Last updated on August 31, 2023

Goblin Matron - Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Goblin Matron | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Goblins are ubiquitous to Magic: The Gathering. These puny, sniveling creatures are wild and careless in their demeanor, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a format where a straight-up goblins deck isn’t somewhere in the meta. The nasty little guys are fast and low to the ground but can pack a surprising punch.

With such a long history, there are over 400 Goblin cards in MTG. But which are the best? Let’s take a dive into the warrens and find out which goblin deserves to be king.

Let’s find out.

What Are Goblins in MTG?

Muxus, Goblin Grandee - Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Muxus, Goblin Grandee | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Goblins aren’t really my favorite creature type in Magic, but they are fun. If you like red deck wins then you probably like goblins. These little guys spread chaos, mayhem, and destruction everywhere they go. And that’s how they like it.

I’ll admit that while this tribe’s playstyle isn’t really my cup of tea, their flavor is top notch. Goblin cards have some of the best (and funniest) flavor text in the game if you ask me. But that’s enough about that; let’s talk mechanics.

Like I said, goblins are chaotic little creatures. They’re violent and destructive and they’re good at it. Here are the main mechanics you’ll run into if you dive into this tribe:

Now that you know what goblins are all about, it’s time to take a look at the best in the game. Let’s go!

Honorable Mention: Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker isn’t technically a goblin, but it does make two of the best goblin creatures in the game. The first Goblin Shaman token alone is worth the 3 mana for this saga, but it gets out of control once it transforms into the pseudo-Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.

#32. Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei

Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty’s Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei continues the legacy of Kamigawa’s original 5/5 legendary dragon cycle. Goro-Goro beats the bear test as a 2/2 for 2 mana, and it’ll give itself and any other creature hitting the field haste for just 1 mana. Its second ability makes a great mana dump in the latter half of EDH games: the conditional “modified” attacker stipulation is easy enough to satisfy, so 5 mana for a 5/5 flier is a great price. Run an extra combat enabler like Breath of Fury so you can attack with those dragons right away.

#31. Rundvelt Hordemaster

Rundvelt Hordemaster

Two mana lords are always welcome in a goblin deck, and Rundvelt Hordemaster’s got the added bonus of replacing any of those dead goblins, including your tokens! There’s no reason you won’t have enough mana to play some more cheap Mogg War Marshals or Goblin Arsonists.

#30. Goblin Fireleaper

Goblin Fireleaper

Any card with a built-in Fling is alright in my book, and it’s even better if it also has built-in Firebreathing. LTR’s Goblin Fireleaper’s direct damage is locked into targeting a creature, so you can’t burn your opponents’ face the same as Cacophony Scamp, but this makes it more playable in a Draft format where it can “trade up” into tougher creatures with just a simple +1/+0. An attacking and dying 2/1 Fireleaper can trade up into that 4/4 creature that just blocked it!

#29. Goblin Rabblemaster

Goblin Rabblemaster

Goblin Rabblemaster is a great way to get free goblins, but it makes it hard to keep those goblins around. Your best bet is to give it first strike in some way so it can’t just be chumped by any ol’ 2/2 your opponent has lying around.

#28. Ignoble Hierarch

Ignoble Hierarch

Ignoble Hierarch is quickly becoming my favorite mana dork in Magic. A 1-mana dork that taps for three different colors is pretty good by itself, but when you take the exalted effect into account, this card has a much wider application than you’d think. I run four copies in a Modern poison counters deck, where that extra +1/+1 really makes a difference when I attack with a Phyrexian Crusader.

#27. Moria Marauder

Moria Marauder

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth appropriately featured a slew of new goblin and orc cards, and Moria Marauder might be the best of them. Reminiscent of Warren Instigator, it has a combat damage trigger and double strike, so you’ll get two triggers per unblocked Marauder. Plus, its ability applies to all goblins and orcs you control, meaning you’re guaranteed to get two or more triggers when swinging in with a full field of goblins.

