Everybody stop playing zoo. Times have changed. Play Raptor rogue ( http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/387409-zoo-2-0 ), renolock ( http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/387284-rank-1-legend-renolock ) or Freeze mage ( http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/369993-the-most-in-depth-freeze-mage-guide ). I explain why rogue is better on the rogue guide. For freeze mage, standard freeze mage is better against all matchups. Reno freeze mage is better in the mirror. I believe these are the 2 most favorable decks to play in this meta.
I've come to the conclusion Rogue is a better zoo. It also has removal and aoe. Basically, it does a better job at beating control matchups and true aggro matchups like face hunter. Zoo only does better against psuedo aggro decks (decks that don't rush face 90% of the time) or midrange like secret paladin, tempo mage and aggro druid.
Btw, if you face heavy control, swap chow for leper. I forgot to mention this.
I said Gormok was bad in the past but I've been testing him and it's possible he's actually good now since dark peddler spawns 2 minions and the deck has more early-game. So far, he has been working alot. If you want to test him replace one of these minions (from order of my preference):
Why do I have so many fucking 1 drops? Because I am sick of never fucking getting them. It's a tempo based meta and you need them. Hunter VERY rare now and secret paladin so flame imp returns. Dark peddler is there as well because I fucking never get my 2 drops. Also, it serves as 3 drop , which was just gang boss previously. Dark peddler=op. Warlock 1 drops are extremely good. I removed all the slow cards to improve consistency.
I've tested this card in zoolock and handlock, and it's possibly op. Warlock 1 mana cards are just insane. You almost always get the card you need. I've rarely come across the occasion where I got trash.
It was confirmed class cards are x4 more likely to be discovered via ben brode
Let's look at the situations:
Voidwalker= 3/5 stats and protects your knife jungler
PO=extremely good in zoo. Can't get enough of this card.
Soulfire=extremely good in zoo and handlock
Coil=3 mana ironforge rifleman that draws a card. Extremely good.
Flame Imp=3 mana 5/4
blood imp=good. Decks today run exactly the damage required to kill minions. Changing the hp by 1 fucks them over hard. Possibly saves knife jungler as well.
Same logic with young priestest. 3 mana 4/4? Come me in
Secret keeper to counter secret decks.
Chow=3 mana 4/5
If you get a minion, it's basically 2 free knives.
I just instant concede freeze and echo mages. Waste of time to play these matchups. Concede and wait a bit so you don't run into the same guy.
I play 3 decks zoo, demon handlock ( http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/334673-demonhandlock ) and malylock ( http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/334052-malylock ).
Zoo is love. Zoo is life.
First, zoo dominates this meta. Most popular decks gets wrecked by zoo with around 55-60% winrate on average. Here's the list:
Zoo had the 4th highest winrate and was the 3rd most played in tournaments.
3 mana divine favor often draws for 1 due to the nature of zoo (playing cards quickly and discarding).
They don't run consecration any more
Zoo is the king of minion combat. You can't lose unless you get unlucky or misplay.
Their repetence often hits and reduces like a 2hp minion. It's even more sad when it hits your creeper or egg.
You deny their competitive spirit value so hard due to your ability to control the board perfectly.
You will have a massive board by turn 6, which will generally be enough to contest MC. Also, your powerhouse card doomguard comes a turn earlier than them.
Their new list runs no tirion and no consecration. IF YOU SPOT ARGENT SQUIRE THEN IT'S THE NO TIRION AND CONSECRATION VERSION. IF NO SQUIRE, PLAY AROUND THEM.
The secret paladin matchup is all about winning the early game so you can deal with turn 6. If you lost the early game concede. If your board is big enough and they have only mysterious challenger on the board, you can just go face. No need to trade into the mysterious challenger unless it's really favorable or unfavorable for you not too. This only applies if you don't have chow. When they play competitive spirit and they only have 1 unit on board, it's generally 'good' to just let it happen because if you don't they will eventually get more value out of it from muster and other means. Just let it happen if you can afford to.
Here's a video here of trump with secret paladin playing against Thisnj with demonlock
dragon priest- wrath guard on turn 1 or 2 is instant GG for priest. They have all 2 attack minions in the early game RIP.
You can see for yourself how kolento (one of the best players) was essentially powerless against demonlock, which is a weaker zoo in terms of board control and consistency IMO, despite having a near perfect hand against a sub-optimal hand from the opponent. It's the first match.
Once again, you can see why high curve demonlock is shit.
control warrior- impossible to catch up with zoo essentially unless they draw perfectly. Dead before they can play threats
Any other version of zoo- Has the most early game, so other versions can't beat it in terms of board control. If you want to know whether to kill void caller or not, see if they kept it in their starting hand. If not, kill it if you can afford to.
ramp druid and mid range- (if they get either darness aspirant, keeper, swipe on turn 4 (most vulnerable turn) and innervate, the match up is 50/50. If they don't, 80% winrate. Druid struggles extremely against board swarm. This matchup depends on whether the druid has the answers or not. In all honesty, it's easy an matchup in general with a high winrate but it can be hard depending on their hand.
