Today I get the pleasure of updating one of my favorite Bo1 deck guides from quite awhile ago: Mono Red Goblins! When I first saw this deck all those months ago, I was flabbergasted that it saw a lot of play. Looking at the list, it just looked so weak for marginal synergies between the few Goblin lords. However, I quickly learned just how wrong I was when I tried it out as this deck packs some serious power! Rather than expound on it here, let’s take a look at the list and break it down!
Like any good aggressive deck, you need to start your curve at 1. Thankfully for Goblins, you have 3 pretty reasonable options. Fireblade Charger is an annoying attacker and blocker as it can either trade up or pretty much always guarantee damage.
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 initially expected the least out of, but is actually quite good. 3 power against slower decks is a non-negligible amount of strength and getting first strike has been extremely relevant against creature decks.
Finally, we have a new Goblin with Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei as a mini Battle Cry Goblin. Not being able to buff your team obviously makes it worse, but giving your squad haste for one mana can easily turn a race on it’s head.
The ones and twos are definitely important, but the three drops are what make this deck shine. Hobgoblin Bandit Lord is obviously great since lords are awesome, but it’s been even better because the activated ability is so powerful in a deck that can produce a lot of bodies quickly.
Next up is one of the best cards in Standard, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker! I could see we play this because it’s broken, but it’s also two Goblins in one! How could we not play it? Being able to produce multiple bodies, filter away extra lands, and then threaten hasty attacks with Reflections of Kiki-Jiki is quite the powerful card.
Finally, for what was initially the biggest shock in the deck, the barely limited playable You See a Pair of Goblins! This card has always 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.
For the final pieces of the deck, we have our burn spells! This deck used to play Frost Bite in conjunction with Faceless Haven, and the vast majority of the Goblins lists I see still play Frost Bite, but I don’t think it’s correct anymore. Getting 3 damage for one mana is definitely nice against certain creatures, but losing out on being able to burn the opponent and having to play a huge amount of snow basics over more utility lands doesn’t seem worthwhile anymore.
Furthermore, Play with Fire is better in conjunction with the second burn spell in the deck, Roil Eruption. This isn’t anything special, but 3 damage for 2 mana is a fine rate I’ll always be happy with. If Boros Aggro has taught us anything, playing an aggressive deck with a lot of Burn spells is a pretty powerful strategy, and considering how fast out of the gate this deck can be, we leverage it extremely well.
TIPS AND TRICKS
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 to give the token the additional power buff.
While it’s not going to come up often, Kumano Faces Kakkazan can give a creature a +1/+1 counter which modifies it for the second ability on Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei. Just remember you have to attack with that modified creature as well!
Keep track of how many Goblins you can put into play with Hobgoblin Bandit Lord out. There have been turns where you can get a large trigger between Battle Cry Goblin tokens, You See a Pair of Goblins tokens, and your normal creatures.
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.
While rare, if you manage to get two Reflections of Kiki-Jiki out off of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, you can wait until your opponent’s end step and use one to copy the other to get a 2/2 body for each mana you spend until your end step. This is really good for ambushing the opponent out of nowhere. In more general cases, you can just copy something on your side on the opponent’s end step to keep that creature for the turn and so you can use it again on your turn.
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.
Remember that if you’re looking for something specific, put a stop on your upkeep so you can hit the opponent with Play with Fire to scry.
Although it would be nice, don’t price yourself in to kicking Roil Eruption. It’s going to be extremely rare you’ll ever get to 7 mana so just use it when it’s most opportune.
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!