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Tribal Guide: The Book of Goblins

Beetleback Warchief, by Wayne England, owned by Wizards of the Coast © All Rights Reserved.

Guess what? I got a fever, and the only prescription, is more tribal (You have to love the SNL classics)! Oh buddy, let’s get spicy. Kicking off this wholesome first part of my new series, the Tribal Guide, we’re taking a sneak peek at everybody’s favorite red little buddies. They’re small, they’re vicious, and they’re not too bright. That’s right, I’m talking about Goblins.

They’ve seen Standard play, they’ve seen Modern play, and now, they’re going to see PDH play. Boy oh boy, I’m so excited. It’s been months, and I still can’t scratch that Commander 2017 itch. Tribal fever is in the air, and I’m going to show you all of the tools you need to have these red little buddies working for you.


First thing’s first. We need to talk about your options for a commander. There are plenty of great red commanders. However, when it comes to tribal fever, you need to pick something special. You need to pick something, relevant. Before we observe a top 5, let’s check out some honorable mentions.

This series isn’t about serving you a deck tech. This is about serving you information, to help you design the best tribal brew possible. With that said, check out these ways to splash in some green. Both of the above, especially Feral Animist, would make great commanders overall. However, other than they themselves being Goblins, they do not contribute to an overall tribal theme. Below are your top 5 best choices for a great Goblin deck

Without question, if you want to play Goblins, you should be running these. Once again, however you want to play will depend which of the above you pick. Want to build an army at a low cost? Pick Goblin Warchief. Interested in turning your goblins into removal grenades? Equip yourself with Arms Dealer. This choice will come down to your preference.

Essentials for the 99

Regarding the above commanders, and whatever strategy is to your liking, this is your choice. However, there are some elements to this tribe, and certain cards, that simply cannot be ignored. Below, we will present a list of all cards you must include, regardless of build.

When designing your deck, there's a few things that must be considered with Goblins. First you need a lot of them. Second, they're expendable (in the right circumstance). Lastly, they're certainly going to get destroyed, easily. Your goblins need to give you as much utility as possible, despite your deck. Let's chat about a few examples.

Some of our creature-beefers such as Goblin General, Goblin Lookout, Goblin Taskmaster, and Lavafume Invoker, are going to help you make your army as dangerous as possible. Whips like Goblin Tunneler, Intimidator Initiate, and Subterranean Scout will make sure your army makes it through the defense.

There's one more question worth asking about your creature base. Are there creatures "other than goblins" worth using? Absolutely. There are two in particular that must be apiece of your weapon. Lowland Oaf will further help you make sure your goblins make it through your opponents' barrier, and Scourge Devil will give several opportunities to boost your army. This archetype is all about aggression, so make it happen. Next, let's take a look below at necessary enchantments for your build.

If you listen to nothing I say in this article, at the very least, pay attention here. Goblin Caves and Goblin Shrine are absolute gems. I mentioned before that Goblins can be destroyed easily, but Goblin Caves will make that much harder (Electrickery proof). Goblin War Drums will force your opponent into uncomfortable situations, as you give all goblins Menace, and Orcish Oriflamme will just add insult to injury. Finally, if you are playing Goblins, YOU GOTTA HAVE IMPACT TREMORS! A personal favorite of mine, this bad boy will help dwindle down life points, just by bringing creatures into the game! These five enchantments will bring you such a large amount of utility in any goblin build, they just simply cannot be ignored.

Let's take a look at Instants, and see what is an absolute must. Four of our six essentials, Banners Raised, Path of Anger's Flame, Trumpet Blast, and Volcanic Rush are going to make your assault as vicious as ever. As opposed to your opponents simply chump blocking a 1/1, they're now forced to make impossible choices. You need to dwindle down defenses and life points, as fast as possible.

Two more items that should be included, Brightstone Ritual can help you ramp a few turns ahead the rest of your opponents, and bring out dangers they can not prevent in time. In the event you want to send a deadly bolt at either a creature or player during combat, Dogpile will give you the sting you need. With that covered, let's now observe Sorcery essentials.

We want goblins, lots of goblins, so let's make more goblins! Dragon Fodder and Krenko's Command will help you fill you board quickly, but the real exciting piece will be Empty the Warrens. First of all, avoid using this card early. You need to wait as late as possible, because you need to cast several spells before this to get the most bang for your buck. Once your board is full, it's time to send a vicious direct shot with Goblin War Strike. Are you ready to destroy a player entirely? Casting Wave of Indifference will let you take a lethal shot at any opponent without any immediate interference.

Finally, it's time to talk about artifacts. Red is rather limited on ramp, so you should be including an Ashnod's Altar, especially where this deck is designed to give you a large creature base to utilize. However, the more important to discuss will be the vehicles. A primary weakness to this deck will be to creatures with flying, or just creatures that are too big for goblins to overcome. Renegade Freighter and Sky Skiff will help with overcoming these obstacles for a period of time. You are going to need ways to constantly keep dealing damage each turn, and these will help you achieve your goal.


There you have it! All of the essential resources you need to build the best PDH goblin deck possible. Although this lays out the cards you should have, this is not a guide for how to build a deck, nor defines exactly how you should play. I still encourage you to take these resources, and create for yourself a unique experience, to have not only an effective, but a fun experience.

Share with me your Goblins build, and let me know what cards you utilize most in your game play. I look forward to seeing your brews, and am eager to bring you the next chapter in the Tribal Guide, "The Book of Merfolk," in the coming weeks!



#Red #Aggro #Goblins #Tribal


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