By Spike, Regular Contributor
As you may have figured out from the title, this is going to be a short article on how to play Patches the Pirate in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. Keep in mind that as I write this, it’s mid-July 2020, so some information may be outdated by the time you read this. I’ll do my best to keep these updated, but please cut some slack, I have dozens of articles to keep tabs on and not nearly enough time to update them all.
At any rate, this is the first in what is going to be a series of short articles on how to play each hero in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. You, the readers, are the ones that voted on who’d be first, so… Patches time!
First, I’m going to take a look at Patches as he is now.
As you can see, his Hero Power is one that forces you into a Pirate-based comp. You could technically not go Pirates, but then his Hero Power isn’t helping you out much. As of 7/17/20, Patches is 16th on the HSReplay Battlegrounds Hero tier list, in Tier 3, with a 36% pick rate and a 4.54 average placement. So, he isn’t terrible, but he isn’t spectacular either. For a point of reference, anything better than a 4.5 average placement is considered Tier 2 or higher, so a little over that isn’t that bad.
Patches’s Hero Power used to deal 4 damage to 2 random enemy minions at the start of combat and cost 1. If memory serves, that was a buff from his original rendition, which was the same thing, but with 3 damage. At that time, he was a bit worse than he is now.
At any rate, Patches has a decent Hero Power. It could probably cost 3 and still be balanced, but it isn’t terrible. You need to go for a Pirate comp to take advantage of it, both because every time you buy a pirate it gets cheaper and because, well, Pirates are generally best in a Pirate comp. Shocking, I know.
Due to the Pirate-based Hero Power, Patches’s best strategy is Pirates, but he has a unique advantage for them. If you need to Triple up on a Pirate that you already have 2 of, and can’t find the triple, you can always hail mary and hit the hero power. Also, you will always be able to obtain Pirates on demand, while any opponents trying to do the same cannot.
However, Patches won’t always find Pirates early. Don’t try to force Pirates if you aren’t finding any. The Hero Power isn’t especially good when not discounted. If you really must, Patches works with every other Tribe, you just won’t have a benefit from it.
On turn one, you’d normally buy a token generator if offered. Patches is one of the few heroes I would recommend to do something else- if Deck Swabbie is available, you’re going to want to pick it. You also won’t want to upgrade your Tavern turn 2 if you find Deck Swabbie turn one. Here’s why:
Turn One: Deck Swabbie
Turn 2: Due to the Deck Swabbie, upgrading and Hero Power both cost (3). Instead of upgrading, buy a Pirate if one is offered. If not, Refresh. If there still isn’t a Pirate, Hero Power and get one, then play it. If it’s Deck Swabbie, awesome. If it’s Scallywag, no big deal.
Turn 3: If the Pirate you got last turn was Deck Swabbie, upgrading now costs one gold. If it was Scallywag, upgrading costs 2 gold. This is where it gets interesting. Upgrade your Tavern, then, if you have a Pirate available, buy it. If you got Deck Swabbie last turn, you’ll be left with 1 Gold. If you got Scallywag last turn, you’ll be left with none. However, if you got Deck Swabbie last turn and then bought one (that’s getting pretty lucky), you have a Golden that you can then get a T3 minion off of.
If you aren’t offered a Pirate in Bob’s Tavern, and you played Deck Swabbie last turn, you should Refresh, then Hero Power. If you had Scallywag last turn, just Hero Power.
As you can see, this is a foolproof way to have at least 3 Tier 1 Pirates and a Tier 2 Tavern on turn 3. Best case scenario (that’s the one where you have a Golden Deck Swabbie), you have the golden Swabbie, a Tier 3 minion, and a Tier 2 Tavern. Also, your upgrade to Tier 3 costs 2 less thanks to the Swabbie.
However, this only works if you get Deck Swabbie Turn 1. If not, don’t try this, it will not work. Just play out your early turns the same way you normally would, but try and go for Pirates.
In general, you’ll want to play a Pirate game where you weave in the Hero Power both when it’s cheap and when you need to Hail Mary for a Triple. Freedealing Gambler is great because you can buy it to make your Hero Power cheaper, then sell it with no loss.
As for playing Pirates, I actually don’t recommend the APM Hoggarr build that you’ve probably seen a lot. The idea of the build is that you have a Golden and regular Hogarr so you make back your 3 Gold every time you buy a Pirate, or with 2 Golden Hoggarrs get an extra Gold piece upon buying a Pirate. As awesome as it is once you get the build up and running, if you fail, you are very much not doing well afterwards. Cap’n Hoggarr is pretty bad in actual battle for a Tier 5 minion.
Essentially, with Pirates, you want to get Salty Looter down pretty fast, because it’s your most reliable minion you can buff the stats on (in Bob’s Tavern, not mid-battle, which is what most Pirates do), and you do it by doing what you would’ve anyway- playing Pirates. Bloodsail Cannoneer is also nice for Attack buffs, of course.
Yo-Ho-Ogre isn’t especially good.
Tier 4 and up are where Pirates start to get good. At Tier 4, you should have a couple Goldens, and Goldgrubber is especially good when you start growing it early. Ripsnarl Captain is an essential piece of the comp, and since most of Pirates’ strength comes from growing mid-battle, you really do need him. Southsea Strongarm is okay, but I find that I don’t usually get much use out of it- most of the time, it’ll be a 2/2 buff or something similar, and it isn’t well-statted enough to do much in combat.
At Tier 5, I’ve already expressed my views on Hoggarr- he’s not consistent enough to be worth picking up. Nat Pagle, Extreme Angler is okay, but the real kicker here is Seabreaker Goliath. This dude works great as the first attacker in your line, and buffing him with Southsea Strongarm isn’t a half bad idea. A 2/2 buff to most, if not all of your comp is always going to be welcome, and he has the potential to do so twice in a row, provided you buffed him enough to both trigger Overkill and not have him die.
Dread Admiral Elise is the only Tier 6 Pirate, but she’s a really good one. 1/1 to most (or all) of your comp every time a Pirate (you know, what should probably be every minion in your comp) attacks? Yeah, that’s amazing.
Now, the Tier 2 minion Southsea Captain- I would say drop him once you have Ripsnarl Captain and/or Seabreaker Goliath set up. He isn’t especially good in the later game, since his buff is too small to really matter, and his stats are low enough that he doesn’t do much- and he dies easily, un-buffing your comp.
Fully set up, the ideal Pirate comp, from left to right, is as follows:
Seabreaker Goliath (because getting those buffs right off the bat is awesome), some combination of big Salty Looters, big Goldgrubbers, and potentially Nat Pagles or leftover Hoggarrs/Bloodsail Cannoneers, then 2cd to last, a Ripsnarl Captain, and last of all, Dread Admiral Elise. All Golden, of course.
That’s the ideal. You might not get that every game, but it shouldn’t be an issue normally to get most of that set up.
The advantages Patches has are simple. With Pirates, he can get big minions mid-combat, and he has an advantage of Pirates on demand. Pirates are rather strong against Demon or Beast comps, since their high stats can usually deal with the tokens spawned, or the giant Scavenging Hyena from Beast comps. You know that hyena. The one that somehow hits the 1/1000 chance of surviving long enough to get 100/100+ stats.
However, Patches also come with major drawbacks. The most obvious one is that if you don’t find the resources to force Pirates, his Hero Power is mostly useless. Sure, a few Pirates see play in other comps (especially Goldgrubber), but, for the most part they’re heavily class-dependent. Also, Pirates have a huge issue with Murlocs. Poisonous is annoying enough, but Divine Shields (really, Divine Shields in any comp) give them a lot of issue. If Pirates can’t survive a trade, they’re not going to do very well, and with Divine Shields their main asset (lots of Attack, and one shots) is negated.
Dragons also give Pirates some issues, but Dragons are (thankfully) not that good. If Whelps snipe down your Dread Admiral Elise or Ripsnarl Captain early, those mid-combat buffs won’t happen, and you’ll be left without the advantage of gigantic stats on the board.
All in all, Patches is a mid tier hero that runs a fairly consistent game of Pirates. You know what you’re going to get most of the time when you pick him, and he usually does okay. He isn’t especially strong,and he has a linear gameplan, but he can pull a Top 4 finish off fairly easily
Until next time,
Never Stop Playing -Spike