With the Hearthstone Wild Open running this month, it is the best time for you to try out the Wild format. Throughout the month we will be bringing you the easiest-to-understand guides to Wild’s most popular decks. Pirate Warrior has long been the deck people remember from back in the day. Today we will help you learn and play this classic in the current Wild meta.
Ship’s Cannon is one of the key tools Pirate Warrior has that wasn’t around when Patches was prevalent in the standard meta. The early game strength of Ship’s Cannon combined with N’Zoth’s First Mate and Patches the Pirate are what the current build of Pirate Warrior is based on.
Using the build with Ship’s Cannon over Prince Keleseth, which was more frequently played in Standard back in the day, allows you to use more of the two-mana tools such as Heroic Strike. Heroic Strike is fantastic to use as either a finisher or to push through large taunts your opponent has set up to stop you.
Another key difference with the Standard builds of Pirate Warrior is the use of Death’s Bite. Death’s Bite has historically been one of the best weapons in Hearthstone, only matched by the pre-nerf Fiery War Axe. The deck has many tools to increase the strength of Death’s Bite even further with cards like Upgrade! and Bloodsail Cultist. The damage of your weapons is a large part of your win condition, although you will often use the weapon to leverage a stronger position on the board.
The play style of Pirate Warrior is quite different than those of traditional aggressive decks. The aggressive/midrange decks such as Even Shaman or Odd Paladin will often be forced to play defense due to how fast the Pirate Warrior deck can be. The advantage of this is that you can often kill control decks like Reno Priest and Reno Warlock before turn 6, so their full-heal in Reno Jackson is quite often not available to play yet.
As mentioned before, your weapons are a tool to preserve your minions. The reason for this is that if your only source of damage is through your weapon, it is much easier to block it through taunt minions. Also, the risk of losing the game to a weapon removal card is much greater, as it is much more difficult to rebuild your minions compared to equipping a new weapon.
Pirate Warrior’s main weakness is Golakka Crawler, a card printed back in the day when Patcheses were all over the ladder that is continuing to be a pain for aggro players all over the world. While there are ways you can limit the impact a Golakka Crawler can have against you, it is almost never right to actively play around it unless you know your opponent is likely to have it ready to use. One way to “play around it” is by limiting the big Pirates you play early in the game if you have access to weapons or your Frothing Berserkers instead.
The first list is the traditional Pirate Warrior list. It hasn’t changed in over a year and is as optimized as it can get. The deck’s main strength is consistency since there is only one tech card with the Spellbreaker, a card that can find its use in nearly every game.
The second list is what I personally used to climb to the Legend ranks last season in preparation of the Hearthstone Wild Open 2019. The only change I made to the deck was to switch out the Southsea Deckhands for two copies of Saronite Taskmaster. This change improved my win rate by quite a lot. The turn 1 of Pirate Warrior has long been notoriously weak, and in the past, people have tried all types of techs to improve this.
From Fire Flies to Zombie Chows, nothing has been as impactful as Saronite Taskmaster. Since you give your opponent a 0/3 taunt when your Saronite Taskmaster dies, there were many situations I could set up for my Frothing Berserker to make up for the lost damage or even increase the amount of damage I could output over multiple turns.
If you got this far, we want to thank you for reading, and we hope you found some helpful information to get started in the Wild format. Next, check out this article for more information about how to qualify for the 2019 Hearthstone Wild Open! Also, make sure to check out our basics guide to Even Shaman.
I’m Arend Zijdenbos, from the Netherlands. Gamer for as long as I can remember. My current focus is further improving at esports journalism. Currently, I write for Daily Esports and PCInvasion. For more of me, find me on twitter @Azijdenbos.