Introduction: So the first and foremost question is why play this deck? Or as many people phrase it, "why not just play burn?" The main answer to both of these questions is the same: Goblin Grenade; more on that later. Aside from Grenade I believe this deck is a better choice than burn because it does a better job of playing around Leyline of Sanctity and incidental life gain. This deck isn't burn. This deck is throttle down, foot on the throat fast aggression. This deck is pray you have Anger of the Gods then pray again I don't have a hand full of burn spells, but I do. This deck is wrack your brain deciding what to take with Thoughtseize because there is no right choice; every card will kill you. This deck is goblins, and it's fast.

Card choices: I'm going to explain each spot in the deck using my philosophy salt-inducing no-mercy unrelenting face beating. I know you're reading these words in print, but I hope they can speak to you. Reach into your soul: if it feels like a dormant ember of rage and recklessness you better put on some oven-mits and get ready for it to be set ablaze.

Creatures: These guys! these are the guys. Notice the name of the deck, and then notice no three-drops. Well, they are all too slow. Trading a whole turn three to have your lord/rabblemaster bolted is so gutwrenchingly awful I tossed them out. Do you even aggro, lords? Didn't think so, get outta here.

4 Foundry Street Denizen- This guy is the best turn one play you can make. If the deck isn't a piledriver deck then it's certainly a FSD deck. This guy's flavor text should be a written apology to your opponents face for how hard he's gonna smash it.

4 Vexing Devil- Devil is the turn one play you want to make if you don't have an FSD. Ever since I tried this guy out I love him so much. He just works so well turn two behind a turn one FSD. I started with two, then went to three, and settled on four. He just represents so much damage that other goblin, or non-goblin, one drops can't. Even if he sticks your opponent will never have enough removal for him and everything else. Just make sure you're sniffing out anger of the gods if they seem happy he's around.

4 Goblin Guide- Still a 2/2 with haste. Still a boss. He's not as good as FSD turn one, unless you have a silly hand with two or three of him. He sure is good turn two with FSD. Use his 'downside' to know what you need to play around, and what you should sideboard for after you stomp them game one.

4 Goblin Bushwhacker- By a mile the most objectively powerful creature card in the deck. This guy makes the deck a threat to win turn three. This guy punishes tapped out opponents hard. This guy makes your opponents feel silly for thinking letting you have vexing devil for a turn was a good idea.

4 Legion Loyalist- This dude's battalion effect acts as an amazing sorcery in this deck. Did I also mention he's a creature? Did I also also mention he has haste? Did I also also also mention he triggers FSD? I don't think this guy could be any better. Just kidding, try kicking a Bushwhacker behind him.

4 Mogg Fanatic- This guy is the best utility spell ever printed. He has endless uses in the deck. Fanatic is the aggro mirror-breaker, the most salt-educing burn spell, fog, FSD trigger, beater, and pseudo hexproof. Fanatic is the best utility spell ever printed.

4 Raging Goblin- The last guy invited to the party. Turns out haste is a better keyword than what the rest of the goblin crew can bring to the table for R.

2- Grim Lavamancer- This guy has great synergy with the way my deck is because it is built on the premise that, all spot removal is bad against me; no body isn't expendable. My creatures die. A lot. My graveyard is always full, and lavamancer will always have fuel for his brand of magic. P.S. he triggers FSD, triggers loyalist, and beats.

Spells: This deck is all creatures and burn spells; I give you, the burn spells.

4 Goblin Grenade- Goblins is a religion, and goblin grenade is it's scripture. This card is the reason to play this deck, and that reason is: it wins games. This card lucksacks us turn three wins. This card is what gives the deck the ability to overpower decks when they stabilize the board with creatures. This card wins out of nowhere. This card keeps you young, and makes your opponent age. This card will aid your poor sleep. This card will cook you dinner. This card will gently let down that guy who thought your date went more well than it did. This card wins.