#26. Goblin Matron

Goblin Matron

Goblin Matron is the most basic goblin tutor, but it’s still a 3-mana tutor that’ll fetch you any relevant goblin in your deck at that moment. There’s basically no goblin deck that can do without one, even if you’re also running Goblin Recruiter.

#25. Goblin Piledriver

Goblin Piledriver

The best goblins capitalize on the things goblins are good at; namely, making lots of Goblins. Goblin Piledriver is a 2-mana rare that shouldn’t be any smaller than a 2/3 when it attacks. More likely, you’ll see it get +8/+0 or more with a horde of goblins on the field. The protection from blue is just icing on the cake. This goblin is playable even outside of blue matchups.

#24. Goblin Chainwhirler

Goblin Chainwhirler

Goblin Chainwhirler is straightforward in its value. It’s potentially quite a bit of direct damage spread out across the board, and it’s still a 3/3 with first strike for 3 mana. Survives Shocks and their equivalents, guaranteed to get its value back in damage, and both a good attacker and defender. A monster in Limited and a playable rare in its heyday and now.

#23. Zo-Zu the Punisher

Zo-Zu the Punisher

Do you hate your friends? Do you want to make playing Magic as difficult as possible? Let me introduce you to Zo-Zu the Punisher. Zo-Zu hits any player who plays a land with a Shock each time. Finally, a way to deal with those damn landfall decks running rampant everywhere! Go ahead, Traverse the Outlands. I’ll wait.

#22. Grenzo, Havoc Raiser

Grenzo, Havoc Raiser

If a card costs , it better be very red. Grenzo, Havoc Raiser, is pretty close to being the reddest goblin there ever was. While its 2/2 body isn’t impressive, Grenzo’s combat damage trigger is for each creature you control, meaning you can sneak by with evasive flying or menace creatures and still get to “impulse draw” off of your opponent’s library. Grenzo’s goad mechanic has much more functionality in a multiplayer game, so it excels in EDH.

#21. Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician

Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician

I’ve got a soft spot for Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician. It was one of the first legendary creatures I remember playing with (shout out to Duel Decks: Elves vs. Goblins), and it did wonders as a late-game bomb to clear my opponents’ field. Ib, in all its strategic genius, has “solved” the problem of having too many goblins without a way past your opponents’ creatures. Normally, those 1/1 Goblin tokens die immediately upon contact with almost any other creature, but Ib turns them into four damage on the spot.

Suddenly, your army of tiny goblins actually removes your opponent’s creature when it tries to block them, making you much more of a threat. Run out of goblins? Sacrifice those Mountains! You don’t need more than a few in the average goblin deck anyway.

#20. Goblin Guide

Goblin Guide

The best time to start attacking your opponent is, on average, as early as possible. Goblin Guide’ll do just that. Any 2/2 for 1 mana has a downside, but Goblin Guide’s really isn’t that horrible. Flooding your opponent’s hand with land cards beats the hell out of just drawing them cards, and you’ll always get to see what nonland they’re about to draw. Two or more turns of unblocked attacks from Goblin Guide is more than enough pay off for any aggro deck, especially when two or more hit the field and every trigger just reminds the defending player about that useless counterspell they’ll draw next turn.

#19. Skirk Prospector

Skirk Prospector

Skirk Prospector is your ticket to a massive X spell when you can’t seem to squeeze your army of goblins past an opponent’s field. Red’s access to ramp is sparse at worst and conditional at best, so the Prospector’s relatively stipulation-free activation means it’s the superior choice for ramp in any goblins deck.

#18. Goblin Warchief

Goblin Warchief

Goblin Warchief is one of the classic goblin lords. With a cost-reducing effect and a haste anthem, Warchief pours gasoline directly onto the fire which is an already aggressive creature type. Suddenly, you’re playing multiple Mogg War Marshals per turn and swinging in with five or six goblins where previously there was one.

#17. Warren Instigator

Warren Instigator

Some of the best goblin cards are just easy ways to play more goblins. Warren Instigator is one of the best goblins for this. An unblocked Instigator means you’ll drop two goblins for free after the first strike and regular combat damage resolve. This is the best way to sneak those 5-manat goblins into play without wasting a whole turn’s worth of mana on them.

