Last time we wrote, I figured I'd end up playing Goblins, because 1) they're reasonably well positioned in the metagame and 2) I always play Goblins anyway. Let's take a look at a current Legacy Goblins list:
|4||Wasteland||20 of 20 (100.00)%||4.0000||8.8000|
|8||Mountain||19 of 20 (95.00)%||7.9474||9.0526|
|4||Rishadan Port||13 of 20 (65.00)%||3.5385||8.6154|
|3||Badlands||13 of 20 (65.00)%||2.9231||9.2308|
|3||Bloodstained Mire||13 of 20 (65.00)%||2.9231||9.4615|
|4||Goblin Lackey||20 of 20 (100.00)%||4.0000||8.8000|
|2||Siege-Gang Commander||20 of 20 (100.00)%||1.9500||8.8000|
|4||Aether Vial||20 of 20 (100.00)%||4.0000||8.8000|
|4||Goblin Ringleader||20 of 20 (100.00)%||4.0000||8.8000|
|4||Goblin Warchief||20 of 20 (100.00)%||3.9500||8.8000|
|4||Goblin Piledriver||20 of 20 (100.00)%||3.9500||8.8000|
|4||Goblin Matron||20 of 20 (100.00)%||3.9000||8.8000|
|4||Gempalm Incinerator||19 of 20 (95.00)%||3.6316||8.8947|
|2||Stingscourger||16 of 20 (80.00)%||1.5625||8.6250|
|2||Goblin Chieftain||15 of 20 (75.00)%||2.3333||9.5333|
|3||Warren Weirding||12 of 20 (60.00)%||2.5833||9.4167|
|1||Mogg War Marshal||10 of 20 (50.00)%||3.2000||8.9000|
|4||Pyrokinesis||14 of 20 (70.00)%||3.0714||9.0000|
|3||Relic of Progenitus||8 of 20 (40.00)%||2.7500||10.5000|
|3||Perish||8 of 20 (40.00)%||2.5000||10.3750|
|3||Blood Moon||7 of 20 (35.00)%||3.0000||9.4286|
It's a fairly standard list, looking at the goblins. Unfortunately, I don't have access to all the legacy goblins that I would like, so my options are a bit narrower:
-4 Goblin Lackey
-4 Goblin Piledriver
-4 Aether Vial
(Not looking at manabase or sideboard right now.)
This, as they say, constitutes a problem. Without the lackeys and the vials the deck becomes much less tenable, as you can't drop the occasional free siege gang commander. While I certainly wouldn't be adverse to picking up a few extra goblins my budget would be. I'm going to look into lackeys though.
Without the free goblins a lot of your plays become much less powerful. Dropping a Matron on turn three gets you an extra goblin, sure, but to your hand. Meanwhile you're just spent your entire turn for a 1/1. If you drop a ringleader next turn you could fill your hand, but what hope do you have of getting those goblins to play in time to actually hurt someone with them?
My chances of winning with that sort of deck get better if I can substitute in some Warren Instigators, which aren't as good as Lackey by a darn site, but there's a lot of room to be not as good as Lackey and still be pretty good. It might be worthwhile to set up one of these decks to work with both lackey and instigator. A quick rundown of relevant goblins:
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Warren Instigator
4 Gempalm Incinerator
4 Goblin Warchief
2 Goblin Chieftan
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Ringleader
2 Siege-Gang Commander
3 Warren Weirding
4 Mogg War Marshal
I'm adding in some more war marshals and an extra stingscourger for the piledrivers. If you can get a lackey or a instigator down on turn one or two and connect you're golden. Which is an if or two too many. Let's say you get it down on turn two. How are you going to swing past that tarmogoyf? Unless you've got a turn three warren weirding and he's got nothing else you'll be waiting while you scramble for enough goblins in play to take it out with an incinerator. At which point you really have to be asking, "what's the point of that instigator?"
Goblin Lackey is better than Aether Vial (in this deck) precisely because it starts it's action on turn two. You can often steal games merely by them not having an immediate Force of Will or Swords to Plowshares to answer it. Giving them until turn three to come up with an answer gives them entirely too much time and too many options. Not that Instigator is entirely a loss; it's still an "answer this or lose" card, it's just that you don't gain anything against a common category of answers; (Tarmogoyfs).
