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Budget Magic: $66 (21 tix) Modern 8 Whack (Goblins)

Niltze Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. After a string of Standard Budget Magics to celebrate the release of Oath of the Gatewatch, this week we are finally headed back to Modern. And for good reason — our deck is insane! Remember a few weeks ago when we played Modern Burn and I decided that, if your only goal was to win events on a budget you probably should play Burn. Well this week's deck, 8 Whack, is on the same level, and it gets bonus points for not being Burn. 

One of the best under-the-radar cards printed in Oath of the Gatewatch is Reckless Bushwhacker. While it might not be game breaking on its own, along with Goblin Bushwhacker, it gives Modern decks redundancy with the "pump your team and give them haste" effect. With eight "Whacks" instead of four, we'll assuredly have one when we want one, and our odds of drawing multiples goes up significantly.

We are basically a very low-to-the-ground build of Mono-Red Goblins, playing "eight Whacks" — four Reckless Bushwhacker and four Goblin Bushwhacker. Plus the name, a play on 8 Rack, cracks me up so much that I might have played the deck even if it was horrible. Thankfully it isn't. 

Let's get to the videos, then I'll talk more about 8 Whack. 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.

8 Whack Intro

8 Whack vs Merfolk

8 Whack vs Affinity

8 Whack vs LSV Bant

8 Whack vs Mono-Green Stompy

8 Whack vs Ally Loam(?)

The Deck

First off, this deck isn't an original brew. Someone mentioned there was a fairly budget friendly Mono Red Goblins list making the rounds on Magic Online; I made a few small changes to get it under budget. Mostly I cut Goblin Guide, which is $173 a playset in paper. It's only 15 tix a set in digital form, so if you are building this deck on Magic Online, I'd encourage you to splurge on Goblin Guide to run over things like Raging Goblin and the fourth Mogg Fanatic. I can't even take credit for the deck's name, which might be the best part of the deck. That said, it is worth showing off, just because it's really good. We 5-0 in matches and 10-0 in games. 


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The deck itself is actually simple. We play every one-drop Goblin imaginable, eight Bushwhackers, and three Goblin Chieftians, which are basically honorary Bushwhackers that cost an additional mana. Then we kill our opponents as fast as possible. Winning on turn four isn't uncommon and winning on turn three is possible with the nut draw. 

The main reason to play the deck is that we get four copies of Goblin Bushwhacker and four copies of Reckless Bushwhacker, which allow us to get off to super fast starts. Ideally our opening will be something like one-drop on turn one, two one-drops on turn two (or Mogg War Marshal), followed by one-drop into a Bushwhacker on turn three, which means we will have our opponent down to somewhere between 6 and 10 life. That low life total allows us to either attack for lethal on turn four, possibly with the help of another Bushwhacker, or finish the game with Goblin Grenade or Lightning Bolt. Even though the text and mechanics are different, in our deck, Goblin Bushwhacker and Reckless Bushwhacker are very close to the same card, with the main differences being we can cast Goblin Bushwhacker on turn two. Usually we will want to wait until turn three anyways, in order to have more creatures on the battlefield for its team-pumping ability. 

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Goblin Chieftain plays a lot like a Bushwhacker, giving our team haste and letting our Goblins hit for extra damage. Its biggest downside is that it costs three mana, which is a lot in a 19 land deck, which is why we only have three copies in the main deck. On the other hand, it grants a toughness boost, which can be a really big deal. A huge percentage of the creature in our deck are 1/1's, which means a well-timed Zealous Persecution or Night of Souls' Betrayal can ruin our plans unless we have a Goblin Chieftain on the battlefield to keep our creatures alive. We keep the fourth copy in the sideboard to help overcome these specific hate cards. 


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And let the parade of 1/1's commence! Legion Loyalist is probably the best, or at least most important, one-drop in 8 Whack since it allows us to attack at times when normally we'd have to hold back. One of the best examples is against Lingering Souls, which normally would be a four-for-one against our deck. The oft forgotten "can't be blocked by creature tokens" battalion clause on Legion Loyalist makes the Spirit tokens a non-factor. Even against non-tokens the combination of first strike and trample is really powerful and makes attacking into opposing blockers much easier. 

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Foundry Street Denizen is our most aggressive one-drop, typically attacking for three on turns two and three. Remember, the entire goal of the deck is to get our opponent low enough in life that we can finish them off with our burn or with one big Bushwhacker attack. Getting in a couple of big attackes early with Foundry Street Denizen goes a long way towards achieving this goal. 

