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Vintage 101: The Leader of the Goblins

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're diving into the deep end by taking a look at a reappearing strategy in Vintage with the small resurgence of Vintage Goblins. This deck has received some love this past year so it's great to see. We've also got two Challenges worth to look at from this past weekend and of course, our Spice Corner.

Also just a reminder that again there is the Vintage Showcase Challenge this weekend and a Vintage PTQ Qualifier event coming up soon as well, so if this is something you're interested in, you might just want to check out this article from the mothership, as All Access Mythic Tokens are back in the MTGO store (at $25) to access every card on Magic Online for two weeks (access ends on Wednesday January 27th). If you want to check out Vintage on Magic Online this is a GREAT way to do so.

I am also pushing back my Kaldheim set review to at least next week so that we have more of the set, as I haven't really seen much for Vintage play yet.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

A Bunch of Little Green Monsters

One interesting development in the past few months has been the resurgence of an archetype that had mostly dropped off the map since the olden days of the Vintage format and that is Goblins. Goblins definitely used to be a thing back in the day but had become eclipsed by the general power level of the format.

Now however, Goblins are back on the menu, thanks to two key printings from this past year, and also thanks to the ongoing efforts by several high profile Legacy Goblins players like Eli Goings (GoblinLackey1). Speaking of Eli, he wrote a great guide on this deck via his Patreon. While this guide does require a pledge to Eli's Patreon, it is definitely worth it if you are interested in playing this deck.

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Snoop and Muxus provide two different powerful angles of attack for the deck, turning it from a simple aggressive strategy into an aggressive strategy with a combo kill, one that is much easier to pull off in Vintage thanks to the presence of a card that is banned in the Legacy format in Goblin Recruiter.

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With a Conspicuous Snoop in play, Goblin Recruiter goes and locates Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker which in turn gives the Snoop the ability to make a copy of itself. Each new copy has haste and can therefore make more copies of itself. Eventually you get enough copies in play to then finish the chain by copying Goblin Recruiter once more to put Sling-Gang Lieutenant on top of the library to then sacrifice all your new Goblin friends to kill your opponent.

Sound like fun? Let's take a look at the list.

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We haven't done one of these in a while, so let's break down this list into a few key categories so we can understand it better.

Artifact / Fast Mana

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As with any Vintage deck, fast artifact mana is important, and as such it's no surprise that we see both Power pieces of Lotus + Mox Ruby here. The off color Moxen are often very awkward to have in a deck like this that is so predominantly red, that even Mox Jet isn't making the cut. However, Chrome Mox fills the void just nicely because of being able to help push out something like an early Muxus. In addition to artifact mana, the deck also has some additional sources of fast mana in Simian Spirit Guide, which is basically a Lotus Petal effect for red mana in this deck.

Skirk Prospector is another source of fast mana for the deck, one that functions off the back of turning its own creatures into mana, but this can very easily be used to power out a Muxus or something similar.


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Just being all in on Goblins isn't always going to make every game easy. There definitely needs to be some form of disruption, and both Chalice/Thorn are good restricted cards for that reason alone since even playing Chalice on 1 allows this deck to get around that with Cavern of Souls. Misstep is an easy restricted include, as is Strip Mine for dealing with things like pesky Tabernacles, Bazaars, you name it.

Tutor Package

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Both Recruiter and Matron serve the purposes of being able to help the deck tutor up what it needs. The power level of Goblin Recruiter is pretty amazing, but thankfully the piles don't need to be insane for it to work well (you're typically never getting the entirety of your deck with this for example).

The Combo

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As noted, the combo kill doesn't take up a ton of space, outside of Snoop being a 4x card because of how powerful it is. Torch Courier seems like an odd inclusion, but it is necessary often to enable a same turn kill by being able to cast both Snoop + Recruiter in a single turn to pile with Courier/Kiki-Jiki on top and then cast it to give Snoop haste. This enables a lot of the very aggressive combo lines and seems like a completely necessary part of the combo. Unfortunately for this deck, the deck has no way of putting something back on top of the library really if one of the combo pieces (for example the 1-of Kiki-Jiki) are drawn, but those moments are fairly uncommon.


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Goblins are of course the bread and butter of this deck so there are a bunch of them to talk about. The big ones are the two that can put a Goblin directly into play from hand in Goblin Lackey and Warren Instigator. Both of these of course are made insanely better when putting a Muxus on the table, and Lackey combined with Torch Courier can easily put down a Turn 1 Muxus.

Muxus itself is absurdly powerful, and many decks are simply unprepared for the fact that Muxus can put down a lot of creatures into play and almost always end the game on the spot.

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Cratermaker and Trashmaster are powerful utility cards, especially in a format driven by artifact mana and the presence of Mishra's Workshop decks. Turning your field into a Shatter effect is incredibly strong overall. Cratermaker has the ability to also destroy certain cards like Emrakul, but it can also be used to remove pesky artifact mana too.

