SEASON 24 UPDATE - 20-4 from Rank 15 to Rank 8 - VoD http://www.twitch.tv/sigmasrb/v/51969351
Update: 33-7 (Rank 5)
Update 2: 49-15
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Hey guys, Sigma here, and today I am presenting you with my newest bomb that I've been working on from the beginning of the season, another Zoo from the kitchen, but this time, with a bit of a twist, we will be having NO Doomguards! Just as the last deck was No-Anto, this one is No-Doom!
The reasoning behind this change is that I found out long ago that I really don't like discard and that the discard effect can sometimes be a really massive hit for any future plays that I've had in mind to play. I've had so many moments where I had a Doomguard and a Power Overwhelming in my hand and I had to either choose one of them for the max impact this turn or I just simply didn't have any minions on the board and I really needed to do something to regain my board.
Have questions on some specific cards? Want to know how to replace some like Brann Bronzebeard, Sea Giant and Leeroy Jenkins? Want to see how it works against the current meta? Check out the video below!
Also, with the inclusion of the Dark Peddlers, it is not uncommon for you to get a Soulfire in the hand and at to get a Doomguard at the same time, forcing you usually choose the Doomguard over the Soulfire, which is a massive waste of tempo. But with this deck, that problem is solved! Example given:
Also, I realised that I LOVE Gormok the Impaler, it is just a massive tempo swing when you manage to use his Battlecry, and even if your board is empty, you can still play him as a tempo card, a 4/4 that's by rules quite hard to remove by a lot of classes (e.g. out of the range of Hellfire, both Shadow Word: Death and Pain, Blizzard, and ofc Consecration). Enhance-o-Mechano helped me get so many crazy Windfury lethals, you have no idea. Take a look at some of them:
And the craziest of them all (Blood Imp had Windfury on):
Pretty sick huh?
More than a hundred upvotes in one day! Thank you for all of the support guys.
I'm working on the guide at the moment but until then feel free to check out the video above, I cover quite a bit of stuff there! Find the FULL SigGuide below!
And, of course, the Legend screenshot from S23!
Many would argue that the mulligan for this deck is easy, right? Just go for low minions, you can't miss it. Well, even though there is sense in that of course (as in every other deck), one of the reasons of why a MAX impact zoo player doesn't just stay on lower ranks but goes to legend is to know how own deck enough to know that "cheap minions" is not what this deck is all about.
Please note that the evaluation that I give is solely based on my experience and some others close to me. I will be noting what kind of a match-up it is with the percentage being the rate of your expected victory them being:
Very bad – 20%-30%, Bad 30%-40%, Average – 40%-60%, Good 60%-80%, Very Good 80%-100%.
I will also be noting the key cards versus every match-up that one should be PATIENT with and drop them at just the right moment as they can turn the game in your favour with no problems. The matchups will also be sorted by class, not the victory rate percentage:
Patron – Average Matchup - 50% – These new Patron Warriors can be a mess if you don’t manage to establish board as quick as possible. Try not to run into the Whirlwind of the Death’s Bite too easily. But try to see to use your Imp-losion and Knife Jugglers as soon as possible as they will be pretty useless later as they can create more patrons.
Key cards: Dark Peddler, Abusive Sergeant, Nerubian Egg.
Control – Good Matchup – 60% - It’s never easy to see a manic warrior infront of you, building his armor like Metapod on drugs. The advantage of this deck over control warrior is that you will probably be able to have a bigger output of minions than how much a control warrior can take. Just be careful of the Brawl and try not to throw your entire hand out before turn 5. Better save some minions to use after he brawls. If you can manage to actually throw out Loatheb followed by a Sea Giant on the same turn, that would be the dream. Protect those whirlwind minions with the Defender of Argus and be careful of his HP, always be aware that his Revenge is damaging for 3 after you drop him to 12 HP or lower.
Zoo – Average Matchup – 50% - This match-up more or less goes to the one that wins the first 2 turns, as it usually goes downhill from there for either you or your opponent. Luckily I got you covered. The Argent Squire should be able to handle his minions and not just give into his Nerubian Egg and give him a Nerubian that you REALLY do NOT want. Usually the person who drops Imp-losion and a Sea Giant first, wins.
Key cards: Nerubian Egg, Knife Juggler, Imp-losion, Sea Giant.
RenoLock/Handlock – Good Matchup – 60% - This is also one of those match-ups where awareness is key. Just make sure that you are aware that he can damage your entire board on turn 4 with Hellfire for 3 damage, and from my experience every time when I had some minion susrviving that attack, I was winning. Also try to not leave him with a minion that has more than 3 attack on the board as he can always use Shadowflame on it. It should take one good Enhance-o Mechano, 1 Windfury from him and 1 Power Overwhelming for you to be able to burst reno down.
