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 News ::: 03 October 2002

Food Chain Goblins Primer

(Note: The bracketed sections at the end of each line are marks you can use the ĎFindí command to go immediately too. It makes finding a specific part of the primer easier.)

Sections:
1. The history of Food Chain Goblins
1.1 - The roots of GobVantage ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [A1]
1.2 - GobVantage makes the scene†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [A2]
1.3 - Food Chain Goblins and Seething Gobvantage come out†††††††††††††††††††††††††† [A3]
1.4 - Food Chain is converted into T1 play and the current version †††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††[A4]

2. Combo workings, proper stacking and general strategy
2.1 - Why play the deck? ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [B1]
2.2 - How the combo works†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [B2]
2.3 - Various stacks with recruiter ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [B3]
2.4 - General strategy ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [B4]

3. Card Choices
3.1 - Creatures†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [C1]
3.2 - Spells†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [C2]
3.3 - Mana ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [C3]
3.4 - Variants†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [C4]
3.5 - Sideboard †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [C5]

4. Aggro Match-upís
4.1 - TnT ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [D1]
4.2 - Madness/ Oshawa Stompy†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [D2]
4.3 - Mask†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [D3]
4.4 - Fish†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [D4]

5. Control Match-upís
5.1 - Keeper †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [E1]
5.2 - Tog †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [E2]
5.3 - Landstill†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [E3]

6. Combo Match-upís
6.1 - Dragon††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [F1]
6.2 - Long/TPS †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [F2]

7. Workshop Match-upís
7.1 - Slavery††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [G1]
7.2 - Trinistax†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [G2]

8. Conclusions
8.1 - The End†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [H1]
9. Credits
9.1 - Thanks†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [I1]

The history of Food Chain Goblins
The roots of GobVantage [A1]

Circus created and played by Mons Johnson Ė Jan. 2003

4 Goblin Lackey
4 Mogg Fanatic
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Mogg Raider
4 Goblin Piledriver
2 Mogg Flunkies
4 Goblin Recruiter
1 Sparksmith
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
3 Goblin Ringleader
4 Seal of Fire
2 Goblin Bombardment
4 Terminate
6 Mountain
2 Swamp
4 Sulfurous Spring
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Shadowblood Ridge
4 Wasteland
3 Rishadan Port

This was the first publicized version of a goblin deck using the Goblin Recruiter / Goblin Ringleader engine. Originally created by Mons Johnson (Yes the same Mons from Mons Goblin Raiders) this was played to three Top 8 finishes in the 2002-2003 1.x season, before finally winning one of the PTQís and qualifying.

The original listing isnít much to look at, but it was effective as evidenced by PTQ top 8ís and win. And also if you look at the decks back then, some of the odder card choices make sense.


GobVantage makes the scene [A2]

Gobvantage played by Tsuyoshi Ikeda Ė Aug. 2003

Creatures
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Goblin Recruiter
4 Goblin Piledriver
3 Gempalm Incinerator
3 Goblin Warchief
3 Goblin Ringleader
3 Goblin Matron
3 Skirk Prospector
2 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Sparksmith
Spells
3 Rites of Initiation
Land
20 Mountain
2 Ancient Tomb
1 City of Traitors

This deck was played at Worlds 2003 by seven players either on the Japanese team Fireball Pro or friends of the team. Gobvantage was originally designed by Tooru Maegawa for the Venice PTQ season and further developed by Jun Nobashita. Pre-Scourge GobVantage was a bust, failing to make any impact at the Yokohama Masters Gateway.

Post Scourge however with Goblin Warchief and Siege-Gang Commander, Tsuyoshi Ikeda convinced his teammates to alter and retest the deck, with very pleasing results. The Japanese team and friends played the deck at worlds with every player going 4-2 or better, with the sole exception of Tsuyoshi Ikeda, who had to leave the event early for family reasons.

The main concept of this early deck was simple, beatdown quickly with goblins or use the R&R combo to assemble a top deck of 3 Piledriverís and a Warchief.

Itaru Ishida was the first to compare Goblin Recruiter to Necropotence and made the claim that it was the best goblin ever printed. Despite this endorsement, Goblin Lackey was seen as the only problem and subsequently banned from 1.x play after Worlds. The release of Mirrodin soon brought another incarnation of the deck, as well as another deck powered by a long forgotten card. Both of these decks would soon prove Ishida correct in his assessment of the recruiter.


Food Chain Goblins and Seething Gobvantage come out [A3]

Seething Gobvantage played by Akira Asahara Ė 10th place at PT:NO Ė Nov. 2003

Land
4 Ancient Tomb
17 Mountain
Creatures
2 Gempalm Incinerator
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Recruiter
3 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
4 Goblin Warchief
2 Siege-Gang Commander
3 Skirk Prospector
Spells
4 Chrome Mox
4 Goblin Charbelcher
4 Seething Song

Food Chain Goblins played by Tom Guevin - 48th at PTNO Ė Nov. 2003

Land
3 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Brass
1 Forest
4 Karplusan Forest
9 Mountain
4 Wooded Foothills
Creatures
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Recruiter
4 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
4 Goblin Warchief
4 Mogg Fanatic
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Skirk Prospector
Spells
4 Chrome Mox
4 Food Chain
4 Seal of Fire

Both of these decks took Pro Tour: New Orleans by storm, along with the Tinker decks. Both decks were widely played throughout the season and showed the power of Recruiter. Food Chain abused the Recruiter / Ringleader engine even further than the original deck, by allowing not three, but thirteen goblins be placed into play through sacrificing Recruiter and Ringleaders for additional mana to continue the chain. Seething Gobvantage simply stacked the deck with 20+ goblins and then activated Goblin Charbelcher for the kill. If youíd like to read about the full story of how Food Chain was paired with Gobvantage, read here: http://www.yourmovegames.com/news/ThestoryofFoodChain.shtml

Itís telling that Recruiter was played in three different high powered decks though Worlds and the 1.x season before finally being banned in 1.x on the next B/R announcement.

