With the release of the M15 Core set, it’s both a very exciting time for magic, with the reprintings of many important and valuable cards, such as Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Liliana Vess, and Chord of Calling, as well as the printing of many interesting new cards! The new planeswalkers are all of course very interesting and will most certainly see play, but today I want to talk about some particular cards, or rather, I want to discuss this card:
Many players are comparing this card to a goblin legacy staple, Goblin Piledriver, and while it certainly isn’t as powerful as that card, it definitely has a lot of potential. Personally, I compare it more to the likes of a more immediate creature version of Goblin Assault. It remains to be seen if the card will have an affect on Modern, but I most certainly think it’ll have an affect on Standard.
Some brief history for me as a player: I began magic in the middle of the Scars Block, right before Mirrodin Besieged came out. While I began with White Tokens, my first real competitive deck was Mono-Red Goblins, so needless to say I’m definitely a little a biased towards Goblin based decks in any format. As such, seeing Goblin Rabblemaster sparks that creative light in me to try and make one of my favorite tribal decks.
Considering how Goblins are a mostly cheap lot for the most part, consisting mainly of one drops, I figured the best form for Standard Goblins to take is that of the relatively popular Boss Sligh deck. However, this is a goblin deck, so lets make it as goblin as possible!
You’ll see the obvious participants for Boss Sligh: Legion Loyalist, Foundry-Street Denizen, Titan’s Strength, Madcap Skills, as well as the odd couple out of Akroan Crusader and Dragon Mantle. We’ve already talked about the Rabblemaster, so lets look at some of the newcomers to the horde:
I’ve always thought this card was a real powerhouse. 3 power for 2? And it’s has haste?! So imagine my surprise when it saw little to no play throughout its tenure. Having only 1 toughness definitely makes it a hard sell, but 3 power with haste on turn 2 and synergizes with goblins is just too good a deal to pass up. This does introduce a second color to worry about, but a full set of Blood Crypts will help us. Just get one and we’re golden.
At first, I wasn’t completely excited about this guy, but then I began to think about all the annoying huge creatures that Green Devotion decks are capable of getting out and how much it’s worth getting past a single enemy that you don’t want blocking your assault. Suddenly I feel this guy is immensely useful in the deck and definitely helps the deck’s goal of out racing the opponent.
Lets say Frenzied Goblin isn’t enough. Maybe you don’t get him out in time or the opponent has dropped Elspeth and made a wall of tokens that you unfortunately don’t have Legion Loyalist to help out against them. You just want to get some damage past that wall and into the opponent’s face. Thankfully, Stoke the Flames does just that, allowing for a least a little burst of damage to help out. Additionally, the convoke mechanic helps if you have Rabblemaster out and you don’t want to blindly through out certain goblins to their presumed doom.
You know what’s scarier than a horde of 1/1s that can be really difficult to defend against? A horde of 2/2s.
You know what’s scarier than a horde of 2/2 that Hall of Triumph brings? A horde of 3/3s or higher. Once again, the convoke works with Rabblemaster in case you don’t want certain goblins to die in a fruitless assault. The down side is you might leave yourself very open to a counter attack during the turn that you cast this. However, if you survive, suddenly your opponent has a very intense army to deal with. Example, I once had my opponent at 15 life against my army of six 1/1s goblins, including Legion Loyalist plus a Goblin Rabblemaster, an Akroan Crusader, and a soldier token it had created and 4 lands. Tap out of lands and the Crusader and Soldier Token to bring out Obelisk and suddenly, I have more than lethal, especially when the trample and first strike aspect that Loyalist brings, and even more so when Rabblemaster is suddenly swing for 11. The damage is just fantastic.
And such is the first draft of Boss Goblins. With Khans of Tarkir on the horizon, the deck is sure to change as we reach that rotation period (God, I’m going to miss you in standard Legion Loyalist). With goblins being already confirmed on the planes of Tarkir, I certainly hope the idea of a goblin themed deck lives on into the next standard season. Until then.