Goblins vs Gnomes: A GvG Look at MtG

Did you know that, following his obsession with explosives, Mekgineer Thermaplugg took up knitting? It was probably difficult since he was, at that point, missing his left arm; but I imagine these things can be replaced easily enough.

Whether or not you ever ran Gnomeregan in WoW (one of my favorite lower level dungeons), you’re probably aware that Hearthstone just had its big expansion, and the theme is Goblins vs Gnomes. People are inordinately excited. I’m really not much of a Hearthstone player these days, but I do think an expansion was overdue and I hope that we’ll see a more interesting and diverse metagame emerge with all the new cards.

If you want to tell me all about why Hearthstone is amazeballs, by all means, do so in the comments. But we’re not really talking about Hearthstone in this article, we’re just using the expansion as an excuse to talk about Goblins vs Gnomes in Magic, and to look at some lists from days-gone-by. And since they’re competing, we’re going to turn this into a contest. Here are the rules.

Goblins and Gnomes will each get three lists covering different formats. For each format, you guys can vote on whether goblins or gnomes are the winner. The overall champion will be the creature that takes at least two formats. First up, Legacy!



Copper Combo – Gnomes (Legacy)

This list from 2011 uses Kuldotha Forgemaster to cheat out game finishers like Blightsteel Colossus. Copper Gnomes also work well as a 2-card combo to cheat giant artifact creatures onto the table.

3 Great Furnace
4 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Wasteland

3 Blightsteel Colossus
4 Copper Gnomes
4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
4 Metalworker
3 Sundering Titan
4 Wurmcoil Engine

4 Chalice of the Void
4 Grim Monolith
2 Lightning Greaves
2 Mox Diamond
1 Staff of Domination
4 Tangle Wire
2 Mox Opal

2 Crucible of Worlds
3 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Trinisphere
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Punishing Fire
1 Karn Liberated [/d]


Belcher Combo – Goblins (Legacy)

Hey, if we’re going combo gnomes, we have to go combo goblins too. This one-land list wants to win on turn one or two.

4 Elvish Spirit Guide
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Tinder Wall

1 Taiga

4 Chrome Mox
4 Goblin Charbelcher
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
4 Desperate Ritual
4 Manamorphose
4 Pyretic Ritual
4 Seething Song
4 Burning Wish
3 Empty the Warrens
4 Land Grant
4 Rite of Flame

4 Xantid Swarm
4 Red Elemental Blast
1 Diminishing Returns
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Infernal Tutor
1 Pyroclasm
1 Reverent Silence
1 Shattering Spree
1 Tendrils of Agony [/d]



BW Sanguine Gnomes – Gnomes (Modern)

This build-around-me Bottle Gnomes list comes from a fun challenge over on MTG Salvation. Every card (but four) had to interact with Bottle Gnome in some way. I’m impressed with the result!
Deck Centerpiece
4 Bottle Gnomes

4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Blood Artist
3 Grave Pact

4 Trading Post
2 Skeleton Shard

4 Path to Exile

Win Cons
4 Ajani’s Pridemate
2 Sanguine Bond
2 Sun Titan

3 Fetid Heath
4 Godless Shrine
8 Plains
8 Swamp [/d]


I Call Shenanigans! – Goblins (Modern???)

Let’s be fair. There are so many more Goblins than Gnomes in Magic that they have an obvious advantage. To alleviate that, I had to find some interesting, non-tier lists to highlight. This list is from Abe Sargent’s “100 Combo Decks in 20 Weeks” series. It’s #79 on the list.

1 Goblin Marshal
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Siege-Gang Commander
2 Goblin Recruiter
2 Goblin Ringleader
2 Rage Thrower
3 Goblin Dynamo
3 Moggcatcher
3 Tar Pitcher
4 Goblin Arsonist
4 Goblin Assassin
1 Tuktuk the Explorer

3 Dragon Fodder
4 Goblin Grenade
1 Boggart Shenanigans

25 Mountain [/d]

PDH: Pauper Deck Highlander


Wait, Kithkin? – Gnomes (PDH)

Kithkin are sort of like gnomes, even if they are really more like hobbits. Give me a break, [c]Clockwork Gnomes[/c] is the only Pauper-legal gnome card, and no one is playing with it. This list is commanded by Gaddock Teeg and runs a bunch of short people. Close enough for me!

