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    posted a message on Don Krenko, Combo Goblins
    Don Krenko, Combo Goblins
    Breaking Bad
    As some of you may no doubt be aware, I’m a bit of a Goblin fiend. Squee, Goblin Nabob was one of my first cards as a kid, and I returned to the game just in time for Duel Decks: Elves vs Goblins and Lorwyn. Since then, I’ve adamantly followed all the great goblin legends with each release, like Wort, Boggart Auntie or Tuktuk the Explorer, but it wasn’t until the release of Krenko, Mob Boss that my goblin decks went from merely strong (in my playgroup at the time) to broken. When I transitioned from a kitchen table casual player to a league Commander player, it was only natural that I convert Krenko into one of my first Commander decks.

    Krenko is a solid red Commander and one of the strongest token producers in the game, especially when you consider cost to value compared to other, similar commanders. He is a relatively simple deck to play, and so you'll rarely find yourself agonizing over what the next correct choice is. His token ability ensures a consistent exponential growth curve (I'll compare him to other Token commanders later). He is also advantageous as a budget commander, as there are only about five cards in my version of the deck that cost upwards of $20 (I’ll discuss budget options later). However, with all of that said, he's still a mono-red commander, and a token commander, with all of the drawbacks inherent with those kinds of decks.

    Who is the Mob Boss?
    "We won't sit like lazy gob-slugs waiting for death to come to us. We'll bring death, shiny sharp, to our enemies." - Krenko, mob boss

    Krenko is goblin native of Ravnica first introduced in Magic 2013. He's Number Five on the Azorius Ten Most Wanted list. While he runs his own crime syndicate, he doesn't shy away from doing the dirty work himself and he takes on the occasional odd job from Mr. Taz. He's broken into the most secure buildings of many of the guilds and stolen from the Obzedat, blown up Azorius statues, set Selesnyan Saprolings on fire, helped push the Boros to overthrow Feather as guildmaster, killed one of the notorious Shattergang Brothers and managed to shank Gideon Jura despite his invulnerability field after being apprehended.

    My Metagame
    I play in a weekly points-based Magic league in which Krenko has been tested for over a year. The points system rewards crazy plays and occasionally punishes or rewards certain kinds of plays (multiple extra turns, MLD) to keep the meta from going stale. The players range from very casual, barely modified precons to highly tuned, very competitive decks. Krenko fairs well in both, and against the wide variety of decks I encounter.

    Why Choose Krenko?
    You'll Like Krenko If
    • You like a wide variety of win conditions, through both combo and aggro
    • You like surprising your opponent with unexpected explosive combos
    • You like casting a lot of quick, cheap spells
    • You like having dozens of minions die for your cause
    • You like having a strong early game
    You May Not Like Krenko If
    • You like battle cruiser magic
    • You like casting big splashy spells
    • You prefer to put out strong creatures and keep them there
    • You prefer to control the board and avoid creatures
    • You don't like regularly losing all your creatures
    Krenko has a number of strengths that recommend him:
    • He's Fast - Wins with Krenko will usually happen early in the game, and if you're playing right on turn five you'll already be looking at eight or more goblins on the field.
    • Strong early game - Because Krenko works so quickly, he tends to overpower decks that favor the mid or late game.
    • Resilient - Krenko can and will suffer setbacks, but Krenko's strength is that he can bounce back quickly.
    • Indifferent to Stax - Simply put, outside of Contamination, stax will make little difference to your game.
    • He's a Target - Once your playgroup faces a few Krenko wins, you'll start to become an early target in the game.
    • Runs Out of Steam - Krenko can survive the mid-game, but if you're forced to go into a long game Krenko will run out of steam.
    • Vulnerable to Control - Decks with a heavy focus on control, especially effects that shut down tokens or Krenko's activated ability, can be a major problem.
    • Vulnerable to Early Hate - This isn't usually a problem in Commander, but if your opponents can get out some really early game hate (like a Turn 1 Pithing Needle), Krenko will be in a much weaker position until you find an answer.
    Alternate Commanders
    There are quite a few solid token commanders and Krenko has access to only red spells, arguably commander's weakest colors. So why would you choose Krenko over those others? I had mentioned budget early, and that's certainly true - a Krenko deck can be a deadly threat with only a modest investment, but that isn't the only reason - most other token commanders are aiming for a mid-game win, which Krenko speeds past much earlier on.

    Versus Kiki-Jiki
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker shares a LOT of similarities with Krenko. They're both goblins, they both come with the ability to create tokens. Kiki-Jiki even has haste built-in, for one extra mana. So why would you pick one over the other? The first reason, and the most important reason for a lot of people, is the cost. The commanders themselves have a pretty decent price difference, with Kiki-Jiki running for about $20, while Krenko costs around $5. Overall, the difference in cost between strong versions of both decks is about $100-$150. The second is politics, Kiki-Jiki has a much longer history in commander is frequently the cause of groans when revealed as your commander, while Krenko is much lesser known. The third is really just preference - Krenko is much more tribal-centric, and has the ability to pull off strong aggro wins, while Kiki-Jiki is primarily a combo centerpiece.

    When playing Kiki-Jiki, remember that it has a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses as your deck. Without any external help, they both go active on turn 5, so you should plan accordingly. Your best bet is to go on the offensive as soon as possible to prevent Kiki from building into a game-winning combo before you (in fact, this is generally going to be your strategy with any fast, combo or control oriented deck).

    Versus Marath
    Marath, will of the Wild is the token control deck. Marath hits the board a turn sooner than Krenko if you hit all three colors early enough, and typical acceleration through mana rocks doesn't help Marath get out sooner. I used to run a Marath deck until I realized Marath and Prossh wanted all the same RG cards and cut it in favor of Prossh. In terms of token making ability, Marath is okay but leans more toward control rather than mass tokens... and Marath gets expensive, quickly - I often found Marath's abilities competing too much with my spells, making it a much more difficult deck to play than Krenko.

    When competing against Marath, make sure not to cast Krenko the same turn the Marath player has left three mana open. Generally, however, a Marath player will be too busy setting up their board while Krenko continues to make you tokens. Marath simply can't make tokens fast enough to block attacks from a Krenko deck if you want to go that route, or can't keep you from using the tokens as fuel to combo out.

    Versus Prossh
    Prossh, Skyraider of Kher is another strong token deck, and can also lean heavily into Stax. If you're looking to play more battlecruiser-style magic, Prossh is your dragon. Prossh's evasiveness also allows its deck to avoid the huge number of chump blockers Krenko has available. However, Prossh as a deck is much slower than Krenko (sensing a theme, here?) and even though Prossh can sometimes get out the same time as Krenko, you usually won't see Prossh himself come into play until Krenko has already made enough goblins to get past the kobolds.

    When playing against a Prossh deck, there are many similar win strategies as Krenko, including using Prossh's tokens to deal huge damage with Impact Tremors or Purphoros, God of the Forge. Since Prossh can keep pretty close pace with Krenko, your best option is to avoid attacking Prossh altogether unless they get a stax engine going. Instead, keep your tokens as a reserve against Prossh going for commander damage until you're able to combo out - but be warned that that's exactly what the Prossh player will be going for, too.

    Versus Nath
    Nath of the Gilt-Leaf is a great token stax commander. It can take some time to set up properly, but a well built Nath deck can effectively shut down the entire game. Contamination is a huge problem for Krenko, and while the discard isn't a huge deal after Krenko first comes out (as you'll usually be playing out your hand after turn 5), it can still hurt if you're holding back a win con.

    When playing a Nath deck, you should always go aggro immediately. Usually I'd say hold back your tokens for the right move, but in this case your best solution is to just remove the Nath player immediately.