The alternative is to focus less on the midrange and more on the beatdown. Naturally, that'd work a lot better if I had the piledrivers, but I could make do. This side of the strategy is aided by the recent printing of some powerful goblins (the chieftans, and of course Goblin Guide) Goblin Guide in particular is much better in a burn or aggro type of deck as he tends to work against you if the game goes long. Another Sample List:
4 Goblin Guide
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Warren Instigator
4 Gempalm Incinerator
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Goblin Chieftan
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Goblin Grenade
Still with the Lackeys and Instigators. Again, I'm assuming I can get my hands on some Lackeys. Instigator, while being less of an autokill if it connects, is still an decent offensive creature, thanks to double strike. Turn two instigator into turn three bushwhacker with kicker means swinging in for six assuming nothing else has happened this game. And even if a lackey trigger isn't as much of a mana advantage as it is in a deck with Siege-Gang Commanders in it, it can still be a crushing advantage. And when they use a first turn Force of Will on it they don't necessarily know that all you're gonna be able to drop with it is a Mogg War Marshal
On the other hand, instigator works uniquely well with Goblin Matron, allowing you to search something up with first strike damage, then drop it into play with normal damage. That turn two instigator might make for a turn three siege gang commander, with mana up to fling a goblin or cycle an incinerator or... or... Ok, putting away that line of thought. There's no way I could fit everything I wanted to in a 60 card deck, and it still has all the vulnerabilities that I previously mentioned.
Moving on, let's take a quick look at the manabase:
4 Rishidan Port
3 Bloodstained Mire
I don't have the fetches or the duals; I can manage two onslaught fetches and two ravnica duals.
2 Blood Crypt
2 Wooded Foothills.
That leaves me with much less ability to play any Warren Weirdings that make it into the maindeck, or black sideboard cards, or other things. (Cabal Therapy?) Luckily, I've got a playset of Auntie's Hovel I can substitute in. Also, I can manage the wastelands, but not the Rishidan ports, which is just as well, as I'll be needing more of my mana for casting things if I can't lay hands on lackeys. Revised Mana base:
4 Auntie's Hovel
2 Blood Crypt
2 Wooded Foothills
Note that I also cut it down to 20 cards; the aggro list has 40 nonlands. i'm not very happy cutting down to this level, but with a max casting cost of 3 it might be viable. On the other hand, 20 with 4 wastelands.
Possible other lands:
Ghost Quarter. Depending on how heavily the metagame favors nonbasics it might act like strip mine. Would be a lot better if I went full on Rishidan Ports and Aether Vials. Not gonna happen.
Teetering Peaks: A tap land that also gives me two free damage. Good with Instigator, and getting someone from ten to eight life if so critical. On the other hand... tapland
Smoldering Spires. Really good if someone's relying on a Tarmogoyf to hold off attacks. Also a tapland.
Bojuka Bog: Also a tap land, in the wrong color even. On the other hand, a lot of cards and decks are screwed over by graveyard hate (Tarmogoyf, Life from the Loam, dredge, reanimator). I do like the idea of randomly winning games.
Which brings me naturally to a quick look at the sideboard. There are a couple things I'm looking to reposition myself against:
Essentially, I'm running a red deck wins, so really I only need to get them down to about eight life before the board state becomes much less relevant; a bolt plus a grenade, a hasty creature or two, a couple bolts, forget card advantage as long as I can get those last couple points in. The trouble is if they get a turn two tarmogoyf and sit behind him. I have to set up a massive alpha strike while they smile and slowly take the game away from me. Bolt, incinerator, don't solve goyf that much. Potential other solutions: Warren Weirding, Fodder Launch, temporary solutions such as Stingscourger and Smoldering Spires.
Combo Decks: These work out to storm decks and graveyard decks, for the most part. Storm decks (Ad Nauseum Tendrils, Goblin Charbelcher) don't interact very much with the board, which is where I'm hoping to dominate. Additionally they're very hard to race, as in impossible if I don't get a perfect draw and they don't get an abysmal one. I've got two options; to disrupt their hand with discard effects (Cabal Therapy, Duress, Thoughtseize) or their deck with Cranial Extraction Effects (Earwig Squad, Extirpate if I had any). Still not the greatest matchup
Graveyard decks; largely dredge, but also anything running life from the Loam, or other graveyard based threats. Aside from the Bog already mentioned, there are all sorts of graveyard hate cards being printed in increasing power levels over the recent years, some I can get my hands on (Relic of Progenitus), some I can't (Tormod's Crypt.)
And finally, Counterbalance/top. if I'm running a deck full of one drops, then I've got a hard time beating out someone with the combo. There are two ways of beating it though; either run some good disenchant effects (Krosan Grip, Indrik Stomphowler), or run odd casting cost cards (Earwig Squad, Fodder Launch). Since the disenchant effects don't actually advance my goals (dealing damage), and require a more difficult mana base, I'm leaning towards the other ones.
Bang out a quick sideboard:
4 Earwig Squad
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Bojuka Bog
4 Cabal Therapy
3 Fodder Launch
Final Thoughts: If I shoehorn the bogs into the maindeck, I'll have another pair of sideboard slots to deal with. Also, I sort of need to get some Warren Weirdings in my deck somewhere.
The next step is to build the deck and test it out against someone. Anyone up for a game?