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Budget Magic: $49 (19 tix) Goblin Gift (Standard)


Sho'daache, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! I realized this week that ever since the release of Core Set 2019, we've been accidentally working our way through different mono-colored decks in Standard, first with Mono-Black Zombies and then with the mono-green Bogle Horse Green deck last week. Well, let's keep the theme going for at least one more week with mono-red Goblin Gift! While people have tried mono-red God-Pharaoh's Gift in the past, the addition of a bunch of new Goblins to Standard allows us to play a deck that is Goblin tribal and then, thanks to a bunch of natural Goblin sacrifice synergies, can randomly use Gate to the Afterlife to tutor up a God-Pharaoh's Gift as our backup plan. The end result is a deck that can win by curving out with powerful Goblins and some Goblin lords but can also win in the late game, even through a wrath or two, thanks to the reanimation power of God-Pharaoh's Gift. Better yet, the build we're playing for our videos this week costs less than $50 in paper, essentially making it an ultra-budget deck! Can Goblins compete in Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

First, 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.

Budget Magic: Goblin Gift (Standard)

The Deck

While Goblin Gift does have God-Pharaoh's Gift, unlike decks like UW Gift, which are all-in on getting the artifact on the battlefield as quickly as possible, we're actually more of a Goblin tribal deck, looking to curve out and beat down with Goblins, with God-Pharaoh's Gift being our backup late-game plan to fight through removal and sweepers. Oddly, many of the good Goblin cards also happen to have some sacrifice synergies built in, so without even trying, Goblins just happen to be a natural fit for Gate to the Afterlife and God-Pharaoh's Gift

The Goblin Curve

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In the one-drop Goblin slot are two options, in Skirk Prospector and Fanatical Firebrand. While both have just one power, making them a bit under par as far as beatdown one-drops, they do come with some extra upside. Skirk Prospector is one of the most explosive cards in our deck, since we can sacrifice Goblins to make mana, which lets us do crazy things like hard cast God-Pharaoh's Gift on Turn 4 or just turn random 1/1 Goblin tokens into more powerful threats like Siege-Gang Commander or Goblin Trashmaster. Meanwhile, Fanatical Firebrand gets in hasty damage and can work like a removal spell for early-game creatures like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner or Llanowar Elves; then, in the late game, it can sacrifice itself to trigger Gate to the Afterlife and help us get enough creatures in the graveyard to tutor up God-Pharaoh's Gift

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In the two-drop slot are two new Core Set 2019 additions to the Goblin tribe, one giving us a sacrifice outlet and the other providing sacrifice fodder. Dark-Dweller Oracle is especially good in the late game, when it allows us to sacrifice creatures for God-Pharaoh's Gift and Gate to the Afterlife, while generating some weird card advantage along the way. While God-Pharaoh's Gift helps to minimize the damage of flooding out, if we don't find the artifact, we can sacrifice underpowered 1/1 Goblin tokens to Dark-Dweller Oracle in the hopes of finding some of our more powerful cards. Meanwhile, Goblin Instigator provides two bodies to sacrifice to cards like Dark-Dweller Oracle and Skirk Prospector. It's especially good as a weird ramp spell with Prospector, where something like Skirk Prospector on Turn 1 into Goblin Instigator on Turn 2 gives us enough creatures to sacrifice to hard cast God-Pharaoh's Gift on Turn 4 (then, we can immediately get back Goblin Instigator, hit with a hasty 4/4, and have a token left over for blocking or future sacrificing!).

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While most people are sick of Goblin Chainwhirler by now, it's one of the best Goblins in Standard, and it would be silly to leave it out of a Goblin tribal deck just because it's annoying in Mono-Red / RB Aggro. Plus, the three-drop slot is one of the weaker slots for Goblins, so having a 3/3 first strike that also deals some random damage and wipes out our opponent's small blockers is pretty important to the deck. Otherwise, there isn't much to say about Goblin Chainwhirler—it's just a really good card that happens to both fall at a perfect point on our curve and be part of the tribe we're built around.

