Lost Caverns of Ixalan has four new Commander Precons. As you’d expect from an Ixalan set, they are focused on that plane’s stand-out creature types. Let’s take a look at Veloci-Ramp-Tor and examine the best ways to upgrade the deck on a budget.
The deck features two new legendary creatures who make for great dinosaur commanders. The face commander is Pantlaza, Sun-Favored. She prominently features discover, which is arguably the most powerful mechanic in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.
This fixed version of cascade only triggers when creatures enter the battlefield, but it still nets you a whole card full of value any time you activate it. To take full advantage of her, you’re going to want to trigger discover every single turn. If you do that, your opponents will be overwhelmed by card advantage.
When she or another dino enters the battlefield, you get to discover equal to that creature’s toughness. This means you get a 2-for-1 right away, and every other dinosaur will net you one of those, too.
As you can guess from the deck’s name, it features lots of ramp and huge dinosaurs with high toughness. That way, as you ramp your mana, you’re going to make the “X” in “discover X” really high.
While Pantlaza is certainly good, I think the deck’s other potential Commander is far more interesting. While Wayta doesn’t have the word “dinosaur” on her type line or in her text box, her ability is meant to abuse enrage — the dinosaur mechanic from the original Ixalan.
Creatures with enrage give you value any time the creature is damaged, so her ability allows you to make your dinos fight each other and trigger those abilities. Then she doubles them! If two creatures with one of these triggers fight each other, the value you can generate is obscene.
As much as I like Wayta’s unique design, this precon doesn’t have a critical mass of the enrage mechanic — certainly not enough to easily switch out some cards and have her reach her true potential. She’s still great, and the deck has some synergy with her, but in the end Pantlaza is the better commander to upgrade the deck around.
DINO-MITE NEW CARDS
In addition to two new Commanders, the deck features eight other new cards that are exclusive to the precon. I’d like to highlight what I think are the most powerful of these.
The downside with this type of effect is your opponents can get the cards back if someone kills the Foragers. But this dino came prepared!
You can put the cards it exiles back into your opponents’ graveyards and gain life off of it. This is especially brutal if you leave mana up with the Foragers in play.
Tired of your opponents having pesky artifacts and enchantments around? Well, so is Scion of Calamity. Since this beefy dino has myriad, it also ensures that you’ll be able to discover every turn that it attacks.
Wrathful Raptors gives the deck a very powerful dinosaur payoff. Once it comes down, it is going to be virtually impossible for your opponent to do damage to your dinosaurs without getting completely blown out.
Raptors is also one of the few cards in the deck that interacts in a big way with Wayta. If you have two dinosaurs fight each other with this in play, you’re going to be able to kill four creatures and/or do massive amounts of damage to your opponents.
Progenitor’s Icon is really good in this deck, especially because with Pantlaza around, you can discover at instant speed. However, this card also has broader implications for Commander.
This feels like it should be a staple in kindred decks going forward. It’s a low-cost way to give your creatures flash since it also happens to be a useful mana rock. Many of the ways you can give things flash don’t do very much else, and this card is useful even when the flash part isn’t.
CLEVER GIRL: $50 UPGRADES
While this precon is quite powerful right out of the box, there are some changes you can make to the deck to make it even more potent, and you can do it without breaking the bank. I think the best thing to do is lean into the dinosaur synergy, while also making it easier to trigger Pantlaza’s discover X every single turn.
This precon does an excellent job of already containing most of the best dinosaur payoffs in the game, but there are a few others that will make the deck even better.
Cherished Hatchling’s death trigger makes every dinosaur in your hand far better. Not only do they gain Flash, but they become removal spells who fight when they enter the battlefield. This is particularly good with the dinos in the deck that have enrage. Giving Dinosaurs flash also means that you might have a chance to trigger discover during your opponents’ turns, too!
Palani’s Hatcher gives Haste to all of your dinosaurs. Even if you don’t manage to draw a Dinosaur the first two turns after you play the Hatcher, its ability to give up those Eggs to make a 3/3 means you’ll be discovering on your next couple of turns no matter what.
Tutors are great in Commander since it’s a 99-card, singleton format, which means Forerunner of the Empire and Priest of the Awakening Sun are super powerful. What’s even better is they also give you some additional dinosaur value.
The Forerunner does one to each creature any time a dino enters the battlefield and the Priest gains you two life every upkeep if you reveal a dinosaur from your hand.
