Warlock has long been one of the most popular classes in Hearthstone. Zoolock, Handlock and the post-GvG Demonlock have always retained their positions in ladder and tournaments. Because of the variance of Warlock decks, players who face against Warlock often find it difficult to mulligan an ideal starting hand. In this article I would demonstrate the strengths of the traditional Zoolock and assess the benefits from GvG expansion and Blackrock Mountain adventure.
How Zoolock Works
What makes Zoolock an outstanding deck? With Warlock’s hero ability ‘Life Tap’, there can be additional card draws every turn. Since the deck is mostly comprised of cheap cards, it is often possible to both play a card and ‘Life Tap’ in a single turn. Thus, a Zoolock always has board presence. In turn, cards such as Abusive Sergeant, Dire Wolf Alpha, Defender of Argus, Power Overwhelming and Dark Iron Dwarf could be fully utilized. These cards are not commonly played in control-heavy classes because such classes might not always maintain board control; there are no minions to be buffed. Noticeably, these cards could help Zoolock push through heavy taunts easily.
After the GvG expansion, Imp-losion was introduced. This card significantly strengthened Zoolock, as it could create an instant board presence for Zoolock and as well damage an enemy minion. Also, it has an amazing synergy with Knife Juggler, which is staple to a Zoolock build. After Blackrock Mountain, Imp Gang Boss was introduced and this again strengthened Zoolock. It has good card statistics and it’s very hard to be dealt with. Your opponents would be coerced to deal with it quickly before you gain insane value from it with Knife Juggler or Defender of Argus.
In addition, some Zoolock players like to add Sea Giant in their deck. It is entirely a matter of personal preference. Even if Sea Giant is not played in your deck, you will benefit because your opponent will be afraid to play their Big Game Hunter and eventually have a dead card in their hand.
One might criticize Zoolock for its vulnerability to AoE board clear. However, other than Freeze Mage and Rogue, classes such as Warrior and Paladin have limited AoE damage spells. Zoolock can easily bait out cards such as Consecration and Brawl and quickly establish a new board afterwards.
Having demonstrated the difficulty to play against Zoolock, I would like to share some useful tips now.
- Early game: If you are facing a lot of Zoolocks and losing most of the games against them, you should definite add more early game cards in your deck, such as Zombie Chow. Zoolock does not have a strong late game; therefore, if you maintain a board advantage in early game, you will probably win the game.
- Always clear the board: A Zoolock deck does not contain many strong individual cards (e.g. Doomguard, Loatheb). If you always clear Zoolock’s board, even you have to trade a 5/5 into a 1/1, there is no way for them to come back; all the synergetic cards such as Defender of Argus, Abusive Sergeant or Power Overwhelming would lose their value.
- Beware of the combo: Zoolock is not famous for its burst. Nevertheless, I won a lot of games with Zoolock because my opponent did not expect or calculate the potential burst damage. Combining Power Overwhelming, Doomguard and Abusive Sergeant produces a significant amount of damage in one turn.
Zoolock is a cheap deck but it is extremely good against control and aggressive classes. With rare bad matchups (Freeze Mage), it is equally efficient in Hearthstone ladder and tournaments. In the next article I would demonstrate how to personalize or modify a traditional deck so as to surprise your opponents.
What common decks would you like to know more about? Let us know in the comments.