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Goblin Trashmaster is way better than it looks. While four-mana lords aren't usually Standard staples, the upside of being able to sac a 1/1 Goblin token or a small creature like Goblin Instigator is actually a massive upside. It gives us a main-deck answer to things like Heart of Kiran, Aetherflux Reservoir, and opposing God-Pharaoh's Gifts, which would be really challenging for our removal-light Goblin deck to beat otherwise. Plus, pumping all of our Goblins is super helpful, both for getting in extra damage (we win some games just by casting Fanatical Firebrand into Goblin Instigator into Goblin Chainwhirler into Goblin Trashmaster to pump our team and get in a huge attack) and for keeping all of our 1/1s out of the range of our opponent's Goblin Chainwhirlers. Finally, the ability to sacrifice Goblins can also help with our God-Pharaoh's Gift plan. In a pinch, we can even sacrifice Goblins to destroy our own Gate to the Afterlife to get creatures in the graveyard, and then with the "destroy target artifact" trigger on the stack, we can sacrifice Gate to the Afterlife to find our God-Pharaoh's Gift. Just be warned: one weird quirk of Goblin Gift is that when we reanimate Goblins with God-Pharaoh's Gift, they are no longer Goblins (instead being Zombies), so they no longer get pumped or sacrificed by Goblin Trashmaster (although if we have a God-Pharaoh's Gift, this usually doesn't matter). 

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At the top of our Goblin curve is Siege-Gang Commander, which is pretty crazy in our deck. Not only does it add a ton of Goblins to the battlefield, but the ability to sacrifice Goblins to deal damage helps us close out games or take down annoying blockers. Then, we can eventually sacrifice Siege-Gang Commander to itself, get it back with God-Pharaoh's Gift, and start the entire process over again! Siege-Gang Commander is also great with Goblin Trashmaster—if we have the lord on the battlefield, a single copy of Siege-Gang Commander adds a massive nine power and toughness across four bodies to the battlefield, which is enough to take over the game against some decks all by itself. Finally, Siege-Gang Commander gives us yet another sacrifice outlet to help support the Gate to the Afterlife / God-Pharaoh's Gift backup plan.

The Gift

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As I mentioned in the intro, Goblin Gift is a lot different than a deck like UW Gift, since rather than being the primary focus of our deck, getting God-Pharaoh's Gift on the battlefield is more of a backup plan for us. One of the problems with decks like Goblin Tribal is that they typically dump their hand on the battlefield, do some attacking, and hope that the opponent doesn't have a lot of targeted removal or sweepers because it's really hard for the deck to recover if the opponent can deal with the board full of Goblins. Having Gate to the Afterlife and God-Pharaoh's Gift solves this problem—if our opponent manages to Fumigate away our Goblins, then we can simply use God-Pharaoh's Gift to rebuild our board with even bigger creatures!

While the Gift plan is normally the backup plan, it's also true that we have some games where we win by getting a fast God-Pharaoh's Gift on the battlefield. If you look at our Goblins, nearly all of them work as sacrifice outlets along with being fine tribal creatures, which means we occasionally play Skirk Prospector on Turn 1, play Goblin Instigator on Turn 2, play Gate to the Afterlife on Turn 3, sacrifice our board, do a bunch of looting, and end up with not just six creatures in the graveyard but enough mana (thanks to Skirk Prospector) to immediately tutor up a God-Pharaoh's Gift, which is usually enough to win the game. Remember, if we have a Skirk Prospector and Gate to the Afterlife on the battlefield, additional copies of Skirk Prospector, Fanatical Firebrand, and Goblin Instigator all turn into free creatures (since we can immediately sacrifice them to get back the same amount of mana we spent to cast them) that also allow us to loot with Gate to the Afterlife to fill our graveyard with the six creatures needed to tutor up God-Pharaoh's Gift

Other Stuff

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Bomat Courier is the one non-Goblin creature in our deck, and while it's annoying that it doesn't work with our tribal synergies, it's still extremely powerful for a few reasons. First, it gives us another source of card advantage, especially when it comes down on Turn 1 and gets in a couple of attacks. Second, it gives us another creature that can sacrifice itself to support God-Pharaoh's Gift and Gate to the Afterlife. Third, apart from sacrificing itself, it can also allow us to dump a bunch of expensive creatures from our hand to our graveyard so we can reanimate them with God-Pharaoh's Gift for free, rather than spending our mana to cast them. All around, this makes Bomat Courier great in our deck, even if it's an honorary Goblin rather than a real one.

