Tribal Tuesdays ft. Pirates

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Tribal Tuesday!

So last week we looked at the Kobold tribe and had a go at brewing a crazy Kobold-storm-0CMC-instawin legacy deck which turned out to be a super fun idea! For this week we’re moving to standard to look at a recently returned tribe, the Pirates!

A quick reminder for anyone new to the series, Tribal Tuesday is all about checking out some of the overlooked tribes in magic history and having some fun brewing in different formats. With that out of the way, let’s get onto the Pirates, Savvy?

Pirates recently returned to us in the Ixalan block and since then it’s been my go-to tribe to brew around. The first draft event I ever went to, I made a U/R aggro deck and came second, and I’m by no means any good at the draft, my first pick was a Goblin Trailblazer! I even got passed a foil Lannery Storm which cemented me in my destiny to play pirates. Much more recently I’ve been playing a lot of pirates on MTGArena except I’ve moved over to a U/B build which is performing very well and after sitting at this keyboard for 20 minutes I couldn’t decide which deck I wanted to feature on Tribal Tuesday, so I’ll probably rabble on about both!

First, The U/R build!

This build is all about the early game, trying to win with quick, fast and unblockable creatures, our curve pretty much tops out at 3 mana which means we need good, fast creatures. Daring Buccaneer, Fanatical Firebrand and Siren Stormtamer are the one drops in the list and they’re great. Buccaneer is a 1 mana 2/2 90% of the time, which can get out of hand quickly when paired with some of the enchantments we run, the same goes for the firebrand. Siren Stormtamer is a great inclusion, it has evasion which means we can go on the beat down but it also gives us or another creature we may have invested a lot in some protection.

Daring BuccaneerFanatical FirebrandSiren Stormtamer

The heavy hitters of the deck our Captain Lannery Storm and Storm Fleet Sprinter. Lannery comes down as a 2/2 with the ability to pump herself up, but can quickly build up after a few times of attacking, the treasure also ramps us to go wider! Storm Fleet Sprinter is just the unblockable creature that we want to try and dump all our enchantments on and reminisce about invisible stalker days.

Captain Lannery StormStorm Fleet Sprinter

 In order for our creatures to get into the red zone, we need some removal, Lightning strike is in almost every red deck so it’s no surprises it’s in this deck. Lookout’s Dispersal is basically a mana leak in our deck so if our opponent wants to ramp into a big green creature, counter it! I’ve included Warkite Marauder in this section because it’s probably the sleeper best card in the deck, when it attacks it turns a creature into 0/1 which can be crazy!

Lightning StrikeLookout's DispersalWarkite Marauder

The deck has a very linear strategy, build up a few big threats whilst trying to reduce our opponents. Due to our fast starts we usually always want to be on the aggressive side, but don’t be afraid to block opposing creatures, sometimes a big green creature will come down too early and we need to get creatures out to block and try to counter swing with an unblockable, it’s all about knowing when to pick your fights. Sometimes little chips of damage slowly will win the game, and the disruption with Warkite Marauder is sometimes a free win if they’re all in on a certain strategy which combos very well with Fanatic Firebrand to ping off the 0/1!

As always, I encourage you to look at this list and maybe give it a spin, and I think you may be surprised with how well the pirates can keep up with some of the other tribes in Standard.

Now, the second build U/B Pirates!

Whilst u/r build was an all in an aggro deck, the black allows us to go on a more tempo game plan. This allows us to have more consistent games where one big sweeper doesn’t just ruin our day. The idea of the deck is to keep the opponent’s side of the board almost clear with bounce spells and murders whilst we slowly chip away at life total. We’re not looking to win quickly like the red build.

Departed Deckhand is our main beater, being almost unblockable (I think I’ve only had one occurrence where they had a spirit) means it can slowly chip away at the life totals whilst we focus on other things. I’ve included a couple Siren Reavers and Kitesail Corsair to also contribute to the beatdown game, both having flying helps a lot against some decks.

Departed DeckhandSiren Reaver

The deck is all about its disruption though, we only need two or so creatures doing the beating. Once they’re down, we start using cards like Murder, Ravenous Chupacabra, Kitesail Freebooter and Exclusion Mage. The bounce mechanic is great in our gameplan, setting the opponent back an entire turn whilst we get an extra body down in fantastic, so good I added another bounce creature, Deadeye Rig-Hauler. The hostage taker is another superb card, allows us to destroy a creature and play it as our own later in the game, This is a massive tempo swing in our favour which can just steal away games. Kitesail Freebooter gives us interaction with spells as most of our deck removes/bounces creatures and Dire Fleet Poisoner is the ‘Gotcha!’ flash card to remove that big, attacking green creature.

Ravenous ChupacabraExclusion MageHostage Taker

Finally, we have the late game Doom Whisper. Whilst technically not a Pirate, we need a late-game threat with some utility. The surveil mechanic allows us to avoid drawing dead games as we’re closing out the game and keep up the pressure.

Doom Whisperer

So, how do you think the U/R version compares to the U/B deck? Which version do you like better? And what did you think of having 2 separate decks in this weeks edition?

As always, thanks for taking the time to read, anything I missed? And as always, what tribe should we cover next, got any underloved favorites? Let us know!

p.s The U/B deck features heavily on my stream over at, if you want to see how it plays, consider tuning in to see for yourself! (selfless plug over)

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