    The Decklist

    Overall Strategy
    Krenko has, essentially, two methods of victory available to him. The first is the most obvious: attacking with a butt load of tokens and overwhelming your opponents defenses - but that's what everyone thinks you're going to do with him, and what kind of goblin commander would he be if he did what people expect? The second is using those tokens to fuel explosive win cons instead. And Krenko can do both of these things much earlier in the game than most people expect. Even with access to Doubling Season, most other token producers just can't match him. My version of Krenko certainly isn't the only way to build him. I used to run a version that had a lot more emphasis on attacking, but as I played I realized I preferred the combo aspect more. The one piece of advice I give for all Krenko decks is make sure to keep your CMC low - don't include anything over 4cmc unless it's going to seriously improve your board state or win you the game.

    The most basic strategy for Krenko is to lay the groundwork for him to come into play on turn four. That means have a haste enabler in play, a goblin or two already in play to increase his initial token production, and maybe some combo piece. This deck uses several different (often complementary) mechanisms for combos: ETB triggers, death triggers, tapping creatures, sacrificing creatures, and counting the number of goblins you have in play. If you're playing against a control-oriented deck, you want to attack quickly and relentlessly. If you're playing virtually anything else, you want to hold back your goblins as fuel to combo out.

    On turns 1 through 3 you prepare the battlefield for Krenko. This means that in your opening hand, you should have multiple cards you can play early on, and the lands to support them. Haste enablers are preferred, followed by combo pieces and then just anything you can curve into Krenko with. The ideal opening hand would give you something to play on each of these turns and the lands to cast them. You may also have some card filtering available to you, which you should use depending on your strategy (discard combo pieces if you're going aggro, discard aggro pieces if you're going combo).

    On turn 4, you cast Krenko and, if you could manage a haste enabler, tap him just before the start of your next turn to double your goblins. Otherwise, tap him on turn 5 to double your goblins. If you get delayed (and it happens), it's okay. Many decks don't even really get started until this point, anyway, and it'll just be a tighter fight. Either way, once he's out, start looking to your combo pieces and win cons for subsequent turns, and building your board state if not.

    A few things to remember:
    • If your opponent(s) is open, always attack early and often. Don't let your creatures go to waste.
    • Individual goblins don't matter, not even Krenko. There are plenty of back-up plans.
    • Surprisingly few goblins are needed to activate most combos.
    • You don't need to flat-out kill the opponent for a combo to be effective, so don't wait for the perfect moment.
    • You don't need to go infinite to deal massive damage.
    • Any creature that taps benefits from the equipment in this deck.
    Krenko has a lot of combos available, so I'll go through them piece by piece here. First are the infinite combos. They're are a lot of permutations here, so I'm going to list the basic theories behind the various engines, and then give some examples.

    The combo engines are based around Krenko, Mob Boss, using equipment that allows you to untap creatures with a tap ability. The equipment require either 3 or a death trigger to untap. The death trigger is the easiest, as any sac outlet will trigger it with the tokens you create. The mana is trickier, but cards like Skirk Prospector, Ashnod's Altar, Phyrexian Altar, and Mana Echoes will allow you to produce it, supposing you're making enough tokens every time.

    The net result is usually infinite mana, infinite tokens (and by extension, ETB triggers), and/or infinite death triggers. However, many of these are strong combos even if you don't have all the prerequisites to go infinite. For instance, just being able to untap Krenko once per turn means you can quadruple your current number of tokens every turn, instead of just doubling it - which often enough to defeat a player. Here are lists of the various combinations:

    Krenko Combos
    Umbral Mantle/Staff of Domination Combos
    The following combos involve making the mana to pay for Mantle/Paruns to untap Krenko and repeat the process. These are the minimum requirements, having extra goblins at the start will accumulate rewards faster. The Mana Echoes version requires three turns before it starts making extra tokens, as you net one mana every time and you need to be able to untap Krenko twice before tokens can begin to accumulate (an extra goblin at the start will skip this step).
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Umbral Mantle/Staff of Domination + Mana Echoes + another goblin = Infinite C Mana & Tokens
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Umbral Mantle/Staff of Domination + Ashnod's Altar + another goblin = Infinite C Mana, ETB & Death Triggers
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Umbral Mantle/Staff of Domination + Ashnod's Altar + two other goblins = Infinite C Mana, Tokens, & Death Triggers
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Umbral Mantle/Staff of Domination + Skirk Prospector/Phyrexian Altar + two other goblins = Infinite ETB & Death Triggers
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Umbral Mantle/Staff of Domination + Skirk Prospector/Phyrexian Altar + three other goblins = Infinite R Mana, ETB & Death Triggers

    Thornbite Staff Combos
    The following combos involve using a sacrifice outlet to generate death triggers as a means of untapping Krenko using Thornbite Staff. Any free sacrifice outlet will work for these combos, and adding an extra goblin (if the sac outlet isn't a goblin itself) at the start will result in infinite goblin tokens in addition to the listed effect.
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Skirk Prospector = Infinite R Mana
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Phyrexian Altar + another goblin = Infinite R Mana & Tokens
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Ashnod's Altar = Infinite C Mana
    Note: Add Dark-Dweller Oracle to any of the above combos to impulse draw your entire deck.
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Goblin Bombardment = Infinite Damage
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Goblin Chirurgeon = Infinite Tokens & Regeneration Shields
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Goblin Sledder/Mogg Raider = Infinite Tokens, Power, & Toughness
    Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Goblin Trashmaster = Infinite Artifact Destruction

    It would take forever to list every 'instant win' version of the above combos, so instead here are the cards you would use to take advantage of the various triggers.
    Instant Wins from Infinite Death TriggersInstant Wins from Infinite ETB Triggers:Instant Wins from Infinite ManaInstant Wins from Infinite Tokens:
    Card Explanations
    Haste Enablers
    We've got a lot of haste enablers in this deck, so choose carefully when you have more than one, and try to use them as effectively as possible while you curve into Krenko. You will always want to be activate Krenko the moment he hits the board, even if there are no other goblins.
    • Ashling's Prerogative is a great two drop. Almost everything that you want to have haste in this deck is considered even (remember, tokens are cmc 0, which for the purposes of this card is even). It also does a fantastic job punishing half your opponent's creatures. This is the card you desperately want every game (and the deck happens to be focused on even-numbered creatures, anyway).
    • Fervor, Goblin Chieftain, and Goblin Warchief are all great haste enablers for the turn before Krenko comes into play, but if you have a choice a haste enabler with a body is always better than Fervor/Hammer, if only because it adds to your goblin count.
    • Thousand-Year Elixir does double-duty in this deck. It gives Krenko functional haste for abilities. More importantly, it allows you to cheaply untap that creature, which allows for much more explosive turns. A single untap may not seem like much, but just activating Krenko twice on a turn can make the difference for a win.
    Anthem Effects
    All the anthem effects in this deck are pretty self-explanatory. Quest for the Goblin Lord, Shared Animosity, Coat of Arms, Goblin King, Goblin Chieftain, Goblin Trashmaster and Vanquisher's Banner can be win cons by themselves, if you have enough goblins to make use of them. They're also scary distractions for your opponents, keeping the pressure on and making them focus on the aggro strategy rather than disrupting your combos.

