Exploring Vintage with Goblins

While I still view myself as a Modern-first player, I enjoyed playing Legacy so much that I gave Vintage a try (spoiler alert: they are nothing alike). Since I don’t own all the cards, I was more than happy to learn that the community is just great when it comes to lending cards to fellow players. It’s understandable that people loan Modern decks and singles, but Legacy and especially Vintage are a different story (cards get expensive, obviously). Thanks guys!

Anyhow, eleven brave souls met for a 6-round casual tournament, and you can guess from the title that I played with Goblins.

Vintage Goblins, Vintage League XI, 3rd tournament (Medvode, 6th of November 2016) – 8th out of 11

Creatures (32)
Earwig Squad
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Chieftain
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Matron
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Recruiter
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Sharpshooter
Mogg War Marshal
Siege-Gang Commander
Skirk Prospector
Stingscourger
Tin Street Hooligan

Spells (9)
Sudden Shock
Tarfire
Warren Weirding
Black Lotus
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Ruby
Sol Ring

Lands (19)
Badlands
Bloodstained Mire
Cavern of Souls
Mountain
Strip Mine
Taiga
Wasteland
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Blood Moon
Earwig Squad
Goblin Welder
Grafdigger’s Cage
Krenko, Mob Boss
Pyroblast
Pyrostatic Pillar
Red Elemental Blast
Stingscourger
Tormod’s Crypt
Tuktuk Scrapper
Wort, Boggart Auntie

Food Chain should be a go-to Goblin deck in Vintage, but I chose the unusual route as I went with “regular” Goblins. There weren’t any new decklists around the web, so I scrapped what I have found and made a 75 out of it. People were playing Mogg Fanatics, Wort, Boggart Auntie, Krenko, Mob Boss, Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, Goblin Welder, a few of Tin Street Hooligans/Tuktuk Scrappers and many Earwig Squads in their mainboard, but because I had no idea about Vintage metagame, I went with my guts and moved a few to the side, and removed the others altogether. Some were skipping on Goblin Ringleader, while others played with Skullclamp. Either way, Null Rod was missed in the main, but I replaced Leyline of the Void with a pair of Grafdigger’s Cage and Tormod’s Crypt (Cage is excellent, by the way) and it was fine.

Tin Street Hooligan

My opponent in the first round was on UR Blue Moon deck and we took it to time with no winner in the end. It was kinda funny as I had to mulligan in Games 1 and 3, and should have done so in Game 2 as well; kept a 1-lander with Lackey that was met by Mental Misstep, but otherwise it was a very strong hand. However, I topdecked nicely (Cavern, another land) and started to push my opponent with Tin Street Hooligan and a bunch of Goblin Chieftains (I saw three in that game). I won on the back of Warren Weirding my own Stingscourger so that I could attack for 2 (tokens have haste). Game 1 was all about my opponents Thought-Knot Seer, while the third game ended in a stalemate. Anyhow, it was a nice introductory to Vintage as we shook hands on a tie.

My Goblins ran into a brick wall of MUD in Round 2 as my opponent locked me out in Game 1 with a turn one Trinisphere on the play, and a Triskelion in Game 2 for a fast 2-0 victory. That was a beating, but I was ready for more.

Triskelion

Round three pairings were up and I faced a Hermit Druid deck, and here it starts to become a bit embarrassing. I had no idea what he was on (I asked him way later and he told me). I knew it wasn’t a regular Dredge, but I saw Narcomoeba and just packed all the grave hate I had. Game 1 was fast despite my mistake (Mogg War Marshal off of Lackey instead of an Earwig Squad, which would have fasten the clock), and in Game two I opened with Cage and Crypt. I won, but even after prowling an Earwig Squad in Game 2, I didn’t take all of his win-cons (I missed a Laboratory Maniac, d0h). It seems that the better player doesn’t always win in Vintage Magic.

Next up was fourth round and I again felt lucky after beating my opponent very fast. Both games were decided after I answered his Dark Confidant (Sudden Shock, Tarfire) and used Goblin Recruiter‘s ability to stack the top of my deck, which was enough to seal the deal. He played BURG Fish, some kind of a four-color good stuff, but didn’t get to play much after mulligans and my Wastelands. It seems fair match-ups are favored for my greenskins just like in Legacy.

Best red 2drop?

Best red 2drop?

I faced a Mentor deck in Round 5 and couldn’t handle a turn 1 Young Pyromancer and soon, a second one joined the field which sealed the deal after my Sharpshooter died doing nothing. Game 2 Monastery Mentor took the game away, and I Matroned for a Sharpshooter instead of a Gempalm Incinerator (but it ended up not important as he had a few more Mentors in his hand). Needless to say, we talked a bit and came to the conclusion that some number of Sulfur Elementals from my side were needed to even the odds. Noted.

Last round was against Dredge and after losing Game 1 (what a surprise), I again started Game 2 with Crypt and Cage, which was enough to slow him down for me to win. Game 3 was exciting, and one round before I could end the game he removed my Cage and won on the back of Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, which left me with only Krenko and Earwig Squad on the board against his massive army.

One thing to consider is Goblin Chieftain vs. Goblin Warchief, and since I included four Tin Street Hooligans in the main, I went with the former. However, there were times when Warchief would be a better option. Still, my Vintage knowledge is so shallow that I don’t know what I am talking about, so I guess there is no reason to listen to me.

I promised myself (and told a few other players) that I will try Food Chain Goblins in Vintage once, so I will look to attend at least one more Vintage tournament. In the meantime, I’ll stick to Modern and occasional Legacy.

Food Chain

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