Last updated on April 6, 2021
Muxus, Goblin Grandee | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak
For those of you that followed the Zendikar Rising Championship, you might have seen Autumn Burchett pulling off an excellent 5-2 finish with their personal build. While I always built the deck differently, Burchett incorporated cards like Herald’s Horn to make the deck even more consistent.
We’ll be covering Autumn Burchett’s deck today. At the end of this guide, I’ll go through some cards I personally like in the deck, mainly as BO1 recommendations. Let’s do this!
Krenko, Mob Boss | Illustration by Karl Kopinski
Goblins have one strategy: swarm and keep swarming. We have two main goblins in the deck that can help us achieve that. On the one hand we’ve got Krenko, Mob Boss and then there’s Muxus, Goblin Grandee, the star of the show.
Krenko helps us create goblin tokens equal to the number of goblins on the field. This combos nicely with Goblin Warchief and Goblin Chieftain, which give it haste upon entry. Muxus is like a goblin tribal Collected Company on steroids, letting us put any goblin from the top six onto the battlefield.
With this deck’s build, it’s possible to get Muxus on the battlefield as soon as turn 3. With a bit of luck, you might even pull a Goblin Chieftain alongside Krenko, Mob Boss. This means you can go wide with ease and possibly one-shot your opponent the turn they all enter the battlefield.
I’ve had issues in the past where Muxus, Goblin Grandee comes down and two, or even fewer, weaker goblins. So keep in mind whiffing is part of the deck. This luck factor is what balances the deck in the Historic meta. Having cards in here like Herald’s Horn also means that the chance of hitting a goblin is slightly reduced, which can sometimes mess you up, but I’ll get into that more at the end.
Other Goblin decks also run cards like Goblin Instigator to have another goblin to sacrifice to curve into Muxus. Unfortunately, with the removal in the format, that strategy is less effective now.
Let’s start with Wily Goblin since we already covered him briefly a few times. Wily Goblin generates a Treasure token when entering the battlefield. Treasure can be sacrificed to generate one mana of any color. In this particular deck, this is yet another source of ramping into your better goblins. As I mentioned before, this means this card is worth two mana in combination with Skirk Prospector since you can sacrifice both the Treasure and the goblin.
Next, we have Conspicuous Snoop. An excellent card that lets you look at the top card of your deck and allows you to cast it if it’s a goblin. On top of that, it can use the activated abilities of any the goblin if it has one. This means that if you happen to have Krenko, Mob Boss on top, you can tap the Snoop to generate goblin tokens on Krenko’s behalf.
This card’s main function in the deck is to consistently draw into land at the start of your turn. One of this deck’s downfalls is not hitting your fifth or sixth land drop to cast Muxus, Goblin Grandee because you draw into too many goblins in a row. Thanks to the Snoop, we can keep casting goblins off the top to make finding lands a lot more consistent.
Mind Stone was an odd inclusion, in my opinion, but it makes a lot of sense. It’s a mana rock that is yet another way to work towards Muxus. Since it’s colorless, it can’t be removed by Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Getting a second or third Muxus out after a board wipe is therefore entirely possible.
Next, we get into our 3-drop slots. An essential card for consistency in this slot is Goblin Matron. This card lets you fetch any goblin from the deck and add it to your hand. You can generally consider these as extra means to fetch Muxus, Goblin Grandee. Especially in this format where Thoughtseize is heavily played, having “eight” copies of Muxus really helps.
We have Goblin Warchief and Goblin Chieftain in here to give other goblins haste. This is especially handy if Muxus comes down and fetches one of these from the deck, allowing the Grandee and other goblins to attack right away.
This is one of the requirements with this deck. Both cards have an extra effect. While the Warchief reduces the cost of all goblins by one generic mana, the Chieftain gives all goblins +1/+1. This latter effect becomes very strong with the 1/1 tokens Krenko, Mob Boss pushes out.
