M12 Next level Goblins

With Magic 2012 fresh out of the box I thought it was time for a Goblin update. What better time than with PTQ Michigain right around the corner right? So rather talk about possible good cards and decks I have been thinking about but dont plan to play lets get right into it with the exact list I plan to play.

4 Goblin Guide

4 Goblin Chieftain

4 Goblin Bushwhacker

4 Spikeshot Elder

4 Ember Hauler

3 Goblin Wardriver

None Creatures(16)
4 Lightning Bolt

4 Incinerate

4 Goblin Grenade

4 Searing Blaze

Land (21)
4 Teetering Peaks

4 Scalding Tarn

4 Arid Mesa

9 Mountain


4 Dismember

4 Ratchet Bomb

4 Act of Agresstion

3 Manic Vandal

Before I get into why I’m playing X card let’s first talk about what I’m not playing. Grim Lavamancer  is looked at in two distinctly different ways. Some people claim he is so good that you cannot play Goblins, or any red deck for that matter, without him. While I don’t agree with playing him in EVERY red deck I do agree he is pretty good. He does offer an alternate option to deal with large threats or multiple chump blockers by simply shooting past them. He also does combo very well with Goblin Grenade.  The problem I have with him is that he’s a bit of an investment. You have to wait a full turn to do anything other than block with him and at best he’s not really dealing any damage for at least 3 turns, since its best to wait until the end of their turn to open up your ability to respond to what they may or may not play. Additionally he forces your hand. I found myself trying to fill my graveyard up to keep him fueled and ready to fire over holding onto important removal spells.  The last problem I had with him is that he simply is not a goblin. Multiple games in play testing i was sitting on a grenade with him in play that would have otherwise won me the game.

Shrine of Burning Rage is a great card and one that I’m a huge fan of. Many Goblin Players have begun to play this card as a means to finish up games at a faster pace while having a main board answer for specific red hate cards like Kor Firewalker. Since every card in your deck aside from the Shrine is red you can really produce some huge numbers at a very fast rate. Just like Lavamancer I ran into problems during playtesting. The first of which is how unstable it can be. Early game it can all but steal the win right out from under the other player. However drawing them mid and late game or in multiples can be a real pain. Since they take a while to build up its almost always better to draw something else like a Lightning Bolt or even a Searing Blaze late game since they have a more immediate effect.

Arc Trail is a well loved card by many players and not just Red ones. There isn’t a whole lot to say about the card. What it does is pretty straight forward. Two creatures for 1 card and without losing your own creatures. In some cases it’s that last bit of damage you need to just seal up the game. The only reason I have cut it from my Sideboard is for an experiment. I’ve been testing Ratchet Bomb in its place as a way to combat the mirror under the idea that if im behined a complete board reset may be better. In addtion ratchet Bomb can take care of cards red otherwise wouldn’t be able to answer like Oblivion Ring.

Now for what i am playing. The largest thing you may have noticed is the lower land count. 21 land seems like a risk at first glance since most aggro decks are running 22-24 lands. The reason I’ve done this is becasue of two cards that drastically lower the mana curve. Once I figured out with Goblin Grenade and Incinerate being reprinted meant less mana would be needed to run my deck I began rebuilding so I could keep my casting cost at 2 or less excluding Goblin Chieftain and Spikeshot Elders ability.

Incinerate Effectively replaces Staggershock. Though I’m a huge fan of Staggershock the issue has always been two fold. 1 it cost 3 mana and 2 its 4 damage is broken up into two parts. If the first is say Mana leaked you dont get the second part and worse still you lost the investment of 3 mana for nothing. If they allow the first part of the damage through and stop the second its not as terrible but when you do the math 3 mana for a shock doesn’t seem so hot does it? With Incinerate you more often then not are able to follow it up with another cast like Goblin Guide or Lightning Bolt.

Goblin Grenade is the one card I saw printed in the spoiler I thought for sure would be fake. I couldn’t believe they would ever reprint this and not in a standard environment filled with Goblins as a viable deck type. When I opened one up during a recent draft game the idea that it was legal in standard still made me smile. It hands down replaces Burst Lightning. While I’m a fan of Burst Lightning its just a bit shall we say old? Its at best a 1 mana shock and at worse 4 damage for 5 mana. Goblin Grenade is 1 mana for 5 damage. Big Difference for the amount of time and mana used for each card. There is however a down side. First part of Goblin Grenades casting cost is to sac a goblin so reguadless of it being Mana leaked or not you still lose a Goblin.

Ratchet Bomb seems like an odd sideboard choice when I already have Dismember.  The reason I have both is simple. Ratchet Bomb takes care of things other cards in the color just cant. Oblivion ring like I mentioned above is a very well loved card and one that can easily suppress key creatures limiting their effectiveness. Having the ability to bring them back is game changing. Other great targets include  Journey to Nowhere, Leyline of Sanctity and specific red hate cards like Kor firewalker. Its also pretty great in the mirror match. Top this off with what I said above and you have a really useful card in a wide range of match ups. I perticularly like it as a means to deal with the new card being played against goblin/red decks. Timely Reinforcement is easily kept off of or delt with by means of Ratchet bomb.

I think with these changes that Goblins remain an extremely Resiliant aggro deck. One I hope to pilot to a PTQ  win or at least a top 8 finish this week end. Wish me luck.


About Jonathan F Logan

How I started my addiction to the fine game of Magic the gathering begins with my best friend’s 21st birthday. He anther friend of ours and myself decided after 6 hours of drinking it would be a good idea to walk up to that local store buy us some precons from Kamigawa and spend the night playing and debating over the rules with one anther before passing out. We have been addicted to the game ever since. During the Lorwyn block I primarily played the limited formats like sealed deck draft and Two headed Giant. During the Shard of Alara block I spent a great deal of time away from the game because of going to College full time as well as working full time. With the finish of school I have had a great deal more free time to play this game we all love so much. I have had some notable finish in the top 8 of a few PTQ’s as well as taking second place in a GP trial and Midwest Masters trial in the last month. I will be sharing what I have learned during these tournaments as well as some casual things on the side. My Focus lies mostly in the constructed Standard format.

Posted on July 20, 2011, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I like your reasoning in the iincinerate vs. staggershock argument. I was honestly wondering why you weren’t running it but now you have convinced me otherwise.

  2. Thought bolt was out of standard atm, good list through mate

  3. Bolt will be rotating out of standard in October. But, as always, this is a solid list, and one that is easy to understand. Only thing is, the deck really isnt that much different. You replaced 2 burn cards with 2 better ones lol. I think the real challenge will be in Oct. when a good portion of the great goblin cards will be no more. None the less, great list, and I can see you doing very well with it at the PTQ this weekend. Good luck bro.

    • It doesnt seem like a lot has changed but going from 23 lands down to 21 and even having a change of 3 cards (dismember in teh baord) the deck plays diffrently. What was an acceptable keep hand in the first set of list is a pitch hand here. Thanks for the luck. Ill need it. I Tend to rock the red deck mortality of “Ill be trading after round 2.” Haha.

  4. I do not understand the purpose of Sclading Tarn, when you can just hold a mountain and play it when you want. What am I missing?

  5. Ahh I just read an article about what deck thinning really means. I retract my question.

  6. Aside from thinnign teh deck and improving my draw it allows instant speed end of turn cast of searing blaze on thier turn vs haveing to wait on mine.

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