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Budget Magic: $32 (5 tix) Standard Goblins

নমস্কাৰ Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week we are heading back to Standard for one of the least expensive and most competitive decks featured on Budget Magic in a long time, Mono-Red Goblins! The version we are playing in the videos will only set you back $32 in paper and a laughable 5 tix on Magic Online. If you like aggro decks or tribal strategies, or you're looking for a super-cheap deck to play at your next FNM or on Magic Online (seriously, the entire deck is about the price of one booster on Magic Online) this just might be the deck for you!

Let's get to the videos, then I'll talk more about the deck. A quick reminder. If you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Goblins Intro

Goblins vs Jeskai

Goblins vs GR Landfall

Goblins vs rAllies

Goblins vs RB Dragons

Goblins vs Grixis Aggro

The Deck

After playing a bunch of matches with this deck, I have to say that I'm very impressed with how often it closes out the game on turn four or turn five. The combination of Goblin Piledriver, a bunch of Goblins tokens, and Subterranean Scout or Goblin Heelcutter is deadly for our opponents. Plus, we are the only deck is Standard that gets to play four main deck copies of Lightning Bolt in Collateral Damage. Since we almost always have a random token around to sacrifice, the card is just crazy in our deck. It gives us an amount of reach that most aggro decks in the format are missing. 


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One thing that would make Goblins even better would be another playable one drop, and while I wanted to make sure everything was a Goblin for the sake of Goblin Piledriver, it might be correct to consider something like Zurgo Bellstriker or Monastery Swiftspear just to have even more aggressive starts. Goblin Glory Chaser itself is a really high variance card. When we play it turn one on the play, it is amazing because we almost always get in an attack and make it renown, at which point it can swing past all our opponents two drops thanks to menace. On the other hand, when we play it turn one on the draw it often ends up getting stonewalled by a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy or Hangarback Walker and does nothing for the entire game. As a result, I've gotten in the habit of siding it out in game two if we win game one in most matchups. 


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Goblin Piledriver is the reason to play this deck. The combination of ample Goblin tokens and cards like Subterrenian Hanger and Goblin Heelcutter to force through damage makes it an incredibly fast clock, often hitting for 11 damage on turn four. That said, it does have one big problem: it dies to everything from Wild Slash to Ultimate Price to Surge of Righteousness to Kolaghan's Command. As a result, when we have a Goblin Piledriver on the battlefield we want to prioritize getting in damage above all else. Every turn a Goblin Piledriver sits on the battlefield without attacking is another turn for our opponent to draw a removal spell. When we have the option to make it unblockable and get in a big hit, we do it. We have enough reach in our deck that, with just one big Goblin Piledriver attack, we can usually cobble together enough damage to finish the game. 

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Subterranean Scout is in our deck for two reasons. First, it makes our turn one Goblin Glory Chaser much better because we can get in an attack (and make it renown) through an opponent's two drop. Second, and more importantly, it allows us to make our Goblin Piledriver unblockable for a turn and get in a ton of damage. Otherwise, Subterranean Scout is a fine two drop. While we will do our best to maximize its value by getting a Goblin Piledriver on the battlefield first, we are not above slamming it on turn two and going on the offensive. 

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Most of the time Mardu Scout is just filler, an aggressively costed Goblin we can play on turn two when we don't have a better option. However, there are a couple situations where the dash ability really makes Mardu Scout shine. One of these times is on turn four, when we can go turn one Goblin Glory Chaser, turn two Goblin Piledriver, turn three Hordeling Outburst, and turn four Subterranean Scout plus dashed Mardu Scout. In this situation, Mardu Scout is almost a Ball Lightning, representing five damage (it gives Goblin Piledriver an additional +2/+0) split across two bodies for only two mana. It is also better in the late game than most two drops, because we can always cast it with haste to get in some damage on an empty board. Finally, our sideboard plans against grindy decks is to bring in Impact Tremors, and when we have an Impact Tremors on the battlefield each time we dash a Mardu Scout we get one free damage. 


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Yes, I realize that, technically, Goblin Heelcutter costs four mana, but in all the games I've played with this deck I don't think I've actually cast a Goblin Heelcutter once. Instead, we just repeatedly dash it in to force through damage. In all honestly, Goblin Heelcutter is probably the second best creature in our deck because it allows us to eat away big chunks of our opponent's life total. Most of the time, we go something like Goblin Glory Chaser into Goblin Piledriver into dash Goblin Heelcutter attack for 10 even through a blocker. Then we simply do it again the next turn and win the game. 

