Just arrived in Indonesia and managed to settle down and write an entry I’ve been tinkering throughout the 7 hour connecting flight.
If you have ways to play or make artifacts, and happen to play Rakdos, there is no reason not to play Unlicensed Disintegration. In my deck post and recent 8-1 run with Pia’s Revolution, this card by itself has pushed me ahead of my opponent in combat, damage race and stack tricks.
However, with the recent rise of GPG decks that reanimate Combat Celebrant and chain triple combat steps and kill the opponent brutally fast, this card will pop its head back in no time.
Abrade not only kills RBw Vehicles but it is now an auto-include in most mono red or Rx decks in the field and for very good reason – it has plenty of targets that it can take out and provides the flexibility without costing additional card slots.
Vampires, Dinosaurs and Merfolks have shown some 5-0 matches in MTGO leagues but Pirates seems to be falling behind the undefeated race so I wanted to revisit them and incorporate some lessons I learned from my Pia’s Revolution deck.
Pirates are quite explosive in the very early game with Daring Buccaneer that comes into play as a 2/2 no questions asked (as long as you can reveal a Pirate). It outsizes most 1-drops if we keep the 1-land/1-craeture equation constant. Rigging Runner on the other hand is not as explosive on its own but once you do get to swing in, a 1-mana 2/2 first strike is nothing to scoff at. It can kill anything that blocks it, and most 1-2 mana creatures it blocks (but we won’t be doing much blocking anyway). Bomat Courier on the other hand is not a pirate but the sheer card draw it gives us if left unanswered is one of the best ways we can refill our hand, plus it helps us trigger Unlicensed Disintegration’s bolt effect.
On the 2-drop, Kari Zev has proved she is a valuable piece of damage for decks that are not good at cluttering the board. Dire Fleet Poisoner is a great way to catch the opponent off-guard if he plans to attack in with his 4/3 Jadelight or some other huge creature. If needed, she can lend her deathtouch to your attacker allowing it to take down creatures too large for it to kill. Lastly, like Bomat, we have Scrapheap Scrounger to give us great recursion against decks that pack a ton of removal. Again it also helps trigger Unlicensed.
On the 3-drop we have Ruin Raider which gives us the gas to go the long game and keep the pressure. It is not super good against a mono red opponent because we need to conserve our life to win the race but against mid-range and control decks, Ruin Raider is the best 3-drop you can play with 1 and 2-drops already attacking prior. Captain Lannery is another way to pressure the opponent by going sideways from turn 3 onwards. Much like Ahn-Crop Crasher, Lannery is a disposable offensive creature that leaves a Treasure token behind for that much needed Unlicensed trigger or have the mana to crack Bomat if needed despite not having the untapped land.
I spoke about keeping the pressure from turn 3 onwards and Hazoret makes the perfect turn 4 play. She is indestructible and easy to enable since we won’t be having much cards left in hand anyway.
I didn’t play Dire Fleet Neckbreaker because he easily dies to most removal which negates the potential damage it provides on the swing. This card is also a dead draw if we top deck it after losing much of our creatures in combat or from sweepers. Hazoret on the other hand is never a bad top deck and she impacts the board immediately. She is also more difficult to answer and converts all our succeeding draws into Shocks.
The sideboard is specifically tuned to combat the uprising decks seen in the latest GP.
Deadeye Tracker is exceptional in keeping the graveyard clean. Against GPG decks that don’t have so many removal, playing this mid-game after they are done killing our threats will make short work of ensuring GPG won’t have anything to eternalize nor give Gate the chance to fetch. Vraska’s Contempt is there for Scarab Gods or opposing Hazorets that we don’t want to be bothered by.
Kitesail Freebooter would replace Dire Fleet Poisoner against control decks. It is perfect against UW/Bant Approach decks if you can pry their hands open and take out a ramp spell or a life gain spell. If they will spend one of their Baffling End or Cast Out for this then we saved our real threats from getting exiled.
I saw mono red decks playing Fiery Cannonade to deal with tokens which was among their worst match-ups. In our deck, it is essentially a one-sided sweeper since I don’t expect many players will play Pirates. Magma Spray is there for when we are on the draw so we can take out Giphoners, Servants, Pouncers, Legion Landing’s tokens that attempt to block our Bomat/Buccaneer/Runners early.
The deck relatively cheap at $113. Now that Challenger decks are out, getting yourself 2 copies of Hazoret is not going to be a problem either.
This would be my last pre-Dominaria deck tech for now and will focus on brewing with Dominaria cards in mind.
Talk to you guys again tomorrow night!