Yogg Druid is one of the strongest and most consistent decks in the current meta. As a result, if you want to take it to ladder you need to know how to use it against some of the other popular decks in the game. One such deck is the ever-present Zoo. The aggressive Warlock deck has always been consistent and you are going to encounter it at all levels of play. This list will show you how to use Yogg Druid’s efficient removal and board floods to beat it.
Though Yogg Druid has a very strong token core, there are a lot replaceable cards in the list. You can freely tweak your big minions, your draw and your removal options as you see fit. Sometimes it helps to lower the curve or increase the taunts to fight against aggro, add in more draw for more consistency, or up your end-game to fight back against control. Each deck is good depending on the meta you are seeing, and you always want to make sure to play something that you understand. To help you figure you out which works for you, a sample list has been put on the side.
When mulliganing against Warlock you always must assume your opponent is Zoo so you do not get overrun. As such, the two things you need to find are removal and ramp. These will help you control the early board and push you to your more powerful lategame. Raven Idol and Living Roots are both essential when mulliganing because they give you a ton of options in terms of board presence, removal options and ramp.
Cards to KeepInnervate Living Roots Raven Idol Power of the Wild Wrath Wild Growth Mulch Feral Rage
Mulch can be kept with a very strong or ramp-heavy opening.
Mire Keeper can be kept with early ramp.
Nourish is a strong keep if you have the ramp to play it early.
How to Win
You are going to pilot through this game like a hybrid control deck where you want to pace the board while also pushing to play your own minions. You have a lot of early clear options, and you want to take advantage of them all to never let Zoo grab a foothold in the game. However, you also have a lot of ways to fill up the board and you want to take every opportunity to play out your threats. Clearing is the golden rule, but if you have an opening to get some minions down, do so.
The other part of this game is getting to your finishers. While you and Zoo are going to be going back and forth for most of the game, you have a lot of trump cards that suddenly overpower them. As a result, if you have not been able to get presence or if you cannot seem to stick a minion, your goal in this game is going to be to just stay alive until you can play something like Yogg, Onyxia or Cenarius. In these situations, use all of your cards as defensively as possible.
Early Game Strategy
Though Zoo has a strong grip on the start of the game, you have a ton of ways to get the jump on them. Living Roots clogs up the board, while Wrath and Swipe do a great job of shutting down any early push. Ramp is also key in helping you play your bigger threats early, focing Zoo to burn early buffs on your minions rather than your face.
Always play Living Roots as two 1/1’s if you can. This will instantly set up your board and allow you to easily clear anything that Zoo opens with. If Zoo gets the jump on you and plays a two health minion you should use the Living Roots to clear, but in any other situation getting two 1/1’s is going to be your best option.
The most important part of the early turns is knowing when to ramp and when to remove something or add to the board. This is a very tricky balance and it always depends on what you have in your hand versus what your opponent has on the board. For instance, if your opponent has double Flame Imp on turn two, it is often better to Wrath one instead of using Wild Growth. However, if that growth is going to push you to a big minion or a turn where you can play multiple spells, you should ramp. You only want to ramp over clearing if you are ramping towards a set target.
Know to always play an early Raven Idol as a spell. Minions are not going to be as important as the chance of getting ramp or a clutch removal spell.
The middle game is going to be where you fight against Zoo by using your own board. There are many ways for Yogg Druid to go all-in and flood the board with a ton of minions. If you ever have the opportunity to make such a play you should. Zoo is good at many things, but dealing with a full board is definitely not one of them.
Violet Teacher is the best card in this matchup. The 3/5 is strong enough against most of Zoo’s minions, but being able to fill up the board with 1/1’s will overpower them. The two ways you play the four drop is by getting her down on an empty board or playing her when you can have a crazy spell-filled turn. Each of these will almost guarantee value of some kind and put the pressure on your opponent.
You want to be very careful about using Swipe. Though there are many situations where you have to use it to keep the board under control, you typically want to use it in response to Forbidden Ritual. As a result, know when you have enough life to play your bigger threats and challenge the board rather than using removal.
Mulch is another important card here because it gives you a way to reach Zoo’s larger threats. Doomguard is back in popularity and many lists also run Sea Giant. Always be on the look out for those big threats and hold onto the three mana removal spell for as long as you can.
Note: Using Mire Keeper as two bodies can be much better than ramping in a lot of situations. While sometimes the extra mana is powerful, two bodies to slow Zoo down and trade is often much better.
Late Game Strategy
The end of the game is where you take over by using your trump cards to simply go over Zoo’s head. If you play the token game really well, chances are you and your opponent are going to be in similar board and hand positions when you reach the end of the game. As a result, if you can slam down Cenarius, Onyxia or Ancient of War the game is going to immediately swing into your favor. For that reason, clear as much as possible once you move into the later turns.
Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End is most often going to win you the game. While the card is unpredictable, it usually is going to be a board clear of some sort. Though that won’t matter early on, towards the end of the game when Zoo is topdecking and out of minions, it will often be the final push you need to stop their last assault. