I have a Goblin identity.
Raised by humans, but I never seemed to fit in. Not an alien, clearly born on Earth. Loved felines, unfortunately not one.
But the Goblins… the Goblins took me in. I took ’em to my very first Grand Prix in 2004 as a 14-year-old. I finished 7-2 with no byes to miss the cut at 66th place. Yeah, tournaments have changed.
Four years later I took the Goblins to a Pro Tour Qualifier in Seattle, and the Goblins took me to my first Pro Tour.
I’m here to tell you that the dream is possible. The dream of course, being Tier One Goblins. I have lived through a time when Goblins were at the top in Extended. Maybe history will repeat in Modern?
We have to start with Goblin Rabblemaster. This card is crazy.
This card is SO FAST. Imagine if we get it out turn 1 on the play.
Nug you for one turn 1. Turn 2 hit you for SIX.
I think the card can and will hang in Modern after getting crushed by it in the Vintage Rotisserie Draft. Early Goblin Rabblemaster with no answer is just game.
Now, this is Modern and Lightning Bolt is a thing. And Goblin Rabblemaster fails the Lightning Bolt test. Whatever. Dark Confidant and Vendilion Clique fail the Lightning Bolt test as well, but both are heavily played.
Goblin Rabblemaster is strong enough to be worth it, and it just means we’ll have to build with Lightning Bolt in mind later on.
If I forgot to mention that Goblin Rabblemaster is a Goblin, it’s a Goblin. Goblins play well with other Goblins. They also play well with other cheap, powerful red cards.
The first place to start would be with Goblin Guide. This is perhaps the most frightening turn-1-on-the-play start in the format. It’s crazy fast. It’s crazy aggressive. It is also a Goblin.
Goblin Guide has actually been leading the charge for a pretty solid Goblin deck online that was good before Goblin Rabblemaster:
That’d be one way to do it. It’s one way I’ve seen it done successfully and I know it can be supplemented by Goblin Rabblemaster. It’s a deck. For sure.
But there’s never just one way of doing things and I’m interested in doing something different today. I don’t want Goblin Rabblemaster topping out the curve of my Goblin deck. I want turn 1 Goblin Rabblemaster.
I want as many turn 1 Goblin Rabblemasters as possible. In as short a time as possible. That sounds fun to me.
Some of you might have played with or against All-in Red or Goblin Charbelcher-type decks before. Decks like these may be truly the most efficient way to enjoy Magic.
You look at your opening hand. And then you try to do something dumb to start the game and hope your opponent can’t stop it. You get to figure out if you won or lost by turn 2 or 3 every game. It’s truly efficient.
Different players enjoy different games of MTG. Some players like a long grind. They like to work up a sweat over a developing board and try to eek out a winning advantage. They like LONG games.
Some players would say, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” I’ve got a life to live. Lots of things to do. You want a game? Let’s play a game! Let’s get it done right now! Let’s get TEN games done in the next ten minutes. I’ve already drawn my opening hand! I’m already playing! I put this into play. I have nothing left. Your turn!
This type of player is the player that loves opening hands. I love opening hands. I want them to tell the story of the game. Sure, we get to draw an additional card every turn. But that’s kind of pointless when it’s a 2-turn game!
I’m talking about hands like these:
Oooooooooh baby! We goin first or second or what?? Shotgun first!! Weeeeeee.
So let’s build an All-in Red deck. An All-in Goblin deck. That draws its first seven cards and does dumb things.
This is an All-in Goblins deck. The game should be wrapped and resolved in about 3 turns. Give it a good riffle shuffle and play again!
Dump, stupid Goblins all over the battlefield to start the game. If they can clear ’em away, whatever—scoop and draw a new opening hand.
This deck is about efficiency. Life efficiency. Magic is fun, but there are a million other ways to spend our time. So let’s squeeze as much out of Magic in as little time as possible.
All-in Goblins Sideboard
No sideboard. C’mon with that nonsense. I mean, this is a competitive deck. It’s good. It smashes face. But having a sideboard kind of defeats the purpose.
Just give it one good mash and present! 60 is plenty!
This deck doesn’t sideboard all that well anyway. We have an efficient, proactive plan in our 60. If the stars align, the opponent is dead on turn 2, and who knows or cares what was in their hand?
We could board in cards, but it would mean boarding out kill conditions or mana and we might do nothing if we draw even one reactive card instead of the right combo piece.
The deck is competitive but it’s less like a tournament deck and more like a 60 you carry around in your bag when people ask you if you want to play a game.
If it is a tournament deck, it is trying to be the first person to carry in the match slip every round and run around to all your friends in the tournament who are still in game 1 to tell them how fast you won. And if you lost, you can get out of the tournament hall in 5 minutes and dodge the thumbs up/thumbs down stuff.
All-in Goblins. Peace out!
In all seriousness, if you really want a sideboard the first place to start is Blood Moon.
I heard this card was good on turn 1. Seems worth going for against certain decks.
And if you are really terrified of Pyroclasm, you could always throw back to these guys:
But my preferred strategy is a short prayer to the Goblin Gods before drawing my opening hand. I’ve found that works better than a sideboard.
All-in Goblins Card Breakdown
Let’s break down the cards that made the deck. Not every sweet Goblin made this deck but that doesn’t mean that sweet Goblin couldn’t be used to make another sweet Goblin deck. The Goblins have a deep pool in Modern.
This deck is all about the dumbest possible starts.
These are our bombs. Under the right conditions each of these can win the game on their own with just a little support.
Ideally we would like to get Rabblemaster out turn 1 or wait for our second land drop for an Empty the Warrens or Siege-Gang Commander.
Our bombs just make a bunch of tiny Goblins and these little guys aren’t necessarily going to pull it off by themselves. We need to help them work as a team!
Each of these cards doubles the damage output of our Goblin team.
Contested War Zone is nice because we can use it in our sparse land base, and it serves a useful function once we are in the red zone. Two mana to give a whole team of Goblins +1 is extremely powerful for a land that already made some mana.
This makes 12 support spells that make even a small army of Goblins extremely threatening.
We want to do something dumb turn 1 or turn 2, so we want as much fast mana as we can get. We are playing all 12 of these:
As an Empty the Warrens deck, we’d like access to additional free spells to make more Goblins, faster.
These cards are staples in Storm decks, and we are a Storm deck.
Not only do these cards make our deck run at essentially 52 cards, Gitaxian Probe serves an important function for getting turn-1 information.
A Gitaxian Probe can give us the information we need as to whether to go all in on a Goblin Rabblemaster or wait for a better opportunity.
The last card in the deck is Warren Instigator, which falls somewhere between fast mana and a bomb by itself.
In most decks, Warren Instigator isn’t so frightening as functionally a 2/1 for RR. But this deck is stacked full of pump effects that can make Warren Instigator win the game without even drawing one of our “bombs.”
And that brings us back to 60!
The biggest tip I can give with this deck is to think of it more of a turn-2 deck than a turn-1 deck. If we have the turn-1 Goblin Rabblemaster, sure, why not? If we have turn-1 Warren Instigator, we can talk.
There are 16 lands in here, which is kind of a lot for a turn-1 deck. This is more like a turn-2 deck. But anyway, the game will probably be resolved by turn 3, so it doesn’t make too much of a difference.
The Goblin Tribe
All-in Goblins is by far my favorite way to use Goblins in Modern. But don’t let my thinking limit yours. I’ve said before—the card pool is deep, so you can truly pick to preference.
If your preference is laying everything bare as quickly as possible, I think you are an efficient
human Goblin and this sounds like the deck for you.