Hey everyone! Today I’m going to be covering my Jund Cabaretti Revels Combo Goblins deck in Historic which I recently used to go 22-1 and hit rank #1 with on the Arena ladder. This is a creature-based combo deck utilizing one of the sweetest new additions from the latest Alchemy drop Cabaretti Revels.
The deck has felt really strong and is a ton of fun to play too – I’ve also put up a video on my YouTube channel with a full constructed event’s worth of gameplay if you’re interested in seeing the deck in action.
Cabaretti Revels: This is probably my favourite card from the latest Alchemy set and has been a really interesting card to build around. Essentially giving all of your creatures cascade is a really strong effect, but you need to ensure you start getting a lot of value off it almost immediately as taking your turn 3 off to cast this can put you too far behind otherwise, especially in a format as fast as Historic.
I’ve been testing this card in a bunch of different shells and this deck feels by far the best home for it. The key difference between seek and cascade here is that seeking a creature onto the battlefield doesn’t shuffle your library – this is important to know when playing with Conspicuous Snoop as seeking a creature off Cabaretti Revels will not change the card on top of your library.
In order to explain how Cabaretti Revels works within the deck, I think it makes more sense to go through the rest of the synergies in the deck first, and then I’ll explain how Cabaretti Revels works to enable a lot of those synergies afterwards.
The main two card combo in this deck is Putrid Goblin and Grumgully, the Generous. If you have both of these cards on the battlefield together, the +1/+1 counter that Grumgully, the Generous provides will essentially ‘cancel out’ the -1/-1 counter from the persist on Putrid Goblin. This means that whenever Putrid Goblin dies, it will return to the battlefield as a 2/2 without the -1/-1 counter on it which provides infinite sacrifice fodder!
The easiest way to take advantage of this is to have Putrid Goblin and Grumgully, the Generous alongside Sling-Gang Lieutenant. With this setup you can simply sacrifice Putrid Goblin to Sling-Gang Lieutenant repeatedly in order to drain the opponent out from any life total.
Another way to take advantage of Putrid Goblin and Grumgully, the Generous is to also have a Skirk Prospector in play. This allows you to produce infinite red mana by repeatedly sacrificing the Putrid Goblin to Skirk Prospector‘s ability which will then allow you to immediately win if you have either a Pashalik Mons or Goblin Matron in your hand.
If you have Pashalik Mons in your hand, you can cast Pashalik Mons using the mana from Skirk Prospector and then continue sacrificing Putrid Goblin to Skirk Prospector repeatedly – each time Putrid Goblin dies, you can deal 1 damage directly to the opponent off Pashalik Mons which produces infinite damage.
If you have Goblin Matron in your hand, you can cast it using the mana from Skirk Prospector to search Pashalik Mons, then cast the Pashalik Mons using the mana from Skirk Prospector and then win the same way.
Additionally, if you have infinite red mana from Skirk Prospector and a single black mana from one of your lands, you can win with a Sling-Gang Lieutenant by casting it off the Skirk Prospector mana and then draining the opponent out by repeatedly sacrificing Putrid Goblin to Sling-Gang Lieutenant.
Even outside of infinite loops, having access to infinite red mana off Skirk Prospector alongside a Muxus, Goblin Grandee or Conspicuous Snoop can often win the game on its own, either by putting a bunch of goblins into play, or by digging for Pashalik Mons or Sling-Gang Lieutenant.
Having access to infinite damage combos through Putrid Goblin and Grumgully, the Generous is so strong, but importantly they’re also decent cards in their own right even when you’re not using them to combo.
Putrid Goblin can be used to sacrifice twice to Skirk Prospector which is great at allowing us to produce extra mana to cast multiple spells in a turn or ramp into something like Muxus, Goblin Grandee (you can play a turn 3 Muxus, Goblin Grandee with turn 1 Skirk Prospector into turn 2 Putrid Goblin), and it can also be sacrificed twice to Sling-Gang Lieutenant which can often enable us to drain the opponent out without even needing to combo.
Grumgully, the Generous also giving all of our other goblins +1/+1 counters is great at building up a board of big creatures so both of our combo pieces also help to enable our backup plans which is great for the overall consistency of the deck.
The Other Goblins:
Having Skirk Prospector in play alongside Conspicuous Snoop allows us to produce extra mana to keep casting goblins off the top of our library; having it alongside Goblin Matron can allow us to then produce mana to cast whatever we search, and it also allows us to ramp into Muxus, Goblin Grandee if we search it off Goblin Matron which is really important at refueling if we’re light on resources.
Additionally, it pairs incredibly well with Pashalik Mons, as you can sacrifice your goblins to produce mana and each time you do, you can deal 1 damage to any target off Pashalik Mons. This is especially good against creature decks as you can pick apart the opponent’s board doing this, the extra mana will then allow you to cast additional spells from your hand, or you can simply pump the mana into Pashalik Mons ability to produce even more goblins!
Conspicuous Snoop: The ability to cast goblins off the top of your library is so strong and is such a good card advantage engine which is particularly strong against slower or grindier decks. It also gains the ability of whatever goblin is on top of your library which comes up if the top card is Skirk Prospector, Sling-Gang Lieutenant, Pashalik Mons, or Goblin Trashmaster.
Don’t forget this can allow you to sub Conspicuous Snoop in for your combos in certain circumstances: if you have Putrid Goblin and Grumgully, the Generous alongside Conspicuous Snoop on the battlefield, and Sling-Gang Lieutenant on top of your library, you can use Sling-Gang Lieutenant‘s ability via Conspicuous Snoop to drain the opponent out.
Munitions Expert: This is really efficient removal that also provides a body and scales well into the late game. We can use this to take out smaller creatures in the first few turns, and can also use it to kill bigger creatures or planeswalkers later in the game once we’ve built up a bigger board.
Goblin Matron: This is really important at being able to dig for your combo pieces if you need, as well as being able to search for Muxus, Goblin Grandee or Conspicuous Snoop if you need to refuel, or Munitions Expert if you need removal.
Pashalik Mons: Outside of being great with Skirk Prospector and the infinite damage loops, this is a card that makes combat very difficult for the opponent because of the extra damage it produces when our goblins die.
The ability also provides a decent mana sink if you don’t want to over commit to the battlefield and it pairs really nicely with Sling-Gang Lieutenant as a way to drain the opponent out if you have a wide board which is one of our main backup plans if you can’t combo off.
Sling-Gang Lieutenant: This is one of the most important cards in the deck as it enables our infinite combos as well as being integral to our backup plans. The main way we tend to win without comboing off is getting in for damage throughout the course of the game and then sacrificing our board to Sling-Gang Lieutenant to deal the final points of damage.
Like I just said, having this alongside Pashalik Mons allows us to drain the opponent out from a reasonably high life total if we have a wide board, as each creature we sacrifice to Sling-Gang Lieutenant will be dealing 2 damage to the opponent.
Muxus, Goblin Grandee: This is here as a tutor target for Goblin Matron and is a great way to refuel if we’re light on resources while also just being a great card to search if we have the mana to cast it. Unlike the older goblin decks, you don’t need to be running more than a single copy since you really don’t need it in order to win, but having it as an option off Goblin Matron is great and it can often win the game on its own.
Now you have a better understanding of what the deck’s trying to achieve, let’s return to Cabaretti Revels and see how it interacts with the individual cards and synergies in the deck.
Skirk Prospector: Since Skirk Prospector is the only 1-drop in the deck, you’re always guaranteed to cascade into it off your 2-mana creatures with Cabaretti Revels which is sick as Skirk Prospector is always a card you want to have in play.
This can help set up the infinite mana combo because if you have a Grumgully, the Generous and Cabaretti Revels in play, and a Putrid Goblin in hand, the Putrid Goblin will always cascade into a Skirk Prospector and you now immediately have access to infinite red mana.
