Pirate Warrior is notorious for its extreme aggression, efficient face damage from weapons, tempo advantage gained by Patches the Pirate, and weapon buffs. Pirate Warrior's strategy is usually similar to Face Hunter and involves dealing as much face damage as possible as fast as possible, but sometimes, especially in mirror matches, it might be the optimal decision to kill enemy minions with weapons to maintain tempo advantage.
Pirate Warrior excels in early turns and usually defeats its opponent before turn 5.
The main weakness of Pirate Warrior is taunt and reaching late game. Taunts effectively block your minions and yourself from hitting the enemy hero, slowing you down or eventually costing you the game. At late game you will start falling off as this deck does not have card draw (unless you are in wild and Sir Finley Mrrgglton gives you Life Tap) and your opponents can play high-cost cards that can hinder your progress in killing your opponent. Because you have no card draw, if your opponent has a lot of health and you have nothing left, even if you have 30 health and armor it's game over.
Should your minions be removed early game, it is almost a certain loss. All of your minions have very low health and are susceptible to low-cost cards that deal damage to multiple minions.
Pirate Warrior has existed as an archetype through much of the game's history, rising in popularity in Whispers of the Old Gods thanks to the cards N'Zoth's First Mate and Bloodsail Cultist, although it truly rose to prominence in late 2016 with the release of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, and cards such as Patches the Pirate and Small-Time Buccaneer, which pushed the deck from being barely viable to overwhelmingly powerful. It was one of the premier aggro decks throughout much of the Year of the Kraken and into the Year of the Mammoth.
In September of 2017, Patch 188.8.131.5270 dropped, and with it, balance changes to various cards. Fiery War Axe was hit during this patch, increasing its cost from 2 to 3 mana. This was a very large hit for Pirate Warrior, which relied heavily on Fiery War Axe as one of its most powerful cards. The increase in cost of the weapon however has allowed Pirate Warrior to run Prince Keleseth, as its other 2-cost options were not as critical.
Pirate Warrior returned in Descent of Dragons with additional Pirate synergy cards and the legendary weapon Ancharrr, which covered Pirate Warrior's primary weakness of card draw. With Ancharr, Pirate Warrior can not only refill the fuel but also keep up the pressure. Pirate Warrior also uses Rush minions as replacements of Charge minions to gain tempo. Some versions of Pirate Warrior also hybridize with Galakrond Warrior, using his Invoke effect to add more damage and using Galakrond as a mid-game finisher, something that Pirate Warrior usually lacks.
The following cards are played in most or all versions of the deck:
The following cards are played more than occasionally, but not always:
Wild cards that fit well into this deck type:
|Common deck types|