My favorite targets are goblin lords that can hit the field between the first strike and normal combat damage, squeezing an extra point of damage out of the Warren Instigator. Also: Warren Instigator doesn’t specify combat damage, so you can always equip it with a Viridian Longbow-type effect.

#16. Legion Warboss

Legion Warboss

Legion Warboss uses its mentor ability to swing in with a 2/2 goblin each turn, assuming you can protect your Warboss in combat. Getting a guaranteed creature to buff with mentor each turn makes Legion Warboss valuable, and those Goblin tokens and +1/+1 counters are effectively free.

#15. Guttersnipe


The famous Guttersnipe is an essential piece of synergy for burn decks the world over. For a mere 3 mana, you’ve got a bear that turns every instant you play into bonus damage. Run four in any spellslinger deck. Run a copy or two in any Izzet deck you build. There’s no reason not to.

#14. Cacophony Scamp

Cacophony Scamp

Hey, have y’all heard about Colossus Hammer? Wouldn’t it be nuts if attaching the Hammer to Cacophony Scamp and then Flinging it at an opponent was a meta-defining strategy in Modern right now? Ha, yeah, that would be crazy.

#13. Vial Smasher the Fierce

Vial Smasher the Fierce

Vial Smasher the Fierce has a reputation for being one of the most popular partner commanders. Its popularity isn’t undeserved, either. It’s a popular group-slug leader and combines with Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix for a powerful 4-color deck that’ll ramp into some huge spells for a ton of damage.

#12. Conspicuous Snoop

Conspicuous Snoop

On its face, Conspicuous Snoop is fair card advantage with some interesting utility. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll uncover the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo. So long as Kiki-Jiki is on top of your library, the Snoop sees it and can use its copy ability to make a copy of itself, which can then create a copy of itself, etc. This results in infinite ETB triggers and an infinite number of Snoops. Use an Impact Tremors to turn that into damage or sacrifice them all to Goblin Bombardment.

#11. Goblin Lackey

Goblin Lackey

Goblin Lackey is the quicker Warren Instigator. Play it turn one, swing in on turn two, then put Muxus, Goblin Grandee into play and get another five goblins to boot. Suddenly you have seven goblins in play on turn three, and a Muxus that’ll swing in as a 12/12 before your opponent knows what’s hit them.

#10. Legion Loyalist

Legion Loyalist

Many of Gatecrash’s battalion creatures don’t see the light of play anymore, but Legion Loyalist has stood the test of time. What makes it valuable is the combination of haste with the battalion trigger. Opponents can usually sniff out which battalion creature to remove before it has a chance to attack, but Legion Loyalist attacks the turn it hits the field, hopefully with a boardstate that’ll allow you to trigger its effect. It was a huge hoser against Selesnya populate decks back in the Return to Ravnica Standard, and it still makes waves against token decks in Commander today.

#9. Goblin King

Goblin King

The original goblin lord was Alpha’s Goblin King. A +1/+1 anthem and mountainwalk (which was much more relevant way back when) made it a powerful creature, even if there were only two other goblins around at the time.

#8. Goblin Recruiter

Goblin Recruiter

Goblin Recruiter is both a great goblin-specific tutor and a nasty combo enabler with Conspicuous Snoop and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. This combo is so effective that Goblin Recruiter is banned in Legacy. Do you know what you have to do to be banned in Legacy? It shares this honor with cards like Ancestral Recall and Black Lotus.

#7. Vexing Shusher

Vexing Shusher

If there’s one thing creature decks struggle against, it’s counterspells. Vexing Shusher fixes all that. That control deck better have an answer besides another Essence Scatter; otherwise you’ll be unstoppable. Without a doubt one of the best sideboard cards for any format with a control-heavy meta.

