Every Friday a legendary member from team IHearthU breaks down IHU’s “Deck of the Week” . These decks are seeing a lot of play either in constructed ladder or tournaments. Team IHU explains the deck lists and how to play them. View past Deck Lists of the Week.
Hey! It’s IHU-Impact here with another Deck of the Week. This week, we’re going to look at a slightly modified version of Xixo’s Zoo deck. This Zoo deck was able to achieve #1 legend on NA, EU and the Asia server. This deck’s incredibly good at putting on board pressure early and has a great recovery mechanic in the form of Imp-losion. Due to recent metagame shifts and the huge upswing Big Game Hunter’s popularity, some changes were made because Sea Giant loses a lot of strength if it’s your only Big Game Hunter target.
2 Soulfire – Soulfire, once a must-play in Zoo has been rotated in and out for different choices like Power Overwhelming, Darkbomb or even more minions. Ultimately I still think that Soulfire is the most efficient burst card for Zoo because it’s guaranteed direct damage, it kills a minion without trading and discarding from the hand is almost always irrelevant in zoo because the only thing that matters in tempo decks like the zoo deck is the board.
2 Abusive Sergeant – Abusive Sergeant is one of the reasons that Zoo is so efficient, you can make easy trades with almost all your minions into ones of much higher stats. If you’ve ever killed a Chillwind Yeti or a Sludge Belcher with a Flame Imp you know the power of this card. It’s also an activator for Nerubian Egg, one of the key tempo-swinging cards of the deck.
2 Clockwork Gnome – Clockwork Gnome is a new addition to the Zoo deck, upping your 1-mana Deathrattle count to 4. This card gets the nod over Voidwalker because it helps increase those strong openers with Undertaker into multiple deathrattles that run away with the game. In addition, Zoo is one of the decks that can really make use of the Spare Parts, as they’re all spells that affect the board. The stat changers are huge and the stealth one can protect key minions when going for lethal or even to deny efficient trades.
2 Flame Imp – The best one drop in the game by itself, Flame Imp gets the nod because of the heavy control meta, Flame Imp is able to deal insane amounts of damage if it isn’t met with a Fiery War Axe on turn 2.
2 Leper Gnome – Leper Gnome is admittedly one of the weaker cards in the Zoo deck but it’s probably the only 1-drop that scales well in the entire game. The damage from Leper Gnome is super relevant in the late game where having it on the board guarantees lethal outside of silence. It also is a must in the deck because of Undertaker.
2 Undertaker – The most important card in your entire Zoo deck. You throw away most of your cards (except other 1 drops) to look specifically for this card. You have to try and snowball this card in this meta because it’s too easily dealt with otherwise but if the card does manage to snowball, you’ll probably win the game.
2 Dire Wolf Alpha – Dire Wolf Alpha is an exceptional card by itself. Its 2 damage charge that leaves a 2/2 body and potentially 2 more damage behind. Properly positioning your minions allows you to get many value trades with Dire Wolf in a single turn. This card is one of the most powerful cards in a Zoo deck. This card’s especially good with Imp-losion as it doubles the damage potential of the card.
2 Haunted Creeper – Haunted Creeper’s the second most valuable 2-drop in the game. The top end of Haunted Creeper’s a 1/2 that when it dies spawns 2 1/1s. This card absolutely destroys other aggressive decks. One Haunted Creeper blanks 3 2/1s by itself, and it combos with Knife Juggler for extra damage and potential board wipes. This card also protects you from board wipes and allows you to keep your board populated to maximize the power of buff cards.
2 Knife Juggler – This card is quite possibly one of the best aggressive cards in the entire game. Knife Juggler frontloads an extra 1 damage from every minion summoned. This power is amplified in aggressive decks like this, Hunter and Paladin. They allow you to clear boards, pressure their life total and get amazing, unexpected trades. It’s a random effect but you can control it by trading and setting up the damage prior. This card’s one of my favorites in the game due to its raw power as a 2 drop. If it wasn’t for this card, I don’t think Zoo would be as strong as it is. Now with Imp-losion, you can get extra juggles and kill so many minions for the cost of 4 mana.
2 Nerubian Egg – This little egg is so very powerful. Once you break the egg with an Abusive Sergeant, Dark Irion Dwarf, Defender of Argus or whatever, you add a 4/4 on the board for 2 mana. When we think about other 4/4s for 2 mana, you look at Millhouse Manastorm, a card with an insane drawback. Nerubian Egg doesn’t have a drawback, and it buffs Undertaker. It makes board wipes a lot weaker and it makes it so much harder to clear the board.
