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Budget Magic: $57 (8 tix) Goblin Storm (Modern, Magic Online)


Kedụ, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Normally when we play budget decks in Modern, they come in close to our $100 max budget, but every once in a while, a super-cheap, ultra-budget deck manages to find its way onto the series. This is one of those weeks, as we head to Modern to play a $50-ish dollars version of Goblin Storm! The main plan of the deck is simple: resolve a Skirk Prospector along with another Goblin or two, resolve the newly reprinted Fecundity, and proceed to draw our entire deck and win the game! Is it possible for a $50 combo deck to compete in Modern? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Goblin Storm (Modern) 

The Deck

Goblin Storm, as its name suggests, is sort of a weird hybrid of Goblin tribal and Storm combo. While most of the creatures in our deck are Goblins, rather than using our Goblins as creatures to attack and beat our opponent down, we're actually using most of our creatures to produce mana and draw cards, which eventually allows us to get a storm-style kill with the help of Grapeshot or Voracious Dragon. To really understand the deck, the easiest thing to do is simply walk through the combo, step by step!

The Combo

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Goblin Storm has two main combo pieces, and to win the game, we need one copy of each on the battlefield: Skirk Prospector and Fecundity. As such, the main goal of our deck is to find these two cards and resolve them, which usually allows us to win the game on the spot. The combo itself is pretty simple—in conjunction with some other Goblins that we'll talk about in a minute, Skirk Prospector allows us to keep sacrificing Goblins to make a ton of mana, while also drawing us a card each time we sacrifice a creature thanks to Fecundity. Eventually, the drawing and mana production spiral to the point where we have more mana than we'll need and will have drawn essentially (or even literally) our entire deck. Then, we use one of our finishers to close out the game!

Finding the Combo

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Faithless Looting and Commune with the Gods are in our deck for one reason: they help us find Skirk Prospector and Fecundity. One of the downsides of Goblin Storm is that we only have four copies of our two main combo pieces, and we can't really win the game without one of each, so hoping we just naturally draw into them is a risky plan. Faithless Looting allows us to churn through our deck to find our pieces and improve our hand, while Commune with the Gods digs five cards deep and can hit either half of our combo. Together, these cards help to make sure that we find both Skirk Prospector and Commune with the Gods as quickly as possible, as often as possible. 

Ancestral Recall

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Once we've assembled Skirk Prospector and Fecundity, our next most important card is Mogg War Marshal, which is essentially a hybrid Desperate Ritual and Ancestral Recall. Since [[Mogg War Marshall] makes a Goblin token when it enters the battlefield or dies, we can cast it for two mana, immediately sacrifice it and both Goblin tokens to Skirk Prospector to make three mana (so we net one mana in the process), and also draw three cards with Fecundity, which keeps us churning through our deck to find more Mogg War Marshals and other Goblins to sacrifice. 

Free Card Draw

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Goblin Instigator and Hordeling Outburst aren't quite as good as Mogg War Marshall because instead of generating mana with Skirk Prospector, they just break even (with Goblin Instigator costing two mana and giving us back two mana when we sacrifice both Goblins to Skirk Prospector and Hordeling Outburst costing three but making back three once we sacrifice all of the tokens). However, both cards work extremely well with Fecundity. As we are comboing, Goblin Instigator draws us two cards for zero mana, while Hordeling Outburst draws us three! As such, even though these cards don't act like rituals like Mogg War Marshal, they are still very important to our combo, since they keep us drawing through our deck to find more copies of Mogg War Marshal and our other payoffs. 

Winning the Game

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Oddly, Empty the Warrens isn't really our win condition, but it is the card that makes sure our combo can't fizzle. While in theory we could cast a bunch of cards, make a bunch of Goblin tokens with Empty the Warrens, pass the turn, and try to attack our opponent to death on our next turn, that's not our primary plan. Instead, our goal for Empty the Warrens is to use it like a super-ritual/card-draw spell. Let's say we assemble our combo and cast four copies of our random cheap Goblins as we sacrifice and draw our way through our deck with Skirk Prospector and Fecundity. We then cast an Empty the Warrens. The end result is that we get ten 1/1 Goblin tokens for just four mana. When you consider that we can sacrifice all of these Goblins to Skirk Prospector to make mana and also draw a card for each with Fecundity, in this situation, Empty the Warrens ends up being a four-mana ritual that makes 10 mana and also happens to draw us 10 cards for free! Since we have the full four copies of Empty the Warrens, odds are that in the 10 cards we draw, we'll find a bunch more Mogg War Marshals, Goblin Instigators, and the like, and hopefully another Empty the Warrens. Then, we simply cast all of our cheap stuff and cast an even bigger Empty the Warrens, which generates even more mana and draws us even more cards! The end result is that we have more mana than we could ever use and that we can also draw our entire deck!

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After we draw our entire deck, it's finally time to win the game. For this, we have two options (both one-ofs) in Voracious Dragon and Grapeshot. If the plan is to win with Voracious Dragon, we simply cast our third and forth copies of Empty the Warrens, make an ungodly number of 1/1 Goblins, sacrifice five of them to Skirk Prospector to make enough mana to cast Voracious Dragon, and then devour all of our random 1/1 Goblins when Voracious Dragon enters the battlefield to deal two times as much damage to our opponent's face, which should give us 50 or 100 damage for just five mana! Just be careful to stack the triggers correctly, since when we sacrifice all of our Goblins to devour, we'll also be triggering Fecundity a whole bunch of times. If we let the Fecundity trigger resolve first, we'll accidentally kill ourselves by dying on an empty library, so make sure to manage the stack in a way that Voracious Dragon's damage resolves first, so that our opponent is dead before the Fecundity triggers resolve. 

