Well, this weekend is the Magic Origins Prerelease Events on Magic Online. This means that, come next week, we should have all the Magic Origins cards we could ever want! I just have to get my hands on them...
But in the meantime, we have a temporary solution! The Magic Online downtime takes place on Wednesdays and that's when everything gets updated. The downtime before a new set comes out always makes the cards from that set legal...this includes the cards that have already been printed.
For example, since Goblin Piledriver was already available on Magic Online, he became legal as soon as the system came back up on Wednesday. That being the case...I could get behind playing a deck with some Goblin Piledrivers!
Luckily for me Jason Kohnert managed a Top 32 finish at this past weekend's SCG Open with the aforementioned pro blue creature.
If the deck looks very familiar, it should. It has a lot in common with Martin Dang's Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir winning Atarka Red list, only with more goblins. There are a couple of other key differences such as no Zurgo Bellstriker and no Lightning Strike, but we've also added things like Searing Blood and the full set of Goblin Rabblemaster (which are awesome in conjunction with Goblin Piledriver).
Thankfully the only Origins card the deck included was the Goblin Piledriver, so it's a great option for you guys who either already own Piledrivers or don't want to pick up a ton of new cards for Standard right away.
While Jason managed a pretty sweet finish at one of the first events where Magic Origins was legal, I was still curious to see how the deck fared for myself. So let's take a look.
Well, as expected Goblin Piledriver was incredible. One of my biggest concerns (maybe not so much a concern as an issue), however, was the fact that he lacks any sort of evasion and Standard is full of creatures eager and willing to block right now. His power-buffing ability is very similar to that of Goblin Rabblemaster, but on a card that's one mana cheaper, with protection from blue, and without the token making ability. Also with an additional +1/+0 tacked on. So there are definitely differences. It's a powerful thing to be able to play a turn one creature, followed by a Goblin Piledriver, followed by a Goblin Rabblemaster. That's a lot of damage. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cards in Standard that are more than happy to put a kink into this plan.
Melissa actually wanted to play Goblins last week at our Modern FNM since Goblin Piledriver is also legal there as well. One of the cards she had thought to include in her deck was Ghor-Clan Rampager in addition to Atarka's Command. This was brilliant as it let Goblin Piledriver - and even things like Goblin Guide or Goblin Rabblemaster - become such a stronger threat. You could now give him +4/+4 which let him live through a ton of combat interactions, but he also gained trample from the bloodrush. I kept wishing I had such a tool as I was playing these games, or even a simple Falter effect that could prevent the opponent from blocking. We do have access to things like Magmatic Chasm and Barrage of Boulders in Standard. Heck, I'm even wondering if Break the Line is good enough to see some play. Hitting either a Goblin Piledriver or a Goblin Rabblemaster with it could be amazing, as it give them both haste and unblockable.
Speaking of unblockability, I think the deck could definitely benefit from more copies of Frenzied Goblin. I like Monastery Swiftspear, but I'm definitely eager to go full bore on the goblin strategy here. For that reason, I could even see Goblin Glory Chaser fitting right in. When played on turn one, it becomes a 2/2 with menace which really benefits your other goblins that get power buffs. Heck, Jason might have neglected to include any simply because he didn't have any Origins cards, but did happen to own some Piledrivers. Who knows?
The one downfall of the deck is that it does seem particularly weak against decks that can consistently gain life. While this might seem obvious, it still seems worth pointing out. I have to assume GW Devotion is one of our worst matchups, simply due to the life they're able to gain and the amount of creatures they can flood the board with to no real consequence. While an Atarka's Command can prevent the gaining of some life, the recurring nature of it is usually too much to handle. Despite that, however, the deck definitely had some power behind it, which makes sense as it is very similar to the deck that won the Pro Tour.
As usual, I'll be back this Monday with some more Modern action; maybe I'll even give you guys a double dose of Goblins with the Modern version that Melissa came up with if that's something you'd be interested in. be sure to let me know in the comments! In the meantime be sure to catch my podcast with Ali Aintrazi, Freshly Brewed (which you can find on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or the link below). Thanks for reading and I'll see ya then!
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Freshly Brewed Podcast with Ali Aintrazi (also available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio)