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Rundvelt Hordemaster Invigorates Goblins In All Formats!


Ever since the days of Alpha and Mons's Goblin Raiders and Goblin King, Goblins have been an integral part of Magic: The Gathering.

Mons's Goblin Raiders
Goblin King

There's just something lovable about little Green dudes that love to blow themselves up and win games of Magic, and win games of Magic they have! From Goblin Lackey to Goblin Warchief, Goblins has at numerous times been the best deck in Legacy, Standard, Block Constructed, Extended, and more, with a winning pedigree that spans a number of different styles of play as well.

Things have been a bit less exciting for Goblins in recent years, as while there have been a few nice additions in recent memory (Munitions Expert, Conspicuous Snoop, Sling-Gang Lieutenant), Goblins has mostly faded into the background in most competitive formats. Well, one Goblin (my preview card at that!) is here to change all of that!

Rundvelt Hordemaster

Rundvelt Hordemaster is the best Goblin printed in a long time, and is singlehandedly bringing Goblins back to viability across a number of formats. The novelty of being a two-mana Goblin lord is one thing, but the real draw is that triggered ability. Goblins love blowing themselves up, and getting value when they do bite the dust plays perfectly into the Goblin's decks strengths. When combined with sacrifice effects like Skirk Prospector or cost reduction effects like Goblin Warchief, things can take a combo slant and get wildly out of hand.

Today I'll be bringing you the latest and greatest of Goblins in four different formats, all made possible by Rundvelt Hordemaster!


First up is Modern Goblins, where Rundvelt Hordemaster slots into the popular Conspicuous Snoop combo deck.

Conspicuous Snoop
Boggart Harbinger
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

For the uninitiated, the combo is simple. Conspicuous Snoop gains the activated ability of any Goblin that's on top of your deck; Boggart Harbinger puts a goblin on top of your deck; With Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on top of your deck, Conspicuous Snoop has the ability "Create a token that's a copy of target nonlegendary creature you control, except it has haste. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step."

Because Conspicuous Snoop is not legendary, it can target itself to make a copy with haste, then the copy can do the same, which you can repeat infinite times to make infinite tapped Conspicuous Snoops. The last copy targets Boggart Harbinger, which puts a Sling-Gang Lieutenant on top of your library and gives them all the ability to deal one damage to your opponent, and then you sacrifice them all.

Rundvelt Hordemaster

What makes this deck powerful is that it's the classic creature combo deck that doesn't need to combo. You're more than welcome to just slam some goblins in play and attack your opponent, and Rundvelt Hordemaster plays perfectly into that plan. Having another good 2-drop is excellent, makes Aether Vial better, and puts your opponent in more awkward spots which opens up room to combo.

What's interesting is that this list is more or less just the old Snoop Combo list minus four cards and plus four Rundvelt Hordemaster. I'm sure it's possible to build around the card more directly, which means we're just scratching the surface.


Goblins have always not quite been there in Pioneer.

Aether Vial
Cavern of Souls
Munitions Expert

There's no Aether Vial, no Cavern of Souls, as well as no removal Goblin like Gempalm Incinerator or Munitions Expert. As such, Pioneer Goblins had to be more of a traditional aggressive deck as it couldn't generate cards or mana like it's Modern or Legacy counterparts. Rundvelt Hordemaster completely changes this, giving the deck a great and somewhat aggressive 2-drop that provides all the durability that you could want. With eight total copies of Rundvelt Hordemaster and Conspicuous Snoop, the deck can now play both the aggressive role as well as access the card advantage that has always made it a success in older formats.

Legion Loyalist
Battle Cry Goblin
Foundry Street Denizen

Pioneer Goblins has always been fast, with much more aggressively slanted cards like Foundry Street Denizen and Battle Cry Goblin, but as such it was always weak to sweepers and excess removal. Rundvelt Hordemaster solves all of these problems, and when you touch on powerful sideboard cards like Goblin Chainwhirler and the brilliant inclusion of Experimental Frenzy against the Rakdos decks you've got something approaching the complete package.

Todd Anderson (TandyMTG) took his first draft of this deck to a 5-0 in his first League with in on MTGO, and the deck only projects to get better.


There was once a time when Legacy was dominated by Goblin Lackey and friends.

Goblin Lackey

Turn one Goblin Lackey was the most feared opening in the format, as Goblin decks kept Blue decks honest while being fast enough to deal with almost anything else. Those days faded as power creep increased, relegating Goblins to mostly a fringe archetype for all but the most devoted.

Muxus, Goblin Grandee
Rundvelt Hordemaster

However, new printings like the aforementioned Munitions Expert and Sling-Gang Lieutenant, as well as the mighty Muxus, Goblin Grandee, reinvigorated the deck a bit, putting it in a spot where one more good Goblin stood to maybe push it over the edge.

Rundvelt Hordemaster
Skirk Prospector

Enter Rundvelt Hordemaster! Giving the deck another good 2-drop, as well as a card advantage engine that isn't a four-mana 2/2, is excellent, but perhaps the best result of the addition of Rundvelt Hordemaster is reinserting Skirk Prospector as a playable card. This ups the number of 1-drops in the deck, as well as the potential explosiveness which can be extremely important in a format as powerful as Legacy. The lord effect is perhaps more relevant here than in any other format, as making a turn one Goblin Lackey into a 2/2 allows it to attack safely into almost any 1-drop, which puts your opponent in a very bad spot.

Goblins may still have a little way to go in Legacy, but Rundvelt Hordemaster has put Goblins back on the map.


Historic is perhaps the format where Goblins has seen the most success in the last few years, as it was a major player when Muxus, Goblin Grandee was introduced to the format and took second place in the Zendikar Rising Championship in the hands of Autumn Burchett.

Muxus, Goblin Grandee

At the time Historic was still in its infancy, as Autumn's version of Goblins was essentially just a Muxus, Goblin Grandee ramp deck hellbent on casting Muxus as early and often as possible. As the format developed, this plan ceased to be reliable enough and the deck faded into obscurity until the introduction of Munitions Expert and Sling-Gang Lieutenant (sound familiar?). However, it was still a bit underpowered until Rundvelt Hordemaster gave the deck a much-needed shot in the arm.

Without Aether Vial, adding an extra 2-drop to the deck is huge, and with the deck already wanting to play four Skirk Prospector as well as four Goblin Warchief, Rundvelt Hordemaster fits like a dream. With a little extra emphasis on sacrifice effects, Sling-Gang Lieutenant gains some extra value and Pashalik Mons is quite appealing as well. Throw in an awesome sideboard with cards like Thoughtseize, Relic of Progenitus, and Herald's Horn, and you've got a monster.

My wife Nicole has been playing this deck all month in top 100 Mythic on MTG Arena and it's impressed greatly when I've played it as well. Make no mistake, Goblins are back in Historic!

Goblins, Goblins Everywhere!

It's always exciting to see old favorites in a new light.

Rundvelt Hordemaster was a welcome surprise from Dominaria United, as it's a new Goblin with a unique effect that plays into all the things that Goblins wants to do. It's not often you see a card have such a wide-reaching impact across so many different formats.

Plague Engineer
Prismatic Ending

There are still some serious roadblocks to Goblins being a tier one force once again, but it is awesome to see them competitive once again across almost every major format. Now if we could only get some other sweet Goblins in Standard!

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