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Zoo Algorithm

  • Last updated Aug 11, 2014 (Naxx Launch)
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  • 26 Minions
  • 4 Spells
  • Deck Type: Ranked Deck
  • Deck Archetype: Unknown
  • Crafting Cost: 1280
  • Dust Needed: Loading Collection
  • Created: 7/11/2014 (Live Patch 5506)
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Zoo is easy to play, but it is often poorly explained to new players on how to actually play it. While climbing ladder I've repeatedly seen misplays when my opponent is playing Zoo.

There are very few decisions that need to made when playing Zoo. There is generally a single correct play. While I cannot describe all situations you will encounter, I have attempted to write down the general Zoo algorithm.

I use this deck to rush to Rank 5 every season. I believe anybody following this algorithm will be able to do the same.

While the algorithm applies to any Zoo variant, the details below will be talking about my Zoo variant (which includes double Hellfire).

Good luck, and see you at Rank 5


Snowball your board to lethal by keeping their board clear with smart trades. Surprise your opponent by buffing your minions into trading range.

Deck Breakdown

Primary One Drops

Buff Minions

Charge Minions

Direct Damage

Indirect Damage


With Coin

If at least 2 Primary One Drops
then keep Dire Wolf Alpha
otherwise throw everything away except for Primary One Drops.

Without Coin

Throw everything away except for Primary One Drops.


Tap if you can play you entire hand and still have 2 mana remaining. Tap first. You need to be careful not to tap below certain health levels against some match ups. For example never tap 14 HP against a Druid who is running the combo at 9 mana.

Main Algorithm

  1. Lethal check incrementally using
    • direct damage
    • played minions
    • charge minions
    • buff minions
    • indirect damage with additional minions
  2. Clear the board best you can
    • Use Hellfire if their board is way better than yours
    • Almost always use Soulfire to clear 3+ health minions
    • Use Buff Minions to bring played minions into range
    • Try to match damage to enemy minion health exactly if possible
    • When trading, favour keeping few strong/undamaged minions over many weak ones to avoid AoE clears
    • Keep in mind of the increased damage with Dire Wolf Alpha when trading
    • Consider order of play when Knife Juggler is in play
    • Doomguard is typically used for trading, definitely use when discarding some 1 drops. Consider carefully when discarding 4+ mana minions.
    • Avoid trading Young Priestess and Dire Wolf Alpha
  3. Build the board
  4. Attack the face with board
  5. Goto step 1

Naxxramas Update

Where are the Naxxramas cards?  I tried replacing Shieldbearer and Young Priestess with Nerubian Egg and Haunted Creeper, but I really didn't like it.  Losing two Primary One Drops is a huge problem.  You need early 1 drops so you can snowball the game.  If you are dropping a single minion at 2 mana as your first minion, you've lost the game.

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