Pashalik Mons Art by Even Amundsen

Historic Rakdos Goblins Top 40 Mythic Deck Guide: Historic’s Old Menace Is Back

Hey everyone! Today I’m going to be covering my Rakdos Sacrifice Goblins deck in Historic which I recently used to climb into the top 40 on the MTG Arena ladder with a 23-6 record.

The old-school goblins deck using Krenko, mob Boss alongside Goblin Chieftain and Goblin Warchief is potentially the deck I’ve played the most in Historic but I feel like that deck has been massively power crept out OG Historic, is very vulnerable to removal, and lacks good interaction itself (which is really important in the format right now).

This new build has way better interaction, is more resilient and has more synergies across the board! I’ve also put up a video on my YouTube channel with game play if you’re interested in seeing the deck in action.

RB Sacrifice Goblins
by Altheriax
Historic
best of 3
0 mythic
30 rare
21 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (31)
4
Wily Goblin
$2.36
3
Pashalik Mons
$8.37
4
Twinshot Sniper
$1.00
Artifacts (1)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
5
Mountain
$1.25
4
Haunted Ridge
$71.96
4
Blood Crypt
$111.96
60 Cards
$366.72
15 Cards
$102.55

Main Deck

Pashalik Mons Art by Even Amundsen
Pashalik Mons Art by Even Amundsen

Muxus, Goblin Grandee

The big strength of running a Muxus-based goblins deck is that the deck is naturally attacking from two different angles. You have your fair game plan of just casting your goblins normally and you also have Muxus, goblin Grandee which essentially acts like a one-card combo and can win from a completely empty board.

This makes it difficult for the opponent to answer you on both fronts as if they have a bunch of creature removal, you can often win the game off the back of Muxus and if the opponent is packing counterspells and discard spells, then casting your goblins out fairly can often go underneath that. Muxus is therefore a really important part of the deck and ramping into it off Skirk Prospector and the treasures off Wily Goblin or Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is a key part of the deck’s game plan.

The Win Conditions

The older goblins builds were focused on trying to win off haste creatures with the main ‘combo’ of that deck being Krenko, mob Boss alongside Goblin Chieftain and Goblin Warchief. This build will deal damage in combat wherever possible, but is more focused on sacrifice synergies and is typically looking to close the game out by draining the opponent out using either Sling-Gang Lieutenant or Pashalik Mons.

Sling-Gang Lieutenant can sacrifice a wide board of Goblins to drain the opponent out without needing to connect in combat and Pashalik Mons can do the same if you have it alongside a sacrifice outlet like Skirk Prospector. If you have Skirk Prospector and Pashalik Mons alongside a bunch of other goblins, you can sacrifice the other goblins to the Skirk Prospector to generate mana and deal damage, and then you can pump that mana into Pashalik Mons ability to create even more Goblins to sacrifice.

Things get even more crazy if you have Sling-Gang Lieutenant alongside Pashalik Mons as you’ll essentially be dealing 2 damage for each goblin sacrificed to the Sling-Gang Lieutenant. Your best Muxus, goblin Grandee hits usually involve hitting both of these cards and can result in draining the opponent out from above 20 life. Don’t forget that Twinshot Sniper can also go face off it’s ability which can often then put the opponent in range of being drained out.

The Interaction

Interaction is really important in Historic right now with the popularity of decks like Izzet Phoenix, Rakdos Arcanist, Auras, Greasefang, etc which all demand answers so having a much better removal suite was one of the biggest attractions to running this particular build.

Munitions Expert is an incredible removal spell on a stick that scales well into the mid to late game and can take out really big creatures once you have a wide board. It’s also a great hit off Muxus, goblin Grandee as even if you don’t get enough goblins to win that turn, killing their biggest threat with Munitions Expert can often stabilize the game on its own.

Pashalik Mons can often act as a Mayhem Devil in this deck and can ping down opponent’s creatures alongside a sacrifice outlet like Skirk Prospector or Sling-Gang Lieutenant. Even without a sacrifice outlet, Pashalik Mons makes combat very difficult for the opponent due to the extra damage it generates when your goblins die.

Twinshot Sniper is another great addition to the deck from the latest set. There’s a lot of early must-kill threats in the format right now so having access to early removal off the channel ability is really important as that’s something goblin decks have always lacked. Since it doesn’t count as casting a spell it also dodges conventional counterpells and doesn’t get taxed by cards like Esper Sentinel or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben either.

Once you have access to more mana, it then acts as removal on a stick similar to Munitions Expert and the 2/3 reach body is a very relevant blocker especially against a deck like Izzet Phoenix. Finally it’s also great with Muxus, goblin Grandee – typically in the past you had to board out goblins for removal spells which would make your Muxus hits worse whereas Twinshot Sniper acts as both and still gets its damage ability when it enters off a Muxus unlike a card like Gempalm Incinerator.

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

I wanted to dedicate an entire section to this card because of how important it is in the deck.

First, the fact that the token you get off the first chapter and the Reflection of Kiki-Jiki are both goblins is great and means they work with all of your goblins synergies. The 2/2 token generating a treasure when it attacks is so good as it allows you to ramp into Muxus, goblin Grandee and this deck has a lot of mana sinks so access to additional mana is always a good thing.

Since this particular build doesn’t care about haste it also means you don’t lose anything by casting Muxus after combat. You can attack with the 2/2 to create a treasure for your 6th mana and then cast Muxus in your main phase 2 which is something the Krenko, mob Boss builds wouldn’t want to do.

The looting effect in chapter 2 is low-key one of the most important parts of the deck. After playing tons of matches with the Krenko build, I came to the conclusion that that deck should probably running 26 lands as missing land-drops often meant you just lost regardless of what the opponent is doing and the deck had a lot of ways to mitigate flood. Even though this build is running a slightly lower curve, I believe it suffers from the same issues however the looting ability on chapter 2 means that you’re way more likely to keep hitting lands whenever you draw the Fable.

From this alone, I think this deck can afford to go down to 24 lands and still consistently hit the land-drops it needs which is great as it means you flood out less and you can afford to main deck 5 non-creature spells and still have enough goblins for Muxus, goblin Grandee. Additionally, it means the deck doesn’t need to run Goblin Matron (which feels way too slow right now) in order to dig for Muxus consistently.

Finally, Reflection of Kiki-Jiki gives you really nice options to take over the late-game if the opponent doesn’t find an answer for it. Unfortunately you can’t copy Muxus, goblin Grandee since it’s legendary, but copying Sling-Gang Lieutenant, Munitions Expert or Twinshot Sniper every turn is going to be really difficult for any deck to beat.

The Other Cards

Skirk Prospector is a really important part of the deck at both ramping into Muxus, goblin Grandee and enabling Pashalik Mons. This deck is also very mana-intensive, so being able to generate additional mana off Skirk Prospector is always useful.

Conspicuous Snoop gives the deck access to really strong card advantage and is especially important in the slower or grinder matchups like control or RB midrange.

Wily Goblin is important for similar reasons to Skirk Prospector – ramping into Muxus and having access to extra mana for our mana-sinks like Conspicuous Snoop and Pashalik Mons is really important.

Lastly, we’ve got a single copy of Soul-Guide Lantern to round the deck out. I felt like 24 lands was the right amount in this build because of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and I didn’t want to run 4 copies of Pashalik Mons because it’s legendary so there was one flex-slot left in the deck.

I elected to go with Soul-Guide Lantern because I think main deck graveyard hate is really beneficial if you can afford to run it since most of the graveyard-based decks are much heavier on the graveyard synergies game 1. If there’s another card you wanted to run here instead then go for it but I’ve liked Soul-Guide Lantern as I would want to run 4 copies of it in the 75 so it saves an extra spot in the sideboard and you can always cycle it away in matchups where it’s not important.

Manabase

Den of the Bugbear is great here as both the Den and the tokens it creates are goblins so don’t forget you can put an extra 2 goblins onto the battlefield off Den of the Bugbear when you’re calculating if you can drain the opponent out with Sling-Gang Lieutenant or Pashalik Mons.

I’m also running Secluded Courtyard alongside the 12 good red/black dual lands (Dragonskull Summit will enter tapped too often to warrant running). Secluded Courtyard is mainly here to consistently enable Munitions Expert on turn 2 which is really important especially against creatures that can quickly outscale the damage like Sprite Dragon and the auras creatures like Kor Spiritdancer.

I’m not running Unclaimed Territory in place of any red/black duals though because we do need actual black mana for Hidetsugu Consumes All out of the sideboard which Unclaimed Territory can’t produce and we’re already running Courtyard.


