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Zoo Warlock deck list guide - Darkmoon Faire - Hearthstone (December 2020)

Our guide to playing Zoo in the Darkmoon Faire era.

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About James Law

James can usually be found wearing dungarees.

Our Zoo Warlock deck list guide features the best Darkmoon Faire deck list for Season 81 of Hearthstone (December 2020). Our Zoo Warlock guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.

Zoo Warlock is a Hearthstone deck that’s existed since the very early stages of the game. Its power has fluctuated up and down many times over the years but it always seems to make an appearance in the game. Usually a go-to choice for players at the start of a new expansion cycle, we'll see whether it has any longevity in Darkmoon Faire.

We always like to keep our Zoo Warlock guide up to date as well because it is such a great deck to play for beginners. Not only is it often relatively cheap to put together in terms of dust (the Legendaries are optional), but it also goes a long way to teach you many of the fundamentals of playing Hearthstone well. Things like minion trading and placement, when to go for life total damage and how to most effectively play around your opponent’s deck.

Zoo Warlock deck list and strategy

This is a solid deck to try out in Darkmoon Faire, especially if you want to combat Rogue and Warrior decks out there. We'll see if it makes a splash in the meta in the long run and update our guide accordingly.

WarlockNeutral
2 x Raise Dead2 x Animated Broomstick
2 x Wicked Whispers2 x Tour Guide
2 x Voidwalker2 x Wriggling Horror
2 x Soulfire
2 x Flame Imp
2 x Spirit Jailer
1 x Kanrethad Ebonlocke
1 x Expired Merchant
2 x Darkglare
2 x Revenant Rascal
2 x Nightshade Matron
2 x Hand of Gul'dan
2 x Flesh Giant

Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: AAECAf0GAv2kA9a5Aw4wzgfCCLW5A7a5A8u5A5XNA5vNA9fOA8HRA8zSA5feA9DhA8rjAwA=

More great Warlock guides:

General strategy

Taking control of the board is easy with this deck, as you have a huge number of early minions that can trade easily and a Hero Power that directly draws you more cards to play.

You’ll want to storm out into a lead with the deck’s powerful early game drops and stretch your advantage so far that your opponent is unable to respond. If they can’t get a foothold in the game you can deny them at every turn before they can even establish their game plan.

Early game:

Contest the board with your powerful early drops and make sensible trades where possible. Remember, Zoo Warlock is a board control deck and not one for blindly rushing face damage. Look for high-health minions that stick to the board, like Voidwalker and Spirit Jailer. You never want to be floating mana, so try to get as many bodies onto the board as you can.

Mid game:

Continue applying pressure with your minions. Wicked Whispers is a great buff for a wide board of minions. Alternatively, Wriggling Horror is a mini Fungalmancer, and you can use the +1/+1 on two minions on the same turn if the minion is ready to attack. Darkglare will even let you Life Tap for 1 mana, since you refresh a mana crystal whenever your Hero takes damage.

At this stage, you should consider weaving in a Life Tap every turn where possible to ensure you don’t run out of resources or use Nightshade Matron to dig deeper into your deck by discarding Hand of Gul'dan. Just remember, Hand of Gul'dan has to be the highest cost card in your hand or the effect won't work!

Late game:

If you’ve stormed out into a lead then the game may already be over at this point, or you’ll at least be looking for that last extra chunk of damage. Flesh Giant is a solid shout here, as it’ll be nice and cheap, and Raise Dead can give you more fuel in the form of minions who’ve died so far. Late on, you want to be finishing things off.

Aggro opponents

We’ve put together a few tips to deal with other aggro decks you may face on ladder:

  • 1. It’s even more important to trade cleverly against aggro decks, as Zoo Warlock has very few comeback mechanisms if you fall behind on the board.
  • 2. Animated Broomstick can give your minions Rush to take out enemy minions before they can go face.
  • 3. Voidwalker is a great early play, often grinding early aggression to a halt while you look to stabilise.
  • 4. Don’t Life Tap when you don’t need to. Aggressive enemies will take advantage and could kill you swiftly.

Control opponents

Keep these tips in mind when you come up against control decks:

  • 1. Definitely play more aggressively against control, as you want to finish them off before they get a chance to stabilise.
  • 2. At the same time, be cautious of over-extending into a board clear if you know one could be coming on the next turn. Make sure you have some resources saved in reserve, just in case.
  • 3. Be careful with your high-value cards. You may want to save a strong board, like a bunch of minions followed by a Wicked Whispers, for after you’ve baited out a board clear from the enemy.

Zoo Warlock Mulligan guide

As you might expect from the fast-playing Zoo deck, you’ll want to get your one-drops into your hand in the Mulligan phase. Here are the specific ones you want to see:

  • 1. Flame Imp is still one of the best one-drops in the game based on the stats alone and well worth the hit to your Health.
  • 2. Spirit Jailer allows you to shuffle Soul Fragments into your deck which heal you when drawn.
  • 3. Expired Merchant is fantastic alongside Hand of Gul'dan. You can discard it and draw cards, before getting more copies of it to discard later with the likes of Nightshade Matron.
  • 4. Kanrethad Ebonlocke is a decent keep, as you can discount your 1-cost Demons and play them all at a time.

Zoo Warlock tips, combos and synergies

It’s one of the game’s oldest archetypes but the Zoo Warlock formula does change a little with each set release. Make sure you know all of the following combos available in the deck before you jump into your first match:

- Use your Hero Power as much as possible to discount Flesh Giant - soon you’ll be getting an 8/8 for barely any mana!

- Kanrethad Ebonlocke discounts your Demons, including Fiendish Servant, Flame Imp, and Imprisoned Scrap Imp. He'll also put Kanrethad Prime into your deck, which will resummon 3 friendly Demons who previously died, acting as a quick board refresh.

- Nightshade Matron will discard your highest cost card, so try to target this at Hand of Gul’dan as this’ll draw you three cards for free.

- Tour Guide doesn’t refresh your Hero Power, but the effect does carry over to future turns if you want it to.

- Keep an eye on which card you’re ready to discard with Wicked Whispers. It’ll usually be Raise Dead if that’s in your hand, but if you have a bunch of 1-drops it’ll discard a random one of them.

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  • Truncle #1 2 years ago
    @Stem argh!Argh! Reading comprehension fail on my part! Thank you for helping!
  • Stem #2 2 years ago
    @Truncle "If your deck has not 2-cost cards" means that Keleseth's battlecry will not trigger if there is a 2 cost card like "Defile", so Keleseth would work with this deck if there are 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10-cost cards.
  • Truncle #3 2 years ago
    @Stem then does that mean the Prince battlecry would not work with this deck? As out lined in this article? Or am being dense and missing something?
  • Stem #4 2 years ago
    @Truncle If your deck has not 2-cost cards, fungalmancer is 5-cost
  • Truncle #5 2 years ago
    I apologize, but I am not tracking this deck. It says to use The Prince, but that card text says that it only works if your deck has no cards that cost more than 2. But fungal mancer and doom guard and Spellbreaker are more than 2? So how does Prince work?
  • Grunyarth #6 2 years ago
    Go to the hsreplay page here, and sort the decks by winrate. You'll notice 0 of the top 10 have soulfire infusion/doubling imp. The first popular list with those two cards is at 58% winrate and is playing sea giants and such. The more conventional soulfire infusion/doubling imp builds aren't until 56-57%.
  • Grunyarth #7 2 years ago
    If you look at the statistics on hsreplay.net, the version of this deck with soulfire infusion and doubling imp is doing worse by a surprising amount (3-4% it seems). This is considering the winrate of the best zoolock lists on the site with over a few thousand games. I think you should update this guide to reflect that, as it really is an amazingly large difference considering how much more synergistic this list can feel.
  • Bedders #8 2 years ago
    Hello!

    Here's the pre-expansion deck list which was updated on the 1st August. Use this in the days we have left before Boomdsay lands. Thanks for your patience as we get the site updated!

