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Tempo Pirate Rogue

  • Last updated Jan 16, 2017 (Gadgetzan)
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  • 20 Minions
  • 9 Spells
  • 1 Weapon
  • Deck Type: Ranked Deck
  • Deck Archetype: Unknown
  • Crafting Cost: 7000
  • Dust Needed: Loading Collection
  • Created: 1/16/2017 (Gadgetzan)
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I have a great deal of fondness for the Rogue class but have never enjoyed the "miracle" playstyle.  As such I am always on the lookout for decks which do not fit this mold.

Over the last few expansions Rogues have received some extremely powerful mid-sized minions, but almost none have made the cut due to Gadgetzan Auctioneer dominating the class.  When I saw Lotus Assassin and Luckydo Buccaneer I knew that I wanted to use them in a deck, and after some tinkering I came to the version that you see now.

As always, I welcome feedback and discussion on the deck due to the variety of close card choices I have made.

Strengths and Weaknesses:


1) A powerful early-mid game.  You can often steal wins purely off of tempo alone with a good opener.  Pirates are perfect for contesting the board early on, and in classic Rogue style you can protect them with your spells to push significant amounts of damage on the opposing hero.

2) High sustained damage through weapons.  Many decks are good at keeping the board clear through removal, but it is rare for any major deck to run more than a single Acidic Swamp Ooze.  Being able to continually pressure an opponent's health while fighting over the board is a strategy that has worked well for Hunters in the past and serves this deck well.

3) Surprise factor, a benefit of being an offbeat deck.  Opponents usually mulligan for pressure against Miracle, only to find that this deck can usually out-remove them and push for damage.  Similarly the weapon removal is often thrown casually at your hero power dagger, not realizing what is coming later.


1) Your own health.  Like all Rogues you lack significant self-healing.  While I partially address this (see below in Card Choices), ultimately if you take too much damage early on it can be hard to win.

2) Combo decks.  As this deck is slower than the typical aggro deck many combo decks can keep up with your damage output, and as you will take face damage from using weapons it makes you vulnerable to counter-burst.


Under construction.

Card Choices:

This section will be fairly extensive, as the deck contains a variety of uncommon cards.


A good 1-of card, it adds slightly more consistency to your early game and is an excellent opener against classes that don't have a 1-damage hero power.  An alternative choice is Cold Blood for more pressure.

Violet Illusionist over Earthen Ring Farseer/Shady Dealer/Southsea Captain

This is probably one of the more unusual choices in the deck.  I chose her over the more-traditional Earthen Ring Farseer because your weapon can get big enough that it is worth using on medium or large minions, making the prevented damage far exceeds the three health restored by Farseer.  It also has more aggressive stats, which is key in a deck of this type.


That said, there is nothing wrong with using Earthen Ring Farseer in its place.  Being able to retroactively restore health can be life-saving and there is something to be said about being able to heal your large minions.


Another option in this slot is Shady Dealer.  He is more aggressive than Violet Illusionist and allows you to put more pressure on an opponent.  However, he is not always easy to activate if your initial pirates are killed and greatly restricts your ability to weapon-clear enemy minions.  More testing is required with this card.


Finally, Southsea Captain is just not that impressive in this deck.  You rarely play out many pirates, so his effect is minimal at best.

 Naga Corsair and Southsea Squidface over Tomb Pillager

Tomb Pillager is clearly an excellent card, and there are definitely times when I miss The Coin.  However, this deck doesn't run Edwin VanCleef or Gadgetzan Auctioneer which greatly diminishes its value, especially in the later stages of the game.  


By comparison both Naga Corsair and Southsea Squidface allow you to push a more damage from your weapon. They have excellent synergy with Assassin's Blade and are instrumental in activating Luckydo Buccaneer.

 Assassin's Blade

Assassin's Blade is a basic card that is not particularly strong when considered alone, but really shines in a deck such as this one.  It amplifies the effects of your weapon buffs and gives you sustained damage when you would otherwise fall short.  Despite its power there is only one copy because while it is a good card, it is slow and takes some time to fully exhaust; having two in your hand is extremely awkward.


The key to Assassin's Blade is to not over-commit to it unless you are confident they do not have weapon removal.  It is very tempting to heap all your weapon buffs on to it, but they will have several turns to draw their Acidic Swamp Ooze while you use it, so be careful.

 Lotus Assassin and Shado-Pan Rider

Both of these cards are very respectable in their own right, but are best suited to different situations.


Lotus Assassin is difficult for an opponent to remove and usually guarantees you board presence on the following turn.  Its typical use is to kill off a smaller enemy minion the first turn, and then trade or go face the second turn.  My main warning is to not be overly tempted by potential value; as a tempo deck you just need to establish board then want to push face, not try to win a value war.  Its untargetability makes it excellent against classes with heavy removal and its effect often forces opponents to avoid playing low-attack utility minions.


Shado-Pan Rider is a minion that has been entirely overlooked since its release, again due to the lack of a suitable archetype in Rogue.  It fits well in this deck as there are several large minions that require often require hard removal to deal with.  Shado-Pan Rider frequently absorbs one of these and helps smooth the curve upward from mid-sized pirates to your large finishing minions.  It's large health also helps it survive AoE and trade better on board compared to the Lotus Assassin.

Luckydo Buccaneer

One of the most exciting cards of the set for me, Luckydo Buccaneer does what Drakonid Crusher does for Dragon Warrior but in a less situational manner.  It is much easier to activate by yourself and provides relatively cheap massive threats to pressure your opponent with.  These are your key to winning against decks such as Reno Mage, who can often run out of good answer to large minions.


If you don't have Luckydo Buccaneer then Drakonid Crushers are fine replacements.  You will sometimes struggle to activate them, but in return they are better in some matchups such as Dragon Priest.

 Ragnaros the Firelord

This card hardly needs an introduction.  He is in this deck over other finishers such as Leeroy Jenkins due to his less situational nature.  You can't always guarantee an opponent will be low on health nor do you draw enough cards to float many "unplayable" minions.


Card Replacements:

  • Bloodmage Thalnos: Rather than trying to directly replace this card, such as with a Loot Hoarder or Kobald Geomancer, I would recommend looking at another 3-drop such as Shady Dealer.  Having a good curve into turn three is more beneficial than the cycle or spell power alone.

  • Ragnaros the Firelord: There really isn't a good replacement for what Ragnaros does for this deck.  There's a reason he's the default aggressive legendary.


Under construction.