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The Goblin Hordes


When I first started paying attention to Legacy back in the early 2000’s, Goblins was a dominant force in the metagame. The format was warped around being able to handle turn one Goblin Lackey. In recent years, Goblins has really fallen out of favor, in large part due to the prevalence of efficient blockers like Deathrite Shaman, Stoneforge Mystic, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. However, that doesn’t mean the archetype is dead; just that we need to explore new options and find a new way to attack the format. That’s exactly what Clockwork Dean has done:

Warren Instigator
The core Goblins engine is the same as it’s always been. Goblin Lackey and Aether Vial let you cheat on mana while Goblin Matron and Goblin Ringleader let you grind your opponent into the dust with an unending stream of Goblins. What’s changed is the supporting cast of Goblins. The first thing to notice is the inclusion of the full four Tarfires over cards like Gempalm Incinerator and Warren Weirding. You’re far more concerned about cheap removal helping you get through two-toughness blockers than you are having efficient ways to interact with cards like Tarmogoyf and Griselbrand. Some decks have gone as far as to play some copies of Pendelhaven to further fight against early blockers.

The second big change is the inclusion of Warren Instigator. This is a card that lets you get out of control early on if you can force through hits. In order to help this occur more often, the deck is now playing a couple copies of Chrome Mox to stick turn one Warren Instigator. In addition to Chrome Mox, this deck is playing the full four copies of Goblin Chieftain, which is a great way to force your Lackeys and Instigators past two-toughness blockers as well as sneak in hits when your opponent isn’t expecting them.

Beyond that, there’s a couple of exciting additions to the Goblins team. We’re not playing four copies of Siege-Gang Commander anymore. Instead, you play Krenko, Mob Boss to help go wide, particularly with Goblin Chieftain to help sneak in activations the turn you put him into play. There’s also Goblin Settler to punish control decks and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to help ensure you never run out of fuel. Lastly, you’ll notice that Batterskull and Umezawa's Jitte are such problems that you need to play a maindeck Tuktuk Scrapper.

If you’re looking for a fun attrition deck that can have some awfully degenerate draws when your opponent doesn’t have early removal, this is still a deck with a ton of explosive potential and the ability to out-attrition most decks in the format. More games are going to be a struggle than they used to be given the density of efficient removal, Snapcaster Mage, and huge blockers, but Goblins can definitely still get there if you can build your deck correctly for the weekend.

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