Standard: Mogg Pharaoh’s Gift

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Earlier this week I was introduced to a new Standard deck: Goblin God-Pharaoh’s Gift.

The deck is a fusion of two separate but complementary strategies. On the one hand it is a mono-red Goblin tribal beatdown deck, but on the other it has the ability to “go off” via God-Pharaoh’s Gift.

I’m no stranger to a well-tuned Goblin combo deck and while this may not be Control Slaver, I’ve been enjoying this deck all the same.

When Goblins Do Bolas’ Bidding Things Get Weird

The deck reminds me a lot of the Goblin Bidding decks from the past. Those decks would pressure with attacking Goblins and then when the opponent tapped out would cast Patriarch’s Bidding to return all fallen Goblins, with haste, and go completely hamtaro.

There are a lot of similarities between that deck and this one. At the risk of being completely obvious, both are tribal Goblin beatdown decks with a combo endgame finish.

Goblin Pharaoh’s Gift


I’ve always loved decks that can do two different things well. It’s not just cute—it’s a nightmare to defend against. It also helps greatly when one of those plans is to play out like a straight-up beatdown deck!

The Goblins themselves pack an aggressive punch that is backed up by the usual red deck suspects in the form of Bomat Courier and Hazoret the Fervent.

I’m also a big fan of the fact that somebody found a home for the Rowdy Crew.

The card is basically a Buckeye tailgate!

The Crew is another big aggressive body to throw around without risking “Hazoret flood” i.e., drawing too many of a legendary creature at an inopportune time. The Crew also has inherent synergy in the deck. Being a God-Pharaoh’s Gift deck, the list has a high concentration of creatures, which means that the Crew will hit often.

In addition, any creatures discarded at random will help with enabling Gate to the Afterlife’s.

Dear Brian,
Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoy the large triangular thingy that pours glowing water that I got for you. I hope that all of your enemies suffer and all your birthday wishes come true!
Your friend, Bolas

That Bolas—what a class act.

The Goblin angle will only take you so far, and at the end of the day the Gift combo is what really adds horsepower to this deck.

If you lay out the Goblins themselves they probably aren’t beating most decks heads-up. Yet, they are good at putting an opponent into a situation where they must react, tap out, or deal with the board. When the opponent’s shields are down, it opens up the game for the combo to simply bury an opponent.

It also goes without saying that the Goblins themselves are synergistic with the Gift combo.

Take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of wrecking your opponent with an army of Goblin mummies.

Siege-Gang and Chainwhirler have great ETB triggers to recur, but let’s talk about the house that is Skirk Prospector.

The ability to sacrifice creatures, for free, for mana, is big game in a deck like this. It speeds up the deck’s goldfish considerably, since it allows a player to cast Gate to the Afterlife and more easily activate it in the same turn. Prospector also gives the deck the ability to simply ramp out a Gift or Siege-Gang Commander ahead of schedule.

Basically, Skirk Prospector feels like a combo deck card and a lot of the broken synergies run through that 1-drop.

Familiar Technology

In addition to playing a tribal Goblin package to fuel the Gift combo, the deck also plays several creatures that you would expect to see in a traditional God-Pharaoh deck.

Courier and Ballista are generic great cards that help set up Gate to the Afterlife. The controller can essentially dictate those creatures die at any time, which is a great way to facilitate looting triggers with Gate and secure the necessary number of creatures in the crypt.

Combat Celebrant is sort of the finishing move of the deck. Once it comes back from the graveyard with haste it secures another wave of attacks and Gift triggers. Typically, opponents don’t survive the execution of this particular strategy. It’s too much free stuff and damage happening all at once.

One of the reasons I chose to write about this deck is because I think it is legitimately good and has a lot of neat interactions and card choices. It’s a brew that happens to be fantastic. The one thing I’d like to try and haven’t gotten around to yet is to add Karn, Scion of Urza to the sideboard.

Maximum Karnage.

The deck already has a number of artifacts and I think that Karn would play quite nicely in the deck as a way to generate card advantage and produce token threats. The biggest threshold is that Karn is really expensive and hard to find in my area, and I’d like to be a little more sure about the card in the deck before I take the plunge and open my wallet.

Another reason to keep this deck in mind is because it is a potentially strong choice for the Team Unified Standard RPTQ season. It’s basically a Gift deck that only uses red cards and keeps blue open for U/W Control and/or a U/B Scarab God Deck.

It’s true that the deck would be competing with Heart of Kiran and more traditional red beatdown decks, but I can see a lot of value in fielding two control decks and a combo deck in that particular format. So, as far as Standard Unified goes, I think that Goblin Gift may be one of the stronger options in terms of splitting up cards.

At the end of the day, I’m not really a Mogg fanatic but I’ve learned to respect and appreciate the nuances of a deck that can do two things really well, which is one heck of a selling point!


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