In the wake of a very exciting patch 1.5 (if you haven’t already, be sure to check out all our coverage on the changes and new features here and here, as well as our freshly updated Tier List); we are all needing to adapt and level our teams to compete in the new meta. This isn’t always easy, especially when making choices about how to spend limited coins/DNA. A classic example of this is the Sinoceratops hybrid tree. Thanks to the recent Armored event and Legacy Hybrid event, along with this week’s Stunning theme, we have been able to get our hands on a nice pile of precious Sinoceratops DNA, and are now faced with a very difficult decision: how best to invest that Sinoceratops?

Sinoceratops:

Sinoceratops HEALTH DAMAGE ARMOR SPEED CRIT
4050 1350 25% 116 5%

MOVESET

Strike Greater Stunning Impact Instant Charge

As a stand-alone dinosaur, Sinoceratops was affected by the broad changes to stunning creatures made by Ludia with version 1.5. Along with all other dinosaurs with the ability, she lost the occasionally infuriating 20% stun chance Low Stunning Strike as her basic move, which was replaced with a standard Strike. As occurred across the board, her Stunning Impact became Greater Stunning Impact, going from a 33% or 1 in 3 chance to stun to 75% or 3 in 4, a substantial increase to make stunning dinosaurs more consistent and adjust player expectations. Finally, she retains Instant Charge, which is the defining characteristic of the Sinoceratops hybrid tree, an incredibly versatile move that allows you to swing many unfavorable matchups into favourable ones.

On top of an overall increase in moveset power, Sinoceratops also received slight increases in her base Health and Damage, increasing by 150 and 100 respectively at level 26, meaning that Sinoceratops has never looked stronger. This is great news for newer players who have recently unlocked Sinoceratops and could benefit from a tanky stun-machine who puts out a reasonable amount of damage, though many players will have created the epic hybrid Stegoceratops which performs strictly better in this role (and also received an overall increase in power with this patch). As such, the reason most of us get excited about Sinoceratops is to get her to level 15 and start fusing for legendary hybrids!

Sinoceratops is a component in two top-tier legendary hybrids, combining with Allosaurus to create the fearsome Allosinosaurus, and Utahraptor to create the deadly Utahsinoraptor. This presents many players with a difficult decision, one of the first major crossroads a player is likely to encounter. Both of these dinosaurs are excellent in their respective (very desirable) roles and there never seems to be enough Sinoceratops to go around, so how do we decide which path to take?

Allosinosaurus v Utahsinoraptor:

HEALTH DAMAGE ARMOR SPEED CRIT
4500 1600 15% 106 20%

MOVESET

Defense Shattering Strike Armor Piercing Impact Defense Shattering Impact Instant Charge

 

HEALTH DAMAGE ARMOR SPEED CRIT
3000 1590 15% 127 5%

MOVESET

Strike Distracting Impact Critical Impact Instant Charge


Allosinosaurus boasts a hefty damage stat (+100 @lvl26 since 1.5) and an excellent moveset built for her anti-tank role, with the added versatility of Instant Charge. Her large health pool and armor help her survive long enough to comfortably dish out three hits against almost all opponents (given the priority advantage/free damage afforded by Instant Charge, mitigating her low speed). With a total of 6400 mostly defense shattering damage dealt from threading 2 Defense Shattering Impacts with an Instant Charge in between, or the ability to put out 4000 damage having only taken one hit (even when outsped), Allosinosaurus’ strengths are obvious, not to mention a 20% crit chance which gives a decent chance of some clutch 1- or 2-shots. She is vulnerable to distraction and stuns, without cleanse bleeders can provide mutually assured destruction, and if you’re unlucky her damage can always be dodged, but even when not putting out ideal damage she can provide a strong off-tank role in what is now a less tank-centric meta.

Utasinoraptor also received a damage buff (+90 @lvl26), along with an easy to overlook speed increase to 127 (which gives Utasinoraptor priority in a few previously troublesome matchups, though is still a bit slow for a raptor). This was to compensate for the loss of Low Stunning Strike due to the reworking of stuns discussed earlier. Despite the changes to Superiority Strike with 1.5, it still does what it was designed to (counter raptors) as well as ever, which is why it is so important that Utasinoraptor has Instant Charge, as this negates Superiority Strike’s 1-turn priority advantage. Not only that, Utasinoraptor benefits from being less fragile than other raptors; a larger health pool and 15% armor often make the difference in her being able to survive and finish off an opponent (or even swap in on a slower dinosaur late in the match.) Of course, as a raptor, Utasinoraptor has the ability to dish out a massive amount damage (with a potential 3578 on Turn 1 if Critical Impact lands a Critical Hit), though all Utasinoraptor’s damage can be mitigated by all available means; armor, shields, distraction, stuns, and dodges.

Both are excellent additions to any team, filling a much needed role with more versatility (yes, I’m going to keep mentioning Instant Charge, along with the comparatively good survivability of both) than the majority of their competition. If we were considering all their qualities in a vacuum as stand-alone dinosaurs, there is a solid argument to be made for Allosinosaurus being the stronger of the two (both fill their primary role approximately as well as each other, but Allosinosaurus benefits from her ability to also be used as a damage sink, and her damage is less easily mitigated across all potential matchups), but unfortunately our decision is further complicated! Each of these dinosaurs builds into a top-tier unique; the brand new (and frankly terrifying) Thoradolosaur from combining Allosinosaurus with Tarbosaurus, and the freshly buffed Utarinex (which was already a contender for strongest dinosaur in the game) from combining Utasinoraptor with Dracorex.