#6. Wort, Boggart Auntie

Wort, Boggart Auntie

Wort, Boggart Auntie is your go-to commander for any Rakdos goblins deck. Wort’s automatic free recursion of your goblins makes things like Mogg War Marshal great targets for your Village Rites, keeping the goblins rotating in and out of your graveyard all while pinging your foes with Boggart Shenanigans. There’s really nowhere else to turn for a black/red goblin deck. Just run Wort.

#5. Muxus, Goblin Grandee

Muxus, Goblin Grandee

Muxus, Goblin Grandee is one of the newer legendary goblins. Its ETB effect means it won’t make the best commander (unless you invest heavily in ways to bounce it in mono-red), but nothing beats hitting Muxus for free thanks to Warren Instigator and Goblin Lackey.

#4. Krenko, Mob Boss

Krenko, Mob Boss

The only thing better than 100 Goblins is 200 Goblins. Krenko, Mob Boss is probably the best mono-red goblin commander. I’ve seen enough to know that you can’t let a Krenko go unanswered. The second it starts doubling-up on goblins, it’ll be hard to catch up. Two turns into a Krenko on the field and the only solution is a boardwipe, and that might not even be enough.

#3. Dockside Extortionist

Dockside Extortionist

You knew it was coming. Dockside Extortionist is a menace in Commander, and is has been since its release. The ramp Dockside provides in a multiplayer EDH game can’t be beat. At worst, you’re playing it on turn two and getting a couple Treasure tokens off your opponents’ early Sol Rings and Arcane Signets. But at best you’re playing in late game and punishing that stax deck for playing too many permanents by dumping seven or eight Treasure into a huge Fireball, or worse.

#2. Goblin Wizard

Goblin Wizard

Goblin Wizard beats out Warren Instigator and Goblin Lackey by simple virtue of not having to attack and risk its life for that extra free Goblin. It’s also only ever been printed in 1994’s The Dark, making it a pricey pickup.

#1. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

You can’t beat Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker when it comes to sheer goblin energy. It combos with just about everything with an enter-the-battlefield trigger, and it’s easily abused to activate multiple times per turn. Popular targets for Kiki-Jiki include Fury, Snapcaster Mage, Pestermite; the list goes on.

This doesn’t even take into account the goblin-specific combos Kiki-Jiki enables: Conspicuous Snoop can make infinite copies of itself with Kiki on top of your library; combine with Thornbite Staff and Goblin Sharpshooter to blow the board away; just about any time you think a Splinter Twin effect could be useful, the Mirror-Breaker is there and making it that much better.

Best Goblin Lords and Payoffs

Goblin Chieftain + Goblin Warchief

Goblin Chieftain Goblin Warchief

Hey, look, it’s Goblin Chieftain and Goblin Warchief again! I already covered why these cards are both great (and how similar they are). I’m sure you get the point. They’re great at boosting your other goblins and helping them land a little sooner.

You should probably grab both of them if you’re looking to bolster your forces.

Goblin King

Goblin King

Hey, you! Bow to your king!

Just like the chiefs up there, I already covered Goblin King. Boosting your other goblins with counters while giving them full access to ping your opponent to death is probably one of the best goblin lord abilities there is.

Goblin Bombardment

Goblin Bombardment

It goes without saying that Goblin Bombardment should work its way into every goblin deck. You can effectively double your damage output by swinging in with your army of 1/1 tokens and then sacrificing them after damage for that same amount. Or, you have a free outlet for death triggers to synergize with Boggart Shenanigans.

Cool MTG Goblin Accessories

Biker Goblin Playmat

Biker Goblin playmat

Okay, so this playmat isn’t specific to MTG goblins, but look at that art. I think an Inked Gaming biker goblin playmat is just what every goblin deck is missing to really pop.

