Our Budget Galakrond Zoo Warlock deck list guide for the Descent of Dragons expansion will teach you how to play this budget list. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Galakrond Zoo Warlock
Zoo Warlock is an archetype that dates back to the early days of Hearthstone. The deck always revolved around low-cost minions (the deck can have a low curve because of Hero Power that lest Warlock draw more cards whenever they need) and various means of leveraging a favorable board state to trade up into opposing minions before making a lethal push. Because of its low-curve, Zoo Warlock has long been a favorite of budget-minded players sacrificing very little for the sake of keeping costs low. Additionally, the deck has long served as a powerful teaching tool for new players eager to learn about core Hearthstone concepts such as Tempo, trading up, and timing a push for lethal.
In Descent of Dragons, we’ll be trying a little different approach to the Zoo build. We’ll go for a Galakrond version! Since Galakrond cards were given out for free to everyone, we can build a deck around it that will still fit out budget restrictions. Right now, Galakrond Zoo Warlock is the highest win rate build for the class and it looks pretty solid even if you compare it to the best meta decks. Of course, the budget build will still be missing a few key cards, like Galakrond support, but it’s still a solid option and it has an amazing upgradeability path.
Budget Galakrond Zoo Warlock
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Flame Imp / Blazing Battlemage – Your best 1-drops. They have lots of stats, they can dish out solid amounts of damage and get some good trades. Flame Imp is probably better out of the two, but keep in mind that health loss is relevant in some matchups (like against Face Hunter), so you might want to keep Battlemage instead in certain cases.
- EVIL Genius – Bread and butter of this build, EVIL Genius is just amazing on all fronts. While the 2/2 stats aren’t that powerful, giving you TWO lackeys is great. Sacrificing a minion is usually a downside, but in this deck it might not be in many cases. Not only you run Eggs that you WANT to sacrifice, but the deck produces a lot of 1/1 Tokens that you really don’t mind getting rid of. Always keep it.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Beaming Sidekick – It’s a keep in a “three 1-drops” hand – you can play 1-drop on T1 and then drop another 1-drop and Sidekick on T2, which is an amazing tempo move. It is, however, not a good MAIN 1-drop, because it’s just a 1/2 without its Battlecry.
- Serpent Egg OR Scarab Egg – Eggs are great, but only if you can sacrifice them. Keep them with EVIL Genius in your hand. Alternatively, you can also keep Egg + Fiendish Rites combo. Rites summon 2x 1/1 and activate your Egg by giving it +1 Attack.
- Dragonblight Cultist – A perfect card in Galakrond Warlock deck, at the very least it’s a 4/1 that summons 2x 1/1. With more minions on the board, it gets more attack. While the main body will usually draw a removal, you will still be left with 2x 1/1 on the board, buying you some nice tempo advantage. It’s a good Turn 3 play, but you really want to have a T1 and T2 play in the first place, so keep it only if you already have a solid curve.
Budget Galakrond Zoo Warlock Play Strategy
Let’s start with explaining how Invoke works for new players, which might not be aware. When you play an Invoke card, you not only Upgrade your Galakrond (Invoke him twice for the first upgrade and two more times to get a final version), but you also trigger his Hero Power. In case of Warlock, that Hero Power is summoning 2x 1/1 Imp. So a card like Fiendish Rites is not a super overpriced board-wide buff, BUT 2x 2/1 minion (since you summon the Imps first and then buff) that also gives +1 Attack to the rest of your board. If you look at those cards that way, Warlock’s Invoke cards aren’t as slow as it might initially seem.
Zoo was always in an interesting spot, to the point of some players (incorrectly) calling it a Control deck. That’s mostly because despite its aggressive nature, the deck was focused on board control to the point of making trades any other Aggro deck would ignore. While it might no longer be true with the current decks, some of this is still relevant. Zoo is one of the most board-focused decks in the entire game, and your goal is to keep your board alive while killing whatever your opponent drops. Since Zoo doesn’t really have a lot of reach from hand or with Hero Power, but it can generate lots of extra resources with it, the deck mostly focuses on keeping the board up and dealing damage that way.
And that will be your basic game plan – keep your minions alive so they can dish out as much damage as possible. Or let me rephrase that – keeping your BOARD alive, not individual minions. Zoo is one of the decks that doesn’t really care about individual minions – they are disposable. There is basically no minion that you want to protect (well, maybe except Knife Juggler, which gets insane value in this build). Your minions will be traded, sacrificed or removed all the time, but the goal is to constantly have some refill, put something on the board and ultimately deal damage.