Sideboard

3 Soul-Guide Lantern: This is here as additional graveyard hate which is particularly important against decks like Izzet Phoenix, Arcanist, and other graveyard heavy decks like Greasefang, Okiba Boss.

2 Chandra, Dressed to Kill & 2 Legion Warboss: These are here predominantly for control. The biggest weakness of the deck against control is sweepers so Chandra, Dressed to Kill provides a threat that dodges sweepers and is cheap enough that you can get it under counterspells. It works really well with the deck in general as it both helps us ramp into Muxus, goblin Grandee, provides the extra mana to cast multiple spells in a turn, and also provides card advantage.

Having a high goblin count in the deck is particularly important against control as you want to be able to win or press a big advantage if you get to resolve a Muxus, goblin Grandee which is why I’m also running Legion Warboss instead of the full 4 copies of Chandra, Dressed to Kill.

4 Hidetsugu Consumes All: This is here pretty much exclusively for the Food matchup which can be pretty rough game 1 especially if they play The Meathook Massacre. The fact that the food decks have good access to lifegain means they’re fairly good at staying out of range of being drained out by Sling-Gang Lieutenant and The Meathook Massacre completely mitigates any draining we would do anyway.

Hidetsugu Consumes All helps to flip that matchup on its head games 2 and 3 though as it will kill all of their threats other than Trail of Crumbs and The Meathook Massacre, exile their graveyard to get rid of Cauldron Familiar, and stop them getting stuff back off Lurrus of the Dream-Den. Then turns into a threat that’s hard for them to deal with and can trample through Cat/Oven if they can set it back up again.

2 Goblin Trashmaster: This is another card that helps against the Food decks as we can use this to kill their Witch's Oven. It’s the best card in your whole deck against Affinity as you can basically kill their whole board and anything else they might play if you can resolve it. I also like bringing this in against a deck like Humans as the anthem effect makes it much more difficult for them to attack and it can kill Portable Hole which is their main interaction.

Finally, Grafdigger's Cage is a card that is pretty good against this deck as it shuts off both Muxus, goblin Grandee and Conspicuous Snoop and Goblin Trashmaster provides an answer for Cage. Thankfully most people are running Soul-Guide Lantern instead of Grafdigger's Cage right now because it’s much better against Izzet Phoenix and Greasefang, Okiba Boss, but definitely bring in Goblin Trashmaster if you see the opponent is running Grafdigger's Cage.

2 The Akroan War: Auras has always been a touch matchup for Goblins as their creatures can pretty quickly outscale the red-based removal that goblins has access to. The Akroan War has been the best answer I’ve found at shoring up that matchup as you can steal their big creature with auras on and force their smaller Esper Sentinel and Selfless Savior to attack which usually buys you enough time to set up to drain them out or deal lethal in combat.

If you expect to play against a lot of auras then it might be worth trying to find room in the sideboard for the extra 2 copies of The Akroan War.


Best of One

Bo1 RB Sacrifice Goblins
by DoggertQBones
Historic
Tribal
best of 1
0 mythic
29 rare
22 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (30)
4
Wily Goblin
$2.36
2
Pashalik Mons
$5.58
4
Twinshot Sniper
$1.00
Artifacts (2)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
5
Mountain
$1.25
4
Haunted Ridge
$71.96
4
Blood Crypt
$111.96
60 Cards
$367.42

The only change I would make for best of 1 is cutting the third Pashalik Mons for a second copy of Soul-Guide Lantern. The decks you’ll most likely struggle against are the all-in graveyard based combo decks like Dragonstorm and Greasefang, Okiba Boss so the additional graveyard hate should help there but you need to keep your goblin count high for Muxus, goblin Grandee and you can’t afford to cut Fable of the Mirror-Breaker since it’s so important so I think you can only really afford to go up to 2 copies.

Unfortunately I think auras will also be a bad matchup since you can’t afford to main deck The Akroan War but I think having a couple of bad matchups will happen in Bo1 no matter how you build the deck.


Sideboard Guide

Twinshot Sniper Art by Brent Hollowell
Twinshot Sniper Art by Brent Hollowell

Izzet Phoenix

InOut
+3 Soul-Guide Lantern-3 Conspicuous Snoop

Extra graveyard hate is important at shutting off Arclight Phoenix and delirium is important. Conspicuous Snoop is usually going to just be a 2/2 with no effect since they’ll likely have a lot of removal after sideboard so it gets trimmed. This has felt like a relatively good matchup as you have access to a decent amount of removal.

