Are you excited about Dominaria? I certainly am! Big set, new cards, old nostalgia. Yet, of all the shiny new toys that Santa Karn is about to deliver to us, there are two reprints that have really piqued my interest – Skirk Prospector and Goblin Warchief. Goblins have long been gnawing at the edges of playability in Modern, and I’m hoping that these two powerful cards finally becoming Modern-legal will help my favorite tribe get a claw-hold in the metagame.
Now, Dominaria is all about looking to the past for inspiration, so let me take you all through the ol’ Tolarian time machine back to the halcyon days of Onslaught block. Goblins were a dominant element of the Standard metagame at the time, utilizing the mana generation and cost reduction of Skirk Prospector and Goblin Warchief. The Prospector was great for sneaking in a Warchief on turn 2, and with a Warchief in play, a Goblin Piledriver would only cost a single red mana AND had haste, meaning it could deal an egregious amount of damage out of nowhere. At that mana cost, playing two or even three Piledrivers in a turn wasn’t unheard of. The deck was explosive and quick, with added resilience coming in the way of a black splash for Patriarch’s Bidding.
Fast forward a decade and a half, and almost all those pieces have found their way into Modern. Piledriver has been legal since Magic Origins, but has underperformed without its partners in crime. Plus, Modern has a deep pool of powerful Goblins we didn’t have access to back in the Onslaught era. Perhaps a list like this could be a good starting point:
Goblin Homes (18)
Here we have a lean, mean, bushwhacking machine, built to flood the board with cheap creatures and then swing in for a catastrophic amount of combat damage. Being a mono-colored deck, your sideboard options are limited to a handful of cards needed to counteract certain strategies – some artifact destruction (Smash to Smithereens, Shattering Spree) and graveyard control (Grafdigger’s Cage, Relic of Progenitus) would not be amiss. Also, keep in mind that Blood Moon is a very strong follow-up to a turn 1 Skirk Prospector.
Here are some tips for playing a list like this one:
–Goblin Rabblemaster functions fantastically as an additional Piledriver, dishing out large swathes of damage and benefiting from both the cost reduction and haste that Warchief provides. Also, don’t be afraid to aggressively run one out on turn 2 off the back of a Prospector.
–Legion Loyalist has incredible synergy with both Piledriver and Rabblemaster. You’ll need that trample damage to get your bruisers through Spirit tokens, mana dorks, or whatever chump blockers your opponent just Collected Company-ed into play.
What will you be brewing up with Dominaria? Tweet at us at @Card_Kingdom and let us know!
Header design: Justin Treadway
Header image: “Goblin Warchief” by Karl Kopinski
Simon is a Retail Sales Specialist at Mox Boarding House Seattle. He started playing Magic during Odyssey block, finding success on the Junior Super Series circuit and eventually playing at the 2004 US Nationals. After a multi-year break from the game, he was brought back with the reprinting of his favorite card, Lightning Bolt, in the 2010 Core Set. Simon is a loyal Red Deck Wins player and is always doing his best to win with Mountains in every Constructed format. He has a deep affection for the Magic storyline and will happily discuss the peculiarities of the Kamigawa block with you upon request.