My Twitch is: Twitch.tv/KRUPSSTONE
Hi guys, KRUPS here. I just started playing constructed with GvG a couple of days ago (when the new set came out I played Arena mostly) and I have come up with a Zoo build that I feel like keeps the original concept of Naxx Zoo while utilizing some newer cards from GvG that I feel like are powerful. I played this deck up to Rank 5 with a win rate of around 75% so if you are having trouble with lower ranks this deck might be for you.
The last write-up that I did was on a Face Hunter deck that I climbed with to Top 100 Legend a couple seasons back. That write-up can be found here;
Basically, this deck is Naxx Zoo with 1x Enhance-o Mechano, 2x Clockwork Gnome and 2x Annoy-o-Tron.
WHY PLAY ZOO IN THE FIRST PLACE?: One of the main reasons why I am playing this on ladder right now is because I am not seeing much Zoo on the ladder in the first place. Playing a deck that isn't super popular in the meta can be a really good decision because you are less likely to face cards specifically designed to beat you. This idea is doubly applicable to Zoo because most of the Warlock decks on the ladder are Handlock, so your opponent will most likely mulligan in a manner that will be optimal against Handlock instead of Zoo. Also, we know that Zoo is good, it has always been good. The whole point of playing Zoo is to play creatures that have a high stat-to-mana ratio. Zoo's core creatures have some of the highest stat-to-mana ratios in the game. For instance...
- Flame Imp: 3 attack and 2 health for 1 mana. 5 stats-per-mana.
- Harvest golem: 4 attack and 4 health for 3 mana. 2.66 stats-per-mana
- Doomguard: 5 attack and 7 health (and charge) for 5 mana. 2.4 stats-per-mana.
ENHANCE-O-MECHANO: This card is the stone-cold nuts. People had their doubts about this card when it was revealed in the spoiler, but boy were they wrong. When playing this guy in Arena I realized that Enhance-o-Mechano has a perfect home in a deck like Zoo. If you drop this guy with 3 or more creatures on the board his Battlecry ability can be absolutely game-breaking. It is important to keep in mind that his Battlecry does not already take into account whether or not a creature on the field already has one of the abilites that he can possily give, so it is possible to give a creature Taunt if it already has Taunt and nothing will happen. Being able to give multiple creatures Windfury can end games and giving multiple creatures Divine Shield makes it possible for you to really swing the game in your favor, the same goes for Taunt. Think of this guy as basically a better Defender of Argus. You generally want to hold him back so you can play him with three or more creatures on the board but if you have two creatures he can still be pretty strong. Oh yeah, this guy also has the best flavor text in the game.
CALCULATING PROBABILITY WITH ENHANCE-O-MECHANO: With this card you have a 1 out of 3 chance of giving any of the abilities in his text to a specific creature on the table. So if you have one guy on the table, the probability of hitting any specific ability is simply 1 out of 3. If you have two creatures on the table the probability of hitting two specific abilities becomes 1 of 3 to the second power, which is 1 out of 9, and so on. So if you had four creatures on the table the probability of hitting a specific ability for all four creatures is 1 out of 3 to the fourth power, which is 1 out of 81. It is important to keep this in mind. While you are "rolling the dice" quite a bit with this card, it really doesn't matter because all of the possible effects that you can give your other minions are powerful, and he just gets better and better with each additional creature that you control.
ANNOY-O-TRON: This card is exactly what it's name states; Annoying (For your opponent and not you thankfully). I like to think of this guy as a mini Sunwalker. He interacts very well with Abusive Sergeant and the single Dark Iron Dwarf in the deck, and he increases the number of Taunts available in Zoo's arsenal giving the deck a much needed boost in defense. While this card is not that aggressive it's strength lies in the fact that it will always take your opponent two actions to deal with this card and it can really gum up combat for your opponent. Much like Voidwalker this guys is really strong around turn three because he can protect your early aggressive drops like Flame Imp and Knife Juggler. Oh yeah...The gold version of this card also looks REALLY SWEET.
