The real spoiler season of the upcoming MTG set Oath of the Gatewatch has started, and while all the shiny expeditions and mythics are cool and all (albeit leaked), it’s rares, uncommons and commons that make or break the set. One of the cards that were spoiled yesterday was Reckless Bushwhacker, and after seeing the new Bush-bro (remember Goblin Bushwhacker?) people started to look at all the possibilities new goblin could bring, myself included.
Reckless Bushwhacker (2R)
Creature – Goblin Warrior Ally
Surge 1R (You may cast this spell for its surge cost if you or a teammate has cast another spell this turn.)
When Reckless Bushwhacker enters the battlefield, if its surge cost was paid, other creatures you control get +1/+0 and gain haste until end of turn.
First cards that spring to our minds are enables like Burning-Tree Emissary, Manamorphose, Gut Shot, Gitaxian Probe, Mutagenic Growth and maybe even Surgical Extraction. Modern decks that could slot in the new guy are Storm, Kuldotha Red, Zoo variants with Emissary, and Goblins, of course, especially in a shell of either No Lord Goblins or Turn 3 Goblins. However, it’s easier said than done.
Kuldotha Red is getting a huge buff here and might become consistent enough to be competitive. Do you imagine all the shenanigans with the new Bushwhacker, Memnite, Signal Pest and Kuldotha Rebirth in addition to Goblin Bushwhacker, Shrapnel Blast and Goblin Grenade? I believe surge wouldn’t be much of a problem in this deck, with all the low-costed cards and Memnite to additionally help with the clause. While the deck might not be even considered fringe, let alone tier 2, due to lack of it’s presence, I could reason with more players trying it out. It’s waaay more explosive than Burn or regular Goblins, but suffers from inconsistency, which just got better, and lifegain, which is the case with most if not all red based decks in the format anyway. Not much to lose, yet so much to gain. I’m definitely trying this out.
Zoo decks with Burning-Tree Emissary could take this guy for a test ride, since it’s basically a downgraded version of an aggressive Atarka’s Command. It provides a 2/1 body, +1/+0 and haste for the team instead of 3 damage and +1/+1, which is decent if not good. However, the restriction of Surge could lead to some awkward topdeck situations, but even then, it’s at least a 2-power haster for 3 mana (meh). I don’t believe he will see much play in Zoo decks, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I am wrong.
UR and Mono Red Storm decks get another (probably better) finisher along Goblin Bushwhacker after storming Empty the Warrens, yet it’s hard to image this alone could mean the comeback of storm archetype. Due to not having much experience with Storm decks, or playing against them other than racing ’em, I cannot really say much more here. Go Goblins!?
Last but not least, there are aggro Goblin decks, and this guy is right up our alley. Goblin Grenade, Goblin Bushwhacker and Atarka’s Command are probably the best game-ending cards in the deck (also Guide and Bolt), and Reckless one could be the missing piece for the deck to officially become tier 2, whatever that means. It’s worse than the original in topdeck mode, yet it can be cast off of Mutavault and Burning-Tree Emissary. Triggering surge won’t be that hard, as Bushwhacker is used as a finisher after already casting other threats beforehand, so the question here is if it’s better than Atarka’s Command, and if not, what to replace in the deck. For starters, lets go with a core of hellakevin’s No Lord Goblins, add a little tweaking, and this is what I ended up with:
No Lord Goblins - Modern, Oath of the Gatewatch
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Guide
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
3 Reckless Bushwhacker
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Atarka’s Command
4 Goblin Grenade
3 Bloodstained Mire
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Copperline Gorge
2 Stomping Ground
4 Wooded Foothills
The addition of Reckless Bushwhacker is definitely capable of improving this kind of goblin decks, and while it is overcosted as a 3 mana 2/1 haster (looking at Spike Jester or even Mardu Scout), it is a conditional replica of one of the best cards in the deck, so it’s hard to argue it’s usefulness. Instead of Goblin Piledriver or Spike Jester, both of which are removal magnets, we get another Bushwhacker who helps the team even if bolted, and he goes well with Mogg War Marshal, Loyalist, or even more Bushwhackers. I chose to go with 3 mainboard, but that might not be the best idea, since being stuck with two copies of Reckless Bushwhacker and nothing else in your hand is kinda bad. Needless to say, he would bring up the consistency of the deck, much like with Kuldotha, and I see no reason not to play a few copies of it myself.
Yea I know, it’s five mana, but it looks like a playable card for Standard and some Modern decks, like Jund, Grixis or Skred Red, and I’m exciting about the fact that we already have two goblins in the set, so there might be (many) more to come. Allies or eyeless, I don’t really care. Oh, and while we are at it, two mana 3 damage spell for Standard please. Happy New Year!