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Warlock Zoo Wild Deck

Last updated on Mar 16, 2016 at 17:55 by Sottle 28 comments

Table of Contents

The following guide outlines how to play the League of Explorers version of a fast Zoo Warlock. This style of the deck is a return the classic format where the deck curves out extremely aggressively and omits high curve cards like Dr. Boom and the Voidcaller package. It was brought back into popularity by Herudra, who was one of the first players to hit Legend in the December season, and used to win the Insomnia Truesilver Championship by RDU.

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. Warlock Zoo Wild Deck

Our deck costs 2,760 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Warlock Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve

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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 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. 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.

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, Voidwalker, and Abusive Sergeant. Using combinations of high health minions 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.

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.

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 Imp Gang Boss 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 and Defender of Argus are vital in order to create favourable trades for your small minions. For example, an Abusive Sergeant buff placed on an Imp can trade into the first half of a Piloted Shredder, 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. Power Overwhelming falls into this group of cards as well, although it is tempting to hold this card as a finisher, it is best to use it as an additional buff card to make a favourable trade, especially if you are able to use it on a Deathrattle minion.

Brann Bronzebeard is a new addition to Zoo, but can greatly assist you in amplifying the power of your aforementioned buff cards. Abusive Sergeant can add 4 damage to the board when combined with Brann, while Defender of Argus will add a massive +2/+2 to two minions on your board. On top of this, Brann enables you to pick up two Discover options from Dark Peddler, which doubles your chances at hitting excellent cards like Power Overwhelming, Soulfire, Abusive Sergeant, or Mortal Coil. Look out for the possible negative impacts of Brann however, such as double damage from a Flame Imp, or 4 cards being discarded by Doomguard.

Imp-losion is included in the deck to make up for some of the power lost by the nerf to Soulfire. The power of Soulfire was that you could play multiple minions onto the board, and then Soulfire for 0 Mana and an empty hand. Imp-losion simulates this effect by dealing damage, and also putting multiple minions into play for you.

Finally in this deck you have your power cards, Loatheb and Doomguard. This deck is a return to the classic style of Zoo that does not play any high curve cards like Dr. Boom. This increases the consistency of your early game and allow you keep pace with other Aggro decks and fast decks like Secret Paladin. The goal is to gain an advantage by emptying your hand and then either tap into more resources, or drop one of the power cards to either consolidate your board in the case of Loatheb, or bypass the drawback of Doomguard.

3.1. 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.

Against other aggressive decks that look to have a fast start such as Hunter, Secret Paladin, Tempo Mage, or other Zoos, your best opening is Voidwalker as it is a key card early against aggro. Its 1/3 body can trade very favourably into opposing Leper Gnomes or other small minions, especially when targetted with an Abusive Sergeant buff. Flame Imp is less good in these matchups as it trades very unfavourably with minions such as Leper Gnome or Shielded Minibot.

Against Control Warrior, you should look for stickier minions like Haunted Creeper in your opening hand to reduce the threat of Fiery War Axe. However, you can pay attention to your opponent's mulligan and keep a more aggressive hand with Flame Imps and Knife Jugglers if they throw away a lot of cards, since they will be less likely to have a Fiery War Axe than if they keep their whole hand.

3.1.1. Card Swaps

A Dr. Boom can be included in the deck in place of a Dire Wolf Alpha.

Gormok the Impaler can be cut from the deck in favour of a Dark Iron Dwarf or Piloted Shredder if you do not have access to it.

If you are encountering a large percentage of Aggro matchups, Flame Imp can be substituted for Argent Squire.

4. ChangeLog

  • 16 Mar. 2016: This deck has been reviewed and deemed appropriate for the Season 24 meta.
  • 16 Jan. 2016: Removed 1 x Void Terror for 1 x Brann Bronzebeard.
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