Those of you who read my last article know that I’ve been very busy lately, doing my best to prepare for the upcoming Swedish Nationals. This weekend however I got to take a break from Standard and Limited and focus on my favorite format, Legacy. The finals of our local Legacy league was this Sunday, and I was one of sixteen players invited to play in it. Normally I don’t have to prepare as much before a Legacy event, because the format doesn’t change as quickly and I know my deck very well. This time however things were a bit different. Preparing for a tournament with so few people is quite interesting, because you’re very likely to be paired against any individual player, and the metagame tends to become somewhat inbred.

The Metagame

The first thing I did to prepare was to go through the list of players and write down what I expected them to play. After comparing my initial list with a friend and teammate, this is what I came up with:

Goblins (me)
Sneak and Show
Esper Blade
Esper Blade
Bant Deathblade
Czech Pile
Czech Pile
BUG Delver
BUG Delver
Grixis Delver
Grixis Control
Death and Taxes
The Rock

The next step was to try and analyze the metagame to see if any strategy or card was overly prevalent or missing. To do this I once again asked my teammates for help, but this time I also talked to some other experienced Goblins players. Other people’s perspectives can be very valuable, and if you are lucky enough to have a network of people you can ask for advice I highly recommend doing so.

Looking at the list of players, we have an expected metagame of approximately:

20% Delver decks
20% Stoneblade decks
20% Grixis Control/Czech Pile
20% Combo
6.7% Elves
6.7% Death & Taxes
6.7% The Rock

The first thing that stuck out to me about this metagame is just how many fair blue decks there were. If I wanted to be able to do well in this metagame, I needed a list that can of out grind the other midrange and control decks. This means that I want a second finisher-type Goblin like Krenko, Mob Boss or Siege-Gang Commander in the seventy five, and also that I want to stay away from low impact cards and non-goblins that make my ringleaders worse.

Stoneblade and Death and Taxes are common enough that I definitely want a copy of Tuktuk Scrapper in the maindeck, and at least one additional way to answer opposing equipment after sideboard. I normally keep a second scrapper in the board, but I could also see either Abrade or Kolaghan’s Command being good in this metagame.

The presence of Stoneblade also meant that I needed to be ready for True-Name Nemesis. True-Name poses a big problem for Goblins, and I’m not sure that my singleton copy of Warren Weirding is enough against opponents who are playing multiple copies of TNN. Thankfully, there are a couple of different ways for Goblins to deal with True-Name Nemesis. One is to race them, which works best with Goblin Piledriver. Piledriver can attack for a lot of damage and also conveniently cannot be blocked by True-Name. Earwig Squad is another useful tool when it comes to fighting True-Name Nemesis, as it can deal with it preemptively. If we want to kill True-Name Nemesis once it’s already in play, our best bet is either an edict effect such as Warren Weirding, or a card like Engineered Plague that can give it -1/-1.

Against the Delver and Czech Pile decks, Blood Moon is the card that wins us the most games. A well-timed Blood Moon can take away the opponent’s ability to play spells for the rest of the game, and I’ll happily include three copies of it in my sideboard for those matchups. It’s true that Blood Moon does get worse if they’re playing a build with basic lands in it, but from what I know about these players I did not expect that to be the case.

Figuring out the best way to attack the combo decks is a bit tricky, as they are all different from each other, and thus vulnerable to different things. For this reason I want the full four copies of Cabal Therapy, as it’s in my opinion the most versatile of the anti-combo cards. Chalice of the Void is another versatile card that is nice to have access to against combo. Although it can be a little slow against Reanimator and Sneak and Show, it’s very good against Storm, and also has utility versus Grixis Delver and Elves.