4 Lightning Bolt- The best spell in modern? Probably.

4 Boros Charm- Until recently I was playing Atarka's Command instead of Boros Charm. The switch to Charm was prompted by the printing of Inspiring Vantage. Before vantage came out to get consistent white mana I'd have to damage myself with shocklands or painlands. Despite the fact that I'm almost always the aggressor, the burn and other aggro match ups are close enough that I didn't think the benefit of splashing white was worth it. In playing with both spells I can say the damage feels pretty similar on average. The benefit to playing command is the skullcrack mode, and right now I think that mode is less relevant than ever. The most obvious benefit to playing Charm is the sideboard. My sideboard feels better than ever, and so much more complete, where with the green splash I had about 4 spots that always felt, "whatever" because I hardly ever used the cards I had in those spots. The other benefit is that to get to four damage from charm I don't have to attack. Most games play out like this: play guys, do creature damage early in combat, cast burn spells in the later turns to kill opponents. In games in which the ground gets gummed up by blockers Boros charm is always going to be 4; where there are plenty of games where command will only be 3. Attacking later in the game, when I'd be most likely to be playing my burn spells, could lead to my board being in jeopardy; the consequences being that it becomes harder to cast grenade and I have less chump blockers to keep me alive to draw burn spells.

I very often answer why I play No-Lords instead of 8-whack; the parallel between the two decks is broken by the modal spells, which I play over the reckless bushwhackers. Why modal spells over bushwhackers? First of all the modal spells are instant speed. There are a lot more blue decks/control decks out there now, and being able to force action on their turn gives me more options in a game in which they're trying to take options away, and opens up more sorcery speed plays. Secondly playing with modal spells just lets me play a game as a burn deck, and sometimes that's a winning proposition where playing a creature deck isn't. Finally I believe the trap a lot of aggro decks fall into is playing cards that punish opponents when they stumble. Modern decks are very powerful, though; and IMO the problem with punisher cards is that when the deck you play against inevitably succeeds the power level of your deck will fall. I believe reckless bushwhacker is a punisher card. At it's worst bushwhacker is a 2/1 with haste; he can be answered by blockers, removal, counters, etc. On it's worst day a modal spell will be three or four damage to the face with more narrow answers. You could sum it up as I'd prefer a higher floor rather than a higher ceiling.

Lands: I made the splash to R/G for atarka's command, and I love it. I thought I'd hurt my burn match up by splashing, but with only one green spell it's not entirely non-negligible but overall pretty smooth.

9 Fetch lands- "I'm a fetch land girl, in a fetch land world." -Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe was right. Modern is a fetch land world, and we live in it. Literally any red fetch will work just fine since there's no non-mountain basics in the deck.

4 Copperline Gorge- Copperline is the reason the green splash works. Getting your colors painlessly can never be taken for granted in modern. Opponents always have to attack very, and rightfully, tentatively to avoid dying on the crack back. This makes closing games against my deck a slow process, and getting green for free can be the difference between one, two, or three extra draw-steps to find that lethal burn spell or combination of creatures.

1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep- I sometimes make a splash for one black card(Rain of Gore) out of the sideboard to help me in my most desperate match-ups, and adding one Blood Crypt makes all my fetches into black sources. When I'm not playing Blood Crypt my go to miser land is Shinka. Red utility lands that ETB untapped are few and far between, and Shinka is the best(only) one of them. Upsides include making your opponent think you play Krenko, Mob Boss, Breaking Kira, the Great Glass-Spinner's bubble, and not being a mountain if you get got by Sanctimony or something.

1 Sacred Foundry- One can't play fetch lands without something to grab, right? The fixing is good enough that we don't need the full set, and even if we miss green this deck plays as mono red most games anyways. It's not worth the life loss to run more than one or two.

3 Mountain- More fetchable lands that add the most relevant color! And they always come in untapped; overpowered.

So sideboarding: Sideboarding is very tricky with my deck; the trick about it being figuring out what to take out more so than what to put in. It's temping to think, "oh this guy isn't great here" and take out some of the low impact goblins, but doing that throws off the balance of the deck to a degree. The trick is making sure that degree doesn't sway to far from the point of sticking to the original game-plan where you or I would end up overboarded, and lose from a winning position because of drawing a SB card when we needed a winning card. The trap to fall into is taking out goblins for spells. It's fine to cut a goblin or two, but when you cut four or five for all spells the deck is going to be off, run poorly, and maybe even end up a worse 60 to present in the MU. With all of that said I've found that more and more I've been cutting atakra's command. It's the last two mana spell in the deck, besides bushwhacker, and all of my non-creature sideboard cards are two mana, so for the sake of consistency(reducing clunky hands full of twos) atarka's command has been the right pick. The most common way players try to combat my build is with more removal and sweepers, so getting atarka's to be more than a lightning bolt worth of damage is more difficult in post board games. Also atara'ks command is a spell with a lot of utility, but in games two and three we can get that utility from sideboard cards so it's not as necessary despite the power level of it. That's the general theory of it, but I'll post a more in depth explanation of each card.

