Our Budget Aggro Pirate Rogue deck list guide for the Descent of Dragons expansion will teach you how to play this budget list. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Aggro Pirate Rogue
First things first – it’s hard to draw the line between Aggro and Tempo Rogue. One could even say that they’re two different names for the same archetype. However, the way I differentiate them is that Aggro build is more about hitting face no matter what and Tempo deck is more about controlling the board until they can hit face easily. In that way, this build is more of an Aggro one – it’s faster and you want to kill your opponent as quickly as possible. With the help of Pirates, of course. Rogue and Pirates were always going hand in hand, and while the class rarely has a full, dedicated Pirate build, it used some of them in nearly every meta.
Rogue is a very interesting class in Descent of Dragons. While players have tried many strategies, the most successful ones all depend on the Necrium Apothecary. Sadly, since it’s an Epic, Apothecary builds can’t be built within our budget deck rules. I will, however, propose a budget Deathrattle Rogue build with 2x Apothecary at the bottom – while its power level will be comparable to this one, it will have a much greater upgradeability.
Budget Aggro Pirate Rogue Mulligan Guide
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Bloodsail Flybooter / Pharaoh Cat – You really want to open with a 1-drop since you’re playing an aggressive deck. Both of them are solid and quite similar (also in terms of power level) – small body that adds some other minions to your hand. Flybooter is a better keep if you also have Parachute Brigand in your hand.
- EVIL Miscreant – One of the better cards in your deck. In a faster deck like this, getting two Lackeys is almost just as good as drawing two cards, and who wouldn’t play 3 mana 1/4 that draws two cards? The Lackey pool got a bit worse with Draconic Lackey (it’s not like it’s bad, but it’s much slower compared to other builds).
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Backstab – Backstab was always bread and butter of faster Rogue builds. It’s the ultimate tempo card – for no mana at all, you can deal with a threat on board. The “undamaged” limitation doesn’t matter most of the time, making it a great early game removal. However, keep it only against faster decks, because you don’t really need an early removal vs slow builds and it might not even kill anything. Yes, it helps with triggering Combo, but it’s not worth it.
- Parachute Brigand – Keep with a 1-drop Pirate. The best opener is T1 Flybooter with Brigand in hand, BUT you can also keep Southsea Deckhand + Brigand combo even though you normally don’t want to keep Deckhand.
- SI:7 Agent – Keep on Coin, against aggressive decks. Killing something and dropping a 3/3 body on board works amazingly well when your opponent is trying to develop early.
Budget Aggro Pirate Rogue Play Strategy
Aggro Pirate Rogue is, like the name suggests, an Aggro deck. It means that your goal will be to kill your opponent as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, however, that it’s not a face deck like Hunter. In case of Hunter, you can lose the board control while your opponent is still at 15 health and then snatch a win. This is not likely the case here. While you do have some burn from hand, your Hero Power is much “slower” burn damage (1 dmg per turn as opposed to 2) and you don’t have nearly as many Charge minions, spells that can hit face etc. While against slower decks you will still be able to ignore the board most of the time (unless they throw a Taunt in your way), against faster decks the first few turns will be a big fight for board control. Cards like Backstab or SI:7 Agent are great for that, since they’re both high tempo – you clear something at no cost, or clear something while leaving a 3/3 body behind. Don’t be afraid to use your own health as a resource, even against decks like Face Hunter. Yes, it hurts to take damage, but it will probably save you more damage in the long run (because you clear a minion) and save your own minions (which in turn lets you race them).
If you’re going first, 90% of time your Turn 2 play will be Hero Power. I know that it might feel weird, but Rogue’s Hero Power is actually a pretty solid tool. You pay some mana upfront to have a nice tempo tool later. You can use it to straight up clear a 1 health minion, or clear a bigger one with the help of your minions or other removals. And in the worst case scenario, you will deal If you’re going second, however, don’t be afraid to use Coin on T2. You have multiple good T3 plays and three of them are Combo cards. The best play is most likely Coin + EVIL Miscreant. The card not only drops something on the board, but gives you some nice extra options for upcoming turns (depending on which Lackeys you’ve got). Coin + SI is good against faster decks where you can hit something immediately (because getting in 2 face damage so early is irrelevant).