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While we have a bunch of removal options in our sideboard, as far as our main deck is concerned, we only have a single copy of Abrade as true removal. The idea here is twofold. First, we have a ton of blockers, so ideally we'll be able to stay alive by gumming up the board with our Goblins. Second, if our opponent has something like Lyra Dawnbringer (which is unbeatable for most aggro decks), our sacrificing actually saves the day, since we can attack with a huge swarm of Goblins and, after our opponent blocks with Lyra Dawnbringer, simply sacrifice whatever creature Lyra blocks, fizzling the lifegain and (hopefully) allowing us to win the game with our Goblin swarm.

Wrap-Up

As far as our record, we ended up 4-1 in our video matches, only losing to UW Gift in a tough three-game match. This being said, we had a duplicate match against Mono-Green Stompy and lost, bringing our overall record to 4-2. Regardless, posting a solid winning record with a $50 deck is great! The combination of aggressive tribal starts and the ability to go long with God-Pharaoh's Gift is a deadly combination and good enough to keep up with a lot of the best decks in Standard!

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As far as changes I'd make to the budget build now that we've played some games, I'm pretty happy with the main deck. We've already got all of the best Goblins in the format, and the Goblins do more than enough to support the God-Pharaoh's Gift plan without additional help. This being said, the sideboard is a bit clunky. While we have a lot of good removal spells (and someday, I'm going to get someone by sacrificing all of my Goblins to Skirk Prospector and throwing a huge Banefire at their face), having some more options for control could be helpful, but without adding expensive cards like Karn, Scion of Urza or Chandra, Torch of Defiance, mono-red doesn't have a ton to offer for the matchup. If you have some sweet sideboard ideas, make sure to let me know in the comments!

All in all, Goblin Gift felt solid. For $50, it seems like a great deck to have fun with over the summer, especially if you like Goblins, tribal strategies, or reanimation. Then, once rotation hits in a couple of months, all of the Goblins will remain in the format, so you can simply drop the God-Pharaoh's Gift package, add in some burn spells like Lightning Strike and maybe even Goblin Barrage, and have a functional ultra-budget deck for Guilds of Ravnica Standard as well!

Ultra-Budget Goblin Gift

No ultra-budget list this week, since the build from the videos is already ultra-budget.

Rather than a non-budget list this week (if you want to add some money to Goblin Gift, maybe try Karn, Scion of Urza or Chandra, Torch of Defiance in the sideboard; otherwise, there isn't much to do), we've got a post-rotation Goblins list. Thankfully, it's not too hard to make Goblins into a post-rotation deck. We simply drop God-Pharaoh's Gift and Gate to the Afterlife for Lightning Strike, to deal with opposing creatures in the early game and their face in the late game, and The Flame of Keld, to help replace some of God-Pharaoh's Gift's late-game power. Then, we trade in Bomat Courier for Rigging Runner and some extra burn spells in Goblin Barrage and Repeating Barrage, while maxing out with the full four copies of Goblin Trashmaster and Siege-Gang Commander. This leaves us with a pretty reasonable looking Goblin tribal deck! While it's too early to say what Guilds of Ravnica Standard will look like, a lot of the best mono-red cards are rotating, so there's some chance that Goblins will pick up the slack as the best red deck in Standard, especially if they get some help in Guilds of Ravnica. Worst case, post-rotation Goblins seems like a fine ultra-budget option that should be able to pick up some wins with the combination of good creatures, tribal synergies, and burn spells.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.

 


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