Hello again friends! Here at my Pauper Flophouse of fun I bring you a variety of sweet Pauper decks and give them some quick and dirty brawls in the leagues. Hopefully showing off what the decks can do, having some sweet games and making suggestions on how to make things even better. Let’s go!

One of the reasons I love Pauper is the variety of cards you can play. The massive card pool and ever-changing metagame brings so many options when it comes to different styles of decks, but I also mean even within similar kinds of decks. Take for example Pauper’s big trio of mono-red decks at the moment. Burn, RDW, and Goblins. Sure, Lightning Bolt is too good to pass up, and Fireblast shows up most of the time, but each one has their own cards with their own unique sets of strengths and weakness.

There are many reasons to play red in Pauper. You have access to most of the best burn spells ever printed. You can play SO MANY 2-power 1 drops. You get great sideboard cards like Pyroblast, punishing Artifact destruction and creature removal. You at least have a chance to beat any deck by virtue of speed and reach. You don’t need to click so much as the Drake decks. You are a pyromaniac.

Since this week I’m looking at Goblins, I may as well cover some of the reasons why you might want to play that compared to Burn or RDW, if you are the kind of mage that likes to tap Mountains, Mountains and more Mountains.


+ Goblins goes wide (makes many creatures) better than the other two. While the creatures may be small, Goblin Sledder plus many creatures often makes blocking to protect their lifetotal a fruitless endeavour for the opponent.
+ Goblins can be surprisingly versatile. While you are obviously mostly a beatdown deck, the deck can shift roles on the fly quite easily depending on the opponent. Slowly grinding out advantages over a long game is a real possibility, using Sparksmith, Death Spark, Goblin Arsonist and so on to control the board.
+ Are your opponents ready with Chainer’s Edicts? Mogg War-Marshall and friends make a mockery of most spot removal.
+ While not always played in high numbers, Sylvok Lifestaff is a wrecking ball in against other mono-red match-ups.
+ Goblins is better against certain sideboard cards like Circle of Protection: Red.
+ Playing a Goblin theme deck may give you flashes of nostalgia if you played around Onslaught Block.

Of course, it has some weaknesses too.


– Increased vulnerability to commonly played cards like Electrickery, Shrivel, Holy Light and so on. They aren’t always a disaster due to Goblin Sledder/Goblin Raider, but they are annoying compared to ‘irrelevant’ against RDW and Burn.
– Goblins is a bit slower on average. While turn 4 kills are not irregular, you sometimes have a bunch of 1/1’s and can’t find any way to leverage them.
– Goblins is harder to play on average. Sure, you sometimes get the easy games where you play a bunch of 2/2s into War Marshall into Bushwhacker and Fireblast, figuring out what to do against fierce creature resistance and using your cards to 100% effectiveness is complicated. Sometimes you are tired, and might want to cast Lava Spike instead.

Anyway, let me show you some examples of mistakes you can make in these videos!

Deck Tech

Match 1

Match 2

Match 3

Match 4

Match 5

So what did we learn today? Goblins are sweet, but then we knew that already. Don’t keep 4 landers. Remember that Sparksmith counts ALL Goblins in play, not just your own. I never really got Death Spark going too often, but that might just have been my fault.

Goblins is a deck with options though! Let’s look at some of the other options for this deck, including but not limited to:

  • Goblin Matron: I mentioned in the video that I don’t really like it right now, but if the format slows down a little, the Matron gives you a lot of versatility. Finding Sparksmith might work, but even finding TarfireGoblin Heelcutter or even more Matrons sound good in certain situations.
  • Reckless AbandonGoblin Grenade is not Pauper Legal online. If it was, I think you’d play it. Abandon I think is worse than Fireblast, but you can build the deck in a direction to maximise 4-ball damage spells.
  • Jackal Familiar and friends: you can totally make this more of a RDW style of Goblins too by cutting down on various situational cards like Sparksmith. Seems like a fine options if you expect to see few creature decks.
  • Intimidator Initiate: seems like a fine mana sink, makes dash creatures better too. Like…
  • Mardu Scout: Is a Goblin, helps your Cohorts out, cheaper than Heelcutter. I would probably play a 2nd Heelcutter ahead of Scout in my deck, but these cards would be great in a Sorcery-speed removal metagame if that comes around again.
  • Faerie Macabre: I’ve seen this card pop up in sideboards a fair amount, but I don’t like it. Yes, I get that it breaks up a Drake combo, but it slows down your draws without necessarily providing big gains. Unless Reanimator is weirdly popular where you are, I’d stick to trying to disrupt Drake’s mana and Pyroblasts.
  • Flaring Pain: Superb if Moment’s Peace decks start making their presence felt more regularly, or people are getting cute with Crimson Acolyte.

Those are normal options, but we can go deeper: (try at your own risk!)

  • Bravado: If any deck can ever use this, this deck can. Might be cute if opponents are relying on many 1/3’s to block, they aren’t so good against a 5/5!
  • Reckless Charge: One of my favourite cards of all time. Did you know a Cohort/Conscripts count themselves as a creature spell cast this turn? 5 ’em!
  • Vulshock Sorcerer: It might be possible that Bogles is a match up you can ignore entirely because they always win and Electrickery doesn’t always work. In which case, consider the Sorcerer for your 1-damage needs. A bit expensive, but can dominate certain match ups and is never dead.
  • Martyr of Ashes: They’ll never see it coming out of this deck! If Elves are popular in your area, you can do worse than slow-rolling some creatures them BAM, wrath!
  • Fire Whip: Another card that brutalises 1-toughness creature mirror matches that can also kill a 2-toughness thing!
  • Brimstone Volley: A bit expensive, but if you’re playing in Paper with Grenades, a couple of Volley makes it much easier to finish people off from 10-15 with random burn spells.

Well, that was Goblins. What’s next?

Stephen ‘Jecht’ Murray, over and out.