Skirk Prospector also enables turn 2 Cabaretti Revels by sacrificing itself, and then all you need to do is cast a 2 mana creature and you immediately get another Skirk Prospector from the deck so losing it to cast Cabaretti Revels isn’t an issue at all.
Even outside of that, it synergises incredibly well with Cabaretti Revels in general, since the mana it produces will allow you to cast multiple goblins in a turn, and each of those goblins will cascade into more goblins, so Skirk Prospector enables some insane turns with Cabaretti Revels in play.
Putrid Goblin: Casting Putrid Goblin will always cascade into a Skirk Prospector with Cabaretti Revels in play which means it essentially pays for itself, since we can sacrifice Putrid Goblin twice to produce two red mana if we wanted to. Putrid Goblin is also nice to cascade into, especially off Grumgully, the Generous as you can essentially get both combo pieces into play out of nowhere.
Conspicuous Snoop: Casting Conspicuous Snoop will always cascade into a Skirk Prospector with Cabaretti Revels in play which is great because the extra mana Skirk Prospector produces can allow you to play more goblins off the top of your library in one turn.
Additionally, every goblin you cast off the top of your library will also cascade into another goblin so you can gain an insane amount of board presence out of nowhere with those two cards alone. Conspicuous Snoop is also great to cascade into to ensure you don’t run out of gas especially if you’re light on cards in hand.
Munitions Expert: Casting Munitions Expert will always cascade into a Skirk Prospector with Cabaretti Revels in play, and since the Skirk Prospector enters play before Munitions Expert, the Munitions Expert will deal slightly more damage off its ability which can often mean you’re able to take out a bigger creature or planeswalker.
Additionally, cascading into a Munitions Expert is almost always great since you essentially get removal out of nowhere.
Goblin Matron: You get to see what you cascade into off Goblin Matron before you search which is great at ensuring you pick the right target and can often set you up for a combo win: if you cast Goblin Matron with a Sling-Gang Lieutenant and Cabaretti Revels in play and cascade into Putrid Goblin, you can then search for Grumgully, the Generous in order to combo off.
Cascading into Goblin Matron is also obviously great as you can then dig for whatever you need at the time.
Additionally, cascading into Grumgully, the Generous is great off both Sling-Gang Lieutenant and Muxus, Goblin Grandee because Grumgully, the Generous will enter play first which will mean all of the following goblins will enter play with +1/+1 counters.
25 lands feels necessary due to the high number of 3-drops in the deck – you’re very likely to fall behind if you miss your third land so 25 feels necessary to hit the third land consistently. You also have a lot of mana sinks so flooding out isn’t as much of an issue either.
In terms of the actual lands themselves, all of the lands can produce red and I’m running 12 black and 12 green sources. Since we need black on turn 2 for Munitions Expert and Putrid Goblin, I’ve elected to run Secluded Courtyard instead of Haunted Ridge which has been working out well.
The reason I’m running Rockfall Vale instead of Unclaimed Territory is because we need actual green mana for Cabaretti Revels. The one downside of Secluded Courtyard is that we’re only running 8 actual black sources which does limit the black removal we can afford to run in the sideboard. I’m running 4 Hidetsugu Consumes All which requires actual black mana – this is here predominantly for the Food matchup which thankfully doesn’t close the game out very fast so you’ll usually have enough time to find a black source.
This does mean you probably can’t afford to run any cheaper black removal though unless you swapped out Secluded Courtyard for Dragonskull Summit, which I’m not a fan of since it will make the mana base less consistent overall. Finally, I’m running one basic mountain as a concession to Field of Ruin etc.
One land that was potentially appealing is Den of the Bugbear – it’s a generically good creatureland, especially in a goblins deck, but it also acts as an outlet for infinite mana, since it produces an additional 1/1 token for each time its activated, so if you produced 80 mana with the Skirk Prospector loop and activated Den of the Bugbear 20 times, it would produce 20 1/1 tokens that are attacking.