Food Chain is converted into T1 play and the current version [A4]

Goblin Chains (Budget) 2003 Pre B/R Ė Joshua Silvestri (Vegeta2711) Ė Dec. 2003

// Mana
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Lotus Petal
2 Mountain
3 Ancient Tomb
3 Karplusan Forest
4 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Chrome Mox
// Combo Card
4 Food Chain
// Creatures
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
2 Siege-Gang Commander
2 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Ringleader
4 Goblin Warchief
4 Goblin Recruiter
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Skirk Prospector
4 Goblin Vandal
4 Goblin Lackey

This was my original pre 2003 restriction version of Food Chain Goblins with 4 Chrome Mox. After a few helpful suggestions to the deck (Mana Crypt from JPmeyer) it was basically complete at the time. Soon though the decks mana base had to be remade after December rolled around and I went about beginning the process of testing the deck against a gauntlet. Eventually after the addition of a few overlooked goblins and the addition of Wasteland I had the current version of FCG.

Food Chain Goblins - Oliver Deams Ė DŁlmen 11.01.2004

Spells:
1 Chrome Mox
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
4 Food Chain
Creatures:
1 Gempalm Incinerator
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Recruiter
4 Goblin Ringleader
4 Goblin Warchief
3 Mogg Fanatic
1 Skirk Prospector
Lands:
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Bloodstained Mire
7 Mountain
4 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills

This is one of the recent Food Chain decks that have popped up and made top 8 at a recent DŁlmen. Youíll notice in follows the main decree of FCG decks in not including non goblin, Food Chain or mana cards. Also note the 4 Ancient Tomb and Goblin Matronís, Bebe and I both believe these are holdovers from Seething Gobvantage decks and should not be considered the norm. Though itís good to keep the deck results in mind.

//NAME: Goblin Chains - Joshua Silvestri (Vegeta2711) - Jan. 2004
// Mana
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Ruby
1 Chrome Mox
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
4 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills
5 Mountain
// Combo Card
4 Food Chain
// Creatures
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
2 Siege-Gang Commander
2 Goblin Matron
3 Gempalm Incinerator
3 Goblin Warchief
4 Goblin Ringleader
4 Goblin Recruiter
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Skirk Prospector
4 Goblin Lackey

 

Yes there is also a budget version, but for the main listing Iíve chosen to use the powered version. The Mox Ruby can be swapped for a basic Mountain, and the Black Lotus, Mox Emerald, and even Chrome Mox can each be replaced with Elvish Spirit Guides, if necessary. There is also a strip-less version and that is covered under variants and can also be noticed in the European build listed earlier. This is where the deck stands today. As for a budget build, the only thing that needs to change is the mana base. So hereís my budget mana base.

 

Goblin Chains Budget

// Mana
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
1 Lotus Petal
2 ESG
1 Chrome Mox (If you lack Mox I run a Ancient Tomb, but Godzilla suggests a 3rd ESG)
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
4 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills
6 Mountain

Why play the deck, Combo workings, proper stacking and general strategy
Why play the deck? [B1]
Now you may be asking yourself why should I play this over anything else? There are four main reasons for playing FCG Iíd like to go over.
1. You destroy all aggro decks. You have the advantage over every single one of them and every time you draw a combo hand, you win.
2. You still keep a decent game against control and workshop decks. Despite having a combo built in, you can play this like a normal aggro deck and do very well. This is why your control and workshop matches donít suffer, despite being partially a combo deck.
3. Itís cheap. Dirt cheap. As in the most expensive cards in the deck for a budget version are Piledriver and Taiga cheap.
4. The deck has proven itself with three T8ís in European metagameís in January, with budget builds no less. This shows the deck is fully viable and isnít just theory here.

How the combo works [B2]
Use Recruiter to stack your library full of goblins, putting a Ringleader as the first and fourth card. You then use Food Chain to sacrifice Recruiter and use one other mana to power the first Ringleader into play. Then keep saccing the old Ringleader to Food Chain to play the new one. Then play and sacrifice cheaper goblins to Food Chain to drop various amounts of the guys into play and attack with all of them (Including a few very large Piledriverís) for the win.

You can also kill your opponent with direct damage between Goblin Sharpshooter and Siege-Gang Commander. This is done by using 13 total goblins with 1 Sharpshooter, SGC and Prospector specifically. You sacrifice two goblins to Prospector, shoot twice with Sharpshooter, then sacrifice a third to Siege-Gang Commander and shoot again with Sharpshooter. This adds up to five damage for every three goblins. Simply make sure you donít sacrifice Sharpshooter, Siege-Gang Commander or Goblin Warchief till the end and you can deal 20 or more damage like this. Remember sacrificing does not work with Food Chain, because Food Chain will remove the creatures from the game instead of sending them to the graveyard and because Food Chain mana can only be used for casting creatures. Youíll need to use Skirk Prospector to sacrifice creatures and untap the Sharpshooter.

Also note this is the same reason why something like Caller of the Claw wouldnít work well in this deck, unlike some of itís uses now suggested in dragon.

