Ahoy Mateys Commander Deck Guide In The Lost Caverns Of Ixalan – MTG

Ye can’t keep a good Pirate down in Magic: The Gathering, and there’s no better example of that than in The Lost Caverns Of Ixalan’s Ahoy Mateys commander deck. This deck is full of Pirates that will do everything you’ve come to expect of the creature type: aggression, evasion, theft, threats, plunder, and above all, booty.


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Because this is The Lost Caverns Of Ixalan, there’s a little bit of exploration thrown in there too, but it’s all in service of the greater good. That greater good being a bunch of Treasure tokens to ensure the continued presence of Admiral Brass. Let’s set sail with Ahoy Mateys and see how this commander deck performs.


Ahoy Mateys Commander Deck List

Don Andres, the Renegade by Daarken
Don Andres, the Renegade by Daarken

Here’s the full Ahoy Mateys deck list broken down by card type.

Commander (1)

Admiral Brass, Unsinkable

Creatures (34)

Siren Stormtamer

Spectral Sailor

Daring Saboteur

Departed Deckhand

Dire Fleet Daredevil

Enterprising Scallywag

Fathom Fleet Captain

Francisco, Fowl Marauder

Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

Timestream Navigator

Warkite Marauder

Broadside Bombardier

Captain Lannery Storm

Corsair Captain

Ghost of Ramirez DePietro

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator

Storm Fleet Navigator

Admiral Beckett Brass

Amphin Mutineer

Azure Fleet Admiral

Breeches, Brazen Plunderer

Captivating Crew

Don Andres, the Renegade

Gemcutter Buccaneer

Hostage Taker

Merchant Raiders

Pitiless Plunderer

Ramirez DePietro, Pillager

Skeleton Crew

Coercive Recruiter

Dire Fleet Ravager

Port Razer

Zara, Renegade Recruiter

Angrath’s Marauder

Sorcery (6)

Faithless Looting

Feed the Swarm

Windfall

Distant Melody

Blood Money

Blasphemous Act

Instants (5)

Rakdos Charm

Chaos Warp

Prismari Command

Lethal Scheme

Evacuation

Enchantments (4)

Black Market Connections

King Narfi’s Betrayal

Shared Animosity

Bident of Thassa

Artifacts (13)

Sol Ring

Wayfarer’s Bauble

Arcane Signet

Dimir Signet

Izzet Signet

Rakdos Signet

Arm-Mounted Anchor

Commander’s Sphere

Herald’s Horn

Icon of Ancestry

The Grim Captain’s Locker

The Indomitable

Vanquisher’s Banner

Lands (37)

Choked Estuary

Command Tower

Crumbling Necropolis

Desolate Lighthouse

Evolving Wilds

Exotic Orchard

Foreboding Ruins

Frostboil Snarl

Geier Reach Sanitarium

Island (6)

Mountain (5)

Nephalia Drownyard

Path of Ancestry

Port of Karfell

Rogue’s Passage

Secluded Courtyard

Smoldering Marsh

Sulfur Falls

Sunken Hollow

Swamp (4)

Terramoprhic Expanse

Thriving Bluff

Thriving Isle

Thriving Moor

Unclaimed Territory

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Ahoy Mateys Commander Deck Key Themes

Magic: The Gathering - Admiral Beckett Brass by Jason Rainville
Admiral Beckett Brass by Jason Rainville

Ahoy Mateys is a bit of a generalist deck. Certainly, there are a lot of pirates, and they all seem to do something a little different.

We’ve got Pirates that steal, such as Hostage Taker and Zara, Renegade Recruiter; we’ve got Pirates that draw, such as Storm Fleet Negotiator and Spectral Sailor; and we’ve got a number of Pirates that merely reward aggression, such as Francisco, Fowl Marauder and Fathom Fleet Captain. There are even Pirates that focus on creating Treasure tokens to help ramp out some of the pricier cards in the deck.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a deck that can do a little bit of everything in a casual Commander environment. However, Ahoy Mateys can often feel like you’re scrambling for an effective strategy well into the late game.

The commander of every Commander deck sets the deck’s tone, and looking at Admiral Brass, Unsinkable, you’d think that Ahoy Mateys would feature a strong recursion theme. There are a few cards that help fill your graveyard (besides Admiral Brass herself), but not so many that you can expect to constantly be recurring Pirates from your graveyard.

Ahoy Mateys’ other commander, Don Andres, Renegade, focuses too much on theft to be effective as your commander. He’s often not providing much benefit at all given the small number of cards that will steal from your opponents.

Don Andres would benefit greatly from being in a deck that focused on stealing your opponent’s cards. For this reason, it’s best to use Admiral Brass, Unsinkable as Ahoy Mateys’ commander.

