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
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.