ARK’s Terrestrial Powerhouses – Useful Creatures to have in the New Earthbound Meta

ARK: Survival Evolved has seen a number of monumental changes to the way people play in the past patch, with the “flyer-nerf” hitting the community exceptionally hard and with some players resorting to either stopping playing altogether while the developers address the issue (which has already begun with a number of updates to land-based harvesters) or simply installing the now popular Classic Flyers mod (which has close to 120,000 subscribers already) that reverts statistics to their pre-nerf values as well as enabling players to put points into movement speed on their flying creatures.

While I agree that the “nerf” was a bit heavy-handed, and I too play on a server running the Classic Flyers mod (through no direct choice of my own – trying to find a server NOT running the mod that offered a decent ping was impossible) what these changes have done is given me a far greater appreciation of the capabilities of some of ARK’s land-based mounts (having your Quetzal strand you on the opposite end of the map from your base will do that to you).

As such, here is my list of favourite land-based mounts (in no particular order as they fulfil very different roles and I couldn’t imagine life without all of them in terms of late game play):

Thylacoleo – transportation, taming, combat mount, defence

Hands down my current favourite mount at present, the Thylacoleo is great at so many things. However, its ability to scale terrain better than any other ground-based mount is the main reason I can’t get enough of this striped-marsupial. Its ability to climb vertical surfaces, combined with a fairly high stamina, decent weight, good swimming speeds, the ability to leap over small obstacles as well as a decent base health and damage make this mount a really good mid-late game all-purpose mount.

Its ability to leap great distances and even climb cliffs is also extremely useful in taming situations as combined with the ability to use weapons from saddle, it gives solo-tamers the ability to chose a vantage point on sheer cliffs for easier knock-outs (it must be noted that you cannot shoot while clinging to a surface – you can use the ability to find small ledges on which to stand though).  

For PVP, their ability to leap and pin players/flyers could prove invaluable as you can climb surfaces near your base (or even your base if it’s tall enough) and leave your mount on the wall while you go about your business and, should an enemy venture too close, it can dismount players in a flash leaving them susceptible to turret aggro and other hazards.

Therizinosaurus – harvesting, combat mount

I previously listed the Therizinosaurus as one of my must have creatures in Tips and Tricks to Improve Your ARK Experience in 2017 and, I must say, since then I have fallen even further in love with this versatile harvester.

Without going into a full on rant about how amazing the Therizinosaurus is, we have to mention just a few key points about why you would tame this strange looking herbivore:

  • Need a wood/thatch/rare mushroom harvester? No problem – use your right click attack
  • Need a fibre/silk gatherer/organic polymer harvester? No problem – use your right click attack
  • Need a chitin/berry/hide harvester? No problem – use your C ability
  • Need a battle dino? No problem – the Therizino’s primary attack hits twice with every click and each hit deals damage to enemies. The Therizino also deals damage to both rider and dino, making it even more formidable in battle. Their bite (C ability) also inflicts a slight torpor effect, making it even more effective when fighting smaller creatures as you can inflict torpor on a rider directly (as long as he is lower than the Therizino)

The ability to choose which ability you want to sink your levels into is undoubtedly the selling point for this mount as its versatility allows this mount to be fashioned into the harvester that you need at any given time.

Setting aside its value as a harvester for a second, the Therizino is also a more than adequate battle mount. Combining a decent amount of base damage with an extremely fast attack speed means that this mount can easily take down creatures far larger than itself with the added benefit of a rider-targeting armour shred and torpor dealing attack making it a formidable opponent in a fight.

Megaloceros – scouting, cave exploring, transport

A creature that I haven’t really tamed since it first came out, the Megaloceros has since proved its weight in gold as a speedy transport mount and a fairly ideal mount for scouting anything from tames to base locations (whether you are in the market for your own or are looking for someone else’s) as well as a decent early level cave mount.

With a really low level requirement on its saddle (level 30 as opposed to the level 50 and 60 for the Thylacoleo and Therizino respectively), the Megaloceros is an ideal starter mount for players looking to establish themselves on a map as it combines speed and a fairly decent carry weight to make scouting easy and (mostly) risk free.

In addition to this, its ability to go into caves that larger mounts cannot mean that the chitin grind is a little easier in the early game (its unique ability to stop aerial attacks from affecting players is especially welcome in caves full of Onyc – bat caves “hue hue”). While the mount itself doesn’t have much in the way of damage, the ability to wield weapons while mounted means that a good sword on a tanky Megaloceros is death to most cave-dwelling creatures.

Gallimimus – tribe scouting/small raiding parties, transport

Another mount I have mostly ignored since its addition, Gallimimus’ are finally showing some use in both taming and PVP as, once again, weapons can be used from its saddle meaning players can tame from the saddle, scout with spyglasses as well as snipe all from the safety of the saddle (and on one of the fastest mounts in the game). This speed combined with the ability to carry a rider as well as two potential gunners mean that small tribes can easily mount an offence in relative safety.

Aside from being used as a skirmisher and scout, the relatively small mount is ideal for small tribes looking to move their base without drawing the attention of a larger carrier or flyer. Not the greatest late game mount but good for the early-mid game when tribes are looking to establish themselves without drawing too much attention to themselves and especially useful if you happen to have tribe mates that need frequent rescue from bad situations.

Baryonx – water harvesting, taming

Last on the list is the semi-aquatic stun-locker, the Baryonx. A relatively early-game mount, the Baryonx should be prized both for its ability to traverse both the land and the sea with equal ease as well as its ability to make underwater exploration slightly easier (thanks to its ability to murder Cnidaria with relative ease).

More easily obtained than any of the mounts above, the Baryonx is not only the best suited creature for aquatic traversal and farming than the others but is also the only other creature (on this list) carry-able by Argentavis (the other being the Megaloceros) meaning that you do not even have to store the water dweller near the water or beach – a most dangerous place for a base as it is easily spottable from the air – or in an underwater bases (without tek tier) as these are always extremely difficult to defend from both wild and tamed aquatic life.

In addition to this functionality, despite a relatively low base health, the Baryonx is a fairly capable fighter in both terms of speed and utility thanks to a unique feature: the ability to be “invisible” to larger wild predators (like Rexes) while in the water. This invisibility counts even if you attack said predator, meaning that you could easily kill or tame a beach-dwelling carnivore with ease as long as you are swimming – this feature only applies if the Baryonyx is swimming, not in shallow water.

What land-based (or semi-aquatic) creatures have you found a new love for since the flyer nerf and why? Tell us in the comments below.

  • PsyKo

    I still love the Saber… But the Thylacoleo may have just kicked its ass in all areas…

  • Kristian Krog

    Hey so what about dire bears? Prolly one of the fastest labd mounts with incredible weight makes it the best metal gatherer.

    • Sam Hawes

      The issue I have with bears is that every time you hit a rock/tree/dino/invisible piece of landscape then they go from the fastest creature to a relative crawl.

      • Samuel Alterio

        Rhinos too, they’re fantastic if you can get a charge up, the problem is getting a charge up without getting stuck on random terrain.

  • Samuel Alterio

    Thylacoleo has got to be my favorite mount period. Such a good combination of weight, speed, stamina, combat ability plus wall climbing. It’s just fun to use.
    My problem with ARK land dinos are the AI and pathing. You can’t have a caravan to transport mats or even relocate because your dinos get stuck on everything and left behind if you’re not watching everything every 5 steps. It’s infuriating and mind numbing and makes you want to get to flyers that much faster just so you can go from A to B without getting stuck 100x.

    • Sam Hawes

      I have to agree – Studio Wildcard should have fixed their pathing before they grounded us