|"Ohh, we drink and we pillage and burn down your village, Yo-ho, Yo-ho!" - some Rowdy Bois|
- Construct Tribal
- Gruul Deserts
- Sultai Gods
- Grixis Amulet
So... yeah. Shit is wacky. Right now, there is just a glut of crazy off-the-wall enablers in the format, allowing for a huge variety of shockingly powerful decks. Gruul Deserts might sound like jank (it is), but it doesn't feel like jank when they burn you out with the 10th activation of the very same Ramunap Ruins.
|Sure would be a shame if that Sunscorched Desert pinged you for 1 again, wouldn't it?|
So what to do? How can one single deck possibly compete with the huge variety of agro, midrange, control, tokens, combo, and whatever else these madmen come up with? Well, you have two choices. The first is to play Temur and call it a day, because your cards are just better.
BUT HERE ON TEAM HEAVY SALAMI, we are decidedly mediocre, and don't believe in good cards. So we'll take the second path. Make something shitty, surprise our opponents, and hope for good matchups.
|"That card is garbage! I'll take four." - me|
Sadly I'm not playing the Orrery in my brew. But, I do finally get to play my favorite card in the set - Rowdy Crew. The crew is teaming up with some of my other favorites, such as Lightning Strike, Bomat Courier, and Claim to Fame. Toss in all in the pot, give it a stir, and we got a frothy brew going. People, I'd like to introduce you to:
Click this for decklist!
OH baby. Now that's the good shit. Lightning Strike? Love it. Rowdy Crew? Perfection. Wily Goblin? You're god damned right, we are playing Wily Goblin.
|"Oi, get back 'ere with my hat ya monkey"|
This list right here has some wicked chops, and is a blastyblast to play. Let's delve a little deeper, folks.
Ok, so you got pirate-drunk on rum, bought all these cards, and are ready for some swashbuckling. But how? Don't worry, it's fairly straight forward, so our grog-addled brains should be able to cope.
The early turns play out like any aggressive deck. Play a Bomat Courier with one of your several two drops, turn on the heat, use your cheap removal to clear the way, and watch 'em sizzle. Scrapheap Scrounger is a time-tested beater, and Fathom Fleet Captain's menace lets us sneak on past an early blocker.
If you untap with a Captain and another pirate, your opponent is going to be one sad homie. Generating an additional 2/2 menace pirate each attack is monstrous, and can quickly bury your opponent. The second pirate doesn't even need to be attacking to activate Fathom Fleet Captain, leading to the dream scenario of turn two Captain, turn three Wily Goblin, get a treasure, then use the treasure and your third land to make a pirate.
And then, as - well, if - we get to the mid-game, we have a decent amount of staying power. Claim to Fame snags a Captain or whatever back from the dead, and can even pump them up. A 4/1 menace haste is no joke, and let's us keep pressure going. Ruin Raider gets us some cards back as long as we attack, and let's be honest, if you aren't attacking you aren't winning anyways. And speaking of winning, we have a few ways to close out a game. Either the pure way, via smacks, or the zesty way, via Lightning Strikes and Cut to Ribbons' aftermath.
|Look at that goblin stealing a coin. He's so wily!|
So that's nice and all, but then what is this dude doing? Oh, don't you worry, fellow pirate enthusiast. In addition to getting rowdy, the crew gives this deck it's engine. First of all, Rowdy Crew replaces itself by drawing three and only discarding two. A four drop beater that doesn't cost a card is a nice deal. Sure, the discard is random, and that blows, but many of the cards in our deck are just fine in the graveyard. Scrounger and our aftermath cards get value even if the crew throws them overboard. Dumping the captain into the seas may seem like a bad idea, but don't you get any salt on your eyepatch. Or I dunno, some other pirate-y saying.
|Brought to you by MS Paint|
Claim to Fame goes with Rowdy Crew like hard-tack goes with watered-down rum. Either side of the card excellent for us. If you discard your creatures, then Claim to Fame is still in your hand, and you can bring them back. If you discard Claim to Fame, then you can play your creatures the old fashioned way, and then use Fame to pump them and give them haste! It's the perfect crime. Then on top of that, hitting the Crew with Fame is absurd. If you were lucky and got the counters, that's a huge seven damage with both trample and haste. Yikes.
