Today I'm going to talk about a sweet deck that pusuke went 5-0 with in an MTGO league. It is a prison-style mono-red deck with a Goblin theme that utilizes Legion Warboss and Goblin Rabblemaster to make an army of tokens, and has lots of mana acceleration to resolve Chalice of the Void or Blood Moon on the first turn.
I think it is the real deal and something worth considering for your next Modern event.
Chancellor of the Tangle
Simian Spirit Guide
Between Chancellor of the Tangle and Simian Spirit Guide, there is a highly likelihood that we have access to an extra mana on the first turn of the game. And between Pyretic Ritual, Desperate Ritual and more copies of the Ape or Chancellor, there is a high likelihood that we have access to at least three mana on the first turn of the game. This lets us resolve Blood Moon on the first turn a fairly high percentage of the time, which is backbreaking for a lot of decks – even decks with basic lands – because if we resolve Blood Moon turn one on the play then all their fetches are permanently shut off. We also have Gemstone Caverns to accelerate us when on the draw.
Even when we don't have Blood Moon in our opener, we can accelerate into one of our token makers and start making goblins every turn. The mana acceleration really gives this deck an all-in red feel.
Chalice of the Void
These are the two primary lock pieces in the deck. Plan A is to resolve Blood Moon on the first turn and Chalice of the Void on the second turn. Chalice on one counter is really good against a lot of decks, and it is a perfectly acceptable backup turn-one play in cases where we either don't have Blood Moon in our opener or we don't have a third mana.
Chalice gives us game against a lot of combo decks because it cuts off their cheapest spells, which are often velocity type cards such as Serum Visions or Expedition Map. Chalice is also great at shutting down Faithless Looting against Hollow One, Dredge and Mardu. Between these two prison elements, it is difficult for most opponents to accomplish their Game Plan against us.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Turn one Chalice of the Void or Blood Moon can be backbreaking, but have you ever resolved Chandra on turn one? You can even resolve Chalice for one on the same turn by immediately using her mana producing ability.
Chandra accomplishes a few things in this deck. First, it gives us a way to deal with opposing creatures. Second, it gives us a way to essentially draw cards. Since the deck plays so many mana accelerants, we often run ourselves out of cards quickly. Chandra is great at keeping the action flowing. Third, her ultimate is a win condition by itself. So even if we get unlucky and hit rituals and redundant prison pieces off Chandra's activated ability, we can still make an emblem that essentially wins the game.
Legion Warboss is the reason to be excited about this deck again. Goblin Rabblemaster was the one win condition that really made sense in the older version of the deck, and now we basically can play an extra full playset of Goblin Rabblemasters. By making tokens each turn, these two token makers each end the game quickly. And we usually already have Chalice of the Void on the battlefield with one counter on it before we cast our token maker. This gives them protection from many of the most common removal spells that might kill them such as Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push, or Path to Exile.
The lords ramp up the pressure pretty quickly when our Game Plan involves using Goblins to make Goblin Tokens and attacking with everyone.
In addition to providing a power and toughness boost to all our creatures, Goblin Chieftain gives everyone haste, including our token makers. This basically speeds up our clock by at least a full turn usually. Goblin King grants mountainwalk, which might not seem especially important until you consider we are a prison deck that aims to resolve Blood Moon on turn one each game. Goblin King thus makes all our creatures unblockable in addition to boosting their power and toughness.
Krenko, Mob Boss
Krenko is our ninth token maker and works especially well with Goblin Chieftain. It doesn't take long for Krenko to take over a game.
Alongside Legion Warboss, this is the other new addition to the deck from Guilds of Ravnica. This card is really interesting for Modern. It is a Goblin so it fits with the theme of the deck, and being able to kill an opposing creature is very useful. The ability to take out a colorless permanent is very powerful against Tron, Affinity, Ensnaring Bridge, Eldrazi, Hollow One, and several other things such as Amulet in Amulet Titan or Aether Vial out of Humans.
As far as what to board out, you can board out Chalice against decks that don't run many zero or one-mana spells, but there are few decks that fall into this category. Similarly Blood Moon might not seem great against a deck with basics, but when we are talking about turn-one Blood Moon, especially on the play, it is often correct to leave in all the Blood Moons. It doesn't matter how many basics are in their deck if they never get a turn to crack their fetches to find those basics.
Instead of cutting prison pieces, I would usually cut the more expendable parts of the deck. The goblin lords (King and Chieftain) and Krenko can usually come out pretty easily to make room for whatever we are trying to bring in.
This was is excellent against any deck with a lot of zero, one or two-mana spells. It functions as yet another prison piece and a backup Chalice against decks that have extreme difficulties beating that card.
Magus of the Moon
Just as Trinisphere is a backup Chalice, Magus is a backup Blood Moon. Some decks cannot beat Blood Moon, so having additional copies can be useful in such cases.
Leyline of the Void
This is our pretty standard graveyard hate against all the usual suspects. This is very useful against anything that leans heavily on the graveyard. It helps cover our bases because decks like Dredge are one of the few decks that can get around our prison lock. They can respond to our first-turn Blood Moon by simply discarding to hand size and then dredging the discarded card each turn. They literally don't have to ever cast a spell to get around our lock, so having a sideboard bullet for that matchup is especially welcomed.
This one personally felt like a slap in the face and made me question whether I should even bother highlighting this deck. I believe in returning evil with good, so despite pusuke's decision to include this card in their sideboard, I still decided to bring attention to this deck. And to be fair, I think this card is mainly anti-human tech because it kills Champion of the Parish, Thalia's Lieutenant, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. And since we can resolve it on turn one of the game, it stops all those creatures quite effectively, even when on the draw.
This is great against Affinity and also Humans. It also takes out all the cards mentioned when talking about Goblin Cratermaker except Eldrazi.
Against decks that play cards like Night of Souls' Betrayal or some other sweeper card, more anthems can be useful. These feel like the most expendable sideboard slots though.
I would consider adding Lightning Bolt over Goblin King and Goblin Chieftain. This gives us more game against Noble Hierarch and other mana accelerants that can sneak underneath Blood Moon. The lords feel like the least necessary part of the deck since they don't do enough on their own. I would rather add that extra bit of interaction. Lightning Bolt is a bit of a nombo with Chalice of the Void, but it serves an important role in the deck nonetheless.
Alternatively, if you don't want to play Lightning Bolt then you could play Goblin Chainwhirler. It would kill off the opposing mana dorks while providing a body to attack with.
I might also replace Krenko with a third copy of Chandra. In most spots Chandra seems better overall. And in the spots where Krenko is better, Chandra still seems good enough. In the sideboard I would replace the lords with more copies of the other hate cards such as Leyline of the Void and Sulfur Elemental.
...wait, did I just suggest adding an extra copy of Sulfur Elemental? What is happening to me? I always try to be unbiased in the advice I offer in my articles, but maybe this is the point where things have gone a little too far.