    Warlock

    2 x Flame Imp
    2 x Kobold Librarian
    2 x Soulfire
    2 x Voidwalker
    2 x Despicable Dreadlord

    Neutral

    2 x Lightwarden
    2 x Voodoo Doctor
    1 x Prince Keleseth
    2 x Fungal Enchanter
    2 x Happy Ghoul
    2 x Tar Creeper
    1 x Void Ripper
    2 x Lifedrinker
    2 x Saronite Chain Gang
    1 x Spellbreaker
    2 x Fungalmancer
    1 x Leeroy Jenkins

    AAECAf0GBK8E8gWc4gL96gINMIQBzgfCCPcMysMCm8sC980Cn84C8tAC0eECh+gC7/ECAA==
  • Bedders #9 3 years ago
    @arjensmit75 Sorry I missed this - it had gone off the front page! (Do an@Bedders if you ever want to grab me personally).

    It's a bit of a shame that Zoo isn't really delivering right now. I'd hoped for a bit of a comeback in Un'Goro but it's probably not to be.
  • arjensmit75 #10 3 years ago
    Entirely useless to try and play this and hope for a win.
  • nicn #11 3 years ago
    -1 abusive / +1 forb.ritual seems kinda better for councilman
    (i d personally go for 2 rituals/no abusive since early minions in this smorc meta have less than 3health)
  • Bedders #12 3 years ago
    @kirksteele90 Yeah it's an old favourite of ours. Shame it's not quite as competitive as it once was, as it's such a nice way of people to learn the ins and outs of the game.
  • kirksteele90 #13 3 years ago
    Thanks, built this deck with a few minor changes for cards i didn't have and won 2 games in a row already. Very easy to pick up and learn and as someone that hated warlock to begin with, this was a fund deck to play.
  • saschascheer22 #14 4 years ago
    rdu says not to always keep peddler, especially against other aggro. just think of it as a 3 drop.and the only 3 drop u might want is gang-boss
  • roberthaynes80 #15 4 years ago
    @Klck I think you misunderstand how Leeroy is used in Zoo. You look at it as he's not an equal board presence to Doomguard, and that's true, but that's now why he's being selected. You can hoard Power Overwhelming and cast them on Leeroy for a huge end-game burst. You can't do that with Doomguard because they get discarded. Also, most of the 'locks I've seen on the ladder this past season have been running the discard version of zoo, with the imp and Silverware Golem. They DO run Doomguard because the imps return the lost cards.
  • Klck #16 4 years ago
    @koolcat1101 You r wrong mate, i was also. There are no downsides playing doomguard as you play it as last card in hand. Also leeeeeeeeroy hits once then hes dead, while doomguard hits and need to be answered or he hits again.

    Leeroy is good replacement while you have no doomguards.
  • koolcat1101 #17 4 years ago
    I prefer the version with leeroy Jenkins.
  • Klck #18 4 years ago
    IS BRANN OUT SMOKING CIGG? Seriously, - knife juggler, + Brann
  • josb983 #19 4 years ago
    Is Moroes a good replacement for imp gang boss?
  • joãosilva24 #20 4 years ago
    @Dimitriy I dont have it soo I normally replace it with imp master
  • Klck #21 4 years ago
    @Dimitriy at last but not least, 2/3 dude which spawn 1\1 boar is valid, harvest golem even better i guess.
  • Dimitriy #22 4 years ago
    Who can i replace with imp gang boss?
  • Klck #23 4 years ago
    @harrisongrafanakis70 didnt notice no imps here, i would play 10 of them if able. No offence but If t5 giant is slow then we must be playing other games.
  • @Klck i agree with what ur saying but keep argent squire and flame imp kara kazam isnt needed sea giant is a bit slow leeroy is a valid replacement for doomguard
  • Bedders #25 4 years ago
    @Klck Definitely valid. I think we're going to see a lot of changes in the first full month of Karazhan, now that every card has been released. It's quite hard to definitively call these deck lists right now.

