Pro-Tour Goblins: First Place at the Legacy PTQ, Grand Prix Bologna with Legacy Goblins

Hello you bunch of beautiful people! My name is Marcelo Scatena and my aim is to bring joy to the world by beating everyone with Goblins! I have been playing the tribe since before my first tournament in 2007, but started playing Magic around Homelands in 1995. I love Goblins because of its flexibility and its ability to change roles against different archetypes even mid-game as well it’s its ability to overall adapt to toxic and hateful metagames. The reason I’m here is to talk about my recent PTQ win in Bologna, going 9-0 against a field full of Plague Engineers!

For quite a long time now, I’ve been a supporter of the idea that, if you want to do well in an unfair environment, you need to do unfair things to win. (Note from the editor: true. That’s why I stopped playing Goblins!) Goblins has a few ways of doing unfair things, which are Black Lotusing in your Ancestral Recall on legs (Lackeying in a Ringleader), or destroying your opponents manabase while cheating creatures in freely from Aether Vial. These synergies can take time to set up and are easily disrupted or simply ignored by other archetypes. That’s why for the recent past I’ve been playing a more “Stompy”-esque manabase with lots of fast mana, and disruption maindeck. This strategy worked out fine for a while. You get a lot of free wins by playing a Chalice of the Void on 1 turn one, or going Goblin Rabblemaster into Ringleader, but in a slower environment (like the meta has been post Wrenn and Six ban) it becomes harder to get those free wins.

The weekend before GP Bologna, I played Goblins at MKM Prague. This is the list I registered:

  • 9 Mountains
  • 4 Cavern of Souls
  • 3 Ancient Tomb
  • 3 Chrome Mox
  • 4 Aether Vial
  • 4 Goblin Lackey
  • 4 Chalice of the Void
  • 4 Warren Instigator
  • 3 Goblin Cratermaker
  • 2 Grenzo, Havoc Raiser
  • 1 Stingscourger
  • 4 Goblin Matron
  • 2 Goblin Chieftain
  • 3 Goblin Rabblemaster
  • 1 Pasalik Mons
  • 1 Goblin Chainwhirler
  • 4 Goblin Ringleader
  • 1 Goblin Trashmaster
  • 1 Lightning Crafter
  • 1 Goblin Settler
  • 1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirrorbreaker
  • Sideboard:
  • 4 Leyline of the Void
  • 2 Mindbreak Trap
  • 2 Ensnaring Bridge
  • 1 Pithing Needle
  • 1 Sorcerous Spyglass
  • 1 Phyrexian Revoker
  • 2 Pyrokinesis
  • 1 Karakas
  • 1 Goblin Assassin

MKM Side-Event

R1 – Lands

Game 1 I’m on the play and win the die roll. I win on a mull to 5 and on turn 3, going turn 1 Rabblemaster, turn 2 Rabblemaster.

Game 2 I messed up 3 Instigator triggers and left them at 1 life when they should’ve died.

1-2 Loss.

0-1 Overall

R2 – Tezzerator 2-0

Game 1: I win the die roll and mull to 6. Turn 1 Rabblemaster, Turn 2 Trashmaster.

Game 2: I mull to 5, but turn 1 Instigator, turn 2 Ringleader values them out.

2-0 Win
1-1 Overall

R3 – Storm

Game 1: They thoughtseize my T1 Chalice, but I have the Settler/Kiki lock by turn 2, and kill them on turn 4.

Game 3: Leyline T0, Rabblemaster turn 1 and Settler turn 2 prompts a scoop.

2-1 Win
2-1 Overall

R4 – Miracles

(Note from the editor: Marcelo didn’t bother to write anything here. L O L )

2-0 Win
3-1 overall
A quick 3-1 gets me a bye for the main event the following day:

MKM Prague

Round 1: Bye
Round 2: UR Delver
Goblin Assassin kills 2 True-Name Nemesis and makes me happy.

2-0 Win
2-0 Overall

Round 3: Miracles

Grenzo gives me 2 Ponders and a Portent, making me happy.

2-0 Win
3-0 Overall

Round 4: Sneak and Show

I mulligan to 4 in both games, keeping bad hands.

