Getting initiative vs Zoo

Posts: 479
So i have a question since Zoo doesnt' stall out ever because of the 2 cards per turn after turn 5 for the most part how is a player supposed to get initative vs zoo.

You can do board wipes but since this usually uses all your crystals you have just stopped the existing damage and they are going to play 2 minions next turn. Which leaves you behind again.

A lack of good blockers that can actually 2 for 1 are rare. Taz and druid of the claw seem to be the only ones that might have a chance. Taz usually gets one shotted by a seargent pump or eaten by the no discard Doomguard. or paying for double molten core protector but then still i have been foiled by a silence and power overwhelming on the other

So tell me how are you supposed to turn the tables and live while your at it.

I mean i had this game playing my paly the other day I went second I found the game rather hillarious given my opening hand was 2 concerates and an abom

Turn 3 Concecrate killed 3
turn 4 concecrate killed 2
turn 5 abom got souled
turn 6 avenging wrath
turn 7 protector of the king
turn 8 tyrion

Other card games have accounted that rush was supposed to stall out.. in hearthstone it never stalls.. you can never hurt your opponent because nothing is out there alive for you to hurt your opponent with just letting them lifetap without any risk.

A huge reason is there is complete lack of 2/4 drops for 3. All the 3 drops can be killed by a 2 drop for the most part .

So tell me how are you realisticly supposed to turn the tables on them without basicly luck drawing the limited AoES?
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Posts: 1,530
Play a deck more aggressive than Zoo (many exist) or play a class that has a lot of cheap, early removal (Rogue).

Easiest ways.
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Posts: 9,780
Anything that extends the game helps vs Zoo. Taunts. Healing. Board Clears. etc. Zoo will run out of steam, provided the game lasts long enough. This is why some are running Leeroy + PO, to make up for this fact.
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Posts: 301
You need to deal with everything as it's played. It isn't enough to do nothing for three-five turns while you wait to AoE. Plus many run crusaders, berserkers and harvest golems to survive AoE as well as buffing their minions out of kill range.
Throwing out sticky or annoying minions early and big taunts turn 5-7 while keeping his board as clear as you can is the best you can do.
I'm using sunwalkers a lot now instead of tazdingos, they're more annoying to deal with and scale better into the late game.
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Posts: 2,456
Look at how tempo Rogue does it. Lots of itty bitty damage for removal and then follows up with mid game minions that 2 for 1 pretty much everything Zoo has. Like you say they can summon 2 minions a turn, every turn. Having your own minions able to kill two of theirs each is a blessing.

Spending an entire turn on AoE is risky. It can work as long as their stuff is low health, but Zoo decks pick their minions based on surviving a Consecration. a lot of things they have are 3, 4 health or have divine shields or death rattles or get buffed above 2 or... you see the point.
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Posts: 479
Problem with rogue is that yes it has the early removal , but you will stall out yourself. I have tried running betrayal it never works it seems they are content on having 3 guys out with their 1 damage mininon in the middle just expecting it.

I find it hard to believe you can be more aggressive. Hunter maybe. You still have to overcome that 2/1 card draw advantage even if you are trading 1 to 1 at the start.

And you can extend the game all you want.. I'm talking about getting initiative. Its like okay to win you have to be at turn 8, with 15 health a 6/6 taunt minion on the board and all they got is a 3/2 and then its an even game. They have 12 cards left and you have 19.
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Posts: 479
Yes everyone should have small drops to annoy them , but usally they are for not getting soulfired so they dont lose tempo or being taking out by the 0/4 protector with a seargeant.

You mention having good 5-7 Taunt minions.. umm.. the taunt minions suck at this range ,

a 5/4 for 5, a 6/5 for 6.. Sunwalker is okay.

If your a druid you have the real taunt minions. Again .. at best you are lucky to 2 for one most of these even if your killing one , but they have 2 others hitting you for 6 since turn 3 it doesn't take long to die.
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Posts: 211
watcher druid + lots of healing = annoyed zoo lock
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Posts: 2,208
Tempo Rogue and Aggro Mage beat it by grabbing the board first. The Tempo Rogue has Backstab, Deadly Poison, SI:7 Agent and sometimes Perdition's Blade with which to get ahead on the board. Mage has Sorcerer's Apprentice, Arcane Missiles, Knife Juggler -> Mirror Image, Frostbolt and sometimes Mana Wyrm depending on the hand. By contrast, the only early tempo plays that Zoo has are Soulfire, Dire Wolf and Abusive Sergeant. This means that these decks should grab the board against Zoo with a decent draw, then whittle down Zoo's life total to put a stop to the card draw.

