Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Goblin Tokens in Magic
Predominately seen among the red faction, goblins are often the butt of Magic jokes, but they're a surprisingly competent faction. While individual goblins tend to be weak (their tokens are generally 1/1), they swarm quickly and offer a myriad of supports, bolstering your vast horde.
Sometimes quantity makes up for quality; how can you rapidly assemble your impish minions? Today we'll review the 10 best goblin-producing spells in the Magic trading card game!
10. Kuldotha Rebirth
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 1
This sorcery is temptingly cheap, but it has a drawback—you also have to sacrifice an artifact you control. Thus, use Rebirth with inexpensive relics you don't mind tossing, like "Fountain of Renewal" or a treasure token. With that accomplished, Rebirth simply summons three 1/1 goblin tokens, a sizable squad for such low cost.
9. Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician
Both a support and a swarm, Ib excels on numerous fronts. He himself is only a 3/2, but this legendary creature automatically sacrifices your attacking goblins when they become blocked, having each one deal four damage to every creature blocking it. This handily discourages blockers, as your 1/1 goblins now deal quadruple damage to defenders.
Ib also lets you sacrifice two mountains at any time to recruit two new 1/1 goblin tokens, a nice way to spend leftover lands in the late game. Just remember to tap your mountains for extra mana before you forfeit them.
8. Goblin Rabblemaster
This goblin warrior can be risky, as he morphs your other goblins into berserkers, forcing them to attack whenever possible. However, Rabblemaster automatically creates a 1/1 token with haste at the start of your combat step, providing repeated fodder to toss at foes. Additionally, if Rabblemaster himself attacks, he gets +1/+0 for each other attacking goblin, putting your swarm to good use.
Combo him with spells like "Dolmen Gate" to guard your attackers and let them safely swing even when your opponent has bigger units fielded.
7. Goblin Trenches
Trenches needs both white and red mana, and once fielded, you have to spend two more mana and sacrifice a land to activate its effect. But whenever you do, you create two 1/1 red and white goblin soldiers.
And since Trenches is an enchantment, it stays fielded, letting you repeatedly trigger the ability and swarm tokens whenever you have excess lands. Remember that spells like "Crucible of Worlds" let you play lands from your graveyard, helping you quickly reclaim them and minimize Trenches's trade-off.
6. Mogg War Marshal
Mogg War Marshal is a weak 1/1, but whenever he enters the field or dies, you obtain a 1/1 goblin token. Marshal also has echo, so he's sacrificed unless you repay his two mana the turn after he arrives.
Even if you can't or choose not to pay the echo cost, you've gained two 1/1 tokens for just two mana. And if you do, you're ultimately attaining three 1/1s, an unbeatable deal for such a low price. Marshal also isn't legendary, so you can field duplicates safely in non-singleton formats.
5. Legion Warboss
Similarly to Rabblemaster, Warboss is a 2/2 goblin who creates a 1/1 token at the start of your combat. This token has haste and must attack that combat, but its rage only lasts one turn, so if it survives, you control its attacks in future rounds.
Additionally, Warboss has the rare mentor trait, meaning he can place a +1/+1 counter on a weaker creature that he attacks simultaneously with, and thanks to his tokens, you'll have several valid pupils.
4. Siege-Gang Commander
For his substantial fee, Commander is pitifully weak at 2/2. However, he brings friends along, automatically granting three 1/1 goblin tokens when he joins the fray. Sure, they're weak, but you're getting four creatures in one, giving several chances to trigger creature entrance or death effects. Goblins tokens also help guard threats without trample, absorbing their damage with a throwaway blocker.
Commander can also spend two mana and sacrifice a goblin (even himself) to deal two damage to any target, letting you slam opposing creatures and planeswalkers for extra pain. Timed properly, you can even block with your tokens, then sacrifice them to slay other targets; even though they died, the defended units remain blocked and won't harm you that round.
3. Mogg Infestation
This versatile sorcery can either wipe out opposing threats or fortify your army. Infestation destroys all creatures a player controls, then gives them two 1/1 goblins tokens for each unit killed this way.
Used on an opponent, you've annihilated their big guns while handing them manageable monsters. Alternatively, hit yourself with Infestation while you control mostly 1/1s to essentially double your army. And note that Infestation doesn't target its victims, adeptly slaying even foes with hexproof or shroud.
2. Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
Krenko's long been king among goblins, with his most recent form (as of this writing) maintaining his impressive reputation. While Krenko begins as a weak 1/2, he automatically gains a +1/+1 counter when he attacks, then creates a number of 1/1 goblin tokens equal to his power!
Even by himself, you've got a self-strengthening beatstick who gradually amasses more and more tokens, and you can increase his recruitment rate by boosting him with auras or equipments. Krenko's "War of the Spark" set also contains several proliferate abilities, which stack well with his +1/+1 counters.
An easy pick for my own red builds (he's good enough to warrant usage outside goblin decks), Krenko won't break the bank, costing well under two dollars!
1. Krenko, Mob Boss
Arguably the best mono-red commander available, Krenko's Mob Boss form requires four mana, and for a goblin, he carries decent 3/3 stats. More importantly, by tapping, he creates a number of 1/1 goblins equal to the number of goblins you currently control.
Since this counts Krenko himself, you should get at least one, and likely many more if you've been diligently casting goblin brethren. This quickly snowballs into a near-infinite horde, as your new tokens let you obtain even more goblins when Krenko next taps.
Goblin Supports in Magic
Goblin tokens aren't just useful for overwhelming foes en mass, they activate entrance triggers—try combining them with "Purphoros, God of the Forge." You can also boost the power and toughness of your goblins with supports like "Mad Auntie" and "Dralnu's Crusade," letting each puny 1/1 swing with twice the impact, and green's infamous enchantment "Doubling Season" doubles the tokens you collect.
Goblins remains one of Magic's best creature factions, and today's spells jump-start a devoted commander or legacy deck. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of goblin-generating spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on August 19, 2020:
I like Drakuseth as a main deck card, but as a commander, he costs seven mana. This means recasting him a single time from the command zone requires nine, which just isn't very feasible in most games.
Bob on August 19, 2020:
I disagree with Krenko being the best red commander. I think Drakuseth, Maw of Flames is the best red card.