Another Monday, another improvement

Another Monday brings us yet another Modern tournament report, and this time, I was even more successful than last week, as I managed to finish on the 4th place out of 18 competitors. Since I’m still waiting on my Shared Animosity to arrive, I had to improvise, and I have to say I was quite astonished with my goblin deck performance. Here is the decklist:

Planeswalker Modern Monday, (Črna Luknja, Ljubljana, 13th of October 2014) - 4th place out of 18

Creatures (31)
Legion Loyalist
Goblin Guide
Foundry Street Denizen
Goblin Wardriver
Goblin Bushwhacker
Mogg War Marshal
Goblin Chieftain
Simian Spirit Guide

Instant (4)
Lightning Bolt

Sorcery (6)
Goblin Grenade
Dragon Fodder
Lands (19)
15 Mountain
Snow-Covered Mountain
Mutavault

Sideboard (15)
Goblin King
Dismember
Magma Spray
Smash to Smithereens
Combust
Blood Moon
Mountain

First things first: I bought a pair of Snow-Covered Mountains from Ice Age for fun and old times sake, and just had to use them of course. They, as you should know, have no other meaning than land decoration. Anyhow, the biggest change this time was a playset of Simian Spirit Guides, whom I used for the first time and have to give them props; they turned out to be a very aggressive option when on the play, making things like turn 2 Goblin Chieftain possible, among other juicy stuff. However, when I was on the draw, I sideboarded them for that one Mountain and three other cards, usually Goblin King(s) and Blood Moon(s).

Just like last time, my first opponent played with Pod, and surprisingly for me, I was able to nuke him before he stabilized. More or less thanks to Simian Spirit Guide into turn 2 Chieftain, which is a really strong play, followed by a turn 3 Goblin Wardriver if I remember correctly (I opened the game with turn 1 Goblin Guide, of course..). Game two was a bit longer, but I just had too much damage output and closed the deal with 2 to 0. I think Loyalist played a big part as well, but don’t really remember if that was game 1, game 2, or both.

In round 2, I played against URW Control, and after a very one-sided game 1 that I won, he just wouldn’t lose in the next two games, and cards like Electrolyze, Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix cleared my board with the help from Snapcaster Mages. Truth to be told, I was flooded in game 2, and had a few mana problems in game 3 as well, but all in all, I couldn’t push through enough damage, and his counters and burn spells proved to be too much for me. He ended up winning with the man-lands.

At 1 – 1, I was eager for my next match, and I was paired with a homemade GB something-deck. It didn’t take long to see that this was a favorable match-up for me, and I was able to bag a seemingly easy 2 to nothing victory. The fact is that goblins were just too fast, and my damage spells cleared her (yes, her) board of big bodies (Ob Nixilis, the Fallen), therefore nullifying her chances, since mana dorks (Birds of Paradise and Sylvan Caryatid) are not the best blockers against stacked and pumped-up gobbos with first strike and trample. Needless to say, Thoughtseize is not really a good card versus goblins, while Inquisition of Kozilek is, but it is hard to discard just one card and hope for the solution, since goblins are a synergy deck, thus one makes the other go big and scary – I had too many useful cards in my starting hand to begin with, and she had no mass removal.

Last match of the tournament was against Jund, and after winning the dice roll, I had a feeling that I might be able to win. Game 1 was a classic fast-paced goblins, but after sideboarding, he was able to grab game 2 by opening with Inquisition of Kozilek, and when Batterskull started to do it’s magic, it was all over. I shouldn’t have played with a 4 land starting hand, but even more so, I made a few stupid plays and since I didn’t have any board presence, he won the second game quite easily. At that time, I was thinking about sideboarding artifact hate, but when I came to think about it, I more or less lose when Batterskull (or any other 5cmc card) hits the board – I just have to win faster. I put Simian Spirit Guides in again, and had a decent starting hand with 2 lands and one Spirit Guide, meaning that I was able to make a turn 4 kill, overruning him with a horde of goblins despite having to discard Chieftain from my hand after Inquisition during his turn 1. I also put two Dismembers in my deck for game 3, but didn’t end up drawing them – and I didn’t need them anyways.

Common knowledge is that Krenko’s Command and Dragon Fodder is the way to go in modern goblin decks, but truth to be told, once cards like Electrolyze and Orzhov Pontiff are in action, 1/1 creatures just end up dead for nothing. That is why I chose to use three Goblin Wardrivers mainboard, and usually, they are removed as soon as possible and don’t allow for good trades (Electrolyze) in opponents favor (meaning my other creatures stay alive and kicking). But in either case, when Wardriver gets to attack with a few other green buddies, it’s devastating, especially with Legion Loyalist, who was a MVP against Pod and GB deck that I faced in round 3. Simian Spirit Guide was also helpful when I had him in my starting hand, while Mutavault is a great way to add some pressure, and it’s synergy with goblins is just awesome.

Most useless cards were, in my case, Goblin King, Blood Moon and Dragon Fodder. First two I underused, while Dragon Fodder is usually good in game 1 or in high numbers (token goblin deck with both Fodder and Krenko’s Command), but isolated as a 2-off, it was a so-so card.

However, the most important thing really is the dice roll (read this!); usually, I win the best-of-three when I win the dice roll, unless I play against very slow decks that cannot keep up with my pressure. Either way, may the dice-God be with me!

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