Key cards: Nerubian Egg, Imp Gang Boss, Leeroy Jenkins, Enhance-o Mechano
Murloc – Average Match-up - 50% - This one is a tricky one. A paladin that is seen less often than the cancerous counterpart, the murloc paladin usually relies on one thing. His heals. As there isn’t that much you can do about a Wild Pyromancer + Equality combo (and you can’t play around it that much), it all comes down to how much he can actually heal himself, before you manage to kill him.
Secret – Good Matchup – 65% - This is where I perfected my deck and the deck was made to directly counter the secret paladin so these matches go pretty smoothly. As there are so many of them for the last 4 seasons in the ladder, the change of the Flame Imp was mostly inspired by the easiness of the secret paladin to remove them with the Noble Sacrifice which only costs 1 single mana for the paladin. If you manage to recover from a Consecration with ease, you should have more than 3 minions on the board by the time he drops the Mysterious Challenger. After that, especially after you drop the Defender of Argus, that buffed MC will mean as he will have to go through an army of imp taunts.
Face/Hybrid - Average Matchup – 40% - Hunters were never the friends of zoolocks. The fact that they can remove our board pretty easily with the Explosive Trap and that they are getting as many hounds as we have minions on the board from Unleash the Hounds, everyone can understand why. The only way to beat them is with good taunt placement, smart trap triggering whilst having a Nerubian Egg on the board for example, and a well-timed Loatheb to seal the deal.
Oil – Average Matchup – 40% - Just make sure that you clear whatever he drops on the board with minions that are bound to die to whatever weapon he has equipped, in case he drops Blade Flurry and you should be fine. Be aware of the Fan of Knives as well, that can screw with our board pretty easily too. Get your minions on more than 1 HP.
Aggro – Average Matchup – 40% - Usually this match-up shouldn’t present that big of a problem for a zoolock, but I was personally having quite a bit of issues with them, even after trying to swap out Gormok for Harrison Jones. Just try to get as many taunts from the Juggler that you can, don’t be afraid to taunt up a single minion with Argus if you can, and try to get a good Loatheb.
Control – Bad Matchup – 35% - AoEs. The biggest problem this priest can throw at you. Working around the AoEs with the help of minions like Haunted Creeper, Imp Gang Boss and Nerubian Egg will put you on the path to victory. Fail to do that and you will most likely be eradicated. Be careful when you drop these minions as they can be easily stolen by a Cabal Shadow Priest. Damn them. Damn them all. If you have to wait in the beginning to get out a 3 attack minion in order to kill the Northshire Cleric, do it. You might give him some space but at least he will not get any cards.
Midrange/Ramp – Good Matchup – 65% - This is also one more reason why this deck is in Tier 1 right now, and that’s because they usually can’t deal with the board that you throw out at them. If you just even remotely not run into a very clear Swipe (4/4 nerubian and 4 1/1 imps) you will most likely have a pretty easy time with druids. Defender of Argus is there as well as Enhance-o Mechano to sort out your board and make it very sticky.
Flamewaker – Good Matchup – 65% - The tempo mages are another deck that usually can’t fend off your aggressive gameplay. The Flamewaker is usually there to try to turn the game into their favour but if you don’t have all imps on the board it’s usually pretty difficult for the flamewaker to accomplish that. This is where the early trades are also pretty important as you are both racing for tempo and board control.
Freeze/Echo – Bad Matchup – 35% - I am sorry to say that this match-up, if the mage even remotely knows what he’s doing or gets remotely good board control cards, is something that you will most likely not winning. Sure, the sticky cards like Nerubian Egg are always there to back you up after he uses a removal, but besides that, the match-up is a living nightmare. Be careful of filling out your entire board, try to save at least one spot because you might need it for Leeroy Jenkins, or a Voidwalker to stop Alexstrasza from going face.
Besides the fact that this deck is mainly aggro, I’ve made sure that the fun factor is there and the fun is where the combos are. In this part of the guide I am going to mention all of the combos that you should try to aim for in order to experience the full burst of the deck.
As I did before in another guide I will name these combos the same. The combos are:
The Mini Combo of the deck against faster decks like Zoo or Face Hunter is for example getting a Haunted Creeper out on turn 1 with the Coin, being followed by a Knife Juggler on turn 2, and killing or should I even say “suiciding” the Haunted Creeper into your opponent's Flame Imp for example, or Knife Juggler (or even going for a Shielded Minibot if that helps you get a hold of the early game), resulting in two knives from the Knife Juggler, which can help you win the early game with ease.