0-2 Loss
3-1 Overall

Round 5: BUG Oko

Too many Plague Engineers game 2, and too many lands game 3.
1-2 Loss
3-2 Overall

Round 6: Merfolk

Ensnaring Bridge + Lightning Crafter actually won game 2, which made me happy.

2-1 Win
4-2 Overall

Round 7: Storm

You’re gonna start seeing a trend against Storm here, which makes me happy.

2-0 Win
5-2 Overall

Round 8: UR Delver

Bad mulligans and sometimes you just lose to Arcanist plus disruption.

0-2 Loss
5-3 Overall

Round 9: Storm

Yes, still happy.

2-0

6-3 overall

(9-4 at MKM Prague events)

For Bologna I was not super happy with the list. The mulligans had been brutal, and I had missed Wasteland. I made some slight tweaks to the decklist and went to play the first Legacy PTQ Friday.

Legacy PTQ – GP Bologna

Round 1: BUG Oko

I win on mulligans to 6 and 5, beating a few Plague Engineers in the process

2-0 Win
1-0 Overall

Round 2: RB Reanimator

Game 2 is funny because we both mulligan to 4, but I do my thing before he does his thing. Game 3 Leyline of the Void wins the game.

2-1 Win
2-0 Overall

Round 3: UWR Delver

2-1 Win
3-0 Overall

Round 4: BUG Delver

Opponent flooded both games while I killed his one threat and played my cards.

2-0 Win
4-0 Overall

Round 5: UR Delver

My game 2 Lackey manages to connect on my mull to 4 and somehow win the game.

Game 3 I was stuck on two lands forever
1-2 Loss
4-1 Overall

Round 6: Painter

We traded the first two games.

Game 3 I got two Instigators to connect after topdecking a Matron. Matron chaining into Trashmaster is just brilliant against Painter.

2-1 Win
5-1 Overall

(14-5 total)

This prompted me two Byes at the GP, which went as follows:

GP BOLOGNA

Round 1: Bye
Round 2: Bye
Round 3: Bye (I mean, BUG Oko)
This matchup is just that good. Won on mulligans to 6 and 5. Pashalik Moons pulled a lot of weight here.

2-0 Win
3-0 Overall

Round 4: BUG Delver 0-2

Game 1 I mull to 4 and don’t do much.
Game 2 my 3rd land is Wastelanded twice and I cannot play magic as well as my opponent.

0-2 Loss

3-1 Overall

Round 5: Mono-U Omnitell

Game 1 I die turn 4 having cast a Thorn of Amethyst turn 1. Game 2 I die turn 2. Not Happy.

0-2 Loss
3-2 Overall

Round 6: Sneak and Show

Game 3 is interesting because I get the kill by sacrificing three of my Goblins with Trashmaster to destroy my own Thorn (holding priority) just to trigger Pashalik Mons 3 times. Made me happy.

2-1 Win
4-2 Overall

Round 7: Turbo Depths

They kill me game 1 by turn 3 with 3 protection spells. Magic is great.

0-2 Loss
4-3 Overall

Round 8: UR Delver

A quick loss, giving me a 0-3 record in matches against UR…

1-2 Loss
4-4 Overall

(18-9)

These results made me quite disheartened. I knew that this version of the deck was quite high variance, but the variance hadn’t struck this badly before. So with just one more tournament to go, I wanted to try something else. So what to do? Drink a lot.

On Saturday we went out for dinner and a lot of booze with some friends from London.

I ended up registering for the PTQ at 3:10am… I woke up at 8.00am and decided I needed to find something new to play. Lucky I’ve met Miquez Hadley, the true goblin master, one of only three people in the world to make day 2 of the last three Legacy GPs and with Goblins no less. Of course he was the only Goblins player out of 17 players to Day 2 Bologna. With the wonders of modern technology, I found his list. I quite liked it and copied the bulk of it, changing 3 cards overall:

Sunday Legacy PTQ Bologna:

