Zoolock Deck List Guide – Rastakhan’s Rumble – February 2019

Zoolock Deck List Guide – Rastakhan’s Rumble – February 2019

Our Zoolock deck list guide for the Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion will teach you how to play this explosive Warlock list. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!

Introduction to Zoolock

While Zoo Warlock is a very old archetype, one of the Hearthstone’s classic, players have tried a new approach to the deck late in The Witchwood meta. Zoo is naturally a deck that takes a lot of damage. Usually, it doesn’t matter – if you’re the aggressive one, your health total is not a big deal. There seemed to be no point in playing healing before.

However, this build plays healing not only for the sake of gaining health, but also because of the synergies. Not only you can play a free Happy Ghoul after gaining health (and a free 3/3 in the early game is very, very strong in an aggressive deck like this one), but you can also burst your opponent down with a buffed Lightwarden. You can consistently make it a 3/2 (or 4/3 after Prince Keleseth), but a well-timed Fungal Enchanter can easily add 6 or 8 extra attack out of nowhere.

As for the Rastakhan’s Rumble, it yet remains to be seen whether Heal Zoo will remain the strongest version of the deck, or will the new Grim Rally synergies take over instead. Which means that there’s no point in updating an entire guide yet (because it might turn out that Heal Zoo without any changes is still the best version), but I’ll make a separate section for Rastakhan’s Zoo below – check it out if you’re interested in the new lists. If you aren’t, just skip it and continue to the “Zoolock Deck List” section and the rest of the guide.

Heal Zoolock Deck List

Deck Import

Mulligan Strategy & Guide

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Kobold Librarian – Solid, aggressive stats. It cycles. It damage yourself, so activates the ability to heal your Hero. It’s one of the best 1-drops in the game. Always keep it.
  • Flame Imp – Comparable to Kobold Librarian in this deck. Instead of cycling, it gets +1/+1 in stats. Both are amazing cards to drop on Turn 1, though.
  • Prince Keleseth – There is no matchup or situation in which you want to mulligan Prince Keleseth away. The win rate associated with this deck skyrockets when he’s in the opener. If you have it – keep it. If not, look for it!
  • Happy Ghoul – A great card if you can get it out for free, and you should be able to, since you have six cards that potentially heal you. You should usually get it out between Turn 2 and 4, unless you draw really poorly.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Voidwalker – Keep against Odd Paladin, or other decks flooding the board early with 1 health minions. 1/3 stats and Taunt are good against small dudes, but it’s not great against majority of the meta. You have better 1-drops you can look for, and the chance that you won’t get any is incredibly small.
  • Voodoo Doctor – Keep with Happy Ghoul.

Zoolock Win Rates

Winrates provided by Metastats

Zoolock Play Strategy

Vs Aggro

When you play Aggro vs Aggro mirrors, the most important thing is tempo. If you utilize it correctly, even a small tempo advantage can translate into a big board advantage over time and eventually into value too. This deck generally works better against slow builds than against other Aggro. Zoo Warlock lives or dies by its early game tempo, and if your opponent takes that away from you, you might have a hard time.

The most important thing against Aggro is to not fall behind. This build does not run Despicable Dreadlord, which means that you have literally no way to AoE your opponent’s board, and thus often no way to come back into the game. In order to prevent that, you need to go for the tempo plays whenever you can. You want to drop minions instead of going for value. Life Tapping is generally a bad play unless you can’t do anything else. Even on Turn 2, if you can choose between tapping and dropping a 1-drop, you generally should go for the 1-drop (especially if that’s a Kobold Librarian, then you might even topdeck another).

Dealing damage to your opponent is not important. I mean, ultimately it will be – but not in the early/mid game. Here, you want to take control over the board. Try your best to value trade – clear a minion while keeping yours alive. That’s also why opening with Prince Keleseth is perfect – your minions will have +1/+1, which means that it will be easier to trade. At the same time, you want to do your best so your opponent won’t be able to value trade into your minions. Let’s say that you clear a 1/2 with your Flame Imp, leaving it at 1 health. If your opponent has a 1/1 minion, he will now be able to clear it. But, you can always try to prevent that by placing a Taunt (VoidwalkerSaronite Chain Gang) in between them, buffing it out of range (Fungalmancer) or even healing it up.

