MTG Commander Deck Of The Week: Huatli, Poet Of Unity

Bennie Smith’s latest Commander Magic deck is Dino-mite! Check out his Huatli, Poet of Unity build full of Dinosaurs.

Huatli, Poet of Unity
Huatli, Poet of Unity, illustrated by Tyler Jacobson

From the original Ixalan set, Commander fans of Dinosaurs had a clear choice as their typal commander: Gishath, Sun’s Avatar. It was really the perfect Dinosaur commander: big, expensive to cast, and terrifying.

Now we’ve returned to Ixalan, and we’ve got two new choices for building a Dinosaur typal deck around, one from base set The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, and one from the “Veloci-Ramp-Tor” Commander deck.

Pantlaza, Sun-Favored

Pantlaza, Sun-Favored is obviously the most powerful choice. In fact, it’s really just obnoxiously overpowered to the point that I wonder if whoever designed it learned enough lessons from Chulane, Teller of Tales. Having in your command zone raw card advantage just doing what your deck normally does – play Dinosaurs – is boring design. Still, there are so many cool Dinosaurs in the main set and the Commander deck that I really wanted to build a Dinosaur deck, so I turned to the other new choice, who isn’t even a Dinosaur, but rather a Dinosaur-loving former Planeswalker who lost her spark – Huatli, Poet of Unity!

Huatli, Poet of Unity Roar of the Fifth People

The Saga Begins

In a masterstroke of flavorful design, Huatli – a poet – can transform into a four-chapter Saga that does really cool Dino stuff.

I really love the play pattern of this card. You cast Huatli for three mana and go fetch up a basic land to help you color-fix and ensure your next land drop. Then, once you’ve got five mana available on your turn – and the coast looks clear that no one will be a party pooper and destroy her in response – you can activate Huatli to transform into Roar of the Fifth People, giving you two 3/3 Dinosaurs with trample from Chapter I. The next turn is where things get awesome: those Dinos and any other creatures you’ve got around are now able to tap for mana until the Saga goes away.  Got a big, expensive Dinosaur in hand to cast?  Now you can!

Chapter III lets you search your library for any Dinosaur card that fits the situation at hand, depending on the state of the battlefield and your mana situation, which should be pretty darn good, barring an untimely battlefield sweeper. For the final chapter, we have to sacrifice our poor commander and move her back to the command zone, but in exchange, all Dinosaurs you control get double strike and trample until the end of the turn, which should set you up for a huge attack! 

Here’s how I built out the rest of my deck:

Silver Bullet Dinos

Kogla and Yidaro Tyrranax Rex Ghalta and Mavren Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant Gishath, Sun's Avatar Zacama, Primal Calamity Ghalta, Primal Hunger

For Chapter III, I wanted a variety of top-end Dinosaurs to choose from.  Original fearsome Dinosaur commander Gishath, Sun’s Avatar makes a great default choice, hitting the battlefield with haste and quite likely crashing through and finding even more Dinosaurs. And if it survives for Chapter IV?  Good times!

If you’ve got enough lands, Zacama, Primal Calamity is a great choice, unlocking a bunch of activated abilities that can take down problem permanents. Kogla and Yidaro can enter the battlefield with haste, or fight something, or be cycled to destroy an artifact or enchantment. If your spidey-senses are tingling that someone is holding up a counterspell for your Dinosaur silver bullet, go ahead and tutor up Tyrranax Rex to cast, and you’ll know whom to attack!

Dinosaurs Matter

Mutavault Cavern of Souls Belligerent Yearling Pugnacious Hammerskull Sunfrill Imitator Welcome to... Life Finds a Way Poetic Ingenuity Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

I’ve peppered in cards that care about other Dinosaurs, and I’m especially excited by the weirdo Dinosaurs on a Spaceship from the Doctor Who Commander decks. I was thrilled to open up a copy of Welcome to… from the Jurassic World Collection and love how it ticks down to eventually destroy a few noncreature artifacts and then transforms into a Gaea’s Cradle for Dinosaurs (that also gives all your Dinosaurs in your graveyard escape?!).

Life Finds a Way doesn’t explicitly mention Dinosaurs, but the Jurassic Park flavor is on point, and I have enough ways to make token Dinosaurs that I should find the populate trigger quite useful.

