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Much Abrew: Kobolds

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the new and improved Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we had a clear winner in the contest for most popular Instant Deck Tech. In fact, last week's winner may be the most popular Instant Deck Tech of all time. Of course, we are talking about Vintage Kobolds, a deck that made waves not only for going 0-4 in the only event it was played in but also for being incredibly spicy and containing just about every combo possible. As such, this week, we are heading to Vintage (for the first time every) to try to win the game by playing a bunch of zero-drop creatures! We also have a bit of a surprise later in the article, but I don't want to spoiler it, so let's get to the videos!

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Vintage Kobolds Instant Deck Tech

Vintage Kobolds vs. Car Shops (Matches 1 and 2)

Vintage Kobolds vs. Paradoxical Storm (Match 3)


  • I'm sure you noticed we only had two videos (and three matches) of the Vintage Kobold deck, which is significantly fewer than the five we usually post. This is because the deck was amazingly bad, and I wanted to spare you the horror of watching more games that ended without us resolving a spell or with us dying on Turn 1 or 2 because we didn't have any way to interact with our opponent. 
  • When breaking down the problems with the deck, I'm not 100% sure where to start. First, and maybe most importantly, there are a lot of cards in Vintage that simply ruin our entire game plan, and because there's so much fast mana in Vintage, our opponent can play these cards on Turn 1. Maybe the most obvious are cards like Sphere of Resistance and Chalice of the Void. Since the entire plan of our deck is to cast zero drops, having everything cost one (or get countered by Chalice of the Void) means our deck does literally nothing. 
  • Second, we had some hands where it felt like we could go off on Turn 1 with Glimpse of Nature and zero-drops, but we were lacking green mana. At first, I thought we were getting unlucky, but when I looked back over the deck, I realized we only had six actual green sources (seven, if we happen to have one of our very limited number of green cards to exile to our single Chrome Mox), so odds are actually heavily against having both a Glimpse of Nature and a green source of mana, which are the two things we need to try to combo off. 
  • Third—and this is more of a testament to my lack of knowledge about the deck and format than the deck's construction—I have no clue about the sideboard plan. I know there are a lot of powerful restricted cards and several more combos, but as far as what matchups each card / combo is supposed to come in against, I have no idea.
  • Fourth, while having a bunch of random combos in the deck is fun and interesting, there is a reason that "play every combo in the format" isn't a typical strategy (actually, most of them are actively bad with the Kobold plan because randomly drawing Triskelion or Dark Confidant is an easy way to fizzle). We also had a few times when we would draft half of a combo (Grindstone, for example) but never find the second part, which is understandable because a lot of our combo pieces are one-ofs, which means it's not all that likely we'll draw both parts of the combo at the same time.
  • With these things in mind, I really liked the idea of the deck. It felt like, with the right build, the idea of fast mana, Glimpse of Nature, and zero-drops could be really powerful and potentially lead to a lot of Turn 1 kills. As I thought about it, I realized that all of the pieces of the combo were legal in Legacy (a format where it's much less likely to run into Sphere of Resistance or Chalice of the Void, and also much less likely to randomly die on Turn 1). 
  • And, this last part is where the surprise came in. After getting absolutely crushed in our three matches with Vintage Kobolds, instead of giving up, I decided to switch gears. So, we have another set of videos today, this time featuring a modified version of the deck that's a lot more focused on the Kobolds and in a much friendlier format—it's time for Legacy Kobolds!

Legacy Kobolds vs. Storm (Match 4)

Legacy Kobolds vs. Infect (Match 5)

Legacy Kobolds vs. Loam (Match 6)

Kobolds (Wrap Up)

Discussion (Part 2)

  • That's more like it! While we still only ended up winning one match (against Infect), we got multiple Turn 1 kills across three matches, and this was despite getting unlucky and running into Loam—one of the few Legacy decks playing main deck Chalice of the Void
  • More importantly, we not only got Turn 1 wins but Turn 1 obliterations. When the deck goes off, we easily deal 500 or more damage, all on the first turn of the game!
  • Of course, the deck isn't without problems. In some ways, it's similar to Belcher or Oops All Spells where we get wrecked by Force of Will. The good news is that unlike the other popular Turn 1 decks in Legacy, we play our key combo piece (Glimpse of Nature) first, so if our opponent does have Force of Will, at least we don't empty our entire hand. Instead of just losing the game on the spot to the free counters, we can regroup, wait, and hope we draw into another Glimpse of Nature or Beck // Call
  • The other issue we run into on occasion is fizzling by drawing lands or even too many copies of Glimpse of Nature. One possible solution here is to go completely land free (or possibly just play one land, most likely a single Gaea's Cradle), which I think might be possible by including cards like Summoner's Pact (to find Elvish Spirit Guide) and more copies of Mox Opal.
  • Going land free would have the additional benefit of making the deck even more budget. While $800 isn't bad for a Legacy deck, more than a quarter of the deck's price is the single copy of Gaea's Cradle, and about half of the deck's cost is in the mana base.  
  • While our sample size is small, it seems like we are a bit less than 50 / 50 to win on Turn 1 if have a Glimpse of Nature effect and a way to cast it (assuming we dodge Force of Will). On the other hand, if we have two Glimpse of Nature effects (or draw into the second one fairly early in our combo), we are pretty likely to draw through our entire deck, because once we start drawing two cards from every Kobold, we quickly draw into the third Glimpse of Nature / Beck // Call and it becomes almost impossible to fizzle. 
  • All in all, I think the Legacy version of the deck is good enough to try out if you have access to the cards. Although it's cheap by Legacy standards, it's still expensive, and it's hard to actually suggest running out and buying the cards because it's more of a novelty than a tier Legacy deck. That said, it is certainly good enough to win games; it's amazingly sweet when it goes off, and the Turn 1 win rate is actually really high!


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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