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Budget Zoo Warlock Standard Un'Goro Deck

Last updated on Apr 08, 2017 at 18:36 by L0rinda 30 comments

Table of Contents

The following guide outlines how to play a Standard build of the popular Warlock Zoo deck. Zoo lost Imp Gang Boss in the Year of the Mammoth, but gained Ravenous Pterrordax, a powerful new card which can Adapt twice. It also gained Clutchmother Zavas which means that Zoo will almost certainly be relient on Discard strategies going forward. This budget version is presented for people looking to still play the archetype.

1. About the Author

L0rinda has extensive experience with Hearthstone. After starting out with Arena and becoming one of the most prominent streamers in that format, he moved over to Constructed and now primarily spends his time as a caster for Blizzard, Starladder, and Dreamhack.

2. Budget Zoo Warlock Standard Un'Goro Deck

Our deck costs 1,640 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Warlock Cards Neutral Cards

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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 will develop over time, not just with this deck, but with Hearthstone in general. This makes Budget Zoo a great deck, not only to learn the game with, but to play as an improving, or free to play player.

Another key to playing this deck is minion positioning. When playing minions onto the board always consider Dire Wolf Alpha. When positioning for Dire Wolf, keep your opponent's 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. Remember that if one minion dies, the next one along will then receive the buff from the Dire Wolf.

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.

It is imperative that you manage to Adapt Ravasaur Runt. This should be easy enough, but it will often involve playing it on Turn 3 alongside a 1-drop. The three Adapt effects that will be most commonly taken are Rocky Carapace, Crackling Shield, and Living Spores. These will give you a very sticky minion for only 2 Mana. You should always be on the lookout for the opportunity to take different options though. A well timed Poison Spit can easily swing a game against an otherwise impossible to deal with opposing minion.

Although the Runt often gets delayed until Turn 3, you will often be able to play Darkshire Librarian on Turn 2 to compensate. Unless discarding your 3-drop appears to be a disaster for you, you should not be scared of the Discard from the Librarian if you need to play something. You will, afterall, get a card back when it dies. If you have other strong options, then it is fine to try to delay playing the Librarian until your hand is empty, and to gain a bit of card advantage, but this absolutely must not be done at the expense of tempo on the board.

Darkshire Councilman in is a card that can easily snowball out of your opponent's control if they are unable to deal with it immediately. It gets buffed not only by playing more minions, but from the Deathrattle effects of Possessed Villager and Devilsaur Egg. With this in mind you will want to get it on the board at the earliest opportunity, and challenge your opponent to deal with it.

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.

Devilsaur Egg serves two purposes in the deck. Not only is it a relatively efficient way to make a 5/5 minion, but it serves as AoE protection. If you feel that your opponent is about to cast an AoE spell, then playing the Egg will often enable you to very rapidly re-establish your board, or prevent them from casting the spell at all.

3.1. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

General mulligan strategy involves pushing aggressively for a Flame Imp and other 1-drops. You will want to spend all of your Mana every turn with this deck, so bear that in mind. You should also consider that Ravasaur Runt will usually be played on the same turn as another minion, so as to more easily trigger the Adapt. Factor that into your thinking when mapping out your first three turns.

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

3.2. Synergies & Combinations

Ravenous Pterrordax is amazing when combined with Devilsaur Egg, you can create a 5/5 Devilsaur, and double Adapt your Pterrodax at the same time. The Pterrodax also works well the turn after playing Forbidden Ritual, or with Possessed Villager

4. ChangeLog

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  • 08 Apr. 2017: Deck now focusing on being a budget deck to separate it from Discard Zoo.
  • 06 Apr. 2017: Updated for Un'Goro. -2 Imp Gang Boss, -2 Dark Peddler, -2 Power Overwhelming -1 Defender of Argus, +1 Voidwalker +2 Devilsaur Egg, +2 Ravasaur Runt, +2 Ravenous Pterrordax
  • 03 Sep. 2016: Deck added.
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