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pIRATE! The deck

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Every year Wizards of the Coast comes up with some fantastic faux product for April Fool's Day. Last year Wizards made some big waves with Duel Decks: Pirates vs. Ninjas. I remember walking in to Armada games that Friday and being greeted by the news that "WotC is making a new duel deck that has Watery Grave, Tropical Island and Island of Wak-Wak in it!" Needless to say, several of the gamers had missed the boat, so to speak, regarding the whole April Fools aspect. I really like the potential fun for such a Duel Deck and I think it's about time for an EDH version of pirates!

As is the case with all of my EDH decks, we start off by picking a general. We want to be as close to the original as possible, which means we want a four color deck and a four color general. The original deck described Ramirez DePietro leading the pirates into battle, but unfortunately the rules of EDH won't quite permit that. Instead, we need to try and find a general which fits our colors and still has something of a pirate theme.

There are precisely zero four color legends. That forces us to either abandon a color (not nearly as fun), or jump to five colors. I choose to jump to five colors and pick up all sorts of other fun cards in the process. For my general (which I might remind you is mostly for show in this deck), I selected Progenitus. Really none of the five color generals fit the pirate theme and the artwork on Progenitus is a giant hydra! Giant sea monster looking creatures are hard to come by, and what better to represent the scourge of the seas than an essentially un-killable beast! Take that ninjas!

With the general now out of the way, let's take a look at the original deck and see what we can salvage.

[deck align="center"]1 Coral Atoll

1 Dark Depths

1 Dreadship Reef

1 Forgotten Cave

1 Island

1 Island of Wak-Wak

1 Lonely Sandbar

1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

1 Remote Isle

1 Rishadan Port

1 Rootwater Depths

1 Saprazzan Cove

1 Saprazzan Skerry

1 Seafarer's Quay

1 Tropical Island

1 Watery Grave

1 Armored Galleon

1 Barbary Apes

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Carnivorous Death-Parrot

1 Cartographer

1 Cloud Pirates

1 Drowned

1 Kukemssa Pirates

1 Mistform Ultimus

1 Pirate Ship

1 Ramirez DePietro

1 Reef Pirates

1 Rishadan Brigand

1 Rishadan Cutpurse

1 Rishadan Footpad

1 Skeleton Ship

1 Steam Frigate

1 Talas Explorer

1 Talas Scout

1 Toy Boat

1 Treasure Hunter

1 Abduction

1 Arcane Spyglass

1 Barbed Sextant

1 Betrayal

1 Blatant Thievery

1 Bribery

1 Coastal Piracy

1 Deep Water

1 Doom Cannon

1 Double Cross

1 High Tide

1 Loose Lips

1 Necropotence

1 Piracy

1 Piracy Charm

1 Siren's Call

1 Star Compass

1 Threads of Disloyalty

1 Treachery

1 Treasure Trove

1 Venarian Gold

1 War Barge

1 Wind Sail[/deck]

Carnivorous Death ParrotI want to try and stay as close to the spirit of the original deck as possible. Unfortunately, there are a few things we will need to get rid of, namely the unglued/unhinged cards. Toy Boat, Loose Lips, and Carnivorous Death Parrot have all got to go, as does Double Cross. Fortunately, in their place we can add Talas Air Ship, Talas Merchant, Talas Researcher, and Ghost Ship, three cards which have been errata'ed recently to become pirates, and a fourth that's just bad ass.

This brings our total of cards up to sixty-one cards, including Progenitus of course. One big issue though, is the distinct lack of lands. The original list WotC put forth only had sixteen lands, and only one island. Notice that a lot of the ship themed cards require us to have Islands in play at the time. A major overhaul of the land base is in order if we want this deck to be remotely playable.

I feel like somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty-nine lands is appropriate for this deck. This means adding in twenty-three lands, which brings out total to eighty-four, giving us sixteen slots to play around with. It's important to me that we find the most fun and amusing eighteen cards to toss in our pirate themed shenanigan pile!

There are a few creatures we can add in immediately. Dwarven Sea Clan and Red Cliffs Armada are both sea-faring creatures who would happily join our pirate raiding crew! Additionally, Inkfathom Divers would be of great assistance looking for treasure, or perhaps planning sneak attacks. Merfolk Looter and Cephalid Looter are both fans of looting, something key to the pirate mentality.

Any good ship also needs some direction, which is why Hanna, Ship's Navigator also makes the cut. Hanna of course needs an Explorer's Scope to help find her way. When heading Into the Roil it's important to be able to protect yourself. While Doom Cannon certainly sounds threatening I can't help but feel a Fodder Cannon is also called for, though it's ultimately the discretion of the captain, who might have a special Captain's Maneuver in mind.