Inked Playmats Biker Goblin Playmat Inked Gaming TCG Game Mat for Cards
  • VIBRANT- Our bright colors let your personality shine. Our TCG playmat colors are thoroughly tested for optimized and true print colors. Extensive testing by our color professionals leave you with the best looking playmats on the market.
  • SUPPORT ARTISTS- 10% of all sales go back to the artists in the form of a commission! We have the good fortune of working with hundreds of extremely talented artists from all over the world. With artists receiving a direct commission from every sale, you are directly putting money into the pockets of amazing artists with every purchase. Support art with Inked Gaming!
  • DURABLE - Optimal thickness that doesn't compromise playability. Designed and produced in the USA. Our MTG playmats stand the test of time with durable materials and careful construction.
  • SMOOTH- Personal play area stays clean and even. Ever go to a local tournament and find that the person sitting next to you is taking up a bit too much table space? Stake your claim in style with our TCG mats! Plus, all of our playmats are machine washable so no need to worry about spilling during kitchen table Magic games.
  • COMPACT - Easy to roll up and take on-the go! Going to play some TCG card games with your friends? Be the player with the best playmat at the table. Choose Inked Gaming (formerly Inked Playmats) and perhaps you'll find your friends jealous with envy.

GnD Goblin Tokens

No products found.

Want to make your Goblin token army as fearsome as they are many? Then you want No products found.. These bad boys are appropriately terrifying for how many you’re bound to pop onto the battlefield over the course of the game. Opponents beware.

No products found.

Classic Creature Tokens

Classic Goblin creature token (Etsy)

Scary, menacing tokens not your thing? Maybe you’d prefer some softer art instead. If that’s the case then these classic creature tokens are for you. They have a much less intimidating art style while still capturing the essence of a goblin. The seller also offers plenty of other tokens (8 in total), so take a look and see if any of the other creatures catch your eye.

D6 Dice Counters

D6 dice counters

If you’re having trouble keeping track of all the counters your goblins are bound to be throwing around, then you need these D6 dice counters. I see goblins when I look at these dice, okay. They’re red and green, goblins are red and green…

It makes sense.

48 Pieces Dice Counters Token Dice D6 Dice Cube Loyalty Counter Dice Compatible with MTG, CCG, Card Gaming Accessory, 2 Styles
  • Large quantity: comes with forty-eight pieces of dice counters, including 24 pieces positive dice counters and 24 pieces emerald negative dice counters, nice combination for satisfying your gaming using or replacing
  • Quality material: these dice game counters are made of quality polyresin which is stable and reusable, not easy to break, featuring smooth and cool surface, and can serve you for a long time
  • Add more fun: token dice can be applied to recording the statistics of your creatures, and the counters can help you keep track of the board state while playing the game, no need to remember the specific data of your cards, and it will also bring more fun and convenience to your joyful game process
  • Proper size: D6 dice cube is approx. 16 mm/ 0.63 inch in diameter which is bigger than standard dice (12 mm/ 0.47 inch diameter), so the numbers on each side is clear enough for you to read and check
  • Come with 2 bags: 2 velvet bags will be provided for you to store and carry these dices anywhere you like, preventing these dice counters from losing

Wrap Up

Goblin Guide - Illustration by Filip Burburan

Goblin Guide | Illustration by Filip Burburan

That just about does it for the Best Goblins Ever list. I’m sure by this time next year we’ll have another slew of goblin lords to add to the list, and personally, I can’t wait.

What are your favorite goblins? Which artists do the best goblins (objectively, it’s Wayne Reynolds, but you’re entitled to your opinion, too)? And what’s your favorite Goblin creature token? Let me know in the comments, or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Thanks for reading, stay Gobbin’!

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  • Avatar
    Charles April 12, 2022 3:41 am

    The only Goblin you forgot was Goblin Ringleader. It’s the best way to get Goblin Recruiters stacking to your hand, and it’s very similar to Muxus.

  • Avatar
    Kadafs September 15, 2022 5:53 pm

    You forgot the best goblin. Reserved List Goblin Wizard from The Dark.

    • Avatar
      Dan Troha September 16, 2022 9:46 am

      Maybe not the most powerful goblin, but definitely one of the coolest!

  • Avatar
    Oren October 1, 2022 10:30 pm

    You need goblin recruiter, stack the deck with muxus on top. And have a Creature like goblin lackey, instigator, or wizard to be able to get it down

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