Goblins, an Undervalued Tribe in Vintage

But maybe I should give Recruiter another chance. It is great with cards like Ringleader and Earwig Squad.

Taurean mauler is a goblin.

@AmbivalentDuck said:

Taurean mauler is a goblin.

And seems pretty horrible. Lol nice try, but I think ill try Recruiter again.

Taurean mauler is never smaller than mentor and it's a horror for thing in the ice

@AmbivalentDuck said:

Taurean mauler is never smaller than mentor and it's a horror for thing in the ice

Interesting idea honestly. If I am cutting Warren Weirding are two Badlands needed? If all I'm needing black for is Earwig Squad and that can be cast off Cavern, also to note, I cut Leyline of the Void in favor of Tormod's Crypt since I can just draw into it.

I´ve played goblins occasionally for a few years and my impression is that the tribe is increasingly lagging behind other decks due to a lack of relevant new printings. That said, it´s got the tools to hate on top decks if metagamed properly. The number one decision when building, in my opinion, is to choose between clamp or null rod. Secondly, how greedy the manabase should be. In my current list I stretch it to play non-goblin black spells (since they are very, very strong when they resolve and equally synergistic). This deck wants to play a goblin, a therapy and prowl and earwig by turn 2 and goes to great lengths to make it happen:

1 black lotus
1 mana crypt
1 mox ruby
1 mox jet
1 mox emerald
1 mox sapphire
1 mox pearl
3 skullclamp

4 earwig squad
4 goblin lackey
4 goblin matron
4 goblin ringleader (In no way would I recommend cutting here, but observe what moxen over spirit guides do to the castability of these.)
4 tin-street hooligan (The tribe lacks good low-drops. This is the best in my opinion. Can easily be clamped or therapied away for value and is easy enough to cast.)
3 stingscourger (As long as I play therapy and clamp, I prefer this to any other piece of removal.)
1 goblin sharpshooter
1 grenzo, dungeon warden (I haven´t gotten to test him, but the synergy with therapies and fast mana seems very appealing.)
1 siege-gang commander (Not my favourite, but synergizes well with clamp and therapy.)
1 skirk prospector (What this deck needs most is a good 1-drop. Prospector is better in this build than in many others, due to clamp.)

1 demonic consultation
4 cabal therapy (Which is the deck´s "solution" to the combo problem alongside Earwig.)

4 Cavern of Souls
1 Mountain
3 Badlands
1 Bayou (I have a hard time deciding between taiga and bayou for this slot. This is where stretching the manabase hurts the most)
4 Wooded foothills
1 Bloodstained Mire
3 Wasteland (As soon as I figure out which creature to cut, this bounces back up to 4)
1 Strip mine

Sideboard:
4 Grafdigger´s cage (Better with conultation than leyline. Together, this brings the oath hate up to a healthy level.)
1 Goblin sharpshooter
1 Goblin Welder (Against shops, consultation goes out, which makes having only 1 hurt less)
1 Murderous redcap
1 Stingscourger
4 Surgical extraction (Check out the synergy with therapy and earwig. Many matches comes down to memorizing/registering what cards the opponents has in different zones.)
1 Forest (Ugly, but necessary against shops)
1 Wasteland

Maybe a lotus petal over a 4th simian or in conjunction with it?

Can be used to tap for Tanglewire
Provides black mana

I'm not sure how this deck beats oath. Any creature deck without proactive disruption is going to have a pain of a time trying to get though a 7/7 lifelinker, and they do not need to hit orchard at all. Basically if they get down an oath you have to one shot them or you may be facing an insurmountable lead after that.

@Recklessmbermage said:

3 stingscourger (As long as I play therapy and clamp, I prefer this to any other piece of removal.)

Sideboard:
4 Grafdigger´s cage (Better with conultation than leyline. Together, this brings the oath hate up to a healthy level.)
1 Stingscourger

@Protoaddct I think that's actually decent vs Griselbrand. The stingscourger will be un-counterable due to cavern most of the time but I also like Aether Vial in goblins.