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Mogg Fanatic was the most surprising of our one-drops. As I was building the deck, it felt like Mogg Fanatic was mostly filler. However, once I started playing games, I was amazed by how much you can kill with one damage in Modern. Here's a short list from the commonly played creatures page. Eldrazi Mimic, Eldrazi Sky Spawner, Eldrazi Scion tokens, Noble Hierarch, Birds of Paradise, Snapcaster Mage, Blinkmoth Nexus, Inkmoth Nexus, and almost every creature in Infect and Affinity. It's pretty much a Gut Shot that can sometimes attack for two or three damage with the help of Goblin Bushwhacker or Reckless Bushwhacker

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Frenzied Goblin and Raging Goblin are the two worst one-drops in 8 Whack, but we needed something to replace Goblin Guide without ruining our curve. These benchwarmers made the team out of necessity. Frenzied Goblin can sometimes do good things by making blocking difficult for our opponent, though in our 19 land deck, paying an extra mana every turn can really slow us down. Meanwhile Raging Goblin is pretty much the worst Goblin Guide ever printed since it only attacks for one damage, but the haste can be relevant (to turn on Legion Loyalist's battalion out of nowhere). Plus, it has some of the best flavor text of all time. 


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Mogg War Marshal is quite literally two one-drops in one card or, if you prefer, a Dragon Fodder that comes with a free chump block. It is really good in the deck because it creates two bodies on turn two, which is what we are looking for to attack for 10 with the help of a Goblin Bushwhacker or Reckless Bushwhacker on turn three. 

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Goblin Piledriver is extremely high variance. Sometimes it wins games all by itself (or with the help of Legion Loyalist giving it trample) by attacking for 10 or 12 damage in one shot. Other times it gets endlessly chumped by tokens and doesn't do anything. It is obviously insane against blue decks and can often beat Merfolk on its own, but Blue decks are few and far between in Modern. Despite all these problems, it does feel necessary for one reason: it can steal games that no other card in our deck could. For instance, we have some random 1/1's on the battlefield, our opponent goes on a big attack, and we untap, cast a Goblin Piledriver into a Bushwhacker and attack for lethal. The very possibility of this play changes the way our opponents play the game, so even if Goblin Piledriver isn't that great, the threat of Goblin Piledriver can have a huge impact on the game.


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Lighting Bolt is Lightning Bolt. If you are playing Red in Modern, you are likely putting it in your deck. That said, Lightning Bolt looks laughable beside Goblin Grenade, which is an absurd card in 8 Whack. Five damage for one mana is unbelievable, especially when we always have some semi-useless 1/1 Goblins on the battlefield to sacrifice. Together these two cards mean that we only need to deal around 10 damage (thanks to fetches and shocks) with creatures in order to finish the game with a couple of burn spells. The initial 10 damage just so happens to be our typical turn three attack when we have a Bushwhacker. 

Cutting even more money from the 8 Whack deck is really difficult, because almost all of the value is tied up in two cards — Legion Loyalist and Goblin Chieftain — both of which are pretty important to the success of the deck. While I did cut them for this version, I wouldn't feel comfortable playing without them. Without Legion Loyalist I'm not sure we ever beat a Bitterblossom or Lingering Souls, and without Goblin Chieftain we are pretty much dead to Zealous Persecution and Night of Souls' Betrayal. As such, the ultra budget version may be fine for the kitchen table, but I wouldn't expect to have a ton of success at the tournament level. 

This one is really simple: you add in four copies of Goblin Guide, cut some of the less powerful one-drops (i.e. Raging Goblin, a Mogg Fanatic, and a Frienzied Goblin) along with a Goblin Chieftain, and you suddenly have a deck that's been going 5-0 in leagues. Though solely based on my experience with the deck this week, I think you can 5-0 a league or win your FNM without Goblin Guide. Otherwise, there really aren't many upgrades to make. I'd definitely look to upgrade to Goblin Guide on Magic Online, because even with this addition the deck is still cheaper than a lot of budget decks. In paper I'm not sure it is worth spending an extra $173; the deck is pretty powerful as-is.


Anyway, that's all for today. After playing it, 8 Whack immediately jumped to near the top of my list of most competitive budget decks for Modern. If you are looking for a budget deck that can consistently compete with the top tier decks in the format, 8 Whack is probably the place to start. Going 5-0 in matches and 10-0 in games is impressive, as is beating tier one decks like Affinity and Merfolk. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 

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