Welcome everybody! Gwent has recently received a patch that introduced many changes to the pirate archetype and also introduced new cards in Eist Tuirseach and Crach an Craite, so this is a great opportunity to revisit the pirate deck that I had published back in October/November 2020. Credits also go to our bossman KingDenpai, who came up with the first build of this updated list that I later adjusted a bit further.
I’ll just start off by describing the gameplan once more. The general procedure hasn’t changed much so some of the upcoming segments are just pasted from the last guide. We have lots of pirates in this list, a total of 13. Our starting hand should contain lots of those, so that the Tidecloak Hideaway brings cheap and big tempo to the first round. This can mean that mulliganing strong warrior cards in the beginning can be the right decision, since Blood Eagle serves a s a tutor for those. You then start off by boosting units with the Hideaways, depending on the coinflip, you go like this:
Blue Coin: The Lamp Djinn gives you a body to boost, so you can play the Hideaway right from your hand. The second Hideaway can then boost the first one on your next turn.
Red Coin: If you draw accordingly, you can play Vabjorn for Raiding Fleet, which exclusively plays Hideaway. Vabjorn is then your boost target. Otherwise you need to play another unit first. Crach is a good proactive play, as the armor can pay off in immediate removal value or protect cards like Raiders or Holger. Speaking of Holger, he is also a good play, since his boost on the ship evens out the lost point from the pirate tag.
Your round one kinda relies on finding the Hideaways, but with Raiding Fleet, Vabjorn and sometimes Blood Eagle on Vabjorn, this has turned out to be quite consistent. Now with Crach in the game, there’s sometimes the consideration to start off differently, but keep in mind that the ships are losing their power if you play too many pirates first.
It’s worth investing in taking the first round, since people will see Blaze of Glory and expect Eist, who they might want to bleed out. Good thing that your round 1 tempo will serve you well in this. I tend to bleed round 2 if I took round 1, but that depends on the matchup. In order to have Eist going off uninterruptible, you need your leader ability and Bloodthirst 2. The latter can be a bit clunky in a short round 3. So depending on the point gap by the end of the bleed, a late round 2 Eist can be the right choice and very devastating. The BoG-target is the Greatsword, alternatively a 7-pointer. If you don’t have the bloodthirst available for Eist, the Dimun Pirate can discard something in the next turn. Provided that Eist sticks and no ship is on the board.
A few more words about the pirate package and how to play it. Terror of the Seas is a seven for seven on itself, but Boatbuilders can give four armor to that ship immediately, making that ship a six point removal. Of course you can go even further by playing more pirates if you are feeling greedy. The interaction between Crach and the Terror is also pretty interesting. There’s the scenario where the armor handbuff just straightup pays off, but you can also go and play the Terror next to Crach, trading the 4 armor on him for removal while keeping the order ability available.
Dimun Pirates are solid points, but risky if no ship is on the board. This is no issue in round one when you open with the Hideaways, but in later rounds you should either have Terror of the Seas on the field or done with all your tutors so that random discards do not matter anymore. That is unless you want this exact interaction with Eist of course. Dimun Smuggler is a relatively safe 8 for 5 and a bloodthirst enabler, but you need a ship on the board for him to be good. So if you played both Hideaways in round 1, try to save the Terror for later or mulligan the smugglers away. The Axe-wielder is good with crach, but a filler otherwise. Keep in mind that the Axe-wielder will just die here if the lowest power unit of the opponent is 6 or stronger, meaning that it can’t be brought down to 3 or less power.
Finally let’s have a look at removal power in general: We have a lot of midrange damage and pings, together with Morkvarg, Crach and Blaze of Glory. There’s also a lock in Djenge with a solid body, though he is a flex slot. A weak spot is the lack of purify though, so a defender can sometimes put you in a difficult situation. The best solution to solve that would be to bring back Hammond to the list, possibly for Skjordal. There’s also the choice between Morkvarg and Tyrggvi, depending on what the meta is offering. While Morkvarg recently lost his Warrior tag, Tyrggvi still has it and thus has an advantage in consistency.
I really enjoyed going back to this archetype and the new cards are fun to play. The new interactions give pirates a stronger identity compared to the warriors that took a stronger part in the previous list. Going on from here, it can be considered to break devotion maybe, as Round 3 Harald trades off a bit. Right now I am happy with this deck though and I hope you enjoy it as well. Thank you for reading and have fun!