Our Zoo Warlock deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this powerful Warlock build for the Scholomance Academy expansion! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype!
Introduction to Zoo Warlock
Zoo Warlock, the most iconic of all archetypes in Hearthstone, is back on the curriculum with Scholomance Academy. Not a single other list went through so many iterations, through so many metas, only to still stand strong after over six years of Blizzard’s card game.
With the current expansion, Zoo Warlock received a ton of new toys that focus on one of Warlock’s main fantasy: The twisted art of self-harm. Raise Dead for example not only serves as an activator for Diseased Vulture; it also offers unprecedented card draw and mana generation possibilities, not least thanks to everyone’s favorite demon minion Darkglare.
Together with the new dual-class expansion mechanic of Soul Fragments, today’s Zoo Warlock plays the game of “high risk, high reward” to the extreme. Let’s get right into the ins and outs of this deck, including its mulligan and tech card strategy!
Zoo Warlock Deck List
Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Zoo Warlock archetype page!
Zoo Warlock Mulligan Strategy & Guide
Vs Aggro And Control Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time)
- Flame Imp – No matter the synergies, no matter the opponent, this demon classic will always have a special place in our hearts and opening hands.
- Spirit Jailer – Soul Fragment generation is key to get this deck running, and who wouldn’t want to play a 1-cost 1/3 on turn 1?
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Voidwalker – Great keep if you hold The Coin to protect your Flame Imp or other 1-drops.
- Tour Guide – Only keep this if you have decent synergy such as Darkglare in hand.
- Expired Merchant – Only keep this if you hold Hand of Gul'dan already – drawing 3 cards on turn 2 will always be a prime play, no matter the opponent’s strategy.
- Darkglare – See Tour Guide. High risk, high reward keep, especially against control opponents in combination with Raise Dead!
As already said, the Zoo Warlock archetype wants to do what it has been doing in the last years: Get on the board, get board-cleared, get on the board again, get board-cleared, and then get on the board again – all while using your Hero Power and other draw engines to maintain tempo.
On the surface, it may seem silly to teach players how to play Zoo Warlock through yet another written guide – however, the number of new cards and synergies included in the current iteration of Zoolock is extremely high in comparison to older lists.
First off, there’s the Soul Fragment card package. Zoo Warlock’s lack of healing has never really been an issue, although the archetype doesn’t really mind healing in the first place. But the newly introduced cards that encourage dealing damage to our very own self make healing a much-needed resource. Spirit Jailer and Soul Shear form the base of the package, shuffling a total of eight fragments and 16 points of healing into our deck.
Shadowlight Scholar serves as the synergistic 3-drop that Zoolock has always dreamt of, providing tons of reach as well as board control in all kinds of matchups.
The next group of cards being showcased is the self-harm package. The star of the ensemble, of course, is Darkglare. Introduced with Ashes of Outland, this fellow just waited for his 15 minutes of fame, and it’s here to stay for much, much longer.
Mana-cheating in Hearthstone is more powerful than ever, and Darkglare is no exception. While almost exploiting the allowed design space of Warlock’s general toolkit, it enables ridiculous swing turns, especially as a pair of two on the board at the same time.
Cheating out mana is one thing – but Zoolock wants it all. Diseased Vulture enables early mid-game minion-cheating through self-harm and has been around for quite some time. However, thanks to Darkglare as well as other 0-mana mechanisms included in this deck, it can create a sturdy board state on turn 4 already, making it an even more powerful inclusion compared to older Zoolock iterations.
Next in line is Raise Dead, which very well may be the most powerful card of this Zoo Warlock list. Why? Because it not only provides great targeted card draw generation, but also deals damage to ourselves for nothing less than 0 mana! That way cards like Diseased Vulture and Darkglare can pop off as early as possible and enable the mana-/minion-cheat snowball. Together with Tour Guide, insane early- and mid-game swings are much more the rule instead of the exception.
On top of this card package, Flesh Giant rubs his hands every time we hit ourselves in the head, turning itself into a twisted version of the long-forgotten Molten Giant – and thanks to Brittlebone Destroyer, an Assassinate on a stick, we can protect our precious flesh abomination in the early- and mid-game phases as well as remove early Taunt minions to push important points of damage. P.S.: Always remember that Soul Fragments drawn during your turn discount Flesh Giants cost as well, so keep that in mind while drawing cards!
Talking about drawing cards: Never before did Zoo Warlock have such enormous card draw potential while still staying competitive on the board. Hand of Gul'dan, one of Warlock’s most iconic spells in World of Warcraft, finally makes the Discard dream work: The combination with Expired Merchant is as obvious as it is effective, while Nightshade Matrons power swing potential through three cards drawn and a 5/5 Rush body seems unmatched.
Last but certainly not least is Kanrethad Ebonlocke, everbody’s favorite and very first deathknight in the Warcraft universe. At first, its inclusion mainly revolved around tech reasons, but in the current meta, its ability to provide yet another board-flooding turn makes it an important tool, especially against oppressive control opponents.
Long story short: Scholomance Academy’s rendition of Zoo Warlock is as snowbally as it can get. The ability to absolutely dominate the board in the early-game turns the game into the definition of schadenfreude while providing more than enough tactical depth thanks to the newly introduced self-harm and draw mechanics combined with mana- and minion-cheating.
Vs Aggro Decks
Compared to older Zoo Warlock lists, SA’s Zoolock definitely lost power against other aggro opponents. That is why rushing for early-game board control through Spirit Jailer and Voidwalker in particular is imperative.
Mulligan aggressively, and try to get as much out of your synergies as possible – even if it’s at cost of your total health because creating mana- and minion-cheating scenarios are still your main ways to win the game against aggro. Keep up Soul Fragment generation against archetypes such as Tempo Demon Hunter and Face Hunter, because you definitely need healing support more than anything during these games!
Vs Control Decks
Where Zoolock sometimes lacks in control against aggro archetypes, it excels in pressuring control opponents even more. The control decks of today’s meta are already extremely vulnerable and only will get more greedy, as hyper-control archetypes like Galakrond Priest and Turtle Mage make their way into the tier lists.
This list wants to decide the game early, and for that we need to draw into our synergies as early as possible. Don’t hesitate to play Raise Dead with only one minion on the graveyard if you need it to enable Darkglare or Diseased Vulture, and try to get your Flesh Giants on the board as early as possible. Know the “emergency minions” of your opponents and rely on Brittlebone Destroyer to bypass them. Every control matchup is a speed run, and Soulfire is your finishing move against the final boss – but don’t be afraid to use it against early threats in exchange for continuous face damage and board presence!
Zoo Warlock Tech Cards and Card Substitutions
- Shadowflame: One of the oldest “odd-balls” in Zoolocks tech department. Works wonders especially with Flesh Giant against insane swing boards from decks like Guardian Druid.
- Neferset Thrasher: While the synergy potential of this card may be off the charts, it’s just as risky to hit ourselves in the face *even more*. Only include if you like pain in exchange for insane early-game board domination.
- Kanrethad Ebonlocke: This death knight stays a “niche” legendary, and while Zoo Warlock is here to stay, it’s still not as popular compared to other crafts of the set. You should have no problems substituting it for another copy of Brittlebone Destroyer.