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Season 20 Warlock Zoo Naxx Wild Deck

Last updated on Jan 30, 2015 at 12:00 by Sottle 30 comments

Table of Contents

Disclaimer: this deck has been archived. It remains on the website for documentation purposes, but we no longer maintain it and no longer guarantee that it works well in the current meta-game.

This guide outlines a fast, aggressive Warlock deck. At an extremely low dust total of 3,000 plus Naxxramas cards, it is one of the cheapest decks that can compete at the highest ranks of the ladder as well as in a competitive setting.

Update: Following the nerf in December's patch to Soulfire, we have evaluated the Warlock decks and decided that Soulfire still merits inclusion. Soulfire is a unique and powerful effect that is not easily replicated by other cards, and should still remain strong at 1 Mana.

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. S20 Warlock Zoo Naxx Wild Deck

Our deck costs 3,000 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.

The 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 and Dire Wolf Alpha, which rely on minion positions to apply their unique effects. For example, if you intend to apply a Defender of Argus buff to a Nerubian Egg you will want to place the Egg in the middle of your board to maximise the options of which other minion to taunt.

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, Voidwalker, and Abusive Sergeant. Using combinations of the Argent Squire's Divine Shield, or the Voidwalkers high health alongside the buff from Abusive Sargent 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.

Following this you will transition to the mid-game where you will look to drop difficult to remove minions such as Nerubian Egg, Haunted Creeper, and Harvest Golem to consolidate your board position and make it difficult for your opponent to answer your board with AoE spells such as Lightning Storm or Consecration. It is important during this period that you do not over commit to the board if you do not have any of the above Deathrattle minions in play. Try to be aware of what your opponent can do to clear the board, and hold back sufficient cards in your hand to follow up the next turn if the worst should happen.

The buff cards in the deck such as Abusive Sergeant, Dire Wolf Alpha and Dark Iron Dwarf are vital in order to create favourable trades for your small minions. For example, an Abusive Sergeant buff placed on a Flame Imp can trade into a Chillwind Yeti, creating a huge Mana advantage. You should try to use these cards only in these particular situations and avoid using them simply to do damage to the opponent unless you are making a push for the win. Furthermore, these cards are essential for activating your Nerubian Eggs, although you should think about whether you prefer to keep your Egg inactive to prevent potential AoE from your opponent.

A single Ironbeak Owl is included in the deck as a utility card. Zoo can not often afford to have too many cards like this in the deck, as the strategy relies on every card you draw being useful the turn you draw it. However, Silence is such a powerful effect in the current meta due to early Deathrattle minions and the late threat of Sludge Belcher stopping your aggression, that we consider this inclusion justified.

Loatheb is a powerful card and a more recent inclusion in Zoo decks. Dropping Loatheb on turn 5 onto a large board of creatures can spell havok for your opponent, since the only way a lot of decks are able to keep up with Zoo is through use of AoE spells. You should avoid holding on to Loatheb for too long, since every turn you wait, you increase the chances of drawing a Doomguard which will end up discarding Loatheb if you are forced to play it first.

Finally in this deck you have your power cards, Soulfire and Doomguard, which can create some of the most powerful turns in the game. Due to the nature of the Zoo deck you can often play a Soulfire or Doomguard with an otherwise empty hand and bypass the card discard effect altogether. While this scenario is ideal, it’s important not to wait too long to play these cards, as drawing into multiple copies of them and having them discard each other can be disastrous for your gameplan.

3.1. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

General mulligan strategy involves pushing aggressively for an Flame Imp and other 1-drops. With The Coin, a hand of 4 1-drops is fantastic as you can play 2 1-drop minions on Turn 1 followed by another 2 1-drops on Turn 2 and then use your Hero Power to refill on cards. Without the coin a more standard curve of creatures costing 1-3 Mana is preferable.

Against other aggressive decks that look to have a fast start such as Hunter, Undertaker Priest, or other Zoos, keeping a Soulfire is a fine idea as killing a minion for 1 Mana early in the match can often give you a significant advantage. Voidwalker is also a key card early against aggro as its 1/3 body can trade very favourably into opposing Leper Gnomes or other small minions, especially when targetted with an Abusive Sergeant buff.

3.1.1. Card Swaps

Zoo decks have an incredibly flexible list of cards. The version we have published is the one we believe to be the best, however there are numerous cards that can be considered.

Hellfire is an inclusion that can help you catch up against other fast decks that outpace you in the early turns, as well as synergising with the Nerubian Egg. Try cutting a Defender of Argus if you find the need for a board clear.

Shieldbearer is a card that can protect your early minions from easy trades and enable them to attack on your terms. Plus after receiving a buff like Dire Wolf Alpha or Shattered Sun Cleric it gains a huge amount of stats for a 1 Mana card.

4. ChangeLog

  • 30 Jan. 2015: Changed 2 x Undertaker, 2 x Leper Gnome for 2 x Argent Squire, 2 x Shattered Sun Cleric.
  • 25 Nov. 2014: Changed 1 x Void Terror, 1 x Power Overwhelming for 1 x Ironbeak Owl, 1 x Loatheb.
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