Various stacks with recruiter [B3]
Note: The following assumes you have Food Chain on the table.

A normal stack with Goblin Recruiter against aggro will look something like this

 

Normal Stack.

Ringleader
Goblin Warchief
Siege-Gang Commander
Goblin Piledriver
Ringleader #2
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Piledriver
Ringleader #3
Goblin Sharpshooter
Skirk Prospector
Warchief #2
Ringleader #4
Siege-Gang Commander #2
Gempalm Incinerator
Gempalm Incinerator
Gempalm Incinerator

This allows you to drop a Warchief, SGC, Sharpshooter, Prospector and all 4 Piledriverís into play. It also gives you leeway to sacrifice Siege-Gang tokens to Skirk Prospector, which will allow you to cycle Incineratorís and use Sharpshooterís ability freely to clear the board.

Set-up against Control

Ringleader
Warchief
SGC
Piledriver
Ringleader #2
Piledriver
Piledriver
Piledriver
Ringleader #3
Goblin Sharpshooter
Skirk Prospector
SGC or Warchief #2
Ringleader #4
Skirk Prospector
Skirk Prospector
Skirk Prospector
SGC or Warchief #2

This order is specifically chosen to maximize odds of winning if the combo is disrupted. Warchief will make all future goblins cheaper if Food Chain was destroyed in response and sets up for the next draw which is SGC. After that Piledriver after Piledriver with the 2nd Ringleader. I feel this gives me the best chance of coming back with cheap and effective threats.

The specialized stuff comes in after Ringleader 3, because it's only really relevant in the off chance they have Moat or a fog effect of some kind. Basically the stuff isn't that useful if drawn without being able to combo off fully. The 4th Ringleader is all dirt cheap stuff in case of spot removal, in which case you want to sac the least amount of goblins to Food Chain for the maximum return.

Godzilla has also suggested another way of stacking against control, where if you fear counters, you stack 3-4 Ringleaders on the top of your library so you can continually play one after another. This plan has some merits as well and so I leave it up to you to decide which stack order is best to use, given your board position and open options.

Where as against control it really mattered how you stack, against combo it really won't matter what you stack or in what order. Just set it up like you would an aggro match-up, because 200 Piledriver is game anyways.

Workshop follows the road of the aggro and combo matches stack wise, unless they have a Sphere of Resistance or Pyrostatic Pillar on the table. In which case you will have to change your order depending on the circumstances. Hereís a sample order for a Sphere though.

Set-up against Workshop, assuming a Sphere on the table.

Ringleader
SGC
Warchief
SGC #2
Ringleader #2
Piledriver
Piledriver
Piledriver
Ringleader #3
Piledriver
Goblin Sharpshooter
Skirk Prospector
Ringleader #4
Skirk Prospector
Skirk Prospector
Gempalm Incinerator
Gempalm Incinerator

The order you play it out in.
Sacrifice Recruiter for 3 mana
Pay 2 more to cast Ringleader
Sac Ringleader for 5
Pay one more, then play SGC
Sac SGC for 6 mana and play Warchief
Use the 2 mana remaining and sac 2 of the goblin tokens that came into play from SGC to play the next Ringleader. (Warchief negates the extra 1 cost)
Combo out normally from here.

This assumes you have three mana on the table your able to use. Hence under Tangle Wire this may be unfeasible and youíll have to come up with your own solution. Against a Pillar, simply measure out how much life youíll lose against how many cheap goblins youíll have to play. It shouldnít have any effect on you, unless your below 10 life to begin with. Even then itís not too hard to play three to four Piledriverís as your only creatures under three mana.

And since Trinisphere is getting pretty popular in most Workshop decks.

Set-up against Workshop, assuming a Trinisphere on the table.

 

Ringleader

Ringleader #2

Ringleader #3

Ringleader #4

Warchief

SGC

SGC #2

Warchief #2

Warchief #3

Piledriver

Piledriver

Piledriver

Piledriver

 

The order you play it out in.
Get 4 mana to cast Goblin Ringleader #1
Sac Ringleader for 5 mana and play Ringleader #2

Repeat the sacrifice process with all of them

----8 Mana

Play Warchief and Warchief#2

Sac one of the Warchief

---6 Mana

Play Warchief #3

Play SGC #1

Sac SGC #1 and all 3 tokens

---8 Mana

Play SGC#2

Sac one goblin token

---6 Mana

Play 2 Goblin Piledriver

---0 Mana

Attack for 30.


Now for a normal game, if you donít have Food Chain out, but have 4 mana and go to stack the deck. This is generally one of the most common set-ups that comes to mind.

Ringleader
Warchief
Piledriver
Piledriver
Piledriver
Piledriver

General strategy [B4]
General strategy for the deck is rather simple. If against aggro or combo and you feel you have proper combo pieces, immediately go for the combo win. Against control and aggro-control itís generally safer to play out threats slowly and bait combo pieces into counters and destroy resources with strips. Workshop is a neutral match for the most part, because you can sometimes combo out, but other times it would be impossible or undesirable. One of the keyís for the Workshop match is knowing when to simply beatdown instead of trying to set up a literal chain of cards for the win.

Remember a turn one Goblin Lackey is always a good threat, let alone counting when you have Siege-Gang and/or strips in hand to back it up with. Piledriver and Warchief have also made a potent combination for many months now as shown in 1.x, block and T2. You need to keep in mind playing this like a straight goblin deck is a fine plan in any match-up except perhaps combo.

Card Choices
Creatures [C1]
Let me start this section by saying in the current card pool, no non-goblin card (With the exception of Food Chain and possibly Wheel of Fortune) should belong maindeck in FCG. This is a common issue that comes up time and time again, so I'll explain. Every goblin in the deck works synergistically with each other goblin. All your threats can be searched for with Recruiter or Matron, can be played for free with Lackey, drawn with Ringleader, help to pump your Piledriverís, can be sacrificed to Prospector or Siege-Gang Commander, etc. This is extremely important to the deck's function and in order to break the "non-goblin rule", the card would have to be very good.

Goblin Lackey
The best one drop this or any other goblin deck has. He allows for a turn two Siege-Gang Commander which is always very good and helps to accelerate your deck against anything. It functions as one of the best threats against control and workshop you have available. Consider aggressively mulliganing towards a lackey, especially game one against control.

Goblin Piledriver
It smashes face. Really thatís all this card does, nothing fancy involved, it just brutally hits the opponent for forty or so damage when you combo out. Even when played normally, on average heíll be swinging for five or so a turn. Your main kill condition if there ever could be one for goblin decks and with protection to blue a continual pain in the ass for Tog and Fish.

Goblin Warchief
Warchief serves two main purposes in this deck.
1. It hastes all your goblins, which makes every future goblin drop more dangerous and means you won't have to wait a turn to swing after you drop the combo.
2. If normally played not only makes all future drops cheaper and can be used with Skirk Prospector to power out less explosive versions of the combo.
And besides other than that, heís a 2/2 hasted guy for only three mana, how can you go wrong?

Goblin Recruiter
If you read the combo section you know why this guy is here. He stacks your deck for the combo to work and is effective at stacking even without the combo pieces.

Goblin Ringleader
If you read the combo section you know why this guy is here. Another core piece of the combo and a card advantage machine, heís good alone, but insane with Recruiter.

Skirk Prospector
They aren't great, but can allow you to pull of turn 2/3 combo kills more often. They can also be used in conjunction with the R&R combo for a old, but not quite as explosive version of the combo. Other than that they basically turn all your useless goblins into Lotus Petals.

Goblin Matron
It allows you to search out a Recruiter easier, can fetch a Piledriver to go with a Warchief and on occasion match a Siege-Gang up for a Lackey attack. Itís like a more expensive Demonic Tutor in the deck. They arenít always useful, but good enough to have at least one or two in the deck.

Goblin Sharpshooter
It shoots thingsÖ a lot of them, he absolutely destroys weenie aggro and heís important to the combo shooting kill. Thatís about all there is to say on him.

Siege-Gang Commander
Not only a huge tempo booster when combined with lackey, but a effective creature at full price as well. He also helps with the combo shooting kill.

Mogg Fanatic
If you see a lot of aggro and really feel the need for another one drop, he might be considered, but after dropping him from the first build Iíve never looked back. In almost all circumstances, Gempalm Incinerator is simply better and more versatile. Because we all know drawing a card > being dead in a match.

Goblin Vandal
Even if you see a LOT of workshops, I probably wouldnít play these guys. They just donít give enough bang for your buck. Plus from the board youíve already got Artifact Mutation.

Sparksmith
I hate this guy. He seems like he would be a perfect fit in the deck, but he just canít compare to the other two creature removal creatures.
Drawbacks: Canít be used multiple times per turn, canít damage players, damages you for every use and doesnít draw you a card when heís used. This makes him worse than Sharpshooter and Incinerator by a long shot. The only real plus side he has is against Dragon. Just donít bother running him.

Spells [C2]
Food Chain
The name of the deck for a reason, this card allows you to complete the full goblin chain combo. It also gives you the option to accelerate out some of your larger creatures by trading up on the scale. Sometimes itís simply worthwhile saccing a Skirk Prospector or Recruiter to play a Siege-Gang Commander or something. Anyways run four in your deck and love it.

Wheel of Fortune
The only non goblin, Food Chain or mana source considered for inclusion in the deck. This lovely Draw-7 practically is a auto win when cast with Food Chain on the table. On the downside itís not overly useful without FC and of course inconsistent (Drawing total garbage off a Draw-7 is never fun.). The Europeans seem to like it more than people on this side of the world, but itís a worthy consideration for placement in the deck over sayÖ a Matron or Incinerator. Itís left up to you if you want to run this risky, but powerful card in your deck.

Mana [C3]
Strip Mine
It kills any land. Period. (Ok with the exception of Darksteel Citadel)

Wasteland
Smashes nonbasic land dead and is crucial for helping with the secondary plan which is goblin beatdown. Though Wasteland-less variants exist, I personally would use them in any mixed metagame.

Ancient Tomb
An effective mana accelerator, the amount of these you need go up with the amount of power your missing from the deck. If you have full power, you donít need any, but otherwise 1-2 seem like the best numbers for the deck. The exact amount coming from the amount of power you can collect. After all these were banned in 1.x for a reason.


Mountain
Five Mountains seem to work best with the 4 Taiga and 4 Fetchlands. They outnumber the amount of fetches and provide some consistency against non basic hate. (Sounds odd for a red deck to worry about non basic hate.)

Wooded Foothills
They add a miniscule thinning effect to the deck, fetch your Taigaís and provide Waste protection. You canít ask for much more. I personally only run four, because Iím always scared of some random Stifle mana screwing me. Also the extra life loss, though minimal, if you run six to eight fetchlands can affect you every few games.

Lotus Petal
Meet power replacement #1! Itís actually quite a decent little mana producer. It accelerates your three mana spells and is better than ESG by producing red mana as well as green.

