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Sometime after Ace left Dawn Island to pursue his path as a pirate, he eventually formed the Spade Pirates. Over time, the crew gained a great reputation, and Ace was known as a "super rookie" and was also offered the chance to become one of the Shichibukai, but he refused. He also attracted Whitebeard's attention through the newspaper. When they finally entered the New World Ace immediately went to meet "Red Haired" Shanks in order to thank him for saving his little brother.
Ace and his crew eventually decided to challenge Whitebeard for his head, but were stopped by Jinbe, who fought Ace to protect Whitebeard. They fought for five days without rest, until they both fell in a tie. After the battle had ended, Whitebeard and his crew appeared. Whitebeard announced to whoever wished to kill him that he would take his head himself. Whitebeard then attacked the Spade Pirates, and utterly defeated them. When Ace knew there was no hope of victory, he formed a firewall to allow his crew to escape, while he continued to fight Whitebeard alone. Whitebeard then offered a heavily wounded Ace a chance to join his crew and (in his words) to become his son to which Ace outright refused. Regardless, he was knocked unconscious and dragged onto Whitebeard's flagship.
The remaining Spade Pirates tried to take Ace back, but they were all defeated in their attempts. However, they were fortunately spared and taken aboard the same ship as Ace. Ace tried many times to assassinate Whitebeard (said by Vista to be at least 100), but eventually gave up and accepted the offer to join. The Spade Pirates have since then been integrated along with their captain into the ranks of their former enemy. They mourned their former captain's death at the end of the Battle of Marineford, along with the rest of the Whitebeard Pirates.
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The Spade Pirates were powerful enough to make it through the first half of the Grand Line. Their captain, Ace, managed to fight on equal terms with one of the Shichibukai, Jinbe, for five days straight, as well as being offered a position as a Shichibukai himself. The crew also showed a lack of fear, as they attempted to attack Whitebeard in order to save their captain despite knowing that they were outmatched.
The Spade Pirates' Jolly Roger is a normal grinning skull and crossbones wearing Ace's signature hat, which has two "smileys", one smiling and the other frowning. The top of the hat has flames protruding from it, a representation of Ace's fire-based abilities. The background of the skull is a spade and the word "SPADE" is beneath it.
The Spade Pirates' ship was seen only in Ace's flashback in Chapter 552 and Episode 461. As they have now disbanded and integrated into the Whitebeard Pirates, it is unknown what happened to the ship.
The figurehead of the ship is similar to the design of their Jolly Roger; a flaming skull. There are also chains linked to the skull and the sides of the ship. The foremost sail bears the crew's Jolly Roger. The back sail on the top contains the word "SPADE", and has the crew's flag on top of it. As only the front of the ship is shown, it is unknown what the rest of it looks like.
- Their name "Spade", as well as their captain's name "Ace", are both references to the ace of spades.
- They are the second pirate crew revealed to have joined another crew, the first being the Fanged Toad Pirates joining the Foxy Pirates; although, unlike the Fanged Toad Pirates, of whom only the most important members were taken, the entire Spade Pirate crew was integrated into Whitebeard's crew.
- One of the members of the Spade Pirates strongly resembles a member of the Sun Pirates seen during Jinbe's flashback in chapter 830.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 57 Chapter 552 and Episode 461, Sengoku explaining about Ace and the Spade Pirates.
- ↑ One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 57 Chapter 552 (p. 6) and Episode 461, Ace refused the invitation to join the Shichibukai.