Last updated on March 28, 2023

Goblin Warchief - Illustration by Karl Kopinski

Goblin Warchief | Illustration by Karl Kopinski

Goblins are an ever-popular tribe in MTG. There’s lots of reasons for that: the flavor, the speed, the humor.

But one of the reasons goblin decks have been so successful over the years is that there’s a decent set of lords to pump the team. And goblin lords tend to have extra cool abilities that the lords in less wacky tribes don’t.

Let’s check out these lords for your goblin decks!

What Are Goblin Lords in MTG?

Goblin King (Secret Lair) - Illustration by Mike Uziel

Goblin King (Secret Lair) | Illustration by Mike Uziel

A “lord” in Magic is something that pumps creatures of the same creature type (named after Alpha merfolk lord, Lord of Atlantis). That’s usually with power and toughness, most often +1/+1, but lords can do other things. Lord of Atlantis also granted Islandwalk, for example, and plenty of other buffs are scattered across 30 years of Magic creature tribes.

Goblin lords have some neat little wrinkles. As we head out to examine them, I wanna note that I’m looking at goblin lords that buff goblins only, so cards like Boartusk Liege aren’t going to make the cut.

Let’s take a look at the contenders!

#8. Caterwauling Boggart

Caterwauling Boggart

Caterwauling Boggart is the least powerful goblin lord, no stats buffs in sight. Giving goblins menace is decent enough, so maybe you’d want to tutor this up?

But a 2/2 for four that gives the team some evasion isn’t where it’s at given the power of goblin cards overall.

#7. Mad Auntie

Mad Auntie

A nice little lord that can tap to regenerate a team member, which saves a creature and only seems like a complicated rule given the way damage works nowadays, Mad Auntie sees tons of play in EDH decks that dip into Rakdos () colors, especially my fave goblin commander Wort, Boggart Auntie. Unfortunately it suffers from the fact that most goblin decks are mono-red.

#6. Goblin King

Goblin King

The OG goblin lord, Goblin King has had plenty of creature type lines over the years, from “goblin king” to “lord” to “goblin lord,” along with various wording changes designed to make sure it pumped other goblins and not itself. Plenty of kitchen table fights started because it seemed like the 90s Goblin Kings should buff themselves.

But the ruling back then was that it only buffed cards with “summon goblin” in their type line (which was how creature cards once were written). Since its type line was “summon goblin king,” well, that was different.

Heh. Cue the “well actually”s and get the popcorn, 90s fam.

Aside from the basic buff, the good news is that this card grants Mountainwalk as well, which makes goblins unblockable by opponents with Mountains in play. The bad news is that it pumps all goblins at the table, including those controlled by an opponent.

#5. Goblin Trashmaster

Goblin Trashmaster

Four mana for a goblin lord is bit under rate, but the ability to sac your plentiful fodder to destroy artifacts is pretty awesome. Goblin Trashmaster can slam the lid on mana rocks to stop an opponent’s late game plans, or it can pop pesky game breakers like Ashnod's Altar, Skullclamp, and Lightning Greaves whenever you need to.

#4. Goblin Warchief

Goblin Warchief

No stats buff from Goblin Warchief, but that haste really makes a difference. The cost reduction is nice but doesn’t quite qualify as lord-dom on its own, which is why Frogtosser Banneret doesn’t make the list in spite of its incredible name.

But that cost reduction is part of why this is the most played goblin lord on EDHRec. That tells me that cheaper creatures are better than buffed creatures to most of us.

#3. Hobgoblin Bandit Lord

Hobgoblin Bandit Lord

Hobgoblin Bandit Lord can be the business in a goblin token build since it can tap to really hammer things, including face! Strictly better than Goblin King, this is an auto-include in a goblins tribal deck. Especially if you run effects that give haste so it can come down and slam for damage.

Hmm, haste…

#2. Goblin Chieftain

Goblin Chieftain

Goblin Chieftain granting mass haste is total gas. I’d argue that there’s no reason not to include this in a goblins deck. This plus Hobgoblin Bandit Lord and a token generator like Krenko, Mob Boss and you’re rolling!

#1. Rundvelt Hordemaster

Rundvelt Hordemaster

Hot take: Rundvelt Hordemaster is the best goblin lord, full stop. It’s played a fraction of the amount as some of the previous goblin lords on EDHRec, so clearly folks either have yet to get the memo or don’t quite agree, so let’s break this down.

First, this is a 2-mana lord. Two mana is totally less than three! Plus, only one colored pip. Second, have you read this card? Go ahead. Take a sec. I’ll wait.

You impulse draw for goblins that you can cast all the way until your next turn when any goblin dies? Have you tried this? Pair this with Skirk Prospector and Battle Cry Goblin and attack in Pioneer and Explorer, and your opponent is in some trouble.

You can sac every blocked goblin at instant speed to keep using Battle Cry to pump the team and push lethal, and then you just get a stack of new goblins to cast. Add Cacophony Scamp to the mix for fun, and profit. I’ve even used the Hordemaster and Prospector to just plow through my deck of mostly 1-drops to grab the card I need.

Goblin decks in Modern have more powerful easy to speed to victory, but the Hordemaster is there trying its best to elevate goblin decks into the meta. Sometimes it works and they 5-0 a league.

Best Goblin Lord Payoffs

Okay, so what are you doing with these goblin lords? Why, pumping the team, of course! Who are the EDH MVPs for this team?

Rakdos Goblins

Wort is great fun, and adding black allows you to play sweet utility cards like Boggart Harbinger, Murderous Redcap, Munitions Expert, Frogtosser Banneret, Sling-Gang Lieutenant and, especially fun with the Auntie, Fodder Launch, which you can recur from the graveyard.

There are a handful of other interesting goblins in black, but you’re definitely playing a bit of the hipster build here since a Krenko in the command zone is a lot to give up.

The Krenkos and Mono-Red

Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin Krenko, Mob Boss

Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin is a house in any goblin deck and a fine commander in its own right, but the uber commander of goblins in Commander is Krenko, Mob Boss, which may be played more than all other goblin generals combined. And you can see why, especially in decks that want to run goblin lords to pump the team. Krenko just makes so many bodies.

This is probably your commander of choice for goblins, and it’s a fine choice. It’s a reasonably straightforward deck to play so it’s great to give to a new player, especially with all the fun flavor text across the range of goblin cards.

Wrap Up

Rundvelt Hordemaster - Illustration by Bruno Biazotto

Rundvelt Hordemaster | Illustration by Bruno Biazotto

Some tribes have so many lords that you can’t quite squeeze them all into a functional deck because there are only so many 3-drops you want (I’m looking at you, zombies!) But with goblins, you can (and should!) cram all these into your deck. Or just the seven if you’re in mono-red.

Maybe you would have ranked these differently? Let us know in the comments below or over in Draftsim’s official Discord. But I think we can all agree to run them all in Commander.

And that’s the kind of friendly togetherness goblins represent, right?


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