    I'd encourage everyone to experiment with every variation right now, and if you find one that works in your corner of the ladder, stick with it! We'll have a better sense of what works within the broader metagame for the next update I think.
  • Klck #26 4 years ago
    -1 argent squire
    - 1 flame juggler
    - 2 doomguard (there is no reason to play him, its zoo, not discardlock)

    + 1 kara kazham (great synergies with knife juggler, councilman and sea giants)
    + leeeeeeeeroy (cant even compare doomguard to him, its hard to power overwhelm doomguard, isnt it?)
    + 2 sea giant
  • Klck #27 4 years ago
    Almost everyone playing zoo is using Kara kazham! over forbiden ritual or as addition beacuse of popularity of warrior decks.
  • joshzullo92 #28 4 years ago
    This is not tier 1 anymore. Too much removal, and yes, I will always draw it against this deck.
  • joshzullo92 #29 4 years ago
    This is not tier 1 anymore. Too much removal, and yes, I will always draw it against this deck.
  • Klck #30 4 years ago
    I main zoo atm. My version is a bit faster than Yours and a bit slower than Trumps one.

    Changes according to Yours list:

    - Brann Bronzebeard (hes 50% times great especially when followed up by defender of argus, and 50% just fine. Since i cut dark iron dwarf its not 50% anymore.)

    - Dark iron dwarf (just worst guy in party.)

    + 2x mortal coil (so many aggro in meta nowadays, and its simle 2 for 1.

    Also tested Moroes. Too slow, maybe he finds home in some token themed deck.
  • Bedders #31 4 years ago
    @Klck Oh, missed that sorry and thanks for the spot!
  • Klck #32 4 years ago
    Just wondering why your list contains 29 cards.
    @Sonic1337 You can always consider 2nd Dark Iron Dwarf in a place of Sea Giant. Leeroy is hard to be replaced beacuse its a finnisher. You should look arround for something that cost 5-6 and make immediate effect on board. No idea if You can actualy find something.
  • Bedders #33 4 years ago
    @Sonic1337 It depends very much on what you have in your collection. Leeroy gives you burst/surprise finish so I guess you want anything that charges. Reckless Rocketeer as a budget possibility?

    Do you have Gormok the Impaler? That used to be a common component of Zoo (in recent months at least), and gives you the same sort of minion-fuelled bonus effect of Se Giant albeit without the meaty stats on the board.
  • Sonic1337 #34 4 years ago
    replacements for Leeroy and Sea Giant ?
  • Nasharan #35 4 years ago
    I replaced the two legendaries with Mortal Coil and one Dire Wolf Wlpha + the Sea Giant with two Raid Leaders. It's working well and the deck's total cost is at about 1200 dust.
  • berylliumgold17 #36 4 years ago
    In particular - Mortal Coil seems too important to replace it with something else.
  • berylliumgold17 #37 4 years ago
    why does trump have a video featuring different cards than the list of cards for the zoo deck?
  • vaidab #38 4 years ago
    I have a few positioning questions:


    Why did he put that many minions, wasn't he in risk of a Brawl? This deck is usually running 1 brawl though at 9:18 he says these decks aren't usually running one :/
    I would have played Tap + Defender here.
    Also, shouldn't have he put the Darkshire Councilman between the Knife Juggler and Imp Gang Boss as he doesn't usually need a wolf as an activator.

    At 8:36 he explains that Argent Squires and Possessed Villages go on the edges, with priority to the right edge.
    Considering Forbidden Ritual (which puts the 1/1s to the right), shouldn't the left edge have priority so that these 2 minions don't stop the wolf+sliding combo?
  • brianthompson15 #39 4 years ago
    Suitable replacement for gormok?
  • aggroman123 #40 4 years ago
    tbh this deck is awesome im running it without dark peddler as i dont have league of explorers in their places i put two of the murlocs with charge and so far im 7-0
  • vaidab #41 4 years ago
    I'm running a deck similar to this one and I have a few questions on mulliganing.
    My modifications:
    -2 mortal coils
    -1 argent squire
    +1 bilefin tidehunter
    +1 flame juggler
    +1 dark iron dwarf

    My
  • Bedders #42 4 years ago
    @inposition

    RE: Giants - Yep, totally viable. My preference is to have two of them though to play into the "many minions" flavour of the particular deck list. It's a fair swap if you want/need a fast finisher.