Badboys

  • 4 Wasteland
  • 3 Rishadan Port
  • 1 Ancient Tomb
  • 4 Cavern of Souls
  • 4 Mountain
  • 2 Scalding Tarn
  • 2 Bloodstained Mire
  • 1 Wooded Foothills
  • 3 Badlands
  • 4 Aether Vial
  • 4 Goblin Lackey
  • 1 Skirk Prospector
  • 3 Goblin Cratermaker
  • 2 Goblin Piledriver
  • 2 Mogg War Marshal
  • 2 Munitions Expert
  • 1 Stingscourger
  • 2 Gempalm Incinerator
  • 4 Goblin Matron
  • 2 Goblin Chieftain
  • 1 Goblin Warchief
  • 1 Goblin Sharpshooter
  • 4 Goblin Ringleader
  • 2 Sling-Gang Lieutenant
  • 1 Goblin Trashmaster
  • 1 Krenko, Mob Boss
  • Sideboard:
  • 2 Pyroblast
  • 1 Tormod’s Crypt
  • 1 Relic of Progenitus
  • 1 Surgical Extraction
  • 1 Thorn of Amethyst
  • 1 Chalice of the Void
  • 1 Mindbreak Trap
  • 1 Goblin Chainwhirler
  • 1 Earwig Squad
  • 1 Tarfire
  • 1 Plague Engineer
  • 1 Magmatic Sinkhole
  • 1 Pithing Needle
  • 1 Karakas

First, the big elephant in the room: this is a 61 card deck. This issue has been discussed many times in the Goblins community and in many other places throughout magic history. Some pilots, including myself, are fine with running 61 in a deck like goblins and for a few different reasons:

  • The percentage difference of finding one of your important four-ofs in your opener (Lackey/Vial) goes from 39.9% in a 60 card deck to 39.4% in a 61 card deck. Though the percentage does matter, the payoff outweighs it in my opinion.
  • Goblins is a fairly consistent deck, but we do run a high number of 1ofs. This list runs six singletons and a few 2 ofs. If I were to cut any of those, the deck would lose percentages against different archetypes and be less flexible.
  • We play 4 Goblin Matron and 4 Goblin Ringleader, so not only do we get to tutor for our singletons but we also have a decent chance of finding them during games.
  • I really dislike the 15 red sources manabase that lots of goblins players run, and want to increase the deck’s consistency by playing more lands and having more red sources, while not trimming on creatures.

For me, deciding whether to play 61 or 60 is a matter of deciding if the worst card is bad enough that it deserves the trim, or if it’s going to win you more games by being in your deck.

Deck Tech:

The manabase:

The mana base is where I’ve made two changes from Hadley’s list. I’ve added a 3rd Badlands and cut a Rishadan Port for an Ancient Tomb. As mentioned, I really dislike the 23 lands manabase with 8 non-coloured mana lands. Goblins is very mana hungry, and often red mana hungry. Skirk Prospector helps with that a bit, but consistently hitting your mana is very important to me, hence the 24th land. Cutting down on colourless lands is an option as well, but both Rishadan Port and Wasteland are really in a good spot right now with the format having slowed down.

People are playing with three mana Planeswalkers, even in their Delver decks and so having a one drop into Port is always a decent play. There are reasons why I’m not on 4 Ports though. They’re not great in multiples if you actually need to cast your spells, and you need to be ahead to profitably start using Port. Your two mana investment needs to be at a lower cost than the one mana your opponent is being being deprived of – that’s not always a given.

Rather than running four of those, I decided to trim one to run a Ancient Tomb, a card that helps you get ahead on board, whether it’s by casting a turn three Ringleader, casting and activating Cratermaker on turn 2 or what have you. The life loss can be a real hinderance though, but this is usually mitigated by the fact that you can take control of the board faster, saving life that way, or killing your opponent faster.

Notable absences from this list that I’m used to playing are: Basic Swamp, Volrath’s Stronghold and Karakas.

Swamp is great because it allows you to cast Munitions Expert earlier while not opening yourself up to being Wastelanded out early on. Unfortunately it’s not a Red source, and the other colourless lands are in a too good of a position right now to cut. Stronghold is an amazing late game tool, but we’re already crushing those matchups for now.

Karakas itself a slot in the sideboard because, even though it is great against Show and Tell, Reanimator and Depths, again, Wastelands and Ports are better being in the maindeck right now.

