Bo1 Standard Mono Red Goblins Deck Guide: The Unexpected Meta Killer

Hello everyone! I’ve been on a Bo1 kick as of late and have been trying a bunch of different decks to not only find the spiciest new article topic, but to also secure my rank for the season. To that end, I was looking everywhere I could for inspiration and went to untapped for their Bo1 data.

To my surprise, I saw that Goblins had a relatively high win rate and I couldn’t really think of any Goblins support that’s been printed recently. However, I know I needed to try it as Goblins are one of my favorite tribes. Here was the original list.

Bo1 Untapped Goblins
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tribal
best of 1
0 mythic
27 rare
19 uncommon
14 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (8)
4
Frost Bite
$1.00
Sorceries (5)
2
Roil Eruption
$0.50
Lands (23)
60 Cards
$41.14

Although I love Goblins, to say I was skeptical would probably be underselling it. I like budget friendly decks as much as the next guy, but I was looking for a deck that could secure my top 1200 placement. This deck plays ONE Rare and is functionally an Artisan deck otherwise. I know these decks can be successful (see below), but that’s generally pretty rare.

The 1 drops are decent so I didn’t have a problem there, Battle Cry Goblin and Hobgoblin Bandit Lord are definitely solid goblin payoffs as well, and Frost Bite is a good card. However, that’s just 20 of the cards in the deck. Are we really playing a 2 mana 3/1 in a Spikefield Hazard format? Hulking Bugbear? You See a Pair of Goblins? I know we’re looking to go hard on the Goblins theme, but have some decency! Nevertheless, I’m a man of honor and I always try a deck as is before changing it.

My first game I’m paired against Azorius Control and they go full value Sunset Revelry, Foretell a card, tap land, Doomskar, Doomskar, full value Sunset Revelry, Emeria's Call. A pretty awful way to start off playing a creature deck, right? You’d think so, but I actually won that game. I was flabbergasted, but it just sort of worked. Goblin Javelineer and Hobgoblin Captain (with Pack tactics) made the 1/1 tokens annoying, but inconsequential. I drew 3 You See a Pair of Goblins which allowed me to apply instant speed pressure post wrath and also end the game with the Trumpet Blast mode with a few idiots on board. Next game I face Azorius, but their start wasn’t as good so I rolled them. The game after I faced Izzet, they didn’t have Smoldering Egg, and got run over. I was shocked at how this deck has the ability to flummox the control decks of the meta with just a solid curve and “haste” threats (between You See a Pair of Goblins being an Instant and Hulking Bugbear having literal haste). However here came the real test, Monowhite Aggro.

I’ve been doing well against Control, but I can definitely see Monowhite being an issue as they also have a strong curve, interactive creatures, they were on the play… and I beat them to death with a bunch of Goblins. This deck didn’t feel unbeatable by any stretch, but the cards were just deceptively good all around. Hobgoblin Captain and Hulking Bugbear were the biggest surprises for me as they just put on so much pressure and really demand an answer quickly. I was initially shocked at how well it was performing, but considering how well the deck worked, I ended up not being that surprised. Nevertheless, I knew the deck needed some upgrades as it didn’t feel like the optimal list, and with a few changes the deck has continued to thrum.

mono red goblins
46.7% global win rate
0.04% metagame share
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Bo1 Boblins
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tribal
best of 1
0 mythic
28 rare
16 uncommon
16 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (8)
4
Frost Bite
$1.00
Sorceries (4)
4
Roil Eruption
$1.00
Lands (23)
4
Faceless Haven
$27.96
60 Cards
$68.88

The biggest sin the initial list had was not playing 4 Faceless Haven (or any creature land). The deck could happily support it and a lot of those Control games felt much closer than they had to be since I would draw Mountain number 6 instead of the first or second Faceless Haven. The second much smaller issue I had with the deck was Thundering Rebuke. Best of One standard is pretty split right now between aggressive decks and control decks, and while it is reasonable against the aggressive decks, it’s awful against Control since it’s functionally dead (although it did win me my first game against Azorius as it killed an Angel token).

Secondly, with Monogreen being significantly less popular, the need for a 4 damage spell has severely lessened as Frost Bite is going to take care of pretty much any issue you’re going to have. To replace the rebukes, I went up to 4 Roil Eruption since, as it has in all the decks I’ve tried it in, continued to over perform. Who knew bad Lightning Strike could still be pretty good? Since I had one final slot to add something, I figured one Goblin Trashmaster as a fifth lord would be reasonable, but you could realistically put anything here and it’ll likely be fine. No need to change the core of the deck as it’s continued to be great and is actually the deck I used to secure my top 1200 placement for November!

Like any good aggressive deck, you need to start your curve at 1. Thankfully for Goblins, you have 2 pretty reasonable options. Fireblade Charger is an annoying attacker and blocker as it can either trade up or pretty much always guarantee damage. Goblin Javelineer is a strictly better Raging Goblin that invalidates x/1s defensively (something my opponents tend to forget.) Although not a creature, Frost Bite is the final 1 drop of the deck and has felt absolutely excellent in a metagame with so many creature decks. 3 damage for 1 mana is just great and can help kill bigger threats you normally couldn’t like Smoldering Egg (assuming they block).

For our twos, we have to start out with the Goblin GOAT, Battle Cry Goblin. This card is absolutely nuts as it’s a psuedo-lord, makes more attackers, can buff your team multiple times, and so on. It’s more or less the whole reason to play the deck. Next up is Hobgoblin Captain which was the card I expected the least out of, but has actually been quite good. 3 power against slower decks in a non-negligible amount of strength and getting first strike has been extremely relevant against creature decks, but surprisingly has been better against Control. When you can buff this a lot of my Control opponents have been forced to chump with Ashmouth Dragon, Angel tokens, and Lier, Disciple of the Drowned to not die. I talked about it before, but Roil Eruption has been great as a way to interact or a little bit more reach.