When it comes to healing, it is very important to use it correctly. First of all, Voodoo Doctor. It’s the only healing you can target, and the target plays a big role. If you have a Happy Ghoul in your hand, you should generally heal yourself – this will let you drop Ghoul for free. The only exception is when you can heal something to value trade, and then you have another healing card you can drop next turn anyway alongside Ghoul. This is especially useful if you can keep a bigger minion around, such as a buffed Taunt. Another thing when it comes to healing is ordering. I know that it sounds obvious, but I’ve already seen people making this mistake. Play your Lightwarden before dropping a healing card. If you play to drop Fungal Enchanter, try to get as many value trades first as possible. Like I’ve mentioned, board control is most important against Aggro.

When it comes to swinging the tempo back, if your opponent’s isn’t that far ahead, it might sometimes be still possible thanks to the Soul Infusion. You absolutely want to hit either Doubling Imp or Saronite Chain Gang – some other targets are also okay, but not when you’re behind. And then, the tempo from two big bodies might be enough to come back into the game, especially if they stick. Chain Gang in particular is 2x 4/5 Taunt, or 5/6 Taunt if you also had Keleseth buff it. It’s very important that you stick something to the board, because otherwise your Fungalmancer and Fungal Enchanter are very weak. In the best case scenario, if 2 of your minions stay alive, you can buff them with Fungalmancer and make value trades, or you can first make value trades (if they’re big enough) and then heal them up with Enchanter.

This deck isn’t late game heavy. Your main staying power is Life Tap – in the mid/late game, once you run out of steam, you will draw 2 cards per turn. Sometimes you might snatch more with The Soularium, but that’s still only a good play after Turn 4-5. That’s why it’s important to get ahead on the board earlier – if you’re ahead, you will be able to afford tapping. If you aren’t, Hero Power would only put you further behind. The ideal strategy against Aggro is to control the board until you get a solid advantage, then suddenly switch to the face race plan. Lightwarden is a perfect card for that. You can drop it one turn, do your usual trading, and then next turn drop a Fungal Enchanter and start going face. Lightwarden can be a 7/2 or 9/2 quite easily, so it’s a massive burst tool. Finish the game with Doomguards, Soulfire or Lifedrinker – those are your extra burn from hand cards.

Vs Control

As you can imagine, games against slower decks are completely different than Aggro mirrors. In this case, controlling the board will not be as important – especially since there is not much board to control in the early game anyway. You will nearly always get ahead on the board. What is important is to take advantage of that and kill your opponent before the late game. You don’t stand a chance against late game Control deck – some will grind you out of resources (Big Spell Mage), some will combo you (Shudderwock Shaman), some will put a massive wall of Taunts you will have no way getting through (all kinds of slow Druid, especially Big Druid). Basically, you need to kill them before they can perform their own game plan.

That’s why tempo is also very important against Control decks, just for a different reason than against Aggro. The more tempo you have, the quicker you will be able to kill your opponent. In the early game, you generally want to go all in – drop as many minions as you can and deal as much damage as you can. There are only a few things you might want to play around, such as Doomsayer (dropping 6 damage on the board, like Flame Imp + Coin + Flame Imp, without having the ability to deal the last 1 damage can be devastating against decks running Doomsayer) or Defile (try to play around it, but it’s not the end of the world if you get Defiled – the card will get value against you at some point anyway).

Do you trade or not? That’s a very important, and difficult question. Ideally, you’d prefer to deal as much face damage as possible and let your opponent do the trades. But sometimes trading will actually give you more damage in the long run, and those are the situations you need to look out for. It all depends on the board state and situation, but there are three main scenarios in which trading is a good play. First scenario is your opponent dropping a high priority target. For example, you do want to trade away that Northshire Cleric or Mana Tide Totem unless you’re really close to killing your opponent. If you don’t, your opponent will draw 2-3 more cards and might find that AoE he needs to come back into the game. Another scenario is getting a value trade while having other, smaller minions on the board. For example, you have a 3/3 and 2/2 on the board, your opponent drops a 2/3. If you don’t kill it with your 3/3, he will get a free trade on a 2/2 and then either damage your 3/3 or maybe clear another minion. The last scenario is – obviously – playing around AoE clears. You generally want to trade in order to protect your higher health minions. Let’s say that you have a 4/4 minion on the board against Warlock who might drop a Hellfire. Leaving a small minion on his side lets him trade into your 4/4 and then AoE. If you clear it first with something else, his Hellfire will leave a 4/1 on your side of the board, and that’s important. Even if the AoE would clear your entire board anyway, it might still be worth to clear a minion, so your opponent won’t end up with a board advantage (assuming a non-mirrored AoE, such as e.g. Flamestrike). Against Druid, other than Taunt, you also might want to try to play around Spreading Plague, which is kind of like an AoE, but even more punishing. To play around it, try to trade off your smaller minions and keep only the bigger guys on the board. If you have Fungalmancer in your hand, try to keep some 3 Attack minions on the board – after buffing them, they can clear the 1/5 Taunts really easily, and Druid might have a hard time dealing with them after.