Creatures

2 Mogg War Marshal and 2 Piledrivers

Mogg War Marshal is one of the best cards in the deck, creating board presence while being great against removal. The high number of Plague Engineers running around can make this card a bit awkward though, making Cratermaker the preferred 2 drop in the list.

Piledriver is a good boy. He swings and he doesn’t care about Snapcaster, Strix, Coatl, Drown in Loch and many other cards. The problem again is Plague Engineer because the effect makes it hard to create a big board presence which is what’s needed to make Piledriver scary. Also, by playing a reduced number of Warchiefs, Piledriver does lose a bit of power [because you can’t just blitzkrieg them with hasty and cheap boiz from outta nowhere].

2 Munitions Expert and 2 Gempalm Incinerator

Ever since Modern Horizons came out, I have been in love with Expert. The extra damage it deals compared to Incinerator is very valuable. Many key-cards in the format have a toughness of two, which means an Expert on turn 2 can get rid of a Stoneforge or a flipped Delver if you have another goblin in play. He also makes combat maths very interesting, and the ability to target Planeswalkers comes in handy every few games. The downsides here are that it require’s black to play it, so given a no Basic Swamp manabase, you need to open up yourself to Wasteland to play it. Gempalm on the other hand doesn’t. The card-draw aspect of Gempalm Incinerator is also very relevant and preferable in many situations.

2 Goblin Chieftain and 1 Goblin Warchief

Goblin Warchief has for ages been the backbone of Goblins. It’s still a great card and wins many, many games. Given the number of Plague Engineers though, and the increased difficulty to play to the board, Warchief loses some of its appeal. Lords in general lose their appeal, since they pair so badly against some of the new cards like Dreadhoard Arcanist, hence only three lords in total. I think this list is not a great lord list, but we need to make some allowances. Chieftain into a Munitions Expert kills a Plague Engineer. That’s important. Chieftain + Mogg War Marshal or Piledriver kill Oko. That’s also important. Keeping in mind I didn’t design the decklist, the reasoning for this 2/1 lord split is that this split helps you beat the common problems Goblin faces in Oko and Plague Engineer.

2 Sling-Gang Lieutenant

This card is brilliant. Two copies are definitely correct. On the surface it doesn’t seem all that great, but the sheer amount of games it just wins is uncanny.

I’ll just list a few things it can help you pull off:

Turn 3 kill with Lackey Turn 1, Piledriver turn 2;

Survive 1 extra turn against Depths so you can bounce their 20/20 with Stingscourger or kill them on the swing back;

Make your Storm opponent have to have 2-3 extra storm to kill you, while also not being able to go too low in life with Ad-Nauseam;

Helps when racing against Delver, Burn or True-Name Nemesis strategies;

Bypasses cards like Glacial Chasm, Energy Field, Worship etc;

It’s a maindeck Black creature to “get” your Death and Taxes opponent with when they equip their Sword of Fire and Ice to a creature they are 100% sure will connect.

1 Goblin Sharpshooter and 1 Krenko, Mob Boss

These are the two biggest question marks in the list for me. I decided to play the list as it was, and it definitely paid off. Goblin Sharpshooter is almost always worse than Pashalik Mons in this. Running just three haste lords makes Sharpshooter worse. Plague Engineer and Delver make Sharpshooter worse. The influx of Death and Taxes make it better, but I’m not sure it’s a good enough reason to run it. The synergy with Sling-Gang is also more easily assembled with Pashalik Mons, since it doesn’t requires it to survive a turn or have haste.

Krenko is a card I really like, and it’s really good in a deck with 2 Sling-Gangs, Prospector and haste lords. The amount of times I wanted to search for it during the PTQ was exactly zero though, and the one game where it gave me the win, a ham sandwich would have done the same. The fact that it is not great against Death and Taxes and Delver decks speak a lot about how I feel as well.

Sideboard

Though the sideboard is essentially a bunch of singletons in a deck with no cantrips, believe me, it makes sense. My changes here were removing the 2nd Stingscourger and Pyrokinesis for 1 Tarfire and 1 Chainwhirler.