TRIGGERING DISCOVER EVERY TURN
discover is an incredibly powerful mechanic because of the card advantage it can grant you. One of the best ways to build around Pantlaza is to make sure you can trigger discover with regularity.
The best way to get the most mileage out of Pantlaza’s discover trigger is to use cards that make multiple dinosaur bodies. If a single card can make more than one dinosaur, you’re going to be generating truly obscene value.
Ghalta and Mavren will discover 12 when it comes down, and then each time it attacks you’ll have the opportunity to discover 12 again! If your opponent isn’t overwhelmed by your massive Dinosaurs, they will be once you throw in all that card advantage.
Dino DNA is a bit slow at making tokens, but the ability to start making Dinosaur token copies of a creature from either graveyard is great for the deck. You can go after something with particularly high toughness, or something with a powerful ETB ability that you want to trigger every turn.
Huatli’s not a dinosaur, but she does love them. On the front side she makes sure you hit a land drop, and then when you transform her into Roar of the Fifth People, you generate two dinosaurs, then all of your creature turn into mana, then she tutors up a dinosaur, and she finishes things off by giving them all double strike and trample. In this deck, if all goes according to plan, Roar of the Fifth People will end the game.
Huatli also loved dinosaurs back when she was a planeswalker. She has a 0 loyalty ability that can give you one every turn, and her +2 gets better the beefier creatures you have in play.
Finally, there’s “Welcome to…” this Jurassic World Saga gives you a dinosaur token, and once it transforms it gives all of your dinosaurs Escape. While this deck isn’t a graveyard deck, over the natural course of most games you’re going to have dinosaurs in your graveyard, and having the ability to get them back is pretty great, especially because it’s another way to ensure that you can cast a dinosaur on most turns.
I took out the following cards to make these upgrades:
- Generous Gift
- Rishkar’s Expertise
- Chandra’s Ignition
- Rhythm of the Wild
- Rampaging Brontodonb
- Bellowing Aegisaur
- Majestic Heliopterus
- Return of the Wildspeaker
- Temple Altisaur
You can find the decklist here.
If you want to go even deeper on upgrading the deck and you’re interested in investing more than $50, there are some great options out there.
Bonehard Dracosaur is great in combat, and it has an absolutely cracked upkeep trigger. You effectively draw two extra cards a turn, while also generating treasure and dinosaur tokens. While those tokens have 1 toughness, discovering 1 for free once a turn is something you’d sign up for every day of the week.
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is one of my least favorite episodes of Doctor Who, but it’s awesome in this deck. It is a huge dinosaur lord that offers an impressive boost to your whole board. And, if you suspend it, it will generate a dinosaur army before it ever comes into play.
There are also a couple of Jurassic World cards you’re going to want in this deck. Hunting Velociraptor gives your dinosaurs prowl, which means if you have dealt combat damage to your opponent with a dinosaur on a given turn, you can cast it for just three mana!
Meanwhile, Savage Order is a fun, dinosaur-based version of Natural Order, and it works great here. This deck is loaded with monstrous dinosaurs like Wakening Sun’s Avatar and Apex Altisaur, so cheating those into play for only four mana is likely to shift a game wildly in your favor.
Finally, there are a couple of green Legendary Artifacts this deck would love. The Skullspore Nexus and The Great Henge will often be easily castable because this deck has so many high power creatures. Once they are in play, they can completely take over the game.
As for The Skullspore Nexus, it makes a dinosaur token when your nontoken creatures die, which will of course trigger Pantlaza. It can also double your creature’s power, and this deck has so many big, tramply bois in it that the effect will likely have a huge impact on combat.
The Great Henge is of course a staple in any Green deck with a decent number of creatures. It helps you ramp your mana while also drawing you a ton of cards and making every creature you play better, too.
So, those are my thoughts on the best ways to upgrade the Veloci-ramp-tor precon. What do you think? Would you go in a different direction? Hit me up on X with your thoughts!
Jacob has been playing Magic for the better part of 24 years, and he especially loves playing Magic’s Limited formats. He also holds a PhD in history from the University of Oklahoma. In 2015, he started his YouTube channel, “Nizzahon Magic,” where he combines his interests with many videos covering Magic’s competitive history. When he’s not playing Magic or making Magic content, he can be found teaching college-level history courses or caring for a menagerie of pets with his wife.