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Welcome to the blog of The Killer Nacho, known to most mortals as Timothy J. Sharpe, a Computer Science graduate of Messiah College and currently a Systems Analyst for Sunoco Logistics. Within this tome of pages, one will find my innermost thoughts about various things concerning things that I enjoy. These subjects include, but are not limited to, roleplaying, gaming, American Football (the NFL), things to do with computers, philosophy, movies that are awesome, TV shows that are awesome, my own writings and creative works, and dangerous Mexican snacks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magic's Top 10 Goblins

I love Goblins. They are the cutest, devastating, and destructible little critters ever! They are so cute I want to take them home with me... and in Magic: The Gathering, I can. As you could probably tell, Goblins are my favorite type of Creature in Magic: The Gathering and most fantasy-themed games, and I have devoted my time to become an expert in all things Goblins! After experimenting with most of the good Goblin cards in the game, by running nothing but mono-Red Goblins for years, I will unveil the fruits of my wisdom with my list of the Top 10 mono-Red Goblin cards ever printed (as they apply to Goblin decks, there are some good Goblins that don't belong in Goblin decks)!

10. Skirk Fire Marshal - Skirk Fire Marshall is as devastating as Goblins come. While the five Goblins may seem like a lot, you will quickly see that, when playing a Goblin deck, the five Goblins are the least of your worries. With this guy, timing is the key! He has an immensely powerful effect... 10 damage to everything. All creatures, and all players. Basically, he is a nuclear bomb waiting to happen. Goblins have a hard time finishing off opponents. Early game, they will be able to devastate enemies with their numbers but as soon as Goblins have big baddies to worry about, they'll need some way to win, and Skirk Fire Marshal gives them that way. As long as you get the opponent to below 10, Skirk Fire Marshal can come in and be a winner. Also, a lot of fun with his OTK combo with Mogg Maniac (who sadly did not make the Top 10, but I guess this acts as his honorable mention). He's also useful if you need to clear an opponent's field in a flash... And best of all, Skirk Fire Marshall is smart enough to get out of the way, so his Protection from Red will save him from his own effect!

9. Warren Instigator - This guy may be an attempt to clone another certain Goblin I know and love (you'll find him further down this list), but he has his own badass advantages, too. While we all know a 1/1 for 2 isn't exactly stellar, Double strike helps this little guy compete with bigger baddies that may want to do him harm! Double strike helps even more when combined with Goblin buff cards, his damage potential increases by 2 for every 1 power he gets! Not to mention Double strike also gives him by definition First strike, so many times when buffed, he'll be able to kill some threats without threat to himself. And unlike the card he was a clone of, Warren Instigator's Double strike allows him to put two Goblins into play when unblocked as opposed to just one, since damage with Double strike is calculated twice. While the 2-cost means he's a little slow and opponents may have something to block a 1/1 at that point, Warren Instigator has found his way into many Goblin decks.

8. Goblin Chieftain - A worthy replacement for my beloved Goblin King, who unfortunately became a victim of power creep, Chieftain offers quite a few benefits for a Goblin deck. First, and probably most important, he will provide a +1/+1 buff to all Goblins you control! Opponents playing creatures just larger than your poor little Goblins? Chieftain comes in and helps you out there! Works especially well with the #9 card, Warren Instigator, since it bumps his potential to 4 damage a turn, making him much more threatening. Secondly, Haste will allow your Goblins to attack the first turn the come to the field, quite useful for sneak attacks and will always make your opponents think twice about attacking during their turn... because they never know what Goblins are waiting for them during your next turn! Mine as well point out what makes him better than the King. Chieftan has two advantages over Goblin King... First, Goblin King will buff all Goblins, including enemy Goblins. Chieftain is smart enough to know that it is in his best interest to only buff allied Goblins! Secondly, Haste is arguably better than the situational Mountainwalk, but you may want to keep a Goblin King or two in your side-board just in case you face another Red deck!

7. Goblin Piledriver - Goblin Piledriver is the worthy leader of any Goblin assault! At first glance, you may think his mere 1 power is underwhelming, but make no mistake, his ability fixes that little problem! Goblin Piledriver benefits from lots and lots of Goblin allies, and in Goblin decks, that is something that is a surplus. For each other Goblin attacking, Piledriver receives a nifty +2 Power on his own attack! And when you consider how many Goblins a Goblin deck is capable of cranking out, that's no small boost! Just one other attacker, and he's a 3/2. Two more, 5/2. Three, 7/2. Four, 9/2. Five, 11/2. You get the idea. He's a must for pretty much any Goblin assault! And while you're right, he will likely be blocked by most opponents, that Power is enough to take down pretty much any creature and it will allow the rest of your horde attack with a less chance of being blocked. Finally, to put icing on the cake, Protection from Blue helps Piledriver even more when playing decks with Blue... not allowing him to be blocked by Blue creatures, and protecting him from being bounced or tapped by annoying Blue control cards.

6. Goblin Ringleader - After playing a Goblin deck for awhile you will discover their greatest weakness... running out of steam. While Goblins get off to a fast start, playing creatures very quickly and attacking right away, eventually your opponent will be able to defeat your starting Goblins and you will find that your hand has been completely depleted! That's where this guy comes in, and he's a necessity for any winning Goblin deck. Goblin Ringleader gives Goblin decks drawpower- something they desperately need. Bummed that your hand is completely depleted, having cast all your beloved Goblins? Be bummed no more, Ringleader will save the day! When he comes into play, he'll bring Goblin reinforcements with him. Any Goblins lurking within the top 4 cards of your library will be instantly added to your hand! Now that is a refreshing ability! If you don't want your Goblin deck running out of Goblins, you'll want to bring four of this guy, and you'll be glad you did.

5. Siege-Gang Commander - Siege-Gang Commander is a special Goblin, a true Commander if you don't mind my pointing out the obvious! The special thing about Siege-Gang Commander is that he's not just a Goblin - he's four! When this badboy comes into play, he brings three 1/1 Goblin minions with him. And as you can probably tell by now, more Goblins are always a good thing! While the 5 casting cost may seem a bit steep, no worries, there are plenty of ways to cheat this guy on the battlefield. Remember Warren Instigator from earlier? Well this big guy is his best friend. The next card will also help you get him out, as well as the card which Instigator is a clone of. And of course, there is also Aether Vial, one of the best Goblin-helping artifacts ever printed. While the main thing this guy does is Goblin swarm, the second effect can be loads of help too! For 2 mana and sacrificing one of your many Goblins, he can do 2 damage to a creature or player. This can be used to finish off an opponent, or simply sacrificing blocked Goblins to finish off a creature in an assault. On a side note, you really gotta love the art of that card, it shows really what this guy is doing!

4. Goblin Warchief - You might be thinking... "Hey, didn't we see a guy like this before?" Well yes, you're thinking of our #8 Goblin, Goblin Chieftain. The Warchief, like the Chieftain, also helps Goblins everywhere, and I actually like him a little better. Like Cheiftain, Goblin Warchief gives all Goblins Haste. While this may seem a little redundant to have both in a deck, it really isn't. The more ways you can give your little Goblins Haste so that they may overwhelm opponents quickly is a good thing. Warchief doesn't buff Goblins like Chieftain does, though, instead he makes them cheaper, which helps you get your hordes out even quicker. Each Goblin costs 1 colorless mana less to play (which stacks with other Warchiefs, by the way). This means that your big Siege-Gang Commander only costs 4 when one Warchief is in play, and 3 when there are two. Piledriver only costs a single Red mana (ridiculous!). Ringleaders and the next card can be played for cheap, too! He really helps Goblin decks swarm, which produces wins! Surely, a must-have in all Goblin decks in 4s.

3. Goblin Matron - The Goblins are a very forward-people for a fantasy race. Unlike other so-called "good" fantasy races that still force women to wear clothes, Goblin women are some of the most important in their tribe for their Goblin breeding abilities! That's right, all of those Goblins you have used to be Baby Goblins, and they had to come from somewhere! And that somewhere is female Goblins, the Goblin Matrons! Goblin Matron is a must-have for any Goblin deck because it gives you search power. I have her ranked at #3, but others argue she may actually be the best Goblin in the game. Either way, she's pretty damn close. Need some Goblin really badly based on the situation? Matron will aid you with that. You can use her to grab any Goblin in your deck depending on the situation you find yourself in (for example, Skirk Fire Marshal for the win). And on top of that, a 1/1 Goblin after her fetching out another Goblin isn't bad! As you have seen so far, Goblin decks have a big need for Goblin bodies.