While you want to go all-in in the early game, in the mid game you might want to try to manage your resources. Your board should be big enough to put pressure on your opponent, but not big enough to just lose the game to AoE. If you already have let’s say 10 attack on the board in the mid game, instead of going for the highest tempo play again, you might e.g. Life Tap + drop a small minion. Try to weave in Life Taps in the mid/late game for two reasons – first of all, so you will have a way to refill the board after AoE and second – so you can find your burst finishers. When it comes to playing around AoE, buffs are incredibly important. You need to know how much AoE damage your opponent can deal and try your best to play around it. Soul Infusion, for example, is very useful for that. Try to land it on higher health minions (if you can’t do it on Imp or Chain Gang, of course) so they will be more AoE-resistant. Similarly, use your Fungalmancer to buff your minions out of range. You can also, obviously, heal your damaged minions out of AoE range.

The Soularium works incredibly well in the slower matchups. While you have a very explosive early game, you usually slow down in the mid/late game. You run out of resources, and even though you draw 2 cards per turn, sometimes you end up only playing two 1-drops, and that’s not great. The Soularium lets you cycle through your deck and possibly play all, or at least most, of the cards you draw. It gives you a massive tempo turn. You can also use it to draw into lethal. If your opponent is low and you’re digging for some kind of damage (e.g. Soulfire, Doomguard, Lifedrinker), it increases your chance to find it immensely.

Even if you’re going for some trades, try to deal as much face damage as you can, especially if you’re already holding onto some of your win conditions. Even though Zoo Warlock isn’t known for its massive burst, Soulfire can deal 4 damage, Lifedrinker – 3, Fungalmancer – 4 (assuming you have minions to buff) and Doomguard – 5. You can sometimes combine them together, e.g. Lifedrinker + Soulfire is 7 burst damage that goes through a Taunt. You can also try to hit your Doomguard with Soul Infusion if you want more AoE – it increases his damage from 5 to 7 (6 to 8 with Keleseth buff).

Zoolock Card Substitutions

Prince Keleseth

There is no direct replacement for Prince Keleseth in this deck. Just removing him from the list leaves a gaping hole in your mana curve that cannot be filled by a single card. I’d say that Keleseth is a vital part of the deck, but you can TRY to build it without him. If you do, you definitely need to fill your 2 mana slot in a meaningful way. The best three cards to do that right now are Vulgar Homunculus, Void Analyst and Demonfire. The first one is a solid 2/4 Taunt with a Demon tag, it’s a well-rounded card and a good Turn 2 play in most of the matchups. The second one is a good 2-drop that sort of replaces the buff effect – sadly only on the minions in your hand and only on Demons (but Demons are majority of your deck anyway). The last one, while not amazing, can be used either as a buff on one of your small Demons, or as a 2 damage removal if you need it. It’s a good follow-up to Turn 1 Demons such as Voidwalker or Flame Imp. You want to include at least four 2-drops.

In order to fit those cards (you’d want at least four 2 mana cards), you want to remove some of the other cards – for example, VoidwalkerSoul Infusion, Lifedrinker or Spellbreaker. Without Keleseth, Saronite Chain Gang is also getting much weaker, so you might cut that too. Generally the Keleseth version is better, but with the amount of 2-drops Zoo has access to right now, it’s possible to play it without. Still, keep in mind that the Keleseth version is better.

Other Card Replacements

Besides Prince Keleseth, Zoo Warlock is a deck that can be built on a budget quite easily. This build runs only a single more Legendary that is not vital to the deck and can be taken out quite easily.


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over four years of playing and three years of writing about the game, he has achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!