4Goblin Fireslinger- This guy comes in in a ton of match ups to shore up what raging goblin is bad at: running into blockers, and is usually just a four for four swap. I went real deep into the goblin pool to find fireslinger, and I'm sure even he never thought he'd make in into a constructed deck. I chose this guy over just lava spike or other burn spell because, like I mentioned above, messing up the creature/goblin to spells ratio can really mess me up. A lot of creature decks go just a little bigger than me, so there aren't profitable attacks for me. At the same time my opponent on slighter larger creatures can't attack because they know, or think, that I can kill them on the swingback. Games like this end up playing draw-go for a while with each of us commiting what we can to the board waiting to break the stall. Goblin Fireslinger lets me have the stall breaker without attacking unprofitably or even playing spells. At the same time I don't have to drift too far from my original gameplan because this guy passes all the synergy tests like triggering FSD and allowing me to cast grenade.

Grim Lavamancer- Lavamancer took the spot of forked bolt in my deck as a spell to maybe kill a couple of blockers, and exceeded my expectations, so he took the spot of the forked bolt/electrickery in my sibeboard too. I'm still running three in the 75, but now have two MB because of what an upgrade he is by being a creature, being repeatable, hitting for two, and having graveyard synergy. I bring this guy in against almost every green deck that could be playing scooze. The way the colon in his ability is placed means I can respond to a scooze activation, but scooze can't respond to him. He also does a pretty good job of making sure goyfs stay about at 3/4 rather than getting any bigger. Lavaman also comes in against other creature deck where I think he can kill a lot of things, and I really want one of the three in my 75. I usually take out a mogg fanatic if he isn't going to be able to kill anything or an FSD if I'm on the draw and don't think he'd get in on my turn two.

2Path to Exile- I bring path in as a way to kill pro-red creatures(Kor Firewalker). This card is kind of a trap. it's easy to think, "hey, removal, I'll bring it in to kill a creature" and side it in against decks with goyf or angler or something. I don't care about fat guys; if I did I'd just play removal. Be careful not to overboard this card, it's for killing Kor Firewalker.

2Shattering Spree- You don't want to be the guy who shows up to a modern tournament with no artifact hate. Spree is my favorite because it's just a Smelt when I need a one mana artifact destruction spell, but gets around chalice on one. I bring it in against the obvious decks against which I want to destroy artifacts, and randomly if I run over my opponent if I don't quite know what he's on and don't want to not have an answer to a powerful sideboard card he/she may bring in.

Grafdigger's Cage- Just a catch all against graveyard decks with the bonus of hindering coco decks. I just play one because I'm already good against dredge, and kind of gave up the coc for finks MU.

2Harsh Mentor- I put this guy in over rain of gore for right now. He's good against the coco decks in the same way rain is, but is a creature to trigger FSD. Also can just hose some strategies, or deal some damage against decks that activate a lot of stuff(lantern).

3Thalia, Guardian of Thraben- The hoser of all hosers. She doesn't come in much, but when she does she wins games. Despite how good she seems in the MU, don't bring her in against burn. She's not fast enough, and clunks me up more than the burn player.

Piloting Goblins: The main #1 thing to know about this deck is that you almost never want to mulligan. The deck is consistent to the point that ok hands are probably going to end up with one or two of the really powerful cards you're looking for. That said if you do mulligan you're 6 is also probably going to be pretty ok, so don't say never if your hand is nasty poo.

Play this deck by dropping your guys, attack, hold your burn to finish your opponents off. Sniff out removal or plays your opponents can make by seeing how aggressively they fetch, what they play or don't play that you've seen off Guide, how they handle vexing devil, and noticing how they squirm under pressure. There isn't much play around potential since most decks are going to outclass you late game. Be careful how you sequence everything. Creatures you play, land drops, fetching, and even your own expressions are all advantages you can make even while playing in a straight line.

Results: Any guy or gal can make up a deck, put it on here, and claim it's great, but without results beyond, "went 4-0 spiked an FNM" how do you know how good a deck can really be? Unfortunately I work weekends, and personally cant put this deck on the map to the same extent as Matthias Hunt did for amulet or Tom Ross did for infect. Of the few events I go to I do manage to put up some spiky results. I placed 3rd at MN spring states 2015 and more recently 13th at the day two modern premier IQ at SCG Milwaukee. Modern is my favorite format, and I'm hoping to do well at some more large events in the near future with goblins.

If you wan't to know anything more comment and I promise I'll get back to ya, thanks for taking a look.


