A few days back I‘ve been in the mood to have a look at some theme-oriented archetypes that do not find much play and I noticed that surprisingly many Skellige units have the “pirate” tag. I don’t know if these were there from the beginning or if they have been added later on, but it was enough to take a shot at deckbuilding and I came up with something that turned out to be pretty viable. After all, pirates are just bandits in boats, right? I’m not a super competitive player but this list allowed me to climb to pro rank and then gain some Skellige MMR afterwards, so it’s decent I guess.
Of course it shares some cards and plays with the common warrior archetype, but still plays a little different. It’s noteworthy that 15 cards in this deck count as pirates, so you usually have five to seven pirates in your starting hand. This makes the Tidecloak Hideaway a cheap and strong opener in round one. However you need another unit on the board to get these points out so here is how you start your game:
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. Herkja is an option here, Holger Blackhand is also okay, as his boost on the ship evens out the lost point from his 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. Keep in mind that you want to play at least one bronze warrior in round one for Harald later on.
If you won the first round, you can decide whether to bleed or not depending on the matchup. Your leader ability paired with Harald and Greatsword achieves full value in every round if you need it. You can use that for a short round 3 when you are in control of the game, or to escape getting bled when you are not.
Your removal tools are quite versatile. You have Morkvarg, Tyrggvi, Hammond and several midrange removals for all kinds of decks you can encounter. You can also use your leader ability without Greatsword for urgent removal, Harald will then just play Raider or Invader.
A few more words about the pirates and how to play them. 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. 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. Dimun Smuggler is a filler card honestly, but plays for six points with an armored unit. You can switch him if you like, but I’d argue that the pirate synergies justify his usage. Keep in mind that each pirate tag can be worth three points with the two Hideaways and Holger Blackhand, while also contributing to Hammonds bleeding. I guess the rest is pretty self-explanatory.
I was pleasantly surprised how well this deck works. If you do not like Reckless Flurry then you can also make some adjustments towards other leaders. Patricidal Fury for some bloodthirst would allow to use Dimun Pirate Captains and some other bloodthirst cards of choice, I guess. Thank you for reading and have fun playing this!