Tap One Mountain, Part 2

Posted in Feature on October 9, 2002

By Ben Bleiweiss

In keeping with the Onslaught theme of creature tribes, we at MagicTheGathering.com have taken a week to examine everyone’s favorite groups of weenies, the Saprolings. These intelligent fungi…

(Editor’s note: the rest of this week’s was written AFTER we sent the guys with the bats to ‘set’ Ben straight about Goblin week. Sorry for the inconvenience).

So I’m sitting here nursing two mysteriously broken kneecaps, thinking that there’s nothing more in the world that I’d rather talk about then everyone’s favorite loveable group of weenies, the Goblins. These zany tricksters engage in all sorts of antics that children of all ages find just adorable! Whether Goblin, Mogg or Skirk, you’ll never know what kind of mischief they’ll get into next.

You know, the smaller they are, the cuter they are. I’d rather pet a yapping Chihuahua then get mauled by Frank “Pit Bull” Torkelson. Wait, did I say Frank? I meant a regular Pit Bull. Not the kind of greasy bruiser who’d take a large wooden stick to your legs for a dime. Never met a guy like that at all.

As I was saying, the smaller the Goblin, the better the Goblin. Why pay five, four, three, even two mana when the best of the best cost a single ? This week’s column explores the littlest guys that could, the Goblins that cost just one to play.

Goblin Balloon Brigade

Not all Goblins are created equal. Just take a look at the first two from Alpha: Mons's Goblin Raiders and Goblin Balloon Brigade. For the same exact cost, you get a 1/1 Goblin. One has the option to fly. The other doesn’t. Given the Goblin propensity for airsickness, maybe you’re better off playing Mons's Goblins anyhow.

Goblins thrive on chaos and randomness, so it was inevitable that goblins and coin flipping would go hand in hand. Goblin Artisans combined the worst in card drawing with the worst in artifact destruction to provide an all around craptacular goblin. In Goblin terms, that makes him the head muck-a-muck of the warrens. Even though the Goblin Bookie might try to keep the Artisans from doing their thing, the end result is just a bunch of kooks running around distracted by pennies in the air.

By and far, the most common trait among the smallest of Goblins are their propensity to commit suicide. And I’m not talking going quietly into the night. These buggers strap full reams of explosives across their body, find the highest building they can jump off of, and then let it rip. Cleaning crews at Wizards headquarters in Renton are greeted each morning with a pile of dead Goblins at the front door.

Don’t believe me? Lemmings have NOTHING on Goblins:

  • Goblin Digging Team destroys walls by collapsing said walls on themselves.
  • Goblin Chirurgeon makes all your goblins take one for the team, including himself.
  • Goblin Soothsayer, Mogg Raider, and Goblin Sledder turn your various goblins into a fine yet stinky layer of armor for other battlefield combatants.
  • Goblin Swine-Rider does a great imitation of Lava Storm, except instead of lava, it uses (censored). And it doesn’t discriminate between friend or foe. Actually, the Swine-Rider came first. Let’s pity the red mage who decided to create the spell Lava Storm based on some Goblins and their exploding pig.
  • Mogg Fanatic
    Mogg Fanatic. Now there’s a goblin I can respect. He’s just like a self built Goblin Grenade, except his largest target is Brown Ouphe instead of Erhnam Djinn. I respect Goblin Firestarter even more, since he shows that genetically superior goblin streak of cowardice and indecisiveness.
  • You know, I’ve often played with the mountains and been jealous of black’s awesome Thrull army. Thanks to Onslaught, I can finally play with red’s own Blood Pet: Skirk Prospector. As an added bonus, he can sacrifice any Goblin to fuel the flames, not just himself. Take that, Thrulls!
This just in! I received the following email that I’d love to share with you.

From: Vinnie “The Pimp” Cicilone (StandingWithAGun@MyHouse.com)
Subject: What’s up with that, Punk?

