I barely have time to cube and go to prereleases these days, but I think Goblins are probably competitive again. A few things took Goblins out of the picture:
- Critters started showing up in brown lists and blocking goblins
- 4x Mentor meant that a single Jester's Cap effect wasn't lethal
- Eldrazi got printed and are actually much harder to kill than artifact critters
- Abrade Goblin is maindeckable as a 4x and kills all the colorless and brown problems that can ruin your day
- Mentor got restricted, greatly increasing the value of cap effects vs Xerox engines
- Legion Warboss is everything Rabblemaster needed to be: go-wide, pumps Lackey, makes hasty tokens to hit planeswalkers. Unlike Rabblemaster, it doesn't force your other gobs to make bad attacks.
- Trashmaster lets you trade up vs brown
- Warboss + Trashmaster let you go back to being an aggro-combo deck vs Xerox and aggro-control vs brown. Earwig Squad "combo" isn't a sufficient angle of attack vs Xerox anymore and you had too slow a clock without it.
- Assassin's Trophy lets you switch from Grixis to Jund and adds redundant disruption against everything but fast combo (where Earwig Squad seemingly still does all the work you need). It's cute that it gives a maindeck answer to Oath, too.
Anyways, I think these recent printings probably bring Gobs back. I'm happy to help people brew if they're interested.
Cockatrice is a great place to test. There's not another electronic platform that 90% of the people who play vintage use. Nope. Just cockatrice.
I'm not a big fan of renting digital cards. It's kind of dubious to invest in an online platform when the content owner you're renting from is actively investing in a new platform and won't move your cards over onto it. Just sayin'...
No promises of optimality, but this has failed to fail in brief testing. The Containment Priests are almost surely an error as is Chandra. Fanatic and Trashmaster are the real deal. Maybe Yixlids? Dunno. I haven't played in a while, but Trashmaster was worth firing up Cockatrice for.
2 Damping Sphere
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Tin Street Hooligan
2 Cheering Fanatic
4 Earwig Squad
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Goblin Matron
1 Gempalm Incinerator
2 Goblin Trashmaster
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Mana Confluence
1 Volcanic Island
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
2 Dack Fayden
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Time Walk
1 Gempalm Incinerator
2 Containment Priest
2 Leyline of the Void
2 Red Elemental Blast
4 Mental Misstep
1 Ancient Grudge
I mean, is it viable outside of goblins? The fact that it is a gob does not change the fact that its ability is relevant to any deck that can pull it off. It can ramp you into a turn 2 JTMS or Karn for instance.
It seems craptacular as ramp unless you care that it's a Goblin or you abuse the fact that it's a cost reduction and play something many many times. My first thought was something like 2x Top + Prowess, but that fails in a variety of ways.
@13nova I think you're very confused. Wizards intentionally has gone many years without printing a new, playable Goblin specifically because they were so oppressive in Legacy. Moreover, they would be oppressive in Legacy if Goblin Recruiter was unbanned. Food Chain isn't in Modern.
As to the removal and combo you listed, Earwig Squads have always given Goblins a strongly favorable matchup against combo. It used to have a favorable matchup against Oath, but it always had a poor matchup against Brian Kelly. The removal you mention doesn't do anything against Squee or Food Chain.
You seem to have misread the card: it's a 2/2 and you get the bonus from just declaring the attack. I'm pretty sure this is red Lotus Cobra. Is that Vintage playable? Dunno. The big thing holding back Food Chain Goblins is that there's no obvious kill. You can reliably make infi mana every game, but you have no good outlets that don't require a non-Goblin tutor.
@ambivalentduck if you're casting squee infinite times all you need if FSD/tattermunge duo and a Legion Loyalist to give trample.
You can also make an infinitely large Grenzo, Dungeon Warden. Fun!
Unfortunately, both are 4-card combos to kill that turn.
Taking the more generic Naya 8x Recruiters angle, you can use Ballista instead. You can also rock the Aluren kill.