SCG Daily – Ninjas vs. Pirates!

Extended decks or goofy theme decks? Who the hell cares man, it’s Ninjas vs. Pirates in the latest installment of SCG Daily from Doctor Mox!

Harken and welcome, my cardboard-coveting colleagues. It is time once more to delve into the bulging sack of goodness of the inestimable Doctor Mox.

Dear Doctor Mox

What’s the coolest thing ever? I think it’s pirates, because they’re sweet, but my friend Robert says it’s ninjas because they flip out and kill people. I told him he was wrong and stupid, so he stole my foil Mistform Ultimus and cut it in half with some tiny scissors. I hate him.

Chad, IL.

Firstly, hello Chad.

Secondly, you must tell your friend Robert that Stealing Is Wrong. He sounds like a bully. If you stand up to him, I’m sure he’ll stop being mean. In reality, bullies like Robert are actually cowards. However, sometimes bullies like Robert are actually ninjas, so be careful what you say or he may just flip out and kill you.

And thirdly, we face the timeless question…

Which are coolest: Pirates or Ninjas?

To answer this fully, we must delve into the respective histories of these fabled and famous societies. We must thoroughly deconstruct the myths and legends that surround such figures, and we must pay homage to the long-held and noble traditions that both parties respect.

This is what we must do, so of course we shan’t be doing it. It would take time and effort, and I’ve a dinner date with Jetta, my Swiss ladyfriend. I’ll leave the hard work to the Premium Writers.

Instead, I present some dubious photographic evidence on the relative coolness of the Pirate and the Ninja.

First, consider this photo.

The first thing we notice is the costume. While red velvet and frills may be the height of fashion when trawling the Spanish Main for dubloons and grog, in today’s modern world it screams “this guy’s good with colors” louder than a Massachusetts Marriage.

And then we have the Pirate weaponry. A Pirate relies on the flash of the blade, but this particular sword seems much more flashy than… erm… “bladey”. Couple this with the dangerously-placed belt-bound double pistol combo (likely to cause a Meat-Mangling Musket Mishap at the drop of a three-cornered hat), and we can infer the Pirate is ill-equipped to deal with even the tiniest of Rumbles in his Jungle.

In contrast, we have the brooding figure cut by this gentleman.

Not for him the foppish garments of the trivial and the intricate, dear me no! He is clad from head to foot in traditional black. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any clothing blacker than the garb of the Ninja. Maybe Johnny Cash’s pants, but that’s it.

Black is the coolest of colors, as evidenced by Goths and Metalheads the world over. How can millions of angst-ridden teens be wrong?

For weapons, the Ninja wins hands down. Nunchacka and Katana and Shuriken, oh my! Whirling wood and shining sword aside, the jewel in the oriental crown is the Shuriken. These deadly throwing stars are the poster-weapon for the Ninja. Every self-respecting male youth has made a shuriken in shop class, smuggled it out and threw it at their music teacher because he made me sing a lullaby in front of my mates that one time.

In conclusion, we can see that the Ninja is superior to the Pirate in almost every way. Sure, the Ninja life is a lonely one, and Pirates get to hang out with hot Pirate chicks, but such a fact would severely distract your average Magic player to the point of sexual explosion. The price for carpet-cleaning alone would be astronomical. [Speaking of hot pirate chicks, that reminds me of Dragon*Con. Ah, sweet Dragon Con, where pirate chicks (both alive and dead) abound. – Knut, wistful]

“Wait a second, Doctor Mox,” I hear you cry. “While I admire your academic rigor and forthright opinions, this is a Magic site, yes? So where’s the f**king Magic strategy?”

You’ve a right to be annoyed, I grant you. After all, you’re paying for your Magic articles these days.

Never fear, the good doctor is nothing if not generous.

To test the true metal of both the Pirate and the Ninja, I pitted them together in a themed M:TG Extended Challenge. Here are the decklists:

Pop-Up Pirates

4 Rishadan Cutpurse

3 Rishadan Footpad

2 Gilded Drake

2 Morphling

4 Hoodwink

4 Boomerang

3 Seal of Removal

2 Capsize

2 Isochron Scepter

4 Parallax Tide

3 Ankh of Mishra

2 Counterspell

2 Stifle

10 Island

1 Faerie Conclave

3 Dust Bowl

4 Rishadan Port

4 Wasteland

This deck contains Pirates and bounce spells, attempting to win by denying your opponent access to mana. What could be more “Piratey” than stealing their resources?

As for a sideboard… there are other Pirate cards that work wonders. Pirate Ship, Reef Pirates, Cloud Pirates… And of course, we have the fantastic Kukemssa Pirates, a must if your region is awash with Affinity decks.

For the Ninja-lovers among you, I give you this:

A Ninja Conspiracy

4 Higure, the Still Wind

4 Walker of the Secret Ways

2 Ninja of the Deep Hours

1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

1 Mistblade Shinobi

4 Shadowmage Infiltrator

4 Sage Owl

1 Bone Shredder

1 Visara the Dreadful

1 Chittering Rats

1 Greater Harvester

4 Vampiric Tutor

4 Conspiracy

4 Cabal Therapy

8 Swamp

6 Island

4 Polluted Delta

4 Underground River

2 Darkwater Catacombs

This decklist is a modified version of one you may have seen somewhere else. I make no apologies: I’m a lazy man, and my ladyfriend Jetta insists I am never late to our clandestine meetings.

As for a sideboard… any “tool-box” creature can benefit from its new-found Conspiracy-induced Ninja status. Then we have countermagic, always a boon… and the stock sideboard cards such as Chill and Engineered Plague. To keep in flavor, try some of the other Ninjas. To actually win, try some of the other decks.

In testing, these decks performed as expected. While I expected (nay, prayed for) a titanic struggle between two cultural behemoths, what I actually received was more one-sided. The Pirates, with their superior and consistent gameplan, triumphed time and time again over the frankly ill-conceived and elaborate Ninja strategy.

Strange, then, that the flamboyant Pirates are well-honed and deadly, and the methodical Ninjas are relying on fanciness and frippery… A metaphor for Life, perhaps? If you really think about it… you’ll find it isn’t.

Chad, I am now ready to answer your question. After my thorough and exhaustive research, I can now give a considered and categorical response.

We see that, while Ninjas hold the upper hand in the real-life arena, they get kicked in the nunchucks time and time again by the terrible Magical might of the Pirate menace.

But which are cooler? Pirates or Ninjas?

The answer is, of course, Robots.

Join me next time, when I’ll be answering the fabled conundrum of who would win a fight between a caveman and an astronaut.

Until then, keep turning things sideways!

Doctor Mox.

NB: If you have a question for Doctor Mox, he can be contacted at [email protected].

Please send an e-cheque for $1000 with each question.