It’s late into 2017 and I have a bone to pick with the leaders of a nation I love. We we’ve been sold a bill of goods by a leader who many praised for being a savvy businessman, excelling in finance and resource management. A leader whose offspring suspiciously populate his ranks. Long gone is nuanced rhetoric and tactical shenanigans. Long gone are the war heroes of our past, promising explosions and wreckage and pith helmets.

We were promised the Plains would burn in Flashfires, every Island would Boil, and every Swamp would drain. We were promised that an all-in strategy would be reinvented, all we got was the sour grin of a pretender as he delivered us into an aggro strategy. Observing the residences of great our nation now, I think they’ve become too akin to a common rat token, supplied with little effort and no sacrifice.

Nation, I behest you all to remember this election season who it truly was leading our great nation out of the Ice Age and into The Mending. We must look past the perverse charisma fueled by avarice, look beyond those who wish to burn and pillage. On election day we must, as a nation, dethrone the corrupted Krenko, Mob Boss and – with one explosive display of solidarity – finally show the great Goblin Nation that we are The Ib Nation and we will stand up.

—Paid for by the Committee to Re-elect Ib

Nation, I am here today to talk you about the state of the our great nation. Those of you in my audience too young to remember 2012 and the ascension of Krenko, Mob Boss to power may not know that we were once under the command of the wise and cowardly Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician—respecter of veterans and terraformer of Mountains—who taught us all that mono-red could be an all-in combo deck and a viable strategy. In June of 2012, a new candidate swaggered out of a Ravnican alleyway, surround by his loyal supporters and promising something for nothing while entrancing many with his knowledge of knives and on-rails deck strategy. At the time, his appeal was unavoidable and he seemed a perfect replacement for our glorious leader, Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician. In hindsight, we have lost more than we realize. Krenko is willing selling us out to a hidden threat that has been festering under own noses, ignorantly overlooked. I refused to go out powerless to my own fate, as should you.

Tactics Advanced

To understand where everything went wrong, it’s important to understand the environment that Krenko was birthed into and the holes in the old establishment that he leveraged, seemingly above his own perceived intelligence. At one time Red, especially mono-red, was viewed as the worst color you could be playing in Commander due to its over reliance on fast kills through damage and land destruction. Neither of these fit well into a 40-life format or “the social contract” heralded by many ruling by committee in their ivory towers.

Ib had been overlooked in his prime and stored away by the time Commander really became mainstream. This all changed as many see July 26th, 2011 as the day that Ib Halfheart was truly understood by the many to be the goblin we had been waiting for, but didn’t realize we already had. Suddenly a turn one Sol Ring and Ruby Medallion would grant us access to both our general and Dragon Fodder on turn two, sacrificing our two tapped Mountains for more goblins, all prepared to apply pressure to the table.

The underappreciated elegance of Ib as a leader was that he was not satisfied with Red being forced to play by the rules that made our great color “the worst.” To embrace The Ib Nation was to embrace counter-culture and chaos; if mana bases in Commander were touted as being financially expensive and sacred, The Ib Nation saw fit to simplify their lands to Mountains and ran Price of Progress, Shivan Harvest, and Ruination with little fear of the eventual prejudice or backlash.

He worked with the common gob on the street, using his tactical prowess and knowledge of war time strategies to craft powerful combos meant to end games quickly. Many saw this path to victory as revolutionary and playing along a new axis. Ib often made it a point of honor that his resources would crumble along with everyone else’s for the purpose of strategic advantage. This was a time when a goblin tapped because they were attacking, probably fighting off a Phyrexian invasion or killing a Jhoira of the Ghitu player. As the saying went, “each goblin entering the battlefield is another Mana Echoes trigger for your mana pool.”

Finance and Economy

Little is known about the early days of Krenko’s life. Some say he was birthed into a warren of goblins and rose up through the ranks, knife in hand. According to others, he was born into wealth due to his mother being indebted to the Orzhov, which also explains the knife. Regardless, he looked at the world as it existed—full of expensive spells and clunky artifacts—and sought to change it by refining his brand—“for goblins, by goblins.” He positioned himself as a general with little need for the named creatures in his organization and presenting a world where the unnamed creatures could be the cardboard kings. Suddenly, those without a voice had one.

“Too long tokens have had to fight for their seat at the table through expensive spells and complicated interactions. I understand economics. Give me one goblin and I can fortify our ranks with little setup, but maximum results.”

A lot was said by Krenko as he premiered, reaching out to players disenfranchised by token strategies like Marrow-Gnawer and Ghave, Guru of Spores that existed primarily in “the good colors,” showing those lost players that there was another option. If Ib stood for synergy and unpredictably through unique lines of play, Krenko would promise consistency and value through overwhelming legion of followers. The general consensus was that Ib was a war hero in peace times, and that trusting in Krenko’s plan was the best pay off, maybe even improve the health of the format. Cards like Invasion Plans and Goblin Sharpshooter were being slotted out for Krenko’s Command and Mogg War Marshal. The Goblin deck was become streamlined. The power and acclaim was alluring. Few cared where the resources were coming from, and little did they know that history was repeating itself.

Down with the Sickness

The transition of the archetypal Goblins deck from all-in aggro combo to go-wide passed into history. It wouldn’t be until a long-buried 2014 investigation by EDHrec into Krenko’s core strategy that allegations came to light that he had ties to the long-thought dead enemy, Phyrexia, via his use of Chancellor of the Forge and Shrine of Burning Rage.

The immediate outrage to these allegations was tempered by the belief throughout much of the multiverse that the Phyrexians had been long dead, defeated in battle by heroes like Ib Halfheart, Karn, Silver Golem, and Gerrard Capashen. Krenko’s core supporters came to his defense, claiming not only that the Phyrexians had been eradicated before he was even born, but that they resided solely in Black.

I too believed the Phyrexians had been eradicated, but evidence of an occupied plane now christened “New Phyrexia” has been reported by a reliable source, also confirming that we were all left unaware because no other planeswalker that had reached this plane is still alive. Nation, this is the damning evidence we need to hand Krenko over to the Azorius and clean up the good name of goblins everywhere. This is the same threat our fathers and grandfathers gave their lives to defeat, under the guidance of Ib Halfheart.

I believe that in our fear of being seen as weak, we handed ourselves over to a criminal we didn’t completely understand and discarded the values we held true in the past. The rest of the world is watching us. The truth is out there and we can make a difference that cleans our teeth of the blood stained upon them. Goblins were once a deck that believed in Mana Echoes, Vicious Shadows, and Ruination. Though there may be some who will stand with Krenko, we must take back our tribe. This election season, stick out your tongue, grab your telescope, and embrace chaos! We will sacrifice for a greater good. We will not survive blocks. We will not be compleated.

We are The Ib Nation and we will stand up.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the story of Magic and the EDH community in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.
Pet Deck – Shattergang Eldrazi

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