The key to this matchup is getting good taunts with defender. Don't waste it unless you have to.
Trump vs Thijs (demonlock vs ramp)
Inspire priest- This version of the deck doesn't have as many tools to counter zoo (shadow madness, 1 cabal, pyro, velen's and deathlords). It still has some but it isn't enough. It's also much more slower and doesn't have as much early game. The fact that it's an inspire deck means it needs multiple turns to get value of the inspire cards but zoo just kills it instantly. Should be an even or slightly favored matchup.
This is the list I am talking about http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/344222-update-clicks-garrison-control
Midrange hunter- According to the liquidhearth matchup chart, zoo is favored by 4.5%. Zoo is faster. That's why zoo wins. They can't get their beast value at all.
handlock (2 ways to play this matchup. Rush them down and hope no moltens or build a board, leave them at a hp where they can't molten and kill them in a single turn. Alternatively, if you have owl or bgh. You can just full rush depending on the situation. This version with BGH fares well. Apparently, zoo without bgh has a 1% higher winrate over handlock accordingly to liquidhearth. Though, due to this deck only running 1 voidcaller and no squires, this version of the deck might actually be unfavored. Not really sure.
If you want to know whether to kill void caller or not, see if they kept it in their starting hand. If not, kill it immediately.
Anyway zoo is favored against everything but these matchups:
face hunter and the more aggressive hybrid hunter. Matchup against midrange depends on whether they draw UTH if not you win. Strangely, I haven't really lost that much against hunter. It depends on whether or not you have a 1 drop if going first or if they have a 1 drop if your going 2nd. It also depends on how well your defender of argus gets to taunt up.
Zoo vs hybrid hunter matchup
Control priest- When I first made this deck, control priest was not a thing. It was just dragon priest. Control priest pretty much hard counters this deck. I am not sure you can beat it. Thank god, it's quite rare. The only version that it loses to is the x2 lightbomb, deathlord and x1/2 shadow madness version.
Just because a deck is weak against a matchup doesn't mean it's shit. It is when that matchup is everywhere you should swap decks but they aren't (at least for me). Every deck has a weak matchup. Look at patron, it's weak against demonhandlock and does that mean it's shit? No, it's top tier. Secret paladin is even weaker against face hunter but you guys are still playing it, right? All decks have an unfavorable matchup. Also, I told you guys to play dragon priest if you run in too many face hunters. Laddering is all about playing the most favorable deck that fits into YOUR meta at YOUR rank. It is perfectly normal to play multiple decks as you rank and you should.
Zoo is an effective ladder deck because it's quick and you can tell if you're going to win or not very early in then just concede. This allows you to play more games and finish faster allowing for a more efficient climb. You shouldn't expect extremely high winrates at high ranks. Your winrate will be between the 50-60 mark but as long as it's above 50%, you will climb. This deck is pretty much for laddering.
Zoo is mostly a control deck. I listed it as combo because it's the insane synergy the deck has that makes it so good. Of course, zoo can go aggro too. It depends on the matchup and situation. You're doing it wrong if you are just rushing face all the time. If you want to play control, then play zoo. Control warrior is weak in this meta if you aren't facing patrons.
Zoo is not an aggro deck. It's the epitome of control. It's very often about controlling the board in the early to mid game. However, it is highly important that you recognize when you need to go face and play as aggro.
It is the fault of other decks that forces it into an aggro play style. A zoo vs zoo match will always be won by whoever controls the board. The opponents health is very often irrelevant in ZvZ. However, in this meta, it is extremely crucial you recognise when to play aggro. The role of zoo in this meta often fluctuates between control and aggro.
So, I've written why you should play zoo but I haven't actually written a guide. I could write basics but I could never cover all that is required. I won't be writing a full guide because that's pointless. It's best just to play zoo just to learn zoo by correcting your mistakes. There's so much to learn. Zoo is all about gaining control of the board then snowballing and also, maximising efficiency and value and furthering your board state while playing around aoe. You need a lot of experience to know the best play. Every turn, you need to decide between so many options where a normal control generally only has 1 play. You need experience to know when to trade or face or tap, how to play against aoe and etc.
However, another user has written a guide for zoo check it out http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/338127-easy-legend-zoo-with-guide . It has extensive details on how to play zoo.