Discarding Cut to Ribbons isn't half bad either. We play a good amount of land, and even have Wily Goblin to get us more mana, so Ribbons for six or more isn't uncommon. And speaking of that crazy goblin, you know what feels better than Rowdy Crew on turn four? Rowdy Crew on turn three, of course.
Charting the course
So where do we go from here? Have we created the perfect deck? If you are asking that, I suggest you go back to that list and take another look, because we most definitely did not. There's a lot to optimize here.
After giving this a play, it feels torn between two worlds. Are we a midrange-y graveyard value deck, or an aggro deck? I think it needs to be refined to stick to a single game plan. The way I see it, we have three choices.
Option 1 - Aggro Beats
|Goblins: winners of best flavor text, 1993-2017|
We could make this deck a whole lot faster. I'd swap out some Fatal Pushes for Shock, cut down on Cut to Ribbons and lands, and toss in Rigging Runner. First Strike isn't too bad of a keyword, and it pairs excellently with the Fame half of Claim. Needing Raid to make this a 2/2 is awkward, since we can't both Fame it pre-combat and get the counter, but what are Goblins if not awkward?
However, this also adds another pirate to improve the odds of Fathom Fleet Captain being an allstar. We would also benefit a lot from Fell Flagship with this build. It's a new card type, which is bad news for Rowdy Crew counters, but adding power to a pile of creatures with keywords like Menace, First Strike, and Tromple could have an impact. I plan on giving this a try at either Standard Showdown or next Tuesday. I'll let you know how I felt as I 0-2 drop.
Option 2 - Graveyard Nonsense
|Zombie pirates? Sign me up.|
Going a bit bigger is an option as well. We can up our removal by adding in more Cut to Ribbons and some Never to Returns. We'd likely stray away from the pirate synergies. Cards like Seekers' Squire are excellent Claim to Fame targets, and explore helps us toss more in the yard. Plus we can run biggies like Combustible Gearhulk, which is huge, and either gives us cards or throws cards in the graveyard.
Going bigger greatly improves the impact of our Wily Goblins as well. Lili on turn four is a big girl, with six loyalty and a zombie to boot. I haven't really fleshed this idea out, so I'd need to look for some other good ways to take advantage of a full graveyard. If I get lucky and open a Lili, maybe I'll give this one a whirlydoo.
Option 3 - Gettin Grixy
|Creature type lines are starting to get a bit zany.|
Adding in blue opens this deck up a fuckload. We get some excellent evasive threats in Siren Stormtamer and Storm Fleet Aerialist, or actual good cards in Chart a Course and Hostage Taker. We'd also be able to play Admiral Becket Brass, which is a massive draw for me, cause I keep opening the damn card and have a ton. Plus then we get to hit them, take something, and say "LOOK AT ME. I'm the captain now."
The downsides are obvious. Three colors is much harder to support than two, especially if we still want to run double color cost cards like Wily Goblin, Rowdy Crew, or Walk the Plank. It's possible you can go all in on Grixis Pirates tribal rather than a Claim to Fame and Rowdy Crew deck. But honestly, why would you do that? Crew is life.
So, that's what I'm playing! Hope you guys enjoyed the writeup. I'll be tweaking this deck for the next week or two to see if I'm able to hit a sweet spot. It's either that or keep jamming Jeskai, because Glorybringer is the business.
In other news, we are back to recording events at Stadium Cards in Comics in Ypsilanti! We plan on doing a re-watch of the games and doing commentary over on our Twitch channel sometime soon. Be sure to give us a follow on the Twitter machine @Heavy_Salami for the freshest memes and updates on our magical shenanigans. Until next time, land lubbers!
Enjoy the deck? Think there's a better card I should be playing? Well, you're probably right. Let me know by shooting us a message using the form off to the right, or plop a comment right on this bad boy. If you're more of a social media cat, hit us up on the Heavy Salami Twitter!