Chrome Mox
They make a good addition as a second on-color Mox. If you could run four of these again some would probably find their way back into the deck as a 4-of, but as it stands they merely make another decent accelerant. Oh and this is pretty useful for you unpowered folks for some more on color acceleration.


Elvish Spirit Guide
Though a effective mana producer in the 1.5 versions, the thing is only a one shot single green mana producer. Simply put itís outclassed by the various power and other mana artifacts you can run. However they can be used to replace Black Lotus, Mox Emerald, or Chrome Mox in a budget build.

Sol Ring
Accelerates out Food Chain, Ringleader and two or three goblins played at the same time. Itís a great addition.

Mana Crypt
A awesome way to enable turn 1 Food Chain or turn 2 Ringleader. It provides enough mana to accelerate out your better spells, but unlike Vault it provides the correct amount of mana (2 and not 3). Itís drawback is negligible as your opponent should be dead before it has any chance of killing you.

Mox Emerald, Mox Ruby, Black Lotus
They all accelerate the deck and theyíre great to run if you own them.


Variants [C4]
Variants of the deck include Seething Gobvantage (As shown above) and strip lacking versions of FCG. Seething Gobvantage is advisable.... nowhere, itís pretty much inferior to FCG in every way and straight up Goblins is better in a very heavy control meta. The strip less version will buy you some more consistency in your draws, but the distinct lack of power in Wasteland and Strip Mine.


Sideboard [C5]
Youíll notice the lack of sideboard mention up until now, so hereís what I personally run as a board.

General Metagame
4x Artifact Mutation
4x Tormodís Crypt
4x Red Elemental Blast
3x Blood Moon

Basically that solves the whole general metagame deal. Youíll notice most of my sideboard have open slots available for some personalization to the board. Note you may want to change Artifact Mutation to Naturalize if you see few artifact decks, but I prefer the sheer power of Artifact Mutation against Workshop.

Aggro Metagame
4x Tormodís Crypt
3x Naturalize

3x Pyrokinesis
3x Artifact Mutation

1x Goblin Sharpshooter
1x Gempalm Incinerator

Pyrokinesis and the extra creature kill goblins will generally take care of heavy amounts of aggro (usually of the budget/scrubbish variety) quite well.

Control Metagame
4x Blood Moon
4x Red Elemental Blast
4x Pyroblast

3x Naturalize

For very heavy control fields, if youíve chosen not to go with normal Goblins or Fish, then I recommend taking the old 8 blast plan out of retirement. Forcing through Ringleader, Blood Moon and other useful critters is always a good way to tip the odds even more in your favor.

Those of you who know what these cards do and hence why they are here, can skip to the next section. Everyone else can read my one sentence blurbs.

Naturalize
Green disenchant, though versatile it lacks brute force. You might want to run this if you see a lot of random enchantments like Humility, Worship, etc. in your metagame.

REB
One mana counter against blue spells.

Pyroblast
See above.

Pyrostatic Pillar / Chalice of the Void
Both are storm combo hate, Chalice screws up early acceleration or tutors while Pillar can kill them if they play anything less than perfect.

Artifact Mutation
Kills an artifact and gives you a miniature army, basically hoses Workshop.dec.

Mogg Salvage
Bebe tech against Slavery and Stax decks.

Ground Seal / Tormodís Crypt / Gaeaís Blessing
Three different forms of Dragon hate. Crypt seems to be the most effectual for the speed in which it comes out and significant disruptive capabilities. Mind you these can all be worked around by Dragon, but I suggest Crypt personally. Though Blessing is funny, because if you resolve Goblin Sharpshooter and have a Blessing in your deck, the Dragon player canít beat you.. (If they mill you, your library comes back and theyíll be shot dead long before they can hit you w/ Ancestral as well. And Sharpshooter slaughters all tokens)

Root Maze
Combo and control mana denial, worthwhile if you focus on the beats side of the deck.

 

Flaring Pain

Good if you see a lot of Parfait or any other deck packing Story Circle, Cop: Red and the like. Basically itís useful if you see a lot of white cards.

 

Xantid Swarm

These are very potent SB cards and for a while occupied slots in my test boards. There are two main reasons why I eventually decided to cut them for REB returning.

 

1. I won't always have green mana on turns 1-3. This makes Xantid Swarm very dead to me.

2. It competes with Lackey. I didn't think this would be a big issue, but it's happened enough where I have to mention it. I simply hate dropping Swarm before Lackey, because it gives them more time to deal with it then they wouldíve had normally. (By turn 3 when they both can attack, I'll Fire both of them on you're upkeep.) And I hate dropping Lackey before Swarm, because then if they remove it Swarm didn't do anything.


Aether Vial
These things are just a little too slow for me personally, I dislike giving up my first turn plays to drop them. And if you donít drop them first turn the Vialís are just really slow to do anything. Though you might want to consider their power in slipping guys under a counter wall for control heavy metagameís. My full testing hasnít been completed on them, but right now I would run them if I felt the 8 Blast plan wasnít going to be effective.

 

Aggro Match-ups
Aggro in general falls to FCG, because they cannot stop a combo kill with any regularity. Also the goblins retain theyíre swarm attack method from T2 with Piledriver, which was very effective to begin with. And then to top it off we run MD creature removal. Basically against all aggro decks you definitely have the advantage.

TnT [D1]
Barring a combo kill from you, which should happen about 40-50% of the time. The basic strategy is just to attack early when you can, then build up threats and then swarm when you feel the time is right. Remember they can only really support searching and dropping one critter a turn if they get the engine online. So if you build up until they do, you can use Incinerators to clear the worst threats and then attack full force.

