Video Daily Digest: Standing Outside The Fire

What happens when a bunch of Goblins surround The Flame of Keld? Well, singed Goblins, for starters, but also this awesomely aggressive Modern deck!

If you play enough Modern on Magic Online, you’ve probably run into Goblins a time or two. It’s also called “8-Whack” because it’s built around flooding the battlefield with cheap creatures and overrunning the opponent with Goblin Bushwhacker and Reckless Bushwhacker.

It’s one of those decks with powerful enough draws to compete against top-tier decks but not enough consistency to become a mainstay of the format.

The deck’s speed and affordability make it attractive to online grinders, but you rarely see the deck near the top tables of paper tournaments.

As I’ve stressed many times in this space, watch out for decks like this because any of them can make the leap into the top tables with a key addition or two from a new set. Skirk Prospector looked to be that addition to Modern Goblins as an innocuous but proven enabler for any deck looking to empty its hand quickly.

Prospector would make the deck more explosive, but today’s list goes another direction with Dominaria, adding resiliency via The Flame of Keld.

Goblins is already very good at emptying its hand. But once it does so, it’s all-in. The Flame of Keld gives you a second wave of cards followed by an ability that turns all your cheap creatures into threats, your Mogg Fanatics and Fanatical Firebrands into Lightning Bolts, and your burn spells into…better burn spells, and all for the low cost of discarding a hand that probably doesn’t have more than a card in it anyway.

Most players play hyper-defensively against Goblins, knowing that they will win if they stay alive long enough and stay out of burn range, but the Saga makes that plan much more difficult. Staying back against the Flame leaves you quite vulnerable against burn spells and your blockers may not even matter against Legion Loyalist, which plays incredibly well with the third trigger.

The Flame of Keld isn’t what you want to see in your opening hand and it plays awkwardly in multiples, like Bedlam Reveler, but if it’s good enough, running four is correct. Decks that can consistently kill by Turn 4 are a dime a dozen in Modern. Those that can win fast and slow are what everyone is looking for.

Maybe you don’t think of winning on Turn 6 as slow, but it’s an important aspect to an aggro deck. You’re trying to put your opponent to the test, and the more often you can do that, the more often they’ll fail.