Deck of the Week – Pirate Warrior
Welcome to EndBoss! As this is my first article for the site (and, in fact, the first article period for the site), please allow me to introduce myself.
Those of you who have played Magic the Gathering in Ontario may know me. I am a long time competitive Magic player who converted to Hearthstone last year. My gamertag comes from my Magic days. I was dubbed the “End Boss of Ontario Magic” years ago due to my stellar record of 21 Pro Tour Qualifier top 8’s (before PPTQ’s were a thing) with a grand total of zero victories, with many of those finishes being finals losses. As such, I was often the last person that a player would have to beat in order to qualify for the pro tour (ie. Before they beat the game).
Now, don’t feel too bad for me, I did get to play on the Pro Tour (qualifying through the GP circuit), and did manage to win some noteworthy tournaments (Ontario Invitational and Regionals). It really was just those damned PTQ’s that I didn’t seem to be able to win.
Over the past year, I have moved pretty smoothly from Magic into Hearthstone, reaching level 3 on ladder in my second month, and achieving a 12 win arena run shortly thereafter. I haven’t had enough time to make a legend run, yet (I am a lawyer by day), but I usually push through to rank 5 each month to get my golden epic. While I am sure I will try my hand at tournament play at some point, right now, I am more focussed on trying to build the sort of Toronto Hearthstone community that Magic has enjoyed for years: a strong social tournament and event scene. We are in the planning stages of some events we are going to be running later in the summer, so sign up for our mailing list if you are in the Toronto area and are interested in playing in some live Hearthstone tournaments. In the meantime, if you enjoy Counterstrike, our first even will be a viewing event for the ELeague Championship Match on July 30th, 2016 (check out the event page for details).
*promotional tangent over*
In Magic, I was always known for playing slightly (or very) off the radar decks to strong tournament finishes. I used to also write strategy articles for the now defunct site Brainburst.com, on my concoctions. I have always hated playing mirror matches, and have always enjoyed having the element of surprise on my side, and I have taken this tendency along with me to Hearthstone.
Every Wednesday, I will be posting a new article with my “Deck of the Week”. Some of these will be my own creations, and some will be decks that have achieved success in the hands of others, but they will all be slightly (or very) off the radar, while still being competitive (and usually fun).
So, without further ado, let’s get on with it!
If you are a Johnny Depp fan and watched the recent Americas Spring Preliminaries then you were undoubtedly cheering on Nostam and his awesome Pirate Warrior deck.
This list is blisteringly fast, and can outrace pretty much any deck in the environment, including the other aggro decks. While this deck is a lot of fun and strong on ladder, it excels even more in a tournament environment where you have some control over your matchups, through bannings and class selection. The deck has some matchups where it just feels totally unbeatable, and some matchups where all the play skill in the world won’t help you.
Allow me to present to you Michael Bolton’s favorite deck: Pirate Warrior!
This deck’s strength is its speed. In a format full of slow decks, or decks that require time to setup their game plan, this deck is a great choice. Rogue, in particular, has a lot of trouble with this list, because they don’t have a lot of ways to defend against opposing weapons.
In my matches against the typical aggro decks of the format (Shaman and Zoolock) the deck has felt very favoured. It generally goldfishes faster than either of those lists, and neither one of them has a lot of defensive cards (although Voidwalker and Defender of Argus can both be issues).
A lot of this deck’s ability to maintain pressure and finish off opponents comes from its weapons and charge minions. As such, it has a lot of trouble with decks that have strong taunt minions. The most miserable matchup, from my experience, is Control Warrior or Tempo Warrior, which have Bloodhoof Brave, cheap removal, and occasionally Fierce Monkey and Harrison Jones. The Warrior hero power and Armorsmith also present difficult challenges from Tempo Warrior builds because this deck is great at dealing 30 damage, but not nearly as good at dealing 35 or 40.
C’Thun Druid can present this deck with a lot of problems, due to its ability to present a chain of taunt threats that force you to use your damage on something that is not your opponent’s face. Renolock also tends to feel rather miserable, if your opponent manages to draw his key defensive cards (Reno Jackson, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Harrison Jones, Refreshment Vendor, Defender of Argus, etc). Getting hit with Reno while playing this list is about as painful as watching Michael Bolton dressed up as Erin Brockovich (again).
Play and Mulligan Advice
This list relies on its early game, so you need to aggressively mulligan into early threats. If you are missing something proactive to play on either your first or second turn, you can pretty safely mulligan anything that costs 3 or more to try to get it. Your chances of winning drop pretty significantly if you hiccup with your curve in the first couple of turns.
It is also more important than usual to maximize your damage output with this deck. Like I mention above, the deck is very good at dealing 30, but not great at dealing 35 or 40, so your margin of error can often be low. One important aspect of this is using your Upgrades as efficiently as you can. You almost never want to Upgrade to give yourself a 1/3 weapon, because then the card is only worth 3 damage. If you, however, upgrade a Fiery War Axe, the upgrade is worth 6 damage (one extra hit, worth 4, and one extra damage on each hit it already has), and on an Arcanite Reaper, the upgrade is worth 7 extra damage. Even on a Rusty Hook (off a N’Zoth’s First Mate), the upgrade is worth 5 extra damage.
One of the nice things about this list is that there aren’t actually a lot of legendaries in it, and the ones that are in it aren’t necessary. There really isn’t a card that directly does the job that Sir Finley does, but Abusive Sergeant or Worgen Infiltrator are reasonable substitutions to fill the curve. Leeroy is just a big source of burst damage, and can reasonably be replaced with Wolfrider or Reckless Rocketeer.
Note: While Sky Cap’n Kragg looks like he should be a good addition, you should be aware that you rarely have more than 2 pirates on the board at a time. He is a fine substitution if you happen to have him instead of Leeroy (presumably because you cracked one in a pack, because otherwise that would be a terrible crafting pick), but otherwise, he is often going to be a little slow. He often won’t come down before turn 6 or 7, as your opponent will likely be actively working to keep your board presence small.
I hope you guys enjoy this list. Tune in next Wednesday, and each following one, for a new list.