TnTís threats are simply too slow to be effective in this match and their engine comes out around the time youíd be comboing them out. Juggernaut and Su-Chi simply arenít equipped to deal with large swarms of goblins and even Triskelion will be hard pressed to kill off enough goblins to matter. First turn Goblin Lackey is of course a great threat, because it forces them to respond with a first turn creature or prepare for a Ringleader/SGC/whatever to come down and ruin their day. After boarding you gain Artifact Mutation to ruin their day.

SB: -2 Goblin Matron, Skirk Prospector
+4 Artifact Mutation

Madness/ Oshawa Stompy [D2]
Whereas TnT's threats came out far slower, against this deck you could be facing down an army very quickly. 1st turn Wild Mongrel followed up by a 2nd Rootwalla and Fiery Temper is not a fun thing to be up against with a non combo draw. It comes down to the Madness player trying to race you, while you combo them out or swarm them. Swinging with small amounts of goblins is rather unreliable, so just create as many as you can over the first few turns and then attack when given the opportunity. Use the strips to your advantage and constantly attack off colors or Bazaar. Remember they canít play control against you, since the more time they give you, the better the chance youíll draw into combo pieces.

Still, this is one of the few aggro decks actually fast enough to race you game 1, so be wary of that if you donít think you can combo out when you draw a slower opening hand. There isnít a whole lot to board for games 2 and 3, just add in Blood Moon and Crypts if you really feel you need them. BM hoses their already unstable mana base and Crypt will take care of those nasty Incarnations. Personally I havenít felt Crypt necessary, but I donít see Wonder much anymore.

Iíve combined the two sections, because the strategy against Oshawa Stompy is similar enough to Madness as to warrant it. The main differences between the two matches are Oshawa Stompy is considerably slower than Madness, but they pack 5 strips like you and possibly MD Root Maze. Their best chance to beat you is attacking your mana base, so keep track of your resources at all times. Also note a turn 1 Goblin Lackey is a lot better against this deck than Madness and you donít have to deal with any burn. Out of the board you really donít bring in much of anything. Blood Moon doesnít really hurt them and they have no Incarnations to get rid of. Overall Oshawa Stompy is an easier match than Madness, it just presents a different problem.

Against Madness SB: -2 Goblin Matron, -1 Skirk Prospector
+3 Blood Moon

Against Oshawa Stompy: -2 Goblin Matron, -2 Skirk Prospector
+4 Tormodís Crypt

Mask [D3]
This match-up is pretty simple, it can be broken down to a simple things.
Do you have a combo win hand?
Does your hand allow you to create a large army to swing with by turn 3?

If you answered no to both of these questions, mulligan. Your opponentís only real chance in this match-up is a turn 1 or 2 Dreadnought. And thatís not good enough without Duress or Unmask to stop you from comboing out. Even without comboing, if they have a slow hand you can swarm them easily. After board bring in Artifact Mutation.

SB: -3 Gempalm Incinerator, -1 Goblin Sharpshooter
+4 Artifact Mutation

Fish [D4]
They are too slow to put any real pressure on you, Piledriver canít be blocked by anything except a factory and a single Ringleader basically draws as much as any Standstill will. The only thing you need to worry about is the mana denial component. Between 5 strips, Stifle and Null Rod there is a chance you may lose to mana screw. So with that warning, be careful when keeping Moxen or fetch heavy hands..

After boarding bring in REB and have fun having a 1 mana removal spell against theyíre entire deck.

SB: -2 Goblin Matron, Skirk Prospector
+4 REB

Control Match-ups
Keeper [E1]
This is one of your easiest matches and yet one of the most difficult. There are times where you can completely roll them with turn 1 Goblin Lackey, turn 2 Wasteland and thatíll be game before there even was a game. Other times youíll see Lackeys taking up farming, large hordes being taken down by soldier tokens and Ringleaders being Mana Drained.

Now that you see that the match basically splits 50-50, letís get down to why that is. Keeper wonít always have early answers for your threats and even if they do, you have Goblin Ringleader which is just a kick to the nuts against any control deck. This is also probably the only control deck Iíd say you can regularly get away with comboing out if your opponent isnít too good. The key cards to watch out for are as follows: Balance, Humility, Decree of Justice, Mind Twist and Mana Drain.

Mana Drain is annoying because it prevents you from casting 3cc spells or bigger, until you're reasonably sure they can get by. Oh and if you cast a Goblin Ringleader into a Drain, unless you had no other options and were doomed anyways, youíre an idiot.

Balance is much easier to work around, but still worth mentioning for its sheer power. It will erase all your creatures from the board, but on the plus side, if you lost three to five goblins, that usually means you had a close to empty or empty hand. Which of course means the Keeper player just Mind Twisted himself. Still you donít want to regularly get into top deck wars and this card alone is why its bad so swarm attack keeper.

Humility is just evil, and if it resolves and you donít have an army out, scoop. Remember this card stops coming into play effects, so you canít combo out with it on the table! Just like Balance though, it has a built in weakness. Humility is 2WW to cast, which means with careful Wasteland use you can cut the double color off.

Decree of Justice is not only Keeperís kill condition, but a nasty bit of spot removal. Be wary of swinging Piledriver and Warchief into empty boards if the Keeper player shows 6-7 mana untapped. Remember Sharpshooter can annihilate all the soldier tokens though, so be wary if you think he can slide by a counter wall.

Mind Twist is up there with Humility for ĎI scoopí cards. Get hit by a decent sized Mind Twist early in the game and you pack it up and go home. You have no defense here other than being happy its a restricted card.