Cool Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Egg Ranging Raptors Rampaging Raptor Ripjaw Raptor Wrathful Raptors Palani's Hatcher Ravenous Tyrannosaurus Yidaro, Wandering Monster

This appears to be the “Cool Raptors” section!  I really love Dinosaur Egg in most creature decks, but it’s obviously even better here, providing a nice consolation prize with discover equal to its toughness, which should easily grow thanks to its initial zero power and evolve ability.

I made sure to use my Godzilla, Doom Inevitable skin of Yidaro, Wandering Monster, since Godzilla provides a much better Dino vibe than the regular artwork, which plays up the Turtle side more.

Card Draw/Selection

Commune with Dinosaurs Up the Beanstalk Realmwalker Growing Rites of Itlimoc Garruk's Uprising Greater Good Curious Altisaur Pantlaza, Sun-Favored Bonehoard Dracosaur Earthshaker Dreadmaw Trumpeting Carnosaur Regal Behemoth

It’s wild to see just how many actual Dinosaur cards provide card advantage these days, and I’m running a bunch of them here. As much as I dislike Pantlaza as the commander, it’s too good to ignore in the 99 of the deck. I really love Earthshaker Dreadmaw for its callback to Colossal Dreadmaw, reprinted so much that it’s become a Magic meme card, and now it’s a sweet card drawing engine!


Swords to Plowshares Itzquinth, Firstborn of Gishath Masked Vandal Atraxa's Fall Hull Breach Ram Through Get Lost Thrashing Brontodon Bronzebeak Foragers Gimli's Reckless Might Scion of Calamity

Itzquinth, Firstborn of Gishath is adorable, and I love the flavor that, when it shows up, it can get a larger Dinosaur to attack an opposing creature; I suppose it takes a village of Dinosaurs to raise a baby Dinosaur! Gimli’s Reckless Might is a fantastic enchantment for this deck, giving your creatures haste, and it should be pretty easy to get that formidable trigger to fight an opposing creature.

Scion of Calamity is a great card for any creature deck, but being a Dinosaur lets it enjoy a bunch of extra synergies in this deck. Ideally, you want to give this some sort of evasion, and cards like Garruk’s Uprising help with that.

I would normally run the awesomely fun Contraband Livestock in this deck, but I happened to open a sweet foil alternate art of Get Lost. Since it has such great Ixalan flavor, I’m running it here.


Homeward Path Shadowspear Spirit Loop Scytheclaw Raptor Deathgorge Scavenger Tranquil Frillback Clever Concealment Swooping Pteranodon

Playing lots of large, threatening Dinosaurs means some players who like to steal creatures from their opponents will be looking my way, so I’m running Homeward Path to help stop that nonsense.

When looking for a way to protect my battlefield from sweepers that aim to destroy my lovely Dinosaurs, I realized playing Clever Concealment will give me the opportunity to quote “Clever girl” from the original Jurassic Park movie. I do have a lot of raptors in the deck!

Mana Ramp

Blighted Woodland Myriad Landscape Sol Ring Twists and Turns Marauding Raptor Drover of the Mighty Intrepid Paleontologist Topiary Stomper Hulking Raptor Skyshroud Claim

I’m a little worried I’ll end up drawing Intrepid Paleontologist when I have a Marauding Raptor on the battlefield, but I’m willing to take that risk, since they’re both awesome ways to help cast our larger Dinosaurs! And by the way, have you picked up Twists and Turns for your green creature decks yet?  Because it’s still awesome beyond the explore synergies!

The Deck

Okay, here’s the full decklist!

Huatli, Poet of Unity
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 01-12-2024
Magic Card Back

Here are the deck stats from our friends at Archidekt:

I’d also like to pick up a Savage Order to put in the deck. Who wouldn’t sacrifice a random Dinosaur to search up Gishath, Sun’s Avatar onto the battlefield, give it indestructible until the next turn, and just rumble into the red zone immediately since it has haste?

So, what other must-have cards might I have missed including here?  Which legend will you use to head up your own Dinosaur typal deck?

Talk to Me

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and start conversations about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  You can also find my LinkTree on my profile page there with links to all my content.

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And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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