Zoo is a deck that you are going to know how to beat if you want to climb the ladder. The aggressive Warlock deck has great tempo, strong minions and some of the most powerful card interactions around. However, C’thun Druid, with its quick ramp and strong curve, is one deck that can challenge the aggro shell quite well. In this guide we will look at both decks to figure out how Druid wins the match.
Though C’thun Druid has a very obvious core, there are many different fringe cards you can play. Some decks like to play more draw and ramp, while other decks prefer to run big minions that help conquer control. You can lower the curve, try and fit in even more finishers or just play a whole string of midrange threats. The choice is yours. You typically just want to stick with a style you best understand. To help you figure out what that is, two lists and a deck guide have been linked below.
When facing Warlock you always want to assume your opponent is Zoo. That means you need to keep all of your low cost cards and toss everything else back. They will run away with the game if you have a slow or dead turn early on. This is a game where you only keep four or higher cards with early ramp or a perfect curve.
Cards to KeepInnervate Beckoner of Evil Wild Growth Wrath Disciple of C’thun Swipe Twilight Elder
C’thun’s Chosen and Klaxxi Amber-Weaver should both be kept with the coin and a good curve.
How to Win
Beating Zoo is all about removal. The Warlock deck can only really enact their gameplan if they have minions, so you need to play this like you are straight control. Use your beefy minions and removal spells to take down everything they play. This will help you pace the game and keep them from having huge turns you cannot come back from.
The other important part of winning this match, which ties into the above paragraph, is doing what you can to get ahead of your opponent. That is to say, have something down on an empty board. Most of your turns are going to be spent answering Zoo’s minions, but once they begin to combat you it is going to be very easy to win. There are several ways to do this, such as putting up big taunts or early ramp, but know your goal and stick to it.
Early Game Strategy
The opening turns of the game are extremely important. Zoo builds unlike any other deck and if they get an unchallenged early board it will be almost impossible to come back. Your only rule for these turns is to clear as much as possible and force Zoo into situations where they have to use their early buffs and value spells to keep a clear board. This will run them low on steam by the middle game.
An important note is how well Zoo trades up. Abusive Sergeant, Dire Wolf Alpha and Power Overwhelming allow all of their early minions to crash in and live. That can be a big problem if you are counting on one of your minions to challenge a board. When figuring out how to deal with early minions always think about the buffs and plan accordingly.
You always want to be ready for turn three. Though most of Zoo’s opening is going to consist of one drops or low impact minions, their third turn can be either Imp Gang Boss or Darkshire Councilman. Each of those cards are gigantic threats that need to be killed as quickly as possible before they flood the board or spiral out of control.
Though Wrath is strong, Disciple of C’thun is your best card here. This card removes a ton of Zoo’s threats and also puts a body onto the board. You want to use this card to kill everything, even if it just the back end of an Argent Squire or Possessed Villager. The only time you would hold this back on turn three is when you have access to Twilight Elder as well.
You really need to push your minions during the middle of the game. Though Zoo can always build a strong board, your minions are much, much bigger. As a result, if you can begin to pour a steady stream of threats it will force your opponent on their back foot. Though Zoo has a lot of ways to clear larger threats, those will eventually run out.
Swipe is an extremely important card to have during this match, but you do not want to use it loosely. When it comes to controlling the board you always want to look to your minions first before using spells. If Swipe can be a clean clear you should use it, but you primarily want to try and save it to nullify Forbidden Ritual. This is your only answer to the tentacles, and you are going to need for the swarm.
Your best midgame tools against Zoo are Druid of the Claw and Dark Arakkoa. Druid is going to be in taunt form most of the time, but its charge form can really come in handy. A lot of Zoo’s minions are small creatures that depend on buffs to trade well. If you can use the 4/4 to kill them before they get big you can get some massive value.
On the other hand, Arakkoa is a massive minion that can absolutely stonewall Zoo when played at the right time. Always try to bait out a big buff before slamming down the 5/7 if you can.
If you get ahead on the board during these turns you really want to push hard for your opponent’s face. Zoo loves to tap, meaning their life total is going to be low throughout the game. By threatening their life total you can force Zoo to make some really awkward turns and take precautions they normally wouldn’t, such as using a Defender of Argus too early.
Late Game Strategy
The end of the game is going to be a balance of trying to push for damage and doing everything you can to stay alive. As a deck with such a strong finisher, every turn you live is another turn closer to victory. Not only will C’thun act as a board clear (if not lethal), but he will also be an unstoppable threat your opponent has no answer to. You just need to clear and buy yourself as many turns as possible.
Twin Emperor Vek’lor is your best late game tool because of how it can both take over the board and stall. Two 4/6 taunts is going to do wonders against any final push Zoo can muster, and they can also completely lock down a board when you are ahead. Never hold these cards back and if you have the seven mana legendary you should try and play to it as much as you can.
The biggest rule of the end game is to never forget about Zoo’s burst. Most lists these days run a ton of ways to do damage out of hand, which allows them to surprise kill bigger control decks or slower midrange. Though Doomguard is not as popular as it once was, many lists tech in Leeroy Jenkins or Soulfire. They also have their usual buff minions and Power Overwhelming. Understand all the different ways you can and know what buffs your opponent has already used.
Always keep Sea Giant in mind. As a Druid it is very hard to deal with an 8/8, especially one that drops during the middle of the game out of nowhere. Though you do not always need to spend your turns constantly calculating how much the giant will cost, it is a good idea to always clear if you think things are getting to full so you aren’t completely taken by surprise.