Our Budget Pirate Warrior 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 Pirate Warrior
Back in the day, Pirate Warrior used to be one of the most scary and dominating builds in the meta, but between a few Pirate nerfs followed by a Fiery War Axe nerf, it finally disappeared from the ladder, and got relegated to a Wild-only build. At the time when it was in Standard, however, it was very powerful – amazing synergies between weapons and Pirates lead to some very, very fast starts and Turn 5-6 lethals. The deck packed so much damage that it was hard to stop even if you teched against it.
And now the build has made a comeback in Descent of Dragons. And while I don’t think that it’s as oppressive as it used to be, it’s a solid meta deck thanks to all of the new additions, such as Ancharrr or Skybarge. The good news for budget players is that the deck can be built cheap. Bad news is that possibly its most important card – Ancharrr – is Legendary. However, don’t worry, because a cheaper version is still doing just fine, and you’ve got a very easy upgrade path to the full meta build.
Budget Pirate Warrior Mulligan Guide
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Sky Raider / Blazing Battlemage – Just like always, since you’re playing a fast deck, you want to open with a 1-drop. Those are your two best 1-drops. Sky Raider is a better of those two mostly because it adds something back to your hand, but also because it’s a Pirate and triggers…
- Parachute Brigand – Yep, I feel like Brigand is one of the reasons why this deck is so good. And unlike in Rogue build, where you keep it only with an activator, in this case you just keep it – period. You run so many Pirates that it will nearly always hit the board for free on T1 or T2, you need to be really unlucky for it to not happen. And, as you can imagine, 0 mana 2/2 in Aggro is very good.
- Bloodsail Raider – Your best standalone 2-drop, and while 2 mana 2/3 is not good (because you won’t have any weapon equipped yet if you drop it on curve), it’s definitely better than just Hero Powering, and Turn 2 is a weak spot for Warrior, so a 2/3 is still okay.
- Skybarge – While I’m not a big fan of always keeping 3-drops in such an aggressive deck, I feel like Skybarge should be an exception. Anyone who played Wild knows how powerful can Ship's Cannon be, and Skybarge is a Standard version of that card.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Fiery War Axe – Solid keep if you have a curve already, weapons are important in the deck, but getting T1/T2 plays is just your highest priority.
- Frothing Berserker – Keep only if you already have a good Turn 2 play. It’s a good T3 follow-up, but if you skip T2, it will probably die too easily without doing anything.
Budget Pirate Warrior Play Strategy
Pirate Warrior is a pretty straightforward Aggro deck, so there’s not much to talk about when it comes to strategy. Just like with any other Aggro deck, you really want to curve out, get a solid early game board, push in some damage with it, and then finish the game with all sorts of instant burn damage. In case of Pirate Warrior, those are mostly minions and Charge minions.
While the deck doesn’t have that many “Pirate” synergies, it just happens that most of the Pirates are good cards you would want to play in your deck. The ones it has, however, are really good. First of all – 0 mana 2/2 is something every single Aggro deck would like to play (Parachute Brigand), and while it ain’t a Patches, it’s still one of the better cards in your deck. When you face Pirate Warrior, you want to preserve as much health as possible, and if Pirate Warrior can drop a solid board for cheap in the early game, you won’t likely have a way to stop everything. The second Pirate synergy is also amazing – Skybarge. While it’s a bit weaker than Ship's Cannon (mostly because of mana cost – you’d rather have the same effect on a 2-drop), it’s still amazing. Against slower decks, it will be used to push a lot of face damage. It’s not uncommon to get in 6-8 damage just because of its effect if they can’t remove it immediately (and honestly, at 5 health it’s pretty difficult to do it on curve). Then, in faster matchups, while a bit random, it can also help you with board control. It’s basically like a Knife Juggler on steroids, but for Pirates.
Thanks to the weapons and Charge minions, Pirate Warrior can dish out a lot of damage from hand. Arcanite Reaper is an absolutely amazing way to close out games, especially if you combo it with Upgrade!. A 6/3 weapon is 18 damage over 3 turns. That’s like casting Fireball on your opponent every turn, 3 turns in a row, and all of that just for 6 mana. The downside is that weapons can get removed and blocked by Taunts. However, weapon removal is pretty rare in the current meta (mostly comes in a form of Zephrys the Great), so Taunts are mostly the only way that stands in your way. Well, in the mid game, Faceless Corruptor is a pretty good way to get through Taunts too – you can clear up to 8 health of Taunts and save the rest of your board or weapon charges that can go face instead. You also have Kor'kron Elite to do some instant damage – since it’s a minion, it might be even better than weapons, because if not removed it will deal damage repeatedly.
To put it simply, your strategy against slower decks is just to hit their face as hard as you can and try to kill them before their stabilize. Sometimes you need to think about playing around AoEs and stuff like that, but those matchups are really straightforward. Things get a bit more complicated against other fast decks, because if you just go face and lose board control as soon as Turn 3-4, they can snowball and still out damage you quite easily. That’s why in this case you might want to do some trading – ideally, you want to use your WEAPONS to control the board and your MINIONS to deal damage. Just be careful against other Pirate Warriors or Face Hunters – in this case sometimes it might be worth it to trade a minion and save some health, but it should be judged case by case.
Future Card Replacements for Pirate Warrior
This budget build of Pirate Warrior is already solid, there are some ways to make it better. While it might seem like you have to spend a lot of Dust to make this deck work, I wouldn’t say so. Out of the cards below, only Ancharrr is SUPER important – you absolutely want to get it in the first place. Other cards will improve the deck a bit, of course, but not to the same point Ancharr will.
- Ancharrr – This is the card you want to add in the first place, since it’s just so insane. You also want to keep it in mulligan every time. Not only it’s a 2/3 weapon, which you absolutely want in this deck, but it also draws THREE cards – all of that for just 3 mana. It’s crazy how strong it is. Adding it will bump your win rate significantly.
- 2x Livewire Lance – Another weapon, it’s just so much better than Fiery War Axe despite having 1 less Attack. You end up with 2 less damage in total, but get two Lackeys instead – maybe even more if you upgrade it.
- 2x Town Crier + 2x Restless Mummy – It’s a small Rush package. While Rush is not as good as Charge in a very aggressive build like that, it’s still solid to keep the board control or get through Taunts. And Town Crier is just so good that it’s difficult to pass up – 1 mana 1/2 that draws a card is very, very powerful. However, DO NOT add Mummy by itself – throw it in only alongside Town Crier.
- Leeroy Jenkins – Yeah, it’s no surprise that a very aggressive deck wants to run Leeroy. It gives your even more reach and is a good way to close out many games.
And here are your flex slots, remove some of those cards to fit the ones listed above: