My name is Joe, and I’d like to welcome you to the first installment of our new weekly article series: Fan Favorite Friday!
Every week I’ll be looking at a card from Magic’s vast, wondrous history and discussing what makes it special. There will be interviews, testimonials, and interesting historical tidbits. The best part? After this week, you get to help me pick the cards! There will be a Facebook poll every Monday with potential cards taken from your suggestions, with the most popular chosen by that Wednesday. Friday, the article goes up, and then we start the cycle over!
To get us started, I decided to pick a card that is near and dear to my heart. The card that got me into magic. The card that still captures my imagination today. A card loved by Legacy players and EDH aficionados alike. That card, my friends, is none other than the venerable Krenko, Mob Boss.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought Goblins were pretty neat. I don’t know where it started, but they’ve always been one of my favorite facets of fantasy realms. I’m not saying I secretly rooted for them every time my dad read me the Hobbit as a child but…
Anyway, let’s fast forward to 2012. I’d just moved away from a weird living situation (into an arguably weirder one), had lost major parts of my friend group, and was nursing quite the funk. A friend of mine was back from college and asked me if I wanted to learn how to play that Magic the Gathering game.
I shrugged, told him to come on over, and figured I’d give the game a shot. We’d both bought plenty of cards when we were younger (in my case mostly 7th edition from the 7-11 down the street), but I’d never bothered learning to play. He came over a big bag of cardboard in tow, and started explaining the mechanics of the game.
He knew that I was a fan of angry little green dudes from our Warhammer days, so he made sure to show me his copy of Krenko. I was instantly blown away by his ability, and knew right then and there that Magic the Gathering was the game for me if it had goblins like that. I was hooked, and my wallet has been feeling the struggle of a healthy cardboard addiction ever since (thanks Will).
Since then, I’ve become quite the goblin collector. I’ve played them in almost every format imaginable, and I make it a point to seek out copies of every new goblin card as its released. I have a binder full of goblin misprints, artist proofs, cool foils, and my favorite tokens. They’re my favorite tribe by far, and I’ve garnered a reputation in our local scene as “that goblin guy”. It’s all thanks to Krenko — and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
That’s enough reminiscing – let’s take a closer look at our favorite Mob Boss!
Krenko, Mob Boss was first printed in the M13 core set and was the foil rare included with the Mob Rule intro deck (which you better believe I snapped up, and based my first standard deck off of.) He quickly captured the minds of Red players everywhere. He was painted by Karl Kopinski, who also did the awesome art for Krenko’s Command (and plenty of other awesome cards as well, I highly encourage you to look him up in Gatherer).
Krenko even featured in one of the Magic Story articles of the time, written by Jenna Helland. You can read that here: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/magic-story/krenko-mob-boss-2012-07-18 Since then, he has been printed twice more, in Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning and Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins.
What makes this card so cool?
Well, simply put, he’s cool because he makes more goblins. Potentially a LOT of goblins. While being a 3/3 for four mana isn’t great, Krenko’s ability is incredibly powerful. When you tap him, you get to put X 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens into play where X is the number of goblins you control. That includes Krenko himself! If you have a deck full of goblins and a way to give the Mob Boss haste, there’s a good chance you’ll be creating a mass of goblins that will be incredibly hard for your opponent to deal with!
What formats is this card played in?
Krenko saw play during his time in Standard (and I’m sure he would again if he gets a reprint! Come on Wizards, please?) He sees some limited play in Modern, and I personally think he might start showing up more now that Skirk Prospector and Goblin Warchief have joined the Modern team. I’ll be discussing that in a future article! Legacy also has a home for him, most often in the Goblin tribal toolbox deck! This will always be my favorite Legacy deck. I took it to my first Legacy GP, and regret not taking it to the last one I competed in! You can check out one of my old RW lists here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/08-05-17-rw-goblins/ , and a “Winstigator” list I’ve run here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/winstigator-goblins-1/ I think Krenko’s most popular home though, is in Commander. He’s legendary and makes for quite the fast and vicious mono red commander. I’ve personally wrecked havoc with him in mono red, JUND, and Mardu goblin variants. If you can find a way to repeatedly tap and I tap him, paired with something like Impact Tremors, your opponents are going to have a bad time. No matter what you do with him in Commander, as long as you made sure to bring some goblin comrades for him you’re going to have a good, goblin-y time!
Well, that’s all for today folks! What are some of your favorite Krenko memories? What did I miss when covering the big boss? What card should we talk about next week? Hit me up on twitter @MTGJoeD, or let us know on the ABU Facebook page! We’d love to hear what you think! And keep in mind, we have all of your goblin tribal needs at our online store!