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Discard Zoo Warlock Karazhan Standard Deck

Last updated on Sep 08, 2016 at 07:51 by Sottle 35 comments

Table of Contents

This build of Zoo takes advantage of the new Discard mechanics added in the One Night in Karazhan Adventure. It is perhaps a little less consistent overall than a regular Zoo deck, but offers the potential for huge blowouts if your cards line up correctly.

1. About the Author

This deck is presented to you by Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player who plays for compLexity Gaming. Sottle regularly streams on Twitch and explains all of his moves. Watching him is a good opportunity to see how this and other decks play out in practice, and how decisions are made in real time.

2. Discard Zoo Warlock Karazhan Standard Deck

Our deck costs 1,180 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Warlock Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

The general strategy of Zoo is to aggressively build a board with small efficient minions and use your numerous buff cards to create favourable trades into higher cost minions. Combining this with the Warlock's Life Tap Hero Power, you can quickly overwhelm your opponent with card draw and create an imposing board state that they will not be able to answer.

A common mistake for newer players with this deck is to prioritise attacking the opponent’s life total directly. Instead you should focus on making favourable trades to maintain minions on the board and create more damage over time. Choosing the right moment to attack your opponent directly and push for the win is a skill you can develop over time, not just with this deck, but with Hearthstone in general. As a general rule with this deck though, you are looking to trade and create an advantage over time.

Another key to playing this deck at a high level is minion positioning. When playing minions onto the board always consider cards like Defender of Argus which rely on minion positions to apply their unique effects. For example, if you intend to apply a Defender of Argus buff to a Argent Squire you will want to place the Squire in the middle of your board to maximise the options of which other minion to taunt. Other positional concerns with this deck are Dire Wolf Alpha and Imp Gang Boss. When positioning for Dire Wolf, keep your opponents expected play for the next turn in mind at all times and plan in advance how you would most efficiently trade into it using Dire Wolf, placing your minions accordingly. Also keep in mind that Imp Gang Boss will spawn tokens immediately to the right of it, and keep that it mind when factoring in Defender of Argus and Dire Wolf Alpha on following turns. Additional positional concerns come into play with this deck since a summoned Silverware Golem from a discard will always appear on the far right of the board, so keep that in mind as well.

The early game is extremely important with this deck, so in the early turns you want to quickly establish a board advantage. The key cards to facilitate this are Flame Imp, Argent Squire, Possessed Villager, Voidwalker, and Abusive Sergeant. Using combinations of high health minions, Deathrattles or Divine Shields alongside the buff from Abusive Sergeant you can begin to remove your opponent's early minions whilst keeping your own alive, creating a board advantage that you can compound on in the later turns. Malchezaar's Imp is another potential 1-drop that you can play out early, but unless you have no other options, it is usually better to attempt to get value from this card later with a Discard combo.

Dark Peddler is a card that introduces a ton of flexibility to your early-game turns. If you have a Peddler in hand, you have the option of using it directly on turn 2, or playing an alternate 2-drop on turn 2, and following up with the Peddler on turn 3, safe in the knowledge that you will get a 1 Mana card to fill out your curve. This level of flexibility brings a lot of security to your mulligan process. As long as you have a Peddler in your opening hand, you are almost guaranteed to get a smooth opening. The power of Dark Peddler in the deck is amplified even further by the fact that so many of the Warlock 1 Mana cards are valuable for this deck. Power Overwhelming, Soulfire, Mortal Coil, Voidwalker, and Flame Imp are all valuable.

Darkshire Librarian is a card that comes into the deck now there is more benefit to discarding cards from your hand. If you are able to secure the start of playing this card on turn 2 and discarding a Silverware Golem, you will be immensely favoured in almost any situation. However, take a moment to evaluate the odds based on the other cards in your hand. It may be more consistent to wait until a later turn after you can play out the majority of your hand to increase the odds of those two cards lining up together. Darkshire Librarian is also a very strong draw in the late-game as you will usually be able to play it for no downside.

Moving into the mid-game your potential for explosive turns increases exponentially. As you gain access to more Mana, you will be able to more consistently empty your hand to be able to guarantee discard specific cards. This is at its most powerful with Silverware Golem but can also provide a benefit by just cycling a low power card with Malchezaar's Imp. These power turns are key to the success of the deck and can immediately create board states that your opponent is unable to deal with. There is also the option to try and hold on to a Malchezaar's Imp to combine with a Doomguard on turn 6, to immediately draw through two additional cards in your deck.

Your goal with this deck is to maintain board dominance and to defend cards like Darkshire Councilman to maintain pressure. This makes trading as efficiently as possible extremely important for the deck as it will limit your opponent's options in terms of how to deal with your board. If you start being too aggressive too early, your opponent will have more flexibility in terms of how to clear your board, and since this deck plays very few recovery mechanics you are depending on being ahead on the board at all times. It is important to make an aggressive push at some point however, as without doing so you can find yourself being outvalued by your opponent's late-game minions if you have spent too much time trading. Generally the right time to start pushing damage through to your opponent is when you are confident that they have no realistic way of clearing your board and when you have extra damage in hand to back up your aggression.

As mentioned previously Malchezaar's Imp should often be held onto until you get immediate value since it is such a powerful engine for digging through your deck to find power cards like Doomguard. This is also true in the late-game where Malchezaar's Imp can be used to cycle useless late-game cards like Flame Imp by discarding them and looking for something more powerful. The goal of the additional cycle in your deck is to allow you to dig through a higher percentage of your deck and pick up more power cards like Darkshire Councilman, Doomguard, and Soulfire to be able to end the game.

3.1. Synergies & Combinations

Darkshire Councilman can be buffed very quickly in this deck since it gains attack from all summoned tokens such as those from Imp Gang Boss and Possessed Villager's Deathrattle.

Malchezaar's Imp can be used to turn discarding cards into a positive thing by replacing weak cards in your hand.

Silverware Golem works in much the same way, by turning the discard effects in your deck into a huge upside.

3.2. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

General mulligan strategy involves pushing aggressively for a Flame Imp and other 1-drops. With The Coin, a hand of multiple 2-drops is excellent, as you can use The Coin to play a 2-drop on each of the first two turns. Without the coin a more standard curve of creatures costing 1-3 Mana is preferable. Dark Peddler is another excellent card to look for in your opening hand as it creates a huge amount of flexibility with how you can choose to play your opening turns.

Try not to get too carried away with keeping cards like Silverware Golem in your opening hand, even if it's alongside a Soulfire. Since early in the game you will have a reasonably full hand, the chances of discarding one specific card is unlikely and you should focus on more consistent openings.

Against other aggressive decks that look to have a fast start such as Hunter, Tempo Mage, or other Zoos, your best opening is Voidwalker, Possessed Villager, or Argent Squire as they are both key cards early against aggro. These minions can trade very favourably into opposing small minions, especially when targetted with an Abusive Sergeant buff.

Keeping Soulfire against Shaman or Warrior specifically is very strong as they both play 4 Health minions early in the game. If you are able to combine a Soulfire successfully with a discard synergy early in the game against either of these decks, then you will be in an extremely favourable position.

3.3. Card Swaps

Crazed Alchemist is a tech choice that can be used if you are encountering a lot of decks running Doomsayer.

4. ChangeLog

  • 08 Sep. 2016: Deck added.
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