Combo decks are covered by Thorn, Trap, Chalice, then either grave hate or Karakas and Earwig Squad.

Pyroblast and Squad fight against control strategies.

Tarfire and Whirler can come in against most creature matchups without diluting the deck, which is important because of Ringleader.

Needle overlaps against several strategies, such as SnT, DnT, maverick, Depths and more. Then we have one Plague Engineer, which though I like find unnecessary, and one Magmatic Sinkhole, which can come in against Angler and Goyf decks, while also being good against Jace, Liliana the last Hope and Dreadhorde Arcanist.

PTQ

Round 1: BUG Delver

Game 1 I’m on the draw and keep a solid 2x Vial, Lackey, Ringleader, Matron, Mountain, Wasteland hand. One vial is Forced, one is Decayed, Lackey is pushed, Delver eats me.

Game 2 my opponent has a turn 1 Delver into a turn 2 cantrip. I managed to kill the Delver with Expert and Mogg War Marshall. They all died to a turn 3 Engineer. A Cratermaker deals with the Engineer the next turn. On turn 4 he Thoughtseizes me, taking my only business spell. He doesn’t play a fourth land. By my fifth turn I have couple Port and a Wasteland and I stop him from playing Magic.

Game 3 is hard. I mulligan to six cards keeping Pyroblast, Cratermaker, Mountain, Wasteland, 2x Fetch. My opponent mulligans to 5 and leads with a Ponders into a shuffle.

The next turn he ponders again and I fire off the Pyroblast, which meets Daze. Then I play Cratermaker. He plays Tarmogoyf. I draw a 2nd Pyroblast and play a Lackey. He makes a really scary play of wasting my wasteland. I waste his Tropical in response. He Hydroblasts my Lackey in response. I have red mana available and tank. I can get so blown out by a Daze…I decide to just say “screw it” and blast back. He doesn’t have the Daze and this means the Goyf has to stay back to block and my opponent is now down 2 lands. My next turn I have Matron and Gempalm in hand so I decide to go for Mogg War Marshall to widen the board to kill Goyf. He plays an Angler and starts swinging. My board is Crater, Lackey, matron, mwm and a token, but I pass the turn with Gempalm mana open, not cycling just yet to not be blown out by removal. On my turn I Gempalm the Angler, drawing another Gempalm and swing, killing Goyf with the 2nd Gempalm. He can’t recover.

2-1 Win
Record: 1-0

Round 2: Manaless Dredge

Game 1 is where I’m happy Sharpshooter stayed in. I lead off with a Lackey. My opponent spends his turn discarding Phantasmagorian. Lackey connects. In hand I have Sharpshooter, Munitions Expert, Mogg War Marshal, Goblin Chieftain and 2 other lands. I decide to drop Shooter in and pass the turn.

My opponent discards 6 cards to Phantasmagorian and dredges 6, although doesn’t find any copies of Bridge From Below or Cabal Therapy. He does however mill over a Narcomoeba and a Prized Amalgam, which I kill with Munitions Expert. Sharpshooter eats Narcomoeba in my turn.

I draw a land for my turn but decide not to play chieftain, valuing kill my own creatures over racing, so I drop a Mogg War Marshall in and pass the turn.

He gets Ichorid, then dredges finding Narcomoeba, Cabal therapy and Bridge from Below. In his upkeep I kill a Mogg War Marshal with Sharpshooter to remove Bridge then kill both his creatures with Sharpshooter. On my turn I cast the chieftain and swing for 10, pulling the trigger at this moment because I’m presenting lethal on the next turn. He can’t handle it.

Game 2 I mull to 5 keeping Lackey, Badlands, Warchief, Needle and Crypt, shipping Piledriver and War Marshall.

The decisions for the first turn are hard already. Do I really want to play both my Artifacts against the Force of Vigor deck? Probably not. I also need to get a clock going, so Lackey + Crypt it is. He discards Stinkweed Imp. I draw a Mogg War Marshall and Tank. Do I fire crypt? Do I play needle? Do I get Warchief down and play Mwm? Damn magic is hard… I attack first (in case of a Street Wraith). No blocks, Warchief comes down. Now what? I decide to Crypt. My opponent responds with Once Upon a Time… but doesn’t find Wraith.

