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Much Abrew: 8 Whack Goblins (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Yesterday, we played RB Goblins, and our biggest takeaway from that deck was that it really made us want to play 8 Whack Goblins, so that's what we're doing today! Apart from getting the taste of the disappointing RB Goblins list out of our mouths, I'm actually really excited to be giving 8 Whack Goblins another shot. Generally, when someone asks me about the most competitive, budget-friendly starter deck for Modern, my answer is 8 Whack, but it's been a little while since I've actually played the deck. How will the hyper-aggressive Goblins list hold up to a metagame fueled by the unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf? Is 8 Whack still the best budget-friendly starter deck for Modern? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: 8 Whack Goblins (Modern)


  • As for the record, 8 Whack performed shockingly well. We played a competitive league and pretty easily 5-0ed (dropping just two games along the way). It doesn't get much better than that! 
  • After the slow and fumbling starts from RB Goblins yesterday, playing the very consistent 8 Whack Goblins felt great. The deck doesn't do anything tricky; it just plays super-efficient, aggressive Goblins each turn, tries to get in as much damage as possible with its creatures, and then finishes the game with a combination of Goblin Grenade and Lightning Bolt
  • Looking back over our games, we killed on Turn 4 through a bit of disruption / blockers very consistently. We can kill on Turn 3 if we get really lucky (like game three against Tron), and it can take longer if things go poorly (if our opponent has a lot of removal, like UW Control), but the most impressive part of 8 Whack is how consistently it kills opponents early in the game. 
  • The biggest problem with the deck, which didn't happen in our matches, its that like most aggro decks with no real card selection or card advantage, we do lose to ourselves sometimes, primarily by drawing too many lands (which, depending on the hand, is any more than three or four lands for 8 Whack). 
  • As for this specific build of 8 Whack, there really isn't much to complain about. I was very, very impressed with Goblin Piledriver, so running fewer than four feels weird. I also wasn't very impressed with Goblin Heelcutter (although in fairness, we might not have played the matchups where it is good). As such, I'd probably go down the Goblin Heelcutter for the fourth copy of Goblin Piledriver
  • The biggest question I've had about the deck is Mogg Fanatic versus Fanatical Firebrand, and I think that Mogg Fanatic is mostly better in the deck, even though that might not be intuitive. The reason is that, unless we are killing a Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch, we typically don't want to lead with Mogg Fanatic (or Fanatical Firebrand) because Foundry Street Denizen, Goblin Guide, and maybe even Legion Loyalist are all just better on Turn 1. Later in the game, Mogg Fanatic offers the upside of attacking (often being pumped with a Bushwhacker) and then sacrificing itself to deal damage in the same turn, either going at our opponent's face or killing off a creature after blocks. Fanatical Firebrand doesn't offer this ability. It's also worth mentioning that from Turn 3 on, Mogg Fanatic will often come down with haste anyway thanks to our Goblin Bushwhacker or Reckless Bushwhacker. As such, apart from getting in a random damage on Turn 1 thanks to haste, which happens infrequently because we have better one-drops for Turn 1, Fanatical Firebrand is mostly just a worse version of Mogg Fanatic for the deck.
  • Apart from consistency, the biggest advantage of 8 Whack compared to RB Goblins is Goblin Grenade. The card is incredibly good, and having four copies means we have a ton of reach for closing out the game after our opponent stabilizes. A good example of the card's power was game one against Tron, where our opponent managed to sweep our board with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and we were still any Goblin away from winning the game with Goblin Grenade
  • Legion Loyalist might not look like much, but it's essential for beating Lingering Souls, which would otherwise be very good against our deck. It's also extremely powerful in conjunction with Goblin Piledriver—we stole a couple of games against the Hollow One deck by making huge, trampling Goblin Piledrivers. 
  • The only part of the deck I'm not sold on is the sideboard. While the current sideboard is fine, it can probably be improved. Goblin Rabblemaster didn't feel great, and Blood Moon was sneakily good in some matchups.
  • Speaking of the sideboard, it's worth mentioning that you can cut $50 off the cost of the deck by dropping Shattering Spree (which is good but replaceable) and the single copy of Blood Moon (which is good in some matchups, but the deck is fast enough that we can beat just about anything without). This would get the deck down under $150, which isn't quite in our budget range but still a great deal for a really powerful deck.
  • So, should you play 8 Whack in Modern? The answer is clearly yes. Today's performance confirmed that 8 Whack is still the best budget-friendly option for Modern if your goal is to try to win a major tournament like a SCG Open or Grand Prix on a budget. In fact, 8 Whack might be better today than it was in the past because it lines up well with various Jace-centric midrange and control lists, which are pretty popular. It's also a great deck for grinding on Magic Online, not just because it's powerful but because it's fast, which allows you to get through more games more quickly and, if you're winning, pile up some extra tix!


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos. 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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