Relief Review - Dinomorphia A short introduction to the dinomorphia archetype, and a review of the deck's prior and new support.

Welcome to relief review - A series of short articles highlighting some archetypes and themes that have recently received a minor support wave designed to fill some of the gaps in otherwise struggling archetypes, to discuss and explore whether we'll need to wait another few years for these decks to feel complete. I'm Brexx, and I'll be your guide on this journey.

This time on relief review - The dinosaur archetype with a fondness for cards of the purple variety - Dinomorphia.


What are Dinomorphias?

Dinomorphia is a trap-heavy dinosaur fusion archetype first introduced in 2022's Battle of Chaos booster set. I hope you like your math because this archetype's primary gimmick is paying half your life points to activate the majority of their trap and extra deck monster effects, leading to some amusing life point values going down to even the single digits.

The archetype arrived to middling initial success, seeing some initial hype but slowly falling by the wayside for a few sets. Following some of their future support, the Dinomorphia strategy adapted well over time, eventually going on to place in top 16 at several large events, including the likes of YCS Philadelphia in 2023, piloted by Isaac Kritz.

Dinomorphia Therizia 

Dinomorphia Diplos 

The linchpins of the strategy, Dinomorphia Therizia and Dinomorphia Diplos form the main deck monster lineup of the archetype. These two give the deck easy access to their trap lineup, with the former setting any Dinomorphia trap card directly from your deck, and the latter sending one from your deck to the graveyard. Both of these effects have additional bonuses when activated while your life points are below 2000, with one increasing its attack points, and the other dealing a meager 500 burn damage to your opponent.

Notably, these two monsters can special summon another level 4 or lower Dinomorphia from the grave when destroyed by banishing a trap card from your graveyard, turning this into quite an irritating resource loop to overcome so long as you have a supply of trap cards to banish to fuel their costs. Not that that's necessarily hard, as these monsters supplant themselves with the necessary trap fodder when they're summoned off these effects.

Your typical first turn line of play will be trying to access Dinomorphia Therizia where possible, and using her effect in order to gain access to a fusion trap if you don't have one, or one of the other utility dinomorphia traps that exist such as Dinomorphia Sonic for spell/trap negation, Dinomorphia Brute for interruption, or Dinomorphia Alert for additional follow up and swarming potential. All of these mentioned traps also double as pseudo-protection, in that they all additionally have a graveyard effect to reduce either battle damage to zero, or reduce effect damage to zero for the rest of the turn.

Dinomorphia Domain 

But what do these lead to? Most notably, the traps that allow the deck to fusion summon. First on the block for the archetype was Dinomorphia Domain, a fusion trap that allows you to fusion summon a Dinomorphia fusion monster using monsters from your deck as material. Naturally, this comes at the cost of half your life points, as is the case for many other Dinomorphia trap cards. This card is a strong playmaker, allowing you to quickly deploy the archetype's powerful fusion monsters with minimal investment. Speaking of which...

Dinomorphia Kentregina 

Dinomorphia Stealthbergia 

The initial wave of Dinomorphia fusion monsters introduced us to Dinomorphia Kentregina and Dinomorphia Stealthbergia, two level six fusion monsters that require any two Dinomorphia monsters with different names as fusion material to summon. Dinomorphia Kentregina is a key component of the Dinomorphia strategy, boasting a ginormous starting statline of 4000 attack points and a quick effect to copy the effects of Dinomorphia trap cards in your graveyard by way of banishing them and halving your life points.

The one caveat to this is that Dinomorphia Kentregina's attack points are reduced by your life points, so she benefits largely from your paying half your life points, or through negating her effects to maximize her attack value through staple trap cards such as Skill Drain

On the other hand, Dinomorphia Stealthbergia fills a different niche. Stealthbergia functions as more of a utility defensive boss monster, allowing you to not need to pay life points for activating trap cards or Dinomorphia monster effects while below 2000 life points. This won't be an effect that you use all that consistently, but it shines in particular in matchups where you need to maintain your life points versus burn strategies, or in scenarios where you need to circumvent the static cost of cards such as Solemn Strike in scenarios where your life points are superseded by the cost you would have to pay.


The Good

As the deck has no monsters with special summoning clauses, the deck benefits greatly from the consistency boost provided by cards such as Pot of Duality. It can make space for many of the other pot cards such as Pot of Prosperity or Pot of Extravagance should the pilot choose to do so. Being a trap-focused dinosaur archetype, the deck also benefits greatly from staples such as Fossil Dig, Miscellaneousaurus, and Trap Trick. Though in more recent sets an argument could also be made for Trap Tracks in a pinch)

Some players at times even go so far as to not play some of these cards at three, instead opting to play additional tech cards or handtraps due to not needing redundancy in consistency.

The deck's gimmick of halving life points also lends it to some interesting and powerful tech card inclusions.

Ferret Flames 

Ferret Flames is far and away one of the more powerful options provided to this gimmick, in that the card functions essentially as a more powerful variant of a card such as Torrential Tribute, in that Ferret Flames is one-sided, and is non-targeting, non-destruction removal. Dinomorphia can easily lower their life points low enough to resolve this powerful effect, needing only to resolve a fusion trap and Dinomorphia Kentregina's copying effect to already be below 2000 life points.

