Guys, need help playing zoo :<

Posts: 9
Though it sounds ridiculous, I need some advice how to play Zoo. It may sound even more ridiculous, I'm not a new player and reached legend both seasons after release.

So what problems do I face?
I can't reach even rank 5 with the deck. Most of the classes I face are druids, warriors, rogues and hunters and it seems they all are designed to dominate poor Zoo. Rogue and warrior have a lot of cheep removals and I usually fail to develop my board to 5th Turn. Hunters punish you for having more then 2-3 minions on a board to 5th Turn. Well, Druid's turn 1-2 Yeti or even turn 1 Golem usually ruins the game, since it gives such a tempo advantage that I can't overtake.

So, I've dropped from rank 5 to 10, then switched to a ramp druid and back to rank 5 on a streak, with only 1 loss to a rogue with a perfect hand.

How do you even play this deck? I've heard a lot that it's not a rush deck, but I run out of steam so many times that I'm inclined to think that it's more face deck. But still I can't play it efficiently. I've watched Reynard videos from his team's channel, but it doesn't help much. All this tiny little guys die to such a lot of things! aggr I wish I could play Zoo, but I find it really poor to reach legend with.

The version of Zoo I'm playing:
https://sites.google.com/site/trumpdecks/constructed-decks#legendzoo

ps in case you find me a troll, I'm not :<
Edited by Labuda on 6/15/2014 4:23 AM PDT
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Posts: 494
I've not got quite as high as you, although I'm still climbing so here's some experiences I've had since I went past rank 10.

- Although not having all the cards, building up approximate versions of decks that are beating me and playing them in casual has helped me to do better against those decks as very little catches me by surprise when I play against them now.

- Thinking outside the box, not being scared to be efficient even if it doesn't flood the board (Abusive Sarge is a terrible turn 1 play a lot of the time for instance)

- Not being scared to flood the board into an AOE spell when there's no other way to win.

- Using Priestess/Argus to get little dudes out of range of removal, even at cost of tempo (sometimes)

- Tweaking my deck little by little to catch out the meta. Zoo is so hated and well known that throwing in a trick or two they're not expecting buys free wins. Cards I've played in the last week include:

Power Overwhelming (In fact I think one of is a staple for surprise 8-9 burst wins when they're only expecting 4-5)

Felguard (Horrible at times but Rogue hates it)

Shadowflame. (Watch them flood the board in the mirror and then you clean up, or Power Overwhelming a dude and blow it up against Handlock and see the disconnect)

Worgen Infiltrator (This experiment was inconclusive. It wasn't quite beastly enough to cause real problems but it was also useful at times against targetted removal decks. I'll possibly try a Tiger later in the week)

Ironbeak Owl (All star. Has won me so many games)

You can't lump these all in at once, but rotating surprises makes sure they don't play perfectly against you. At these ranks there are no idiots playing and so you can either play better (which will happen as a thinking player, but will take time) or you can catch them off guard with a card that might not be 100% the best card, but is 95% and buys you a win.

I don't think it's the right choice to reach legend anyway, but I have no option until I get a larger card pool and I think the above things might help you.

- I think it's more of a rush deck than people think, however I don't think that means you just put all your minions on the table and rush, more like you have to do 30 damage as efficently as possible, where effiently means getting all your buffs in as damage and losing as few dudes as you can.
Sometimes I'll miss a drop just to draw a card in the knowledge i can flood next turn and still draw a card again. Cards are good.
Edited by Lorinda on 6/15/2014 4:48 AM PDT
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Posts: 326
I'm also in legend and don't get how to play this. Everytime i play it i just pray for no removal. Whenever I play it i feel like there's nothing i can do (Whenever i try to play around aoe i feel like i loose too much tempo). Everything depends on what is in my opponents hand not mine. The funny thing is i was more successul with my trollish zoo deck with mukla, tinkmaster, cho and pitlords than with the traditional one -.-
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Posts: 9
06/15/2014 07:12 AMPosted by michalsuch
I'm also in legend and don't get how to play this. Everytime i play it i just pray for no removal. Whenever I play it i feel like there's nothing i can do (Whenever i try to play around aoe i feel like i loose too much tempo). Everything depends on what is in my opponents hand not mine. The funny thing is i was more successul with my trollish zoo deck with mukla, tinkmaster, cho and pitlords than with the traditional one -.-


haha, so now two of us are waiting here for a pro advise :<
Come, zoo masters, teach us!
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Posts: 494
I think you can play around AOE but with compromise. If I'm expecting a Swipe, I don't mind having a couple of guys die for card disadvantage as long as I'll have a couple survive. For instance if I have two squires down and a Defender of Argus in hand, I don't mind if he kills a Knife Juggler and another minion as I can grab back the advantage next turn.

