Greetings friends. I’d like to make it clear that this is Trump’s list and I did no tuning. However I would like to offer some match-up analysis and mulligan strategy, both of which seem to be pretty sparse when it comes to Zoo due to the overwhelming negativity that generally surrounds conversations about aggro decks.
This was my first season of Hearthstone so feel free to take everything with a grain of salt, and as always skepticism is encouraged. That said I have played many TCG’s competitively in the past and I think I sort of know what I’m talking about. (Help.)
The only change worth noting vs most Zoo decks is the addition of a second Blood Knight. In my experience this variation has subjugated a lot of problematic scenarios and permitted the deck more finishing power.
Soulfire x 2
Argent Squire x 2
Flame Imp x 2
Voidwalker x 2
Dire Wolf Alpha x 2
Knife Juggler x 2
Blood Knight x 2
Harvest Golem x 2
Scarlet Crusader x 2
Shattered Sun Cleric x 2
Dark Iron Dwarf
Defender of Argus x 2
Doomguard x 2
Before we start, it’s important to remember that playing any deck proficiently will come with its own set of challenges. Wins with Aggro are rarely clean and require several turns of foresight and preparation in order to execute perfectly, just like any other deck.
Best Cards: Berserker, Golem, Blood Knight, Cleric, Doomguard
BK is a house. Having it allows you to contend with an annoying early Van Cleef and if they don’t have Sap you usually win.
Avoid over committing to the board with 1 toughness creatures. Always look to make your 2/1s 3/2s. Rogues have to build their momentum off of a good Blade Flurry/Fan. This matchup is in our favor if we don’t allow them to.
On the draw: As appealing as it may seem, never keep double Imp. You will most certainly lose. Mulligan anything 3+ unless your curve is 11,2,3. Always throw Scarlet Crusader back. If you need to keep a 3 drop it needs to be a Golem/Cleric/BK.
On the play: Only keep Alpha if you have a 1 drop that isn’t Abusive sgt., only keep 3 drops if your curve is 1,2,3.
Overall Difficulty: Moderate
PS: The face rogue matchup hinges on you getting voidwalker/squire early, if you do its heavily in your favor. That’s all you need to know.
Best Cards: Imp, Priestess, Golem, Cleric, Voidwalker, Blood Knight
At the core all Druid decks are the same. On the draw soulfire will be your saving grace against problematic early innervate plays. Be wary of the 9 mana 14 damage Roar combo.
BK is once again very good as their only way to deal with it is Keeper and even that doesn’t kill it, giving you a great Defender target to deal with it next turn. This particular sequence of plays happens quite a bit and usually allows you to lock up the mid game because they will be getting very little value from Swipe.
On the draw: If i see that my opponent has drawn a brand new hand I will usually try to look for turn 1 Juggler and play my 1 drops on turn 2 for maximum value. If it works it’s really difficult for them to come back. I will sometimes keep a higher curve like 2(juggler),2(wolf),3(golem),3(cleric) in this matchup to have a stronger mid game, as opposed to throwing everything back for 1 drops.
On the play: Again stay away from 3+ unless your curve is 1,2,3. This matchup is significantly harder on the play because of turn 2 wrath turn 3 keeper due to coin. Cross your fingers and smash that draw button.
Overall Difficulty: Moderate
Best Cards: Priestess, Scarlet Crusader, Argent Squire, Argent Commander, early Blood Knight
This is your hardest matchup by a not close margin. It requires a significant amount of patience and accurate reads. I would actually encourage all of you to play handlock just to understand Giant math, what turns sweepers are most available, when to swing, when to sit still, and when to trade.
Try to Defender your divine shields to make his Hellfires as inefficient as possible. Avoid playing naked 1 toughness creatures to play around mortal coil. Most importantly invest in a stress ball.
On the draw: Turn 1 Juggler with follow up pressure is a good keep. Your ideal hand involves Priestess, which allows you to play around Hellfire with little effort. If you do keep a hand like turn 1 Imp/Void turn 2 Alpha i would only commit more to the board if you have multiple divine shields to make him feel really uneasy about using Hellfire.
On the play: Pray for mercy and hope he doesn’t have double drake.
Overall Difficulty: Extreme
Best Cards: Imp, Soulfire, Voidwalker, Argent Squire, Golem
Initiate as many profitable trades with the board as you can. You should almost never be swinging face.
Unfortunately this matchup is extremely draw dependent. Whoever gets the Coin + Soulfire and has a good turn 1 play generally wins with no hope of retaliation.
On the draw: Try to accumulate as many 1 drops as possible, BK is also a fine keep if you have a Squire, as your opponent will likely have one as well. 9/9 BK is game ending in the mirror. It will require him to almost wipe his board and Soulfire in order to kill it.
On the play: Same story, get as many 1 drops as possible for early pressure and so you don’t get them later in the game when your opponent is drawing gas. Use aforementioned stress ball religiously.
Overall Difficulty: Finding a harmonious equilibrium of screaming/hand flailing for best Knife Juggling results
Best Cards: Golem, Cleric, Blood Knight, Doomguard
This matchup is very much based on if they have a turn 1/2 axe. It’s super strong against us and usually provides them with enough breathing room to draw enough cards to not care about whatever it is we’re doing on the following turns. Blood Knight tries to be good in this matchup but all of their removal costs 1 with zero drawback, which is kind of a problem. Try to keep his armor off to make his shield slams less effective.
Make a habit of Soulfiring early Armorsmiths/Acolytes even if it feels bad to keep your board intact. Playing around Brawl is kind of a death sentence in most cases because you won’t be able to kill them without overcommitting to the board, and they only play 1. Try not to give them insane whirlwind value. Play to your outs, go ham.
Specific mulligans don’t matter in this matchup, go for as much resilient damage as you can.
Closing Notes/Things to Remember
I don’t see any other decks enough to warrant writing about them. Whenever you’re playing against control constantly ask yourself how you can dull the effects of their sweepers and you should be ok. When playing against aggro try to make their trades as uncomfortable as possible.
One of the least discussed but most quintessential pillars of Zoo is learning when and how to use Soulfire/Doomguard when your hand is clogged with multiples of each. It will take time to learn and the correct line of play varies from situation to situation, but once you have it down your comfort level with the deck will increase 10 fold.
I did just start streaming but as it happens links are not allowed so feel free to use some intuition and find me. I’m also new to the Reddit environment so if there’s anything particularly wrong with the post let me know, it would be much appreciated. I hope some of you found this helpful. Cheerio!
Edit: I saw some other guides post links to their stream, so I’ll do the same. If this is in error I’ll be happy to take it down. http://www.twitch.tv/protohypelol