@Recklessmbermage said:

I´ve played goblins occasionally for a few years and my impression is that the tribe is increasingly lagging behind other decks due to a lack of relevant new printings. That said, it´s got the tools to hate on top decks if metagamed properly. The number one decision when building, in my opinion, is to choose between clamp or null rod. Secondly, how greedy the manabase should be. In my current list I stretch it to play non-goblin black spells (since they are very, very strong when they resolve and equally synergistic). This deck wants to play a goblin, a therapy and prowl and earwig by turn 2 and goes to great lengths to make it happen:

1 black lotus
1 mana crypt
1 mox ruby
1 mox jet
1 mox emerald
1 mox sapphire
1 mox pearl
3 skullclamp

4 earwig squad
4 goblin lackey
4 goblin matron
4 goblin ringleader (In no way would I recommend cutting here, but observe what moxen over spirit guides do to the castability of these.)
4 tin-street hooligan (The tribe lacks good low-drops. This is the best in my opinion. Can easily be clamped or therapied away for value and is easy enough to cast.)
3 stingscourger (As long as I play therapy and clamp, I prefer this to any other piece of removal.)
1 goblin sharpshooter
1 grenzo, dungeon warden (I haven´t gotten to test him, but the synergy with therapies and fast mana seems very appealing.)
1 siege-gang commander (Not my favourite, but synergizes well with clamp and therapy.)
1 skirk prospector (What this deck needs most is a good 1-drop. Prospector is better in this build than in many others, due to clamp.)

1 demonic consultation
4 cabal therapy (Which is the deck´s "solution" to the combo problem alongside Earwig.)

4 Cavern of Souls
1 Mountain
3 Badlands
1 Bayou (I have a hard time deciding between taiga and bayou for this slot. This is where stretching the manabase hurts the most)
4 Wooded foothills
1 Bloodstained Mire
3 Wasteland (As soon as I figure out which creature to cut, this bounces back up to 4)
1 Strip mine

Sideboard:
4 Grafdigger´s cage (Better with conultation than leyline. Together, this brings the oath hate up to a healthy level.)
1 Goblin sharpshooter
1 Goblin Welder (Against shops, consultation goes out, which makes having only 1 hurt less)
1 Murderous redcap
1 Stingscourger
4 Surgical extraction (Check out the synergy with therapy and earwig. Many matches comes down to memorizing/registering what cards the opponents has in different zones.)
1 Forest (Ugly, but necessary against shops)
1 Wasteland

I like the list, it actually made me make a few changes to my build to help my Oath matchup more (up Stingscourger to 3 main, 1 board, replace Tormod's with Cages). I like the idea behind playing Therapy, it really helps to be disruptive, I just don't want that many non goblins. I prefer Null Rod in Vintage due to its power, but that's just preference.

@Recklessmbermage Three questions:

  1. What do you therapy turn 1 knowing that your opponent is on Draw 7 combo?
  2. Can you comment on your decision not to run a Lord? Eg. Goblin King to mountainwalk past Mentor or Chieftain to significant hasten your clock.
  3. Why doesn't Demonic Tutor make the cut?

I would at least run Warchief, as it bypasses sphere effects, ir helps cast through them. I never really considered Skullclamp as i figured it wasn't good enough in Goblins since Vintage is all about broken spells and such, could you clarify your decision to include the card over Null Rod?

@msg67183 Have you ever considered Warren Instigator? I ran him alongside Lackey during my Goblin days around 2013. He was always an MVP when you have 4x Simian Spirit Guides as part of the deck.

@AmbivalentDuck said:

@Recklessmbermage Three questions:

  1. What do you therapy turn 1 knowing that your opponent is on Draw 7 combo?
  2. Can you comment on your decision not to run a Lord? Eg. Goblin King to mountainwalk past Mentor or Chieftain to significant hasten your clock.
  3. Why doesn't Demonic Tutor make the cut?

Hi AmbivalentDuck! We used to go back and fourth on goblins a few years ago. You convinced me of running power with gobbos.

Therapy turn one against someone playing some fast non-dredge combo deck would typically aim at some likely 3-4 of, with the goal of slowing the player down. Dark ritual is one obvious choice. Alternatively, if I have no cavern but otherwise a hand that looks like it can prowl out earwig turn two, force of will is a decent option. Therapy is obviously better when you have a good idea of what the opponent is on and I play in a small group.