Herald’s Horn is our final piece of “ramp.” Similar to Goblin Warchief, this card helps to reduce the cost of goblins by one generic mana. The Horn also has a vital function to make sure you hit your lands in time, similar to Conspicuous Snoop. At the beginning of your turn, you look at the top of the deck and put that card into your hand if it’s a goblin.
We have one 4-drop in the mainboard: Krenko, Mob Boss. I’ve mentioned this card a lot already. You tap it to generate 1/1 goblin tokens equal to the number of goblins you control. Great in combination with any of the 3-drop goblins that give haste.
The Amazing 6-Drop
And here’s the king of the deck, Muxus, Goblin Grandee, with his ridiculously overpowered effect. This card is currently even featured in Legacy decks for a good reason. It lets you look at the top six of your deck when it comes down, and then you put every goblin in there onto the battlefield.
Sometimes you get some ridiculous turns. For example, one memorable turn was finding five goblins on top. Two Goblin Chieftains, Krenko, Mob Boss, Skirk Prospector, and Wily Goblin. All of these allowed me to tap Krenko immediately, generating six 1/1 tokens, which, thanks to the Chieftain, were now 3/3 tokens. I then sacrificed two tokens and Krenko, Mob Boss to play another Krenko from my hand, which I tapped again to create another nine 3/3s.
This is a fortunate example, but it happens more often than you’d think! Even with a single Krenko and Chieftain, you can pull off some amazing sequences once Muxus enters the battlefield. Absolutely glorious.
Nothing much is going on in the land slots. We have Shatterskull Smashing that gives us a source of removal if we’re flooding but can double as a land in need. Castle Embereth lets us boost our board by giving everything +1/+0, which is impressive on a big board.
One really cool piece of technology is Phyrexian Tower. This card lets us sacrifice a goblin to generate two colorless mana. Another great way to hit our Muxus early.
The way you want to mulligan with this deck is to make sure you have a hand that can either push out a Muxus, Goblin Grandee by turn 3 to 5 or have Goblin Chieftain in combination with Krenko, Mob Boss. The latter combination is weaker than Muxus and is prone to fail due to removal. If you notice the opponent has a black or red aligned companion, it might be better to just mulligan for a Muxus hand instead.
Regardless, this is what you’re looking for:
- Have either Muxus, Goblin Grandee or Goblin Matron in hand OR the above Krenko combo;
- Have three lands OR two lands if one is Phyrexian Tower;
- Have some form of ramp, either Skirk Prospector, Wily Goblin, Mind Stone, or Herald’s Horn; multiple is always better.
Colorless Ramp Matchups
First, we have Abrade. This card is essential when you’re matched up against colorless ramp decks. It’ll allow you to destroy their Forsaken Monument. With Grafdigger’s Cage being the nemesis of this deck, having Abrade to remove it can be perfect as well.
Goblin Cratermaker is here for a similar reason: destroying artifacts. This card can also eliminate an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon since it can destroy any non-land colorless target. In a pinch, it can be a source of creature removal as well.
Next, as far as artifact destruction goes, we have Goblin Trashmaster. While being a powerful goblin by itself and giving our other goblins +1/+1, it also lets you sacrifice a goblin to destroy target artifact. This is great to get rid of Grafdigger’s Cage and the like.
Gempalm Incinerator is perfect against other Goblin decks since it’ll deal damage equal to the number of goblins on the field, not just those you control. You can use this card to destroy key pieces in their strategy like any of the 3-drop haste goblins or Skirk Prospector. Against other creature decks, this can also come in handy. On top of that, since it deals damage during its cycling effect, it’s a cantrip as well.
Board Wipe Matchups
Two extra copies of Herald’s Horn are excellent against matchups that keep destroying your board. Once you have a few of these horns on the field, your Muxus, Goblin Grandee will be very cheap to cast. Even casting a Goblin Matron means you can likely cast Muxus right after.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance is one of the cards I never see myself siding in. While the removal and engine this card provides is excellent, I’d rather just add Herald’s Horn instead. Yet, there are some matchups where Chandra may come in handy, especially if you know this card won’t be destroyed easily. Chandra allows us to play a turn 4 or 5 Muxus, Goblin Grandee with her ramp ability, so it can be a strategic inclusion at times.
