"With great power comes great risk of getting yourself killed."
This thread was created to build an aggressive, Goblin-tribal Commander deck based around Krenko, Mob Boss. This is not the place to build a control or slower version, or discuss various unrelated combos. However, if you are looking for an all-in strategy that's quick out of the gate and always gives an exciting performance, Krenko may be for you.
After the release of M13, I was contacted by a friend who was interested in building a deck with one of the new Legendary creatures. I was asked to find a creature to build around, test the deck list, and forward it on to them (since they no longer had the time with a wife and kids). As an avid deckbuilder, I was happy to take on this challenge. Around this time, I had started to get nostalgic about my beginnings in Magic and had considered getting into Legacy Goblins. The thought of playing with some of my old favorites was very appealing, but the thought of the investment in Wastelands and Rishadan Ports was not.
While playing around with the idea of Krenko in Legacy, it struck me that he'd be the perfect new Legend for me to build around, I have old ties to many of the best Goblins, and it would a labor of love, rather than a chore to build. With the help of a few other Krenko players out there, I quickly assembled a list and started testing.
Since then, this list has evolved numerous times, and will continue to do so. However, throughout it has been an aggressive, fast paced, goblin tribal list that wins through combat damage. This is the plan for the deck, and I try not to veer off that path.
As of this writing, I've been playing with Krenko for just over a month, and am having a blast. I can't wait to see where this thread and deck goes from here.
My name is Ryan, and I first picked up Magic: The Gathering in the Spring of 2003 when Scourge was released. The first card I ever owned was Goblin Warchief and the first deck I ever played was, of course, Goblins. Over the next six years I played mostly Standard and enjoyed it for the most part. However, in early 2009, I found a new game shop that played formats other than Standard. Something called "E.D.H." I had no idea what it stood for, but over the next month I quickly learned all I could about the "format" and did whatever cards I found to be multiplayer worthy. Unfortunately, most of my collection was Standard only (at the time this was Shards of Alara and the soon to be released Conflux).
Coming off of my favorite standard season ever, the Faeries of Lorwyn were very good to me, I thought it would be interesting to try a faster, yet under powered (or so I thought), first general in Vendillion Clique. My first choices were Doran, the Siege Tower and Rafiq of the Many, but at the time, and over the next year, those were unavailable in that play group (they limited each Commander to one person so that they didn't have to deal with the legendary rule). At first, Vendillion Clique was underwhelming and became a bit stale countering everyone's spells while having no endgame. That all changed, though, when I met an experienced player who introduced me to Hinder, Spin Into Myth, and Tunnel Vision. In less than an hour, my Clique list when from an underpowered, stale, tribal deck to an overpowered 'complaint machine.' Within a week, I had to abandon Clique and search for something new that wouldn't make the rest of my group whiney little girls.
Play any one drop to get a creature out there. Goblin Lackey is your go-to, but Mogg Raider, or any sac outlet, is also a fine start. If you happen to have a Sol Ring, this is the time to play it, as it will usually lead to degenerate things.
This is what the deck is all about. A Krenko, Mob Boss with haste wins games, while a "do-nothing" Turn 4 (where everyone else starts to catch up) can mean we have to start rebuilding. If you can't get out Krenko, Goblin Warchief or Goblin Chieftain is another fair play. Sometimes your opponents will give you another couple turns before the board wipes start to hit.
You really don't have to win this early, as I've won many times around Turn 7-9, but this is our goal. We want to be fast enough to win by Turn 3-5. If/when we are stopped somehow, rebuilding is usually as easy as going back to Step 1, getting a few Goblins back out, rebuilding our board, and eventually playing another wincon.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Krenko is strong against any deck that takes time to set up (Examples: decks that plan to play pillow fort, but need time to do it, and generic control decks that attempt to draw a lot of cards early and set up for the late game)
This deck also happens to be pretty good against most other aggro decks (i.e. Edric, WW, etc). Because of our speed, we can set up much quicker to kill. Against Edric, we take advantage of their commander immediately. As soon as they drop him we're hitting anyone else to fill up our hand.
The deck's main weakness is any deck that has access to Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Crovax, Ascendant Hero, and/or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Linvala can shut down a lot of our answers, and Elesh Norn and Crovax can annihilate our field. We can also be weak against any deck with a large Wrath suite. These are few and far between, but they do come around, and they're hell to play against once that first Wrath goes off.
Krenko is generally weak against combo, as we have very few ways to stop combo. However, because they take time to set up and need to dedicate cards to getting their pieces, it is often the case that we're ready to alpha much sooner than they can a) stop us or b) go off.
To overcome these weaknesses, it is important to recover well from a wrath, which is why Wheel of Fortune and Reforge the Soul make the list, and why they shouldn't be used when they're not needed to win.
When to be Aggressive
Let's be honest, this is Goblins. These are Krenko's Goblins, and Krenko's goblins are always all-in. The times to be defensive are few and far between.
Being aggressive and being wreckless are not the same though. There are times you wont attack because it's the wrong play. These are easy to spot and even easier to avoid. For example, if you think you can go off next turn, and you have a pretty non-threatening board position, then there's no reason for you to attack, possibly lose some of your dudes (which may have been needed to go off), and provoke another player. Instead, put on a sad face, look through your hand a couple times, moan and groan, and finally, pass the turn. Works every time.
Cards that are Critical for Success
Like most sections here, this is pretty simple. Assuming you're playing your creatures and making tokens normally, the cards that you'll need to succeed will come in two categories; #1, cards that give our creatures haste (Goblin Chieftain, Goblin Warchief, Mass Hysteria, etc) and #2, cards that finish the game (i.e. Shared Animosity, Goblin Bombardment, Tears of Rage, etc). With Krenko, any combination of the two (one from each category) should work.
Your Opening Hand
Because our goal is speed, the opening hand is extremely important for our success. It doesn't have to be a specific set of cards, rather a balance of card types. You obviously don't want an all land or no land hand, nor do you want a hand of all finishers. What you're really looking for is a few land (no more than three, and even three is questionable), no more than one finisher (this includes Umbral Mantle, Marton Stomgald, Hellrider, and Furystoke Giant), and the rest Goblins and token makers of scaling CMC (note: having a grip of 1CC Goblins is much better than having a handful of Goblins you can't cast, but a balance is always preferred). Notable exceptions are Wheel of Fortune (probably our favorite card considering how fast we dump our hand) and Skullclamp & Sol Ring (obviously).
It's all about balance for us, and as long as you can find a balance in your opening hand, you should get a fast start out the gate and be putting pressure on your opponents in no time.
Arkham, the 1920's. Investigators battle horrors from beyond time and space, risking life and sanity while conspiracies of cultists and malign servitors seek gateways for their outer gods to return...
Soon, the stars will be right! Great Cthulhu shall rise!
I got four games of Krenko in tonight, and once again, as soon as I started playing it I thought "why would I ever play anything else? It was a blast to play, and proved competitive again, winning all but game. 3-1 in four player games is a very good record for any deck.
One card I'd like to fit in is Mogg Alarm. There isn't anything that I want to pull, so suggestions are appreciated.