Sap is a very valuable tool, but you have to use it correctly. It’s also meta-dependent, it’s much stronger against slow builds than against Aggro. I know that a lot of new players don’t like this card. After all – your opponent can just play the minion again next turn, right? That’s true, but it means that you’ve got a whole extra turn of minion damage, and your opponent has lost valuable mana when he’s already behind on tempo. Sapping a big minion without Taunt, Rush or something like that is often as good as killing it. Most of the time, your opponent will be under pressure and won’t be able to replay it until the game is over (or until he stabilizes completely, but then the game is also technically over). Try to avoid sapping minions with Rush, ESPECIALLY Zilliax. Your opponent might not even feel your Sap in that case, because he just drops it and kills another of your minions while healing himself. Sap Zilliax only when you can get through for lethal – otherwise try to just kill it (preferably with Spells or Battlecries). You can also use Sap to get rid of a Taunt in your way, but only if you can’t deal with it easily. If it’s a small, cheap Taunt then there’s no point Sapping unless you can kill your opponent right away. So, long story short, use Sap to make things awkward for the opponent and “remove” slow minions completely, or to get through a Taunt – the latter is especially preferable if you also happen to have lethal.
The thing that makes this deck so quick is Pirate Package. I really, really like Parachute Brigand and what it offers in the early game. If you open with a T1 Pirate, then you’ve got yourself a 0 mana 2/2 on top of that. That’s a great tempo move – against faster decks it lets you gain control of the board and hopefully not lose it by the time you get to the mid game, and against slower decks it might often be 4-6 damage for free, because they won’t likely be able to kill it right away (and definitely shouldn’t be able to kill both 2/2 and the other Pirate you triggered it with). Another high tempo Pirate is Dread Corsair, although that card gets better if you can also afford putting in Waggle Pick to have another weapon. You don’t really want to play it for full mana cost, but even with the Hero Power it will be a 3 mana 3/3 Taunt. It’s still not good, but it’s sort of passable. Most of the time you want to drop it for 1 mana (Hero Power + Deadly Poison) or for 0 mana (Hooked Scimitar).
A new addition to the deck is Faceless Corruptor – it’s still okay after the nerfs, but I would probably remove it from the full-fledged list. Still, in a budget version it does what its supposed to do – helps you control the board vs faster deck, or maybe get through a Taunt vs slower decks, while only sacrificing a small minion. Between 1/1’s from Flybooter, Lackeys, 1/2 Pharaoh cat etc. you have a bunch of minions that you don’t mind turning into a 4/4, so it shouldn’t be hard to play it on curve, or at least on Turn 6.
Future Card Replacements for Aggro Pirate Rogue
Like I’ve mentioned at the beginning, you CAN improve Aggro Pirate Warrior, but I would do it only if you already had some of the cards or manage to open them in the packs. That’s because this build is a dead end – it doesn’t evolve into any proper meta deck. Still, here’s a list of potential upgrades you can do:
- Edwin VanCleef – It’s just a good Rogue card no matter how you look at it. You can very easily make it a 3 mana 4/4, and that’s just the beginning – early game 6/6’s or 8/8’s are pretty common and can carry the entire game.
- Waggle Pick – Another weapon option, 8 damage for 4 mana is not something you can take lightly. It’s also another good activator for Dread Corsair – T4 Pick + Corsair is a really solid play.
- Leeroy Jenkins – It’s a great finisher in lots of decks, including this one.
- Captain Greenskin – Turning your 4/1 weapons (because you probably attacked with it once) into a 5/2 weapon is a big deal – it adds A LOT of damage. But even playing with just a 1/2 Dagger equipped turns it into a 2/3 and it’s not a bad deal.
- Myra's Unstable Element – A very important card, because it gives you a massive hand refill. Yes, you get into the fatigue, but if you’re in topdeck mode and you can’t win with your current board, then you probably won’t win the game at all unless you get extremely lucky. Myra’s gives you a few more turns worth of plays and increases your chance to finish the game significantly.
And here are the cards you can replace to find space for the ones listed above:
- Deadly Poison
- Cold Blood
- Sap (it’s great, but the current meta is pretty fast – if it slows down, then don’t replace it)
- Faceless Corruptor
If you can, however, afford to craft or you already have 2x Necrium Apothecary, here’s an alternative build you can try:
You might ask why it runs Mechanical Whelp and not Anubisath Warbringer – that’s because Whelp version is just a bit more consistent, because you can still win if you don’t get your Apothecary. And in case of Anubisath, you rely too much on getting Apothecary, otherwise it will be very, very difficult to win. However, if you want to try out Anubisath version instead, replace 2x Whelp with Anubisath and add a few small minions like Stonetusk Boar, Southsea Deckhand, Vicious Scalehide or even Wisp.