While not as much fun as killing with Voracious Dragon, our fallback plan is to Grapeshot our opponent with a bunch of copies thanks to storm. Since our combo turns naturally involve us casting 20 or more spells, it's pretty easy to get the storm count high enough to kill our opponent. 

It's also worth mentioning that if all else fails (for example, our opponent has a Leyline of Sanctity and we can't target them with Voracious Dragon or Grapeshot), we can also try to win with Empty the Warrens tokens, which is a pretty effective plan in most matchups but can get blown out by sweepers like Anger of the Gods or Supreme Verdict, since our opponent will get a turn to untap and cast sorceries. 

Other Stuff

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Infernal Plunge and Battle Hymn give us some extra mana production, which can help mid-combo or allow us to ramp into our combo pieces a turn or two earlier. Infernal Plunge also has the upside of allowing us to sacrifice a creature, which gives us some extra value if we happen to have our Fecundity but haven't drawn into Skirk Prospector yet. 

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Wild Cantor is basically our ultra-budget version of Manamorphose. Our combo is really good at making red mana, but sometimes we get pinched on green mana if we need to cast a second Fecundity, a Commune with Gods, or a sideboard card. Wild Cantor gives us a way to filter a red mana into a green mana, while also drawing us a card along the way with Fecundity. It's also a solid way to ramp into our combo in the early game if we can play it on Turn 1 and have it sit on the battlefield like an expensive, creature-based Lotus Petal

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Postmortum Lunge is just a one-of, but it's a solid addition to the deck. Its main purpose is to get Skirk Prospector back from the graveyard if our opponent manages to kill it before we are able to combo off, but it's also great when it's getting back something like Mogg War Marshal mid-combo to give us another ritual and more card draw. Since we're planning on sacrificing the creature that we reanimate anyway (or just winning the game), the downside of having to exile the creature at the end of our turn isn't really a problem, making Postmortem Lunge a very efficient option.

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Lightning Bolt gives us just a touch of removal to keep our opponent's creatures under control. While we can win the game as early as Turn 3 with a solid draw, in other games, it takes us a few turns of digging with Faithless Looting and Commune with the Gods to find our combo pieces. In these slower games, having a bit of removal can be essential in staying alive long enough to find Skirk Prospector and Fecundity to combo off for the win.

Wrap-Up

All in all, we finished with a 2-3 with Goblin Storm, which isn't the best record we've ever posted, although every one of our losses was incredibly close. Against Titan Shift, our opponent had an early Chalice of the Void each game (which is really, really bad for our deck), and we still managed to win a game even through the Chalice, while also losing a super-close match to Belcher and getting brutally mana screwed against Jeskai Ascendancy in game three. As such, even though the record wasn't great, the deck was a lot of fun, and we were incredibly close to winning another match or even two. 

As for the deck, it does sometimes struggle with consistency. Sometimes, we have games where we simply don't find one of our combo pieces and our deck doesn't do much of anything. On the other hand, it's incredibly explosive and fun. For a $50-ish combo deck in Modern, it's hard to complain. The deck can do some super crazy things and win as early as Turn 3, making it fast enough to keep up with the best decks in the format when everything comes together. 

As far as improvements to the deck, the main challenge is that most of the potential upgrades add a lot to the budget. The mana base in our ultra-budget build is functional but pretty clunky by Modern standards, but upgrading to fetches and shocks isn't cheap. Battle Hymn probably isn't necessary; it might be worth playing an additional copy of Hordeling Outburst or even something like Goblin Bushwhacker. Speaking of Goblin Bushwhacker, playing a hybrid Goblin Storm / 8 Whack build might have some potential. We have some games where we flood the board with 1/1 Goblins but can't find our combo. In these games, a Bushwhacker or two could give us a legitimate path to winning without the combo.

In sum, Goblin Storm is a blast. It's probably in the middle in terms of level of competitiveness—it's good enough to beat just about anything in the format but does struggle with consistency (and also Chalice of the Void, which isn't that popular in Modern as a whole, but it was in our matches). If you like crazy combos, drawing your entire deck, and maybe winning on Turn 3 with Voracious Dragon of all things, give it a shot! I don't think you'll win a Grand Prix with the deck, but you can certain steal some wins at FNM and do it with style!

Ultra-Budget Goblin Storm

No ultra-budget list this week. The build we played in the videos was already in the ultra-budget range!

The non-budget build of Goblin Storm is looking to do one thing: increase consistency. The combo from the build in the videos is already strong. The main challenge is finding our combo pieces. To increase consistency, we do two things: first, we upgrade the mana with fetch lands, shock lands, and fast lands, which should ensure that we don't run into any issues with color screw. Second, we add in eight free cantrips in Street Wraith and Manamorphose. While neither of these cards do much with our combo directly, the idea is that these free redraws will essentially decrease the size of our deck from 60 cards to 52 cards, making it easier to consistently find our Skirk Prospector and Fecundity. We also add in a playset of Goblin Bushwhacker to support our backup plan of beating down with random Goblins—in the worst case, we can always cycle Goblin Bushwhacker with the help of our combo. To make room for these additions, we cut back on Wild Cantor (which is less necessary with Manamorphose and an upgraded mana base) and the underperforming rituals. All in all, this build should help fix some of the consistency issues with the budget build. While we'll still have some games where we don't draw our combo pieces, these games should happen less often.

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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