In general you want to save your removal for their non-Phoenix threats and use your Soul-Guide Lantern to shut off Arclight Phoenix whenever possible. They’ll also probably bring in cards like Aether Gust and Mystical Dispute in order to stop Muxus, goblin Grandee. Game 1 you can probably just jam Muxus, but you need to be more careful post sideboard especially if the opponent is consistently holding open mana.

Golgari Food

InOut
+4 Hidetsugu Consumes All-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Goblin Trashmaster-4 Sling-Gang Lieutenant
-1 Pashalik Mons

Hidetsugu Consumes All is the most important card in this matchup and Goblin Trashmaster is great at killing Witch's Oven too. Soul-Guide Lantern isn’t effective here as they can very easily play around it by making excess food tokens. Sling-Gang Lieutenant and a Pashalik Mons are also cut because draining the opponent out is a lot less effective since they can gain life and Sling-Gang Lieutenant is really bad in the face of The Meathook Massacre.

You want to switch your game plan here to trying to win via combat rather than by draining out and keeping them off their engine cards with Hidetsugu Consumes All and Goblin Trashmaster is vital so I’d advise mulliganing slightly more aggressively to those cards if your opener doesn’t have an effective way to deal with Gilded Goose + Trail of Crumbs or Cat/Oven.

Azorius Control

InOut
+2 Chandra, Dressed to Kill-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Legion Warboss-1 Munitions Expert
-1 Pashalik Mons
-1 Twinshot Sniper

This matchup is all about ensuring you’re applying enough pressure that they can’t stabilize using single-target removal, but not over-committing into a sweeper. A common play-pattern that works well against control is committing enough to the battlefield to force them to use a sweeper if you have something like a Muxus, goblin Grandee or Conspicuous Snoop to follow that up with while their shields are down.

Getting a Chandra, Dressed to Kill, Legion Warboss or Fable of the Mirror-Breaker down early is really strong here so don’t be afraid to sacrifice your Skirk Prospector to play these on turn 2, especially of you’re on the draw to get them underneath an Archmage's Charm.

Auras

InOut
+2 The Akroan War-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-1 Pashalik Mons

This is one of the trickier matchups and is one where you should mulligan aggressively either to early removal, The Akroan War, or a fast Muxus, goblin Grandee. Twinshot Sniper is particular nice here at being able to kill one of their 2-drops on turn 2 that can’t be countered by Spell Pierce.

Beating their nut-draws of Selfless Savior into a 2-drop can be really difficult though so if you’re expecting to face this matchup a lot and find room in the sideboard for the full 4 copies of The Akroan War and I’d board out more Pashalik Mons to compensate.

Rakdos Arcanist

InOut
+2 Soul-Guide Lantern-1 Pashalik Mons
+2 Chandra, Dressed to Kill-3 Twinshot Sniper

This is a difficult matchup to give a solid sideboard guide for as how many Soul-Guide Lantern you should bring will vary pretty heavily depending on how reliant on the graveyard they are; make note of how many Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and Dreadhorde Arcanist you see game 1 and alter the number of Soul-Guide Lantern you bring in accordingly.

This can be a tough matchup if their removal lines up well, but you also have a lot of good cards that can run away with the game like Muxus, goblin Grandee, Chandra, Dressed to Kill, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and Conspicuous Snoop. Apart from Conspicuous Snoop which is easily killed with removal, they’ll really struggle to beat these cards especially if you draw them off the top so it’s typically best to get these cards into play as soon as possible to avoid discard spells, especially Muxus.

Having 6 mana available to cast Muxus, goblin Grandee off the top is really important in this matchup so think carefully before using a treasure or animating a Den of the Bugbear that could get killed if it’ll take you off 6 mana.

Affinity

InOut
+2 Goblin Trashmaster-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-1 Twinshot Sniper

Goblin Trashmaster is by far the best card in this matchup so keep almost any hand containing it. Always be wary of Metallic Rebuke in this matchup, especially before casting an important card like Muxus, goblin Grandee or Goblin Trashmaster.

You can pretty effectively block on the ground in this matchup so the main ways you lose is either to Shadowspear on a big creature so you can’t chump block or Nettlecyst on a flying creature like Ornithopter or Thought Monitor so it’s usually better to take out their fliers first.

Additionally you should also try and drain the opponent out as fast as possible once they start making big creatures off Nettlecyst or Karn, Scion of Urza as they can get straight back into the game if you give them enough time to draw Shadowspear.