Token Producers

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Dragon Fodder and Hordeling Outburst are good cards. They make our deck more resilient to targeted removal since it is pretty much impossible to Ultimate Price or Silkwrap away a Hordeling Outburst. They allow us to go-wide and force damage through a single big blocker, since we can just attack with everything. Losing a token isn't really a big deal. They are on curve, offering two power for two mana and three power for three mana. Most importantly, they turn our Goblin Piledrivers into an incredibly dangerous threat. A single Hordeling Outburst turns our Goblin Piledriver into a 7/2 while attacking, and this isn't even including whatever other creatures we have on the battlefield. 

The Burn

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Fiery Impulse is fine, but not really exciting. It's basically in the deck because it is a way to clear away our opponent's creatures and keep attacking. Plus we have spell mastery with some regularity thanks to Dragon Fodder, Hordeling Outburst, and our other burn spells. Wild Slash does the same thing, but it can also go to our opponent's face, which is important because our deck is really good at getting in damage on turns one though four or five before getting outclassed by bigger creatures or wraths. Collateral Damage is the other reason to play the deck. It's Lightning Bolt, which is pretty insane. Sure, we have to sacrifice a creature, but most of the time we can use it in response to removal or after we attack with everyone and our opponent blocks (sacrificing the blocked creature). In our deck the additional cost isn't really as much of a cost as it would appear. Instead of needing to deal 20 damage with our Goblins, we can often deal somewhere between 10 and 15, which is sometimes just one big attack with a Goblin Piledriver on the battlefield. Afterwards, we finish the game with Wild Slash, Collateral Damage, or random dash creatures. 

The Sideboard

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I wanted to take a quick minute to mention the sideboard, specifically the above package of nine cards. When we run into a grindy control matchup, we can bring in two Molten Vortex, three Impact Tremors, and up to four Outpost Siege for the long game. If our opponent has tons of removal, our plan of making Goblin Piledriver unblockable and getting in a big attack just isn't realistic. Instead we board out our Fiery Impulses and Subterranean Scouts, bring in the above cards, and become an odd (but effective) token control / burn deck. With an Impact Tremors on the battlefield, each Hordeling Outburst deals three damage upon resolution, and if we get an Outpost Siege set to Dragons, when our opponent kills our tokens they take damage as well. As such, we have a much greater ability to grind, or win without attacking, after sideboarding. Molten Vortex can beat some decks all by itself. Slow control decks struggle in the face of a repeatable Shock, and so do decks like GR Landfall which have a relatively small number of creatures. Against GR Landfall we can sometimes just Molten Vortex away all their threats and win the game at our leisure. 

Ultra Budget Goblins

The version we played in the videos is already ultra budget. It doesn't get much cheaper than $32 or 5 tix. 

Non-Budget Goblins

One of the beauties of the current fetch land for Battle for Zendikar duals manabase is that we have the freedom to splash any color we want, assuming budget isn't a concern. While I think the most powerful splash option is Green, in theory you could play Rakdos Goblins for discard and hard removal, Boros Goblins for more one drops and Silkwrap, or even Izzet Goblins to take advantage of Negate, Dispel, and Treasure Cruise. That said, I've decided to go with Atarka Goblins as our non-budget list for two reasons. First, we get access to Atarka's Command, which immediately becomes the best burn spell in our deck. Not only can it hit our opponent's face for three, but it sometimes will deal ten or more damage with the help of Hordeling Outburst or Dragon Fodder tokens. Second, we also get Become Immense, which is a great way to finish off the game, and we can do some cool tricks with Subterranean Scout by making the creature unblockable. The weakness of this list is that it's just a worse version of Atarka Red. I mean, all these cards have been available in Standard for months, and no one is playing Atarka Goblins at Grand Prix or on the SCG Tour. As such, we have to assume that the masses are right and that Atarka Red is just a slightly better build of the deck. 


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Anyway, that's all for today. I definitely encourage you to try out the deck. I believe that, dollar for dollar, it is one of the most competitive Budget Magic decks we've had in a while. Plus it gets a couple new toys in Oath of the Gatewatch. Goblin Dark-Dwelers can provide a nice top end, while also doubling up on Hordeling Outburst tokens. Reckless Bushwhacker may be an upgrade over Mardu Scout because its surge ability provides another way to close out games on turn four. Turn one Goblin Glory Chaster, turn two Dragon Fodder, turn three Hordeling Outburst, turn four Goblin Piledriver plus give everything haste with Reckless Bushwhacker to swing for 32! 

As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 

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