CUT #27 Finals - Ellie and Alan vs Ellie and Alan

Travis Stanley • December 5, 2023

Hello everyone, and welcome to Jurassic...I mean CUT #27 Finals! Last time on CUT, we had three fantastic deckbuilders constructing decks around legends from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan; let's see how they did:

Congratulations to Beth and Christian! Looks like Vampires and Merfolk won this fight, but Camden, your deck was still pretty sweet, and I would love to have you back on sometime in the future! Big thanks goes to you for participating in this round of CUT!

This week the challenges that Beth and Christian will face are:

  • Must use a commander from LCC or a Jurassic World commander

  • Must have 10 cards with either explore or discover

  • Max 15 rares/mythics (not including your commander)

  • Must play 5 Caves

Let's go and explore their decks and see what they discovered on their deckbuilding journeys!

First up, we have Beth, also known as Queen of Cardboard, let's see what she brought this week!

Discover A Whole New World

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Commander (1)
Lands (37)
Creatures (32)
Instants (10)
Artifacts (10)
Sorceries (6)
Enchantments (4)

View this decklist on Archidekt

What if, after the disasters of Jurassic Park, Ellie and Alan went on to explore the universe of Magic, discovering new planes, avoiding big creatures and checking out caves on a wild adventure? This deck uses the card Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists as the commander and takes advantage of their tap ability to discover some big wily creatures.

When initially given my requirements for this CUT, I built a Pantlaza, Sun-Favored deck, but that seemed too similar to what the precon was doing, and I wanted to try something new. The major difficulty with this deck was no access to red, which is part of the identity of a majority of discover cards.

To make Ellie and Alan really work, you need to put some stuff in the graveyard, and you'll potentially want to be able untap them as much as possible to get more value. To get stuff in the graveyard, we've got a little bit of discard, a little bit of evoke, and a little bit of cycling. Cards like Krosan Tusker and Titanoth Rex give you value for cycling them so it doesn't feel quite as bad to have your favorite big baddie in the graveyard. If you're like me and you don't want to lose all your creatures forever due to E and A's exile, you can instead use Dino DNA to recast a copy of a card that you've exiled with it from your graveyard at sorcery speed. This feels extremely flavorful as most of the cards with cycling on them are, you guessed it, Dinosaurs.

In addition to discard and cycling, there's also an Ashnod's Altar and a Greater Good so that you can sacrifice creatures whenever you need for value. Greater Good is especially powerful here, putting a total of four cards in the graveyard for you to potentially discover from. Putting stuff willy nilly into the graveyard without a plan can leave you with a weak board state, so I wanted to make sure you had a bit of recursion in Eternal Witness, Colossal Skyturtle, Noxious Revival, Bala Ged Recovery, and Reclaim.

To activate E and A as much as possible, I've made sure that a lot of your permanents are going to allow us to untap them at least once a turn. Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, Ioreth of the Healing House, and goodest boy Chakram Retriever do some work here, giving you lots of chances to activate multiple times a turn. In addition to the commander, you've got a chance to discover with 11 other cards in the deck, including three Caves. With all this discover, what is it that you're hoping to cast? None other than some of Magic's scariest friends: Nezahal, Primal Tide and Koma, Cosmos Serpent.

The biggest limitation of the deck was being unable to put more than 15 mythics or rares. I wanted to load up on Magic bad boys, but ultimately I had to make some big cuts because there just wasn't enough room. This deck still feels incredibly fun to play and a board full of Dinosaurs or Koma babies can still be pretty difficult for an opponent to overcome. Because I wasn't sure we could rely on discover to get our more costly spells out, I made sure to include more lands than my previous deck, and it sits at 37 lands, 10 artifacts, 10 instants, 6 sorceries, and 33 creatures including our commander(s). I'm excited to journey across the planes and follow Ellie and Alan on their next big discovery with this deck.

Great deck, Beth! Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists were actually the first deck I crafted after all of the Jurassic World spoilers came out. They are super cool mechanically, and I'm glad they get spotlighted here. You can catch the Queen of Cardboard, right here on Commander's Herald, or over on Cool Stuff Inc.

Next, we have Christian!

Ellie and Alans Dinosaurs

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Commander (1)
Creatures (30)
Lands (36)
Sorceries (11)
Instants (9)
Artifacts (6)
Enchantments (7)

View this decklist on Archidekt

Hey everyone! I'm currently working on lots of decks right now from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, but one that definitely caught my eye, and was perfect for this challenge, was Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists!

I knew that, regardless of the conditions, I was going to stay true to the characters and make it as Dinosaur-focused as possible. However, I did choose some important key pieces to make use of the dynamic duo's ability to discover. I always like to break my decks into three core components, and this is no different!

  1. Descending: Despite not having any cards with Descend from the set, descending is really crucial for triggering their ability. Luckily, we can get there through exploring, self mill, and especially cycling! There are a few great Dinosaurs that you can send to the graveyard, and immediately tap and exile it to discover!
  2. Discovering shenanigans: similar to my Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca deck, repeatedly untapping Ellie and Alan just means even more value as long as there are cards in the graveyard! To this end, cards like Kiora's Follower are fantastic, and the deck would not be complete without Intruder Alarm! In addition, several of the Caves and the discover/explore requirement of this challenge have given us lots of ways to discover outside of their ability!
  3. Big dinos: Now that you have cards in the graveyard and you have ways to repeatedly use Ellie and Alan's ability, you need some big creatures to follow through with! Luckily, most of the rares have been devoted to big Dinosaurs that, if destroyed, can be exiled to discover into MORE big Dinos! (Or other value spells).

This was a really fun restriction to add to a deck I was already working on and looking forward to building! When first looking at this challenge and while building, I thought I would probably make a lot of changes outside of the constraints, especially in rares and mythics. However, looking at the final list, I think this is a really fun-looking deck, and I may not make many, if any changes!

Looks like Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists are a lot more popular than I originally thought! A very similar but slightly different deck than Beth's, can't wait to see which set of paleontologists win the CUT crown! Thanks for being a part of this round, Christian, it's always a blast reading your write-ups and seeing what you come up with.

Big thanks to the both of you for participating in this round of CUT, and may the best Ellie and Alan, Paleontologists deck win! We haven't have a same commander face off since CUT #9, needless to say it's been a while. Make sure you go and vote in the poll below for your favorite and we will see in the next article who won! Until next time, stay safe, and remember if you don't love it, CUT it! If you or a friend would like to participate in a future CUT article, feel free to email

[crowdsignal poll='13059837' type="slider"]