Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
May 31 2022 12:23pm

Goblins was one of the first decks I ever played in the Pauper format over a decade ago and I instantly fell in love with it. The archetype has gone through a few different revisions over the years as well from playing game ending cards such as Hissing Iguanar to Goblin Grenade finally becoming Pauper legal on MTGO and beyond.
However and unfortunately, the archetype has not aged well as the format has evolved over time and more powerful cards have gotten printed, but that does not stop Pauper players from trying to win with it. I want to discuss my opinion on why the archetype has not aged well.

Today the list we will look at was part of the 5-0 dump from 5/11/2022 and was piloted by the player bepperosario. It is a fairly old school type of list with a couple of recently printed cards. Alright I won’t waste any more time. Let’s do this and rock!

Goblin Cohort and Mogg Conscripts – These are the aggressive 1 drops of the deck. In my opinion, playing less than 4 of these in the main deck is a mistake.

Fanatical Firebrand – As a whole, I believe that Mogg Fanatic is a better card. However, Firebrand has haste and when trying to go wide with Goblin Sledder, having another creature that can turn sideways the turn you play it can make a big difference.

Mogg Raider and Goblin Sledder – Here we see the glue that binds this archetype together. These are your creatures for the “go wide” plan. I am not sure you need to fully max out on each like this list does, but I would play at least 6. Your creatures are small and will soon be outclassed by other creatures so getting through in combat will be difficult. However, with one of these creatures out, you can now turn your blocked creatures into pump spells.

Goblin Bushwhacker – Here is your big combo card. I think we all know how good Bushwhacker is and it has been a staple of Goblins for a long time. I almost wish you could play 5.

Mogg War Marshal – This is one of the best creatures in the deck. It can be a Giant Growth with a Goblin Sledder and it takes 3 removal spells to deal with all 3 creatures this card can produce. This I do wish you could play 5.

Mudbrawler Cohort – A good aggressive 2 drop. That is pretty much where this card begins and ends. 

Goblin Heelcutter – In this spot we have seen different one of cards. Hissing Iguanur and Goblin Matron are a few to name, but usually you will see Heelcutter. Heelcutter is an aggressive card and can be good on its own unlike other options. It can also be good against control decks that don’t play many creatures. This flex spot is a meta call.

Lightning Bolt – We all know why this is here. Moving on.

Goblin Grenade and Fireblast – Here is are your end game cards. Make sure you use them wisely and carefully so that they resolve.

For the manabase we see 17 lands. In the past we have all experimented with cards like Teetering Peaks and Forgotten Cave. I hate playing any come into play tapped lands with a passion in this archetype. I don’t ever want to slow down for any reason. I want the game to end as quickly as possible every time.

The Sideboard

 Electrickery – A great board wipe against many different archetypes.

 Flame Slash – Great for dealing with big creatures like Myr Enforcer.

Flaring Pain – Cards like Prismatic Strands and Fog are a pain to deal with, this should help with that. Sadly, it does not help with Stonehorn combos.

Red Elemental Blast – Blue decks beware. I have come prepared!

 Smash to Smithereens – Having artifact destruction is a good thing to have access to these days and this is great as it also deals 3 damage to your opponent which furthers your game plan.

Sparksmith – A removal spell that can be used multiple times. The downside is that it also deals damage to you. You must be careful when using this card.

A card I would like to mention for the sideboard is Sylvok Lifestaff. Against other red decks, the 3 life you can gain is quite good and the extra power this equipment gives accelerates the clock. Deluxicoff should have some good footage of how good this card can be in Goblins over on his YouTube channel.

Verdict and Conclusion

Ah good old Goblins. My love for this archetype will never die. However, my willingness to play it in recent years and dropped off a bit and there are quite a few reasons for that.

One the big reasons why I think Goblins isn’t very good anymore is simply because the removal in the format has gotten better. With cards like Electrickery and Fiery Cannonade among the many options, it makes it hard for decks such as Elves and Goblins to thrive. With Elves, you have access to blue mana for cards like Hydroblast, so Elves can survive, but with Goblins, while yes you do have Sledder and Raider, you have to give up a huge portion of your board to keep a few 1 power creatures around and in this format, they just isn’t going to cut it.

Back in the day, you had to deal with Crypt Rats out of MBC, but Rats deals a few points of damage to the player, making the clock easier for Goblins and while the format was fast back then, these days the format is fast while also being interactive, another problem for Goblins. Goblins loves to race, but it can’t race and interact as well as other archetypes currently in the format.

Another issue with Goblins is that all of your creatures individually are just weak. With Red Deck Wins, all of your creatures by themselves hit fairly hard and don’t need other creatures to make each other work. While yes you do have a lot of burn to finish the game off, if you aren’t getting through in the red zone, the burn won’t help much.

One last thing to touch on is Stonehorn Dignitary and Ghostly Flicker. You can put graveyard hate in your sideboard, but this combo makes it almost impossible for Goblins to win the game.

Do I think you should play Goblins? In leagues I am sure it is fine to play and mess around with. For challenges however, while it can probably spike a weekend, I wouldn’t put to much stock in it as I don’t think Goblins can spike weekends consistently. I love Goblins, please do not get me wrong, but it will take a number of things for Goblins to take it back to its former glory and I really hope that day comes sooner rather than later. In the end, if you want to play a Goblin deck, I would play Hamuda’s Combo version.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!