Ahoy Mateys Commander Deck Analysis

MTG Dire Fleet Daredevil
Dire Fleet Daredevil by Zoltan Boros

For a typal deck that’s not too concerned with swarm tactics, 34 creatures (not including your commander) is a decent number to ensure board presence. Ahoy Mateys has an alright number of instant-speed removal spells, three good board sweepers in Evacuation, Blasphemous Act, and Blood Money, and a good amount of ramp if you include all nine artifacts and a few Treasure-focused Pirates. With 37 lands, you shouldn’t have any trouble developing a mana base.

You might even find this deck to be a little mana-heavy, but with Admiral Brass the lynchpin of the deck, it’s best to have spare mana to keep recasting her when she inevitably eats a removal spell.

What Admiral Brass could use some help with is filling the graveyard. Yes, she does mill four cards herself, but the odds of catching Skeleton Crew to combo with the good Admiral the first time she’s played are fairly low. Cards like Faithless Looting and Daring Saboteur help, but you can do better.

Underperforming Cards

Gemcutter Buccaneer

Azure Fleet Admiral

Daring Saboteur

Departed Deckhand

Pitiless Plunderer

Dire Fleet Ravager

Ghost of Ramirez DePietro

Captivating Crew

The Grim Captain’s Locker

Don Andres, the Renegade

Yes, we’re getting rid of one of the deck’s commanders. Unfortunately, Don Andres just doesn’t really fit the recursion theme. He’d be great in a Pirate deck that wants to steal everything, but he should be given his own deck that supports a theft strategy.

Treasure is always nice to have, but maybe it doesn’t need that much treasure. Pitiless Plunderer and Gemcutter Buccaneer walk the plank for being too focused on making Treasure work in a deck that really just wants to keep playing Pirates.

Ghost of Ramirez DePietro gets the boot for going against Admiral Brass’s strategy, as does The Grim Captain’s Locker. Departed Deckhand, Daring Saboteur, Captivating Crew, and Azure Fleet Admiral just aren’t very impactful, and Dire Fleet Ravager just angers the table for no real gain.

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Ahoy Mateys Commander Deck Budget Upgrades

Breeches, Eager Pillager by Josu Hernaiz
Breeches, Eager Pillager by Josu Hernaiz

The recommendation here is to focus the deck just a little more towards Admiral Brass’s recursion theme by bolstering the deck’s ability to fill the graveyard with Pirates. We’re also going to throw in a few cards that are just too good to ignore.

MTG - Breeches, Eager Pillager

Breeches, Eager Pillager

Breeches does a bit of everything. Every time he attacks, he either makes it easier for your Pirates to get through, creates a Treasure, or exiles the top card of your library and makes it available to play. He might not mill, but his utility is unmatched.

MTG - Captain Vargus Wrath

Captain Vargus Wrath

Odds are Admiral Brass will be recast several times from the command zone, meaning Captain Vargus Wrath will make your Pirates that much more deadly. A more impactful addition that enhances this deck’s aggression significantly.

MTG - Dire Fleet Poisoneer

Dire Fleet Poisoner

You can never have too many instant-speed answers, and it’s a double bonus that this card also happens to be a Pirate.

MTG - Forerunner of the Coalition

Forerunner of the Coalition

The one thing this deck desperately needed was a tutor, and this card is it. Pair with Breeches or Spectral Sailor to get that card a bit faster.

MTG - Glint-Horn Buccaneer

Glint-Horn Buccaneer

Discard to fill your graveyard and damage to each opponent. This card offers value in spades and pairs well with Francisco too.

MTG - Kindred Discovery

Kindred Discovery

Any blue typal deck can benefit from Kindred Discovery. It’s pushing the definition of budget at just under five dollars, but it’s worth it.

MTG - Kitesail Larcenist

Kitesail Larcenist

Steal your opponents’ stuff and turn it into treasure. This Pirate is fantastic for removal and an incredible target for Admiral Brass to recur.

MTG - Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel

Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel

Even without four chorus counters, Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel helps this deck with card cycling to fill your graveyard. Once you have four chorus counters, you don’t even need to bother with Admira Brass’s ability; you can just play whatever you draw for free.

MTG - The Everflowing Well

The Everflowing Well

Mill two cards, draw two cards, and then when you’ve got a graveyard full of cards (not hard to do with Admiral Brass), suddenly you can start copying whatever permanents for double trouble. Why not two Admira Brass? Two Kindred Discoveries? Two Kitesail Larcenists? This card does so much for so little.

Other Budget Upgrades To Consider

Fiery Cannonade is a very good instant-speed removal spell that also eliminates token and weenie strategies. It might be something to consider over Prismari Command.

Felwar Stone is often better than a Signet in multiplayer games, and since you’ll occasionally want mana of different colors, it’s a nice mana rock to have. Since you’re filling your graveyard anyway, Victimize offers a lot of sustain to keep the Admiral Brass recursion going on high-value Pirates.

Finally, Blood Money is expensive and Evacuation might not be allowed at your table, depending on house rules. Nevinnyral’s Disk is a fantastic color-agnostic board sweeper that’s criminally under-represented these days.

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