The ones and twos are definitely important, but the 3s are what make this deck shine. Hulking Bugbear, like Hobgoblin Captain, was a welcome surprise as a haste creature in a format with a lot of Control in it has been excellent. It’s even been great against the creature decks as between that and a removal spell you can really surprise your opponents in combat where they felt safe, but just end up dying. Hobgoblin Bandit Lord is obviously great since lords are awesome, but it’s been even better than anticipated as the activated ability has been relevant much more often than I expected. Finally for the biggest shock in the deck is the barely limited playable You See a Pair of Goblins! I joke, but this card has been absolutely nuts for me as a way to add multiple bodies on board, hold up threats in the face of wraths, or surprise the opponent with lethal. Out of every card in the deck, this is the one I’m hoping to top deck the most.


NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS

Chandra, Dressed to Kill art by Viktor Titov
Chandra, Dressed to Kill art by Viktor Titov

Den of the Bugbear

Come on this turns into a Goblin! How are we not playing it? You certainly could play it as a 1 of, but between Faceless Haven and Frost Bite I am a little scared of not being able to do my plays on curve. If you want to play this, I wouldn’t replace a Snow-Covered Mountain but would just add a 24th land.

Raging Goblin

Raging Goblin was decent in the Boros version of the deck as you had Rally the Ranks and Showdown of the Skalds to make the body more relevant, but I don’t think it would be good here.

Tin Street Cadet

Similar argument to Raging Goblin, however I think this would be more reasonable to play if you wanted more 1 drops.

Goblin Morningstar

I’ve seen some lists play this, but it just seems really unimpressive in a deck that doesn’t play larger creatures.

Reckless Impulse

This card is just pretty good and could definitely be a 1-2 of in this list.

Chandra, Dressed to Kill

Not playing Chandra in a Monored deck feels criminal, but it is awkward to play against aggro where it’s likely not going to be great. Chandra will definitely be awesome against Control, but you’re already pretty good there so the need for it is low. However, it could still be a solid 1 of if you really want to play a copy.

Relic Robber

Although this is supposed to be an anti control card, it’s just too easy to interact with this and the Constructs it produces.

Goblin Gang Leader

If there were more Goblin lords this could be really good payoff, but as is, I don’t think it’s quite there.

Zariel, Archduke of Avernus

I think this card is really being slept on and may be better than Goblin Trashmaster in this deck. Against aggro it creates really annoying blockers and against control it produces threats or can produce hasty attackers. It’s a pretty solid card all around and I would definitely consider playing it if you have a copy.


TIPS AND TRICKS

You See a Pair of Goblins Art by Aaron Miller
You See a Pair of Goblins Art by Aaron Miller
  • Combat math with Fireblade Charger gets tricky as buffing it can make it’s death trigger more potent. Make sure to carefully map out your opponent’s blocks when you have this on board.
  • This is minor, but if you don’t need to give anything haste, remember to activate your Battle Cry Goblin‘s ability after it has produced a token.
  • If you’re trying to play around removal, I like running out Hulking Bugbear before a lord as you can either force them to use it then or get a ton of free damage.
  • Try to get in as much chip damage as possible since You See a Pair of Goblins is really good at finishing the opponent off at low life totals.
  • Try to play your Lords last as you want your opponent to spend their removal on worse creatures, even at the expense of potential damage generally speaking.
  • I try not to trade too much with this deck as you tend to win with a critical mass rather than a big creature.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

1 Response

  1. kskilt says:

    Ive been playing Standard/Alchemy goblins for about 2-3 weeks now. I play alchemy just to get a different meta but really the list is good for either. I have been slotting in 1 Pyre of Heroes in that flex spot, and honestly, Ive been liking it. The ability to trade a token for a Fireblade or to sac a fireblade post combat as a removal trick while fetching out a Battle Cry Goblin has been good. Ive also drawn extra Battle Cry Goblins and sacced them to grab goblin lords. I can see an argument for 1 trashmaster and saccing a 3 drop to go get him if you need fast/effective artifact removal.

    Ive also had some success with Ogre Battledriver even tho he is not a Goblin. Coming down turn 4 after most removal has been spent, he can stick around at least for a few activations. Battle Cry Goblins triggers with him on the board produce 3/1’s that can then get the BCG ability to become 4/1s which is a legitimate strike. Ive also used You See a Pair of Goblins with him on the board and was able to throw a pair of instant speed (least relevant main phase 1) haste 3/1’s. I also run the 1 goblin land because I lack 4 Faceless Havens, so I was getting value triggers on attacking in Turn 5.

    Its annoying that not a single good goblin was added in the Innistrad, but what can you do. I was considering a white splash for the anthem effect, and have really good response to the 2 cmc spellbook human. Most of his drafted cards are playable, falling into O Ring, Anthem, or Lifegain effects (the one lifegain causes ETB opponent creatures tapped which is good for pushing last bit of damage). Life gain being the weakest unless you are racing another aggro deck.

    I also keep looking at the Grim Wanderer and debating if black is worth the splash but I just love the idea of slapping a 2 cmc 5/5 in response to a board wipe or removal spell. Maybe with Pyre theres an argument for him, but the moment I start changing up mana base and a handful of cards, it feels like a new deck. The two sided lands feel like the splash isnt the worst on the manabase and the slow lands also dont hurt as long as its not your 2nd land drop — at that point you are already struggling.

    Apologize for the novel but I have been fiending for some good goblin content and just stumbled upon this