    Ramp Effects
    • Brightstone Ritual and Battle Hymn are specifically here to power your combos without going infinite. These two cards allow you to get explosive and use one of the various combo engines in this deck a few times without going infinite. Late game, you'll need them to get Krenko back out once he starts cost 6RR or more, to keep you going when this deck starts to run out of steam.
    • Dockside Extortionist is the late game ramp this deck needs, and will usually pay for itself five times over.
    • Skirk Prospector, Phyrexian Altar, Ashnod's Altar, and Mana Echoes are infinite combo enablers with Umbral Mantle and Staff of Domination. You only need relatively few goblins to go infinite with any of these sac outlets, generally two goblins and an untapped Krenko. All but Mana Echoes also combo nicely with Thornbite Staff.
    • Myriad Landscape is a simple and slow ramp, but I like it because it serves just fine as a regular land unless you need it.
    The various tutors in this deck are fairly strong. Your primary target is almost always going to be Skirk Prospector, as it enables so many of the combos in this deck. After prospector, you're going to want to find yourself some of the utility creatures in this deck, depending on your board state. Don't forget Boggart Shenanigans is a 'Goblin Card' and is thus tutorable.
    • Goblin Recruiter is cheap and lets you mass tutor and stack the top of your library, but avoid the urge to do so. Instead, only choose two or three cards at most that complement what you've already got going.
    • Goblin Matron's target should be chosen carefully, since you can only get one out of it. Because you'll rarely play her curving into Krenko, she'll almost always be used to find combo piece that you can play the same turn you cast her.
    Token Producers
    • Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin Worst case scenario,Krenko 2.0 creates three goblins for Krenko 1.0. With all the anthem effects for goblins here, Krenko 2.0 may be creating a whole lot more. Getting stronger with every swing makes repeat token generation likely.
    • Mogg War Marshal and Goblin Instigator aren't particularly strong token producers, but they're great early game plays leading into a turn 4 Krenko.
    • Goblin Warboss is a fixed Goblin Rabblemaster, with no risk to Goblins you'd rather hold back. Getting a hasty goblin every combat is VERY helpful, especially the turn before Krenko. Remember, you can activate all sorts of abilities before that poor goblin token marches off to war.
    • Siege-Gang Commander is a great card regardless of format, but its primarily here as a token produce, as creating four bodies in one go is obviously powerful. The damage ability is also useful to get rid of utility creatures. In a pinch, its also your finisher when you've got infinite R mana and tokens.
    Sacrifice Outlets
    These free outlets are important, as they feed the death triggers of cards like Boggart Shenanigans, Pashalik Mons, Goblin Sharpshooter, and Thornbite Staff. They'll also net you infinite versions of their effects when you have infinite tokens, but their effects are still pretty powerful even when you've got a limited supply of creatures to sacrifice.
    • Dark-Dweller Oracle isn't a free outlet, but it more than makes up for it in, if not card advantage, at least letting you sift to what you need. It's a centerpiece to any infinite combo that makes mana.
    • Goblin Bombardment is fabulous. Combined with a Goblin Sharpshooter and Krenko, you generally won't need to go infinite to deal serious damage, but it's also the easiest win con in the deck once you have an infinite token engine going.
    • Goblin Trashmaster is strong artifact removal with an anthem stapled on top.
    • Skirk Prospector, Phyrexian Altar, and Ashnod's Altar were all mentioned in the ramp section, so I won't go into them again here.
    • Goblin Chirurgeon gives you some protection, sacrifice a goblin token to protect the likes of Krenko - or any other important goblin - from the inevitable wraths coming your way. If you find yourself up against decks with a lot of wraths or removal, Chirurgeon is the card that's going to keep you alive.
    • Goblin Sledder/Mogg Raider don't seem very impressive at first, but you can never have enough sac outlets in a deck like this. Sledder and Raider allow you to perform useful combat tricks, sacrificing your chump blockers to kill an enemy creature, or sacrificing all your blocked attackers to pump up a creature that gets through.
    ETB Triggers
    Impact Tremors and Purphoros, God of the Forge are some of the scariest cards in any token deck, and for good reason. With Purphoros (or Purphoros Jr.) on the board, you can do a lot of added damage just by playing your deck normally. If you have a chance to get either one onto the field, do it ASAP.

    Death Triggers
    • Boggart Shenanigans and Pashalik Mons are useful because this deck has such a high token turnover rate that you'll often see one of these on the board doing 10 or more damage per game, minimum. It's nowhere near Purphoros or Tremors in terms of value, but combined with an infinite death trigger combo it'll finish the game for you.
    • Goblin Sharpshooter works well with the rest of this deck by itself, but a good sac outlet (like Goblin Bombardment) can mean a ton of damage output from this little guy. Like Boggart Shenanigans, an infinite death trigger combo means this card wins you the game, but otherwise it provides a lot of value and has the added bonus of counting as a goblin for Krenko's ability. It's pretty brutal in that it can kill everything on the board with one toughness. It's more useful than Boggart Shenanigans but also more fragile.
    • Thornbite Staff is critical to this deck, as it's the easiest means to activate several infinite combos. However, even without an infinite combo it's an extremely useful card, especially when combined with sac outlets. It really maximizes the values of any creature in the deck that taps as an activated ability (Krenko, Mob Boss, Moggcatchter, Rummaging Goblin, Goblin Sharpshooter, or on any creature when Kyren Negotiations is on the battlefield).
    • Arcane Lighthouse - For those annoying to hit creatures and opponents.
    • Blood Moon slows down your opponent's decks (especially multi-color decks) by turning all their non-basic lands into mountains. It also basically turns off their utility lands. In essence, it significantly slows down craftier decks (especially combo decks) that use more than one color or ramp through cards like Gaea's Cradle or Cabal Coffers. With Goblin King, it also turns on your creatures' Mountainwalk.
    • Tectonic Reformation - Drawing a land after turn four has serious diminishing returns in this deck, and this card helps you replace it with something you want more.
    • Buried Ruin is here to recover your equipment or Rings of Brighthearth. Basically just another layer of protecting to ensure you have what you need.
    • Castle Embereth is a easy anthem to help you push.
    • Cavern of Souls is, by far, the most expensive card in the deck... but it also happens to be one of the most useful. It ensures that Krenko will always make it to the battlefield rather than be countered.
    • Grenzo, Havoc Raiser is great card advantage OR a great way to force your way out of stalemates and keep the pressure on.
    • Haunted Fengraf has a marginal advantage due to it not letting you select the creature you're bringing back, but ultimately it doesn't matter. Almost any of the creatures in this deck are worth bringing back.
    • Homeward Path is to protect yourself against mass creature theft. Having your Krenko stolen is a painful experience, and if you don't have a sacrifice outlet to kill him first, you can always use this to get your creatures back.
    • Strip Mine is here to slow down your opponent's game. This deck will rarely need more than six lands in play, but most decks will need a lot more. You can buy yourself a turn or take out a utility land.
    • Underworld Breach is RECURSION IN RED. Bring back any of your combo pieces! Holy heck! I can't understate how much this card will change the game for you after a few bad turns.
    Damage Dealers
    I spoke about Goblin Sharpshooter already in the death trigger section, so I'm not including it here.
    • Arms Dealer gets through cards like Linvala and many of your opponent's utility creatures.
    • Lightning Crafter is a lightning bolt every turn, at worst. Combined with Thornbite Staff you can rack up damage pretty quickly.
    • Kyren Negotiations seems relatively weak at first glance, but rememeber: cards with summoning sickness can still be tapped by it to pay for damage. At it's worst, it means every untapped creature you control deals damage to a player directly at the end of every turn regardless of whether or not it has summoning sickness. Why would you risk your creatures attacking when you can just tap them right before the start of your turn and deal the same damage directly? It allows you to keep a bunch of blockers available and get to damage an opponent like you're attacking them, too. Combined with a sac outlet, it allows you to get some extra value out of a creature before it dies.
    • Throne of the God-Pharaoh is insane in this deck, as it effectively doubles your successful combat damage by having every tapped creature deal damage again. And that's only against one opponent. It's incredibly strong in this deck, especially paired with the various tapping effects.
    Artifacts and Equipment
    I've already talked quite a bit about Thornbite Staff, so I'm not going to repeat it here, except to say it's by far the most valuable equipment in the deck. Umbral Mantle, and Staff of Domination are adequate back-ups but require more cards to go infinite. Lightning Greaves' and Swiftfoot Boots' purposes are obvious: to give protection and give your important creatures haste.

    Winning the Game
    So it's after turn 4 and you don't magically have an infinite combo to immediately win you the game. Surprise! It happens, and you should never rely on them or not make good plays in the hopes of getting one. So then, without that overwhelming force... how do we win?

    It's easy! As I've mentioned before, you either go aggro and start attacking, or you attempt to combo out a win. If you choose to attack... I really don't have to explain turning your creatures sideways, do I? If you've read this far, you know you like to swarm your opponents with goblin tokens. My only recommendation is that if it puts you over the edge, don't be afraid to sacrifice your tokens to a spell for victory.