What makes these two uniques so strong? Just a casual glance at their respective kits can tell us a lot of the story…

Thoradolosaur v Utarinex:

HEALTH DAMAGE ARMOR SPEED CRIT
4200 1640 0% 109 40%

MOVESET

Defense Shattering Strike Defense Shattering Impact Defense Shattering Rampage Instant Charge

 

HEALTH DAMAGE ARMOR SPEED CRIT
4200 1420 0% 126 5%

MOVESET

Strike Distracting Rampage Impact & Run Instant Charge


Being able to indefinitely rotate Defense Shattering Impact and Defense Shattering Rampage with a base damage of 1640 is scary enough, but taken in combination with Thoradolasaur’s 40% crit makes her the chompiest chomper around in a meta full of very strong tyrannosaurs. The potential damage for opening with 2 Critical Hits stands at 8,610, which is insane given there is a 16% chance of this occurring, roughly once out of every 6 times. The turn 1 critical damage of 3,690 is enough to 1-shot a third of the dinosaurs in the game, and this will happen almost every other time Thoradolasaur takes to the arena. The expected scenario however, achieving 1 crit out of 2 attacks (a 64% chance or almost 2 in 3 times) puts Thoradolasaur’s turn 2 damage anywhere between 4,920 and 7,380 (depending which attack crits and whether using Instant Charge is required). Sitting at a very relevant 109 speed adds a number of favourable matchups, as well as the great utility outlined previously in this article from Instant Charge. Thoradolosaur does lose Allosinosaurus’ 15% armor, as well as 300 health at level 26, so cannot function quite as well as a damage sink/offtank, but is certainly no pushover, can still take a couple of hits, and will punish anything that dares to deal those hits.

Like her predecessor Utasinoraptor, Utarinex also received +90 damage at level 26, and likewise lost her stunning basic Minimal Stunning Strike for a standard Strike. The rest of Utarinex’s moveset is incredibly difficult to deal with; Distracting Rampage provides great turn 1 damage and is a strong mitigation tool, Instant Charge as previously covered, and Impact and Run providing a high damage swap which offers a lot of outplay potential, particularly with the rise in relevance of swap-in abilities. Great mitigation, great damage, great utility, you’d expect Utarinex to be fairly frail. However even after considering losing Utasinoraptor’s armor, Utarinex has a much higher effective health pool and is not taken down easily, especially through her distraction and stuns. And if you do manage to get her low or put a bleed on her, she can Impact and Run away.

So, now we’ve established how great all the dinosaurs in the Sinoceratops hybrid lines are, how on earth are we supposed to decide how to spend our Sinoceratops DNA? The most important thing to take away here is that there is no right answer – you do you; even if that means a level 30 Sinoceratops! However, for those wanting help deciding how they can optimally improve on their team strength over the long term, there are a number of things worth considering.

A world of limited resources means a world of choices. Each choice we make creates an opportunity cost, which is the loss of potential from any other decision we could have made. Understanding the benefits and opportunity costs of investing our resources (in this case, dinosaur DNA and coins) requires an appraisal of our current situation, a realistic expectation of our return on investment along with our ability to maintain investment, and a long term goal that each individual investment helps us achieve. While these factors are going to differ from player to player, there is some universal advice to be had.

Appraising our current situation is the simplest thing to do here – what have we already invested in, what our roster currently looks like, what DNA we have stockpiled should be obvious to all. What is also key here is understanding the strengths, weaknesses and overall balance of our current roster, how it is performing at our current stage in the arena, and how it can be improved to rise in trophy count / arena / ranking. There is little to say about this on a universal level, other than not to fall victim to the ‘sunk cost fallacy’. This is an economic concept of continuing to invest in something that is giving poor returns based on heavy prior investment and an unwillingness to cut losses, as doing so makes the prior investment seem ‘wasted’, while in reality doubling down on the poor returns is just wasting more resources in the long run.  If you are looking for help in understanding your team and options better, or just want another point of view, you can find excellent advice in the #team-building channel of our MetaHub Discord server.

It is important to strike the right balance between accessibility and desire; as even if after considering the above we decide, for example, that Utahsinoraptor would be the best addition to our team right now, and that Utarinex better fits our long-term dream-team goal, having limited access to local 2 could mean we keep coming up short on Dracorex when we could already have created Thoradolasaur. Likewise, if the opposite is true and we can’t do much hunting after dark Tarbosaurus could end up being the bottleneck; however bear in mind that Tarbosaurus is a common and can also be found throughout the day at restaurants as a nest spawn. Also consider that while one of the legendary hybrids may well suit our current team better, it may be the alternative unique that best fits our long-term dream-team. In that situation, the best we can do is weigh up how far we are away from working on/unlocking the unique, and whether the value the alternative legendary will add for us in the short term is worth delaying (or even altering) the long term goal.

Parting Words

In conclusion, working towards any (or all!) of the 4 Sinoceratops hybrids is advisable for pretty much any player, and while this article has hopefully helped you think about some of the factors at play, it very much does come down to a decision based on your individual circumstances.

Personally, I decided that Thoradolasaur was the most efficient investment for a player in my situation. However, if none of the elements highlighted here have convinced you one way or the other, Utarinex is most likely your best bet. Utarinex’s lack of truly terrible matchups means she is a very strong choice for starting dinosaur in a meta where this can otherwise be a very difficult decision. More importantly, while there are a number of very viable alternatives for Thoradolasaur, Utarinex has a much more niche role that only Diloracheirus comes close to filling, and even then is less of a close proxy than the other top-tier tyrannosaurids are to Thoradolasaur.

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