Have you ever wondered if there is anything notable or of value among the pesky greenskins? I sure did, and came up with a list of Top 10 best goblins in the history of Magic: the Gathering. Some of them are iconic, others staples, but all of them did it’s job during their time. Let’s take a look at my picks for most awesome goblin cards.
10. Goblins of the Flarg While most unspectacular goblin on the list, Goblins of the Flarg was the first Goblin creature in competitive decks, dating back to the very beginning of the Sligh deck. 1/1 mountainwalk for 1 mana was relevant in the early days of Sligh (well, there was no other better one drop), so he gets a nod because of it’s history despite low power level.
9. Squee, Goblin Nabob The first legendary Goblin printed is also one of the most fun and annoying cards despite seeing little to no competitive play these days. However, that was not the case during it’s time in Standard, where Squee would fuel Masticor or Frantic Search. The cabin-hand on the Skyship Weatherlight remains one of the most known and liked Goblin characters in MTG lore, and I refuse to believe he was exiled for real during the Phyrexian war.
8. Goblin King When we talk about Goblins as a tribe, it’s hard to ignore the lord itself. The first boss printed, the original chief. Sure, Goblin King was later surpassed by Goblin Warchief (the best goblin lord as of now, so this is it’s spot) and Goblin Chieftain, but it still holds it’s own, as does the value of Goblin King copies from Beta.
7. Murderous Redcap The combo finisher of Birthing Pod in Modern is still making some appearance in various Podless-Pod decks after the banhammer on the namesake artifact, but his glory days are long gone, yet not forgotten among the Goblinkind. He did end many a games.
6. Goblin Welder A key piece of a few Legacy and Vintage decks (Painter, Welder Control), Welder excels in EDH as well. While not making a splash, the eternal format star is indeed a respected member of Goblin community, if one exists, and is probably one of the smartest goblins, which doesn’t say much. However, even the strongest Goblins are afraid of a brethren that gets around the scrapyard, breaking stuff just to create something else.
5. Mogg Fanatic Another one drop, another icon of Magic. Mogg Fanatic killed it’s fair share of mana dorks, Thalia, Dark Confidant, Pestermite, Lavamancer, and lots of infect creatures. Hell, it even won games by pinging the final point of damage. It’s a legend among goblins, and it still sees some fringe play in modern goblins and Protean Hulk combo.
4. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker The craftiest Goblin around, Kiki-Jiki is the synonym for combo. Yes, there are others, but he is the enabler of a few two- and three-piece combo wins, from Modern to EDH. Kiki also generates value and a kind of card-advantage if he sticks in play, albeit he is soft to all kinds of removal. He saw some play in Pod and is nowdays capable of doing it’s job in Twin and Chord decks. All in all, I’m happy that Kamigawa was printed so Kiki can continue to break mirrors to this day.
3. Goblin Guide Probably the best goblin in flavor, power level and style, so no wonder it’s the most expensive card on the list. Staple of burn (RDW) in all formats, Goblin Guide is just bonkers when it hits turn 1 on the play. Most likely one of the best goblins ever printed, but definitely the best in modern. It’s not only a 2/2 with haste for 1 mana, his triggered ability can reveal opponents next draw as well. A superstar of goblins, Raging Goblin on steroids.
2. Goblin Lackey Staple of Goblin decks since it’s printing and one of the most game-breaking cards if it connects. I bet many have been on the receiving end of this little fella in various formats, from kitchen table to extended and legacy, dropping beasts like Goblin Mutant, Goblin Marshal and Siege-Gang Commander as fast as turn 2. While the addition of Deathrite Shaman lowered the power of Goblin Lackey, it’s still a must-have in any goblin deck that has access to it.
Well, there is also the Extended/Legacy Goblin package: Goblin Warchief, Goblin Ringleader, Goblin Piledriver, Siege-Gang Commander, Goblin Sharpshooter, Goblin Matron, Skirk Prospector, Gempalm Incinerator, Sparksmith, and the legendary duo of Krenko, Mob Boss and Grenzo, Dungeon Warden. While they are all awesome, strong and some are an integral part of the Legacy deck, it’s not the power of a particular card (ok, Siege-Gang is an exception), it’s the synergy among them. Warchief is a beast, granting haste and lower casting cost is perfect for a goblin lord, and he is the best one to this date. Ringleader is card advantage, plain and simple. Piledriver is a beater, Sharpshooter somewhat a finisher and removal, while Matron presents another card advantage and toolboxing. Together, they are stronger than the sum of it’s parts. To be frank, all of them should be on the list, but there was no space, and it was due time to share some light on forgotten members of the goblin family that don’t make it into the most famous Legacy goblin deck.
All goblins mentioned above are iconic, powerful, or even outstanding, but none of them is really the BEST GOBLIN. So, what is the best goblin card? It’s the only banned goblin in Legacy, the one and only, Goblin-stack_your_deck_as_you_like-Recruiter.
1. Goblin Recruiter What more do we want? An endless stream of good topdecks, a combo enabler, the best tutor for two mana? Maybe the best red two drop ever? Food Chain goblins anyone? Stacking your deck as you please with little goblins was managable when this card was printed back in Visions, but somewhere along the line (probably with the printing of Ringleader in Apocalyplse), it was too much. It was not Goblin Lackey, it was Recruiter who pushed Goblins over the top into the ban zone.
Empty the Warrens Not a goblin creature card per se, but more than deserves a mention. Many a storm players finished their opponents with a bunch of mere 1/1 goblins after catching his opponent off-guard without an answer, be it in modern or legacy. While not a 4-of staple, it’s another wincon for storm decks across the formats since it’s printing. Also loves to see a kickered Goblin Bushwhacker. Oh, and if we are discussing storm already, we have to mention Goblin Electromancer. Done.
Goblin Grenade Yes, this one ain’t goblin as well, but it’s the best non-goblin goblin card. 1 mana for 5 damage is just too good to pass. Kitchen table and high school staple.
Did I miss anything? What are your Top 10 Goblins of all time? Let me know, and cheers!