  1. Brenden
    November 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Absolutely skill-less,
    I personally play odd paladin (which is kinda skill-less too, I get it) But i do consistently win against druid, by playing around plague
    but this,
    absolute RNG
    always dreadlord on 5, and another right after i kill it
    always keleseth on 2
    if no keleseth, double happy ghoul and perfect hand
    always double soulfire when i have 8 hp
    and this deck consistently gets these, so my win rate against zoolock is somehow worse than against druid
    ANNND this deck has yet to be nerfed, anyone who plays this deck should just quit hearthstone

  2. wilazn
    November 4, 2018 at 12:34 am

    Don’t really see big difference in the update. Still looks like the inferior version of Zoo. The highest win percentage Zoo decks don’t run the 2x Doomguards, 2x Soul Infusion, 2x Doubling Imp, and The Soularium. Instead they run 2x Despicable Dreadlord, 2x Tar Creeper, Leeroy Jenkins, +1 Spellbreaker, and +1 Lifedrinker.

    • UNKN0WN5
      November 17, 2018 at 2:59 am

      I agree that 2x despicable are better than doomguards but the soul infusion + doubling imp package is rly strong.The soularium is a rly good card and i think should be played in every zoo warlock so i reccomend u try that instead of the tar creepers which cant be aggresive at all.

      • wilazn
        November 22, 2018 at 10:12 am

        i tried this version for a good 2 months and have a much better win rate with my version without the imps and soul infusion. its more consistent without imps and soul infusion.

  3. Costa
    October 16, 2018 at 9:14 am

    How about sea giant?

  4. sinople
    October 1, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Thanks for the update,

    I’m personnaly not a big fan of the Doomguard in the “heal version of the zoo” and I start to see them playing Mossy to counter Glingling inventor and spreading plague.

  5. Emre
    August 24, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I can’t image this deck without Despicable Dreadlord! It’s auto-win against Odd Paladins and many aggro decks. Soularium sounds great but it’s not so much necessary. The reason is, this deck is great; many games end in Round 5-6, maybe 7. Sure, it adds extra fuel in mid-late game but at that point, you should have finished your opponent already since this deck has no power to stay late in game. So instead of Soularium, I run Dreadlord in this deck.

  6. Dragon Emperor 7
    August 17, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Isn’t Leeroy a good replacement for Doomguard ?

    • emre çiçek
      August 24, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      I suggest running 1 Doomguard + 1 Leeroy.
      Dreadlord+Leeroy also good combo.

  7. MooPenguin32
    August 12, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Any advice on when to play Soularium? I’m always afraid to play it until I have at least 8 mana. Do you just play it when you’re low on cards?

    • MooPenguin32
      August 16, 2018 at 5:36 am

      My previous comment was posted prior to the deck guide being updated. The guide now answers my question. Thanks!

  8. Dustin
    August 11, 2018 at 11:23 am

    This deck is so cancer. played 6 hours today at rank 3. 90% of time i faced this deck. its so broken. i dont understand why blizz is always pushing this op class which has already the best hero power of the game….

  9. Vivafra
    August 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

    How about -1 doomguard +1 Omega Agent? Seems to work fine if the match lasts too much, especially against control. Too slow for this deck maybe?

  10. James MacKay
    August 9, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    This looks like either the article or deck may need an update as the deck is missing “Despicable Dreadlord” and “Void Ripper”. I’d love to see the deck described in the article. The one provided for copy above has been amazing! Awesome work! ^_^

    • MooPenguin32
      August 9, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      I think the deck got updated for Boomsday, but the guide hasn’t. This happens a lot after a new expansion.

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        August 10, 2018 at 1:33 am

        That’s true. We’re trying to do it as fast as we can, but with with limited number of writers and LOTS of things to do, it takes us roughly 1-2 weeks to get all of the guides updates to reflect the new expansion (depending on how many decks are played, and it seems that there are lots of them now in Boomsday).

        • MooPenguin32
          August 10, 2018 at 5:03 am

          I can’t imagine all of the hours everyone on Hearthstone Top Decks puts in. I certainly appreciate all of the hard work the staff puts in. This is my go-to Hearthstone site.

          • Stonekeep - Site Admin
            August 10, 2018 at 5:20 am

            Thank you for your loyalty and understanding 🙂

  11. TheRedClasher
    August 9, 2018 at 10:45 am

    is this deck better with or without dreadlord??

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      August 10, 2018 at 5:21 am

      It’s still hard to say. Some builds run it, some don’t. It will depend solely on how the meta shapes out.

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