Goblins, an Undervalued Tribe in Vintage



  • Hello, today I would like to discuss my favorite aggro deck in Vintage, Goblins. People seem to undervalue these little red guys to the point that I have had people quit as soon as I play a Cavern of Souls on Goblin. I am here to defend these little critters and say that this deck is far from unplayable in Vintage.
    Let me go through the list and give explanations for the cards where needed.
    First off the Manabase:

    4 Cavern of Souls- this card is a no brainer, it allows your critters to get into play without worry of counterspells from your opponents, it also Mana fixes you for specific purposes.

    4 Bloodstained Mire- fetch lands really help create minor card advantage, either by Mana fixing, keeping yourself out of Wasteland/Strip Mine range, or simply thinning the deck slightly

    3 Mountain- basic lands are essential with Wasteland in the format, not as relevant as in Legacy, but still have the same purpose

    2 Badlands- the Black in this deck is a small splash, so only 2 Badlands are needed in my opinion, no reason to run four and get hampered by Wasteland if we don't need to

    4 Wasteland- of course, this deck plans to make the opponent's deck play at our level, so Wasteland really helps in that regard, Mana denying our opponent is key

    Strip Mine- same reason for Wasteland, except this really hampers the opponent since we could also hit basics with it

    4 Simian Spirit Guide- having turn one plays is essential to any deck in Vintage, and these really help push that

    Black Lotus- the best card in Magic, what more is there to say

    Mox Ruby- on color Moxen are pretty much an auto include in any Vintage deck. Since Black is such a small splash, Mox Jet isn't needed

    That was the mana base for the deck, now time for the meat and potatoes so to speak:

    4 Goblin Lackey- the best turn one play you can think of for this deck. It allows us to do fairly broken things on turn two if our Lackey connects with the opponent

    4 Goblin Matron- Demonic Tutor is Restricted, this card is most of the time an uncounterable Demonic Tutor, enough said

    4 Goblin Warchief- this card is insane. It reduces the cost of our Goblins allowing us to really fill the board fast, also giving our team haste is very nice helping us close out games quickly

    4 Goblin Ringleader- Ringleader is our Ancestral Recall, except it beats face in the process

    4 Earwig Squad- when cast via Prowl, this card can single handedly win games alot of times. Removing win cons from the opponent making their game plan basically void

    2 Gempalm Incinerator- a removal spell that is uncounterable as well as cantrips, absolutely absurd

    2 Mogg War Marshal- its a goblin, that puts Goblins into play. Great against Tangle Wire and the like

    Now for our toolbox of Goblins to fetch:

    1 Goblin Welder- an out to Tinker Blightsteel, a powerhouse against Workshops, need I say more

    1 Goblin Recruiter- allowing us to stack our deck for an absurd amount of card advantage seems worth a slot

    1 Stingscourger- another out to Tinker Blightsteel, a tempo play against creature based decks, seems solid enough for an inclusion

    1 Goblin Chieftain- a fifth guy to give our team haste, but this one also pumps our team

    1 Goblin Sharshooter- a great way to deal with X/1's in the format

    1 Krenko, Mob Boss- create an army of Goblins with a single activation normally, sign me up!

    1 Wort, Boggart Auntie- a source of card advantage by returning goblins that lost their lives, or a draw engine with Incinerator

    1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden- a source of card advantage by keeping our hand full and still filling up the board

    1 Warren Weirding- an out to many different monsters like Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Oath creatures, etc

    The only cards left in the main deck are there to level the playing field so to speak. These cards bring the opponents deck down to our pace so that we can simply out play them.

