Midrange Hunter continues its reign of terror on the Hearthstone meta. However, there is a deck that is underutilized and performs quite well against Hunter. Pirate Rogue is a tempo oriented deck that’s able to dish out a lot of damage through weapon attacks and mid-sized minions.
The core of this deck is Raiding Party paired with Myra’s Unstable Element. These two cards provide unmatched card draw in Rogue that no other class has. When combined with Preparation, the Rogue has to sacrifice little to nothing in terms of tempo.
Hench-Clan Thugs give Rogue that extra kick when attacking often with their weapon. These are also protected by Dread Corsairs which cost only one mana after equipping Shadowblade. Captain Greenskin also provides a lot of tempo and fire power on turn five by giving your Shadowblade an additional 4 damage or more.
Fa’ldorei Strider makes your Myra’s turn very strong when the spiders come on the board. Having all of the burn in your deck on top of a board of 4/4 spiders can win most games. In the slower match ups, having Augmented Elekk or Lab Recruiter can help with getting more spiders on the board, or just by having more cards against fatigue.
Against the slower decks, sometimes just two Saps isn’t enough. In that case, switching out the SI:7 Agents for Vilespine Slayers can help get rid of those minions. Odd Paladin is a difficult match up for Pirate Rogue. SI:7 Agents can be changed out for Fan of Knives for that match up.
Mulligan and Matchups
The mulligan for Pirate Rogue is usually quite easy. Raiding Party and Myra’s Unstable Element are really the only cards you are looking for. Raiding Party into Shadowblade plus a Dread Corsair and another minion all on the same turn provide a huge tempo shift.
The deck lacks any card draw outside of these three cards. Sometimes it might look attractive to keep Preparation since it makes Raiding Party zero mana. However, Prep should only be kept when you see Raiding Party or Myra’s in hand.
It’s very hard to tell what your opponent could be playing on ladder, but much easier to do in competitive formats. Fire Fly can be a good keep against Odd Paladins and other aggressive decks. Hench-Clan Thug is also a decent card when going first since you can weapon on two into Thug on three.
Pirate Rogue is great against decks that run Carnivorous Cubes, Deathrattles, and Taunts because of Sap. It prevents them from receiving value off the Deathrattle effect and ruins their tempo. Sap should only be used on taunts if you have lethal or can follow up with lethal if they decide to play the same minion again.
Against Midrange Hunter it is important to stay ahead on board. Fire Fly can contest the one drops of hunter, while SI:7 Agents paired with Backstab can deal with Animal Companion and Crackling Razormaw. Usually a 4/4 can stick against Hunter because Flanking Strike can only deal three damage.
How to Play
Knowing when to use a weapon charge can be really important with this deck. Shadowblade is another three mana you don’t want to have to spend if you use up your first Shadowblade. Often times using the weapon to protect your minions results in higher value of the weapon. Having two Deadly Poisons and Captain Greenskin in the deck add an additional 10 or more damage when used properly.
Ensuring that you have played a Fal’dorei Strider early on is important for when Myra’s Unstable Element does finally come down. Fal’dorei Strider itself is a high value card, as a 4/4 on turn four is difficult to deal with for most decks.
If you have Preparation and Raiding Party, there is no reason to play it on turn one. You can wait for turn two or three because it will still cost zero mana to play. The primary reason for holding back is that it provides too much information on your hand to the opponent. If you wait they may be less likely to play around the fact that you are Pirate Rogue on ladder, and might not play a three health minion if you have Shadowblade.
Another important card to hold onto in some situations is Dread Corsair. When Shadowblade is in its vanilla form, Dread Corsair only costs one mana. With any Deadly Posion or Captain Greenskin buff it costs zero. Waiting to use Dread Corsair to protect other minions can help produce more minion damage over time.
This deck is quite strong when played properly. Given that Midrange Hunter still makes up a majority of the meta, and Pirate Rogue has a definitive edge on it, giving this deck a go could lead to many wins.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.