Edit: You also have to assume they never have two AOE's. The games where they do, you're going to lose so often that you might as well just not play around the second (unless the game starts going long, but my stats say that once you're past turn ten you're dead nearly 100% of the time anyway)
Edited by Lorinda on 6/15/2014 7:23 AM PDT
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Posts: 538
I can chime in a little, but I am definitely not pro. Highest I usually get is rank 4-5, using variations of Zooloc(k) and Murlock.

But when I play straight Zoolock, I seem to strive for board control most of all.

Are there occasions that send me into full-blitz-kill-asap mode? Sure, but if your hand is a Voidwalker and 2 Flame Imps, well, you're looking good.

Board control, though, is what I will stress the most: you want to achieve board control with as much Value as you can get. There are occasions where you can feasibly boost some creatures to live through some AoEs, but you can't always bank on playing around those. You can expect a flamestrike, play with the knowledge that it's looming, and inadvertently cost yourself the game... doing what would be considered the right thing, just killed you.

I'll say it again: Board Control. You want to have those Jugs and Imps dealing damage, but you have to realize that extra 3 damage isn't nearly as good in most non-fatal situations as would be, say, killing your opponents 3/2 with the imp and establishing board control with the Jug.

For Zoolock to be so cheap and powerful, there are quite a few ways to win/play it... it's versatile. Adjust for the match up, keep board control in mind, and don't be afraid to be aggressive if you think it might win you the game.

Or you could find yourself playing around a Flamestrike/Shadowflame that never comes.
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Posts: 1,257
All you need to do is draw your doomguards and your soulfires and you will win every match pretty much.

Don't draw them and you will only win about 35%.

It's a badly designed game, entirely based on RNG, and that's all there is to it.
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Posts: 538
06/15/2014 12:47 PMPosted by Died
All you need to do is draw your doomguards and your soulfires and you will win every match pretty much.

Don't draw them and you will only win about 35%.

It's a badly designed game, entirely based on RNG, and that's all there is to it.


What popular card game isn't subject to RNG in some way? I love(d) MTG, and even with a perfectly crafted land ratio, sometimes you would just get straight up dumped on.

We have things like Jugglers that are completely RNG based, but at the same time we know what resources we have and will have to play with, which takes that away from RNG.

The problem right now with HS is the relatively tiny card pool.
Edited by DancingDead on 6/15/2014 12:59 PM PDT
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Posts: 72
Step 1. Place face on keyboard.
Step 2. Roll it over the keyboard.
Step 3. Legend, but no bragging rights because it's not an accomplishment at all.

:)
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Posts: 52


The problem right now with HS is the relatively tiny card pool.


That could be part of the source of the problem, but I don't think that adding more and more cards will fix the issue itself. The core of the problem is the warlock mechanic which is broken at the moment, especially with how the discard card mechanic works. I think a step in the right direction would be to not being able to play cards if you don't discard any, or alternatively make it so that the next cards you draw also are discarded.
Edited by RockoW on 6/16/2014 2:51 AM PDT
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Posts: 494
The core of the problem is the warlock mechanic which is broken at the moment, especially with how the discard card mechanic works. I think a step in the right direction would be to not being able to play cards if you don't discard any, or alternatively make it so that the next cards you draw also are discarded.


I think you've misunderstood the thread. The thread is about trying to play the deck better because despite your implication that it's easy to get to Legendary with the deck, it's not. At least not for all of us.
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Posts: 52
06/16/2014 04:22 AMPosted by Lorinda
The core of the problem is the warlock mechanic which is broken at the moment, especially with how the discard card mechanic works. I think a step in the right direction would be to not being able to play cards if you don't discard any, or alternatively make it so that the next cards you draw also are discarded.


I think you've misunderstood the thread. The thread is about trying to play the deck better because despite your implication that it's easy to get to Legendary with the deck, it's not. At least not for all of us.


I misunderstood nothing. I replied to a comment regarding the card pool.
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Posts: 494
You've misunderstood the meaning of "broken".

If Legendary players (as per the thread) are struggling to pass rank five with the deck, there is nothing broken about it.
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Posts: 354
I'm currently ranked 39 with Zoo, so I'll give out what advice I can:

Decklist-
http://i.imgur.com/mI3tRdq.jpg

-Turn 1 is often the most important one, but how you mulligan depends on whether you're going first or second. When going first, 2-drops are a little more valuable since Young Priestess and Voidwalker are a little weaker on their own. When going second, the coin allows you to be really aggressive with your mulligan, as you'll often be able to play two 1-drops, and the coin is a bit of a safety net if you get a bad hand.