The Killer combo is using the Imp-losion whilst having a Knife Juggler on the board (or using them both on turn 6 (t5 with coin)). The Imp-losion can be kept if you have the coin and Knife Juggler as it can give you a nasty turn 3 if your Juggler survives his turn. I advise caution, a very risky play, but almost always turns the board heavily into your favour. If the deck you play against is slow and the board is extremely passive you might even want to keep them for turn 6 combo (or turn 5 w/ Coin).
I believe that the Gormok activator isn’t really a combo, but I’ll explain more on that in the Strategy part of the guide anyway.
The League of Kickass combos are numerous combos with, of course, Brann Bronzebeard. The card was considered a pretty weak one at first as it was seen mostly in heavier warlock decks but when it was tried out in zoo decks by the community, he became a staple card pretty quickly. This is the list of the most valuable cards that you can match up with Brann:
Brann + Defender of Argus – For when you need that extra sticky icky icky!
Brann + Dark Peddler – The choices are unlimited! You want to make your minion suffer mercilessly or throw a flaming skull into your opponent’s minion for 1 damage? Possibilities are endless!
Brann + Enhance-o-mechano – Ever wanted to see Hearthstone on drugs? Just make this play.
Brann + Loatheb – Make Jaina unlearn all of her spells. Like, forever.
Brann + Elven Archer (from Dark Peddler) – This is some Legolas sh*t right here.
And last but definitely not least – THE FATALITY. I think I’ll just let my first screenshot at the beginning of this description do the talking. Pretty helpful in any case. Use with caution as you might experience a symptom by your opponents I like to call RRAAF – Rapid Repetitive Attempts to Add and Flame.
Now, of course, something that everyone needs to be aware of in order to play this deck and that is; Activators: I made it sure that I have a lot of cards which can activate the Nerubian Egg and those are : Abusive Sergeant, Dire Wolf Alpha, Power Overwhelming, Enhance-o Mechano and the Defender of Argus. Be careful how to use them and in most cases dropping one of them on the board is completely fine. If you have more than one of them in the hand using them even on an empty board and boosting the egg temporarily is fine because it might make your opponent think that you wasted your chance to activate the Egg and them BAM! Clean board & a 4 4 Nerubian on your side + whatever you triggered it with. Kreygasm
The two points that would belong to strategy aspects will be Positioning and Removal Awareness. Similar to what we had in my last zoo deck, but as there are some differences, so will the guides be different. These aspects are of utmost importance in order to make this deck into a killer machine, which will be covered in four parts underneath this Strategy Guide. Here I will cover how will the game go for you from Early game, through Midgame, all the way to Late game.
The Early Game (from turn 1 to turn 3), after paying attention to the Mulligan that I stated in the illustrations above, is of course mainly consisting of smart trades while still trying to get multiple minions out. That’s how the deck wins after all, by mostly flooding the board. The main tips that I would recommend here are: Stay on your curve if you can, but pay attention to what’s happening on the board. (e.g. if you have aNerubian Egg on the board after coining it out on turn 1 and you can pop it with an Abusive Sergeant on turn 2 (you will throw away one mana), do it. The 4/4 is quite a bit of tempo, and a minion that is very hard to reach for most of the classes in the meta right now. See the Combos part of the guide for the Mini Combo, something that is also a killer in early game. The Early game of this deck is mainly focused on controlling the early game (Argent Squire) instead of rushing it down straight away (Flame Imp), so you have been given the resources, now go trade!
The Mid game (turn 4 to turn 7) is usually the main turning point for this deck, here you will either manage to overwhelm your opponent completely with the vast numbers of minions or get removed and try to recover which will usually not be too successful. The removal is something that we have to evade and usually if your minions have more HP left than attack, and have more HP than 2, you should be fine (I’ll explain this more in the Removal Awareness section of the strategy guide). Here is where you should slowly start thinking about getting your 4 minions and using Gormok to either remove your opponent’s, for example, Azure Drake, or even go face with that 4 damage. Depending what you’re facing, you should try to see to play your Defender of Argus for example or Enhance-o Mechano, in order to ensure the opponent from not hitting your face and make him make some bad trades or start thinking about your combos with Brann Bronzebeard or even the Killer combo with Knife Juggler and Imp-losion. Usually this is the time against paladins for example where I tend to drop my Sea Giant as there are just so many minions on both sides of the board. The Sea Giant is also the card that will probably put the mirror match-up into your favour.
By the time late game comes (turn 8 on), you should already be setting up your lethal or have killed the guy already. If you are sitting nicely on 26 HP and your opponent is on let’s say 20, don’t trade too much, just go for face and set up lethal for yourself for next turn, which means getting him into the range of your board. This is the time when you should collect all of your Power Overwhelmings and just rush him down for the filthy paladin that he is.
