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Vintage 101: Goblin Party

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're checking out a super sweet deck that won one of the Vintage Challenge events over this past weekend in GOBLINS! That's right, an army of little green men took down an event! In addition to that we've got the two Challenges to discuss, some Spice Corner action, and stuff from around the web.

Without further ado, let's get right to it!


I've continually maintained the opinion on Vintage as of late that it always feels like any given event can be won by just about any deck in the current format and it definitely continues to ring true. We've seen large variations of events won by Tinker, Bazaar, Shops, even Mono White and W/G based decks. The format is very wide at the moment and there's a lot of cool things you can be doing with it. This past weekend we had a win that showed that there is still a definite space in this format for non-Blue decks especially and how well those things can compete. And it was all because of this little guy.

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That's right, it was Goblins! Piloted by Eliot Witten (grumsh on Magic Online), this deck won the Vintage Challenge on 2/19 (Saturday) going 5-1 in the Swiss rounds for a total record of 8-1 which is absolutely stellar.

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The primary game plan here for this deck is similar to how Goblins operates in the Legacy format, utilizing cards like Goblin Lackey to cheat on mana to put into play things like Muxus, Goblin Grandee or other powerful Goblins. However, what separates this deck from its Legacy counterpart is the addition of Goblin Recruiter. The power of Recruiter in this deck is not immediately apparent until you start looking at the interactions between Conspicuous Snoop and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.

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With Kiki-Jiki on top of the library, Snoop can make infinite copies of itself (with each new Snoop gaining the ability and haste) to the point where it can then re-copy Goblin Recruiter to put something like Sling-Gang Lieutenant on top of the library and then repeatedly drain the opponent of life. One of the ways the deck can enable this combo kill in a single turn is through the use of the card Torch Courier, which given enough mana one can cast Snoop, Recruiter, put Torch Courier and Kiki-Jiki on top of the library, cast Courier and then give Snoop haste in order to start the combo turn. In addition to setting up those kinds of combo-esque piles, Recruiter can also be used to set up a turn with Muxus where Muxus rips six of the best Goblins into play immediately to win the game. This allows this deck to simply have some of those very "Vintage-esque" feelings that many other decks in the format can have, making this a true contender in the format.

The biggest new addition of this deck was the printing of Twinshot Sniper in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty as an uncounterable Shock-effect that could also be put into play by Goblin Lackey or Muxus, Goblin Grandee for another Shock plus a Reach body. This effect is pretty strong now that we're seeing cards like Ragavan and Laelia see play (hitting Laelia before it grows to a 3/3 is pretty solid).

Furthermore, cards like Magus of the Moon are very powerful right now in the current format but they don't overly effect Goblins all that much so there's no downside to having them in the main deck here. Beating Urza's Saga and other decks is very, very good.

This is a really awesome deck and is also one that is incredibly cheap on Magic Online to get into at just under 300 tix. If you've ever played Goblins in Legacy, definitely consider trying it out in Vintage! It's super fun and a very interesting deck that can do well and perform well.

Vintage Challenge 2/19

The first of the Challenges this past weekend was the Saturday event, which had 59 players in it thanks to the data provided by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Fair amount of the Blue Tinker variants in this event, but they had a reasonable win rate at 50%. Doomsday performed really well, so did Breach and the Blue Tempo/UR Tempo variants (given that each of these only had two pilots each on them). Everything else is looking great for the most part and there seems to be no real clear dominating thing here other than the fact that Tinker is popular.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Goblins 1st grumsh
Grixis Tinker 2nd ReneRandrup
Breach 3rd sixmp
Doomsday 4th discoverN
UR Tempo 5th TeamLeaderNA
Esper Tinker 6th Murkyblack11
Paradoxical Outcome 7th L4rrs0n
Doomsday 8th Clone9

Since we already discussed the winner as the main focus of today's article here on Goblins, let's move down to the other Finalist in this event on Grixis Tinker.

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Grixis has been one of the more go-to color variations of the Tinker shells as of late, due to the leverage that cards like Pyroblast and Dack Fayden provides to the strategy. Dack Fayden interacting well with Hullbreacher by making your opponent discard cards to gain Treasures is also very strong.

Also in this Top 8 we had a UR Tempo variant.

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Seeing Fury outside of Bazaar strategies is super cool honestly. I believe the card is really strong and definitely deserves to see more play.

At the bottom of this Top 8 we had some PO action.

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This feels a lot more like an older classic PO list, since it isn't running Urza's Saga like a lot of those lists are these days. This is definitely more of the classic "beat down with Mentor" win condition variant, which is super sweet to see.

Vintage Challenge 2/20

Our second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event, which had 53 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Fair amount more of Blue Tinker shells with a better win rate this go around (as it put up multiples in the Top 8 of the event). Doomsday and 8Cast did well, while Prison Shops and Mono White did very poor.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Aggro Shops 1st WhiTe TsaR
Grixis Tinker 2nd Kenzaburo
Doomsday 3rd SingPanMan
Esper Tinker 4th burrarun
Doomsday 5th discoverN
Esper Tinker 6th JUJUBEAN__2004
Doomsday 7th Vertyx_
Esper Tinker 8th Zar0s

A lot of Tinker in this Top 8 for sure, mixed in with Doomsday. However, at the end of the event it was Aggro Shops that raced across the finish line to win it all.

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Shops can often just continue to be the powerhouse it is, punching its way to victory at every little aspect of the format. The deck just continues to have that kind of staying power. Whether that will continue as time goes on and more decks look at card like Boseiju is another story, but for now, it's kicking some butt.

The Second Place finalist was on Grixis Tinker.

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This version opted for zero copies of Hullbreacher which has been the norm for stuff like more Ragavan and Sphinx of the Steel Wind as a main deck Tinker target. Definitely a powerful strategy to be on right now.

Also in this Top 8 besides all the Tinker we had some Doomsday. Let's take a look at the best placing list.

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It's interesting to see a copy of a shock land here, but honestly it makes sense as a fifth copy essentially of Underground Sea to ensure having U/B on Turn 1 for either a cantrip or Dark Ritual into Doomsday. Strong reasoning all around there.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 League lists here.

Brian Kelly is out here challenging Reality itself with The Reality Chip

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I have not seen Dredge with actual mana in a LONG time. Ruric Thar, the Unbowed?!?!

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This Lands list is pretty sweet. Wish there was some Boseiju action to abuse with Wrenn and Six though.

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Proof that just about anything is playable in this format. Phyrexian Obliterator, everyone.

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What I'm Playing This Week

I'm recording another Vintage video this week, this time on the Riddlesmith + Containment Construct deck. This deck is pretty sweet.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for your continued support of the column and join me next week as we continue our journey into Vintage!

As always you can reach me at Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!

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