Selesnya Enchantress

InOut
+1 Chandra, Dressed to Kill-1 Soul-Guide Lantern

The most important thing to know in this matchup is that the drain effect on Sling-Gang Lieutenant still works even through the Nine Lives + Solemnity lock. Therefore you want to deal as much damage as you can in the early game so that you can set up to drain them out if they do find the lock.

Pashalik Mons + Skirk Prospector can also beat Nine Lives in one turn so it can often be a good idea to hold Pashalik Mons in hand and commit other creatures to the board if it looks like they might play a Nine Lives soon (eg. if they’re holding open 1 mana with a Sterling Grove in play).

You can then deal 9 instances of damage from your attacks and the Pashalik Mons triggers in one turn and win out of nowhere. Kill Sanctum Weaver and especially Sythis, Harvest's Hand on sight wherever you can as the life gain off Sythis can often keep them out of Sling-Gang Lieutenant range.

Selesnya Heliod Combo

InOut
+1 The Akroan War-1 Soul-Guide Lantern

This matchup is all about keeping them off their lifegain enablers wherever possible as that will stop their Voice of the Blessed and Trelasarra, Moon Dancer growing as well as keeping them off the combo. Soul Warden in particular is important to kill as it will gain them a lot of life off your creatures entering the battlefield which is especially bad when you cast Muxus, goblin Grandee.

Ajani's Welcome can be problematic as that’s a lifegain enabler you have no way of killing, but as long as you can keep them off their early threats and then start applying pressure you’re usually a favorite as they don’t top deck particularly well outside of Collected Company.

Five-Color Niv-Mizzet

InOut
+2 Chandra, Dressed to Kill-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Legion Warboss-3 Twinshot Sniper

This matchup plays out pretty similarly to control; you want to try and commit enough to the board to force them to tap out and then follow it up with something like a Muxus, goblin Grandee when their shields are down. We cut Twinshot Sniper here as their two main threats Territorial Kavu and Niv-Mizzet Reborn both outscale it.

In general this has felt like a good matchup, but the main ways you can lose is to either repeated Lightning Helix or Deafening Clarion giving their big creatures lifelink. Always get a sacrifice outlet like Skirk Prospector or Sling-Gang Lieutenant into play as fast as possible so you can sacrifice Goblins in response to a Lightning Helix to stop them gaining the life and always prioritize killing their big creatures wherever possible to stop them gaining loads of life with Deafening Clarion.

Don’t forget the Deafening Clarion will also deal 3 damage to their creatures so holding open 2 mana for the channel on Twinshot Sniper can kill Territorial Kavu if they use Deafening Clarion for example.

Embercleave Aggro (Mono Red/ Gruul)

InOut
+2 The Akroan War-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-1 Conspicuous Snoop

This matchup is all about keeping them off Embercleave or ramping into Muxus, goblin Grandee as fast as possible. Keeping them off Embercleave usually involves killing their creatures as quickly as possible and they will usually really struggle to beat a wide board you can hit off Muxus.

Even though The Akroan War is mainly in the sideboard for Auras, it’s also very useful in a matchup like this where the opponent is running big creatures and can often be a complete blowout if you can trade off with their creatures when they’re forced to attack.


Tips & Tricks

Sling-Gang Lieutenant Art by Craig J. Spearing
Sling-Gang Lieutenant Art by Craig J. Spearing
  • 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.
  • If you have 2 Reflection of Kiki-Jiki in play and you can activate at least one of them, you can repeatedly make copies of the other Reflection. Generally this is best to do during the opponent’s end step so you get to keep the tokens during your turn.
  • You can also go infinite with 2 Reflection of Kiki-Jiki alongside Skirk Prospector and Pashalik Mons. You can sacrifice a tapped copy of Reflection of Kiki-Jiki to produce a mana and deal 1 damage. You can then use this mana to make another copy and repeat over and over for infinite damage.

Conclusion

It’s been so much fun to play goblins again and this deck has a bit of everything so I’d definitely recommend trying it out. Thanks a lot for reading, and if you would like to discuss the deck, join our Discord!

Default image
Altheriax

Alth is an MTG Arena grinder who has been #1 on the ladder multiple times and is always looking to bring new ideas and archetypes to the format and push them to the top spots on the ladder. You can follow him on Twitter and YouTube.

Articles: 14