I wuz lookin’ through my Magic cards the other day, and I noticed that Keeper of Kookus was too proud to call himself a goblin. Yet, my opponent insisted that he could kill a Keeper with Tividar's Crusade, even though he wasn’t called Goblins of Kookus or Mogg Kookus or Kookus Skirkinator. Was I perhaps too hasty in calling my fair adversary a dirty skunk liar and filling him with lead? Could the little guy actually be a goblin who tames the powers of an enormously powerful Djinn?

Answer quickly, punk.

Well Vinnie, who am I to argue with you? As of now, Keeper of Kookus is officially errata'd to be a Dwarf.

(Editors note: No it isn’t.)

Aaron! Are you trying to get me killed here?

(Editors note: If you’d like to apply for the soon to be vacant position of writer for the Uncommon Knowledge column here at MTG.com, please send an email to ConcreteShoes@SixFeetUnder.Wizards.com.)

Some Goblins, much like most household pets, many household members, and my senile uncle Louie, have the uncanny ability to find their way back home from the strangest of places. You could drop Goblins of the Flarg or Goblin Mountaineer in a distant Plateau or a sweltering Taiga, and they’d always find their way back to the mountains.


Goblin Taskmaster
Ogres and Kobolds have taskmasters, so why not goblins? Because Goblins play for the other team, that’s why! What’s the point in having a Goblin Taskmaster when your Goblin Spy gives away all your own information, and the Goblin Cadets defect at the first sign of resistance? Even the Mogg Conscripts won’t fight on their own. Maybe the Taskmaster can motivate them. Maybe the Taskmaster will spend his days face-down trying to pretend that he’s not a goblin.

To be fair, not all Goblins are stupid. Some of them are stupid AND lucky. The Goblin Welder fumbles around with machinery until he makes it into something new. Given his complete lack of a brain, it’s amazing that time and time again his end results are actually useful. He could take some lessons from cousin Goblin Vandal. The Vandal knows that any goblin worth his salt should be out there breaking things, not fixing them.

Once in a while you might just get a Goblin angry. Thus you end up with Raging Goblin, a Mons's Goblin with a mad-on. You don’t want to do this. Nine times out of ten, they won’t survive the emotional rush.

Goblins just love to guard their valuables. Those damned Elves, Humans, Dwarves, Kobolds, Ogres, and Squirrels (Editor’s note: Squirrels?) are constantly trying to steal those precious, precious rocks that goblins are so fond of hording. Sometimes these rocks are as big as a mountain. In fact, sometimes those rocks ARE a mountain! That’s why they have Goblin Patrols and Mogg Sentry to keep an eye out for roving bands of Merfolk intent on uprooting their precious, precious 50,000 ton treasure.

The only Goblin with an ounce of sense is Festering Goblin. Sure, he costs instead of to play, but at least he knows he’s better off dead.

Next Week: An intricate look at the various rules and regulations…

(sound of a bat whacking against a leg)

Next week: cost Goblins, and why we love them.


One-mana Goblins
Goblin Balloon Brigade Alpha Goblin Cadets Urza’s Saga
Mons’s Goblin Raiders Alpha Goblin Lackey Urza’s Saga
Goblin Artisans Antiquities Goblin Patrol Urza’s Saga
Goblin Digging Team The Dark Goblin Welder Urza’s Legacy
Goblins of the Flarg The Dark Goblin Spy Invasion
Goblin Chirurgeon Fallen Empires Mogg Sentry Planeshift
Goblin Soothsayer Mirage Goblin Sledder Onslaught
Goblin Swine-Rider Visions Goblin Taskmaster Onslaught
Keeper of Kookus Visions Skirk Prospector Onslaught
Goblin Vandal Weatherlight Festering Goblin Onslaught
Mogg Conscripts Tempest Goblin Firestarter Portal Second Age
Mogg Fanatic Tempest Goblin Mountaineer Portal Second Age
Mogg Raider Tempest Goblin Bookie Unglued
Raging Goblin Exodus    
Ben may be reached at bleiweiss1@cox.net.

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