    If you're going for the combo win, follow this rule: Add, Tap, Count, then Sac & Die. What does this mean? Well, consider the following:This list shows you why you would want to make plays following a certain order. Add, meaning what can you add to the situation first? Activating Krenko will double the number of goblins you have in play, and adding goblins (or lands in the case of Valakut) will almost always be your first step. Tap is next, meaning use abilities that tap your creatures and nothing else. This is where you'd tap everyone to Kyren Negotiations, bring everyone down to very low life with Skirk Fire Marshal, or deal massive damage to a single player with Burn at the Stake. Then Count, or play things that count your total number of goblins or creatures before you do anything else with them. This should almost always be your second step, and Ritual or Hymn may just get you a kill through Comet Storm, or could fuel the spells that sac your way to victory. Finally, Sac only after you've used up your creatures. And when they Die, make use of the death triggers to eke out that last bit of damage. Using this method, even with only a few goblins on the battlefield, you can still deal massive amounts of damage.

    Budget Substitutions
    Krenko is relatively inexpensive, but I do have some pricier cards in this list. Here are the most expensive cards, and a budget option to replace them with if you don't want to make the investment. I'm listing cards $10 and above here: Notable Exclusions
    • Blood Moon: I've been in and out with this card, but at this point the deck is so tuned that I hate having anything that doesn't directly synergize with the overall strategy. Blood Moon is a valid choice in some decks and turns on Mountainwalk with Goblin King, but it's also the card most likely to NOT be in a version of this deck because of the price, and the face that it makes you an instant target.
    • Warren Instigator & Goblin Lackey: Instigator and Lackey are strong cards most of the time, but they're both typically too late in the game to provide much value - either my hand is empty of Goblins or there is just no way they're doing combat damage.
    • Goblin Rabblemaster: This card is tempting at first, but ultimately this Krenko deck isn't really about attacking. If you're attacking, you should be either (A) winning the game or (b) in the first few turns, before anyone else has played creatures.
    • Chancellor of the Forge: This is another card that is tempting at first. However, this Krenko deck is pretty lean and if I'm paying more than 4 cmc for something, it needs to be winning me the game. The likelihood that I'd need this card, rather than either recasting Krenko or one of my finishers, is incredibly low. He was useful before the tuck rule changed, but since I can't really lose Krenko now, there isn't much point to him in this deck.
    • Barrage of Expendables: This was in an earlier version of this deck, but I found I rarely got to activate it or have it do what I needed it to. Creature Sacrifice needs to be (mostly) free in this deck)
    • Outpost Siege: While this seemed like a nice second Boggart Shenanigans, that extra mana makes a big difference in this deck, and there just wasn't enough to justify its place.
    • Illusionist's Bracers: This card is really tempting to work with Krenko, but unlike the other equipment in this deck it doesn't provide the value for the cost.
    • Various Aggro Cards: I used to run a much more attack-heavy package, more anthems, Legion Loyalist, Goblin Bushwhacker, Goblin Wardriver, Hellrider, In the Web of War, Ogre Battledriver, Goblin King, etc. The challenge was that it was much easier for my opponents to shut down that strategy through various means (see Problem Cards below), and moving to a more combo-oriented package leaves attacking as an option but gives me more flexibility.
    • Sword of the Paruns: It's been upgraded to Staff of Domination, Sword remains a more budget-conscious option.
    • Mana Crypt: If you've got the budget for it, it's not a bad choice, but I've found I'm rarely hurting for more colorless mana. It's a great ramp out of the gate, but it has almost no value after turn 4. The low CMC overall of this deck also makes mana rocks not particularly effective.
    • Wheel of Fortune: Slate of Ancestry ends up being a repeatable Wheel in this deck, frequently for a lot more value. Wheel could definitely be an asset in this deck, but Your Mileage May Vary. Personally, I'm not sure it's worth the price. If you've already got one, try it.
    • Moggcatcher is on the pricier side and is not a goblin, so it can't be tutored for by matron or recruiter. However, the ability to tutor every turn and put a goblin right into play can't be ignored. In general, catcher will be used to find the higher cost goblins (Siege-Gang) for value, whereas you'll generally shy away from that with recuriter and matron. I just didn't have much luck with it.
    • Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Zealous Conscripts, Splinter Twin, and Combat Celebrant are all strong cards, but I felt like the deck was getting diluted trying to pull off combos focused exclusively around these four instead of focusing on the core mechanics. See the cut combos section below for the potential of these cards. They're perfectly legitimate, if you want to include them in your own version.
    • Hordeling Outburst was just outclassed by Krenko 2.0, but if you're looking for a budget alternative, this card is a good slot-in.
    Cut Combos
    Kiki-Jiki Combos
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Lightning Crafter + any sac outlet = Infinite ETB Triggers, Infinite Death Triggers, & Infinite Damage
    This combo use Kiki-Jiki's ability to copy Lightning Crafter. The copy champions Kiki-Jiki and is then sacrificed to any sac outlet. Kiki-Jiki returns to the battlefield untapped, and process is repeated. If you have a haste enabler, the copies can tap to deal damage before being sacrificed.

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Thornbite Staff + any other creature + any sac outlet = Infinite ETB Triggers & Death Triggers
    This combo uses a Thorbite Staff equipped Kiki-Jiki's ability to copy any creature, get the value one whatever creature it is, and then sacrifice it to any sac outlet, which untaps Kiki-Jiki to repeat the process.

    Zealous Conscripts Combos
    These combos use Kiki-Jiki's ability to make a copy of Zealous Conscripts, and then uses Conscript's 'Untap' ability to untap Kiki-Jiki.
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Zealous Conscripts = Infinite Conscript Copies
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Zealous Conscripts + Phyrexian Altar = Infinite Conscript Copies & R Mana
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Zealous Conscripts + Ashnod's Altar/Mana Echoes = Infinite Conscript Copies & C Mana

    Combat Celebrant Combos
    These combos use Kiki-Jiki's ability to make a copy of Combat Celebrants between each attack phase, and then uses Conscript's 'Untap' ability to untap Kiki-Jiki... and everyone else.
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Combat Celebrant = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, & Infinite Untapping
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Combat Celebrant + Phyrexian Altar = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Untapping & R Mana
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Combat Celebrant + Ashnod's Altar/Mana Echoes =Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Untapping & C Mana
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Combat Celebrant + Krenko, Mob Boss = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Goblins, & Infinite Untapping
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Combat Celebrant + Goblin Sharpshooter/Lightning Crafter = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Damage, & Infinite Untapping
    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Combat Celebrant + Skirk Fire Marshal + 3 Other Goblins = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Damage, & Infinite Untapping

    Splinter Twin Combos
    Goblin Sharpshooter Combo
    This combo uses the Twin's duplication ability to create a copy of Goblin Sharpshooper, and then uses a sacrifice outlet to create infinite ETB & Death triggers.
    Splinter Twin + Goblin Sharpshooter + Any Sac Outlet = Infinite Death & ETB Triggers

    Zealous Conscripts Combos
    These combos use Twin's duplication ability to create a copy of Zealous Conscripts, and then uses Conscript's 'Untap' ability to untap the enchanted Conscript.
    Splinter Twin +Zealous Conscripts = Infinite Conscript Copies
    Splinter Twin +Zealous Conscripts + Phyrexian Altar = Infinite Conscript Copies & R Mana
    Splinter Twin +Zealous Conscripts + Ashnod's Altar/Mana Echoes = Infinite Conscript Copies & C Mana

