Most people who have been playing Magic for some time have fond memories of decks. These may be a favorite commander deck, or a really awesome combo brew that beat the best player at your store that one FNM, or the deck that brought you to your best finish at a big event. The truth is, most players have this or these decks, from the casual gamer, to the most competitive among us.
In particular this week, I want to talk about my first legitimately competitive Standard deck. A deck near and dear to my heart, and popping into many people’s minds this week. While I actually played this deck in Onslaught Standard, both before and after Mirrodin (but not after Darksteel, an aptly named set for the dark times of which it brought upon us), I’m sure speaking of the archetype name will bring back memories to even the most grizzled of Magic veterans. The deck is, of course, GOBLINS!
Ah, the memories this deck brings back. This deck had everything. It had short game because that’s just what goblins are. It had long game thanks to beats like Siege-Gang Commander and Patriarch’s Bidding. It had very strong creature synergies between the goblins in the list being able to make mana, and make other goblins stronger, while getting them all back with a well-timed Patriarch’s Bidding. It also had what I consider the most important aspect of a creature based aggressive strategy, reach, with Goblin Sharpshooter and Siege-Gang Commander.
The deck played similarly to elves decks of the times that had really neat interactions with Wirewood Symbiote, but instead gaining a ton of life with Wellwisher, or a huge amount of mana with Birchlore Rangers, we were just focused on killing our opponent. Right in the face. Sometimes with bullets even!
“So Tim,” you ask. “Why dig up this old relic of times past?” The answer is simple, my child. Through our great masters of the spoilerverse, and the benevolent hands at Wizards of the Coast Research and Development, we have been graced with not only many playable goblin cards in the new set Magic Origins, but we have been graced with the presence of a member of the pantheon of greatest goblins to have ever graced this earth on cardboard; Goblin Piledriver.
This. Card. Is. Nuts. If you have never had the opportunity, nay, PLEASURE, of utilizing this card in Standard, you missed some nutty times. Sure, you look upon his tiny body wrapped around a grown man’s head, and wonder how he can be better than decent. He’s a 1 / 2, and people kill your goblins all day long, how does he even do anything?
Well, then, I ask, what makes Goblin Rabblemaster playable? He’s a threat that your opponent must answer or they die. Makes sense. But he’s not really any bigger than a Goblin Piledriver, and costs more mana. Sure, the Rabblemaster can go wide, but that’s the thing about goblins. It’s not the type of red deck where you play a turn 1 dude, turn 2 dude, and try to go over the top after that with burn spells. Goblins is a different deck. It is meant to play with synergistic creatures, more like an Affinity/Robots deck, than a Burn/Sligh Red strategy. So when you look at a goblin individually, for the most part, they look rather weak. However, when you look at goblins as a whole, they are an explosive gang with the force of a thousand suns (ok, probably over the top).
So, I have been coming up with a couple of Standard goblin brews that I think will be good right out of the gate. I think at this point, most people are already pretty with the Atarka red deck in Standard. The deck alone runs a LOT of goblin cards. My first thought of a Standard goblin deck was to just modify that list:
The idea here is to just replace the majority of our burn cards with goblin cards to exploit the synergies of our creatures. As you can see, we dropped the typical Zurgo Bellstriker/Monastery Swiftspear package for Frenzied Goblins. There aren’t too many other 1 drop goblins at the moment, so we fill that void with an additional Lightning Berserker, just because it’s probably the best red one drop that is really effective and powerful after turn 4 as well.
Atarka’s Command lets us go wide with Dragon Fodder and Hordeling Outburst, while also pumping our Rabblemaster tokens and providing a bit of reach. I also kept Stoke the Flames, because not only do I believe that the card is insanely powerful on its own, it is really helpful to save any goblins you may not want to attack with once a Rabblemaster hits the field.
So there’s really not too much innovation here, it’s just an Atarka Sligh deck with different synergies. Possibly, the goblin deck above is a touch weaker than the current Atarka Sligh deck due to poor lack of one drops, but I believe the above strategy to so far be the best at exploiting Goblin Piledriver.
This brings us to my other idea. I posted last week about the deck I would be playing in Standard going forward. That deck contained a certain 4 mana green instant that I am particularly fond of (*cough* Collected Company *cough*). I’m sure that card can’t be bad surrounded by low cost synergistic creatures. Here’s what I’ve been testing with success lately:
[Deck Title=Goblin CoCo]
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Frenzied Goblin
2 Lightning Berserker
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Subterranean Scout
4 Mardu Scout
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Boggart Brute[/Creatures]
4 Collected Company
4 Stoke the Flames[/Spells]
4 Mana Confluence
4 Wooded Foothills
This build lets us play with 2 new goblin creatures. Subterranean Scout is a 2 drop 2 / 2 that when it comes into play, makes a creature with power 2 or less unblockable this turn. So that means it makes our Goblin Piledrivers or Goblin Rabblemaster unblockable, since those cards receive their bonuses in combat.
We also get to play with Boggart Brute, which is a 3 drop 3 / 2 with Menace (This creature can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures). Attacking with this dude makes your opponent’s choices during blockers more difficult, especially paired with something like Frenzied Goblin or Subterranean Scout.
Boy this deck makes me giddy. The ability to empty your hand relatively quickly, and at the end of our opponents turn, get 2 more goblins that can attack next turn to make your Rabblemasters and Piledriver better is very exciting to me. You can even Collected Company on your own turn before combat to trigger Foundry Street Denizen and Subterranean Scout.
All in all, I’m very excited for Magic Origins. I think that as the ultimate core set, it looks to be going out with a bang. Speaking of bang, I’m looking for one more card that would really push these decks above over the top…a certain tribal grenade is on my wishlist for the upcoming set, and I know it’s only summer, but I’ve been a really good boy so far this year!
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