Here I think I should have played Needle and name Phantasmagorian so he’s stuck with slow dredging. I instead play Mogg War Marshall and pass. He discards Phantasmagorian. I draw Piledriver. Screw it. Play and swing. He discards a bunch of cards, then cycles Wraith (found it drawstep). No blocks. Next turn he dredges and get some stuff going, but he’s missing 1 card to win; either a 2nd bridge or 2nd Narco or Ichorid would have done it. He has to pass the turn and I have exactly lethal.

2-0 Win
Record: 2-0

Round 3: Miracles 2-1

Game 1 they Force a Vial but I have the second which sticks. I didn’t take notes of the game actions but I remember that they were really hard.

I know that on turn five they cast a Jacet with a fetchland up, after having cast a Mentor on the previous turn.

I had War Marshal + token on board, Wasteland up, vial at 2 and Expert in hand. In his endstep I Wasteland his fetch, which he cracks in response, to which I Vial in Expert in response, killing Jace. On my turn I draw a Matron which gets a Gempalm Incinerator to cycle through the Mentor, and I won from there.

My only recollection of game 2 is that 2 mentors kill me.

As we start game 3, the aforementioned Goblins Master Miquez Hadley sits next to me and starts taking notes. Damn, the pressure is on!

I make my first mistake on turn 2. I cast Vial on my first turn which was Pithing Needled on their second turn. On my second turn I choose to not cast War Marshall and instead to just  I pass with Rishadan Port up. Even if War Marshall is only a small clock, I needed to be applying some pressure.

In hand I have a 2nd Port, Ancient Tomb and more lands alongside Goblin Warchief and Goblin Ringleader. I don’t have a Cavern of Souls to force the cards through though. I remember wastelanding another fetchland in this game, which my opponent let resolve, because he was Predicting himself and had just Brainstorme. I remember Pyroblasting a Snapcaster and Sinkholing another one just to keep chipping away.

Another interesting decision was by turn 6 I think, I cast Ringleader instead of Warchief, my only other goblin, which got countered. I went for Ringleader because I thought I would value the reducing and haste effects of the Warchief later in the game for a burst of damage. This was probably a mistake since card advantage is more important overall.

We went to turns when he was at 4 life. My turn one was swinging with two tokens and resolving thorn. They cantrip and play mentor on their 2nd extra turn. My third extra turn I brick and just swing to take them to 1. They cantrip and pass with 2 mana open. I have 7 mana total thanks to Ancient Tomb. Last chance to get there. Draw. Matron. Geez. Matron? Resolves. Get Sling-Gang Lieutenant? Resolves. Phew…

2-1 Win
Record: 3-0

Round 4: Storm

Game 1 they brainstorm with a Lotus Petal and don’t find land or LED to kill me. I kill them in 4 turns.

Game 2 I go to 5 keeping Wasteland, fetch, Mountain, Matron, Pyroblast. They cantrip on their first turn. I draw a Mountain and Waste them.  They play a basic. I play a mountain and pass. They play a land and pass, so do I. On their turn they Petal, LED, then Chain of Vapour their own Petal. I blast it. They proceed to make 14 Goblins. Cute. [Note from the editor: I bet some mouthbreather made the comment of “who’s the real Goblin deck now huhhhh”]  I Matron for Chainwhirler and win the game a few turns afterwards.

2-0 Win (told ya)
Record: 4-0

Round 5 Bant Miracles

Game 1 my Vial sticks, Wasteland and Port slow him down and a bunch of Ringleaders go to town.

Game 2 They cast an Astrolabe, then a cantrip, but are stuck on 2 lands. I Port every turn and Vial wins again.

2-0 Win
Record: 5-0

Round 6 Lands

My opponent is really nice and had told me in the last round that he loves goblins. It makes me less nervous to play. I’m tired as hell, but no, I don’t want to ID.