With FCG you mostly want to keep constant pressure on the Keeper opponent. Keep throwing out the other combo cards as counter bait if you're trying to sneak a Ringleader or hardcast Siege-Gang Commander on the table. And if a Recruiter resolves and you have three to four mana sources, seriously consider stacking Lackey, Warchief and Piledriver for your next 5-7 turns. If you can continually drain the Keeper playerís resources, theyíll eventually have to refill and thatís the time you can sneak either a decent sized attack through or a Ringleader to refill your own hand.

For boarding Iíd bring in REB and Blood Moon, you have a lot of open room with siding out the creature removal.

SB: -3 Gempalm Incinerator, -2 Goblin Matron, -1 Goblin Sharpshooter, Skirk Prospector
+4 REB, +3 Blood Moon

Tog [E2]
This match is surprisingly simple to play out in comparison to the Keeper match. The first thing to realize is youíre on a clock, Tog WILL run you over if you take too much time sitting on your hands trying to build an army. That or blow it all away with P. Deed, much like Balance does, except without the advantage of Mind Twisting them as a result. The second thing to realize is Goblin Piledriver has protection from blue and can walk right through their ĎMoatí. This basically breaks your game plan down to two options.

A. You combo them out within the first four turns since theyíre too busy trying to kill you to take notice. This isnít likely, but sometimes people will let Food Chain and Recruiter resolve expecting just to hit the Ringleader. In this case surprise them by stacking multiple Ringleaders and then go off.

B. You play a bunch of Goblins until it looks like the opponent can either P. Deed them all away or kill you with a Berserked Tog, in which case attack! They canít stop your Piledriverís once they hit play and can usually only block one creature. A swarm attack generally can kill them by the time they can pull their own combo kill on you.

A few things to note, barring a first turn Tog or something random. The only way they can stop a first turn Goblin Lackey is with FoW. This means something like turn 1: Lackey, Turn 2: Wasteland, attack, drop Warchief or SGC is basically game.

But wait you say! What if the Tog player plays control against you and doesnít let you swarm his ass? Well then you just attack when you have a Piledriver and a goblin or two and then when one of your sacrifices gets blocked, nail the Tog with a Incinerator to take care of him. Thatís still 3-7 damage dealt and a little more time to spare, because your opponent isnít going to deed away only two critters unless they need too. Why not? Ok you deed and next turn I drop another two guys, wow that did a lot to the FCG player. Not to mention they only run ONE Deed in some cases, which severely limits their removal capabilities.

For boarding I usually feel you still have a decent shot at comboing out in game two. So I side out the normal set of cards for REB. But I also board out Gempalm Incinerator and Goblin Sharpshooter, because theyíre pretty dead in the match. (Only one card worth killing and they canít do it usually.)

SB: -3 Gempalm Incinerator, -2 Goblin Matron, -1 Goblin Sharpshooter, Skirk Prospector
+4 REB, +3 Blood Moon


Landstill [E3]
This is not a fun match-up by any stretch of the imagination. My advice is rather simple for this match-up, play creatures and attack. Lightning Bolt, Fire/Ice, FoW and even Stifle means you canít ride a Goblin Lackey to victory and Nevinyrral's Disk screws up swarm plans. The best way to play this match is to drop a few goblins, attack for as much as possible, strip factories and Volcanic Islands and hope. The one huge plus-side is itís possible to run them out of resources faster than any other control deck. All they have is Standstill and Ancestral to draw cards with, which means as long as you keep playing threats you can eventually run them out of answers.

Sounds pretty stupid, huh? Consider this for a moment then: on average, one resolved Goblin Ringleader will usually give you as many goblins as a broken Standstill will give your opponent cards. Did you notice the difference there? All the cards you keep are going to be threats, while your opponent might of drawn a little land and a good card. One resolved Goblin Recruiter can stack all four on top of your library in a row. Odds are they canít stop all four even if you end up breaking a Standstill. Warchief is also rather dangerous for them to leave alive, it gives the chance for a next turn hasted goblin attack if they attempt to tap out for a disk.

One other option if the game goes long is simply going after all their kill conditions. I wouldnít recommend this normally, but in some cases between strips, blocking and Gempalm Incinerators you can kill 4-6 of the Landstill playerís threats. At that point they will actually have to worry about having anything left to kill you with. Finally one other note for game one, if your opponent is unfamiliar with the deck they may let Goblin Recruiters through and counter Food Chainís and such. Use this as much to your advantage as possible, then once they learn, throw out Recruiters when you could care less as counter bait. A lot of your cards are implied threats, but arenít really threatening.

After boarding you gain REB and Blood Moon as some real threats against your opponent. I really wouldnít recommend keeping the Food Chainís in against Landstill. You need the room and the chances of you actually comboing out are slim to none.

SB: -4 Food Chain, -2 Goblin Matron, -1 Skirk Prospector
+4 REB, +3 Blood Moon

Combo Match-upís
Dragon [F1]
Against Dragon the main theme of the day is to race them as quickly as possible. In general you can goldfish as fast as they can, which in general when you have a combo hand means itís going 50/50 either way. Without a combo hand you can still come out of the gates quickly and with Wastelands aimed at their Bazaars and race them. Add to this that after boarding you have Crypt and Blood Moon at your disposal and you have some better odds post SB.