Unfortunately I don’t think there’s room in the manabase – the basic is more important and cutting any dual lands would mean you’re more likely to miss green or black mana when you need it.
Since the deck is very synergistic, you can’t afford to sideboard too heavily which means we have more room to dedicate more specific cards for tougher matchups.
4 Hidetsugu Consumes All: This is here predominantly for the Food matchup which can be tough – The Meathook Massacre in particular is very good against Sling-Gang Lieutenant. Hidetsugu Consumes All is great at killing most of their problematic permanents and then providing us an alternative way to close the game out.
1 Goblin Trashmaster: This is here as a Goblin Matron tutor target against any decks running artifacts (like Food, Affinity etc) and also any deck running cards like Grafdigger's Cage (as it stops Putrid Goblin coming back with persist as well as stopping Muxus, Goblin Grandee / Conspicuous Snoop).
2 The Akroan War: This is here predominantly for the Auras matchup which can be tough, especially once they bring Hushbringer in. You can use this to steal their big creature with auras on it and force their protective creatures like Selfless Savior and Esper Sentinel to attack so we can deal with them which will usually buy you enough time to win the game. This can also be helpful against decks running bigger creatures where it’s hard to interact with them using Munitions Expert and Pashalik Mons.
1 Unlicensed Hearse & 3 Soul-Guide Lantern: This is here predominantly for the Phoenix matchup. If they have a slower hand then you’re definitely favoured ,but their fast starts are difficult to outrace.
Their fast starts usually come in two forms, either fast Arclight Phoenix starts (where they get multiple Arclight Phoenix back from the graveyard on turn 3) or fast Symmetry Sage starts (where they curve out multiple Symmetry Sage or Sprite Dragon in the first couple of turns).
If you’re more concerned about the Arclight Phoenix starts, then graveyard hate is the best answer and if you’re more concerned about the Symmetry Sage starts then extra creature removal is the best answer (I’d probably go for either Fry, Strangle or Abrade) but I’m not a fan of running a split.
If you run a split of graveyard hate and removal, you’re just adding extra variance where you could potentially draw graveyard hate against Symmetry Sage, or creature removal against Arclight Phoenix, so I prefer just picking a lane.
I think on balance, you’re more likely to come up against fast Arclight Phoenix starts more often since they have three turns to sculpt their graveyard, whereas the fast Symmetry Sage starts require them having those creatures in their opening hand.
Additionally, graveyard hate is also great at slowing down Dragon's Rage Channeler, so I prefer going all-in on graveyard hate, and then the only thing you’re really concerned about is the fast Symmetry Sage and Sprite Dragon starts which don’t happen as frequently.
4 Chandra, Dressed to Kill: This is here predominantly for the control matchup. Even though there is some anti-synergy between Chandra, Dressed to Kill and Putrid Goblin/ Sling-Gang Lieutenant, I definitely think it’s the best option in the matchup.
Both plus abilities are great at either providing additional mana or card advantage, and you can reach the ultimate very quickly if you cast this on turn 2/3. It also dodges Farewell and Divine Purge which can both be rough otherwise.
Best of 1:
I wouldn’t make any changes for best of 1 since the main deck is so streamlined and focused. The main difference between bo1 and bo3 is the presence of graveyard-based combo decks so you could potentially swap out 2 copies of Pashalik Mons for some Soul-Guide Lantern if you wanted to hedge against those matchups, but that will tend to make you worse against all other matchups so I’d probably just run the main deck as it is.
Graveyard hate is great at shutting off both Arclight Phoenix as well as delirium so the main concern is a very fast start with Symmetry Sage and Sprite Dragon. This matchup is usually a race so Conspicuous Snoop is too slow and is also likely to get killed immediately since they’re likely to have more removal post-sideboard.