2. Gempalm Incinerator - He's probably the one Goblin you won't see much on the battlefield. On the contrary, Gelmpalm Incinerator is best when in your hand. While in troubling times you CAN use him as a 2/1 Goblin for 3, his best use is his Cycling ability. As most Magic players know, Cycling is an ability that appears on several cards in Magic: The Gathering that allows you to pay a (usually small) mana fee to ditch that card to grab another. However, Gempalm Incinerator has another effect besides simply Cycling... when he is cycled, he does damage to a creature equal to the number of Goblins in play! And in a Goblin deck, you usually have A LOT of Goblins in play! He's both the best Goblin removal AND the second-best Goblin draw-power in the game. To emphasize my point, think of him as an Instant that is compatible with Goblin Matron and Goblin Ringleader that costs 1R and reads "Draw 1 card. Then, deal damage to target creature equal to the number of Goblins in play." That is one HELL of an instant. If you don't have these in your Goblin deck, better get some, because they make pretty much any Goblin deck run much more smoothly.

1. Goblin Lackey - And here you have it... the game's #1 Goblin... and he is the least expensive of any Goblin on this list. He is the card that was "cloned" into Warren Instigator, but some play-testing will tell you that he's much, much better! Simply put, Lackey is all about speed. At 1 mana, he's a first-turn drop. And if your opponent does not have a creature also out before he can attack, Lackey will be able to swarm your opponent with Goblins before his 2nd turn. This guy loves Siege-Gang Commander, Goblin Ringleader, Goblin Warchief and Chieftan, hell, pretty much any other Goblin. While he lacks the Double strike ability of his predecessor, the 1 cost of Lackey makes him much better than Instigator could ever dream to be. Put Lackeys in a large assault (especially with Piledrivers) and your opponent may have no choice but to take the chance and let Lackey hit them. He's a great early-game card, and even a great late-game card. Give him Haste and he'll surprise an opponent who did not leave a blocker.Easily the best Goblin card of all time, a true staple for Goblin builds. There is no downside to this card, especially if you can get him Turn 1.

And to end my post, I will post my own Legacy-legal Goblin deck. It's quite powerful with its swarming, and has a late-game OTK that I use in stall matches when necessary, using Matron to get the necessary pieces (Skirk Fire Marshall + Mogg Maniac).

Total: 60
x4 Goblin Lackey
x4 Goblin Piledriver
x4 Siege-Gang Commander
x4 Goblin Warchief
x4 Gempalm Incinerator
x4 Goblin Matron
x4 Goblin Ringleader
x2 Skirk Fire Marshal
x2 Mogg Maniac
x2 Goblin Chieftain
x2 Warren Instigator
x4 Aether Vial
x20 Mountain 


  1. Thanks! Gave me some ideas on what to get. Too bad most of these cards are rare/expensive. Especially the lackeys and piledrivers.

  2. Yeah unfortanutely all TCG are like that. Anything worth playing is ALWAYS expensive.

    1. not all the time, you can find some good common stuff.

  3. Strange not to see Kiki hear. He works well with a good lot if Goblins.

    Kiki and siege= 3 tokens a turn
    Kiki and matron= Serch for free every turn.
    Kiki and lackey/Instigator= Free beatstick

    Kiki and almost any goblin is darn good. Kiki is a rare goblin. He plays well with others.

  4. I like Kiki Jiki. Trouble is, I have a hard time fitting him into Goblin builds, and honestly, I'm not completely sure he really helps that much in your primary swarming & attacking strategy that Goblins excell at. He's not a bad choice, though.

  5. #1 and 9 are banned from play because they deemed it unfair to be able to play ANY goblin by turn 3

  6. Thanks for the great list, but seriously, no love for Mogg Fanatic, Goblin Guide, *or* Goblin Sharpshooter?? I understand opinions are opinions, but you need another ten slots for honorable mentions! :)

  7. You forgot a really good goblin. krenkos mob boss. probably should be in the top 5

  8. Red Boom Boom (Sparky, Goblin, Goblin Grenade, Daño directo, Meter daño, etc).

    8 Mountain
    2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

    3 Ball Lightning
    3 Goblin Arsonist
    3 Goblin Fireslinger
    2 Goblin King
    3 Mogg Fanatic

    4 Black Lotus
    2 Chaos Orb
    2 Cursed Scroll
    4 Mox Ruby

    1 Blood Moon

    2 Chandra Nalaar

    2 Fireball
    3 Gamble
    3 Goblin Grenade
    3 Wheel of Fortune

    2 Fireblast
    4 Fork
    4 Lightning Bolt