Back to the roots: Modern Goblins

It’s been a while since I picked up my Modern little greenskins for a spin, and while grinding with UB Faeries or tempoing with Merfolk is all fun and games, I missed the aggressivness of Goblins. I missed turn one Goblin Guide, reach with Goblin Grenade and Lightning Bolt, and Mogg Fanatics. Yea.

So I took them for a ride, once, twice. And I had fun while doing O.K. I went 2-2 at the first tournament, losing to Banz Eldrazi and 8-Rack, but I was just one topdeck away from winning both series. I did win against GR Tron and Esper Control that day and remembered how fast the deck is. However, I was playing with three Vexing Devils and will never do so again after drawing a dead Goblin Grenade in a crucial game that I lost.

A few days later, it’s Friday with FNM Modern. I again grab my Goblins, change Vexing Devils for more greenskins, and go for it, this time doing even better, winning against BW Tokens, Naya Burn and Jund while losing to my own UB Faeries deck (piloted by a friend of mine), and even those games were kinda irregular (stuck on one land in Game 1, mull to five in Game 2).

I came to the conclusion that Goblins are still kinda inconsistent and not as strong as other decks, but they are fast indeed. In the current state of the local metagame, I believe they are a great choice for FNMs.

Modern Goblins, FNM (Ljubljana, 28th of October 2016) - 3rd out of 16

Creatures (29)
Foundry Street Denizen
Frenzied Goblin
Goblin Bushwhacker
Goblin Guide
Goblin Piledriver
Grim Lavamancer
Legion Loyalist
Mogg Fanatic
Mogg War Marshal
Reckless Bushwhacker
Spike Jester

Spells (12)
Atarka’s Command
Lightning Bolt
Goblin Grenade

Land (19)
Auntie’s Hovel
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Copperline Gorge
Stomping Ground
Wooded Foothills
Sideboard (15)
Blood Moon
Destructive Revelry
Earwig Squad
Goblin Piledriver
Pillar of Flame
Pyrite Spellbomb
Rain of Gore
Rakdos Charm
Tin Street Hooligan
Tormod’s Crypt

Deck plays as usually so I will take this opportunity and write a bit about sideboard and sideboard plan. But before doing so, we have to keep in mind that sideboard is the most metagame related part of our deck, so feel free to add or remove various hosers (anti lifegain, grave hate, etc). Here is a longer article regarding sideboard choices for Goblins in Modern.

I will start with two Blood Moons. Interestingly, it was me who prefered Molten Rain over the red enchantment, but since some of the games go grindy (and we don’t do that well), I felt that Blood Moon effect prevails the one-time shock while destroying a land. I feel it’s better to color-lock your opponent than set them back for one mana. Sure, it still depends on the match-up itself, but I have to say I am pleased with the Moon. It came in handy against Bant Eldrazi and could do some heavy lifting against BGx, UB Faeries and Esper Control, for example.

Next we have four artifact hate cards, starting with two Destructive Revelry, one Tin Street Hooligan and one Rakdos Charm. Revelry gets the nod because it can target enchantments as well, and I would probably play three if not for the Rakdos Charm, which is more than just an artifact hate and might even be a pet-card of mine. However, Tin Street Hooligan is the best 1-for-1 artifact hate in my opinion, it’s a Shatter on a Goblin Piker (that’s 4 mana folks), and this card has the highest ceiling among the three, as you can trigger a Foundry Street Denizen, destroy an artifact and kick a Bushwhacker (or use a Goblin Grenade). It’s just astonishing. Because there are not many artifact decks in my metagame, I’m not using Shattering Spree or Ancient Grudge, but once Affinity and Lantern Control hits the local metagame, I have them at the ready.

Tin Street Hooligan

Electrickery was a last-second addition instead of Flame Slash, and it was designed to be an Elves and a tokens hate card that is decent against affinity as well. I didn’t get to use it so can’t really write more.

Earwig Squad is my Slaughter Games, anti-combo weapon that beats hard. Great against Ad Naus and other combo decks that rely on a few cards, but bad against other aggro and Bolt decks. Goblin Piledriver in the side is there for those non-interactive match-ups where we have to race as fast as possible, or against Merfolk.

A single Pillar of Flame is there for those pesky Finks and Voice of Resurgence, and if I feel that those creatures are prevalent, I am upping the number. One Pyrite Spellbomb is a safety against Pro-Red (Firewalkers, Etched Champions, Master of Waves), and I don’t see those cards that much on our local tournaments so I am keeping it at bare minimum. Both cards hit face and Spellbomb can even cantrip if needed, so they get the nod before Magma Spray or Reality Hemorrhage.

Rain of Gore is an interesting card that I usually side against any slower (midrange or control) decks with Green and/or White, and is especially great against Finks, Obstinate Baloth, Thragtusk and Timely Reinforcements, or versus Soul Sisters. However, it does not work on lifelink, rendering it useless when facing Wurmcoils and Kalitas. Luckily, we have Atarka’s Command in the mainboard to shore up the lifelink issue.

The last two spots in my side are Tormod’s Crypts, a free one-sided graveyard hate. I side it in only against decks that NEED the graveyard (Dredge, Storm, Living End, Reanimator, maybe Grixis but it’s a strech), and not when facing only a Goyf, Snapcaster or Tasigur. Remember, Crypt is not a Relic of Progenitus that needs an investment of two mana to deny the graveyard, albeit it clears both yards and it does draw a card. If there are a lot of BGx and Grixis decks running around, I would probably pick Relic instead.

Spike Jester

We went neck-deep into my sideboard, but let’s talk about 1-ofs in my mainboard and try to determine their usefulness (or uselessness) as well. We have a Frenzied Goblin, another one-drop to add to the density while having an ability that is relevant against decks that pack less creatures that are more beefy. It’s also great against Walls, Spellskite, Kalitas and Wurmcoil despite needing an investment of one mana. It gets sided out a lot. Next up it’s Goblin Piledriver and I’m sad to say that my metagame is a tad bit too interactive for Piledriver to connect, so I use him as a lure or a finisher and one is enough with an additional one in the side. Reckless Bushwhacker is kind of a 9th Atarka’s Command/Goblin Bushwhacker that gets sided out against attrition decks, not sure about it so I might try something else on it’s slot. Last but not least, a single Spike Jester makes me sad, but I had one spot free after removing Vexing Devils and felt that I wanted more hasty creatures, so I went for it. I used to play four and the card is good against decks without Bolt and not many 1/1’s, but it puts pressure on finding a black source on turn two while having an option of casting Atarka’s Command in the following turn, which is hard on mana/life. Playing one was a mistake, so next time around I will go up to four, or down to zero. Maybe three or even two is a decent number, as you don’t want to draw too many of Jesters.

This is all for today, thanks for the read and keep Goblining ya all!



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