Raptor. Ranging Raptors and Thrashing Brontodon both pale
in comparison to the 5/4 Steel Leaf Champion offers us, but they provide very good stats and or utility within the deck, and also provide necessary synergy with
Savage Stomp so we’re able to include the card in the deck. Ripjaw Raptor is a most recent addition, and he does a great job of filling up a
4 mana slot and also helping a bit with card draw later on. He also trades favorably against cards like Lyra Dawnbringer with the help of Savage Stomp, which is absolutely massive in the current meta. Although
these cards are generally interchangeable, and Ranging Raptors seem to be a little less impactful than the rest, I do believe 6 dinos is the perfect ratio we should include. Other very powerful three drops
like Prowling Serpopard exist but the lack of the dinosaur tribal tag takes away too much value from the one mana Savage Stomps in my opinion.
Tech Cards and Missing Cards
Due to the deck’s linear gameplan and fairly solitaire playstyle, there isn’t really much in terms of tech. Scavenger grounds it a great fit as it should never mess with your mana needs and it also doubles as
desert sacrifice for
Hashep Oasis . Being able to exile decks that rely on tokens and eternalize effects is game-winning in certain matchups. You can scramble the amount of certain cards like
Thrashing Brontodon or Savage Stomps around depending on the trouble you’re having with enchantments or artifacts but there isn’t really
much more to it. If you’re having a lot of trouble with control, you can potentially remove Savage Stomps altogether and include Ambuscade as substitutes
Prowling Serpopard as a very decent replacement for Ranging Raptors,
/Thrashing Brontodons, especially considering Prowling Serpopard directly enables
Rhonas The Indomitable as well. I personally think the current list is superior with more dinos and the use of one mana Savage Stomps
but I still have a lot of testing to do as I’ve only played the deck for about a week.
Some may find it odd Rhona's Monument is missing, but it’s simply too slow a card to include with this deck’s current gameplan. It competes as an incredibly valuable three mana drop and in a possible stall on the
way to the lategame, you should have a Rhonas The Indomitable available to achieve a very similar effect.
Hapatra’s Mark is another consideration, especially in an attempt to protect Ghalta’s immense power in control matchups. But with limited card draw and a desire for as much consistency as possible,
it’s simply too clunky to include in the list.
For the most part this deck is costly and will suffer greatly if you remove too many rares or mythics. You can go down to 2 Carnage Tyrants and 2 Rhonas
and the deck is still incredibly competitive. With rares, it’s a completely different story, if you remove to many Resilient Khenra’s,
Steel Leaf Champions or Ghalta, Primal Hunger s, the deck will perform at a much lower level as these three are vital for the deck’s success.
For most two and three mana cards, you’ll simply try to include more copies of cheaper yet valuable replacements, for example a full set of Ranging Raptors or a full set of
In the end, Mono Green Aggro is an extremely fun, yet simple deck that will get you good results quickly. It’s not the most complex deck in the game, nor is it the absolute best in most matchups. It’s also a tiny bit expensive, although you can make a lot of budget replacements
and the extremely effective turn two skip with Llanowar Elves will still work and do a lot of damage against unprepared opponents.
I invested heavily in it with Dominaria’s release and I don’t regret it even a little bit. I get at least 4 wins in Quick Constructed 95% of the time, get to 7 wins very often and can grind quick runs with a fun simple deck that is a great distraction from the previous control decks I was playing pre-Dominaria. I hope you guys enjoyed the deck overview and feel free to make replacements and try different cards out.
Even now I’m changing the deck every day and still testing out different cards, I’d love to hear others having success with an altered version of the Mono Green core.
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