If they don’t have a fast creature start then you’re typically favoured as that gives you time to either set up your combo (which they don’t have great ways of interacting with outside of single-target removal which isn’t too effective or Anger of the Gods which is typically run in low numbers) or build up a wide board at which point Munitions Expert and Pashalik Mons can work as effective removal and Sling-Gang Lieutenant can start to buffer your life total.
The Meathook Massacre is the central card in this matchup as it essentially cancels out the drain from Sling-Gang Lieutenant. Since they’re good at gaining life, the ping damage from Pashalik Mons and Sling-Gang Lieutenant is much less effective so we trim those, but it’s important to leave at least one copy of each in to give you the ability to combo off using Goblin Matron to search them.
Other than just beating them down supported by Hidetsugu Consumes All, the other main way to win post-sideboard is to try and set up a big combo turn, usually involving the infinite mana loop and then use Goblin Matron to find Sling-Gang Lieutenant or Pashalik Mons as the final combo piece.
Don’t forget you can tutor up Goblin Trashmaster off Goblin Matron in order to destroy Witch's Oven and you can still combo off even if the opponent has The Meathook Massacre in play if you can get both Pashalik Mons and Sling-Gang Lieutenant into play.
This matchup is good overall since you have multiple cards that tend to run away with the game if they don’t immediately deal with them – Chandra, Dressed to Kill, Cabaretti Revels, Conspicuous Snoop, and Muxus, Goblin Grandee are all cards that tend to put you ahead if they don’t have an immediate answer.
The key balancing act in this matchup is to commit enough to the battlefield that they can’t freely cast Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and untap with it, but not over commit into a board sweeper. Comboing off can sometimes be difficult because of the high amount of interaction they run, so you usually win this matchup by getting in for damage throughout the course of the game and then draining them out with Sling-Gang Lieutenant.
This matchup is basically a race so you’re trying to set up the combo before they can deal lethal. The Akroan War is great at slowing them down and potentially enabling you to win through damage without the combo, but they also have access to Hushbringer which can pose a real problem.
Hushbringer shuts off the combo and your enter the battlefield triggers on cards like Munitions Expert, Goblin Matron, and Muxus, Goblin Grandee. It is beatable by getting a really wide board off Conspicuous Snoop and Cabaretti Revels and draining them out with Sling-Gang Lieutenant, but it’s much easier to kill them without it in play so avoid durdling as otherwise you’re giving them more time to find a Hushbringer.
How you sideboard in this matchup will vary depending on their exact list – if you see multiple cards that are interacting with the graveyard such as Dreadhorde Arcanist and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger then you might want additional graveyard hate, whereas some other builds are very light on graveyard interaction so pay attention to what they’re playing game 1.
Similar to control, this is a matchup where you have multiple cards that can run away with the game if they don’t deal with them immediately like Cabaretti Revels, Conspicuous Snoop, and Muxus, Goblin Grandee. You generally want to get these cards into play as soon as possible in order to dodge their discard spells and if you do, you’ll tend to run away with the game since they’re not great at dealing with wide boards.
Goblin Trashmaster is by far the best card in this matchup and will usually win the game on its own if you can get it into play.
The main card to be wary of in this matchup is Metallic Rebuke so try and bait that out on your less important cards if the opponent is consistently holding blue mana open. Also be aware that graveyard hate stops the combo since it will stop Putrid Goblin re-entering with persist and affinity tends to run a lot of graveyard hate.
You’re typically very good at chump blocking on the ground, but Shadowspear or Nettlecyst attached to a flier are the two main ways they can force lethal through so be mindful of not letting them get in for too much free damage in the early game if you can avoid it.
Outside of that, they don’t have great ways of interacting with what you’re doing outside of artifact removal like Portable Hole so it’s not too difficult to win off the back of Goblin Trashmaster, building up a wide board or comboing if they don’t have graveyard hate.
The important thing to note in this matchup is that Sling-Gang Lieutenant will still drain the opponent out even if they have the Nine Lives + Solemnity lock set up, so get in for as much damage as you can in the early game so you can finish them off with Sling-Gang Lieutenant even if they set up the lock.