A few general notes, remember with Goblin Sharpshooter you can shoot the opponent each time the WGD comes back into play when comboing. This limits how much mana they can make, since odds are youíve dealt some significant damage to them already. Also note sometimes itís easier to build up to seven creatures and simply burn off a Verdant with Incinerator than casually swinging your creatures into nothingness. Remember Sharpshooter can take out all the tokens easily, so between these two, they cannot fight you very well with reanimated Verdantís.

SB: -2 Goblin Matron, Skirk Prospector ,-3 Gempalm Incinerators.
+4 Tormodís Crypt, +3 Blood Moon

Long/TPS [F2]
Youíve got no chance in this match. Have fun against a deck which can consistently kill you on turn 2. If you run Chalice or Pillar and REB in the board, you may have a chance in hell if you get a god hand. Pray your opponent to mulligan to 4 or 5 or hope you get a god hand, thatís my best advice. After boarding you can hope for a turn one Blood Moon, but even that might not be enough.

SB: -2 Goblin Matron, Skirk Prospector ,-3 Gempalm Incinerators.
+4 REB, +3 Blood Moon

Workshop Match-upís
Slavery [G1]
This also is somewhat dependent on the build. If itís the more combo-ish version of Slaver such as shown in Toadís article on Slavery, then your generally in for an easier game than the Mana Drain packing control models. Basically it comes down to you racing their Mindslaver, your not scared of anything else they might have in the deck. Pentavus and Welders are easy prey for your removal and you can swarm your way past their few defenses with ease. Despite this, you still shouldnít run head long into them, donít play another 1/1 creature before swinging with Goblin Lackey for example. Them getting a two for one deal is alright, but only if youíve dealt some damage with one of the creatures already. Do not cast Goblin Ringleader or Warchief if you feel they have a significant chance of nailing it with Mana Drain, youíll lose too much tempo and theyíll have a nice big chunk of mana to spend on Mindslaver.

If Mindslaver resolves and you have a turn before the inevitable, take a look at your board position and hand and ditch all the cards that may hurt you. This means killing any Goblin Sharpshooter, playing Recruiters out even if you only stack one card, saccing any Skirk Prospectors and possibly hard casting any Gempalm Incinerators. God forbid you have Food Chain out, in that case prepare to lose your whole board and hand. Despite having such a huge bomb against you and FoW to stop Goblin Lackey, you have a better match here than against Trinistax.

SB: -2 Goblin Matron, -1 Recruiter, -1 Ringleader
+4 Artifact Mutation


Trinistax [G2]
The difficulty of the match will vary upon the exact build of the deck your playing against. The main three issues you need to figure out from your opponents deck construction are as follows.
1. Are they playing Sphere of Resistance, Trinisphere or both?
2. Do they have the full Draw-7 + Thirst engine?
3. Does the deck run black?
These variations will basically change your results against the deck.

The more spheres they have against you, the worse youíll be doing. Turn one Trinisphere/Sphere followed by a turn two or three Tangle Wire will be the most usual source of your losses. This deck is a absolute horror on the play, your only real chance of winning if they go first is to hope they kept a weaker hand of mostly mana and draw. It may sound stupid, but you only need to get a Goblin Lackey or Goblin Warchief down to make a significant dent in how much they can disrupt you. Thatís why the first turn sphere bros are so crippling, you canít cast squat into it.

Now when your on the play, things change quite a bit. First turn Goblin Lackey is still the best weapon you have against them pre or post boarding. Other than dropping a Goblin Welder (This isnít even a real way to stop it, remember you have 3 Gempalm Incinerator and a Goblin Sharpshooter.) or a first turn Tangle Wire they have no way to stop it before it swings and letís you start dropping free goblins. And if your first drop happens to be a SGC off itÖ well you can figure it out. Basically the point of this match is just to drop as much stuff as possible on the table and swing. After boarding you also get Artifact Mutation, which is huge.

Note the other two questions I asked, determine one other thing. How often theyíll lose to flat out mana screw. If they run three colors and have a two strip hand, consider running with it and just hosing their mana sources. The more draw they pack, the less often youíll win long drawn out games, but the more often theyíll end up having opening hands you can race.

General notes for the match:
Losing the flip/roll, will usually result in a loss game one.
If you manage to resolve a Food Chain game one, all your mana problems are basically solved. But I wouldnít count on resolving it anytime soon.
Gempalm Incinerators are NOT affected by either Sphere. Cycling is not a spell based effect and not an alternate casting cost.
Your two best weapons are as follows: Goblin Lackey and Artifact Mutation.

SB: -2 Goblin Matron, -1 Goblin Sharpshooter, -1 Ringleader
+4 Artifact Mutation

Yeah you notice itís hard to fit in any large amount of hate here without cutting combo pieces. A lot of your cards are simply too good to drop and you canít cut Prospectors because of the mana help they provide.

Conclusion
The End [H1]
Iíd just like to take this time to say that this the best budget deck available to anyone at the moment with the sole exception of Fish for a heavy control metagame. And for those with power, it just makes this deck even more competitive. Itís not just a budget deck, itís a very strong and complex deck all around. That's the primer for Food Chain Goblins, I hope youíve learned something. See you around.

Credits
Thanks [I1]
Iíd like to thank the following people.

Bebe - Paul Shriar
Godzilla - Patrick Maeder
For helping optimize the final build of the deck.

Juju - Justin Miousse
Rico Suave - Brad Granberry
Hyperion - Andrew Lambe
Onyx - Mike Corley
For helping me playtest the deck and gathering general data on it.

The Luke - Luke Hope
For proofreading this monster.

 

Zherbus Ė Steve O'Connell
For running TheManaDrain.


-Joshua Silvestri (Vegeta2711)

posted by Zherbus on 10/03/02