    Combat Celebrant Combos
    These combos use Twin's duplication ability to create a copy of Combat Celebrant before each attack phase, and then uses Conscript's 'Untap' ability to untap Kiki-Jiki... and everyone else.
    Splinter Twin + Combat Celebrant = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, & Infinite Untapping
    Splinter Twin + Combat Celebrant + Phyrexian Altar = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Untapping & R Mana
    Splinter Twin + Combat Celebrant + Ashnod's Altar/Mana Echoes =Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Untapping & C Mana
    Splinter Twin + Combat Celebrant + Krenko, Mob Boss = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Goblins, & Infinite Untapping
    Splinter Twin + Combat Celebrant + Goblin Sharpshooter/Lightning Crafter = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Damage, & Infinite Untapping
    Splinter Twin + Combat Celebrant + Skirk Fire Marshal + 4 Other Goblins = Infinite Celebrant Copies, Infinite Attack Phases, Infinite Damage, & Infinite Untapping
    Problem Cards
    • Ghostly Prison/Propaganda/Etc: These cards are a lot more effective on Krenko builds that win primarily through combat. For this deck, they're not really a problem, since attacking is secondary. I'm giving away a bit of a trade secret here by mentioning this, but when people are worried about a horde of goblins turning sideways and prepare to deal with THAT, they're not prepared for you to deal lethal damage with just a handful of goblins through a combo.
    • Linvala, Keeper of Silence: Linvala is probably one of the only real threats out there. Chaos Warp, Voracious Dragon, Burn at the Stake, Goblin Bombardment and Last-Ditch Effort can all deal with her, and while I'd prefer not to waste any of these, she's a significant enough threat that it's a solid trade-off.
    • The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale/Magus of the Tabernacle: While this can hurt a bit, this deck tends to be more explosive and not a static build up. By the time you've got enough tokens for them to matter, you've generally won anyway.
    • Pithing Needle/Torpor Orb: Artifacts aren't much of a concern, as red can deal with those pretty easily. Torpor Orb is a pretty major one as it shuts down some of the better combos in this deck, but not all. I'm still judging the value of adding Shattering Spree, but it couldn't hurt.
    • Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite: Unless this is some bizarre ramp into Elesh Norn deck, I'm not really afraid of her. I will generally have won long before an Elesh Norn makes it onto the field, and even if I haven't, she can't kill Krenko and I can still get death triggers off the tokens (unless I get Coat of Arms into play, at which point her effect is largely countered). Worst case, I can deal with her the same way I'd deal with Linvala.
    • Contamination/Stax: In general Stax is just provokes an 'lol ok' response when playing this deck. Contamination is a problem, but in general for strong stax generals like Nath, they're not going to be playing contamination when it would matter against Krenko because they need to set up their side of the board first.
    Change Log
    I'd changed this deck around a fair amount in late 2015, but unfortunately didn't keep track too well. Future change will be documented.
    01/24/16: - Street Spasm, Illusionist's Bracers, Burnished Hart, + Goblin Replica, Mogg Infestation, Goblin Piledriver
    These changes were made to remove some mana intensive cards that were ultimately unnecessary. Hart and Bracers typically sat on the field once cast, and a deck like this rarely needs a board sweep like with street spasm. Replica is also mana intensive, but it can be tutored to help deal with the dreaded Torpor Orb. Piledriver has evasion against one of the most common colors in commander and takes advantage of the power this token deck can provide. Infestation is a great card for utility, when cast on yourself it simultaneously gives you death triggers on every creature you control, and doubling that in ETB triggers... and because it's a 'destroy' effect you can still protect Krenko or other valuable creatures with chirurgeon.
    04/17/16: - Slate of Ancestry, Treasonous Ogre, Goblin Burrows, Flamekin Village, Mass Hysteria, Eldrazi Monument, Temple of the False God, + Blood Moon, Mogg Raider, Haunted Fengraf, Buried Ruin, Hammer of Purphoros, Rings of Brighthearth, Sol Ring
    These changes were made to further tighten up the deck with what is really necessary. I had a lot of utility lands in here that I never ended up using (Burrows, Village) that have been replaced with lands that are generally more helpful (Fengraf, Ruin). Temple tends to be a dead card almost every time I play it, and because this deck relies on the first few turns so much I can't really have anything that throws off the curve. It's been replaced by Sol Ring, which has proven to be more helpful in general. Mass Hysteria is just a feel-bad card, and I always hesitate to play it when I would want to (namely, turn 1) because I don't know how much it'll help my opponent. It's been replaced by Hammer of Purphoros. Eldrazi Monument ended up always being too expensive for an effect that doesn't win me the game, so it's out too. The real MVP additions here are Rings of Brighthearth, which unlike Illusionist's bracers curve well with Krenko and add an enormous effect (as well as working nicely with other abilties), and Mogg Raider which acts as a second Goblin Sledder.
    06/08/16: - Wild Guess, + Gamble
    Gamble's price dropped like a rock with it's newer (and sexier) reprinting. Swapping in for Wild Guess because Tormenting Voice's cost is occasionally easier to cast (when my non-basics are in play). This card is definitely an improvement, and worth the random discard risk to bring a win con to my hand T1.
    08/18/16: In: Swiftfoot Boots, Lightning Greaves, Goblin King, Staff of Domination Out: Price of Glory, Goblin Lackey, Goblin Piledriver, Sword of the Paruns
    Reasoning: It was becoming clear that Krenko (and a few other goblins) needed more spot removal protection than they were getting. While the deck could recover from losing certain key elements, having that extra bit of haste and protection has come in handy on a couple occasions already. Piledriver is out because it's typically DOA, the few times it has come through or been a good distraction isn't enough to justify the slot. Replaced with Goblin King, which is a nice Lord and with Blood Moon makes an aggro strategy essentially unstoppable. Price of Glory just made me a target. Sword of the Paruns has been upgraded to Staff of Domination. For the first untap, Sword costs 3 more than Staff. The extra cost for using staff is offset by the infinite mana strategies and the ability to untap multiple creatures. Goblin Lackey just didn't provide enough to be worth more than a vanilla 1/1 for R.
    12/22/16 In: Grenzo, Havoc Raiser Out: Tormenting Voice
    Reasoning: Sorry for the late update on this one. Tutorable, repeatable card advantage over Voice's marginal, one-off advantage was too much to pass up, especially at the same CMC.
    04/22/17 In: Paradox Engine, Throne of the God-Pharaoh Out: Goblin Replica, Godo, Bandit Warlord
    Reasoning: With Paradox Engine and Throne, among other recent edition, equipment-based combos are much, much less of a priority in this deck, which makes have a six mana card that almost always sits dead in my hand seem like a waste. Goblin Replica was occasionally useful as a tutor, but my meta just doesn't have the artifact that require that much hate. Paradox Engine allows me a free untap almost every turn (occasionally on an opponent's turn), which is really handy. Throne of the God-Pharaoh is a vicious finisher, perhaps one of the most powerful in this deck, where it'll frequently hit for 5-10 per opponent at the end of each turn, if I don't kill them outright.
    05/26/17 In: Combat Celebrant Out: Moggcatcher
    Reasoning: Combat Celebrant ups the value of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Splinter Twin, creating an infinite number of creatures, but also untapping everything else (like Krenko, Mob Boss). This doubles the potential of setting off a combo with one of them, and ultimately will be more powerful than the Zealous Conscripts version most of the time. The beauty here is that only the original Combat Celebrant needs to do more than attack for it to work with Twin, and with Kiki-Jiki the original card never needs risk itself in combat. The copies can be sacrificed to Phyrexian Altar or Ashnod's Altar before even moving to the declare blockers, and helps get around any Propaganda-type shenanigans that would shut this combo down. I like it a lot, definitely an auto-include, because it also allows for an aggro victory through infinite attack phases with geometrically increasing goblin tokens if Krenko is out. Moggcatcher is out because it rarely had value and often became a dead card (because I'd rather play a goblin for Krenko and it took a couple turns to have an impact).
    09/01/17 In: Kindred Charge Out: Mogg Infestation
    Reasoning: Kindred Charge gives you an explosive finish without also killing all your unique goblins. It effectively accomplishes the same thing as Mogg Infestation without the downside.
    11/11/17 In: Vanquisher's Banner Out: Obelisk of Urd
    This was a hard decision to make, but the Banner over the Obelisk really helps the deck's long game by ensuring card advantage and keeping my hand more full later in the game.
    01/15/18 In: The Immortal Sun Out: Armillary Sphere
    Both these cards fill a similar role in this deck: namely to keep it going in the long game. The added card draw is a big bonus for this deck, and adding in making things slightly cheaper (which can make a big difference in this deck) and the anthem effect, it felt like an appropriate swap.
    07/18/18In:Cheering Fanatic, Dark-Dweller Oracle, Goblin Instigator, Goblin Trashmaster, Helm of the Host
    Out: Combat Celebrant, Izzet Chemister, Zealous Conscripts, Splinter Twin, The Immortal Sun
    11/06/18In:Legion Warboss, Massive Raid, Hordeling Outburst
    Out: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Hammer of Purphoros, Helm of the Host
    05/07/19IN: Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
    OUT: Hordeling Outburst
    Finding a place to slot Krenko 2.0 in was a challenge, I'll admit. There are so few good 2 drops that I didn't want to replace one of them, and almost every card of 4cmc or higher wasn't something I could easily cut, which left replacing another 3 drop. In the end I picked Hordeling Outburst for a number of reasons. The sorcery is handy, but it's still only a sorcery, and an actual tutorable goblin was preferable to me. Add to that Krenko 2.0 creating three goblins in the worst case (and frequently MANY more), it was a pretty easy swap.
    06/23/19IN: Pashalik Mons, Tectonic Reformation
    OUT: Blood Moon, Cheering Fanatic
    08/09/19IN: Blood Moon
    OUT: Paradox Engine
    Banlist update. Paradox Engine is out, so I swapped back in the most useful of my recent cuts, Blood Moon.
    09/08/19In: Dockside Extortionist - This card is tutorable in this deck and way more fun. Better ramp for the late game come back, which this deck needs more than an occasional early start.
    Out: Sol Ring - It's just such a boring card, and is really only here for an occasional Turn 2 Krenko.
    10/07/19In: Castle Embereth - Easy replacement.
    Out: Mountain - It's just a mountain. Embereth is better every turn but the first.
    01/28/19In: Arms Dealer, Underworld Breach
    Out: Idol of Oblivion, Kindred Charge

