The Hearthstone metagame is constantly evolving, and each week brings a subtle shift in the popularity of the many decks now viable. As my last article looked at the nuances of Pirate Warrior (check the link here if you missed it), let’s stick to the theme: this time I’ll share my guide to the Pirate Miracle Rogue list that I piloted to Legend! We’ll begin with a look at the decklist and talk through its basic gameplan, then jump into some matchup and individual card discussions!
Main Decklist & Alternate
The main difference between these lists is the presence of Questing Adventurer and SI:7 Agent. Right now there’s a lot of Aggro Warrior and Aggro Shaman on ladder, so I feel like the SI:7 variation has a slight edge compared to the Questing version. When there’s so many aggressive decks running around, it’s fine to trade a little combo potential for an efficient 3-drop that can also kill an opposing minion.
Pirate Rogue, much like its Warrior cousin, is a very aggressive strategy though it has more potential to play tempo when needed. The goal of the Pirate Miracle variant is to pressure the opponent early with various pirates, SI:7 Agent, Tomb Pillager, Azure Drake, and then eventually chain cards to make a big Edwin VanCleef, refill your hand off Gadgetzan Auctioneer, or finish your opponent off with Leeroy Jenkins and direct damage spells like Eviscerate. Unlike Pirate Warrior, it’s possible to fall behind a bit and come back via a big combo turn, so you don’t have to be quite as offensive overall. And remember to always mulligan Patches the Pirate when possible! A Patches summoned by another minion is essentially a 0-mana Stonetusk Boar that you draw and cast for free!
Here’s some brief advice regarding which cards to keep against different opponents…
Without The Coin: Look for Backstab, Counterfeit Coin, all 1-drop Pirates except Patches, SI:7 Agent, Fan of Knives, and Tomb Pillager.
With The Coin: Try to find Backstab, SI:7 Agent, Counterfeit Coin, all 1-drop Pirates except Patches, Fan of Knives, Edwin VanCleef, Preparation (if you have Edwin), and Tomb Pillager.
Without The Coin: Keep your 1-drop Pirates except Patches, Counterfeit Coin, and Tomb Pillager.
With The Coin: Hold onto 1-drop Pirates except Patches, Counterfeit Coin, Tomb Pillager, Edwin VanCleef, Preparation (if you have Edwin or Gadgetzan), and Azure Drake.
Here are some popular decks in the still-developing metagame, along with Pirate Rogue’s expected matchup versus them. This information is drawn from my personal experience, so it may not be fully accurate for everyone. Still, this should give you a rough idea of which opponents to look out for!
Reno Warlock: Easy matchup, as you build up lots of pressure with your pirates and midgame minions, plus your burst damage potential forces out Reno Jackson early. Another win condition is to make a very big VanCleef that can beat face until the opponent uses Siphon Soul, unless the Reno list is also running Blastcrystal Potion.
Reno Mage: Not as favored as Reno Warlock, but still good. You’ll have to develop your board without sacrificing good Gadgetzan Auctioneer turns to win this matchup. Don’t go all in with burst if you can’t set up lethal, otherwise you’ll get punished by the Reno and won’t be able to finish him off!
Pirate Warrior: Slightly favored. If you can efficiently deal with the early minions and not very low by turn 4, you’ll usually win. A huge Edwin Vancleef with some cheap removal can also win you many games, as these decks usually lack a way to deal with bigger creatures.
Jade Druid: You’re 100% the aggressor in this matchup, since Jade Druid has a very passive early game but an unbeatable lategame. Jade Golems don’t really get scary until they’re 5/5 or so. A timely Conceal can help you avoid board wipes and provide setup for a lethal turn!
Dragon Priest: The key here are your Azure Drakes and Gadgetzan Auctioneers: if they can survive more than one turn on board you’re probably going to win since Priests have such a hard time dealing with 4-attack minions. At the same time, don’t overcommit to the board as Dragon Priest can blow you out with a Dragonfire Potion.
Miracle Rogue Mirror: This is a very tricky matchup, and the player with The Coin will usually have the advantage as they’re able to make a big VanCleef. If you’re going first, try to keep a Sap in hand to punish your opponent for plays like turn 1 Coin – Counterfeit Coin – 6/6 VanCleef. The first person to use Gadgetzan Auctioneer and follow immediately with Conceal can pull ahead hugely; for this reason turn 7 is critical in the matchup!
Aggro Shaman: These decks run a lot of 1-drop minions, as well as burst spells and weapons to manage our board and finish us off in close races. The face that this matchup is so hard is really unfortunate, as Aggro Shaman is currently on the upswing. However as the metagame reacts to this new challenger, I expect its numbers will once again become manageable.
Midrange Shaman: Still unfavorable, but not as bad as Aggro variants. Still, they run numerous mass removal spells as well as Hex, which is very hard to play around. Remove minions with Spell power as soon as possible; this will help keep your minions alive against cards like Maelstrom Portal and Spirit Claws.
Freeze Mage: It’s really hard to burst Mage down when Ice Barrier and Ice Block are used, as well as disruptive Freeze spells. You will have to curve out perfectly to have a chance of winning in this matchup!
Control Warrior: Tough since the Warrior has answers to your small minions. Try to play around Brawl and use your resources wisely, otherwise you won’t have enough damage to finish!
Individual Card Discussion
Good in aggro matchups, and efficiently deals with 4-health minions when comboed with SI:7 Agent.
Really good to keep, especially when you have The Coin since you can potentially play a turn 1 6/6 Edwin Vancleef against removal-light classes. Also excellent to cycle with Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Really good with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, and a natural combo to make a big Edwin Vancleef!
Best used when you want to set up lethal for the following turn.
Good with Gadgetzan Auctioneer so you can play more spells next turn. Can also use it to set up lethal and avoid targeted removal from your opponent.
Never keep in your opening hand! Contributes a small amount of extra damage that quickly adds up, and can trade for an early minion if necessary.
Always play over Swashburglar on turn 1, because you’ll often use Hero Power on turn 2 and will do more damage this way.
This card is super dependent on RNG but offers another activator for Patches the Pirate. It can also help win the aggro mirror if you happen to get a good Taunt or healing card!
Excellent with our numerous damaging spells like Fan of Knives, Backstab, and Eviscerate.
Powerful both as removal and a way to end your opponent!
Can generate a big tempo swing when you bounce a Taunt or a high cost minion, and allows you to push through with all the damage you have on board.
Always keep him if you have Coin, and making a big Edwin against aggro will usually win you the game outright.
Generally quite good against aggro decks, and can cycle in matchups where it isn’t relevant.
Excellent with Backstab and allows you to develop your board with an efficient body.
Very cost-efficient body that gives you Coin when it dies, which is naturally great with your Combo cards.
Good card draw and gives you extra spell damage for your removal.
Your main finisher! Don’t play him until you have lethal secured.
Play it when you have Coins and Preparation to cycle, and if you find a Conceal you’ll definitely have the upper hand!
That’s all for my guide to Pirate Rogue! If you want to take this list to Legend, I recommend booking me for some coaching on advanced plays since this deck requires a lot of skill to master. I hope that you guys enjoyed this article, and keep an eye out for more deck guides and card reviews from me in the future! Follow me on Twitter at @rduong_hs!