#1 – Goblin Chainwhirler
– Dominara

Date Reviewed:
December 31, 2018

Constructed: 5.00
Casual: 4.25
Limited: 3.67
Multiplayer: 4.13
Commander [EDH]: 4.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average.  5 is great.

Reviews Below: 

 James H. 


This card was ranked 1st on my top 11 list.

Probably the most infamous card of 2018, and easily the one with the most calls for a banning over the past year. Goblin Chainwhirler made its entrance at a time when mono-red aggro was ruling the roost (a Hazoret-based red deck), and it turns out that one whirly boi was the perfect fit for the deck.

In spite of it having what seems like a rough mana cost to get around (triple red seems a bit hard to get down reliably), the body is more than worth it. A 3/3 with first strike that also wipes out all of their X/1 bodies (and dings any planeswalkers they control)…even if Goblin Chainwhirler eats a kill spell, you’re still getting a pretty good tempo swing, and the mere threat of having tokens or small bodies whirled out of existence has constrained some of the “go wide” strategies of the current Standard format. And, again, being a 3/3 first striker gives you wins against a lot of creatures.

Goblin Chainwhirler has been top dog since Dominaria came out, and it has stayed there even with the loss of Hazoret when Amonkhet block rotated (because red got a new set of toys it likes having around). So long as Dominaria lingers, the Chainwhirler will keep whirling, and its mix of impressive results, sheer power, and longevity make it a worthy inclusion as my pick for 2018’s best new card.

Constructed: 5
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 4.25
Multiplayer: 4.25
Commander: 4.5

See you next year!


This card was ranked #3 on my Top 11 list.

Over the course of this year, I took to referring to the state of Standard as “Goblin Chainwinter”. I don’t know that it was quite as bad as the Combo Winter resulting from Urza’s Saga or the Eldrazi Winter that Modern experienced after Oath of the Gatewatch, but the number of highly-played Standard creatures that the Chainwhirler is effective against is simply shocking. He devastates any strategy dependent on tokens or one-toughness utility creatures, on a creature that is maindeck worthy – and considering this is also a Ravnica season, that maindeck may end up being Gruul, Rakdos, and Jund as well as Hazoret Red. I’m a little surprised he hasn’t caused more people to reach for their dinosaurs with the enrage keyword, but no matter what response he prompts, the Chainwhirler is one of the most powerful and defining cards of 2018.

We’ll soon be in the midst of what 2019 will bring to the multiverse – I hope to see you all there, and all casting major spells!

Constructed: 5/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 4/5
EDH/Commander: 4/5

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