Flavor of the Month: Toggo's Rock Soup
Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith | Illustrated by Svetlin Velinov
Ride the Lightning
Welcome to Flavor of the Month, where we use the flavor of cards as a recipe for building spicy decks. Today we're following the trail of pink rock salt led by the great Goblin inventor, Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith.
Unlike most Magic: the Gathering characters, we're introduced to Toggo not through a card bearing his name or likeness, nor through a pivotal beat in the game's story, but through flavor text. We get little glimpses into Toggo's character thanks to a few cards highlighting his creation of marvelous military inventions like lightning, rocks, and bigger, sentient rocks that smash things on their own.
We were first treated to the inner workings of the Goblin's mind, and his building of a devoted following among his Goblin brethren, in the flavor text of Onslaught, as seen on Pinpoint Avalanche, Spitfire Handler...
... and perhaps most memorably, at least for me, Shock.
The following set, Legions, gave us a Toggo follower, Goblin Clearcutter, then it was two years before we heard of another great Toggo-vention via the flavor text of the reprinted Flowstone Crusher in Ninth Edition. Two more years (or millennia, whether we're going by our own time or what's happening on the card) and we see Toggo's descendant piece together that for many, fire = ouchie in Planar Chaos's Firefright Mage.
Then we suffered through thirteen long, dark, Toggo-less years until we were gifted the Occam's Razor of Warfare himself in Commander Legends:
There was no room for flavor text on this card, but Svetlin Velinov's art gets the moment across perfectly. Toggo is having his full-on mad scientist moment here, the lightning racing across the sky behind him emblematic of his flash of insight as he stumbles upon (and most likely after stumbling over) his first and greatest to-date invention, the rock.
Because there are only six cards mentioning Toggo outside of his own card, we can consider those essential to this deck with the exception of Goblin Clearcutter, who, due to a subsequent Oracle change, is not legal in any Commander deck without both red and green its color identity. Thanks, rules lawyers.
But Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith can have a Partner! Given that we've seen in the flavor text that Toggo is very willing to share the word of his inventions, I think he'd get along with the right Partner as long as that Partner could help him with his ultimate goal: world domination via an invention that brings the world to its knees.
Of course, it's Toggo, so the best we can hope for with that invention is "rocks with some poison on them." Enter Falthis.
The interaction here is pretty simple (it has to be, so that Toggo doesn't lose the thread). Every land you get also comes with a Rock artifact token, which you can hand to your creatures to chuck wherever they please. Brilliant! But with Falthis out, if one of your commanders is the one chucking that rock, that rock damage becomes lethal to any opposing creatures. Extra brilliant! Cards like Street Urchin and Viridian Longbow can also deal out some death with Falthis out if our satchel of rocks is running low (even though I was told by my DM that you can't run out of rocks if your D&D character has a sling! Josh, what gives?!)
Of course, for his ambitious goals, Toggo needs an army, and there are few creature types more willing to enlist (or even become the weapons themselves) than Goblins. It's pretty helpful that we can make masses of lil' guys because we're going to be treating them as rather expendable in Toggo's grand scheme. Cards like Pashalik Mons, Siege-Gang Commander, and every Krenko we can enlist will bring us plenty of cannon fodder. I think of Krenko as Toggo's second-in-command, or at least his top recruiter.
Toggo and his cat neighbor Totoro--er, Falthis, will serve to keep opposing commanders and threats at bay, which is where we can utilize his Goblin acolytes to start turning the tide in our favor. Cards like Goblin Bombardment, Impact Tremors, City on Fire, and Mayhem Devil will ratchet up the damage by literally flinging Goblins and bonus damage at our enemies if our horde isn't able to push through on its own, and let's not even talk about the havoc that a Goblin Sharpshooter equipped with a Basilisk Collar (which we have in here for a little more redundancy with Falthis) can wreak on any opposing creature that is foolhardy enough to try and not be dead in Toggo's world.
We also have a couple of other inventions that we can assume came from Toggo, or maybe inspired him on his way to creating lightning or fire: Goblin Firebomb and Goblin Charbelcher will create some fireworks, and there's even a Goblin Lyre; the Goblin army needs a little downtime, after all. Thank goodness Toggo invented an instrument.
A little insurance never hurt, especially when we're banking on a massive board of gobbos doing the job for us. Thankfully, Falthis bringing black to our deck's color identity lets us use Zulaport Cutthroat and Bastion of Remembrance effects to punish players who try to wrath Team Toggo, or just give us extra mileage from our sacrifice effects. I've also never seen a Goblin deck that didn't benefit from a Goblin Chirurgeon, a criminally underrated card that keeps your commanders in the game as long as you have a few tokens around. Who said Toggo's staff wasn't compassionate: the Chirurgeon throws Goblins too, but as medicine!
We also need to make sure we're reliably making our land drops, since we want to keep the rocks a-flowing (hey, lava is literally flowing rock, so it makes sense if you don't think about it too hard; just be like Toggo!). Some cards that will support this include Sword of the Animist, Burnished Hart, and even the simple Armillary Sphere does work when it reads "get two mana-producing kill spells out of your deck." Walking Atlas is gas in a Toggo deck, too, since that effect is hard to find outside of green.
Finally, we lean into black as a way of keeping our hand stocked. Village Rites and the like turn our many bodies into ways to dig into our library, and Morbid Opportunist makes the ability for our many Goblins to eat it at our whim thanks to our sacrifice outlets into a veritable font of card advantage. That will keep the gears turning.
The result is Toggo's greatest invention yet: a deck that lets him throw rocks and creatures indiscriminately.
Toggo's Rock SoupView on Archidekt
When I was younger and playing when Onslaught was a new set (please don't do the math on how old that likely makes me), I was tickled at the flavor text on Shock, the confidently obtuse Toggo, and his illusions of grandeur. That little bit of humor added so much to the world of Magic for me, and it still does to this day--I'm happy to have built Toggo a war machine ready for his foolhardy charges into battle. Just feed it Goblins!
For budget reasons, I've left out the proper fetchlands, but those do a lot of work in this deck because they will trigger Toggo twice each. Any that grab Mountains or Swamps will get the job done. If you have 'em, great! But no need to splurge: Toggo knows that the best tools and weapons don't need to be expensive or flashy; Fabled Passage, Evolving Wilds, and the Streets of New Capenna sac lands get the job done as well.
That's it for this iteration of Flavor of the Month; tell me in the comments what else Toggo could get up to, which planes he should conquer next. Now there's a team-up card I wish was in March of the Machines: Toggo and Norn!