Mean Streets of Gadgetzan brought forward three new factions to the game but the army of Pirates in the set outshines them all and they’ve led to the rise of some really aggressive and effective decks in the meta. The ‘Pirate package’ of Small-Time Buccaneer, Patches the Pirate and a handful of other Pirates are seen in Rogue, Shaman and Warrior decklists and each deck has its own nuances. Two of the most powerful decks in the meta right now include Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman. Aggro Shaman comes in two variants – Jade and Pirate; and we will be looking at a unique variant of the deck for this matchup analysis that combines both of these flavors of Aggro Shaman.

Aggro Shaman is quite favored against Pirate Warrior if played right due to the efficient removals you have access to and the ability to setup cheap taunts to prevent face damage. The deck is also more efficient at dominating on board and getting sustained damage out every turn. It’s not all about going face and finishing off your opponent they can finish you, there are various considerations that need to be made in the matchup and here are some tips to help you ace the matchup.

Mulligans


High Priority

SUPERJJ’S AGGRO JADE SHAMAN
Class Cards (23)
6000
2
Lightning Bolt
1
2
Spirit Claws
1
2
Tunnel Trogg
1
2
Jade Claws
2
2
Maelstrom Portal
2
2
Totem Golem
2
2
Flametongue Totem
2
2
Feral Spirit
3
2
Lava Burst
3
2
Flamewreathed Faceless
4
2
Jade Lightning
4
Aya Blackpaw
6
Neutral Cards (7)
Patches the Pirate
1
Sir Finley Mrrgglton
1
2
Small-time Buccaneer
1
2
Southsea Deckhand
1
Bloodmage Thalnos
2
View Deck
  • Totem Golem
  • Small-time Buccaneer
    (One is enough)
  • Southsea Deckhand
  • Spirit Claws
  • Tunnel Trogg

Medium Priority

  • Flametongue Totem
    (with turn 1 play)
  • Feral Spirit
    (with good curve)
  • Jade Claws
    (with turn 1 play)

Tips and Strategies


  • While Feral Spirit
    might be one of the strongest early game plays that you have, there is merit to holding on to the card and playing it on turn 4 or 5 to protect yourself against Arcanite Reaper. Pirate Warrior is heavy on early game minions but their mid game (Turn 5 onwards) is not particularly minion-heavy. Going this route can potentially buy you a lot of extra HP and help you beat them down faster.
  • In a lot of matchups coining out Totem Golem without any follow-up is not something you’d want to do but it does not hold true for games against Pirate Warrior. Regardless of what card your opponent plays, you will be able to counter it if you coin out Totem Golem on turn one and go two for one every single time.
  • This matchup is won not by being the aggressor, but by controlling the board. You have a lot of spells and cheap minions to stall out the early turns and beyond that you will be the one that dominates on board. Because of this your hero power is extremely valuable and if they choose to leave up your totems then they will be forced to deal with taunt totems every single turn, allowing you to dominate on board and push in repetitive damage.
    SURRENDER’S AGGRO PIRATE WARRIOR
    Class Cards (18)
    4920
    2
    N’Zoth’s First Mate
    1
    2
    Upgrade!
    1
    2
    Fiery War Axe
    2
    2
    Heroic Strike
    2
    2
    Bloodsail Cultist
    3
    2
    Frothing Berserker
    3
    2
    Kor’kron Elite
    4
    2
    Mortal Strike
    4
    2
    Arcanite Reaper
    5
    Neutral Cards (12)
    Patches the Pirate
    1
    Sir Finley Mrrgglton
    1
    2
    Small-time Buccaneer
    1
    2
    Southsea Deckhand
    1
    2
    Bloodsail Raider
    2
    Southsea Captain
    3
    2
    Dread Corsair
    4
    Leeroy Jenkins
    5
    View Deck
  • One of the most common advice that people give is you should try to avoid getting your opponent low enough to activate their Mortal Strike for full damage. It is sound advice and you should follow it and try to set up two turn lethals. However, you should also consider the fact that they can play cheap weapons and hit themselves into your minions for activating Mortal Strike and keeping such scenarios your minds when making your plays is essential as well. There are games I’ve had where my opponents tried to play around Mortal Strike very poorly and all I had to do was damage myself using cheap weapons and it led to lethal damage for me.
  • Finley is more flexible in this matchup because you can get anti-aggro hero powers that Warrior and Priest have access to. Even though they are quite reactive, they can help you sustain your life total for an extended period of time. This matchup is more about board control than aggression and even if you choose to draw out the game for a lot of turns, it will work better than going for a very aggressive approach. Minions like Flamewreathed Faceless
    are going to smash your opponent’s face quite hard and they do not have efficient removals to deal with your board state if it gets big enough.
  • Managing your removal is also one of the key factors that affect the matchup. Since you have just 2 AoE spells, you need to use them efficiently. Getting spell power damage on your Maelstrom Portal can help you wipe out early boards of any Pirate deck. Clearing out pirates before they get value out of Bloodsail Cultist
    is a must. Sometimes you will not be able to prevent it but negating a weapon buff goes a long way in preventing face damage or simply saving your own minions.
  • Frothing Berserker
    is a card that can solo carry games for decks if left unchecked and you should avoid letting that happen at all costs. You do not want to get wiped out because of one minion that snowballs if left unchecked and deal with the minion as soon as it is dropped.

Hopefully you find the tips useful and they help you out in the matchup. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.