A while ago I had a Grenzo, Havoc Raiser deck that had lots of Goblin Tribal synergies. It worked decently well since Grenzo wants as many creatures to deal combat damage as possible making a ton of goblins seemed like a decent way to push damage through. I always enjoyed how goblins as a tribe played, but did . I wondered if there was a way to play one of my favorite tribes but also have some resilience and be able to rebuild in case the board got wiped. Thus, I built Wort Boggart Auntie, the way I have built this less popular goblin commander is to have two plans. The first, the typical plan for a goblin deck simply swarm the board with as many of them as possible and then turn the hoard sideways. The second, is when the commander comes into play, while Wort provides a nice insurance policy in case our key pieces die, she also allows a shift to a grindy midrange plan while simultaneously rebuilding our armies.
General Game Plan
As mentioned there are two parts to how this deck creates a winning state.
Plan A: Swarm for the win!
This is the typical Goblin game plan, make a ton of dudes get one or two lords on the field and then swing for the win. Most the strategy and gameplay decisions here is deciding who to attack when we have a decent sized goblin gang. I typically go after the player most likely to have sweepers because those will be problematic for our many small creatures. The deck runs a relatively high density of tutors that fetch us whatever goblin that is needed when we need to swarm. When in doubt I usually get Krenko at the first opportunity. He is simply the best way to make tons of goblins quickly and will allow us to snowball out of control in short order. For this part of the game plan to take off we need our team to have haste not only so that our hoard will be able to swing immediately but so that we may activate tap abilities like Krenko and Moggcatcher when the enter the field.
Seasoned EDH players know how Krenko can snowball when used in this way, so the best way to swarm with him is to give them as little warning as possible. Moggcatcher is also one of the best cards in the deck when he has haste. The ability to tutor out any goblin that strikes our fancy to the battlefield is quite good whether we simply wish to swarm or accrue value with some utility goblins. Additionally, if we have reanimation spells in hand we can sacrifice Moggcatcher then reanimate him so he re-enters untapped and we can tutor again. We can utilize the exact same tactic to activate Krenko multiple times in a turn. With either of these engines online our board can exponentially if those numbers are couple with a lord then that might be enough to end the table.
Plan B: Lets get grindy:
This is the idea of any reanimator deck sacrifice their own permanents, reanimate them ,and then use the value accrued for advantage in the mid to late game. Most of the value we will receive will contribute to building our goblin hoard and running over all our opponents. For example the creatures we will usually be recurring are like Beetleback Chief ,and Siege Gang Commander both of which make goblins when they enter the field. Additionally, the deck runs a couple of goblins that tutor for goblins when they enter in Goblin Matron and Goblin Recruiter. If we sacrifice and recur either of these we can tutor every turn for whatever goblin strikes our fancy. In addition, there are some other little known goblins that do wonders when Wort puts them back into our hand.
That is the general idea of how the deck works, there are different pieces of the deck that adhere to the overall game plan, starting with the basic resource that all EDH decks need.
One of the best payoffs for goblins being in black is that we are able to take advantage of the card draw that black provides. We run Read the Bones, Night’s Whisper, and Phyrexian Arena.
In addition we run some good red card draw in Faithless Looting ,and Magus of the Wheel. Magus is a creature and thus can be recurred with our general creature reanimation. He does need to tap also therefore giving our team haste benefits him greatly also. Since we create a ton of 1/1 tokens we will have plenty of food for Skullclamp. We also run Rummaging Goblin which helps us discard goblins into our graveyard and give us more card selection every turn. In any case, Wort keeps up our value engine in the mid to late game by turning our graveyard into an extension of our hand.
This deck does want to swarm with lots of goblins quickly therefore, our team having haste is crucial. As mentioned this helps when we have powerful tap abilities that are much more impactful when we do not have to wait a turn to activate them. Goblin Chieftain is one of the best lords in the deck for this reason, he gives haste and an additional +1/+1 bump to our army. In the same vein Goblin Warchief is fantastic, reduces our goblins mana cost by one and also gives them all haste. This allows us to both accelerate out tons of goblins and also allows them to swing immediately.
I also run Garna the Bloodflame as one of the few non-goblin creatures. I was on the fence about Garna but the mass reanimation in addition to our team having haste has proven worth the slot thus far however, the jury is still out. There have been several points at which I have a big board and thus do not wish to commit further resources therefore, holding up five mana for Garna is doable. This is the name of the game make more dudes than our opponents can deal with and get swarming!
We are running all of the ones that are expected, Beetleback Chief, Siege Gang Commander, Goblin Rabblemaster ,and Krenko himself as mentioned. In addition, we are running a couple sorceries that make goblins. Any goblin deck wants to make lots of them and overwhelm the board this section of the deck does not differ from the norm.
