What is Goyf Sligh? Goyf Sligh is a pretty typical RG Beats deck: Cheap, efficient creatures backed up by burn. It tries to play powerful creatures during the first few turns of the game, and then burn its opponent’s creatures to clear the path of blockers. Burn can also be used to finish the game when your attacks are stalled. Decks like Goyf Sligh have been around for a long time, but they really took off when Tarmogoyf was printed. Not only is it very efficient, even in the early game, but it gives the deck a more powerful late game, something it desperately needed.
How do I play Goyf Sligh? -You usually want to start off with a creature on turn 1. However, exceptions can be made, the most common being your opponent playing Goblin Lackey . -You are a Sligh deck. Use all of your mana every turn, and take advantage of this deck’s low curve. -Sometimes, you will have to block. Normally, you don’t want to, but don’t be afraid to block if the situation calls for it. You have plenty of reach. -Using 3-damage burn spells to kill X/1s is perfectly acceptable. It may seem like a waste, but you really want your creatures to be able to connect every turn.
Stomping Ground - Budget replacements for Taiga, and they can be run in addition to Taiga so you have more lands that make both red and green mana. Basics- These are really useful against cards like Wasteland and Back to Basics . Barbarian Ring - Makes mana and damages your opponent, but you can’t sacrifice it to Fireblast and the damage it deals to you is a liability against aggro.
The skeleton gives us a good list of creatures that we should play, but you will usually want more than that. Other creature choicesShow
Quirion Dryad - Reliant on you playing lots of spells, but it can grow big very quickly and is a threat that must be dealt with. Kird Ape - A 2/3 for is very efficient, but it doesn’t have any useful abilities. Skyshroud Elite - Essentially a Kird Ape, though a few decks don’t play nonbasics. Figure of Destiny - It is rather unimpressive when it first comes into play, but it can grow big very quickly. Wild Mongrel - Isn’t used very much, as Goyf is simply better, but Mongrel is a very solid budget replacement for Goyf. Ashenmoor Gouger - Has a very efficient body for its cost, and it can’t be killed by most burn spells, which is a plus in a metagame with a lot of decks using burn. Countryside Crusher - 3 mana is a little expensive for this deck, but Crusher has an efficient body and filters through your land to find business spells. Boggart Ram-Gang - Not overly efficient, but Haste is very good and the Wither can help against creatures like Tarmogoyf that can't be killed with one burn spell. Keldon Marauders - Doesn’t stick around for very long, but it often does 5 damage for only 2 mana. Tin Street Hooligan - It isn’t overly efficient, but its ability can be very useful in certain metagames.
After you have your creatures and lands settled, the rest of your deck will be burn spells, with the exception of Rancor and possibly Umezawa’s Jitte in a few creature-heavy lists.
Magma Jet - It isn’t very efficient, but the scry ability is invaluable, saving you from bad topdecks that would otherwise lose you the game. Rift Bolt - It takes a turn to be effective, but 3 damage for 1 mana will always be good. Incinerate - Efficient damage to mana ratio, and the anti-regeneration clause will occasionally be beneficial. Lava Dart - Normally isn’t very good, but it does have strong synergy with Quirion Dryad . Seal of Fire - Comes down early to save you mana later in the game, and pumps Goyf in a way that you wouldn’t normally be able to do. 2 Damage for 1 mana isn’t all that great, though.
Ichorid Game 1 is unfavorable, but it isn’t impossible to win. Try to use Mogg Fanatic to remove their Bridge from Below s and use Tarmogoyf and your other creatures and burn to put them on a fast clock. If you can remove their Bridges, they will have to win with recurring Ichorid s. After sideboarding, you get Tormod’s Crypt , which can make the game a lot easier to win. Unfortunately, they will probably predict this and name Crypt with Pithing Needle . Sometimes, they will have Ancestor’s Chosen in their sideboard, so they can get a big life cushion and win easily with recurring Ichorid s.
Storm Combo This matchup is pretty unfavorable. They are a lot faster than you, and you don’t really have any relevant disruption Game 1. After sideboarding, though, you get Pyrostatic Pillar .
The new Ad Nauseam decks are actually somewhat better for you than TES and other combo decks, as you can deal quite a bit of damage quickly to make Ad Nauseam less effective and they can't draw as many cards as normal for fear of burn ending the game right there. Sadly, they do play Orim's Chant and Duress maindeck, so you won't usually be able to do anything on the turn that they go off.
Dreadstill This is not a good matchup. You don’t really have an answer for a fast Phyrexian Dreadnought . They have plenty of counters and removal to handle your important cards, and can race you a fair amount of the time. Your best chance is to hope that they have a disruption-light hand and go for the quick win with Tarmogoyf and Price of Progress . After sideboarding, you get Krosan Grip to deal with Dreadnoughts, and Red Elemental Blast /Pyroblast to deal with their Blue spells. Unfortunately, they get access to Chill , which slows you to a crawl if it stays on the board.
Threshold Slightly unfavorable to favorable, depending on the variant. As always, watch out for the CounterTop lock; you don’t usually have an answer for it. Your creatures are just as big as or bigger than Nimble Mongoose. Most of the time, you can simply race Thresh. Generally, you will beat them unless they lock up the board with Goyf and set up the CounterTop lock or just get the nuts hand.
Team America Favorable, but you have to play smart. Don’t keep a hand that is vulnerable to Wasteland , Stifle , and Sinkhole , especially if you are on the draw. Your main problem is them slowing you down with their disruption and then dropping Tarmogoyf or Tombstalker . I find that this matchup is very good if you are on the play, but significantly worse if you go second.
Merfolk Generally in your favor. Your creatures are better than theirs and you have plenty of burn for their Lords. They do play a small amount of mana disruption in Stifle and Wasteland , so don’t keep hands with really shaky mana. In this matchup, you can usually win simply by racing. They do have Aether Vial + Standstill , but they have to get rid of your threats first, which is typically difficult for them to do.
Survival There are a lot of different Survival variants out there, so it’s hard to give highly accurate matchup information. However, Goyf Sligh is usually favored here. They are generally slow out of the gates, so you can get in lots of damage early and put them in easy burn range. Killing their mana producers like Birds of Paradise and various Elves is often a good idea, as it will take them even longer to set up their engine.
Vial Affinity This generally comes down to a race, and they are a little faster than you. They also have several creatures that your burn can’t hit (Myr Enforcer , Arcbound Ravager , Master of Etherium ). If you can stop their attack, you may be able to simply burn them out. Fortunately, this gets significantly better after sideboarding. You get Krosan Grip , some form of artifact hate, and Price of Progress (it you weren’t playing it maindeck).