Hand Hate and Board Control Matchups
Two copies of Goblin Ringleader will make sure you can restock your hand with ease. These are handy against matchups that use a lot of hand hate and board control. Ringleader coming down usually gives you enough card advantage to undo any damage your opponent might have done.
BO1 Mana Maker
Finally, two copies of Irencrag Feat. I love this card. For the longest time, I ran this in my mainboard. Playing an Irencrag Feat on turn 3 of 4 gives you enough mana to cast Muxus, Goblin Grandee. Since we’re in a more grindy meta now, I can see why Herald’s Horn is better. Still, in BO1, I will continue to run this card instead.
My Personal Take
Autumn’s deck is great. I’ve tested it a bit in the past days, and I love the ramp package. I saw it in the ranked queue a few times, so there must be other players running a similar deck, but I was skeptical until now. In my mind, since these cards aren’t goblins themselves, they reduce the consistency of the deck. Therefore, I never considered using them until now. I completely neglected the value Herald’s Horn provides before.
However, if you’re BO1 player, I think these colorless cards are too slow in the BO1 meta. Personally, I run two Gempalm Incinerators, one copy of Irencrag Feat, and a Goblin Ringleader in the mainboard instead. I’m seeing an uptick in the number of Grafdigger’s Cages in BO1, though, so I might end up adding a few Goblin Cratermakers and Goblin Trashmasters, which is something you may want to consider as well.
I haven’t tested these yet, but I think the main cards I’d take out would be two copies of Conspicuous Snoop and one copy of Krenko, Mob Boss. Not being able to let Muxus do Muxus things is just too painful, especially when there’s no game 2 and 3.
Another goblin I quite like in BO1 is Goblin Chainwhirler. There are many go-wide strategies with weak 1/1 creatures, so destroying all of those in one whirl is excellent. Having a 3/3 first striker isn’t too shabby either.
Personally, I’d run only one copy of Phyrexian Tower and only two or three copies of Castle Embereth. I say this because drawing into multiple Castles or Towers means your mana base is going to suffer. Also, since some Mountains in this deck are replaced with Shatterskull Smashing, you may end up in situations where the Castle can’t enter untapped. This is a risk I don’t like taking, so if you end up having issues with your mana base, consider replacing some copies of these with basic Mountains.
Phyrexian Tower | Illustration by Dimitar Marinski
I love goblins. I play them in Modern and Historic. Personally, I like Rakdos goblins thematically, but the mono red build is just very consistent. In Rakdos, you can pull off some silly tricks like bringing back a Goblin Chainwhirler with Call of the Death-Dweller, which turns it into a one-sided board wipe. Either way, if you want to grind the ranked ladder, this deck is great.
In BO1, the deck loses some of its efficiency once you reach Diamond and Mythic. Players seem to heavily gear against countering go-wide strategies of Collected Company and Goblin Grandee, so you might need to switch things up a bit once you reach this point.
I’ve seen many successful goblin players at the top, though. I’ve grinded my way to the top 300 in Mythic using a similar deck to this in BO1 and would likely be able to do it again if I wanted to. I still fear that someday Muxus, Goblin Grandee may get banned. The plays this card pulls off can be quite unfair after all.
However, a more logical target that could get banned is Skirk Prospector. This goblin allows turn 3 strategies that generally wouldn’t exist. If you happen to play this deck, let me know your spicy goblin tech and in which ratios you personally play the deck! For those of you that follow my YouTube, you might have seen that goblins are one of the decks I cover the most, going back to it at least once a month, so if you want to see it in action, feel free to hop over to there.
As always, hop on down to the comments if you wanna chat about this deck or Discord for a longer discussion. With that said, thank you for reading today’s guide, and I hope you can get your top 1200 invite this month!
Be sure to check out Draftsim’s MTGA tracker while you’re here – it will track all your matches and statistics for you while you grind the ladder!