The effects of this pair of goblins makes the deck worth playing. I was bothered by not being able to live through a board wipe and both of these make that possible. One of the best Goblins in black is Mad Auntie, if a key goblin becomes the target of a kill spell she can regenerate that creature. In addition we run Goblin Chirurgeon, with the amount of goblin tokens that we create sacrificing one to save a key creature is a small price to pay. In addition, all of the newer board clears do not have the “can’t be regenerate” line; which increases the odds that these trusty members of our goblin gang will keep our team safe. The added resilience that both of these creatures bring to the table in addition to the speed that goblins are known for makes the deck an entirely different deck to deal with.
Little Known Goblin Stars:
When most players think of goblin tribal they think of Krenko who is incredibly explosive in his own right. There are a couple of goblins that don’t receive much attention since they are not played in neither Krenko nor Goblin decks in other formats.Wort being our commander adds that second dimension to the typical goblin plan. Since we care about being able to generate value to last in the mid to late game these forgotten goblins are powerhouses. I am referring to Earwig Squad and Gempalm Incinerator. Earwig Squad is one of the premier goblins in black if we cast it for its prowl cost it is essentially a Sadistic Sacrament effect. Since Wort puts the Goblin back into our hand on our upkeep we can connect with a goblin and recast the squad and exile another three cards. We can repeat this ad- nauseam until we have neutered our opponents’ win conditions. We do not need to fear from Elesh Norn destroying our board!
Gempalm Incinerator is pure value, for two mana we can cycle it to deal damage to a creature equal to the amount of goblins on our battlefield. Even if we only have four or five that’s still enough to kill most problem creatures. If the Incinerator kills an opponent’s creature it is a repeatable two for one that strips our opponents of their key creatures. I have won games off cycling this little known goblin repeatedly thereby carving up my opponents boards so Auntie can lead our hoard to victory.
In order to accrue value with repeated ETB triggers we need to put goblins in the graveyard to be revived with Wort. Therefore sacrifice outlets are key, Skirk Prospector allows us to exchange goblins for mana. Goblin Churgion protects our team as mentioned above. Goblin Trashmaster is repeatable artifact removal as well as being a lord himself. Finally, Goblin Bombardment allows us to turn our gobbos into high velocity projectiles to be thrown at our opponents face or their blockers. All of these allow us to sacrifice our creatures and give us payoffs that we can use. Skirk Prospector in particular has allowed me to mount a comeback despite being stuck on lands on a few occasions.
Winning the Game:
We have discussed both parts of the game plan, generating value, and how to make all of the goblins, but how do we seal the deal? There is the obvious route of overwhelm with sheer numbers however, there are a few specific cards/combos that put the nail in the coffin when swarms of 1/1s cannot quite finish the job.
If we resolve this naming goblin it is a one sided board reset if we have enough goblins on board and that should be enough to win the game.
Blood Moon + Goblin King:
Both of these cards are good on their own, Goblin King is a lord that provides a keyword ,and Blood Moon is one of the best red cards out there. If they are both in play and our opponents have non basic lands our entire swarm is unblockable making it easier to push damage through.
This is a relatively casual tribe deck ,but I could not resist adding at least one combo as a “I win” button that I can push if the game drags. The pieces to the combo are Metallic Mimic, Skirk Prospector ,and Murderous Redcap. Step one, play the mimic name goblin, now goblins will enter with a +1/+1 counter then play the Prospector. Once we have a way to sacrifice a creature we play the Redcap. He enters with a +1/+1 counter, we sacrifice him to the Prospector, he persists back onto the battlefield and the persist counter is negated by the existing +1/+1 counter and the Redcap receives another counter from the Mimic. We can repeat this process for infinite damage. Skirk Prospector can be replaced with any other sacrifice outlet however, most games I tend to have the Prospector on the field anyway and he is the easiest to both cast and find with a tutor. Any sacrifice outlet mentioned above will work we simply need a way to kill the Redcap repeatedly.
Why build this deck?
Goblins are one of the best supported tribes in Magic, with tons of lords, token makers, and general support. I have always liked their flavor text, their lore, and how they played, and yet I have built this deck less than a month ago. This has been due to a couple sticking points as I have mentioned. I was disheartened by how one simple Damnation was enough to stop my deck dead in its tracks when using my old Grenzo Havoc Raiser deck. I also have been at the same table as a Krenko deck and the game went one of two ways, either the Krenko deck untapped with Krenko and slaughtered everyone or it got completely shut down by the control deck at the table. It simply folded to one piece of removal or one counterspell. There was no middle ground ,and in either case the Krenko player always had a massive bullseye on their head which was not the experience I was seeking. I was surfing Edhrec and I found Wort and I have had a blast with this deck. It swarms like goblins want to but at the same time it has some quirky includes that are not seen elsewhere but now are absolute machines! I have not seen Gempalm Incinerator anywhere and it is one of the best cards in the deck. I hope that you guys will consider giving Wort a try. Do not fret when wondering what play to make because Auntie knows best.
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Thanks for reading!
-Paul of Clan Nel Toth