1 Gaddock Teeg

1 Amrou Kithkin
1 Amrou Scout
1 Amrou Seekers
1 Apothecary Initiate
1 Ballynock Cohort
1 Ballynock Trapper
1 Ballyrush Banneret
1 Barrenton Medic
1 Burrenton Bombardier
1 Burrenton Shield-Bearers
1 Cenn’s Heir
1 Goldmeadow Dodger
1 Goldmeadow Harrier
1 Kinsbaile Balloonist
1 Kinsbaile Skirmisher
1 Kithkin Daggerdare
1 Kithkin Healer
1 Kithkin Shielddare
1 Kithkin Spellduster
1 Kithkin Zealot
1 Kithkin Zephyrnaut
1 Mosquito Guard
1 Order of the Golden Cricket
1 Plover Knights
1 Springjack Knight [/d]
1 Armadillo Cloak
1 Arrest
1 Cessation
1 Empyrial Armor
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Faith’s Fetters
1 Flickering Ward
1 Inviolability
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Pacifism
1 Recumbent Bliss

1 Celestial Flare
1 Disenchant
1 Glorious Charge
1 Guardians’ Pledge
1 Prismatic Strands
1 Repel the Darkness
1 Resounding Silence
1 Surge of Thoughtweft [/d]
1 Cenn’s Enlistment
1 Cultivate
1 Dust to Dust
1 Iona’s Judgment

1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
10 Forest
1 Kabira Crossroads
25 Plains
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Adventuring Gear
1 Bonesplitter
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Tumble Magnet
1 Vulshok Morningstar
1 Whispersilk Cloak [/d]


My Commander is a Lackey – Goblins (PDH)

Aside from the contradiction that your general is a lackey, this seems like a fun Goblins PDH list. Lackey actually makes a good commander in terms of his ability, but you have to wonder … who is really calling the shots?

1 Goblin Lackey

1 Adder-Staff Boggart
1 Akki Avalanchers
1 Battle-Rattle Shaman
1 Bloodcrazed Goblin
1 Caterwauling Boggart
1 Emberwilde Augur
1 Fire Juggler
1 Firefright Mage
1 Flamewave Invoker
1 Foundry Street Denizen
1 Goblin Arsonist
1 Goblin Balloon Brigade
1 Goblin Battle Jester
1 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Goblin Chirurgeon
1 Goblin Cohort
1 Goblin Fireslinger
1 Goblin Gardener
1 Goblin Gaveleer
1 Goblin Grappler
1 Goblin Lookout
1 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Medics
1 Goblin Mountaineer
1 Goblin Patrol [/d]
More Creatures
1 Goblin Rimerunner
1 Goblin Shortcutter
1 Goblin Skycutter
1 Goblin Sledder
1 Goblin Spelunkers
1 Goblin Striker
1 Goblin Swine-Rider
1 Goblin Taskmaster
1 Goblin Tinkerer
1 Goblin Tunneler
1 Goblin Vandal
1 Goblin War Buggy
1 Grotag Siege-Runner
1 Intimidator Initiate
1 Keeper of Kookus
1 Kyren Sniper
1 Lavafume Invoker
1 Lobber Crew
1 Mogg Conscripts
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Mogg Flunkies
1 Mogg Raider
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Mudbrawler Cohort
1 Mudbutton Clanger
1 Mudbutton Torchrunner
1 Raging Goblin
1 Riot Piker
1 Rummaging Goblin
1 Rustrazor Butcher
1 Skinbrand Goblin
1 Skirk Commando
1 Skirk Shaman
1 Sparksmith
1 Spikeshot Goblin
1 Torch Slinger
1 Utvara Scalper
1 War-Torch Goblin [/d]
1 Accorder’s Shield
1 Bladed Pinions
1 Bonesplitter
1 Flayer Husk
1 Kitesail
1 Leonin Scimitar
1 Spidersilk Net
1 Vulshok Morningstar
1 Whispersilk Cloak

1 Disintegrate
1 Flame Slash
1 Goblin Grenade
1 Goblin War Strike
1 Grapeshot
1 Kaervek’s Torch
1 Rift Bolt

1 Brightstone Ritual
1 Fireblast
1 Galvanic Blast
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Tarfire

1 Goblin Caves
1 Goblin Shrine

32 Mountain [/d]

Six decks. Three formats. Who wins?

Discuss your choices and winners in the comments. Have your own favorite gnomes or goblins lists? Share those too!