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Budget Magic: Exploding Goblins (Historic)

Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we're heading to Historic to explode some Goblins! Our main goal is to kill our opponent with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty's 10-damage burn spell, Explosive Singularity. The problem is that without help, Explosive Singularity costs a massive 10 mana. The good news is that Explosive Singularity has pseudo-convoke, allowing us to tap creatures to help pay for its cost. Our deck is overflowing with cards that put multiple Goblin tokens on the battlefield, making it pretty easy to get the cost of Singularity down to just a couple of mana. This allows us to win by either combining the damage from Explosive Singularity with janky Goblin token beats or using Doublecast to copy Explosive Singularity to throw 20 damage at our opponent's dome! The best part? The deck only takes 11 rare and mythic wildcards to build, including the mana base and sideboard! How good is Explosive Singularity on a budget in Historic backed by a bunch of janky Goblin-token producers? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Exploding Goblins

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The Deck

Exploding Goblins is a combo-ish aggro token deck. The goal is to flood the board with Goblin tokens in the early game, chip in for some damage, and then close the game with a huge burst of direct damage from Explosive Singularity!

The Explosion

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Explosive Singularity is a really...umm...explosive card, offering 10 damage to any target. Of course, when played fairly, this power comes at the high cost of 10 mana. The good news is that Explosive Singularity essentially has convoke, allowing us to tap creatures to help pay for its cost. This means that if we can get enough creatures on the battlefield, we can lower the cost of Explosive Singularity all the way down to just two mana, which is an incredible deal for 10 damage. And that's what our deck is trying to do, by playing a ton of Goblin-token producers. We've got a massive 23 cards that put multiple bodies on the battlefield to reduce the cost of Explosive Singularity, which means we typically can cast it by around Turn 5, making it a super-explosive finisher. 

Most often, one copy of Explosive Singularity is enough to close out the game when combined with janky Goblin-token beats, but if it's not, we can always use Doublecast to...umm.. double-cast it, giving us 20 damage directly to our opponent's face and winning us the game on the spot!

Goblin Tokens

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As far as Goblin-token producers, we've got a bunch of them. Goblin Instigator, Krenko's Command, and Dragon Fodder are all essentially the same card, putting two 1/1 Goblin bodies on the battlefield for just two mana.

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Meanwhile, we have Goblin Gathering and Hordeling Outburst in the three-drop slot, which add even more 1/1 Goblin bodies to the battlefield. Hordeling Outburst always makes three, while Goblin Gathering starts off as a not-great three-mana Dragon Fodder, but additional copies get a bonus and give us extra Goblins. If we ever manage to cast all four in a game, the last one will add a massive five 1/1 Goblins to the battlefield, which is a great deal for three mana. 

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You See a Pair of Goblins looks like another bad Dragon Fodder, making two 1/1 Goblins for three mana, but it has some sneaky upside. For one thing, it's the only token producer in our deck that's an instant, which occasionally allows us to ambush one of our opponent's attackers during combat or, after sideboarding, leave up a removal spell and cast it on our opponent's end step if we don't need to interact. More importantly, You See a Pair of Goblins is an important part of our backup plan if we can't win with Explosive Singularity, which is to beat down with 1/1 Goblins. The pump mode actually can be super powerful in a deck like ours that is really good at adding 1/1 bodies to the battlefield. Sometimes, we just cast a bunch of Hordeling Outbursts and Dragon Fodder, sling a You See a Pair of Goblins or two to pump all of our Goblin tokens, and kill our opponent in one big attack!

The Backup Plan

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While You See a Pair of Goblins is nice, we've got a real backup plan in the deck: Cavalcade of Calamity, Raid Bombardment, and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. By far the biggest downside of our deck is that pretty much all of our creatures are random 1/1 Goblin tokens, which are pretty tough to win with if they aren't powering our Explosive Singularity. Cavalcade of Calamity and Raid Bombardment are the perfect ways to power them up, pinging for one whenever we attack with a small creature. This essentially doubles (or, if we get multiples of our enchantment payoffs on the battlefield, triples) the power of all of our tokens while also letting them get in damage through blockers. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell pushes the plan into overdrive by adding two damage to all of our red sources, which means all of our 1/1 Goblins can attack for three, and every Raid Bombardment and Cavalcade of Calamity trigger ends up as a Lava Spike at our opponent's face, which, with a few Goblin tokens on the battlefield, is an extremely fast clock, usually closing out the game in just one or, at worst two, attacks!

The Mana

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Pretty much all of our lands are basic Mountains to help keep the cost of the deck down, but we did splurge on one non-basic: Castle Embereth, which gives us another way to pump our Goblin tokens into more useful threats. Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance would be another really solid addition, as a way to make even more tokens for Explosive Singularity. You should add it over some Mountains if you have some copies in your collection, but I left it out to help keep the budget as friendly as possible.


Record-wise, we ended up 2-3 with Exploding Goblins, although it is worth pointing out that every match was incredibly close. Even when we lost, we were usually one turn, mana, or Goblin away from winning, with game two against Enchantress being the best example. (Our opponent cast a Baffling End on a random token, which happened to put us one mana short of Doublecast plus Explosive Singularity for the combo kill and match win.)

While the deck was super sweet, it's probably pretty medium in terms of just how competitive it is overall, mostly because sweepers are really good against it. Because of Explosive Singularity, we really need to dump our hand. This sometimes means we more or less lose on the spot if our opponent can cast a timely Wrath of God or Anger of the Gods, or even just a Goblin Chainwhirler, which is especially problematic against control. On the other hand, we saw the deck pick up some really fast wins with the backup–Cavalcade of Calamity plan, and we also managed to catch opponents by surprise with Explosive Singularity. No one expects the deck full of janky Goblin tokens to throw 10 damage at their face, which makes it pretty easy to steal wins because opponents don't value their life total and don't try to stay out of Explosive Singularity range. Basically, while the deck is fun and certainly can pick up some wins, you're likely in for a rough time if you run into a bunch of control decks playing sweepers.

So, should you play Exploding Goblins in Historic? I think the answer is yes but just for fun. I'm not sure the deck is good enough to grind up to mythic on the ladder or anything like that, although it can win a lot of games and do it in style. If you like Goblins but are tired of Muxus, Goblin Grandee or if you're a fan of janky combo decks, Exploding Goblins is a fun option to mess around with that shouldn't be too hard for most players to put together because nearly all of the cards in the deck are commons or uncommons.

Ultra-Budget Exploding Goblins

No ultra-budget list this week because the deck is already so cheap. If you're looking to try to trim back even more, Castle Embereth isn't essential (even though it is good), but I wouldn't want to cut Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. And Explosive Singularity is the most important card in the deck, so it needs to stay. 

Non-Budget Exploding Goblins

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For our non-budget list this week, we splash into black for some sideboard cards that might help shore up some of our tougher matchups. As far as the main deck, it mostly stays the same, with Seasoned Pyromancer being the big non-land addition. Even though Seasoned Pyromancer doesn't make Goblins, it can add three bodies to the battlefield while also filtering through our deck to find Explosive Singularity. Otherwise, we touch up the mana along with Shatterskull Smashing for removal, Den of the Bugbear, and Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance. Meanwhile, the sideboard is almost brand new. Adding black mana allows us to play Munitions Expert, which should be able to kill pretty much anything, thanks to all of our Goblin tokens, while also adding a 1/1 body to the battlefield to help power up Explosive Singularity and trigger Cavalcade of Calamity and Raid Bombardment, while Thoughtseize offers proactive sweeper protection. We also get Chandra, Torch of Defiance a source of card advantage (and another backup win condition) against control and Roiling Vortex as an upgraded version of Tibalt for lifegain hate. All in all, these changes represent a pretty meaningful improvement to the deck, although be warned: Thanks to all of the rare dual lands, it will cost you almost four times as many wildcards to put together the non-budget build.


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

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