    RE: Dark Peddler - Oversight on my part, apologies! I've added the card to the Mulligan guide.
  • inposition #43 4 years ago
    You don't keep dark peddler in the mulligan? Why not?
  • inposition #44 4 years ago
    I've seen some folks putting in a Leeroy for one of the Giants. What are your thoughts on this choice?
  • Gr81derer #45 4 years ago
    Video Tutorial here:
  • Bedders #46 4 years ago
    @traianniţu01 Ah, my mistake. There was one mention of Voidcaller left in here from when this was more Demon-orientated. I've tidied it up now - thanks for spotting!
  • Bedders #47 4 years ago
    @traianniţu01 Ah, my mistake. There was one mention of Voidcaller left in here from when this was more Demon-orientated. I've tidied it up now - thanks for spotting!
  • traianniţu01 #48 4 years ago
    I am sorry, you keep mentioning Voidcaller in the guide, but the card is not present in the actual deck you present. Please explain.
  • Bedders #49 5 years ago
    @jasonsnodgrass44 Sooner or later, I always come crawling back to Zoo!
  • jasonsnodgrass44 #50 5 years ago
    I absolutely love this deck, its fluid it can be aggressive it can defensive. I switched out an imp-losion for a Shadowflame just to clear the board when I need to.
  • NinjaFred #51 5 years ago
    is dark peddler an ok replacement for imp gang boss?
    and if i don't have mal'ganis yet is there another replacement demon until i get him?
  • thomasnash95 #52 5 years ago
    Going face on Nerubian Egg + Power Overwhelming in round 4 then playing Void Terror to buff it to at least 7/9 then having the 4/4 Nerubian has made my last 3 opponents forfeit.
  • warnerve #53 5 years ago
    Trump thinks he is some kind of card genius when it comes to throwing decks together. Hearthstone is such a noob game to begin with and has so few cards it's pretty easy to toss variants of themed decks around its not funny. This deck is nothing more than an Afro lock with a few gvg catds tossed in and a win condition. Hearthstone is in a state of static play until the new adventure is released and then it will cycle again. Making counter decks to the current flavor of the week and being lucky on draws will net you a 55% win rate and a 250-300 game legend climb for your card back. Blizzard has successfully done what they always do best.......designing a game that puts luck and a time sink together to make you so pissed off you spend money to bypass the time aspect to only find that the luck you need puts you back to time sink mode. Congrats to trump and all the others who claim glory on having more time to waste on a game than other people. Trump couldn't save his ass in a game of Texas hold'em because he wouldn't know how to counter a full house with his ace high hahahaha......
  • Bedders #54 5 years ago
    Nice run! Reading through your comment, you might actually like to have a play around with the Demon Control Warlock that's doing the rounds at the moment. That's got a lot of the cards you want to play with, but you'll need Sylvanas, Dr. Boom, Ragnaros and Lord Jaraxxus to get the most out of it.

    Links aren't working at the moment (tech are on it), but if you look under the Deck Guide section of the site, you should find our guide a few rows down.
  • morley83 #55 5 years ago
    Well, I played this deck without a loss from 18-14 , so it seems pretty strong! (I haven't played much this or last season, hence the low start). In the end I ran afoul of a hunter that busrt me down. Imp-losion is dangerous there! Pre-GvG i took a zoo-lock to rank 4, and I miss the power overwhelming/nerubian egg/void terror combo from that. I might look to modify this deck a little, drop one or both imposions for void terrors and get a darkbomb in there somewhere, see how that fares.
  • GealachNua #56 5 years ago
    @Bedders Below 10 is great! I've only ever got to 14.
  • Bedders #57 5 years ago
    Let me know how you get on. I've been Arena-ing and getting the site ready for most of this month. I've played a little of this deck for the guide, and I think I'll give it a whirl for my last-minute sprint to, er, sub-Rank 10 glory. Hopefully anyway...
  • morley83 #58 5 years ago
    Good stuff, haven't developed my decks much since GVG launched, I might take this for a spin and see how it fares