OBC as a format contains few surprises. When your opponent plays a first turn land, you often have a fairly good idea of what the deck will contain; and rogue decks have not made an impression in Pro Tour Qualifiers or GP Sapporo. Many players today, therefore, have been baffled when they faced down turn one Swamp, turn two Swamp and Millikin. The Green-Blue players are often disgusted when their Roar of the Wurm tokens disappears under a main deck Slithery Stalker. Designed by English player Johnny Chapman, Pirates is an interesting attempt to beat the metagame.
The deck has ways of dealing with most threats an opponent can put out. Blue-Green is annoyed by the Butchers and Slithery Stalkers. Black decks don’t like the Infestations or Ichorids, which are also annoying for Upheaval to deal with. There is a lot of synergy in the main deck, with combos like Millikin and Ichorid, which often allows the Ichorid to attack turn after turn. Obviously the Millikin is also great with Braids.
After sideboarding against Blue-Black, the Ichorid can also combo well with Cabal Therapy. The sideboard is designed to deal with the main decktypes in the format. Against green you have a variety of creatures and Screams of the Damned to deal with Bearscape, Grizzly Fate, and Squirrel Nest. Black decks often struggle when Ichorid gets Buried Alive, as does Upheaval, and Green-White or punisher variants are in an even worse position than Blue-Green, since Mutilate also comes in.
After the deck won the GP Trial on Thursday, people started to take notice, and as the GenCon event progressed, more and more started to play it. Today it was being played by Jonny Chapman, Eddie Ross, Mark Wraith, and a whole host of other players. I did badly with the deck, dropping out at 2-2, but Jonny himself is on 5-0, so it is very likely to be involved in day two. Perhaps this rogue deck could become a genuine contender in the event?