Welcome to another episode of Budget Deck Breakdown, the series where we highlight the blue-collar backbone of Hearthstone. There's a lot of fun to be had playing Hearthstone, and not just by throwing down Tickatus and waiting for your opponent to concede. So let's hoist the mizzenmast, contract scurvy, and set sail with today's deck: Arrrmor Warrior.
Tank Up, Me Hearties!
Today's Pirate Warrior list is a long way from the days of Patches the Perfectly Balanced Free Minion With Charge. Our deck is less about bashing our opponent's face with reckless abandon and more about playing for the board. The Pirates of today are honest, hardworking minions who just want to play a fair game of Hearthstone while saying things like, "Avast!"
To help our Pirates control the board and win the game, we've got the new Armor Matters cards that were released in the Darkmoon Races miniset. Armor has always been a key part of Warrior's identity (right up there with emoting, "Heh, Greetings."), but cards that give extra tempo for having Armor are a new part of the arsenal. With these two core parts of our deck (Pirates and Armor) we can hope to deal a lot of damage to our opponents while keeping them from killing us.
Our Armor package consists of key cards Ironclad and Spiked Wheel. Ironclad is a minion with good stats for its cost if we meet the requirement of having Armor when we play it, and Spiked Wheel is almost like a pre-nerf Fiery War Axe. Because we want to make sure we can take advantage of the effects of these Armor amours, we run Sword and Board, EVIL Quartermaster, and Shield Block. Each of these cards gives us armor and either acts as removal or replaces themselves.
Our Pirate package exists primarily because we want to take advantage of Skybarge, a very cool 3-Drop that helps us control the board by dealing damage every time we play a Pirate. We also really like Sword Eater, because it is a solid Taunt that provides us with a weapon to buff with Nitroboost Poison or to discount Cutting Class and Dread Corsair. Our other Pirates carry their own weight: Southsea Deckhand is a cheap charge minion, Sky Raider is cheap and replaces itself, Dread Corsair can be a cheap Taunt if we have a weapon equipped, and Hoard Pillager reequips one of our weapons for extra damage. Circus Amalgam also counts as a Pirate, and it can be pretty fun to curve Skybarge into it (although it's certainly not as sticky as Recurring Villain).
Our Vendor of choice in this deck is surprisingly Knife Vendor. They give us additional reach and late-game damage while taking advantage of all the Armor we've gained throughout the game (and yes, they've played knifey-spoony before).
Mulligan and Gameplay Tips
Arrrmor Warrior is an aggressive tempo deck, so in the mulligan, we're looking for things we can play over the first couple of turns like Spiked Wheel, EVIL Quartermaster, Sword and Board, and Sky Raider. Southsea Deckhand can be a fine keep if we already have Spiked Wheel.
Against other aggressive decks, we want to make sure we have early answers to their first couple of turns, specifically Spiked Wheel and Sword and Board. Crabrider is also a good keep in the matchup. Dread Corsair can be a solid keep if we have a weapon, and it's especially fun if we also have Skybarge.
Against control and other slow decks, we're looking to keep our cheap weapons, but we also want Cutting Class and Shield Block for card draw. It's a good idea to keep Ironclad in this matchup because at the very least it's pretty reliable that we can go Turn 2 Armor Up into Turn 3 Ironclad.
Playing this deck is tricky because it is often a balancing act of dealing face damage and controlling the board. Aggro decks do a good job of breaking our Armor and trying to negate our tempo advantage, so we often need to figure out the best time to regain that Armor while still fighting for the board. On the other hand, Control decks don't really care how much Armor we have. Against them, it's more about assembling damage and playing around removal.
If Skybarge is on board, we usually want to make sure we play our Pirates before we make any attacks so we know where its damage has gone.
We need to be aware of the kinds of removal our opponent has, but that doesn't mean that we should be scared of it. Sometimes, our best play is going to be forcing our opponent's hand and seeing if they have their removal. I'm not going to lie: we're often going to be the underdog, and that will mean we might have to take more risks to win.
Carrrd Replacements for the Rich and Famous
One obvious fit for this deck, if you have it, is Ancharrr since it gives the deck added board control, face damage, and card draw. Other good legendaries that could have a place in this deck are Captain Greenskin (because he's a Pirate and he makes your weapons hit harder) and Doctor Krastinov (who I'm pretty sure is violating the Hippocratic Oath).
If the meta is more aggressive you can add in Risky Skipper and Armorsmith for more Armor and board control. Armor Vendor can be another good addition to the deck if you're seeing a lot of aggressive opponents. It is a bit of a dud against Control decks because we generally don't want to give them more Health (unless you want to add in Platebreaker for the ultimate "combo"). If the deck isn't fast enough for you, adding Parachute Brigand and Clockwork Goblin can give you more early board presence and additional late-game damage. Any of these cards can take the place of Circus Amalgam or Hoard Pillager, or whatever parts of it aren't working for you.
If you want to play an aggressive deck but don't feel like queueing up with Hunter or Rogue or Paladin or Warlock or Shaman or Druid or Demon Hunter, Arrrmor Warrior might be the deck for you. It's got good curves, fun synergies, a lot of damage, and (most importantly) the best name.
What budget decks have you been playing with? How do you feel about deck names that are puns? Share your thoughts in the comments!