Top 8 Cards Being Forced Out by Goblin Chainwhirler

Ryan Normandin
June 11, 2018

Since Rx decks dominated the Pro Tour, there has been a lot of discussion around the oppressiveness of Goblin Chainwhirler, the mighty 3/3 with a Curse of Death’s Hold stapled on if you also have Soulscar Mage. (Spoilers: They always have Soulscar Mage.) Most of the conversation around Chainwhirler is that it warps the format by simply making other cars unplayable. Today, we’re going to go deep – real deep – on the cards that Chainwhirler is working to Make Obsolete.

 8. Creatures with One Toughness

This is the obvious set, the “Level One” evaluation of Chainwhirler. Everyone knows by know that with chains being whirled all over the place, cards like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Llanowar Elves, and even Winding Constrictor are dangerous to deploy. Chainwhirler even forces out entire decks, such as the BW Hidden Stockpile/Anointed Procession decks.

But everyone knows this and it’s boring, so let’s go deeper.


7. Firesong and Sunspeaker


Since Goblin Chainwhirler was printed, have you seen ANY copies of Firesong and Sunspeaker in a Standard deck? In fact… have you even opened a single copy in a booster pack of Dominaria? I certainly haven’t. Like most rational creatures, these friendly minotaurs don’t like having chains whipped at their face. But where most creatures simply stop showing up in decks, Firesong and Sunspeaker has stopped showing up in packs. This injustice has to end; we need to invite these minotaur BFF’s back into the booster pack of our lives.

6. Splinter Twin


Now, I don’t know whether Goblin Chainwhirler was specifically the reason why the best blue card in Modern abandoned us. But Splinter Twin, my darling, you left us too soon! How playable would Goblin Chainwhirler be if, on the turn that you tap out for Chainwhirler, the opponent responds with a Pestermite end-of-turn, followed up by a Twin on their turn? Chainwhirler would become unplayable! It is therefore my bold solution to unban Splinter Twin – in Standard.


Once Felidar Twin was unbanned, it would serve its rightful role as policeman of the format, ensuring that nobody does anything else too fast, too broken, or too unfun. It would absolutely push out Chainwhirler decks immediately, along with all those other unfun, oppressive Standard decks, such as UW Control, Esper Control, Monogreen, Monowhite, WB, Constrictor, etc, etc. Soon, the Splinter Guardian policeman would have complete authoritarian control of the format, and Standard would be a better place. #unbantwin

5. Jaya Ballard


When Jaya Ballard was spoiled, the Magic community let out a collective gasp. After all, Jaya does everything you could want a Tier 0 planeswalker to do – she makes mana (sometimes), she filters your draw (sometimes, and without card advantage), and her ultimate is game-winning (in many, many turns… hopefully?) It was fully expected that Jaya would be a titan of Standard, possibly eating a ban within the first couple of months.

Despite her triple pips of red, it was another triple-pipped red card that has removed any chance of Jaya’s playability. We speak, of course, of Goblin Chainwhirler. You see, it shoots Jaya when it comes down, bringing her back down to 5. But more importantly, it serves as something that Jaya simply has no way to handle – a vanilla 3/3. As much as Jaya can try to throw mana at Chainwhirler or discard cards, Chainwhirler will inevitably put Jaya’s long, disappointing life to an end.

3. Chainwhirler’s Triple-Pipped Friends


Chainwhirler didn’t come to the Standard format by himself; I mean, what loser would go alone to a new format? No, the mighty goblin brought his party chain alongside four wonderful friends who he enjoyed hanging out with. But once he got to the format, he ended up being a bit more popular than the rest of his friends. As Soulscar Mage and Hazoret made fun of the rest of his loser group, Chainwhirler began to feel the peer pressure mount. Eventually, he did something unforgivable: he turned his chain on his former friends, betraying them and pushing them out of the format. Now, Chainwhirler sits at the cool kids’ table with all his other aggro bois, while the rest of his gang (derisively labeled the “Moist Abzan Crew”), get swirlied in the toilet and shoved into lockers.


2. Yargle, Glutton of Urborg


In the Magic story, Yargle nearly defeated the entire Weatherlight crew. Only the timely arrival of a hunk of moss, summoned by a childish, semi-sentient fungus, was able to save our crew of literally legendary heros flying a legendary ship with a legendary weapon. Yay plants!

That is to say, Yargle is insanely powerful. Not only in the story, but we saw at the Pro Tour the evolution of the dominant draft archetype of “Yargle with other cards.” Every round, it was Yargle after Yargle being thrown into other players faces, eating them up nine points at a time. (Yeah, bet you wish you didn’t skip the draft portion now, huh?)

But in Standard, a tiny goblin can handily defeat the mightiest frog spirit that has ever been printed in the history of the game. Let’s be honest: if Goblin Chainwhirler is pushing out what is clearly a pushed Standard staple, then Chainwhirler is just too oppressively good.

1. Goblin Chainwhirler

Well, my enthusiastic destroyer of worlds, if you’re not careful, you’re going to destroy yourself.

We saw Rampaging Ferocidon get banned because it was too oppressive, particularly to the decks that were good against monored. And monored, of course, would’ve become oppressively good after the Temur ban, which was oppressively good after the Marvel ban, which was oppressively good after the Felidar Guardian ban, which was oppressively good after the Emrakul ban, which was oppressively good after Collected Company should’ve been banned, which was oppressively good after Rally the Ancestors should’ve been banned, which was oppressively good after… uh… a fun, balanced format of Jeskai Black, Abzan, and an assortment of Tier 2 decks? Man… it’s been a helluva couple of years.

Anyways, if Ferocidon was able to get banned for being too oppressive, and Goblin Chainwhirler is better than Ferocidon, then, by the mighty power of logic, Goblin Chainwhirler is whirling his way a bit too close to the bright, sunny banhammer. So be careful, Goblin Chainwhirler: in your quest to be the coolest, whirliest, most popular card in Standard, you’re pushing away more and more of your friends. Pretty soon, you’ll be all alone. And when you are, you’ll regret pushing all your friends away. They won’t hesitate to turn, stab you and the toxic environment you’ve created in the back, and push you out of the format altogether.

And then Teferi will be too good, so we’ll ban him, then Karn will be too warping, so we’ll ban him, then Llanowar Elves will be too warping so we’ll ban them, then…


…and Yargle shall reign supreme.


Ryan Normandin is a grinder from Boston who has lost at the Pro Tour, in GP & SCG Top 8's, and to 7-year-olds at FNM. Despite being described as "not funny" by his best friend and "the worst Magic player ever" by Twitch chat, he cheerfully decided to blend his lack of talents together to write funny articles about Magic. Make fun of him online through Twitter (@RyanNormandin) and Twitch (norm_the_ryno).