Comments View Archive

Hey hellakevin,

Great update and rationale. To be honest I have not tried Vexing Devil, but will give this list a spin. I've also recently dropped Mogg War Marshal after playing Goblins for a year (minimizes 2 drops against Spell Snare, etc as well). I look forward to continuing to improve my game and will let you know how this list works for me.

Thanks for the great post!

July 13, 2016 7:50 p.m.

Piledriver? Reckless bushwacker?

July 14, 2016 5:46 a.m.

mtg13579 thank you so much! I hope the list treats you well.

VanillaBean_MTG I explained piledriver a little on the post I made on reddit as such: The big change I made to the sideboard that I can't go without talking about is the total removal of Goblin Piledriver. Without more lands in my deck Piledriver wasn't speeding me up the way I hoped he would against decks with no removal, and was basically a card I only brought in against merfolk. He wasn't versatile enough so I decided to toss him to fit in the Fireslingers, and just made sure to squeeze in some other things that were decent against merfolk, like lavaman and gruul charm, so I wasn't dead in the water against fish.

he just wasn't doing enough for me. I run atarka's command instead of the reckless bushwhackers for the reasons I mention in the card's description. I think the decks gets way too clunky if you try to play 8-whacks and atarka's command at the same time, and it's kind of one or the other.

July 15, 2016 5:31 p.m.

hellakevin - is there something in your 15th sideboard slot?

July 17, 2016 10:17 p.m.

mtg13579 kind of. I think I'm finally sold on one destructive revelry so I can at least say I have a way to deal with enchantments.

July 18, 2016 2:49 p.m.

Hi HK! Thanks for the primer details on Reddit (u/FUPaladin11). I've followed suit from your last run of 8-whack and will follow your list of Momma 'Tarka. It worked for me before, so I don't see why it won't again.

Meta question with too much Blood Moon: do you still run Atarka's Command post board? If not, how would you suggest a swap (assuming they stick BM turn 3 and we're on the draw)?

Goblins are my favorite tribe and are what got me into Magic during the Tarkir block, and you've helped my game improve greatly. Thanks for all of your insight!

July 21, 2016 6:33 a.m.

"Isn't a burn deck""I have a hand full of burn spells"You know, the really nice thing about running Goblin lords and Krenko is dropping them with Warren Instigator. They'll just scoop at that point if they don't have a sweeper. And if they do, it's still going to kill every creature you had regardless. So yeah.

July 22, 2016 12:36 p.m.

Vergil_Redgrail Is there a threshold of burn spells where I have to say my deck is burn, and play it like burn? Sometimes I just draw burn spells, and sometimes that's better than when I don't.

I don't understand what you're trying to say about sweepers. I designed my deck to be good around the sweepers that usually kill goblins decks, and the way I did that was by ditching the lords and high CMC guys that make sweepers a blowout.

July 22, 2016 4:10 p.m.

If you dump your hand on the board (kind of like how you'd have it set up if you were, you know, playing the deck), you're going to be affected by sweepers regardless. On the other hand, if you're just playing a bunch of burn spells, then they're sweepers are mostly useless, but then what are you going to do when you're out of gas and they have plenty of answers? There's a reason Goblins and Burn are two different archetypes. Putting them together and saying "this is good" will not be as consistent or effective than playing either of the two. You're essentially saying you put the two decks together and made this.

July 22, 2016 5:10 p.m.

Vergil_Redgrail I never said that the goblins I play wouldn't die to sweepers, but rather, that they are better against sweepers. My deck is not just burn and goblins mashed together; it's 60 cards not 120. I'm literally only running one playset of one burn spell more than the consensus 4 grenade 4 bolt that every other goblin deck plays, and the extra burn spell serves a very similar function to the card I swapped out for it: reckless bushwhacker in that it can pump my attackers.

I still am having trouble understanding the point you've been trying to make. Why is it a bad thing that, on occasion, I draw hands that are mostly burn spells, and navigate a win that way? or have more outs to draw to when my opponent is low on life and has stabilized?

I've been playing variations this list for about two years now, and promise you more thought went into it than smashing two decks together and saying, 'this is good.' If you can show me a more focused goblin deck that is consistently more effective than mine I'd love to see it, and would help me understand what you're trying to say more clearly.

July 23, 2016 4:20 a.m.

Heya :)

Do you have a generic, first-turn priority play order?

Ala: FSD > Goblin Guide > Vexing Devil > ...

September 9, 2017 6:47 p.m.



September 10, 2017 5:55 p.m.

I played this deck and had serious mana issues. Do you keep one-landers? I kept a few and got punished almost every time. Is it just bad luck?

