Zoo Warlock Deck & Guide – Ashes of Outland – May 2020

Zoo Warlock Deck & Guide – Ashes of Outland – May 2020

Our Zoo Warlock deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this aggressive Warlock deck in its Ashes of Outland Discard Zoolock version! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype!

Introduction to Zoo Warlock

Zoo Warlock is an archetype as old as Hearthstone. The Warlock Hero Power allows you to continuously keep drawing cards, so strategies based on lots of cheap cards and just overwhelming the opponent with quantity over quality are always viable for the class. Zoo Warlock tries to pick up the best cheap cards and the best synergies between them in each meta, but the fundamental basis of the deck is always the Warlock Hero Power.

In Ashes of Outland, the main Zoo Warlock deck is Discard Zoo based on Imprisoned Scrap Imp and Hand of Gul'danImprisoned Scrap Imp turns the meager minions in your deck into much more sizable threats and Hand of Gul'dan complements your Hero Power in drawing cards thanks to the targeted discard effects of Expired Merchant and Nightshade Matron. When your one-mana minions get buffed, Magic Carpet comes into play to give them Rush so that you can rapidly take over the board. The current iteration of Zoo is faster at drawing through the deck than any of its predecessors, which is why some variants even include Zephrys the Great as a finisher: activating singleton effects is surprisingly easy when you just draw your entire deck.

There are multiple slightly different variants of Discard Zoo, all built around the core cards mentioned above. Some of them focus completely on one-mana minions and their synergy with  Magic Carpet, some go for Charge damage with Stonetusk Boar, while others lean more into self-damage synergies with Diseased Vulture and Darkglare. The greedier lists are in general better against control decks, and the lower mana curve lists are better against aggression, but the differences are small because all the decks share much of the same core.

Zoo Warlock Deck List

Deck Import

Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Zoo Warlock archetype page!

Zoo Warlock Mulligan Strategy & Guide

VS Fast Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

VS Slow Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

Zoo Warlock Play Strategy

Your main strategy is to buff your minions with Imprisoned Scrap Imp and then take over the board and start going face for the win. If you’re on the Coin and have the Scrap Imp, you should always play it on the board on turn one. The ideal follow-up is to play Expired Merchant to discard Hand of Gul'dan for card draw to prepare your hand for turn three when the Imprisoned Scrap Imp wakes up and buffs your hand.

Of course, actual games do not always go like this. You need to make do with what you have, and if you cannot find the Scrap Imp, you need to play a regular Zoo game: get on the board as early as possible and use the various synergies between your small minions to be as efficient as you can with them.

Flame Imp is still one of the strongest one-drops in the game. If you can add a Beaming Sidekick to buff it into a 3/4, you are well on your way to creating a strong early-game board.

Serpent Egg has a limited number of synergy cards in the deck, so you need to consider carefully how to use it. You can buff it with Imprisoned Scrap Imp while it is in your hand or eat it with EVIL Genius while it is on the board to get the minion from its Deathrattle effect as well as some Lackeys in hand. One neat trick I like to do with it is to play it together with Fiendish Servant so that they are the only minions I have on the board: if the opponent kills the Fiendish ServantSerpent Egg will gain its attack and becomes usable.

Magic Carpet is great when your minions are buffed, but it can be even more important when they are not. It gives all of your one-mana minions +1 Attack and Rush when they are played, so you can use it to trade away opponent’s minions and gain control of the board. Note that Lackeys are one-mana minions too, so using the Carpet with Lackeys can be a powerful move. You can rush in a Fiendish Servant first and try to land its attack buff on another minion that can attack immediately: play minions on the board appropriately before the trade to optimize your odds of getting the buff on the right target. You can also eat your newly-played Fiendish Servant with EVIL Genius for a similar effect when you don’t have a Magic Carpet on the board.

Drawing cards with Hand of Gul'dan is often vital for success. Expired Merchant gives you two additional copies of the card in hand when it dies, so pay attention to your hand size to avoid overdrawing, unless you already have good enough resources so that you do not mind burning a card. Sometimes you may want to ensure that Expired Merchant does not get silenced or stolen and kill it off with your own Guardian Augmerchant. Sometimes you already have all the card draw you need and may opt to evolve your Expired Merchant with Witchy Lackey to avoid getting Hand of Gul'dan back. It is all about managing your resources appropriately.

There are also times when you cannot find Hand of Gul'dan. In such cases, it may be correct to play Expired Merchant or Nightshade Matron even without the synergy. Just pay close attention to what you are discarding: it is always your highest cost card, and if you have multiple cards of the same mana cost, it will be a random one from amongst them. Expired Merchant can sometimes even be used to multiply your other resources against opponents who cannot prevent the Deathrattle effect.

In a deck that draws as fast as Discard Zoo, Zephrys the Great is an interesting option. Zephrys can give you cards such as BloodlustFireball, and Inner Demon to find the reach you need to win the game, or it can even provide defensive tools to keep you alive while you repopulate the board.

VS Aggro Decks

Your defensive capabilities are limited. There’s Voidwalker and the chance to get Titanic Lackeys to provide Taunt, but for the most part, you need to control the board to avoid taking damage while building up a good damage base of your own. It is often difficult for Zoo Warlock to fully race an aggressive deck, typically you need to win the board first to win the game, so focus on good value trades wherever you can and use your effects to gain control: Beaming Sidekick to give health to a minion to value trade, EVIL Genius to eat a low-health minion to get more resources, and Fiendish Servant to secure attack buffs on the right minions.

You live by the board and you die by the board, so plays such as using Nightshade Matron that discards something else than Hand of Gul'dan are necessary far more often against aggro decks than against control decks. Likewise, you may need to use Soulfire for early board control despite the discard cost.

VS Control Decks

You are always the beatdown against control decks, so try to deal damage as quickly as you can while playing around their board clears.

For example, Priest can deal two damage to a wide board (Breath of the Infinite, Holy Nova), three damage to an individual minion (Penance), or steal a minion with three or less attack (Shadow Madness) in the early game. Therefore, a 3/4 Flame Imp with a Beaming Sidekick buff with no four-attack minions on your side of the board is one great setup against all of that.

Mages often have Blizzard, Reno the Relicologist, or Rolling Fireball, so you want to think how your board survives two damage to everything, or ten damage randomly split between all of your minions, or eight damage that starts from either side and moves towards the middle (remember positioning!). If you can create a board that cannot be answered by those tools, you are in a good position.

As you play more minions on the board, think about your backup plan if the board gets cleared. Often you have plenty of card draw available from Hand of Gul'dan, but sometimes you may also need to weave in some Hero Power uses to maintain a steady supply of resources.

Zoo Warlock Card Substitutions

Zoo Warlock is one of the least expensive decks in the game, but it does include a pair of Epic cards in the form of Magic Carpets, which unfortunately cannot be effectively replaced. If you do not have at least one copy of Magic Carpet, you are better off playing a bit old-fashioned Galakrond Zoo instead of the current Discard Zoo: Galakrond Zoo can still win games even though the discard variant is more popular and somewhat better right now.

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/OldGuardian Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/old_guardian

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