Goblins is your typical aggro deck as it tries to kill you quickly and give you the least amount of turns possible for you to draw your answers. Unlike the typical Red Deck Wins or Burn strategy, Goblins tries to win with creatures and use the few burn spells they do play to finish the game or remove threats from your opponents side, so they can get their creatures through.
The Goblins archetype also has a sort of combo like finish as well. With Goblin Bushwhacker, it is possible to save your creatures in your hand and unload them in 1 turn, play a Goblin Bushwhacker and finish off your opponent in one huge go. With cards like Goblin Sledder you can also go “Wide” with the archetype as well by attacking with maybe 7 different creatures and using Goblin Sledder's ability to manipulate combat and kill your opponent. Let's go ahead and break the deck down piece by piece and see what makes Goblins a deck.
Mogg Conscripts and Goblin Cohort – These are your best 1 drops because they have 2 power and 2 toughness, which means they are aggressive and still handle well in combat. Yes it is true you need to play a creature spell so that they can be allowed to attack, but in a deck with over 30 creatures, I am very certain you are covered.
Foundry Street Denizen – This is your third best 1 drop, but the problem is that it has 1 toughness so it dies to almost anything in combat. The best part about this card is that it gets +1 to its power for every other red creature you have enter the battlefield, so it can get to be 3 power with cards like Goblin Bushwhacker or Mogg War Marshal. It can even grow to be the 5 or 6 power range in some turns, making it quite a lethal creature for only 1 mana.
Goblin Sledder and Mogg Raider – These creatures are how you go wide and play around removal. They also help to manipulate combat in your favor and also can help you combo out by flooding the board with creatures and going all in for the kill. They are also your way of not being blown on completely by cards like Electrickery and Nausea.
Goblin Bushwhacker – This is your big combo kill card and is what also allows you to have broken draws as well. When you have a Bushwhacker in hand, it is sometimes a good idea to slow roll some creatures in your hand and then play a couple of them and Goblin Bushwhacker so that you can surprise your opponent for a lot of damage.
Mogg War Marshal – A very good 2 drop for this archetype, in fact, it is probably one of the top creatures for the deck. It makes 2 creatures for Goblin Bushwhacker and for Goblin Sledder it can help towards pumping your other dudes by being a small giant growth if you need it to be.
Goblin Sparksmith – This is your way of, clearing the way for your creatures to get through. You do have to be careful because he deals damage to you as well, so use the Sparksmith wisely.
Goblin Matron – This is what allows you to access your combo like kills easier, or get you the creature you may need in a certain situation. You can also use Goblin Matron to search for duplicates of itself and then get Goblin Bushwhacker to go all in. Although you don't want the game to go late, it gives a source of card advantage to keep the gas going if need be.
Goblin Heelcutter – This guy is a great 1 of to make your opponents combat math hard. The great thing is it deals 3 damage so it is a quick clock and has 2 toughness so Electrickery does not hit it.
Renegade Freighter – I am starting to really fall in love with this card honestly. For 3 mana, you get a creature who hits for 5 damage and has trample for the price of tapping a Goblin Cohort when it is unable to attack. It is true that can easily die to removal, but that goes for any creature, which also means that when it goes unanswered, the card wins the game very quickly. It can also be good against other aggro matchups where the board gets clogged up easily.
Lightning Bolt – I shouldn't have to explain why this card is played (or so I would hope). It is 1 mana for 3 damage to either kill almost every creature played in pauper or it goes to your opponents face for a quick hit of burn. I would never use less than 4.
Death Spark – For only the price of 1 mana, this card kills creatures such as Delver of Secrets before it flips, Spellstutter Sprite, many creatures in the elf decks and the mirror and I could go on. The best part is that this card can also be returned to your hand from the graveyard as well, making it very good in a lot of aggro matchups across the Pauper format.
Fireblast – A good one of to finish off your opponent. When I played 2, it did not increase the chances of drawing it by much and I have gotten caught with 2 in my hand before, so I choose to play it as a one of for now.
The Mana Base is pretty basic with 18 mountains (no pun intended). You could play lands like Teetering Peaks for extra damage, Forgotten Cave to cycle through you deck, but the problem is that they all come into play tapped and early in the game, that could easily lose you the game because you don't get to curve out correctly. I choose to play only basic lands for this reason.
3 Gorilla Shaman – This is the best answer to Affinity if you can afford it. If you cannot, I would use Smash to Smithereens because it deals 3 damage and that can also help your clock dramatically when trying to win very fast.
3 Electrickery – This is your answer to Delver Blue and Token strategies, as well as being a huge swing in the mirror.
3 Pyroblast – This card is used primarily to force through a Goblin Bushwhacker so you can combo off, but it is also good to just fight against counter spell decks so you can force through key spells.
2 Sylvok Lifestaff – This is the mirror breaker because it allows you to play the control role and buy more turns to draw more spells than your opponent, while also effectively trading with your opponents board. It can also be helpful against control decks like UB Teachings to add an extra point of power to the mix so that your opponents clock is that much quicker.
The Decktech and the Test Match
I still love this deck and from testing and seeing some other people play it, I find it to be a good deck in the format right now. It does have a hard time with heavy removal decks, such as MBC and Kuldotha Boros. But it has great game against control decks and can be fast enough to be other aggro archetypes as well.
Goblins has a lot of lines of play that are hard to figure out, but if you are up for the challenge, I have no doubts you will have a lot of fun playing it. You can also customize your Goblin deck as well with cards such as Jackal Familiar to have a more aggressive approach. You could also play more burn spells like Chain Lightning. You could also use Goblin Arsonist for extra points of damage and to combo with your Goblin Sledder. You can also then play Reckless Abandon to have a Goblin Grenade type effect as well. Plenty of people play the archetype in different ways, it's up to you and your testing to find out the best approach.
I hope you all enjoyed this little article about the Goblin Archetype and hope you take it for a spin to see for yourself just how good and fun it is! Thanks for reading and watching and I will see you guys next time!