Welcome to the Pirate Guide! It is recommended that you read the battle guide by Arikrat as well as the drawing mechanics, as they contain useful information that will be referenced throughout this guide.
Pirates are a neutral race in stormbound with heavy emphasis on card/hand interactions, as well as having a large quantity of vanilla units (units without abilities).
Disclaimer: Pirates are not near the top of the meta, and they have never been. As new cards are added and old cards changed, pirates certainly stand a fighting chance, however as of now, pirate decks are not a common occurrence.
There is always a slight advantage to playing an unusual deck type, that being people will be less able to predict and react to your strategy. In some cases with pirate decks especially, you can conceal the true identity of your deck until a critical moment (see “Pure” strategy).
Different pirate cards are good at progressing different game plans. I will list out all of the different pirate cards, as well as the good deckfits, in order of importance (most → least) for a pirate deck (by my personal assessment).
Battle styles marked with an asterisk (*) are optional in some cases.
Even though it may come as a surprise, First Mutineer has the widest utility of all the pirate cards. Its strengths include: being a runner, hand manipulation and having a relatively low cost.
Battle styles: Rush, Stall, Shuffle, Pure
Lucky charmers is a defining power play, and often a win condition, to many pirate decks. It is somewhat debatable if a deck can even be considered a pirate deck without this card, however for the sake of this guide, any deck that capitalizes on the strength of pirates counts.
Battle styles: Pure, Stall*, Shuffle*
A very greedy card useful for hand refill in the late game, as well as fishing out useful cards at crucial moments.
Battle styles: Stall, Pure, Shuffle, Rush*
My favorite card in the game. Northsea Dog is a major shock development on the board when the enemy least expects it. Usually gets more value if you have lots of mana, or very cheap cards.
Battle styles: Rush, Pure, Stall*, Shuffle*
Snake Eyes is the largest card cycle play there is, making him excel at finding the cards you need and pitching the cards you don’t!
Battle styles: Shuffle, Pure, Stall*
A solid vanilla card that everyone knows and loves.
Battle styles: Pure, Rush*, Stall*, Shuffle*
Not the best runner in the world, but good enough to justify its inclusion for the sake of pirate synergy with Lucky Charmers. Although it will have many battle styles listed, most of its inclusions are purely due to its useability as a runner, but in many cases can (and should) be swapped with an objectively better runner of similar cost if Lucky Charmers is not in the deck.
Battle styles: Pure, Stall*, Shuffle*, Rush*
A sticky unit that is difficult for the opponent to remove thanks to its high stats.
Battle Styles: Pure, Stall*, Rush*, Shuffle*
Goldgrubbers is a really cool card that is just really not efficient. Its one use (to cycle through the deck) does a worse job at than 2 cheap units that could be played instead (and would still cycle the deck just as fast). Mildly usable for slower game plans.
Battle styles: Pure, Shuffle*, Stall*
I strongly dislike this card. Very slow. Worse version of Lucky Charmers. Cool for certain Brawl I guess.
Battle styles: Stall*, Pure*
At the time this guide was made, this card is useless.
Pirate synergies can be used in a variety of deck types. I will not be covering all possible uses for each pirate, just the decks that capitalize on pirate synergy with the hand, deck, and each other.
Rush decks are great at killing your opponent fast with cheap cards. Northsea Dog is a very good card for those willing to use it, and First Mutineer can grant much needed discard in order to trigger Northsea Dog’s effect as well as being a solid runner. Freebooters is also usable for transitioning into the mid-game with some hand refill, but may threaten your First Mutineer + Northsea Dog combo at times. No other pirate synergy is all that effective for rush decks, as many pirates are too expensive to match a rush game plan.
The opposite of a rush deck, stall decks seek to control the board and stall into the late game. For a late-game pirate deck, Freebooters grant a massive card advantage over your opponents, and Snake Eyes assist in digging for your big plays. Utilising Lucky Charmers’ synergy is not necessary for all slow decks, and can be replaced by any other value play/win condition. If you use Lucky Charmers in this style of deck, then you will need to add more pirates into the deck to support. If you find yourself composing a deck of 8+ pirates, then move to the “Pure” strategy.
Shuffle strategy tends to be really fun to use, but often not played in a very serious manner. It uses the shuffle effects of Collector Mirz and Havesters of Souls to obtain valuable units, which it the searches for using Freebooters, Snake Eyes, and perhaps Goldgrubbers.
The previous strategies are simply regular deck archetypes that use a small handful of pirates for their benefits. “Pure” pirate decks, on the other hand, are the most clearly recognizable “pirate decks” that seek to capitalize on *all* of pirate strengths. Because this is the most “piratey” kind of deck, I will walk through it with more detail.
“Pure” pirate decks tend to have at least 8 or more pirate cards in them. The reason is to maximize the value and reliability of Lucky Charmers, which is the main focus of a “pure” pirate deck. Pirates tend to have rather high costs, so when making a deck with so many, it’s important that you make your non-pirate cards fill in the early curve and push your frontline in preparation for later turns (examples include Dopplebocks, Gifted Recruits, Green Prototypes, Destructobots, Wild Saberpaws, etc.). Ideally you have 3 or 4 cards that cost 2 or less, and no more than 2 cards costing 6+ mana.
Once you have constructed a “pure” pirate deck, you will then need to know how to play it. Here is a summary of each turn based on mana value, and what you should be attempting to accomplish each turn:
The first few turns have a good chance at winning the game for you, during these turns you should try to:
- Use all your mana each turn.
- Put strength on the board to preserve your line.
- Cycle cards to put Lucky Charmers and Snake Eyes in your hand (Lucky is more important).
- Play, discard, or redraw all of your non-Pirates.
- Have units in any of the following positions:
All of this is in preparation for the next turn.
This is the turn that will end most battles and your goals are simple:
- Play Lucky Charmers next to the enemy base in a way that it is protected.
- Redraw a card.
- Obtain Snake Eyes and 2-movement units.
This move may be especially effective for a deck that might not have been expecting it. You can often trick your opponents by focusing on your non-pirate cards and some of the more general use ones (like Westwind Sailors) and subverting their expectations as to what they need to react to.
If attacking may cost you your life, you might choose to defend instead.
If you can’t put it on the base, or don’t have a full hand of pirates that’s fine, although you might consider waiting another turn. Do remember though: playing other cards and waiting may result in drawing some of your non-Pirates back into your hand.
Assuming your opponent has not conceded or died, your next goals should be:
- Rush if you can finish them off.
- Play Snake Eyes (Only if you have a good board presence), followed by cheap non-Pirates (this is why you want them at 1 or 2 mana).
- Cycle as many cards as possible.
A Hybrid deck is one that combines the “pure” pirate strategy of playing a high value Lucky Charmers and cycling them back into your hand, as well as the strategy of another deck. Attempts to do this are often not the most successful since the deck tends to be worse than the sum of its parts.
Examples include: dragon-pirate, structure-pirate, freeze-pirate, construct-pirate, etc.
Pirates are a unique race in stormbound that sparks unusual strategies. It can often be hard to use pirates to their full effectiveness, but with practice, you will be able to predict and abuse card drawing and cycling, and subvert the expectations of your opponent to your own benefit.
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