Modern Goblins Deck Guide

Michael RappModern

As its name implies, it’s not hard to see that Conspicuous Snoop is already a player in Modern. Snoop was one of my Top 5 Modern picks from M21, and it wasted no time making an impact on the format. A mere two days after M21 became available on Magic Online, a B/R Goblins combo deck like the one I described took down a Modern Challenge. Congratulations to SebastianStueckl for winning the event; let’s take a closer look at his weapon of choice. 

The Deck

4 Boggart Harbinger
4 Conspicuous Snoop
4 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Munitions Expert
2 Pashalik Mons
2 Sling-Gang Lieutenant

4 Aether Vial
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Tarfire
4 Thoughtseize
1 Unearth

4 Auntie’s Hovel
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Cavern of Souls
1 Fiery Islet
2 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Snow-Covered Swamp


1 Goblin Ringleader
2 Tarfire
2 Blood Moon
2 Boil
1 Goblin Cratermaker
1 Goblin Trashmaster
4 Plague Engineer
2 Relic of Progenitus

How it Works

First things first: if you missed my previous article, here’s a quick refresher on how the combo works.

  1. Have a Conspicuous Snoop in play that doesn’t have summoning sickness.
  2. Play Boggart Harbinger and use its enter the battlefield trigger to put Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on top of your library.
  3. Conspicuous Snoop can now use Kiki-Jiki’s ability to make as many token copies of itself as you’d like.
  4. Once you have enough tokens, use the last untapped token to copy Boggart Harbinger and put Sling-Gang Lieutenant on top of your library. 
  5. Each copy of Snoop now has the ability to sacrifice a goblin to drain one life from the target.

As you can see, this deck has a relatively easy two(-ish) card combo with Conspicuous Snoop and Boggart Harbinger as long as Kiki-Jiki and Sling-Gang Lieutenant are both in your deck. That means it’s relatively easy to slot the combo into a Goblins shell, where it functions much like the Splinter Twin package of old. 

Powerful combo decks need at least two of the following: speed, consistency, and a solid backup plan. Snoop Combo has all three. The deck can win as early as turn three, which is about where you have to be to succeed in Modern these days. If you want to have access to the combo at instant speed instead, you can win on turn four with the help of Aether Vial; Goblin Warchief comes in handy if you want to go off on a single turn when you know your opponent can’t interact.


If you want a consistent Modern combo deck, you’ll need some blue cantrips, such as Serum Visions, or tutors, the most popular of which is Summoner’s Pact. Unfortunately, this deck is neither blue nor green, so it may have issues finding the cards it needs. 

Luckily, Goblins are good at finding other Goblins. Goblin Matron can find whichever piece you’re missing while adding a body to the board. An extra copy of Boggart Harbinger can dig up Conspicuous Snoop. Goblin Ringleader may not be a tutor per se, but it’ll help you dig for the combo while putting another body in the way. 

What If You Draw Kiki-Jiki?

You may have noticed that this deck only contains one copy of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and it needs to be on top of your library in order for you to win. The deck only plays one copy of Kiki-Jiki to minimize your chances of drawing it, but occasionally, it happens. If you find yourself in this position, it may be time for that back-up plan we talked about earlier.

B/R Goblins is still a functional low-to-the-ground midrange deck when it’s forced to play fair. Goblin Ringleader and Conspicuous Snoop keep the cards flowing so you can beat down without missing a beat. Pashalik Mons and Sling-Gang Lieutenant both enable some wins out of nowhere if you can sacrifice enough Goblins. With a back-up plan as strong as this one, you don’t need to risk putting a second Kiki-Jiki in the deck.

Why Not More Goblins?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the composition of the deck. This is a Goblins deck, right? Why does it have Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek instead of more Goblins? 

This build is a combo deck first and a Goblins deck second. When the potential one-mana plays are Aether Vial, Thoughtseize, and one-mana Goblins such as Goblin Guide and Mogg Fanatic, I know that I’m playing Thoughtseize and Aether Vial. The one-mana Goblins just don’t help you combo, but Thoughtseize does an excellent job at clearing the path for Conspicuous Snoop to roll in and set up a turn three win. Plus, you need a density of one-mana plays for the sake of your curve, so Aether Vial and the discard spells make up a nice core. 

Powerful Sideboard Options

Black and red have some powerful sideboard options available to them, and this deck includes some of the greatest hits. 

Boil is probably the best card in Modern against the Snow decks, as it is often close to a one-sided Armageddon. Boil is also potent against the Temur builds of Scapeshift, and versions of Amulet Titan with Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

Blood Moon punishes greedy mana bases in decks like Eldrazi Tron and Amulet Titan, and it can be effective against Death’s Shadow, too. 

Four Plague Engineers may seem like too many, but it almost assures that this list will rarely lose to Humans or the mirror. Plague Engineer also picks up a lot of value against Devoted Druid. 

Goblin Trashmaster and Goblin Cratermaker both do an excellent job at dealing with artifacts. They’re also Goblins, which is always a nice bonus. 

Tarfire kills problematic creatures, and I assume its primary target is Plague Engineer, which shuts down both your combo and your back-up plan. 


Snoop Combo is certainly on my radar as an up-and-coming contender in Modern. Goblin-based combo decks are exactly the kind of thing I would expect to see in Modern: powerful, but a bit off-the-wall in design. I know that I’m going to keep following the developments of this deck as more players put time in to refine the formula, but I think we have a strong jumping off point thanks to SebastianStueckl.