At least one lord tends to be a good choice. I like chieftain in the main and/or king in the side. This particular build is much more an engine than a beatdown deck and I favor creatures that are as synergistic as possible. The deck will frequently have few creatures in play and increasing toughness to 2 can lead to less explosive turns if the deck is operating as it´s designed to. That said, I will consider what I could cut from the board for a king. King might be stronger against any red deck playing a healthy amount of creatures (delver, grixis, blue moon) than redcap is.

DT doesn´t give enough bang for the buck in my opinion. There are no absurd targets here (yawgwin, tinker) and the mana isn´t ample enough to make demonic for clamp a good play in most circumstances.

@msg67183 said:

I would at least run Warchief, as it bypasses sphere effects, ir helps cast through them. I never really considered Skullclamp as i figured it wasn't good enough in Goblins since Vintage is all about broken spells and such, could you clarify your decision to include the card over Null Rod?

Hi msg67183!

Warchief has too much dissynergy with tin-street hooligan to play them alongside eachother. Hooligan can come down turn one, leading to a turn two prowl and/or be fed to therapy or clamp after blowing up an artifact. Warchief would have very different functions that do play well with clamp, but less so with therapy and earwig.

This deck has the potential to be very explosive. It will not be as explosive as Belcher, and in that particular matchup, null rod is clearly superior to clamp. Against something like ad nauseam, clamp needs to go out, but I wouldn´t lament not having null rods against the deck: It has several tools to disrupt storm combo in the main and can bring in surgical extraction to supplement these tools. Against shops or mentor, my clamps will provide enough card advantage to overpower them, as long as they don´t gain too much of an advantage the first 2-3 turns.

Null rod takes the deck in the other direction i consider viable.

@Recklessmbermage said:

@msg67183 said:

I would at least run Warchief, as it bypasses sphere effects, ir helps cast through them. I never really considered Skullclamp as i figured it wasn't good enough in Goblins since Vintage is all about broken spells and such, could you clarify your decision to include the card over Null Rod?

Hi msg67183!

Warchief has too much dissynergy with tin-street hooligan to play them alongside eachother. Hooligan can come down turn one, leading to a turn two prowl and/or be fed to therapy or clamp after blowing up an artifact. Warchief would have very different functions that do play well with clamp, but less so with therapy and earwig.

This deck has the potential to be very explosive. It will not be as explosive as Belcher, and in that particular matchup, null rod is clearly superior to clamp. Against something like ad nauseam, clamp needs to go out, but I wouldn´t lament not having null rods against the deck: It has several tools to disrupt storm combo in the main and can bring in surgical extraction to supplement these tools. Against shops or mentor, my clamps will provide enough card advantage to overpower them, as long as they don´t gain too much of an advantage the first 2-3 turns.

Null rod takes the deck in the other direction i consider viable.

I never considered Skullclamp. I may need to take it for a test run so to speak. I liked Hooligan but didn't really want to add green to the deck if I didn't have to.

Started testing with Skullclamp, and I'm liking the card advantage it brings. I just hate losing to Triskelion or other random stuff like that, so I feel Null Rod is a necessary evil.

It has been a while since I have tested this deck, I have given up with competitive Magic, but before I sold out I remember cutting the non goblins from the main deck to increase the usefulness of Cavern's uncounterability.

I figured just play as many uncounterable guys as I can, cuz why not?

There is a goblin that makes all spells uncounterable for one hybrid reg/green mana each too. I think Vexing Shusher is worth testing at least.

So I'm very new to Vintage (started playing on MODO 3 days ago after being sick of how bad Goblins are in Legacy) and I've been having an absolute ball. My knowledge of the format is very limited, but it turns out that the online meta is just supremely under-prepared to deal with Goblins. I'm something like 10-3 with the deck. I'm constantly tweaking the deck and trying new things but the deck just feels 100 times better in Vintage than it does in Legacy. With my interest in Magic being solely based around Goblins (not that modern bullshit either), it looks like I'll be playing a lot more Vintage coming up.

Currently on this list, but it changes constantly just because I want to try out new things. The core of the deck is unlikely to change though, it's more about just finding the right number of 1 and 2 ofs, shatter gobs etc etc.

