Jumpstart Historic Goblins Theorycraft
My name is Dino Muenster, aka DonDoge92, and boy do I love Mountains! Expect big red-mage energy from me, as I dive down and share my thoughts with you on truly Historic(al) topics. Bonus-points if they need Mountains to cast or involve some Tribal-Action!
“Sorry I burned down your village. Here’s some gold.”
With Jumpstart set to release on July the 16th, we look into the first few of many exciting additions for new and established decks. Will this new and fun-looking set shake up the meta, strengthen a few power-houses or just be a fun and spicy bonus for Historic?
Whatever it will be, you better crack some knuckles and get your sweepers ready, because we are going to check-out the new members for the rowdy Goblin-Tribe!
Introduction to Historic Goblins
“I like goblins. They make funny little popping sounds when they die.”
– Braids, dementia summoner
Goblins are as old as the game itself, well known and beloved (or hated) by many mages. A staple in nearly every format, it’s not surprising that many pick them as their deck of choice for Magic Arena’s Historic Format.
With important additions like Goblin Matron, Goblin Ringleader and the newest member, Conspicuous Snoop, which even managed to elevate Goblins to a Tier 1-candidate in older formats, Goblins shape up to claim Historic as well. They managed to already produce some recent results: may it be the 3rd place in the MTG Arena Zone Historic Open #3, or high-numbered ladder finishes, like EC_John’s Rakdos Goblins list ranked as #36 for the July 2020 Season.
Historic Rakdos Goblins by DANCYPANTS – MTG Arena Zone Historic Open (3rd)
Historic Rakdos Goblins by EC_John – #36 Mythic – July 2020 Season
Before we take a closer look what Jumpstart has to offer for the green fellas, let’s first understand what makes Goblins strong (or weak) and how the current iterations line up against some of the power-houses of Historic: Gruul Aggro, Simic/Bant Nexus, Field of the Dead and Rakdos Lurrus-Sacrifice.
Somehow goblins found a tactical advantage by sending a clown to war.
The biggest strength that I would credit Goblins for, would be its consistency and adaptability. Goblin Matron, Goblin Ringleader, and Conspicuous Snoop make sure that you never run out of Goblins to cast and that you find the right Goblin for the job on time. I mean, who doesn’t like Tutor on a stick or casually drawing up to 4 cards, while getting a hasty beater, and that for just 4 mana? Or 2 mana Experimental Frenzy with even more added bonus-text? Sign me in!
Next big advantage is the explosiveness that the deck can provide. Skirk Prospector can ramp up cards like Legion Warboss or Goblin Ruinblaster for devastating swings. Together with Conspicuous Snoop and Goblin Warchief, the deck can get of some very combo-rific turns.
The last thing I want to mention is the black-splash for Call of the Death-Dweller. This enables the fearsome Deathwhirler, by reanimating a Goblin Chainwhirler with a Deathtouch-Counter on it.
A Plague Wind that leaves a 3/3 First Striker with Deathtouch and Menace behind is something most board-based matchups can’t recover from.
With great power comes great risk of getting yourself killed.
The biggest weakness for Goblins in Historic right now seems to be a reliable and early clock.
Most Tribal-decks rely on cheap Lords to pressure the opponent. The cheapest Lord we have for Goblins right now is Goblin Trashmaster, but a 4-mana Lord seems too slow compared to the speed of other aggressive strategies like Gruul Aggro or Embercleave-Red, but are still necessary for going under decks like Nexus or Field of the Dead. Cards like Skirk Prospector and Conspicuous Snoop are great, but not fast. Without an early Legion Warboss, Goblins seem to struggle with closing games early on.
Other obvious weaknesses are inherited by being a mainly red deck: we can’t interact with Enchantments. Thankfully, there seems to be no huge offender in this department (outside of Wilderness Reclamation, of course.)
Additions in Jumpstart
Step 1: Find your cousin.
Step 2: Get your cousin in the cannon.
Step 3: Find another cousin.
Jumpstart seems very promising for our little, green and brown friends. We get some reprints and even completely new cards that could shape up to be impactful additions:
Now we’re talking Lords! Goblin Chieftain could provide the pressure that Goblins needed to close games earlier; it also adds Haste to the mix as another bonus for aggression. Together with Goblin Warchief, we doubled on the haste-enablers, which could have a nice interaction with our next new recruit…
Krenko, Mob Boss
Conspicuous Snoop’s new best friend. A turn-3 Haste-Lord into a turn-4 Krenko, Mob Boss seems like a sweet thing to do, especially if the lord is a Goblin Chieftain. It also fuels Skirk Prospector with more available fodder. I remain just a bit skeptical, as Goblins already have a good board presence, especially with the Deathwhirler-Combo, so Krenko could turn out to be just win-more. The benefits seem to outweigh the downsides for now, so I will definitely put some into my pile of green happy-makers.
Muxus, Goblin Grandee
His name is very befitting: A whopping 6-mana is needed to cast this truly grand Goblin. At this cost you expect a game-ending effect, and thankfully, the text on the card seems to be just that. This only works with a Haste-Lord in my opinion, which we have plenty of now. I think this guy will benefit from the tutoring effect of Goblin Matron, as you don’t want to be stuck on such an expensive card. I can see it as a one-of for the first few weeks of testing the new cards. Maybe Skirk Prospector turns out to make the card more cast-able than it seems.
Quite possibly even bigger than Muxus, but not as grand. Goblin Goon seems to be very bad in a lot of situations and decent in few. I personally would not include him, but I could be underestimating how explosive he could be together with Goblin Warchief.
Goblin Basic Mountain
This is by far the biggest addition to any Goblin-Deck! Big shoutout to the design-team of Jumpstart, they outdid themselves on all the themed Basic Lands.
The other cards from Jumpstart don’t stand out to me as impactful additions.
With all these new cards, I will probably try something like this:
With this list, I’m aiming for a proactive and aggressive game-plan for game 1, while leaving the rather specific, but very strong, tools like Deathwhirler or Goblin Ruinblaster to the sideboard. 6 Haste-Enablers should guarantee that Krenko and Muxus do their thing when they come into play. Goblin Cratermaker makes sure to get rid of any Ovens or other annoying colorless artifacts. Tormod’s Crypt provides one-sided Graveyard-hate, as a Grafdigger’s Cage would disable our Call of the Death-Dwellers as well. Goblin Trashmaster helps getting rid of multiple artifacts or Embercleave.
“Do we win? Wait…do we win?!”
With Goblin Chieftain (and possibly Krenko, Mob Boss and Muxus, Goblin Grandee), Goblins could finally have the necessary aggression to go under Nexus of Fate and Field of the Dead. Gruul Aggro felt very favored for us in the past, as a Deathwhirler most-often closed the game on the spot; we just have to watch out for Scavenging Ooze, as it could eat our Goblin Chainwhirler before it can be reanimated!
Goblin lessons include the 2,071 tips for survival. Frek only remembered 2,070.
Personally, I’m very excited to invest into Goblins even more than I already did so far. It seems that Wizards of the Coast will never stop (re)printing strong additions to the tribe, and the deck already is very fun and challenging to pilot even now! If you like Tribals, Goblins seems like a good place to be…or at least expect to find more of them piling on the ladder!