If you're playing a Paladin, you should be looking for similar early game tempo plays. Argent Protector is the best one you have. Aldor Peacekeeper can also be very strong, and your Charge minions double as early game removal. Basically, you want the Zoo player to flood the board hard rather than draw cards just to stay ahead of your own removal, then Consecrate it all away. 2-for-1 isn't good enough against Zoo with an AoE; it's like using AoE for spot removal against any other deck.

Holding on to a pair of Consecrates and an Abomination is the wrong way to defend against Zoo. If you're passive for the first few turns, you're going to take too much damage before your heals kick in.
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Posts: 224
06/09/2014 07:56 AMPosted by Bosskiller
Anything that extends the game helps vs Zoo. Taunts. Healing. Board Clears. etc. Zoo will run out of steam, provided the game lasts long enough. This is why some are running Leeroy + PO, to make up for this fact.


Weren't you the one fighting to the last breath against people who said Zoo is a rush deck? What good would taunts and healing do against a "board control" deck?
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06/09/2014 08:52 AMPosted by Gannet
Weren't you the one fighting to the last breath against people who said Zoo is a rush deck? What good would taunts and healing do against a "board control" deck?


By extending the game, the lock has to Life tap, which hurts him, and he will either have to stop Life Tapping eventually, or risk getting into lethal range.

By extending the game, you are able to start putting out bigger minions than the Lock can, if you are running a more late game style deck.

By extending the game, you are able to get to your combos, if running some type a combo win condition.
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Posts: 2,482
There is no good consistent answer to zoo in hearthstone, but almost any deck can draw in such a way as to beat it.

Just have to know what cards to keep against them.
A short list:

druid = keeper of the grove, claw, wrath, swipe, innervate+bear
rogue = si-7, blade flurry, deadly poison, backstab
priest = wild pyro, holy smite, shadow word pain, shadow madness
mage = frostbolt, mana wyrm, water elemental
shaman = rockbiter, bolt, feral spirits, lightning storm, axe
warrior = fiery war axe, cruel taskmaster, slam, armorsmith, acolyte of pain, brawl
warlock = soulfire, blood knight, hellfire, abusive seargant + 1 drop
paladin = consecration, truesilver
hunter = explosive trap, arcane shot, animal companion, bow, unleash

Harvest golem is also universally a super annoying card for zoo to deal with.
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Posts: 2,560
06/09/2014 08:52 AMPosted by Gannet
Weren't you the one fighting to the last breath against people who said Zoo is a rush deck? What good would taunts and healing do against a "board control" deck?


Zoo is a control deck, with a mana curve very skewed towards low-cost minions. There are more aggresive versions than the shieldbearer one, but still control decks.

Warlock Rush is a deck that many think is Zoo, but it isn't. Not everything with low cost minions is a zoo deck. Leper Gnomes, Wolf riders, etc., are rushing cards. This isn't the Zoo deck.
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06/09/2014 07:50 AMPosted by Shodori
So i have a question since Zoo doesnt' stall out ever because of the 2 cards per turn after turn 5 for the most part how is a player supposed to get initative vs zoo.


This I need to stop you right here.

Zoo very much DOES stall out. You can literally kill it by just wiping the board over and over.

Zoo's has two issues against it:

1. It's minions. There's a point in the game when dropping 2 2-drop minions just doesn't cut it anymore. Meanwhile, it literally only has 2 answer cards: the soulfires it probably threw at you early game to keep it from pairing up or eating a doomguard. Thus once the game formally goes to mid or late game the zoo is very underpowered, even with the card pull.

2. It's killing himself. I've had so many games where I've rarely been able to touch the warlock, just the minions only to look up and realize the match is still very close... right when the game has opened up for midrange burst. Then, once the warlock realizes that they don't have the health they want to keep pulling, that topdecking with a zoo deck is an autoconcede.

The deck has a phase where it grows incredibly fast, holds on to about turn 4-7 when the Big Bosses come (the doomguards). After that, it falls flat.