-Against miracle Rogue (or just Rogue in general, I guess) I've learned to devalue 2-health minions (i.e. Knife Juggler and Dire Wolf Alpha. Flame Imp doesn't change much because it's a 1-drop). Rogue has many ways to deal two damage, whether it's Backstab or SI:7 Agent or a desperation Eviscerate. Thus, I find Amani Berserker to be a little better in this matchup (they could do two damage+dagger, but that's a forced 2 mana and 2 or 5 damage to the face). The flip side is that Rogue has a few 3-health minions (SI:7 and Earthen Ring), but with the various ways to buff minions that's not a big problem. The most important part about facing Miracle Rogue is keeping up pressure. If you can prevent Gadgetzan from getting on the board you win (usually).

-I feel like Warrior is one of the easier classes to play against. The only way they can prevent you from getting board control is with Fiery War Axe, Cleave, and Cruel Taskmaster. Try not to have only two minions with 1 or 2 health, be weary of leaving your minions at 1 health, and just try to lessen the value of Fiery War Axe. Obviously Brawl is a card you have to keep in mind, so try to keep a good sized hand turn 5+.

-Druid removal consists of Wrath and Keeper in the early game mostly. Swipe and Starfall are your greatest enemies, so play around those as much as possible. Occasionally you'll be good for most of the game, and an Ancient of War pops up and you simply can't win. It happens.

-Against Hunter it's usually somewhat of a race. The big UTH turns don't happen until turn 5, so you can feel free to flood the board before then. Really, there isn't much to the matchup other than hoping your opponent didn't draw UTH. There's nothing a Hunter can do other than Explosive trap, and if you're careful that won't matter much. I don't run into many Hunters so I don't really have a feel for the nuances of the matchup.

Edit: I forgot to mention this: minion placement is extremely important. Always keep in mind where it would be best to place Defender of Argus or Dire Wolf Alpha. Generally, you'll want to keep more fragile minions in the middle so you can get extra DWA buffs, but you'll also want to keep passive minions on the outside like Knife Juggler and Young Priestess since you'll be less likely to trade them.
Edited by PresidentSDR on 6/17/2014 1:37 AM PDT
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Posts: 572
To PresidentSDR
may i ask why no leeory, arcane golem and power overwhelming?
Edited by Shuning on 6/17/2014 1:44 AM PDT
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Posts: 354
06/17/2014 01:42 AMPosted by Shuning
To PresidentSDR
may i ask why no leeory, arcane golem and power overwhelming?


Most Zoo decks don't those. The purpose of Zoo isn't necessarily to rush down your opponent as quickly as possible, but rather to get and maintain early board control and beat down your opponent that way. You can include those as finishers, but they aren't necessary.
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Posts: 9
06/17/2014 01:32 AMPosted by PresidentSDR
I'm currently ranked 39 with Zoo, so I'll give out what advice I can:


Did I get it right, you are at legend rank 39 with this deck?
Edited by Labuda on 6/17/2014 3:56 AM PDT
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Posts: 494
Thanks for the great writeup Pres.

Edit: I've been struggling with control Shaman. Their ability to get ahead of my curve with overload sets me back. If I play around removal then I don't have enough board presence to bash through their Feral Spirits before their Fire Elemental kicks the hell out of me.
If I don't play around removal it's a very risky business not walking into their Lightning Storm.

Edit2: Thanks again for the guide, I'd not really realised how good the Amanis were at the higher ranks - especially against Miracle and Mage - and I got to rank 5 rapidly after reading this and re-adding them.
Edited by Lorinda on 6/17/2014 7:12 AM PDT
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Posts: 3,344
06/17/2014 02:12 AMPosted by PresidentSDR
06/17/2014 01:42 AMPosted by Shuning
To PresidentSDR
may i ask why no leeory, arcane golem and power overwhelming?


Most Zoo decks don't those. The purpose of Zoo isn't necessarily to rush down your opponent as quickly as possible, but rather to get and maintain early board control and beat down your opponent that way. You can include those as finishers, but they aren't necessary.


To expand on this, the strength of the Zoo deck is never having a bad pull. You have good pulls and better pulls, but you're never sitting there with something you can't use while your opponent is pounding your face in. Finishers just sit in your hand until you get your opponent low enough to use them, whereas another card would be something immediately usable to gain board control and eventually win.
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