    Who is this Goblin Fiend?
    Hi, my name is Jay13x, and I'm bad at magic. I've been playing magic on and off since 1998, and I've grown incrementally better at it in all that time. I have always loved goblin decks and have had one in one form or another for years. In 1999, I was a young Magic players with only a starter set and a few Sixth Edition packs to my name. One day, at the mall with my parents, we happened upon a game store… back when game stores could afford mall rent. At the store, I begged my parents to buy me a pack of cards, which ended up being Mercadian Masques. I opened the pack, and inside was Squee, Goblin Nabob. I was blown away! A card that when it died, I could return it to my hand every turn? I’d gotten my first taste of Goblins.

    Eight years later, I’m in college and working as a graphic designer. I hadn’t played magic since before high school. My coworker, a guy named Chris, mentions he’s going to a Magic tournament that weekend. “Seriously?” I ask, “Magic is still a thing?”. Intrigued, I convince a friend to come with me, and we both go to what ended up being a pre-release tournament for Future Sight. We’re hooked. When I see that my LGS has a copy of Elves vs Goblins, I immediately snatch it up and get to work on my goblin deck. Then Lorwyn is released, and it’s a trove of Goblin cards, further fueling my obsession. For years, I have a goblin deck - sometimes more than one - that I play regularly with friends. My goblins became feared far and wide. When Krenko is released, my friends refuse to play my goblin deck without warning.

    My playgroup tried the Commander Precons and decided we didn't like them... until I moved away just a couple years ago. A friend (from this site, no less), introduces me to Commander, and my first choice for an original deck is obvious: Krenko. My first build was terrible. I won't bore you with the details, but I didn't understand Commander yet and years of playing with a small playgroup hadn't prepared me yet for what was to come. I found Dorino's primer here to get me started in revamping Krenko into something more useful, and along with a fellow Krenko player at my new LGS, Don Krenko was born.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • 1

    posted a message on Don Krenko, Combo Goblins
    Theros: Beyond Death Update

    Out: Idol of Oblivion, Kindred Charge

    In: Arms Dealer, Underworld Breach

    I'm not sure how Arms Dealer ever got cut, probably to test something out and then never put back in. Regardless, Idol of Oblivion was not the card advantage I thought it would be in this deck unless I'm already in a strong place on the board. So Arms Dealer is back and the Idol is out.

    I'm incredibly exited for Underworld Breach, which is some awesome recursion for this deck. Combo pieces, once destroyed, are no longer gone forever! Kindred Charge was the most expensive card in my deck, and if it's useful, like the Idol, I'm already in a really strong board state and could probably stand to bring some things back more. Given the low average CMC of cards in this deck, recurring up to four cards will usually be the much better play.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • 9

    posted a message on Magic Storyline Resources (The Stories and Lore Are Here)
    Welcome to the official Storyline resources thread!

    This thread is to replace a couple older storyline threads (specifically the Info Centre) as the new source for up-to date information on Magic Story. I would also recommend you check out the Wiki to help you find whatever you're looking for. It has a huge amount of information on most subjects, just be advised that it's created by users and not everything in there is going to be 100% correct. Please note that the following is not always as detailed as the List of Storyline Sources on the Wiki, but is organized to be more user-friendly.

    If you're looking for story summaries rather than the stories themselves, check out the thread A Vorthos Guide to Magic Story.

    If you're looking for Ebooks, check out the Magic: The Gathering eBook Portal at vronos.com. I link to the Kindle versions here, but if that's not your preferred source Cary has you covered.

    Where to Start?

    Magic's Story can best be divided up into three 'Eras' of storytelling, although I should be clear that there aren't any hard lines between each era, more like a gradual shift. Those eras are known as Pre-Revision, Pre-Mending, and Post-Mending. Post-Mending can be further divided into Before and After Magic Origins, which started the current Gatewatch-centric storytelling model. I've written two very high-level story summaries that cover most of Magic's story from beginning to end. You can find them below.

    High Level Story Summaries I'm also including a series here by Sam Keeper from Gathering Magic, which succinctly dives into the eras of Magic's storytelling and the pros and cons of each model over time.

    A Brief History of Magic Publishing If you're brand new to Magic Story, I highly recommend starting with Magic Origins and then working your way forward. It was designed as an entry point for newcomers and there's very little time investment in getting caught up from there than diving headfirst into the novels of Magic's first 20 years. This guide is laid out in roughly chronological order, however, so skip down to The Post-Mending Story (And the Post-Mending chronology) if you're new. You don't need to know everything about Magic's past to get caught up.

    The Pre-Revision Story

    The stories of the Pre-Revision era were largely handled externally from Wizards of the Coast. The two major sources of lore from this time period were the Harper Prism novels and the Armada Comics series. While many of these events were never referenced again or retconned to fit the new story direction in the Weatherlight Saga, the rule of thumb has been that these events are canon unless explicitly contradicted, and many characters made the jump to post-revision canon. Certain stories, like the Antiquities War and the Ice Age, were later retold in the novels.
    Early Story Sources From the Library of Leng (The Duelist) Greensleeves Cycle
    • Arena
    • Whispering Woods
    • Shattered Chains
    • Final Sacrifice
    Stand Alone Novels
    • The Cursed Land
    • Prodigal Sorcerer
    • Ashes of the Sun
    • Song of Time
    • And Peace Shall Sleep
    • Dark Legacy
    • Tapestries
    • Distant Planes
    Armada Comics
    • Elder Dragons #1-#2
    • Dakkon Blackblade #1
    • Arabian Nights #1-#2
    • Antiquities War #1-#4 (Part 1, Part 2)
    • The Urza-Mishra War #1-#2
    • Fallen Empires #1-#2
    • Ice Age #1-#4 (Parts 1 & 2)
    • Shandalar #1-#2
    • Magic: the Gathering - Shandalar (Microprose Video Game)
    • Homelands #1
    • The Shadow Mage #1-#4
    • Nightmare #1
    • Wayfarer #1-#5
    • Jedit Ojanen #1-#2
    • Fallen Angel #1
    • Serra Angel #1
    • The Story of Battlemage Ravidel (Summary of "Planeswalker War" story)
    • Magic: the Gathering - Battlemage (Battlemage's Lore)
    Please note that the 'Planeswalker War' story set up in many of these comics (the history of which is summarized in The Story of Battlemage Ravidel) was never completed, as the last few comics were cancelled.
    The Pre-Mending Story