They don’t have great ways to interact with your combo either since all of their removal is sorcery speed so racing to the combo is usually a good strategy. They can turn the corner very quickly if their Sythis, Harvest's Hand and Sanctum Weaver survive so kill those as quickly as possible with Munitions Expert or Pashalik Mons if you can.
GW Heliod Combo:
This is largely a race and generally you’re better at finding your combo because you have a lot more ways to dig through the deck. You could potentially bring in Hidetsugu Consumes All to kill their lifegain enablers, but whatever you cut for it will make your proactive game plan less consistent and certain boardstates of theirs aren’t really affected by it anyway (eg. if they have a big Voice of the Blessed or Trelasarra, Moon Dancer alongside Heliod, Sun-Crowned or if they’re using Prosperous Innkeeper as their lifegain enabler) so I prefer making no changes so your deck is better equipped to race.
Annoyingly, Soul Warden will prevent you from dealing infinite damage unless you have both Sling-Gang Lieutenant and Pashalik Mons in play so kill that with Munitions Expert or Pashalik Mons as a priority.
This matchup plays pretty similarly to the control matchup except they have fewer counterspells and more creature removal. This means you can more readily rely on cards like Muxus, Goblin Grandee resolving but they’re more likely to have clean answers to cards like Chandra, Dressed to Kill and Cabaretti Revels.
Since they have a lot of creature removal, it can be difficult to combo unless you can get Cabaretti Revels to stick so you often win by dealing damage throughout the game and then draining them out with Sling-Gang Lieutenant. Because of that, it’s very important to limit the amount of life they can gain by sacrificing your creatures to Skirk Prospector or Sling-Gang Lieutenant in response to Lightning Helix for example.
If you can’t combo off, the worst case scenario is the opponent playing Deafening Clarion and then attacking in with a lifelinking Niv-Mizzet Reborn or Territorial Kavu so try and avoid that if possible.
Embercleave Aggro (Mono R/ Gruul):
Outside of a small numbers of burn spells like Bonecrusher Giant, they don’t have great ways of interacting with you so racing to set up the combo is usually a good plan.
Munitions Expert and Pashalik Mons are great here at picking off smaller creatures to keep them off Embercleave and gaining life off Sling-Gang Lieutenant can go a long way to stabilising. Goblin Trashmaster gives you a way to preemptively stop Embercleave as you can kill it at instant speed and The Akroan War can be a complete blowout on certain boardstates too.
Tips & Tricks:
- If you have Cabaretti Revels in play, it’s really important to consider all of the potential cards you could cascade into rather than just playing the best card from your hand in a vacuum, especially when you’re behind. For example, if you’re dead on board and you need to combo off this turn, try and plan out a sequence in which you can set up the combo, even if you’d need to get lucky off the Cabaretti Revels cascades in order to do so. Similarly, if you needed creature removal, it’s better to play a 3 drop than a 4 drop as that maximises your chances of hitting a Munitions Expert.
- Never cut Pashalik Mons from your deck entirely as it’s important to be able to search for it off Goblin Matron to win with infinite mana – if you achieved infinite mana off Skirk Prospector but you don’t have access to black mana, you can’t win that turn if you don’t have Pashalik Mons in your deck.
- Be wary of removal when playing Munitions Expert as it will deal damage equal to the number of goblins you control when the effect resolves. For example, if you cast a Munitions Expert when you have no other creatures in order to kill a 1/1, the opponent can kill the Munitions Expert with the trigger on the stack and it will then deal 0 damage.
- Similarly, if you have multiple Munitions Expert, you can make the first one you play deal one extra damage by going into full control, casting the first one and then flashing in the second one while the first one’s trigger is on the stack.
This has been such a fun deck to both build and play, and has resulted in one of the best win streaks I’ve had recently so I’d definitely recommend giving it a try if you enjoy playing creature-based combo decks. Thanks a lot for reading!