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Both of these Goblins are further utility, with Earwig Squad acting as a bit of a Slaughter Games type effect that gets rid of cards in an opponent's library. It's pretty easy overall to trigger being able to pay for Prowl, so this is very strong in certain matchups. Munitions Expert is also very strong versus other creature based decks but also mainly against Planeswalkers. The fact that it has Flash is what makes it so very strong.

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These creatures are on the aggressive end of the deck, as Warchief off Muxus can occasionally win the game on the spot by enabling haste, while Piledriver having protection from blue is highly relevant in a format where things like Oko, Thief of Crowns exists.

The Revenge of the Gobbos

This deck is certainly fun, and is definitely a deck I'd recommend to anyone wanting an interesting and unique experience on Magic Online right now. It has a very good Bazaar of Baghdad matchup, and can is strong and proactive and pretty easy to pick up and learn well.

Vintage Challenge 1/9

Our first Challenge of the weekend on Saturday had 93 players in it, thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord and their data collection. This is a pretty staggering amount of players, which can directly be correlated to people playing in the ManaTraders Qualifier phase.

Let's take a look at the overall metagame!

It's pretty clear just how popular Breach decks are in the current format. This is a deck that has been building steam for a while, and not only did it have quite a metagame presence out of 93 players, it also converted exceptionally well to the Top 8 of the event. There was however a decent smattering of a bunch of other decks, and despite the massive amount of Breach things seem to still look pretty good at the moment.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st Sprouts
Breach 2nd moatzu
Death's Shadow 3rd TrueHero
Breach 4th s063
Breach 5th UnbanLurrus
Dredge 6th cariollins
Hullbreacher Control 7th Phill_Hellmuth
4C Midrange 8th nathansteuer

As noted, Breach converted very well to the Top 8, putting 3 pilots into the Top 8 overall, along with some other Midrange/Control variants, and even a Death's Shadow deck! At the end of the event however, it was a BUG vs Breach battle with BUG taking the win.

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Main deck Hullbreacher here doesn't seem that out of place, given how powerful the card is. The interesting thing here is the additions of Daze and Mystic Sanctuary which is really cool. Also main deck Grafdigger's Cage even as a one-of seems pretty brutal in certain matchups.

The Second Place finalist of this event was a Breach deck, so let's take a look.

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The white splash here is furthered just a tad by the inclusion of Teferi, Time Raveler in the mix, but the primary creature win condition is still just Monastery Mentor. Breach is certainly an archetype to keep an eye on, as while the deck is certainly beatable, it's quite interesting how much the deck has built in popularity over the past few months to this point.

Also in the Top 8 we had a showing by TrueHero on Death's Shadow, an archetype that they're well known for promoting.

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This list looks like a lot of fun as a more tempo-based blue control variant. Again we see some main deck Hullbreacher action, a choice that doesn't really overtly surprise me much.

Further down the Top 8 we had a showing by Hullbreacher Control.

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Phill_Hellmuth has been on this list for a while and it always looks like an interesting take on the Grixis Breacher variants. Having Urza as a mana sink post Hullbreacher / Wheel effect is incredibly strong, and of course, the old Tinker/Bolas's Citadel combination is exceptional.

Outside of the Top 8 we saw the Bant Midrange deck that we've been seeing in the Challenges for a little bit as well.

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This list is certainly intriguing and I'm tempted to try it myself. It has a lot of powerful things to do and gets to run some really strong hatebear effects at the same time.

Vintage Challenge 1/10

Our second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event with 63 players overall. Unfortunately, we didn't get any decklists for this event, as Wizards must have had a glitch or something that prevented them from being published. We can still take a look however at the overall metagame breakdown.

Dredge and Breach again were popular, but it was Bazaar variants overall in this event that were exceptionally popular. Still, Breach again did very well here, and still converted highly into the Top 8, which we'll look at here.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Golos Combo Shops 1st bennybo
DPS 2nd ikashy
Hogaak 3rd MadMaxErnst
Breach 4th Ekeross
Hogaak 5th MattoMarinajo
Breach 6th Ennuixd
Breach 7th DiscoverN
Blue Moon 8th Aylett

Triple Breach again in this Top 8, along with Hogaak and some Shops action. It was indeed Shops that took it down at the end, in the more combo heavy version with Helm of Obedience kill. The second-place finalist was DPS in what is pretty much a classic Combo vs Prison matchup.

As noted before unfortunately we don't have any lists, but this seemed like an interesting event with some interesting sounding decks in it for sure.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Justin Gennari posted a video on various decks he played in the ManaTraders Qualifier period. You can check that out here.
  • Andrea Mengucci posted a CFB video on playing in a Vintage Challenge! Check that out here.
  • Bryant Cook posted a video on a Vintage Prelim run with Underworld Outcome. Check that out here.

The Spice Corner

Rainbow Depths Tom Hepp style in Vintage is pretty sweet to see.

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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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