The trick is that it doesn't just die to one AOE. During the growth phase, AOE stuns it but doesn't HURT it as it can still keep dropping minions to regrow. However, it still has a deadline and once you hit that deadline, either you are dead or the warlock.
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Posts: 224
06/09/2014 08:57 AMPosted by Bosskiller
06/09/2014 08:52 AMPosted by Gannet
Weren't you the one fighting to the last breath against people who said Zoo is a rush deck? What good would taunts and healing do against a "board control" deck?


By extending the game, the lock has to Life tap, which hurts him, and he will either have to stop Life Tapping eventually, or risk getting into lethal range.

By extending the game, you are able to start putting out bigger minions than the Lock can, if you are running a more late game style deck.

By extending the game, you are able to get to your combos, if running some type a combo win condition.


Yes, extending the game, good strategy ...against rush. Why use a taunt when for a zoo every minion you put down is a "taunt" ...which you counter ...by being in an all out assault.

Warlock Rush is a deck that many think is Zoo, but it isn't


yeah sorry about that, kinda hard to keep track of all the made-up semantics.

Still the title of this topic is pretty accurate and OP explains it well. Initiative against zoo decks, seems a decent subject. The problem is, playing defensively doesn't give you initiative, taunts are a waste, you'll always waste more mana to put up a taunt than he will waste destroying it. Board wipes (depending on class) come pretty late, if ever, and still don't give you initiative.
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Posts: 479
06/09/2014 09:25 AMPosted by Gannet
Still the title of this topic is pretty accurate and OP explains it well. Initiative against zoo decks, seems a decent subject. The problem is, playing defensively doesn't give you initiative, taunts are a waste, you'll always waste more mana to put up a taunt than he will waste destroying it. Board wipes (depending on class) come pretty late, if ever, and still don't give you initiative.


Yep .. so far people have just posted things that oh slow the bleeding till turn 8..

Pretty much the only thing i have ever done to take initiative is play a turn 2 doomsayer.

Usually he gets killed anyway though by the 3 to 5 damage they already have out because they did two one drops with coin and a seargeant or wolf or soulfire.

Or birdy says hello and he does nothing

So yeah even a 7 health guy isn't safe on a 2 turn play.
Edited by Shodori on 6/9/2014 9:49 AM PDT
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Posts: 961
The critical part against zoo is the early game, you can't just wait for your 4+ cost aoe, you need to play fairly aggressive early game by removing as many minions as you can from him, either through spells or minions, even if you just do it 1 for 1, as they can't really start life tapping until like turn 5+ or they wont play anything the turn they do it. Like for example with my shaman, using rockbiters, lightning bolts, and earth shocks early to kill whatever he plays for the first few turns will then let feral spirit or lightning storm to stall him until the midgame when can start 2 or 3 for 1 plays against him constantly to totally destroy the zoo. Also you need to identify the high priority targets that you really want to get rid of quickly, those are generally knife jugglers, dire wolves, and young priestesses in the early game.
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Posts: 535
I do well against zoo on my control warrior, the thing ive been doing is just throwing minions out early asap to kill their minions. For instance in a control vs control matchup, id hang onto acolyte until i can combo it with at least a whirlwind, i hang onto armorsmiths too for just the right moment to gain alot of armor, but in a zoo matchup if i have an armorsmith turn two it is going out, same with the acolyte. Anything you have to kill any of theyre minions helps because if im sitting on 10 health and 5 armor (as an example) by turn 7 and i have a baron geddon in my hand its pretty much over ussually for zoo unless they topdeck something good. Ive had alot of zoo concede just on me putting out baron geddon even though im almost dead, because they know my ten health can go right back to 15 with 15 armor any turn now.
Edited by Incorporated on 6/9/2014 12:19 PM PDT
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Posts: 4,671
Harvest Golem is usually better than a 2/4 for 3
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Posts: 479
That example i gave was just a funny one.. yes I do run 2 drops and 3 drops in the deck.

Alchemists, acid , 3/3 make a guy 1 BGH

My shaman is nuts though, Lets see rockbiter, Axe, lightning bolt, the lighting that hits 2 for 1, Wolves , bgh, even with all those i can still lose, and thats also running 2 taz's and 2 earth ele's
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