CLOCKWORK GNOME: I am playing this in place of Leper Gnome right now. It has the same stats as Leper Gnome, and since it has Deathrattle it still interacts well with Undertaker. Basically we are hedging that getting a Spare Part is better than doing two damage to the face. Three of the Spare Parts activate Neurbian Egg so I think it definitely has a place in the deck.
TAUNTS AND WHY A HIGH CONCENTRATION OF THEM ARE GOOD IN ZOO: One of the weak points of Zoo is that once you get to the late game your opponent creatures will often out-class your own. Running a high number of taunts allows us to mitigate this potential disadvantage by not allowing our opponent to attack optimally. Thanks for Annoy-o-Tron and Enhance-o-Mechacno, as well as the our old standbys Defender of Argus and Voidwalker, we have a high number of Taunt creatures in the deck, allowing for us to have a strong defense while remaining to be aggressive at the same time.
THE OTHER CARDS IN THE DECK: The other cards in the deck are fairly standard for Zoo. We still have the Deathrattle+Undertaker package, and the rest of the cards in the deck are no-brainers except a few that I will discuss below.
POWER OVERWHELMING: A lot of people have cut this card from Zoo and I think that it's a mistake not to run a single one. The card gives you a lot of burst potential, it can steal games and it is pretty much like running a third Soulfire.
SOULFIRE: When they nerfed Soulfire and I was pretty crushed because it is one of my favorite cards, but at the same time I can't say that the nerf wasn't warranted. The card is still really powerful and it should still be played and it is probably still the most powerful direct damage in spell the game, but the nerf requires us to play it a little more carefully. Gone are the days where we can indefinitely sandbag a Soulfire in our hand, now we actually have to consider mana efficiency when playing this card, and sometimes I find myself casting it a turn earlier than I normally would have pre-nerf to make sure I am utilizing my mana properly. Like I said the card is still really good, and the fact that it cost one mana doesn't really hurt that much because you want to cast this card later in the game a lot of times anyway. Some people have been suggesting Darkbomb over Soulfire, Soulfire is by far a superior card.
Now for some of the cards that we aren't running...
IRONBEAK OWL: Owl is one of the best two drops in the game, but you have to sandbag him a lot and I think that all around Annoy-o-Tron is a better two drop, because Owl is really vulnerable and we can't take advantage of the fact that Owl is a beast in this deck.
MORE MECHS: Mechs are freaking everywhere after the GvG update, and for good reason. Some of them are very fast and very efficient, and Mechwarper is absolutely insane (I wouldn't be surprised if we see Mechwarper get nerfed in the coming months). However, if we want to run more Mechs that means that we can't run the Undertaker+Deathrattle package, and I think that running the Undertaker+Deathrattle package is a better decision right now. Undertaker+Deathrattle has been proven to work extremely well and Undertaker is still the best one mana creature in the game. Also, Deathrattle protects you for AoE which can give Zoo trouble. Personally when my opponent wipes my side of the board I like to get a 4/4 and two 1/1s afterward. Sure Piloted-Shredder is really good and protects you from AoE but you also don't know what you are getting from it.
ZOMBIE CHOW: Why am I not running Zombie Chow? Because when your opponent gains 5 life against you when you are playing an aggro deck it sucks. That's why. Don't put Zombie Chow in Zoo, it's just a bad idea.
GENERAL MULLIGAN TIPS: You want to mulligan aggressively for Undertaker and Deathrattles. You hardly ever want to keep your 4 drops in your opening hand unless you can curve into them well with the The Coin. I never keep Doomguard and I hardly ever keep Soulfire. Abusive Sergeant works very well in conjunction with Annoy-o-Tron and you should keep an eye out for this combo. Board position is everything with this deck so you really want to mulligan for one drops, and you absolutely need a one drop if you are on the play, Flame Imp and Undertaker are obviously your best one-drops. I don't really like to keep Egg on the play if I don't have an Undertaker.
UTILIZING LIFE TAP PROPERLY: If you have 2 mana left over once you figure out what your line of play is sure you life tap before you play your cards. I cannot stress how important this is. If you you draw your card last you might draw something would have been better to play than something that you already played that turn. This rule pretty much applies to all card-drawing effects in the game of Hearthstone.
On to the matchups...
ZOO MIRROR MATCH: You basically want to mulligan to as fast as a hand as possible. Whoever is on the play will be slightly favored in this match since they are on the attack. If you are on the coin an Undertaker and a Leper Gnome can be game winning on it's own almost. There isn't much Zoo on the ladder right, I feel like most of the aggro players are leaning towards Mech Mage since it is the hot new deck. You basically just need to be faster than them. This used to be one of the match-ups that I liked to keep Soulfire in my opening hand but I'm not very sure about keeping it in the opening hand now since it cost one mana.
HANDLOCK: You are really favored in this matchup. You just go under them, and you want to burst them down around 16 life turn four or earlier. They will usually spend their first few turns using Life Tap so this isn't that difficult to do. Make sure you hold back your Soulfires in case you need to finish off a Giant.
CONTROL WARRIOR: This matchup used to be pretty difficult for Zoo to win but I have been beating Control Warrior about 70% of the time. The reason for this is mainly because Annoy-o-Tron forces them to attack un-optimally with their equipment. That being said having Annoy-o-Tron in your opening hand is really solid in this matchup. Enhance-o-Mechano has also greatly improved this matchup because it can close a game very quickly that would otherwise be very grindy.
PRIEST: This matchup has also improved with the addition of Annoy-o-Tron and Enhance-o-Mechano. They can't attack properly because of Annoy-o-Tron, and Enhance-o-Mechano can steal an otherwise close game just like the Control Warrior matchup. Annoy-o-Tron is also fairly resilient to Wild Pyromancer.
MECH MAGE: This matchup seems like a coin flip. They can really out-class you in the late game but you are faster than they are so you have to try to go under them. Be careful to not get killed by fireball in the late game, and in the late game you pretty much always have to assume they have it if they haven't played one yet. There are a few versions of this deck and I've seen some run Dr. Boom as a finisher and some run Archmage Antonidas as a finisher. Makin optimal trades is really key in this matchup, and if they play Mechwarper you have to kill it immediately or you will be punished by the amount of tempo your opponent will gain off of it.
SHAMAN: This is the matchup where we probably miss Ironbeak Owl the most, but unfortunately you can only have 30 cards in your deck (I personally would really like to see them up the amount of cards you can have in your deck to 40, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon, if ever). It's important to note that very few Shaman decks have any way to gain life so going to the face is is pretty important in this matchup and you can ignore their creatures a bit more than other matchups. If they get the totem that gives spell damage plus one I advise killing it because it makes their lightning bolts able to kill Dark Iron Dwarf, your hatched eggs, and it makes it much easier for them to finish off a Doomguard.
HUNTER: This matchup is pretty close and it basically just involves you having to get a better draw than them and playing around their traps accordingly. Explosive Trap can be absolutely devastating against you so it's almost always better to attack their creatures instead of them first if they have a trap up unless you are absolutely sure that it is Snake Trap. Their isn't much Hunter on the ladder right now so you shouldn't have to worry about this matchup.
MECH PALADIN: I have seen some Mech Paladin decks on the ladder and the matchup seems pretty bad actually. The new 1/4 equipment that gives them three 1/1's is really good against Zoo. I have been kinda shocked that I have been losing to Paladin because in my opinion Paladin was pretty shitty before GvG came out.
RAMP DRUID: Druid is a pretty good matchup for you. They have to ramp into something really big really fast to beat you, watch how they are mulliganing their hand, if they mulligan a lot of cards then they probably don't have that fast of a hand. Be wary of of Wrath and Keeper of the Grove both of these cards can cause you problems.
I hope that you guys enjoy playing this deck, and if you want to watch me attempt to climb to Legend playing this build of Zoo be sure to tune into my Twitch stream! Twitch.tv/KRUPSSTONE
This will also be the last full-length write-up I will be doing on this site since I have been offered a paid writing job at 2P.com. If you enjoyed my last write-up and this one be sure to look for me over there for content.