Whenever you mulligan, make sure to do it after your opponent unless you are mulliganing all your cards, which tricks them into thinking your handlock. Basically, your opponent doesn't know you're playing zoo, handlock or demonlock. If you mulligan before them, they can get an idea of what you're playing. Tossing your whole hand means there's a higher chance of you being handlock or demonlock. Keeping your whole hand means higher chance of zoo. Having them not know what your playing is a massive advantage. For example, control warriors will keep useless BGH and executes.
wrathguard, egg, creeper, voidwalker, squire, chow
flame imp, abusive if you have any synergy with voidwalker or squire, creeper. chow
flame imp+direwolf, egg+PO, creeper, wrathguard, squire, chow
wrathguard. flame imp, egg+ PO, abusive if you have flame imp and can play on curve, chow. I think you must have a single 1 drop in this matchup. Toss everything that isn't a 1 drop minion if you haven't got one yet unless you have some combo that allows you to clear 4hp minions.
Flame imp, void walker, wrathguard, knife jungler, abusive combos, chow
if you're going second, it's good to have a 1 drop then a 3 drop to play around fiery war axe
flame imp, abusive+any low atk minion or egg, creeper, squire, chow
I think owl is a must keep if going 2nd. If you have a good 1 and 2 drop play. You keep it.
voidwalker, abusive, squire, direwolf. Anything that can be played early really. Owl is nice too. Egg combos are risky in this matchup because of freezing but are still fine since the abusive should still be useful. Don't try it with PO in the mulligan stage, chow
flame imp, wrathguard, voidwalker or squire+ abusive, kinfe jungler, chow+direwolf. Any combination that allows you to kill darness aspirant should be kept.
voidwalker, creeper, egg+abusive, abusive as a 1 drop, argent squire, chow
1 drop into imp gang boss is always nice if you're going 2nd.
Imp gang boss basically massacres paladin. Keep it if you're going first and have at least a 1 or 2 drop. If you're going 2nd, keep it if you can coin into and have a follow up. It's less good going 2nd if you don't coin it because turn 4 true silver and blessing.
USE YOUR COIN EARLY SO THEY CAN'T DIVINE FAVOR YOUR ASS. I find that going 2nd does make the matchup much harder but still winnable. If you have a strong coin play and a followup. It's highly recommended that you do it. The only time they can divine favor you is in the early game.
Tech Choices/ card explanations?
Zoo is a very versatile deck so many changes can be made for a different outcome. The way I've designed the old deck is VERY leaned towards beating slower matchups, so cards can easily be replaced to beat other matchup. The way the old deck functioned was like mech-shaman. The new version is much more balanced and consistent against all matchups.
This is just a list of cards that can be subbed for w/e
x1/2 harvest golem can be played if control warrior and freeze mage is popular. Replaces argent squire or an impgang boss.
x2 voidcaller if you want 2 beat handlock and control warriors. I only run 1 because it's slow and we often run out of cards in the mid-late game, so running x2 voidcaller sucks.
x1 loathweb can be subbed for w/e tech card you want. Loathweb is mostly a tech against control decks. It isn't that useful against paladin and aggro
x2 void terrior can be played if a lot of hunters/face hunters. USe void terror to play around explosive and unleash.
REPLACE BOTH ZOMBIE CHOW WITH LEPER IF YOU ARE FACING CONTROL.
x2BGH is possible if you are facing a lot of decks with BGH targets. It replaces either Dr.boom or loatheb.
Strangely chow is mediocre against face hunter unless you draw it early because it heals them for 5. Maybe, peplace for argent squire instead.
Btw, voidterror is mostly used to consume your lowhp minions in order to play around aoe. The PO combo is obvious as well but less common
x2 owl is required to beat handlock and face hunter. It's not required but will greatly help beat hybrid and midrange.
x2 chow for x2 squire. If you are low on the ladder chow is the absolute best to play since no one plays handlock, control warrior or patron. Strangely, chow is actually bad against face hunter because they can rush you down faster. It's only good if you draw it early. Run squire if lots of face hunters. Chow can be played against midrange and hybrid.
x2 flame imp and x2 wrath guard no squire for patron, dragon priest and slower match ups.
My reason for no soulfire is that you will essentially lose tempo later anyway from having to tap. If you take that into consideration it's actually a 3 mana deal 4 damage and take 2 damage, which is just ok.
There's a lot of 1 drops because there's only 2 imp gang bosses. Turn 3 is 1 drop or tap or 2 drop+1 drop. Also, sometimes you need to abusive on turn 2.
Bgh since almost every deck on ladder has dr.boom and with chow, the game goes longer. Also it's easy to bgh Mysterious challenger with zoo since you clear most of their board. Also, you have dwarf/abusive combo with bgh. BGH wasn't ran in pre-gvg zoo decks because dr.boom didn't exist and the playstyle was extremely fast due to doomguard and soulfire discards and hunter. However, it's perfectly fine to run BGH in zoo now. It can afford to because of life tap and this list runs a lot of 1 drops.
Btw, voidterror is mostly used to consume your lowhp minions in order to play around aoe. The PO combo is obvious as well but less common
GORMOK SUCKS because you rarely ever get his effect off and when you do it's either win more or against control warrior or priest, which just plays into brawl and lightbomb.