September 11, 2017 1:42 a.m.

brbcoffee- I'd go FSD > Devil > Guide > lavaman/fanatic (depending on if you can fuel lavaman, the MU, and if you can spend mana to activate) > raging goblin > loyalist.

realBorborygmos- Thank you so much! I used to play this deck in gruul colors for Atarka's Command. All you'd have to do is swap Boros Charm for command, switch the fast lands, and switch the shockland.

silasw- What exactly do you mean when you say serious mana issues? A lot of games I don't hit the third land on time if at all, but with my build as is that's not as pinnacle as for the 8-whack goblins deck. Do you mean not hitting the second land drop? I do keep a fair number of one land hands, but it depends on what the other cards are. For example if I have 2-3 boros charm or bushwhackers my hand will be dead if I don't draw a second land. On the other hand, if the hand has 2-3 guides/devil and a bolt/grenade that hand turns into absolute gas if I draw another land; even if I miss once.

September 13, 2017 9:24 p.m.

I kept some hands that had plenty of 1-drops and 1 land, but never hit the second land until turn 5 or later.

September 17, 2017 2:42 a.m.

silasw that sounds like a very odd cluster of outliers.

September 19, 2017 6:02 p.m.

I feel Reckless Bushwhacker and Burning-Tree Emissary are too good not to be used in this kind of deck. And I think just like you that no lords is the way to go.

October 9, 2017 1:03 p.m.

zertsdfg Burning-Tree Emissary Isn't ideal in this deck because there will be times where the extra green mana will be wasted. Also the OP is playing only 1 drops.

hellakevin I really suggest having Skullcrack in the sideboard to deal with lifegain!

Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep Seems random. Have you tested like a 1 or 2 of Teetering Peaks ?

October 23, 2017 9:25 p.m.

TraetusMN lifegain isn't an issue I care to address as the meta is right now. I usually play one or two Rain of Gore in the SB when I need to beat lifegain, but like I said I'm not worried about it. The shinka is random, but it's literally the best untapped utility land that taps for R though. About teetering peaks, I play a lot of games with two lands, and the majority of games I don't get more than three. If I had to play a land that ETB tapped on one of the first three turns I'm behind a spell, and the general plan is to play more spells faster to zerg rush my opponent before his or her game-plan comes online.

October 24, 2017 6:43 p.m.

TraetusMN Sure very often the green mana of Burning-Tree Emissary will be wasted... Which leaves you with a 2/2 for 1 mana (you will use the red one). Not so horrible. But quite often you will cast it T2 -and that usually means GG-, with Reckless Bushwhacker, which you can't do without too I think. In no lords Goblins, you need these pseudo anthems effects, or you'll just get a bunch of 1/1, which won't be enough -Raging Goblin just doesn't give you enough.

October 26, 2017 1:28 a.m.

zertsdfg you're making a mistake comparing reckless bushwhacker to raging goblin when the reality is that I "cut" reckless bushwhacker for boros charm. I've found charm to constantly be more damage than reckless bushwhacker besides on his best day.

Sure there will be games when you get to chain BTE and crush, but the trade off is how hard you play into sweepers and getting shut out of the game by blockers. Winning occasionally on turn three isn't as good as winning consistently on turn four. I firmly believe a better player can leverage more wins with my deck than with 8-whack because it doesn't handcuff him or her into easily countered lines of play.

Also a 2/2 for R, without haste, that isn't a goblin, isn't actually that good of a rate for this deck; especially when you top deck her.

October 28, 2017 9:51 a.m.

I like this no-lord build a lot, great job!

I must ask: what do you think about Rigging Runner? It fits your deck being a Goblin which costs just with upsides, but i had the impression that Raid countersynergizes with FSD.

November 1, 2017 1:32 p.m.

IlGuale Thank you so much :)

So there's not much room in the deck for goblins without haste because of loyalist and how I plan to punish decks with less early plays. Like you mentioned raid is anti synergy with FSD and bushwhacker. Also +1/1 isn't super impressive, and 1st strike is a made redundant by loyalist. I think if I'd play a goblin without haste Goblin Glory Chaser is the one I'd play.

November 26, 2017 6:54 p.m.

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Date added 3 years
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This deck is not Modern legal.

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Illegal cards Fanatical Firebrand
Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.10
Folders Goblins, modern, Interesting Decks, Modern, Saved Potentials, Modern Goblins, best, Moedern Fun, Goblin, Modern, See all 39
Top rank #35 on 2017-09-12
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