1 Earwig Squad
2 Gempalm Incinerator
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Recruiter
2 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
4 Goblin Warchief
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Simian Spirit Guide
2 Skirk Prospector
1 Stingscourger
2 Tin Street Hooligan
4 Mental Misstep
2 Badlands
2 Bloodstained Mire
4 Cavern of Souls
1 Pendelhaven
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Strip Mine
2 Taiga
4 Wasteland
2 Wooded Foothills

SB: 1 Goblin Sharpshooter
SB: 1 Goblin Welder
SB: 4 Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 3 Mindbreak Trap
SB: 4 Null Rod
SB: 1 Stingscourger
SB: 1 Tormod's Crypt

You'll notice it's unpowered and it is purely because of budget. I just built it on modo because the Vintage cards I didn't have (4 Misstep, Recruiters, Null Rods and SS Guides) were $10 all together and it seemed like a funny "lol play Gobs in vintage and get crushed every time" but it's turned out to be "have an absolute blast, connect with lackey every time and get to play some of my favourite cards while also winning."

Why people are playing 4 Ringleader and only 1 Recruiter is beyond me. Recruiter costs 2 mana and Ringleader costs 4. Ringleader is high variance without Recruiter and Recruiter is at worst a Vamp Tutor. Having 8 tutors when there are so many versatile gobs like Sharpshooter/Squad/Stingscourger/Tin Streets is just insane. If we had access to Recruiter in Legacy I guarantee you we would be playing all 4 maindeck and shave Matrons down. Because Vintage is obviously faster, Ringleaders had to be shaved down to 2 spots to make sure the deck is fast enough and drawing 8 cards is usually enough anyway.

It seems like the deck really is "undervalued" though. If the best deck is Mentor then Goblins seems like a great choice against that deck. Maindeck Sharpshooter is almost all you need against Mentor to not care about the tokens and Gempalming it away to clear the road for a driver or two is all you need.

last edited by stevestamopz

@stevestamopz said:

Why people are playing 4 Ringleader and only 1 Recruiter is beyond me. Recruiter costs 2 mana and Ringleader costs 4. Ringleader is high variance without Recruiter and Recruiter is at worst a Vamp Tutor. Having 8 tutors when there are so many versatile gobs like Sharpshooter/Squad/Stingscourger/Tin Streets is just insane. If we had access to Recruiter in Legacy I guarantee you we would be playing all 4 maindeck and shave Matrons down. Because Vintage is obviously faster, Ringleaders had to be shaved down to 2 spots to make sure the deck is fast enough and drawing 8 cards is usually enough anyway.

When I first read this last night, the knee-jerk reaction was "I play 4 ringleaders and 4 matrons because they give me goblins in my hand to play right now, making these creatures ideal to land with lackey on turns 2 through infinity". And I do think it is very important for goblins to get the right aggressive or disruptive piece right now. Recruiter doesn´t do that, unless it is also paired with ringleader or skullclamp.

But then I stayed awake thinking of the possibilities recruiter brings to the table: With a full set of jewelry, it´s a turn one play that sets up perfectly for a turn two earwig squad to win on turn two against several decks. It can also line up a string of hooligans to bury shops (although this can backfire terribly without backup green mana). Although it seems like a mediocre midgame draw (so weak in itself, no instant value) it becomes great again if you have a clamp: Just start churning through ringleaders and tokens from siege-gangs or war-marshals. I still think it is a terrible card to draw in multiples, so I have added only two to my list. I didn´t cut into the engine, rather the situational cards: 1 stingscourger (down to 2 main) and one earwig (moved the fourth to the board).

Having 4 grafdigger´s cages in the board is probably a common choice, since it covers oath and dredge pretty well. Have any of you tried or considered replacing these with a set of containment priests and a plateau? At least in my deck, counting caverns, that gives me 12 ways to cast them. I think it has enough upside to at least consider:

-Priest is a creature, so it deals damage, can be sacked to cabal therapy, can be double-clamped (!), can come uncounterable off cavern.
-Priest doesn´t get countered by mental misstep or chalice if you run it.
-Priest can come as a surprise.
-Priest stops show and tell, natural order etc.
-Priest does not stop flashback on cabal therapy, which is quite important in the oath match-up.

On the other hand...
-Setting a cavern to "cleric" hurts like heck in this deck. Alternatively, it compels you to fetch an otherwise terrible dual.
-Containment priest costs precious colored mana, whereas cage can be played off an off-colour mox.
-Priest shuts down lackey, grenzo and lightning crafter if you run them.
-Relying on priest makes you more vulnerable to sweepers.

Any thoughts on this?

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