Last week I played a RG Goblins deck in Standard and asked you guys if you wanted to see a similar version in Modern that Melissa DeTora had come up with which included the newly printed Goblin Piledriver. Several of you told me that you would, so that's what I've decided on today. I rarely play red decks ever, let alone two specific goblin decks within the same week, but with Goblin Piledriver making his triumphant return to Standard, along with his first ever appearance in Modern, I figured an exception could be made.

The list we're playing today was one that Melissa put together for FNM the week that Origins was released. We made some tweaks to it since then, but I'm not sure if I'm in love with them. I'll go over them after the videos, along with the changes I would make to the following list as it stands.


As you can see it looks like a pretty Standard Goblin list. Melissa managed to go 4-0 with the deck before I took over and played my matches. Let's see how those went, then we can discuss what we do and don't like.

(Videos arranged in a playlist within the player.)

As you can see, we're extremely weak against the decks in the format with ridiculous amounts of removal, like Grixis Delver - so of course that's what I ended up playing against twice - but it does a good job of showcasing where the deck is a little weaker. People seem to be picking up Izzet Staticaster like it's going out of style, which we're exceptionally weak against without Lightning Bolts. The list I played today had the following changes from the list we originally put together:

+2 Cavern of Souls
+4 Lightning Bolt

-2 Frenzied Goblin
-1 Goblin Rabblemaster
-1 Krenko's Command
-2 Mountain

We took out the Cavern of Souls because no one is really playing Counterspells that we care about and they made it harder to cast things like Atarka's Command or bloodrush a Ghor-Clan Rampager. After playing without them, against decks with things like Remand and Mana Leak, maybe we do want at least one in the deck. One thing I definitely want to add back into the deck is the Lightning Bolts. They give us so much reach and they help us Clear a Path for our creatures to attack. This is incredibly useful considering our only other way to do that is to use a Goblin Grenade and two-for-one ourselves. I usually like saving the Grenades for finishing off the opponent, but with Lightning Bolt, Goblin Grenade, and Atarka's Command, we kind of have a secondary burn plan.

I could see cutting one Ghor-Clan Rampager from the deck in order to add the Bolts back. I absolutely love the Rampager, especially with guys like Goblin Rabblemaster and Goblin Piledriver, but four might be too many, especially in a deck where we're basically tapping out every turn and have a limited amount of green mana.

Initially Melissa put in the Goblin Bushwhackers as an additional one-drop to replace the Lightning Bolts and add more goblins to the deck, but we realized that you never really want to cast them on turn one. Frenzied Goblin was a card we were much more willing to run out on turn one, but we realized both cards were simply poor replacements for the Lightning Bolts we were missing. Once our opponents played things like Izzet Staticaster and Young Pyromancer against us, basically shutting us out of combat, I realized we needed another source of removal back in the deck.

I'm also not a huge fan of Krenko, Mob Boss. I mean I am, don't get me wrong, but he's too fragile for a creature that you need to actually untap with or also have a Goblin Chieftain in play. The Krenko's in both the maindeck and the sideboard were meant to be useful against the control decks as more powerful mid game cards, but I think something like Siege-Gang Commander - a card we initially had in the sideboard - might be better as he affects the board as soon as he comes into play.

Lastly, I could definitely see cutting a land. Considering we basically top out at three mana (since we rarely ever cast Ghor-Clan Rampager) I could see cutting a land from the deck and going down to 22. If this is something we want to do, I think the changes we make are as follows:

-1 Ghor-Clan Rampager
-1 Krenko, Mob Boss
-1 Krenko's Command
-1 Mountain
-1 Scalding Tarn

+1 Cavern of Souls
+4 Lightning Bolt

I would also consider any of the following in the Frenzied Goblin slot: Frenzied Goblin, Foundry Street Denizen, Goblin Glory Chaser.

Overall I think the deck definitely shows promise; the numbers are just really hard to get down because we have so many options. We could even play Tin Street Hooligan in the sideboard over an alternate artifact removal spell. Getting the correct configuration might be the only thing keeping Goblins from being a true competitor in Modern, but I imagine someone will come close to perfecting a list at some point.

As usual, I'll be back this Thursday with a brand new Standard deck. Despite Jace, Vryn's Prodigy being the most expensive card in the set, if I can get my hands on some, I might play Ali Aintrazi's Demonic Pact list. Or maybe a brand new Turbo Fog list that Ali and I brew up from scratch on this week's Freshly Brewed podcast (which you can find on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or the link below). Thanks for reading and I'll see ya then!

Frank Lepore
@FrankLepore on Twitter
FrankLepore on TwitchTV
Freshly Brewed Podcast with Ali Aintrazi (available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio)