Modern Event Deck Competition – Goblins (Deck Tech) by Grant Hislop

Modern Event Deck Competition – Goblins (Deck Tech) by Grant Hislop

I love Modern. Of all the many and varied Magic formats, I think I love Modern the most.

I’d played in Gavin Verhey’s precursor to the format Over-Extended quite a few times before the format was announced. When Modern was announced, I was excited.

The thing is, though; I’ve been playing for quite some time, and I very much expected that something akin to Modern was coming, given how lukewarm the reception was to new, double Standard Extended. As a result, I’d been stockpiling old extended staples, like fetchlands, dual lands, Dark Confidants, Tarmogoyf and so on, so when Modern was announced, I was ready to roll.

Fetch Lands MTG Wallpaper

For a variety of reasons, people weren’t as prepared for Modern as I am. That’s fine, we all need to start somewhere. Sadly, for them, the days of £10 Fetchlands are very much over, and some people aren’t willing to get a second mortgage on their homes or sell body parts to cover the cost of the mana-base of their deck of choice.

Magic players, as a whole, love complaining. The numbers of complaints I’ve heard over the years about the cost barrier to Modern has been staggering. I don’t really give them much mind any more.

If the guy who’s playing budget Standard decks starts whining about Modern prices, it’s hard to lend that guys opinions much truck, as they’re clearly just viewing the game in a different way to me. Not worse, per se, but different (also, worse).

This is the sense of entitlement that can be very hard for some to shake. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you deserve it. You have to work to earn it, and even then, you might come up short. Dealing with failure is a very important lesson for Magic players, especially ones as shaky at the game as I am…

architects of will banner

There are many, cost effective ways to get into Magic, be it paper cards or digital objects, but generally, the cost is going to be relative, and the restrictions will cause you to lose games and matches.

If we are realistic about the limitations our budgetary restrictions will impose upon us, it’s certainly possible to have a ‘good time’ while playing Modern, even if we’re playing with an entire deck that costs less than one of the Fetchlands in our opponent’s deck.

For what it’s worth, I think that the Modern Event Deck is excellent. I think it’s an excellent introduction to the format, and I think the value contained in the box is the perfect amount to ensure its value for money for the players, rather than the speculators, which always has to be the goal for a product like this, and can be a somewhat difficult balancing act at times – too many good, expensive cards and the players won’t get a chance to get them, too few, and they won’t want to.

As an aside, anyone complaining about the contents of the Event Deck is a moron. There was speculation of fetchlands surrounding the announcements, but that was never going to happen.

This is an entry level product, and tying up value in the lands is 100% the antithesis of what this product was always going to be. The Magic Rumour Mill is a dark place at times, folks – please don’t let it trick you stupid.

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The Manaleak Modern Event Deck Competition is right up my street. While I genuinely don’t think that a better deck can be made for the price, given Wizards charging their retail price for cards worth significantly more than that, I DO think that there are many, viable decks that would be more than capable of winning matches at PTQ level.

Largely though, it’s about identifying an angle or a theme, and pushing that as hard as possible. Linear aggro decks are going to be significantly easier to build than trying to make control decks without Cryptic Commands happen. Also, staying mono-coloured is going to open up a lot of our cash to go into sweet cards, rather than dull, boring lands.

With that in mind, GOBLINS!

Goblin Bushwhacker4 Goblin Arsonist (0.40)
4 Goblin Bushwhacker (1)
4 Goblin Chieftain (10)
4 Goblin Cohort (0.40)
2 Goblin Guide (20)
2 Goblin Wardriver (1)
2 Legion Loyalist (5)
4 Mogg Fanatic (3.80)
4 Mogg War Marshal (4)
4 Tattermunge Maniac (1.2)

4 Goblin Grenade (3)
2 Lightning Bolt (4)

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Check out the latest Commander 2016 spoilers and preorder here!

3 [card]Teetering Peaks">Incinerate[card] (0.40)

3 [card]Teetering Peaks (0.30)
17 Mountain (0.00)


4 Combust (0.80)
4 Goblin King (4)
3 Relic of Progenitus (4.5)
4 Vandalblast (1)

Total £64.80

Finished with 20p to spare. You could buy half a freddo bar with that kind of cash, which is nothing to be sneezed at.

Budget Modern Goblins

Goblin Banner

There are pretty close to zero frills on this deck, it’s just a collection of the most aggressive Goblin creatures going.

Look at the curve on this:

1 Drops

Tattermunge Maniac4 Goblin Arsonist
4 Goblin Cohort
2 Goblin Guide
2 Legion Loyalist
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Tattermunge Maniac

4 Goblin Grenade
2 Lightning Bolt

2 Drops

4 Goblin Bushwhacker
2 Goblin Wardriver
4 Mogg War Marshal

2 Incinerate

3 Drops

4 Goblin Chieftain

There really isn’t anything particularly tricksy here. You play as many threats as your hand will allow each turn, and stop doing so when you run out of cards or the opponent is dead, whichever happens first. There is a reasonable burn component to the deck that allows you to kill through a wall of creatures on defence.

See, the thing about this deck, it’s going to punish the expensive, greedy mana-bases of our more invested opponents, with each Fetchland activation taking time off the clock, and each untapped Shockland causing the opponent fits.

‘Do I have to play this untapped, or can I afford to Shock myself’ is a question that many Magic players are ill-equipped to answer. You adhere to the fundamental rule of the Modern format by killing on around turn 4, and realistically, it doesn’t matter so much how you get there, as long as you’re doing that.

A deck like this should be easy for most players to just pick up, as it requires very little format knowledge – you are always going to be the aggressor, pretty much regardless of what your opponent is doing you’re going to be trying to dead them before they can do it to you.

Going Forward with Modern Goblins

lightning bolt mtg banner


Another two Goblin Guides enable the decks best draws. I’d change Legion Loyalist for this, and move Boros’ finest into the board in case of Lingering Souls.

Also, we’d want to upgrade our two Incinerates into Lighting Bolts, and if the budget would allow, Fetchlands and a Mutavault or two wouldn’t go amiss. Fairly simple changes, but sadly, ones that would total up to several hundred pounds.

I think that’s the most difficult thing in building decks on a budget – identifying whether the improvements you’d need to make to optimise the deck render the budget version unplayable, and in this case, I don’t think they do.


Is this deck better than Wizards Orzhov Tokens deck? No. Is this deck a playable deck for under £65 that will win you matches? Yes, absolutely. Challenge completed.


You can find full details of the Modern Event Deck Competition here, please remember to submit your lists asap! – Introducing: The Modern Event Deck Competition by Dave Shedden

Stay classy mtgUK,


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