In honor of Wildcard week, we’re going to be taking a look at all the game’s Wildcard class dinos, and asking: “Are they actually a Wildcard?”. Ludia sure has made a lot of dinos in the Wildcard class lately, but does that really match their functionality? Is there a different class that describes them better? That’s what we’re gonna find out!
The rules are simple. We look at each Wildcard dino’s attributes to determine if they are or are not a Wildcard. Since resistances seem to be all over the place across the board, we’ll be mostly concerned with each dino’s abilities. For a dino to qualify as a Wildcard, it must have significant ability representation from all three primary classes (cunning, fierce, and resilient). A dino may have distraction and shield break, but without something like deceleration or shields, it’s more of a Cunning-Fierce than a Wildcard.
That begs the question: which abilities are associated with each class? Here’s my personal way of looking at it, which offers a consistent and more objective way to assign classes to each dino. First, abilities are not judged holistically, but on their individual effects. For example, the shield break and armor piercing of Definite Shield Advantage count as fierce, and the shielding and dodge removal count as resilient. Secondly, not all abilities are created equal - there are tiers of importance, being primary and secondary abilities. Primary abilities are things like deceleration, distraction, and shield break. They are strongly associated with a particular class, and any dino with one of these abilities should belong to that class. Secondary abilities are only loosely associated with a class. They are essentially treated as neutral abilities unless a significant number of them from a particular class are found on a creature. For example, Ferocity is a secondary fierce ability. Creatures like Woolly Mammoth can have Ferocity, so if it were a primary fierce ability, these dinos would be part fierce. But Deinotherium has two attacks with Ferocity, so it qualifies as at least partially fierce. Vulnerability, despite being the new debuff in resilient attacks, is a secondary resilient ability - if it wasn’t, Indotaurus, Purussaurus and Purussaurus G2 would be Fierce-Resilient, which just doesn’t feel right. In the absence of any primary class abilities, secondary abilities determine a dino’s class. For example, Deinochierus is cunning because it’s only ability is speed increase, a secondary cunning ability. But the speed increase on something like Mammolania (from Dig In) isn’t enough to make Mammolania cunning because it only has one secondary cunning ability and no primary cunning abilities. There’s room for some personal interpretation here; if you think that Vulnerability should be a primary resilient ability, that’s ok - you do you.
So here are the effects.
Damage Over Time
Damage Increase (including Cloak)
Rend (% damage only)
Dodge (including Cloak)
Critical Chance Reduction
These abilities aren’t associated with any one particular class, and therefore have no influence over what class a dino belongs to. A dino with only neutral moves would be a Wildcard though.
Increase Critical Chance
With the rules explained, let’s go through all the Wildcards in the game. I’ll be looking at the Wildcard class, NOT the dinos featured in the event - some like Inostrancevia are not considered Wildcards in game, and are probably only included because of having relatively few abilities or making “Wildcard” hybrids (like Dodocevia). But are those hybrids actually Wildcards? Let’s find out!
It has mostly fierce abilities, but also has deceleration and a shield for resilient. What it lacks are any cunning effects whatsoever.
The verdict: Should be Fierce-Resilient
Most of the kit is a mix of cunning and fierce abilities. The counter does inflict Vulnerability, but this is a secondary resilient ability, and it’s the only one it has.
The verdict: I personally consider it to be more of a Cunning-Fierce, but I might let Wildcard slide because of the counter.
A truly diverse kit, it has distraction and shield break for cunning and fierce, and Vulnerability and Dodge Removal for resilient.
The verdict: Wildcard fits it well!
Mostly resilient abilities, but it does crucially have distraction from ID and shield break in the rending counter.
The verdict: Another true Wildcard.
The parent of so many Wildcards, but is it a Wildcard itself? Well, it has a fierce counter and a resilient shield and Vulnerability. What it lacks are any cunning traits.
The verdict: Should be Fierce-Resilient due to the lack of cunning influence. One Distracting attack would be enough to fix that though (maybe bring back Distracting Shields in place of Taunting Shields?).
Plenty of cunning effects, and the two Precise attacks are enough to qualify as resilient as well. But is the precise piercing Strike enough to count as fierce?
The verdict: It probably isn’t. Coelhaast plays much more like a Cunning-Resilient, or even a pure cunning.
Almost entirely cunning effects, the only exception being the armor piercing on Flightless Strike, which is shares with the pure cunning Dodo.
The verdict: It should just be Cunning, not even a hybrid class! It’s identical to the cunning Dodo, but gains another distracting move, and loses 50% speed decrease resistance compared to it’s ingredient.
Like Andrewtherium and Carnotaurus, it has a good mix of fierce and resilient abilities, but lacks cunning traits entirely.
The verdict: Should be Fierce-Resilient
Lots of cunning and resilient abilities. Seems to lack any fierce ability outside of it’s counter, which it shares with several pure resilients (Rajasaurus, Lythronax, Majungasaurus).
The verdict: The counter doesn’t seem to be enough to make it fierce, so Cunning-Resilient is a better fit.
A good mix of distraction, shield break, and Shielding, among a few other various effects.
The verdict: A true Wildcard
While it has distraction and deceleration, it seems to lack fierce abilities outside of the swap in, which it shares with plenty of pure resilient creatures.
The verdict: Cunning-Resilient seems to be a better fit. If the armor piercing swap in is enough to make it a wildcard, then Sinoceratops should be Fierce-Resilient.
Like Monostegotops has primary cunning and resilient effects, but only a secondary fierce effect. Should probably just be Cunning-Resilient as well.
Has fierce DoT moves and cunning distraction, but nothing resilient.
The verdict: Should be Cunning-Fierce.
Varied effects, including shield break, distraction, and shielding.
The verdict: Wildcard seems to fit it well.
Another varied kit, with Deceleration, DoT, and Distraction.
The verdict: Another Wildcard!
As a common, it has a limited kit. It’s only primary ability is the fierce shield break, but it has secondary resilient representation.
The verdict: The rules say it should be Fierce, but given the limitations of being a common, I’ll let Wildcard slide, especially since the speed means it plays a lot like a cunning. If it replaced Definite strike with Crafty Strike (like Quetz), it may be more of a Wildcard, having armor piercing (fierce) dodge bypass (resilient) and being able to remove damage increase and crit chance increase similar to cunning attacks.
Has primary cunning and fierce attacks in Distracting Impact and Defense Shattering Rampage, and has several secondary resilient effects as well.
The verdict: Wildcard
Representing every primary effect besides Shields, Thyla strongly represents all three classes.
The verdict: A Wildcard for sure, even if it’s primarily known as a tankbuster.
Has primary and secondary resilient effects, but otherwise lacks any other class effects besides Ferocity.
The verdict: if PFS is enough to make Tsintamoth fierce, Woolly Mammoth and Entelolania should be Fierce too, which just doesn’t fit how they play. Tsintamoth should even be Fierce-Resilient, let alone a Wildcard - it’s just Resilient.
Interesting in that it lacks any primary effects, or even two secondary effects from a single class, it has equal quantities of fierce and resilient secondary effects.
The verdict: definitely unusual, but a lack of cunning traits mean that this dino is more of a Fierce-Resilient.
So where does that leave us? Out of the 20 Wildcards in the game, only 7-9 actually function as one. Thats not a lot. But are there any dinos of other classes that should be Wildcards?
First there’s Diplovenator. While it does primarily have cunning and fierce abilities, it does have two anti-dodge abilities. Remove either one though (e.g. just make the counter Defense Shattering Counter), and it’s just a Cunning-Fierce.
Of course, the poster child of “should be a Wildcard” is Hydraboa. It has TONS of abilities, with DoT and Ferocity representing Fierce, precise and healing representing Resilient, and Distraction and Dodge strongly representing cunning. Calling this thing a pure cunning is a disservice to everything it can do.
If we add in some combination of Hydra Boa and Diplovenator, that brings us up to 8-11 Wildcards. But most of the things labeled as “Wildcards” really shouldn’t be. It’s a rare and amazing thing for a dino to actually represent all three classes well, and it shouldn’t be something to take lightly. The Wildcard label shouldn’t be thrown around as much as it is, and just saying a dink belongs to a certain class with a label doesn’t make it so.