With Prerelease done and oodles of boxes of Dominaria are just waiting to be released these weekend, I see a lot of players posting buy-lists online for sweet new Dominaria cards to add into their deck.
I don’t usually play meta decks but I’m sure many of you guys are possibly looking to upgrade their current meta decks in preparation for standard PPTQs and GPs. So let me give my own ‘meta-ish’ take on how I think Mono Red decks will evolve.
Meet the goblins of Dominaria. They are possibly shifting mono red decks from fast and deadly, to fast, big and deadly.
Skirk Prospector is one of my favorite cards when I was still a meta deck player in Onslaught (don’t sue me). I played Goblin Bidding then and Skirk Prospector allowed a turn 2 Goblin Warchief into 3 Goblin Piledrivers on turn 3 to kill the opponent. Sadly we don’t have Piledrivers in standard but who cares? We have Goblin Chainwhirler.
A 3/3 for 3 mana with First Strike is raw power for red with relatively zero drawback. Usually red creatures have a caveat attached to it but for Goblin Chainwhirler, you are only required to invest heavily on red to meet the RRR requirement consistently on turn 3. This won’t be a problem because Mono Red still exist. It is super effective at sniping all of standard’s best 1-toughness creatures.
There are a lot of sweet creatures that Chainwhirler can kill the moment it hits the battlefield. It’s like a Sunscorched Desert that wraths away pesky creatures on the other side. With first strike, all your small removal spells can effectively kill whatever it blocks. It can also trick your opponent into letting some of your creatures hit their walkers expecting it to live with 1 counter then BOOM, sweet dreams motherwalker!
SGC is a 5-mana for 5 power spread across 4 bodies and can throw goblins for 2 damage to any target is super sweet especially if we need those added reach to close the game. It also makes blocking difficult since you can throw away your goblins that will not attack profitably in combat.
Speaking of reach, Goblin Barrage allows us to kill bigger dudes that Magma Spray or Lightning Strike can’t kill and gives us an option to sacrifice goblins lying around to hit your opponent for 4 damage. It’s not necessarily a 2-for-1 since you also gave up a spell and a creature to take down one of theirs and hit them for 4 but I think you still walk out the winner in that trade.
Still don’t feel comfortable killing one of your dudes to pay the kicker? Why not pay it with Squee, the Immortal? This pesky legendary goblin that refuses to stay dead is the post-rotation Scrapheap Scrounger. Even with Vraska’s Contempt, Squee can always come back and provide you with almost unlimited ammunition for Siege Gang Commander.
I’m not crazy to expect Goblins to take the standard scene by storm because they simply can’t. That’s why we still have our usual culprits in the mid-late game curve which with the help of Skirk Prospector, can come down a turn or 2 early. Imagine being on the play and you bring a Skirt Prospector out on T1, then follow it up with T2 Fanatical Firebrand (which is a goblin) and Bomat Courier and swing with the three 1/1s.
Then on turn 3, you can shock/magma spray a blocker and swing in again with the 3 1/1s. On your second main, you can already sac the Firebrand to Prospector to add 1 red mana and cast Phoenix a turn early. Getting a huge threat on board 1 turn early can jeopardize the hand your opponent decided to keep because he will need to time walk himself and kill the bird twice or risk falling behind. And if he does decide to deal with your bird, your turn progresses and your game development move forward and pressure with more threats which should be safe from removal since the Phoenix did its job to soak up all that hate.
Take a look at my Mono Red infused with Goblin Goodness!
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Skirk Prospector
2 Bomat Courier
4 Earthshaker Khenra
4 Goblin Chainwhirler
1 Squee, the Immortal
3 Rekindling Phoenix
3 Siege-Gang Commander
2 The Flame of Keld
3 Shivan Fire
4 Lightning Strike
2 Goblin Barrage
2 Hazoret the Fervent
1 Shivan Fire
1 Rekindling Phoenix
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 Magma Spray
2 Kari-Zev’s Expertise
You can see I tried to play with 2 copies of The Flame of Keld because we’re not playing all 4 copies of Bomat Courier. I want to try this out because the 3rd chapter to this saga enables our deck to unload a lot of damage. With Siege-Gang Commander out, each goblin you pop is 4 damage. The amount of damage we can potentially deal is staggering. The trick here is to know when to play this so you can sequence your turns in a way you are full of creatures and ways to deal damage to the opponent.
I also wanted to swap Shock with Shivan Fire because of its scale-ability. When we top deck a Shock or Magma Spray against an opposing 3-4 toughness creature, it feels horrible. With Shivan Fire, dumping our excess mana can take down a Glorybringer or a Gonti, or a Shalai later in the game.
That’s it for now, I’m off to watch Avengers: Infinity War. Hopefully the fight scenes inspire me to build more decks. But Black Widow and Scarlett Witch works fine too!