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Much Abrew: RB Goblins (Modern)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, it was RB Goblins for Modern that came out on top, which means this week, we're going to see if the Aether Vial-fueled, lord-heavy version of Goblins can compete in the Modern format. The basic idea of the deck is simple: it's essentially Modern Merfolk if you replace the Merfolk with Goblins. We're looking to flood the board with a bunch of Goblins as quickly as possible, pump them with our endless lords, and close out the game before our opponent gets a chance to recover. Can a slower Aether Vial build of Goblins work in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out!

Oh yeah, one quick thing before we get to the video. You're probably wondering why Much Abrew is coming out on Saturday night when it usually comes out on Sunday. Well, for reasons that will become clear as you watch the video, we're actually having two Much Abrews this weekend, so we'll have another one at the normal time tomorrow night, featuring a different build of Goblins!

Just a quick reminder: if you enjoy the Much Abrew About Nothing 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.

Much Abrew: RB Goblins (Modern)


  • That was a rough one. We played a competitive league and ended up with a 1-4, which is almost as bad as it gets. This being said, it is worth mentioning that a lot of our matches went to three games, so we weren't that far away from picking up an extra win or two.
  • As for the deck, it seemed to be missing a lot of the things that make Goblins good. For example, perhaps the biggest reason to play Goblin tribal is Goblin Grenade, which offers an absurd amount of value by dealing five damage for just a single mana, but for some reason, our deck is only playing two copies. We also only have two Lightning Bolt, which means it's actually really hard to deal with opposing creatures.
  • One of the unique aspects of RB Goblins is the fact that it's reaching into black rather than just being mono-red, but the splash doesn't really feel worth the effort. Not only did we lose to Blood Moon (which is especially sad, considering we're running Blood Moon in our sideboard), but our black cards aren't even that good. [[Mad Auntie] is a lord but only a two-of, and we never actually used it to regenerate a Goblin, which means it was probably just worse than Goblin King, while Frogtosser Banneret offered some explosive turns but also ended up stuck in our hand on occasion, since we were lacking black mana. While I could see a black splash working in Goblins, this build specifically didn't really have enough black payoffs to make adding the inconsistency of a second color worthwhile.
  • The other unique part of the deck is Aether Vial, but much like the black splash, I'm not sure that the artifact is worth it in our Goblins deck. While cheating on mana is nice, our Goblins don't offer many instant-speed tricks apart from just playing a lord. Plus, playing Aether Vial means we have room for fewer threats, and for a tribe like Goblins without any real card advantage, we need as many threats as possible to force through the last points of damage to really make the deck function. 
  • Metallic Mimic is a bit strange in the deck, since we really want to be curving out from Turn 1. Taking off a turn to play Metallic Mimic when we have the option of playing more aggressive one-drops feels weird. It also doesn't work very well with Frogtosser Banneret, since it's not technically a Goblin until it enters the battlefield and we get to choose a creature type. 
  • The bottom line is pretty simple: the entire time we were playing the deck, I was wishing we were playing 8 Whack Goblins instead. While "strictly worse" is thrown around too often, RB Goblins felt like a strictly worse version of 8 Whack, and it was pretty hard to find redeeming qualities. If you want to play an Aether Vial tribal deck, both Humans and Merfolk offer more potential, and if you want to get aggressive with Goblins specifically, 8 Whack is much more consistent and powerful.
  • Is it possible to fix RB Goblins? I think the answer here is: sort of. While you could probably improve the deck, most of the improvements (like cutting Metallic Mimic and the black cards) would push the deck toward being 8 Whack Goblins, so rather than trying to improve this build, the right thing to do is probably just play 8 Whack. Not only is 8 Whack cheaper (almost falling into the budget range), but I'm pretty sure it's better as well.
  • To put this theory to the test, we've actually got another episode of Much Abrew coming up tomorrow, where we run through a league with 8 Whack Goblins! Will the theory that 8 Whack is better than red-black prove true? Make sure to come back tomorrow to find out!
  • So, should you play RB Goblins? I'm pretty sure the answer is no. While I expect that it's a little bit better than the 1-4 record suggests (as I mentioned before, we played a lot of three-game matches, so with a bit of luck, we could have easily won another match), the record was bad, the deck didn't feel particularly fast or powerful, and there's a better (and cheaper) build of Goblins available.


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to tune in tomorrow as we run 8 Whack (probably better know as "Good") Goblins through a league! 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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