Game 1 I’m on the play and keep a six of Vial, Lackey, Crater, Mwm, Stingscourger, Mountain. He’s kept a slow hand and plays a land and passes the turn. I draw Port and use it. He plays a land and passes and I vial in a Lackey. Lackey connects for Cratermaker. He plays a Library. Lackey connects again for nothing. I’m feeling good with Vial at two and a Stingscourger in hand. They do something mostly irrelevant and I manage to topdeck a Sling-Gang, so Lackey connects again, and end of turn I vial in Sling and attack and drain for exact lethal.

Game 2 is a lot harder than Game 1 and I feel like I could’ve lost had my opponent played differently. They have Reclaimer and I have Lackey, 2xPort, Waste, 2xMountain, Matron. After seeing Lackey they Gamble for Punishing Fire. My turn 2 is Port. They kill Lackey and play 2 Mox Diamonds, going to 1 card. This is just great for me, since I Matron for Trashmaster, which not only survives and makes all my X/2s survive Fire, it also can destroy 2 out of their 4 mana sources. Luckily they don’t feel like disrupting my manabase, so I Trashmaster their mana. The game is more complicated than that, involving Relic, Glacial Chasm and more, but they don’t have Loam/Exploration or enough mana for a kill, and I have 2x Ports, so eventually they go low enough that Sling-Gang is lethal.
2-0 Win
Record: 6-0 through the Swiss!

QuarterFinals: Bug Delver

Game 1 we both go to 6. My Vial sticks, but my opponent has a great start of his own, curving Delver into Hymn. Luckily Cratermaker remains and I use it to kill his Delver. I get out a Mogg War Marshal before I get Hymned again, going to zero cards. I only draw small creatures from hereon, but no card advantage Goblins. My opponent can only find removal though, and his life slowly, but surely, gets chipped down to zero.

For Game 2 we both keep our opening seven and I have lands, Relic, Vial and War Marshal. I value Relic more than Vial here, because not only do I have lands, but because it can help shrink their threats and prevent Gurmag from coming down. It’s also an onboard cantrip which is nice. My Vial is decayed, I play a Relic, they play a Goyf. I take a few hits before casting a creature, and here I purposely don’t play my Badlands on turn 4 because it’s my only Black source for the Munitions Expert I have in hand that I want to use to kill the Goyf.

My opponent cantrips and plays a 2nd Goyf, tapping out to do so. I see the opening and crack Relic, untap and have the following: 4 lands in play with Cratermaker, Mwm, Expert, Gempalm in hand. Opponent has two cards. I’m at 7, they’re at 17. I think the optimal line here would be to War Marshal then Gempalm. If they have Force for the Marshal I can Flash in Expert to kill Goyf. I decided to Cratermaker though. So one Goyf dies to Gempalm and I draw a second one, but on their turn they cantrip, cast a Hexdrinker, Fatally Push Cratermaker and level up twice, tapping out and being hellbent. I go to 3 life. Unfortunately I can’t quite kill Goyf, so am stuck chumpblocking it and kill the Hexdrinker instead. I topdeck Ringleader and think ok, I’m good… or perhaps not as I put four lands on the bottom of my deck. I chump again. I topdeck Sling-Gang and start draining. I draw another War Marshal so I can start swinging a bit. They only have Decay and Push as removal so Sling stays on board. A few more goblins are thrown at them and they eventually die.

2-0 Win
Record: 7-0

Semifinals: Death and Taxes

Game 1 I lead with Vial, they just pass. I play Piledriver, they play Tomik. T3 I Vial in a second Piledriver and cast Chieftain, swinging with the Piledrivers for 8. They just play a Stoneforge. I untap and play Krenko, make 4 tokens and swing with all for lethal.

Game 2 we both start with Vial. I have 2 of them though. On their third turn they Recruiter for an Orzhov Pontiff. I Vial in Cratermaker and hit their Vial. My hand has a Ringleader, Prospector and Chieftain which I’m slow rolling. They have Tomik again with Karakas up, but don’t do much else other than Port. Ringleader gives me Expert, Sling-Gang and Warchief. I also Vial in Warchief. My turn is interesting now. Keep Vials at 3 and 4. Have 2 Caverns in play and 2 Mountains, and a land in hand. They Port upkeep, I float mana. In my draw step I get Trashmaster. They Port my 2nd Black source. I use it and a Mountain to cast Expert on Tomik. They bounce leaving just a Plains open. I sac a goblin to Prospector and play a land to play Trashmaster. I activate Vial and in response they cast Swords to Plowshares on Trashmaster and are now tapped out with 1 Recruiter in play. Sling-Gang and Chieftain join the board. Swing for lethal.

2-0 Win
Record: 8-0

Finals! 5c Control

I have a slow hand in Game 1 with War Marshal, Chieftain, Prospector and lands. I draw and cast a Vial on turn 2 and it resolves. I hold my cards in hand so as to try and abuse the haste when I can. It pays off. They play a turn 2 Strix, then turn 3 Oko, elking my Vial. Prospector comes down. I draw Expert. Attack Oko to 4, they block the elk. War Marshal and Expert kill Oko. They cast another one and make some Food. I cast Chieftain and kill the second Oko.

From here on they just cantrip and cast removal spells. Those spells pair badly against the terrible goblins I keep drawing and swinging for 2-3 per turn. After pushing and decaying all but 1 token, he scoops to it’s power at 1 life.

Game 2 is less exciting. They lead with Volcanic Island, Ponder, shuffle. I play a land. They miss their second land drop. I have Port, Tomb, Badlands, Piledriver, Warchief, Squad.

I decided on a turn 2 Piledriver instead of Porting, somewhat so I can put on some pressure, but more to have the option of Squadding them on turn 3 if I want to. On my turn 3 I just Port and they don’t find a land again. On the fourth turn I squad out of Tomb so as to still have Port up. I look through the decklist and work out that Astrolabe, Plague Engineer and Plow are in hand. What do I take out? Both Basic lands and a W dual. They do manage to find land into another land, and due to a misplay of mine they manage to cast a Strix after I cast Expert for some reason. Either way, they’re tapped out and Piledriver doesn’t care about Strix so I play my Warchief and swing for lethal.

2-0 WIN
Tournament Record: 9-0
Result: 1st Place

(27-9 total )

And that’s how goblins managed to win the PTQ. Everybody cheers (and by everybody I mean the two of my remaining friends that are still at the venue). I am exhausted. Thank god no match in the top 8 went to three games (only 2 matches in the Swiss went to three  games for what’s worth…) or I feel I could’ve fainted. But instead of fainting it was beer and pasta time =D

Though the list did well, I did draw the right cards in the right places most of the times, so definitely a whole lot of luck was involved there, but that’s magic. If I were to play this list again, I would make a few changes.

First, Sharpshooter would come out for Pashalik Mons, the card is just better as a whole.

Then I’d cut Krenko for something more impactful on the early game. I would love to squeeze in a Tarfire into the maindeck so could cut the copy in the sideboard one, or maybe a third Munitions Expert. Maybe both actually, but I don’t know what else to cut… and I  would also love a second Warchief main that card is still very good. The current split with Chieftain really depends on the amount of Plague Engineer you expect, so it might change.

The sideboard would be quite different though. I definitely want a second Relic to fight Goyf decks, and more turn zero interaction to fight the new TES deck that’s showing up more. Also, while I won the creature matches without it, Pyrokinesis should be in the board. I’m sold that we can beat control strategies without Thorn/Chalice, and I’m adding cards against Storm and Arcanist decks, so they’re out. My updated one would probably look like:

  • 2 Mindbreak Trap
  • 2 Relic of Progenitus
  • 1-2 Surgical Extraction
  • 0-1 Tormords Crypt
  • 2 Pyrokinesis
  • 2 Pyroblast
  • 1 Pithing Needle
  • 1 Goblin Chainwhirler
  • 1 Earwig Squad
  • 1 Karakas
  • 1 undecided

For those of you still here, thanks for reading. I’ll try to continue to rock goblins in every format and you guys focus on staying awesome. If anyone has a sweet Pioneer goblins list for me to play at PT Brussels, feel free to share. And if you want more goblin content follow my YouTube at Marcelo Scatena and my twitch @ScatmanXX.

Thanks everyone for the love and support. You guys know who you are and I really appreciate each end every single one of you.

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