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Gul'dan Zoo Warlock Deck

Last updated on Nov 09, 2017 at 16:03 by L0rinda 31 comments

Table of Contents

Gul'dan Zoo is a little different to traditional Zoo decks in that it uses more midrange minions than usual. The deck's main focus is still board control through minions, but there are fewer buffs than usual. Instead, the deck focuses on the Taunt and power provided by Bonemare, the value provided by Prince Keleseth, and the removal provided by Despicable Dreadlord.

To make up for the lack of 2-drops necessitated by Prince Keleseth there are still plenty of 1 Mana minions in the deck, which can fight for the early board. This contrast with the Bloodreaver Gul'dan seems strange, but the deck manages to tread the fine line between tempo and value extremely well.

1. Card List

This deck costs 6,800 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Warlock Cards Neutral Cards

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2. Mana Curve

0
16
1
4
2
4
0
3

3. Strategy

3.1. Mulligan and Early Game

As with all variants of Zoo, this deck needs to have minions on the board to maximize its power. Although it is tempting to try to get Prince Keleseth in your opening hand — as it is by far the most influential card in the deck — you should also try to ensure that you have a reasonable early curve.

Unlike most Zoo decks, this mulligan decision is a tough one. The strength of many of the cards depend on so many other factors that experience will play a big part in your decision. Some of those factors are outlined below.

3.1.1. Card Interactions

Not all of the 1-drops in the deck are the same strength. Not only that, but some of the 1-drops perform differently based on the rest of your hand. If you have a strong start, then Voidwalker can often be used to protect the other minions on your board. By the time your opponent has got through the Voidwalker, it can be possible to have a powerful board. However, if your start is a slow one then the Voidwalker can end up just being a fairly pointless 1/3 minion.

A more simple example is Acherus Veteran. This can be a good card in the early game, but if it is your only 1-drop, then it is not going to do much at all and can be safely thrown away.

3.1.2. Opponent

The deck that your opponent is playing will have a big bearing on the desired opening hand. Against Control decks, Flame Imp is a terrific 1-drop as it can often do 6 or even 9 damage before it is dealt with. Against Rogue, however, the Flame Imp is often easily dealt with, and you would prefer to have had a Voidwalker to slow down the opposing dagger. You would still not throw back the Flame Imp if it is your only 1-drop in that situation, but you should consider doing so if you have a choice.

3.1.3. First Three Turns

It is very important that you carefully plan out your first three turns. For example, if your opening hand is Bloodsail Corsair, Prince Keleseth, and Southsea Captain you will probably not want to play the Corsair on Turn 1, as you would rather wait to play a pirate when Patches has been buffed by the Keleseth and the Captain. If you are not going to play the card on Turn 1, then there is no point in keeping it, so this perfectly looking hand can actually throw back the Corsair.

3.1.4. 3-Drops

Turn 3 can be an issue for the deck, as it only plays Southsea Captain and Darkshire Councilman on 3 Mana. You will often want to keep a 3-drop, particularly the Captain due to its interaction with Patches the Pirate, even if you keep nothing else.

3.1.5. Summing Up

The above examples are offered to show how difficult the mulligan can be with this deck. You are also looking for an excuse to mulligan sub-par hands so as to try and find Prince Keleseth. Try to weigh up all the factors, but remember that the overriding aim is to play something on every turn and to gain control of the board. If you achieve this, then the other factors can be worked on as your skill level with the deck increases.

3.2. Mid Game

There is a lot going on in the mid-game, but other than "Can I kill my opponent rapidly?", the main thing on your mind should be having a minion on the board going into the turn where you intend to cast Bonemare. If you manage to get a buff from Bonemare on any minion at all, you will be in very good shape in the majority of matchups.

The best way to go about setting up for your Bonemare turn is to deny your opponent any minions of their own. If they do not have any minions with which to trade, they will need to have AoE effects, which are usually expensive and easy to play around. You should try to make sure that if your board is wiped out on Turn 6, that you can reload and start again on the following turn to give yourself another chance of landing a Bonemare as soon as possible.

3.2.1. Discard Strategy

One of the reasons that discard is functional in Warlock decks is that you can replenish your hand with Life Tap. You should bear in mind at all times that the primary way to win with this deck is to occupy the board. If the best way to protect your board is to kill an opposing minion early in the game with Soulfire, then you should not be worried about the discard. Likewise, you will often have a decision on Turn 5 as to whether to play Doomguard and risk discarding a Bonemare or Bloodreaver Gul'dan. Unless you are playing against a deck where Gul'dan is absolutely essential, you should concentrate on the potential gain from the presence of the Doomguard rather than the downside of the discard.

3.2.2. Board Control

You have several good options with which to control the board. As previously mentioned, this can be done with Soulfire and Doomguard, but there are also Mortal Coil and Despicable Dreadlord which can help your minions to get beneficial trades.

Your Taunt minions can often be used to hide a big army behind. In those situations you can often abandon controlling the board and start to attack the enemy directly, while they are struggling to bash through your Taunts. This will require some careful calculation, as if your attack is prevented then giving up on the board control will often be a costly error.

3.3. Individual Card Strategies

3.3.1. Bloodreaver Gul'dan

The main use for Bloodreaver Gul'dan is for some late-game sustain. The Hero Power can be used to outlast Control decks, while the revival of all of your demons can provide enough push to beat Tempo decks. It is also worth remembering that any Doomguards that have died will come back, and be able to attack on the turn that you play Gul'dan.

3.3.2. Malchezaar's Imp

Malchezaar's Imp needs to be carefully managed. Although it is often correct to hold it back so as to play it on the same turn as a Doomguard or Soulfire, you should try not to give up much tempo on the board for the ability to do this. If you need a 1/3 minion on the board early, it is often correct to simply play the Imp.

3.3.3. Prince Keleseth

Playing Prince Keleseth on curve is the best play this deck has. With all of your minions buffed for the rest of the game, your win rate will be exceptionally high as cards with equal cost to your opponent's will survive most trades. With that being said, the chance of finding Keleseth in the mulligan when you throw away three cards is still only 11%, and so throwing away a great opening curve to hunt for Keleseth is counter-productive. It is also worth noting that later in the game, Keleseth often becomes one of your worst cards, as the 2/2 body is not very influential, and the future buffs will only apply for a small number of turns before the game ends.

In the games where you do play an early Prince Keleseth, remember that your Patches the Pirate will have been buffed in your deck. This often means that you do not want to pull Patches into play until after you have played the Prince.

3.3.4. Southsea Captain

Southsea Captain is one of the key cards in the deck. Having Patches the Pirate come out of the deck as a 2/2 Charge minion (or a 3/3 if Prince Keleseth has been played) is significantly stronger than as a 1/1. You should account for this if you are considering playing Bloodsail Corsair on Turn 1 with the Captain in your hand.

4. 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.

5. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 09 Nov. 2017: Deck added. A Zoo Warlock deck which makes use of Bonemare and Bloodreaver Gul'dan for a powerful late game if the early game fails.
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