Goblins in Modern has always been a hyper-aggressive deck focused on flooding the battlefield with creatures, pumping them with Bushwhackers, and finishing off the opponent with Lightning Bolt and Goblin Grenade. But in its Standard heyday during Onslaught Block, the tribe went bigger, topping off with Siege-Gang Commander and Patriarch's Bidding as the end game.
The card that made that deck tick was Goblin Warchief. Haste is among the most powerful keyword abilities in Magic, and we all know how good making your spells cheaper is. Goblin Warchief enabled early Siege-Gang Commanders or set up one-shot kills with a pair of Goblin Piledrivers, giving a deck that was powerful enough to go long the pressure needed to force opponents into the perennially awkward position of risking an early loss or disadvantaging themselves later on.
The only problem was that Goblin Warchief was printed in Scourge, and the line for Modern legality was drawn right after it. But with Dominaria bringing the card back we can build a different kind of Goblin deck in Modern.
Once you commit to doing that, it's easy to see that the Goblin tribe has several other powerful three-drops. Goblin Chieftain is another lord, Goblin Rabblemaster already sees play in Modern, and Goblin Chainwhirler is great against all manner of creature decks from Humans to Affinity to Elves. With this density of three-drops a splash for Collected Company is the obvious next step. It's the most powerful curve topper for synergistic creature decks in Modern and fits excellently here.
The low end of the curve has mana acceleration from Skirk Prospector and Wily Goblin, the underrated Mogg War Marshal, and two cards that help you go over the top of other creature decks once you establish a significant presence on the battlefield: Goblin Piledriver and Legion Loyalist. The former is flashier and has a longer pedigree, but it's Legion Loyalist that is critical here, making it much easier to attack into small creatures and completely blanking otherwise powerful cards like Young Pyromancer and Lingering Souls. We may be going bigger, but the Goblins are still all about attacking.
The one downside to being a Collected Company deck is the necessary density of creatures making it difficult to fit in both Lighting Bolt and Goblin Grenade. The higher curve means a higher land count so Goblin Grenade, an incredibly powerful card for this tribe, must be cut, though I think sideboarding some copies to answer bigger creatures is a good idea.
The Bushwhacker Goblin decks, while powerful, have always been too linear to succeed with so many common sideboard cards already in the format. This more robust list is more difficult to plan for and gives the pilot more room to maneuver themselves, so it seems like a step in the right direction for a tribe that has yet to break through in Modern.
- 4 Goblin Chieftain
- 4 Goblin Piledriver
- 4 Goblin Rabblemaster
- 4 Goblin Warchief
- 4 Legion Loyalist
- 4 Mogg War Marshal
- 4 Skirk Prospector
- 3 Wily Goblin