Solemn Judgment 

Another honorable mention goes to a historically iconic Yugioh card - Solemn Judgment. In most decks, paying half your life points can be a risky endeavor, but in a deck like Dinomorphia where you will almost always be at minimal life points, this card is a near auto include, essentially being an incredibly low investment negation effect.

There are also other more niche considerations, such as Hope for Escape or Imprudent Intrusion, but these cards seldom find their way into competitive variants of this deck. 

The Bad

The deck can brick. Despite having a good number of consistency cards, not drawing engine and drawing just staples can be a death knell for a hand. Alternatively, drawing too many copies of Dinomorphia Therizia and Dinomorphia Diplos in tandem can be just disastrous. 

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring 

The deck also has an inherent weakness to some handtraps, and board wipes. Cards like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring when timed well can end your turn through negating your fusion traps without a Solemn Strike to stop them, and Lightning Storm, Harpie's Feather Duster or Evenly Matched can just as easily ruin your day without a Solemn Judgment or Dinomorphia Sonic in the mix. On release, some players considered options such as Called by the Grave, PSY-Framegear Gamma, or Crossout Designator to safeguard their play starters, but with Gamma and Called by both limited, options for this have since been rendered inconsistent at best. 

The Support

Since release, the Dinomorphia archetype has received two waves of support cards. The first wave, consisting of a new fusion monster and a new trap card, arrived in 2022's Dimension Force booster set.

Dinomorphia Rexterm 

The first of this wave was Dinomorphia Rexterm, bringing a new boss monster to the theme. Rexterm requires a Dinomorphia fusion monster and any other Dinomorphia monster as fusion material to summon, and functions as a walking anti-monster floodgate, so long as your life points are less than your opponent's monsters' attack points. Unlike earlier mentioned cards such as Skill Drain, this effect prevents your opponent from activating these effects at all, so there's no way to cheekily dodge this effect, unlike some other field-based negation effects that exist. 

Pair this with a bonus effect to set your opponent's monsters' attack points to be equal to your life points. Naturally, this comes with the standard Dinomorphia stipulation of halving your life points as a cost to activate this effect, making it extremely difficult for your opponent to attack over Rexterm most of the time.   

Rexterm also features the standard on-destruction effect shared by the other fusion monsters, except he stipulates level 6 or lower Dinomorphia monsters, making it possible for him to bring back a Dinomorphia Kentregina or Dinomorphia Stealthbergia from the graveyard as well.

Overall, Dinomorphia Rexterm is an incredibly strong addition to the Dinomorphia arsenal, but how should we summon it? By fusing twice through using Dinomorphia Domain and then copying its effect with Dinomorphia Kentregina? Well... 

Dinomorphia Frenzy 

Dinomorphia Frenzy is our second addition in this wave of support. Primarily, this serves as a secondary way to fusion summon our dinosaur fusion friends, but with a key difference - Instead of fusing purely from the deck, Dinomorphia Frenzy uses one material from the deck and one from the extra deck. Importantly, this means that it's possible to summon Dinomorphia Rexterm in a singular fusion summon, usually by sending Dinomorphia Stealthbergia from the extra deck, and Dinomorphia Diplos from the deck to the graveyard. 

This brought some interesting deckbuilding concepts into the metagame for a brief period in the OCG, where some decks that lacked a strong normal summon option opted to run a small package of Dinomorphia Therizia and Dinomorphia Frenzy in order to quickly summon Dinomorphia Rexterm in other decks. While this maintained some popularity on the OCG for a period, upon hitting the TCG the engine splash seldom saw use outside of its own archetype, though the deck did see some meager success from time to time at regional-level events.

Dinomorphia Intact 

One year later, in Cyberstorm Impact (CYAC), Dinomorphia Intact was released as a singular support card for the archetype. Simply put, this card acts as a pseudo Solemn Strike for the archetype, at the standard Dinomorphia cost of halving your life points. In a lot of ways, this card eclipses Solemn Strike's applications in the deck, due to removing the possibility for your life points being too low to meet the activation cost, but one could still argue that Solemn Strike may be worth consideration in certain formats or matchups.

It should be noted that Dinomorphia Intact requires you to control a Dinomorphia card in order to activate it, which makes it an ideal solution for preventing card effects such as Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring which would otherwise put a damper on your fusion summoning effects that require sending cards from the deck to the graveyard, as trap cards that have been activated prior to this card in a chain allow for the activation condition for this card to be met.

Importantly, Dinomorphia Intact also makes it so that for the remainder of the turn, any battle damage you would take instead halves your life points. In theory, this might sound bad - Turning small amounts of damage into halving life points could be a lot of life points. But in practice, you're usually so low on life points anyway that this functionally renders you immune to battle damage for the turn, in addition to having one of the two standard graveyard protection effects that all Dinomorphia trap cards possess.

Overall, Dinomorphia Intact fixed a lot of the remaining issues with the archetype, by adding further layers of protection to Dinomorphia board states, and allowing initial plays to proceed unhindered by handtraps.

Below is a sample decklist, taken from Isaac Kritz's premiere event top at YCS Philadelphia 2023. This list highlights the inclusion of all of the released support cards, as well as some of the typical tech options mentioned earlier. It should be noted that Isaac himself stated that this list was built somewhat on a budget, and this was his first major event that wasn't a locals. Huge congratulations to him on this stellar performance utilizing an otherwise largely unrepresented deck, and it'll be interesting to see how Dinomorphia lists develop from this point on when played with a higher budget and at a similar skill level.


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