    The novels of the Post-Revision era, now known as the Pre-Mending story, are presented here in roughly chronological order. Most of the stories took place in novel series called cycles, but many short stories have since been made available online. An in-depth knowledge of this era is not required for understanding the modern story. They just add some fun background flavor for a few known planes. Only a single art book was created during this time: The Art of Magic: the Gathering - The Rath Cycle. Only a few comics were produced in this era, a comic from Dark Horse retelling the story of Tempest block, and a series of short 'intro' comics for TopDeck magazine as a teaser for certain novels.
    The Artifacts Cycle The Ice Age Legends I Cycle
    • Johan
    • Jedit
    • Hazezon
    The Artifacts Cycle (Continued) Legends II Cycle
    • Assassin's Blade
    • Emperor's Fist
    • Champion's Trial
    Mirage The Weatherlight Saga
    • Tempest: Into the Storm
    • Maelstrom
    • Torment
    • Rath and Storm (Ebook)
    • Gerrard's Quest #1-#4 (Dark Horse Comics)
    • Mercadian Masques
    • Mercadian Masques (TopDeck #1 Comic)
    • Nemesis
    • Nemesis (TopDeck #4 Comic)
    • Prophecy
    • Prophecy (TopDeck #8 Comic)
    • Invasion (Ebook)
    • Invasion (TopDeck #12 Comic)
    • Planeshift (Ebook)
    • Apocalypse (Ebook)
    The Mirari Crisis
    • Family Man
    • Odyssey
    • Chainer's Torment
    • Judgment
    • Onslaught
    • Legions
    • Scourge
    • Colors of Magic
    • Myths of Magic
    • Dragons of Magic
    • Secrets of Magic
    • Monsters of Magic
    From this point forward, most novels are available as ebooks. Before this point, as I mentioned, it's pretty hit or miss. The story goes from one long epic set on Dominaria to self-contained tales jumping between several planes before returning to Dominaria for the epic events of the Mending.

    The Mirrodin Cycle The Kamigawa Cycle The Ravnica Cycle The Time Spiral Cycle
    The Post-Mending Story

    The current story for Magic takes place after the Mending, in a time when planeswalkers no longer have god-like power or immortality. Plots to regain that lost power or the consequences of its loss are major themes in the post-mending multiverse, as old threats barely contained by what are now known as 'oldwalkers' are now the problem of these weaker 'neowalkers'.

    Worldbuilding and the Planeswalker's Guides

    One of the great resources made available to readers post-mending is the advent of the Planeswalker's Guides, a series of articles talking about the flavor and worldbuilding of the planes visited in each block. These are great resources for getting the feel of a plane that the story or cards don't necessarily convey. It took a while for these articles to cement, so earlier blocks have some worldbuilding articles I've included that aren't necessarily called planeswalker guides. The official website's Plane Profiles also contain a wealth of information.
    Online Articles

    Much of Magic's flavor and story in recent years has been told through online articles.
    • Savor the Flavor, originally a series called Taste the Magic, was a series of articles that focused on flavorful aspects of Magic: the Gathering. It tended to vary a lot in the type of content it provided and was eventually scrapped in 2012 in favor of Uncharted Realms. All the short stories have been collected on our wiki, which also helpfully divides them by plane and main character.
    • Magic Story, originally titled Uncharted Realms, replaced Savor the Flavor in 2012, around the same time the Magic Novels were cancelled. Unlike Savor the Flavor, this series focused entirely on short stories and story-related information, with a new article coming out every Wednesday. Many of these stories flesh out the worlds that each block takes place on, but they also advance the overall plot. A recent shift in creative direction has serialized these short stories into longer ongoing story arcs.
    • Planeswalker Webcomics were an early post-mending attempt at making the Magic story more accessible for players. The webcomics were the beginning of many of the story's elements and are a must-read for any story fan.
    The early Post-Mending stories were told through a series of planeswalker-centric novels and block novels. Even though Lorwyn was the first set where the neowalkers appeared, their story didn't actually begin until Shards of Alara. Lorwyn, while technically Post-Mending, takes place about 40 years before anything else, as indicated in Nissa's story from Magic Origins.

    A Planeswalker Novel

    There were three books in this series, and a fourth, cancelled, novel focusing on the character of Liliana Vess.
    • Agents of Artifice follows Jace Beleren's early adventures with Liliana Vess as an agent of the Infinite Consortium while under the tutelage of Tezzeret. It is widely regarded as a pretty solid read and is recommended if you want to learn about Magic's story.
    • The Purifying Fire follows Chandra after her first confrontation with Jace Beleren in the webcomics. This novel also introduced Gideon Jura. It's considered probably the best of the post-mending novels, and is definitely recommended.
    • Test of Metal follows Tezzeret as he tries to slip free of Nicol Bolas' control. It does a great job of characterization for Tezzeret, but it introduces a universally hated magic called clockworking that throws the canon of novel's events into doubt. It is not a recommended read.
    Block Novels

    There are three novels and two e-novella series in the block novel series. They cover every block from Alara to Theros, with the exception of Innistrad which did not get a block novel but instead two summary articles.
    • Alara Unbroken is the Shards of Alara block novel. It tells the story of Nicol Bolas' bid to regain his lost power. It's the best of the block novels Post-Mending, and is recommended.
    • In the Teeth of Akoum is the Zendikar block novel. It tells the story of Nissa and Sorin's quest to re-seal the Eldrazi. The book itself is not particularly good, and it's not recommended. All you need to know is the ending, where Nissa breaks open the final seal (ignoring Sorin's advice) and releases the Eldrazi.
    • The Quest for Karn is the Scars of Mirrodin block novel. It tells the story of Elspeth, Venser and Koth's search for Karn on a changing Mirrodin. It is borderline unreadable and not recommended. Again, all you need to know is the ending, where Venser dies to restore Karn's spark and mind.
    • The Secretist is the Return to Ravnica block novel, told in three parts. It doesn't really deal with any major characters or themes from the original Ravnica, so it's pretty safe to read as a stand alone. It is recommended.
    • Godsend is the Theros block novel, told in two parts. It deals with Elspeth being chosen by the god Heliod to defeat Xenagos. It is recommended.

    The Post-Mending story has been told through three different comic book venues at this point.
    • Path of the Planeswalker Volumes I and II are the collections of the original Magic webcomics that premiered on the main website during Alara through Scars of Mirrodin. They're linked in my post-Mending chronology below.
    • Magic: the Gathering (2012), Magic: the Gathering - The Spell Thief, Magic: the Gathering - Path of Vengeance, and Magic: the Gathering - Theros were the first series of IDW comics released featuring new planeswalker Dack Fayden. While the comic featured the same plane as the blocks they were published alongside, the plot was completely unrelated.
    • Magic: the Gathering - Chandra (2018) is the second series of IDW comics, this time featuring fan-favorite planeswalkers like Chandra and taking place between those character's appearances in the main plot.

    The Art of Magic: The Gathering

    The most recent resource are the new series of Magic Art Books that have been released. These appear to be taking the place of Planeswalker's Guides for 'Return to...' planes, such as Battle for Zendikar and Shadows Over Innistrad. While new planes will still get planeswalker guides, the art books are by far the greatest source of worldbuilding information on each plane. Plane Shift - Fans have been clamoring for a Magic conversion into D&D for years, and James Wyatt has answered. So far, there is only a conversion for Zendikar, but given that it follows nicely on The Art of Magic books, there will likely be more. The Post-Mending Chronology

    The story is presented here in roughly the order it was published. For the most part, that also means that it is in chronological order, but that won't always be the case, such as with Magic Origins or various background stories. Note that I have placed the webcomics where they belong on the timeline rather than when they were published. It is also divided up as much as possible by who it affects, as many events in the story take place concurrently. Please note that I'm ONLY including stories that are either relevant to the plane they take place on, the overall plot, or to one of the main characters. In general, this means that only characters who appear more than once in the story will appear here, and then only if they have bearing on the overall story. You can find a full list of the short stories in the links I provided earlier to Savor the Flavor and Uncharted Realms articles.

    Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Cycle (Stand-alone series)
    • Lorywn
    • Morningtide
    • Shadowmoor
    • Eventide
    Web Comics (These all take place prior to the events of Shards of Alara)
    A Planeswalker Novel Shards of Alara The Cursed Veil Zendikar Scars of Mirrodin Innistrad Magic 2013 Return to Ravnica Theros Magic 2015 Conspiracy Khans of Tarkir Commander 2014 Magic: Origins (Ebook Compilation)
    These stories tell the origin of the core five planeswalkers, in some cases retconning established details of the existing story. At this point in the story, the direction shifts completely from a vaguely connected series of events starring a rotating cast to a more tightly plotted serialized narrative told entirely through online stories. Prologue to Battle for Zendikar (Ebook Compilation) Prelude to Battle for Zendikar Battle for Zendikar Commander 2015 Shadows Over Innistrad Conspiracy: Take the Crown(Ebook Compilation Included)

    Kaladesh Amonkhet Ixalan Dominaria
    Core 2019 - Chronicle of Bolas & Vivien Reid
    Children of the Nameless
    Guilds of Ravnica & Ravnica Allegiance (Slice of Life Stories)
    Guilds of Ravnica & Ravnica Allegiance (The Gathering Storm Main Story) War of the Spark Magic: the Gathering - Chandra (IDW Comic) Throne of Eldraine
    • The Wildered Quest (Ebook)
    Magic: the Gathering - Chandra: Trials of Alara (IDW Comic)
    • Coming Soon
    Please let me know below if you think I missed something. I know there are a lot of short stories not included here, but there are hundreds of stories that ultimately don't matter to the overall plot.

    Please note that some links may be broken due to Wizards closing out the old site's archive. I've fixed what I can, but if you encounter more please post about it here. In addition, some links to the wiki redirect back to this post, if that happens just go to the wiki manually and type in the name.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • 1

    posted a message on Don Krenko, Combo Goblins
    Quote from Timba »
    I want to make a Krenko deck
    Looking at lists I was puzzled why people play Blasphemous Act
    Why would anyone play Wrath in a deck which wants to overwhelm opponents with creatures, half of the deck being creatures?
    It's a red board wipe for when one of your opponents pulls ahead or after your own goblins have been decimated.

    Quote from 00Flour »
    The summary talks about Arms Dealer. I don't see it in the change log or current deck list.
    I've updated the change log. After a few years, occasionally I tweak something and forget to update it. Apparently I swapped it out some time last year, but I might bring it back again. The deck is due for another overhaul soon (I.E. To pull it apart and see what is working and what isn't, rather than just swapping in new cards).
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • 5

    posted a message on A Vorthos Guide to Magic Story
    Hey everyone! I've decided to revamp this thread from "Archive Trap: A Vorthos Guide to MTG" to just "A Vorthos Guide to Magic Story", because I'm no longer publishing on MTGS with regularity (you can find me biweekly on Gathering Magic now). I still wanted to keep a good listing of story summaries around, however, so this thread will include, in roughly chronological order, summaries of Magic's Story from over the years. Check out the Magic Storyline Resources thread if you want sources instead of summaries. These are not all my articles, we've got some guest articles on the Weatherlight Saga here, and I link to official story summaries wherever appropriate. Please check out Multiverse in Review for in-depth summaries of a lot of early Magic lore.

    Summaries in Chronological Order
    Pre-Mending Post-Mending
    Posted in: Vorthos Content
  • 3

    posted a message on Who came up with the Argivian Reckoning?
    In all seriousness, the origins of it are probably from The Dark. In The Eternal Ice, Jodah, who only remembers the Dark at the time, gives his birth date from both the birth of the brothers and the destruction of Argoth. It was probably common to count from that devastation on Terisiare, and it was formalized as "Argivian Reckoning" at some point before Time Streams, which was itself just a few centuries after the Ice Age.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • 1

    posted a message on Don Krenko, Combo Goblins
    November 6 Update: Guilds of Ravnica update

    IN: Legion Warboss
    Legion Warboss is definitely the stand out goblin card of Guilds of Ravnica. A sort-of fixed Goblin Rabblemaster that only requires the token to attack, it provides token fuel for all the engines of the deck and is great with Krenko, but also helps fuel to cast Krenko and your bigger spells in the late game. Repeatable goblin token production can't be passed up, here. Remember: you can tap Krenko to count that little guy and sacrifice it all before it ever has to attack.

    Massive Raid
    Massive Raid is potentially a win con, but more than likely it'll just be more removal for this deck, which I found it needed.

    Hordeling Outburst
    I'm not sure why I was sleeping on this card, but three goblins for three mana is nothing to sneeze at. It can easily jump start any of the engines this deck sets up.

    OUT: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
    If you've been following the last few updates, I've been angling this way for a while. Kiki-Jiki pushes for play styles that didn't really line up for what I was going for with this deck. All the combos are still listed under 'Cut Combos' in the primer if you want to go that route, but I never found a situation where I really wanted to cast Kiki-Jiki except when I had all the other combo pieces in play. It's a lot of risk to bet so much on one card.

    Hammer of Purphoros
    I have enough haste enablers in this deck at this point that I found myself never really using the Hammer. I may re-evaluate in the future if I find myself struggling for haste enablers again. Also I got tired of carrying around the golem tokens just in case, lol.

    Helm of the Host
    A nine mana investment for something that other players will rarely allow just isn't worth it. I really wanted to like this card more (who doesn't want more Krenko?), but it just didn't do what I wanted it to. As part of my efforts to bring this deck back to basics, I get more value out of Hordeling Outburst than I would with this card.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • 1

    posted a message on Don Krenko, Combo Goblins
    Quote from Grammis »
    Hey Jay13x I'd just like to say that I really enjoy the playstyle of this deck. I've seen a lot of Krenko decks that feel too aggro for me and some that have too much combo and lose that tribal goblin feel.
    Yeah, I'm angling back toward the original feel of the deck after going a little too corner case combo heavy.

    Quote from Grammis »
    I made my own first EDH deck just a while back (I started playing in Dominaria) before I discovered this primer. So I was wondering what your thoughts are on swapping Gamble for Sensation Gorger for budget reasons?
    There's nothing wrong with that!

    Quote from Grammis »
    I was also curious what your current thoughts are on Arms Dealer and Gempalm incinerator do you think they are suitable when if you're trying to up the goblin count to 30 or if they're staying on the shelf?
    Most of what you'll be killing with these cards will be power 4 or less. For instance, Gempalm can kill Linvala or other utility creatures (excepting creatures with protection from Gempalm's colors/types). Arms Dealer can always sacrifice himself for damage. They're useful to get around counterspells and various other tricks.

    Quote from Grammis »
    Edit: You've written that Sol Ring is a good budget replacement for Phyrexian Altar but Sol Ring is already in the decklist.
    Aaaaaah. This is what happens over the course of over a dozen revisions. I need to update the list anyway. I'll fix it now.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • 1

    posted a message on Books, comics, off-world stories, and JAY!
    It me! Thank you everyone.

    I should be clear that I'm an independent contractor, a lot like the Flavor Text team of writers. I’m not staff. Nothing I say should be taken as “Word of God” for canon purposes. Basically I make recommendations and annotations. If you saw my “Let’s Talk About” series on Tumblr, it’s kind of like that.

    I am, essentially, looking for things that I would complain about - I am not writing stories.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • 1

    posted a message on New IDW Comic Series - Firestorm?
    It's fake. That's a panel from the original IDW comic.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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