Deck of the Day: Goblins (Modern)

One of the most successful decks in Modern several years ago was a Turbo Zoo deck that was capable of winning the game on turn 3 and consistently won on turn 4. This version of Goblins gets to do exactly that, while avoiding damage from its own mana base in order to make racing even easier.

The key to the deck is giving the opponent a good whack upside the head. Goblin Bushwhacker and Reckless Bushwhacker are functionally very similar and both create a ridiculous amount of damage. For just 2 mana, you’re getting a 2/1 haste creature, which is already a reasonable rate. Both Bushwhackers pump your entire team’s power and grant all of your creatures haste, which means that you can play multiple spells in a turn and still get through for massive damage. In the case of Reckless Bushwhacker, playing two spells is very important to make sure that you get the surge cost and trigger, and you’re loaded up with 1-drops to make that happen.

The best first-turn play isn’t easy to identify here. Both Goblin Guide and Foundry Street Denizen are potent threats. The Guide will get in for 2 right away, but could leave your opponent up cards. Denizen continues to grow throughout the game, so while it’s consistently attacking for a minimum of 2 damage, that number increases to 4+ in the early stages of the game.

Goblin Piledriver is a little on the slow side, but pays off once you have a board. While Piledriver is relatively easy to block for non-Merfolk decks, if you force just one through, the damage from a single swing will often be lethal. Any 1-drop into Piledriver into 1-drop Bushwhacker means that your Piledriver is attacking for 8 alone.

Mogg War Marshal adds multiple bodies to your team for a reasonable cost. While you often won’t pay the echo, you can make the decision based on the game state and your hand. Letting the Marshall die puts another token into play, ready for you to play a spell into Bushwhacker to attack for a massive swing.

Mogg Fanatic lost a lot of its luster when combat damage no longer stacked. It can still pick off mana creatures and some reasonable threats, but it’s mostly just here as another 1-drop that adds a tiny bit of reach late.

Legion Loyalist has some really nice things going for it. It’s already a great Raging Goblin, and it can also be your best weapon against decks with Lingering Souls. Loyalist combos well with Denizen and especially Piledriver as a way to trample through for extra damage. Pumping your creatures and then giving them all first strike and trample doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll deal lethal this turn, but your odds of winning in combat are high.

Goblin Chieftain and Goblin Heelcutter are your “expensive” spells. Heelcutter shuts off a big blocker, or more importantly, a lifelinking blocker. Chieftain is a better Goblin King, as giving all of your creatures a power boost and haste is awesome and it plays especially well with Mogg War Marshals.

Outside of the many Goblins you’re playing, you get to play the best burn spells in Modern. Lightning Bolt is obviously excellent, but not many decks can actually play the powerful Goblin Grenade. For just a single mana, the Grenade makes you sacrifice a Goblin (easy to do here) and will deal 5 damage to any target. That mana-to-damage rate is just absurd and casting multiples on turns 3 or 4 can close out just about any game.

Goblins looks to be the fastest aggressive deck in Modern and may be just the foil to the format. I know I wouldn’t want to be taking too much damage to get my Death’s Shadows online against a deck this fast!


DANNY_BAMBINO, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League


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