STRATEGY ASPECT 1: Positioning
Being aware of how to position your minions and get the maximum value out of them because of it is what differs a rank 15 zoo player and a legend zoo player. Of course, the two main minions that we should care about most and to organise our board based on them are the Dire Wolf Alpha and the Defender of Argus (you can check what they do by mousing over the names of the cards if you don’t know). That’s why I usually like to tend to these “rules” to organise my board, which can tend to change due to some specific situations, but if you mostly follow these rules that I’ve set up, you should be good to go.
- Put Imp Gang Boss always on the FAR LEFT of your board. As the imps from the Boss are spawning TO THE RIGHT, you will be able to put a Dire Wolf Alpha on the RIGHT of that imp, KILL the imp into something by using the damage buff, and then still use the imp gang boss, who is going to be next to the Alpha now.
- Always put the taunts (Voidwalkers and whatever you get from the peddler that is a taunt) to the FAR RIGHT, as they will probably not be taunted by the Defender of Argus and they can be used with the alpha nonetheless.
- Put VALUE minions like Argent Squire, Nerubian Egg and Haunted Creeper somewhere to the middle, as they are good taunt targets. Imp Gang Boss is a good target as well, but even though he is on the far left you should be able to use the imps that were created to remove something and then put the taunt in between anyway.
Besides these, always try to set your minions with the Defender of Argus to be just above the removal range of the class you play against (check Removal Awareness part of the guide), like for example taunt a 2/1 Abusive Sergeant rather than a Haunted Creeper if you’re playing against a mage as he can just simply remove your sergeant with hero power.
Dire Wolf Alpha is usually going into the middle of your board if possible, and should buff as much of your board as possible while minions die out.
STRATEGY ASPECT 2: Removal Awareness
As the meta slowly shifts and people are starting to counter the onslaught of zoolocks and other fast decks, there are quite a bit of removals which can cause quite a big of a problem for us. This is something that EVERYONE needs to be aware of before stepping onto the ladder with this deck.
Some of our biggest enemies are: Brawl from Warrior, Holy Nova, Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing combo and Lightbomb from Priest, Consecration from Paladin, Blizzard and Flamestrike from Mage, Hellfire or Shadowflame from Warlock and Swipe from Druid. The mage also having her hero power that she can use to remove any minion of ours that has 1 HP as well.
For example, some of the most common mistakes is to play Imp-losion right into druid’s Swipe. Don’t do that unless druid already used one swipe and you believe he might not be having another one. Some of the most important minions for these situations are the sticky ones in our deck and those are Nerubian Egg, Haunted Creeper and Imp Gang Boss. If I’m playing against a class that has a crapload of removals like Priest, I might not even pop my egg, just leave it there so that I can recover with a 4/4 Nerubian next turn. The Egg and the Creeper are both pretty valuable against a freeze mage and should definitely not be popped if you can evade it.
Try to not run into a Consecration against a paladin with looking at your minions’ health. Getting out a single Imp Gang Boss on turn 4 against a paladin is usually better than getting out a Knife Juggler, Dark Peddler and a 1 mana minion out of the peddler, because you really want them juggler knives. No. Just be aware of how much a paladin or any other class can wreck you, and you should have no problems.
This is where Defender of Argus can help you. He’s perfect for getting your minions out of the range of removals from your opponents, to put minions on more than 1 damage against mage’s hero power or druids Swipe, to put them above 2 HP against Holy Novas, Consecrations and Blizzards, and to put them above 3 HP for those Hellfires. Against warriors I would advise you to take it a little bit slower and try to get that Brawl out of them, after which you will just throw out all of the minions you’ve been saving and replenish your board pretty quickly.
Please note: Even though I always encourage people to try out different variations of my deck which suits their tastings more, try not to steer too much from my list or else it will be a completely different variation of zoolock!
THE HALL OF FAME
Season 23 Beasts:
Legend rank 2167 - ZBOZZ
Legend rank 2850 - JaviNst
Legend rank 4250 - prxzm
Legend 4361 - Drag00nSpirit
Legend 4793 - dieSeife
Legend 4920 - HYDRASCREAACH (Neojoi)
Season 24 Monsters:
Legend Rank 377 - Icedevil
Legend rank 3627 - Beary
Have you reached legend with this deck or came to a high legend rank with it? Send the screenshot of it to me in private or leave it in the comments and I will put it here!
As you guys loved the mulligan pictures from the Demon Reno & No-Anto Mage, here they are again! I hope you guys liked the full SigGuide, it took quite some time to write it out!
Finally, a big thank you to my first patron, Bearmec! If you would also want to help out by becoming a patron and getting some really amazing perks, you can do so at www.patreon.com/sigmasrb !
Cheers for checking out yet another Sigma's deck and as always, the constructive criticism and any suggestions to improve the deck are warmly accepted! See you on the stream!