    3 Null Rod- simply put "it does nothing"

    That's my current main deck, now allow me to show you my sideboard:

    4 Leyline of the Void- probably the best card for the Dredge matchup, they aren't going to beat you with their cast dudes plan, so just slow them down enough to race them

    4 Thorn of Amethyst- against Storm based decks, I've learned this is the best approach, play similar to Workshops by denying them Mana and making their spells cost more, except our 5/3's remove their win cons entirely

    3 Pyrokinesis- instant speed free creature removal that can hit multiple dudes seems amazing doesn't it

    2 Pithing Needle- Name Bazaar of Baghdad against Dredge to slow them down, Mishra's Factory against Shops to remove threats/ blockers, Time Vault/ Planeswalkers against Blue, the list goes on and on

    1 Goblin Sharpshooter- same purpose as the main deck one, just have access to a second one

    1 Tin Street Hooligan- a fetchable removal spell against Workshops. You many be thinking, but there's no green Mana in this deck, that's where the mana fixing of Cavern of Souls comes in handy

    To make it easier on the eyes here is a list form:

    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Bloodstained Mire
    3 Mountain
    2 Badlands
    4 Wasteland
    Strip Mine
    4 Simian Spirit Guide
    Black Lotus
    Mox Ruby

    4 Goblin Lackey
    4 Goblin Matron
    4 Goblin Warchief
    4 Goblin Ringleader
    4 Earwig Squad
    2 Gempalm Incinerator
    2 Mogg War Marshal
    1 Goblin Welder
    1 Goblin Recruiter
    1 Stingscourger
    1 Goblin Chieftain
    1 Goblin Sharpshooter
    1 Krenko, Mob Boss
    1 Wort, Boggart Auntie
    1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
    1 Warren Weirding

    3 Null Rod

    Sideboard

    4 Thorn of Amethyst
    4 Leyline of the Void
    3 Pyrokinesis
    2 Pithing Needle
    1 Goblin Sharpshooter
    1 Tin Street Hooligan

    There you go, my favorite aggro deck in the format! Please post comments below if you desire.



  • Full disclosure, it's been a long time since I sleeved up Goblins in Vintage - Food Chain being that time.

    In my limited experience I found trying to board for Storm based combo to be a bit of a crap shoot. Thorn is extremely narrow and you run no where near the same density as Workshops. To me it seems your best option is either finding a more consistent way to race and/or leverage incidental cards like Earwig. Cap effects are undervalued against DPS, it speaks volumes to me that they actually run them as anti mirror tech. Earwig seems like the way to go because it supports your primary game plan while hindering theirs.

    TLDR: Thorn is bad - find something else or make room for other meta cards as the combo match up is historically terrible.

    Out of curiosity, how is the Mentor match up?


  • TMD Supporter

    I welcome anyone to play Goblins against me. I'm either on TITI-RUG, which has 4 bolts, 3 misteps, and TITI, or I'm on some sort of Combo.

    You go "Cavern, name goblin, lacky", and I go "Sweet, that's not an island or a workshop. Kill you".



  • Goblins should have one of the best Mentor and combo matchups at the moment since it can slam an uncounterable turn 2 Earwig Squad or Sulfur Elemental. It's not clear to me how bad the shops matchup become because of that, but you can run 4x Rakdos Charm main. Maybe a few random Dack Faydens?



  • @Soly said:

    I welcome anyone to play Goblins against me. I'm either on TITI-RUG, which has 4 bolts, 3 misteps, and TITI, or I'm on some sort of Combo.

    You go "Cavern, name goblin, lacky", and I go "Sweet, that's not an island or a workshop. Kill you".

    This is the EXACT reason I posted this Soly, people undervalue the deck.



  • @AmbivalentDuck said:

    Goblins should have one of the best Mentor and combo matchups at the moment since it can slam an uncounterable turn 2 Earwig Squad or Sulfur Elemental. It's not clear to me how bad the shops matchup become because of that, but you can run 4x Rakdos Charm main. Maybe a few random Dack Faydens?

    Those are cards but I think you need more than either. A single cap effect isn't going to stop the majority of builds and it does nothing to stop an early Mentor.



  • Mentor is one of the reasons I want Basilisk Collar, combined with Sharpshooter it acts like a machine gun for any creature based matchup.



  • @msg67183 Seems like a stretch to me.


  • TMD Supporter

    @msg67183 We have been testing sharpshooter in hatebear builds and it is surprisingly good against mentor in general. It takes care of all the tokens and can make mentor a lot easier to kill, less likely to attack into your other creatures. It also just makes combat awesome in general.



  • I think Goblins can be competitive.
    Collar is probably not necessary to kill mentor if you run a Skirk Prospector.
    I don't understand the lack of Aether Vial, Skullclamp, and Goblin Darkdwellers.



  • Taking a crack at Goblins, the goal is to consistently win game 1 vs Mentor and Dredge. Oath is an awful matchup if you want get off an Earwig trigger before they get an activation, so make sure to include something to deal with that.

    21
    4 Lackey
    4 Matron
    4 Earwig
    1 Gempalm Incinerator
    1 Goblin Chieftain
    1 Goblin Piledriver
    1 Goblin Welder
    1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
    1 Legion Loyalist
    1 Goblin Sharpshooter
    1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warder
    1 Sulfur Elemental
    1 Wurmcoil Engine

    14
    4 Rakdos Charm
    2 Dack Fayden
    Trinisphere
    Demonic Tutor
    Vampiric Tutor
    Demonic Consultation
    Ancestral Recall
    Tinker (Trinisphere and Wurmcoil Engine are both brutal in their matchups)
    Treasure Cruise
    Time Walk

    25
    5 Mox
    Black Lotus
    Sol Ring
    Mana Crypt
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Badlands
    2 Volcanic Island
    4 Bloodstained Mire
    1 Scalding Tarn
    1 Strip Mine

    SB:
    Not sure


  • TMD Supporter

    don't forget to use kiki jiki to copy your opponent's duplicant and win a black lotus doing so.



  • @Juggernaut-GO Did that actually happen?


  • TMD Supporter

    @Aaron-Patten scg power9 event years ago in richmond. kid should have been dq'd but i lost to him in the finals regardless.



  • @Juggernaut-GO That is the worst thing. Very sorry to hear that.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Juggernaut-GO Mike Zaun? I heard he just had Lackey in his opening hand like, every time and that's how he won.



  • @socialite

    You have 4 maindeck Earwig Squads already

    You can play 8 Pyrostatic Pillars in the sideboard. Plus 4 Leyline of Sanctities, 4 Mental Missteps, and 4 Mindbreak Traps if you wanted to. There is no reason why it should be a 'crap shoot'



  • @shawnthehero said:

    @socialite

    You have 4 maindeck Earwig Squads already

    You can play 8 Pyrostatic Pillars in the sideboard. Plus 4 Leyline of Sanctities, 4 Mental Missteps, and 4 Mindbreak Traps if you wanted to. There is no reason why it should be a 'crap shoot'

    To me Earwig seems like the only viable option. Leyline is also a possibility, the rest dilutes your clock and DPS seems well prepared for them regardless. Trying to fix a match up that isn't good at the expense of more reasonable ones is, in my experience, a huge pitfall.



  • @Aaron-Patten said:

    I think Goblins can be competitive.
    Collar is probably not necessary to kill mentor if you run a Skirk Prospector.
    I don't understand the lack of Aether Vial, Skullclamp, and Goblin Darkdwellers.

    I didn't even notice that interaction with Skirk Prospector, thank you!
    No Vial or Skullclamp because they are Nonbos with Null Rod.
    No Dark Dwellers because I play 1 sorcery in my entire list.



  • Maybe you guys are right, maybe I shouldn't attempt to try out dedicated Storm hate and just bring in my four Leyline of the Void since they help against Dark Petition and Yawg Will. I could use the four slots for more constructive things like a few more Dredge hate, or Shops hate, or even more Oath hate, although the main deck is fairly stacked against it with 4 Earwig, Weirding, Stingscourger, and the like. Cages wouldn't hurt.



  • MSG, is there a reason you aren't going blue for Ancestral, Time Walk, Dack, and Tinker? Combo shouldn't be a problem matchup. Your roughest should be Forgemaster shops and blue can really help there.


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