Games vs other fast decks are much more demanding in this matter. It’s the game of getting ahead of board – since those decks don’t really have amazing comeback mechanics, once one player takes the lead, other will most likely end up losing. Which means that you want to be the one in control. Tempo – that’s what you really need in those matchups. Doing slow plays is a big no-no. Going for value moves too. You want to put as much on the board as possible, even if it means that you run out of cards in your hand. Why? Because you’re so much more powerful when you’re ahead, and then you can afford to start Hero Powering to refill your resources again. Your board floods can also easily overwhelm your opponent which probably won’t have a way to clear them. You want to have a strong, proactive curve. Eggs are the only exception, but when you can actually trigger them. If you can’t trigger an Egg from your hand, don’t play it – you’d rather do something else, even slightly off-curve, than drop an Egg that you might not be able to activate for the next few turns. If you go second, try to match your minions to whatever your opponent already has on the board. Let’s say that they have a 2/1 up – then you’d much rather drop a Mecharoo Invoke Galakrond than Flame Imp or Knife Juggler which will just die easily. Sadly, going second in those matchups is a big disadvantage, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t win. Try to make a meaningful tempo push with the Coin – e.g. drop an Egg on T1 with Coin and then trigger it on T2 with EVIL Genius. Or maybe save Coin for T4 Faceless Corruptor. Either way, try to make some bigger tempo push thanks to the 1 extra mana.
Against slower decks, you gameplay is way more straightforward. In general, you want to flood the board and start pushing damage from the early turns. Most of your boards are disposable, so if it gets AoE’d just play a few more minions. Don’t try to keep your small minions out of range, because it will most likely be useless. However, you can still play around AoEs quite well. Eggs are amazing vs slow decks. While you DO want to trigger them in the early game to snowball, once you get to the mid game, you can just drop Eggs without popping them yourself if the rest of your board is already good. Your opponent will be forced to AoE anyway, but you will end up with 3x 1/1 or a 3/4 afterwards. If you face damage AoEs (not “destroy” AoEs like Brawl), dropping higher health minions like Shield of Galakrond or buffing something out of range with Beaming Sidekick is also a good way to play around them. On that kind of board, if your opponent AoEs, those will still survive to dish out more damage, and if he decides to kill them first with single target removal, it might mean that he won’t have enough mana to AoE clear the rest of your board.
Given that the deck is built around flooding the board, Grim Rally is a very powerful tool. Just keep in mind that the buff will occur before Deathrattle, so if you decide to sacrifice Scarab Egg, you will end up with 3x 1/1 and not 3x 2/2. If you have some other minions it might still be worth it, but keep that in mind. Similarly, Fiendish Rites is also a powerful tool in this deck. Not only you get 2x 2/1 immediately, but given that you should have some other minions on the board, it lets you dish out more damage or get some good trades. While not exactly in the same vein, Plague of Flames is an interesting card. Normally you wouldn’t want to play it in an Aggro deck, but this is different – like I’ve been mentioning, your minions are mostly disposable, so you can use it as a really good comeback mechanic. It’s also a way to trigger your Eggs while removing some stuff on the opponent’s side at the same time.
Future Card Replacements for Galakrond Zoo Warlock
Zoo Warlock could always be built on budget without making too many sacrifices, and this expansion is no different. Given that Galakrond, the Wretched is free, the deck is not that far off from the full build. The most important cards are – obviously – Galakrond synergies, but there are some other Epics you might also want to consider:
- 2x Veiled Worshipper – The most important card that you want to add to this build. It’s very easy to Invoke twice, and after you do, it’s simply insane. 4 mana 5/4 means that you don’t even have to sacrifice any stats, since it comes with vanilla ones. Then, drawing 3 cards is a very powerful effect. Of course, it’s a bit weaker in Warlock because the class can draw with Hero Power, but it’s still amazing. It basically saves you three turns worth of Hero Powering (so 6 mana + 6 damage) and you can also HP on top of it if you really need to get more resources or find something… This is auto-include.
- Kronx Dragonhoof – Another auto-include in most of Galakrond builds. There’s basically no reason to not play it. If you play it before drawing Galakrond, it’s a 6 mana 6/6 that tutors one of the best cards in your deck, which is good. And it’s even better if you play it AFTER Galakrond – Devastations are very, very strong. In this case, giving the rest of your minions +2/+2 is probably the best one – with how much this deck floods the board, it will often be enough to kill the opponent, and even if not kill, then dominate the board completely. Kronx is only bad if you already drew Galakrond, but haven’t played it yet, but in most of the games it’s a pretty short window of time.
- 2x Sea Giant – While not as important as the two cards above, Sea Giants are also very solid in this build. Not only you flood the board so easily, but the current meta is pretty heavy on decks that also do it. Which means that you will be able to drop a cheap, maybe even 0 cost Giant pretty consistently and pretty early.
And here are your flex slots, cards that you can remove in order to fit the ones listed above: