Upgrading Brazen Coallition

Posted: April 05, 2018

Hello and welcome to another short article in which we will look into upgrading one of the starting decks provided for each Magic: The Gathering Arena account. This time we’re helping out the Brazen Coalition, a proud and free faction long ago driven out of their homeland, now instead fearsomely ruling the seas. For reference, this is the starter Decklist:

Deck: The Brazen Coalition {b}{r}
2Cinder Barrens 1Abrade {1}{R}1Captain Lannery Storm {2}{R}
12Mountain 1Buccaneer's Bravado {1}{R}1Captivating Crew {3}{R}
9Swamp 1Fell Flagship {3}2Daring Buccaneer {R}
2Fiery Cannonade {2}{R}2Dire Fleet Captain {B}{R}
1Lightning Strike {1}{R}2Dire Fleet Neckbreaker {2}{B}{R}
2Magma Spray {R}1Dire Fleet Poisoner {1}{B}
1March of the Drowned {B}1Dire Fleet Ravager {3}{B}{B}
1Pirate's Cutlass {3}2Fanatical Firebrand {R}
1Puncturing Blow {2}{R}{R}1Fathom Fleet Captain {1}{B}
1Reaver Ambush {2}{B}1Fathom Fleet Firebrand {1}{R}
1Walk the Plank {B}{B}2Forerunner of the Coalition {2}{B}
1Goblin Trailblazer {1}{R}
2Grasping Scoundrel {B}
1Kitesail Freebooter {1}{B}
2Rigging Runner {R}
1Storm Fleet Arsonist {4}{R}
1Storm Fleet Swashbuckler {1}{R}
 Display deck statistics
As the pirates, we’re looking to set up a deadly tempo and then never let go until our opponent reaches 0 life. Just because we’ll (hopefully) always be playing creatures to keep our board advantage doesn’t mean we don’t have a few tricks up our sleeve - the Coalition is as formidable as it is cunning.

The first cuts and additions

That said, the starting decklist offers some choices which aren’t necessarily what we’re looking for. The two taplands, Cinder Barrens, can set us too far behind should they be in our hand at the wrong time. Some others, like the Storm Fleet Arsonist or Storm Fleet Swashbuckler are just a bit too slow for what we’re trying to do. Walk the Plank’s double B mana cost is a bit scary for our deck, especially since most of our early drops are red.

To replace them, we’ll be looking to spend our early wildcards to top off our collection of Fanatical Firebrands which are premium onedrops providing all chip damage, utility for pinging creatures and additional reach. Another great one to get a 4-of is Lightning Strike which can be used in just about anything red, serving as both removal and reach for our opponent’s health in a pinch.

Daring Buccaneers help us ensure that our turn 1 packs a punch, pushing the tempo of the game in our favour. Dire Fleet Captain, while working a bit differently than the other faction ‘lords’ of the set (Legion Lieutenant and Merfolk Mistbinder) is nonetheless a scary card that can quickly get out of control - especially when combined with the starting Buccaneer’s Bravado. A copy of Glorybringer gives us a great way to finish our curving off, providing both reach and the ability to wrestle back the board should we have lost it to some of our opponent’s more efficient midrange creatures. Rampaging Ferocidon, on the other hand, gives us a great 3/3 Menace body along with the ability to completely shut down decks like Tokens or Vampires.

After some slight adjustments, we have arrived at something looking like this:

Deck: The Brazen Coalition {b}{r}
12Mountain 1Abrade {1}{R}1Captain Lannery Storm {2}{R}
9Swamp 1Buccaneer's Bravado {1}{R}1Captivating Crew {3}{R}
2Fiery Cannonade {2}{R}4Daring Buccaneer {R}
4Lightning Strike {1}{R}4Dire Fleet Captain {B}{R}
2Magma Spray {R}2Dire Fleet Neckbreaker {2}{B}{R}
1Puncturing Blow {2}{R}{R}1Dire Fleet Poisoner {1}{B}
4Fanatical Firebrand {R}
1Fathom Fleet Captain {1}{B}
2Forerunner of the Coalition {2}{B}
1Glorybringer {3}{R}{R}
2Goblin Trailblazer {1}{R}
1Kitesail Freebooter {1}{B}
2Rampaging Ferocidon {2}{R}
2Rigging Runner {R}
 Display deck statistics

Cards to look out for

  • Dire Fleet Poisoner has a decently statted body, is on instant speed and can serve as a combat trick. What’s not to love?
  • Fathom Fleet Captain is an evasive 2 drop that can provide us with value when we might be running low on cards. The additional tokens help scale our Dire Fleet Captains and trigger our Forerunners!
  • Kitesail Freebooters can serve as protection from our opponent’s removal spells which might equalize the board, while also providing us with a flying beater.
  • Ruin Raider has a decent body and gives us much needed fuel once we start running out. The lost life should not matter too much as we’re looking to be the aggressor in as many matchups as possible.
  • Cartouche of Zeal, while not a prime choice, does provide us with a powerful element of surprise, both making one of our creatures hasty and getting around one of our opponent’s blockers makes it that much easier to push for lethal.
  • Magma Spray is an exceptional removal choice, serving as removal for our opponent’s early drops so we can maintain our board advantage, while also being a way to deal with those pesky graveyard reliant creatures like the eternalize/embal creatures, Rekindling Phoenixes or the Hour of Devastation gods.
  • Rigging Runners, while not something we’d want to drop turn 1, are amazing at pushing early as they would cleanly answer many of our opponent’s early drops in combat.
  • Abrade makes up the flexibility of going face that Lightning Strike has with the ability to destroy an artifact. This isn’t as strong with Kaladesh not around, yet a creature-only Lightning Strike with an occasionally powerful upside is still really good.
  • Dire Fleet Daredevil have a decent body and are super flexible. Grabbing a ‘free’ Magma Spray in the mirror is often game deciding.
  • Goblin Trailblazers are an evasive early drop which can start pushing for serious damage over the time. While not providing a great deal of tempo, they’re still sure to be quite formidable over time.
  • Captain Lannery Storm is a great flexible 3-drop, being a hasty body that allows us to curve out better, cast combat tricks while tapped out or simply to push for more damage by throwing treasures at our opponent to buff Lannery up.
  • Repeating Barrage is a bit slow, but if you find that sometimes you can’t quite finish off your opponent, it can provide us with the reach you might need.
  • Supernatural Stamina is a pretty neat combat trick allowing us to come out on top in many trades.
  • Rekindling Phoenix is a 4 power flier that is quite hard to remove. It’s very threatening and a great way to finish our curve.
  • Glorybringer, as mentioned above, is very good at finishing the game and breaking stalling situations.
  • Claim // Fame can give us an out where there previously were none, resurrecting something like a Dire Fleet Captain.

With a bit more tinkering, our list might look a bit like this:
Deck: Pirates {b}{r}
2Dragonskull Summit 4Lightning Strike {1}{R}2Captain Lannery Storm {2}{R}
6Mountain 2Magma Spray {R}4Daring Buccaneer {R}
4Ramunap Ruins 4Dire Fleet Captain {B}{R}
2Sunscorched Desert 3Dire Fleet Daredevil {1}{R}
8Swamp 2Dire Fleet Neckbreaker {2}{B}{R}
2Dire Fleet Poisoner {1}{B}
4Fanatical Firebrand {R}
1Glorybringer {3}{R}{R}
1Goblin Trailblazer {1}{R}
2Kitesail Freebooter {1}{B}
2Rampaging Ferocidon {2}{R}
2Rigging Runner {R}
3Ruin Raider {2}{B}
 Display deck statistics

To finish our article off, I’d like to note that there is a very potent mono Red deck around, and after writing a few paragraphs on an aggressive red/black list, it would just not be right to not mention it. It contains cards like Earthshaker Khenra, Ahn-Crop Crasher, Sunscorched Desert, Ramunap Ruins and Hazoret, the Fervent, which, one and all, are absolutely stellar aggressive choices. Currently believed to be one of the top dogs of Arena, you can find a quick summary for it here:.

I very much hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you have good luck in your games. May you scuttle many a ship sailing Ixalan’s waters!

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