Part of what makes MTG such a fun game to play is that there are tons of designs, mechanics, and products that appeal to a wide audience. Some players love playing competitive Constructed formats while others enjoy playing Commander in a more casual environment. A lot of players also get a kick out of some of MTG’s wackier designs, so getting to play in a Limited environment built around sets such as Unfinity could be very appealing.
Of course, Unfinity cards were designed primarily for a unique and amusing play experience. However, sometimes, these wacky cards actually overlap into the competitive scene. For example, there have been Boros decks in Legacy that utilize Comet, Stellar Pup, showing that the good dog is even more powerful than it may appear at first glance.
Recently, one of the more powerful cards from Unfinity was actually added to Magic Online (with some specific modifications), and it has already begun seeing significant play in both Pauper and Legacy. The card uses a strange mechanic built around stickers in paper and given the issues with implementing stickers-matter cards on Magic Online, the card was changed slightly to work appropriately with the interface. While there are minor differences between playing the card in paper and online, the card seems very strong in both environments. Before we dig deeper and learn where this card shines, let’s take a brief look at the powerful Goblin and how it differs in paper and online play.
Not a Major Difference
In paper, if you want to play this Goblin in a competitive setting, you have to choose ten unique sticker sheets and randomly select three before the start of each game. The Goblin costs three mana itself but gives you mana back equal to the number of unique vowels on the name sticker you put on it. With the specific sticker sheets available, it is easy to generate at least four red mana out of this card, and often you will generate more.
Due to difficulties with adding stickers online, a version of the card was created in which you roll a 20-sided die to determine how much red mana you get. You are guaranteed to get back at least four mana, sometimes five mana, and other times six mana. This ends up translating very similarly mathematically to your odds in paper, so even though the card may look very different, it functions closely in practice.
“Name Sticker” Goblin in Pauper
While the ability to net one or two mana may not seem that strong, it is much better than it looks. There’s a reason Seething Song is banned in Modern. First off, you get a two-power Creature out of the deal, which is a nice bonus. From there, you will get at least four mana to work with. Because of this mana boost, burn players in Pauper have begun playing a playset of both Reckless Impulse and Wrenn’s Resolve as ways to churn through their libraries and dig for the Goblin.
Most of the rest of the deck is constructed similarly to traditional Pauper burn, featuring a Kuldotha Rebirth package. This deck is still fully capable of winning without the Goblin menace by simply attacking with Creatures like Monastery Swiftspear. What makes the Goblin truly shine, though, is the presence of Goblin Bushwhacker. It’s not uncommon to play the Goblin, net some mana, cast a couple more Creatures, follow up by Kicking a Goblin Bushwhacker, and attacking for a ton of damage all at once.
The fact that “Name Sticker” Goblin nets you mana and a relevant Creature is extremely strong. This past weekend was the first opportunity for players to use the Goblin in Magic Online Pauper Challenges, and both the top eight of Saturday’s and Sunday’s Pauper Challenges featured burn decks utilizing a playset of “Name Sticker” Goblin. The card is quite strong in Pauper, but we’re not stopping there.
“Name Sticker” Goblin in Legacy
In Legacy, one of the most powerful formats MTG has to offer, “Name Sticker” Goblin is popping up in Goblins shells built around Muxus, Goblin Grandee. Muxus is an extremely strong four-power Creature that lets you dig six cards deep for any number of Goblin Creature cards with mana value five or less and put them directly into play. When combined with a Goblin like Goblin Warchief that grants Haste to your team, winning the game can be relatively trivial from there. If you’ve played Historic in MTG Arena, chances are you’ve lost a few sets to this menace.
The whole key is actually getting to six mana. The deck does make use of cards like Ancient Tomb and Chrome Mox to help get ahead on mana at low cost, but “Name Sticker” Goblin does a lot of the heavy lifting. You are guaranteed to new mana by resolving the Goblin, which makes casting Muxus and Goblin Ringleader much more realistic.
The two-power body from “Name-Sticker” Goblin also works quite nicely with Skirk Prospector. Some games, you will simply play Skirk Prospector on turn one, “Name Sticker” Goblin on turn two alongside Ancient Tomb and then cast Muxus on the same turn.
Is “Name Sticker” Goblin Too Good?
While the card seems perfectly reasonable in a format as powerful as Legacy, there’s an argument that the card leads to too many fast kills in Pauper. The fact that the Goblin works well in multiples to net you extra mana each time while providing relevant bodies to the board for Goblin Bushwhacker means that some games can be over quite quickly and out of nowhere. Board states like the game shown above with lots of Creatures, Kuldotha Rebirth, and Goblin Bushwhacker at the ready aren’t super common but are not out of the realm of possibility.
Between Reckless Impulse, Wrenn’s Resolve, and Experimental Synthesizer, this deck has a lot of built-in card advantage. Thanks to Monastery Swiftspear, Kuldotha Rebirth, and Goblin Bushwhacker, the deck is also quite fast. Burn was already arguably the best deck in Pauper before the utilization of this Goblin, but it’s possible that the card has put the deck over the top. Only time will tell if any bans happen in Pauper any time soon, but if Burn continues to dominate, it’s certainly not unreasonable. It’s definitely unusual to see an Un-set MTG card have such a big impact on the multiple formats.