Deck Tech – Goblins (Legacy)

888’s Deck Tech series is a collection of short articles that will give you a quick rundown of a given archetype. They feature card-by-card breakdowns so that you can understand the inner workings behind a deck. Got one you want to present? Send your deck techs to

Goblins are a diverse race, and that shows in the deck’s play style. Contrary to popular belief, goblins don’t just turn sideways, but diversify their tactics. Goblins will, can, and often do anything to succeed, with the key being card advantage and tempo.

Gempalm Incinerator This is the bread and butter creature killer in Goblins and, like all the maindeck creatures, a goblin. It draws a card while it kills a creature, hopefully putting you one card ahead. A thing to remember about Gempalm Incinerator is that cycling goes on the stack first, then the damage trigger, and they resolve in the reverse order. Do the damage, then draw your card.

Goblin Chieftain Goblin Chieftain makes your puny 1/1s an army of 2/2s and puts them out of range of Engineered Plague, a common sideboard card against this deck. Giving haste to your team is nothing to scoff at either and fuels the aggro set by the increase in size.

Goblin Lackey A turn one Lackey, especially off a Cavern of Souls is the strongest start this deck can have and one of the more fun. Nothing can compare to slamming a Siege-Gang Commander turn two. This is just the best-case scenario. The target on Lackey’s head will attract all the Lightning Bolts and Swords to Plowshares. Even your opponent playing a Deathrite Shaman (a 1/2) is enough to stop him.

Goblin Matron The mother of all goblins-do you need an answer? Just ask and she will pull the perfect goblin for the job straight into your hand, and the deck is full of answers. Need to make your guy bigger destroy an artifact, or end the game in a hurry? The right goblin is at your disposal.

Goblin Piledriver

“Throw enough goblins at any problem and it should go away.
At the very least, there’ll be fewer goblins.”

Goblin Piledriver The single most aggressive, game-ending goblin, Piledriver is a game-changing card against Merfolk, who can’t withstand an onslaught of goblins led by the pro-blue Piledriver. And who doesn’t love a two-drop that gets, not +1/+0, but +2/+0 for every one of your little red guys that attack alongside him?

Goblin Ringleader The king of card advantage! On average Ringleader draws at least two creatures and comes with a 2/2 haste body to boot. That seems pretty good for only four mana, as he often comes down the turn you need to refill your hand.

Goblin Sharpshooter For three mana and not untapping each turn, you expect a lot of work from Sharpshooter for him to be worthwhile, but boy, does it shine. Tapping to do a point of damage to a creature or player and then untapping when a creatures dies is extremely powerful. Any X/1s your opponent controls will be sent to the graveyard, all during the same turn. Sharpshooter also combos with Skirk Prospector, turning every goblin you control into an additional point of damage.

Goblin Warchief A 2/2 for three that gives all your goblins haste and makes them cost 1 less, this card is amazing and facilitates activating Krenko before opponents have a chance to kill him. And then Warchief gives all the tokens haste anyways! Warchief’s one downside: because of the reduced mana cost, you will not be able to trigger Tin-Street Hooligan’s ability.

Krenko, Mob Boss Krenko is another finisher in the deck. He doubles the number of goblins you have each turn, and this paired with the Chieftain or Warchief means that all your goblins have haste or haste and +1/+1. Very few cards can deal with Krenko once he is active since few decks play board wipes in Legacy.

Mogg War Marshal When he comes into play or dies you get a 1/1 goblin, essentially three 1/1s for two mana. The only downside is the echo, but he makes a good chump blocker or sacrifice target for Seige-Gang Commander.

Siege-Gang Commander Siege-Gang is one of two cards (the other being Skirk Sharpshooter) that gets around Moat in this deck, which is why many lists play a second copy of him over Krenko. Seige-Gang Commander comes with three buddies to help fuel his ability, which provides reach in the final turns.

Skirk Prospector Sacrificing a goblin to add a red can help accelerate your mana, especially with Mogg War Marshal. The ability also untaps your Skirk Sharpshooter, turning every goblin into one red mana and one point of damage.

Stingscourger A tutorable bounce effect, Stingscourger will probably see more play if the Dephs/Stage combo becomes popular.

Tin Street Hooligan Tutorable artifact hate. Hooligan and Stingscourger get sided out against a lot of decks, but having them mainboard allows you to win game-ones that you would not normally be able to win.

Aether Vial Keepable hands should have a one drop in them, this or Goblin Lackey. The ability to drop your creatures for free throughout the game, and at instant speed, is amazing. Here is a little trick with Vial: in response to the trigger of adding a counter during your upkeep you can put a creature into play. This is useful if you want to put two three drops into play consecutively though vial and still add counters on schedule.

Six fetches get your green source for Tin-Street Hooligan and Krosan Grip or your white source for Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, postboard. Wasteland and Rishadan Port are amazing against the field, since these coupled with Aether Vial allow you to disrupt your opponent’s mana base while you play creatures on curve.

You should always tune your sideboard to your specific meta, but these cards help shore up some bad matches. Relic of Progenitus is useful against any graveyard-based strategy: Dredge, Ad Nauseum Tendrils, High Tide, and Knight of the Reliquary. Mindbreak Trap and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, are must haves against any storm deck, and Thalia puts in extra work against all the Show and Tell variants. Angel of Despair and Iona are also used against the Show and Tell decks, though if you noticed, the only way this deck can play them is through an Aether Vial or Show and Tell. Krosan Grip is for artifact or enchantment destruction and is used over Naturalize for the Split Second. Pyrokinesis clears the way for your Goblin Lackeys by killing opposing Deathrite Shamans or up to four Lingering Souls tokens.

Thank you for reading this, I hope that it helps in understanding Goblins. If you have any questions about any of the cards, this article, or about Legacy in general, please post here or message me on Twitter and I will get back you.

Anthony Petuya