Lorthos, the TidemakerThere are of course many dangers at sea, no matter how skilled the crew. You could always Capsize, fight a Deep-Sea Kraken, or just wind up as part of the Sea Floor Debris. In order to keep from having the Mark of Mutiny stamped on their head a good captain will take time to relax at a refuge (Jwar Isle Refuge). Every refuge of ill repute has busty wenches of course, which make you want to replicate (Riptide Replicator, because you can't Pillage all the time)! Once the relaxation is over it's time to herald your way back to sea (Brass Herald), and offer a paean to the god of the tides himself Lorthos, the Tidemaker!

Having now worked our way up to the appropriate number of cards, and in story fashion no less, we need to focus on the mana base a little bit. We've already got sixteen lands down, we need twenty-one more.

There are a few obligatory inclusions. Underground Sea, Volcanic Island, Flooded Strand, and Polluted Delta all feel like they should go in the deck. In addition to being water/island themed they help us get some much needed color stabilizing. Bad River has a picture of a buzzard eating carrion, that's about as hardcore and pirate as a land can get!

There need to be more pure islands in the deck, non-basic land hate is pretty strong in my area. Six more islands are sufficient. This gives us lands to fetch using the fetch lands and also allows us to literally sail the seven seas. I'm ok with allowing Reflecting Pool in the deck, but only if we include Undiscovered Paradise as well. We need another eight lands, and ideally ones that tap for multiple colors, or allow us access to the other lands in the deck. Wanderwine Hub gives us access to some much needed white mana, as will Vivid Creek. Yavimaya Coast and Shivan Reef both help greatly in keeping with a nautical theme and filtering in those extra colors. Both Rhystic Cave and Dromar's Cavern also tap for multiple colors while also keeping in theme as well. Don't forget that the Cave lets you turn on Reflecting Pool for any color!

Even the most scurvy of pirates needs a break every once in a while. As a vacation spot I am including a Swamp and a plains for our pirates to raze and pillage while they take a break from their usual jobs of razing and pillaging. That brings us to a hundred cards exactly, just what we need for our final list chock full of kick-assery.

[deck align="center"]General

1 Progenitus

-------

1 Bad River

1 Coral Atoll

1 Dark Depths

1 Dreadship Reef

1 Dromar's Cavern

1 Flooded Strand

1 Forgotten Cave

7 Island

1 Island of Wak-Wak

1 Jwar Isle Refuge

1 Lonely Sandbar

1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

1 Polluted Delta

1 Plains

1 Reflecting Pool

1 Remote Isle

1 Rhystic Cave

1 Rishadan Port

1 Rootwater Depths

1 Saprazzan Cove

1 Saprazzan Skerry

1 Seafarer's Quay

1 Seafloor Debris

1 Shivan Reef

1 Swamp

1 Tropical Island

1 Underground Sea

1 Undiscovered Paradise

1 Vivid Creek

1 Volcanic Island

1 Wanderwine Hub

1 Watery Grave

1 Yavimaya Coast

1 Armored Galleon

1 Barbary Apes

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Brass Herald

1 Cartographer

1 Cephalid Looter

1 Cloud Pirates

1 Deep-Sea Kraken

1 Drowned

1 Dwarven Sea Clan

1 Ghost Ship

1 Hanna, Ship's Navigator

1 Inkfathom Divers

1 Kukemssa Pirates

1 Lorthos, the Tidemaker

1 Merfolk Looter

1 Mistform Ultimus

1 Pirate Ship

1 Progenitus

1 Ramirez DePietro

1 Red Cliffs Armada

1 Reef Pirates

1 Rishadan Brigand

1 Rishadan Cutpurse

1 Rishadan Footpad

1 Skeleton Ship

1 Steam Frigate

1 Talas Air Ship

1 Talas Explorer

1 Talas Merchant

1 Talas Researcher

1 Talas Scout

1 Treasure Hunter

1 Abduction

1 Arcane Spyglass

1 Barbed Sextant

1 Betrayal

1 Blatant Thievery

1 Bribery

1 Capsize

1 Captain's Maneuver

1 Coastal Piracy

1 Deep Water

1 Doom Cannon

1 Explorer's Scope

1 Fodder Cannon

1 High Tide

1 Into the Roil

1 Mark of Mutiny

1 Necropotence

1 Pillage

1 Piracy

1 Piracy Charm

1 Riptide Replicator

1 Siren's Call

1 Star Compass

1 Threads of Disloyalty

1 Treachery

1 Treasure Trove

1 Venarian Gold

1 War Barge

1 Wind Sail[/deck]

To quote the author Maddox, "This deck is so full of ass-kickery they'll have to import colons just to meet quota." Everything pirate just happens to be amazing and this deck does not deviate. Look forward to next week when I bring you their shadowy counterparts the ninja. There are those who might say that ninjas are the better of the two, and EDH can be our testing grounds!

Until next time this is Ben McDole reminding you "Arrrrh, give me your booty!" ...err giving you a hundred reasons to play magic!

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