2 Harvest Golem – Harvest Golem has been and maintains to be the most valuable 3 drop in the game. 2/3 on top and 2/1 on the bottom. Now it has mech-synergy (however, that doesn’t apply here but still relevant to note) and buffs Undertaker so be prepared to see Harvest Golem pop up in even more strategies than it did before.
2 Imp-losion – A new card from GVG. This card adds another powerful removal card to the Zoo’s arsenal but this card brings 2-4 1/1s along with it. Dire Wolf Alpha and Knife Juggler amplify the strength of this card and it gives you a lot of targets to use with your buffs. This card also allows you to refill the board after some board wipes.
1 Dark Iron Dwarf – Dark Iron Dwarf is a great card, it’s one of the cards I always fear when I play against a Zoo deck. When they buff a Nerubian Egg and trade it with this card, you’ll be staring down 2 4/4s and you’ll probably lose. This card also lets you buff over Sludge Belchers and reinforces your board. It’s one of the more powerful cards, but it’s situational so we play 1. If we played less situational cards, we’d be able to play 2 copies but we’ll play 1 here for consistency.
2 Defender of Argus – Defender of Argus is one of the most powerful cards in this deck. When you resolve a Defender of Argus, you’re getting a 4/5 with 2 damage of that being a charge. This card also allows you to win races and you’d be able to reinforce your board, protecting you from board wipes. It’s incredibly hard to beat a turn 4 Defender of Argus. Newer builds play 1 but this card is just too powerful to not play 2 of.
2 Doomguard – The best top deck in the game. 5/7 charge for 5 mana is an incredibly good deal. You often won’t discard 2 cards due to the nature of the deck but even if you do, the card is still incredibly powerful. This card is often your finisher but when you play this card into your established board, it becomes nearly impossible to clear the whole thing. This card’s a game winner by itself but in a deck as aggressive as this, you’ll truly see the power of the card. This is the one card you chant in your head ‘please no doomguard, please no doomguard’ and now you know why. This card becomes a bit trickier to play with Imp-losion and 1 mana Soulfire, so the deck is a bit more difficult to play but it’s very rewarding.
1 Loatheb – Loatheb is the replacement for Sea Giant and it fits the deck a bit better. Sea Giant gets destroyed by the very popular Sea Giant and Loatheb locks down the board when you’ve got the game under control and it’s almost 5 guaranteed damage when you’ve got board control. I look at the card as a delayed Doomguard because it’s 5 damage but they have a chance to taunt up when you play it but they won’t be able to respond with removal.
In this deck, across every matchup you want to try and find 1 drops. Undertaker and Flame Imps being the top priority. Versus Warrior I get greedy and try and throw away 2/1s if I don’t have one of the top priority minions as 2/1s get punished by Cruel Taskmaster and Armorsmith. Every other matchup, you just want to keep your 1 drops. They lose value as the game goes on so you really want to find as many as you can early and swarm the board. Your hero power is strictly better than other hero powers so you’ll be able to out card them. Just make sure to not lose too much value or you’ll lose even with your hero power. Versus Priest, you should look for Flame Imp or Knife Juggler on the coin because they kill Northshire Cleric. If you don’t, Northshire Cleric will pick off your 2/1s and give them extra cards.
You’re favored against Warrior because they deal with all threats on a 1 for 1 basis and your hero power will bury them in card advantage. Their life total is almost completely irrelevant as you will completely out card them. Just worry about dying to Death’s Bite and Grommash Hellscream dealing 18 damage across 2 turns, but if you have a well-timed Defender of Argus, even the best Warrior hands won’t beat you.
Paladin, you’re unfavored. There’s no doubt about it. Consecration and Muster for Battle hit too hard too early and you won’t be able to come back. If they don’t have these cards early, you still have to deal with Zombie Chow and Shielded Minibot, simply too much to handle.
Handlock has too much for you to handle, between 4 life gains, Molten Giants, 4 board wipes, Ancient Watcher with Ironbeak Owl and taunts and pretty much everything else you can’t handle. If you can’t get an early win on turn 4 or 5 you won’t be able to beat them.
Most other matchups, like Druid and Shaman, you’re favored simply because it’s too much to deal with. Just play around their board wipes and you’ll be fine.
This deck is inexpensive and very powerful and if you play it correctly, you’ll score a lot of wins. You leave your early game way before other decks do and that’s your huge advantage. Pressure the opponent, play around things that will destroy you and don’t be afraid to take risks. Zoo’s one of my favorite decks and one of the decks I’ve won many tournaments with, as well as taken top ranks on the ladder many times before. With some practice, you’ll be able to dominate with this deck, even in your bad matchups.