The Deck

After some tinkering with the numbers, this is the list I ended up playing:

RB Goblins

Creatures (29)
Goblin Lackey
Skirk Prospector
Mogg War Marshal
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Warchief
Goblin Chieftain
Goblin Matron
Goblin Ringleader
Lightning Crafter
Siege-Gang Commander
Goblin Sharpshooter
Gempalm Incinerator
Earwig Squad
Tuktuk Scrapper

Spells (8)
Aether Vial
Warren Weirding
Lands (23)
Cavern of Souls
Snow-covered Mountain
Arid Mesa
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Chalice of the Void
Cabal Therapy
Relic of Progenitus
Blood Moon
Engineered Plague
Warren Weirding
Goblin Sharpshooter
Tuktuk Scrapper

The maindeck is very similar to my regular list. The only difference is that I replaced the singleton Krenko, Mob Boss with a copy of Siege-Gang Commander. Krenko is at his best against slower BUG colored decks that don’t have access to Lightning Bolt or Swords to Plowshares. If he goes unanswered, Krenko will go over the top of almost anything your opponent could be doing. Normally I want to have access to that effect, but with the expected metagame, I didn’t believe it was necessary.

The Tournament

BUG Delver 0-2

In round one I was paired against BUG Delver. In the first game my opponent started attacking with Tarmogoyf. I started chump blocking at five life, but then my opponent added a Tombstalker to the board. When I played a Goblin Matron to find Stingscourger my opponent had Daze ready, and we promptly moved on to game two.

During sideboarding I was very happy with my decision to include Relic of Progenitus in the sideboard. Tarmogoyf has been strangely absent from Legacy lately, and it would have been easy to underestimate it. I’ve seen many Goblins players moving to Surgical Extraction instead, mainly because it’s better against Reanimator, but Legacy is such a diverse format that I prefer the more versatile card. I don’t think you need more than two copies of Relic, but I’d rather not leave home without those two.

The second game was rather slow, with me having only two Aether Vial and a Goblin Warchief versus his two Deathrite Shaman and Liliana, the Last Hope. I did nothing for a few turns, and when I finally got Goblin Ringleader on the last possible turn, the hits weren’t good enough to turn the game around.

Painter 2-0

This match was pretty uneventful. In game one I had two answers for my opponent’s Painter’s Servant and was able to end the game in one turn involving a medium-sized attack step and a Goblin Sharpshooter plus Skirk Prospector combo. In the second game I Wastelanded one of my opponent’s lands and he was stuck on one land for the rest of the game.

UBg Delver 1-2

My opponent was on a strange blue black version of Delver, only splashing for Deathrite Shaman. Going into game two I wasn’t sure exactly what colors they were, but I had my suspicions. In game one they fetched up three Underground Seas, but it was possible that they simply didn’t want to reveal their third color as they were firmly ahead. When I saw basic lands in game two, I viewed it as confirmation that he was mostly two colored.

Burn 2-1

This was one of the players I had put on Esper Stoneblade, but apparently he and others had done some 3 a.m deck building the night before and tried to catch people by surprise instead. In the first game my opponent kept a one-land hand, and with him only getting to play one spell per turn I was able to win the race. In game two I had Chalice on turn two, but fell behind to an Eidolon of the Great Revel. In the third and final game I kept a hand that had Cabal Therapy but no black mana. I didn’t draw the Badlands until very late in the game, but I was able to get on the board quickly thanks to a Lackey connecting and me playing Earwig Squad for its prowl cost. This forces my opponent to go after my creatures instead of my life total and he ended up with a pair of Flame Rift in hand that he couldn’t profitably cast.


In the fifth and final round of the Swiss I was paired up against a very skilled Death and Taxes player. A quick glance at the standings made it look like I would get into the top 8 with a draw. As it turns out however I wasn’t paying enough attention and had just drawn into ninth place. While in retrospect it obviously would have been better for me to play, I wasn’t particularly fazed by the outcome. I made a mistake this time, to be sure. But it’s a mistake I can easily avoid making in the future. If anything I was reminded of the importance of taking some time in between rounds to relax, as I believe I would have been less eager to take a draw if I had been able to handle the pressure better.


Regarding the tournament itself I felt pretty happy with my list. It’s a little unfortunate that I didn’t get to play against any of the Stoneblade decks, as my plan for how to deal with True-Name Nemesis was one I felt confident in going into the tournament, and was eager to try. After losing two rounds to Delver, I definitely need to test the matchup further. Perhaps it’s not as good as I thought it was. Either way, that will have to wait. Right now I have a Nationals tournament to prepare for.

Sandro is a Magic player from Stockholm, Sweden. He’s been playing Goblins in Legacy for years. Follow him on Twitter @SandroRajalin

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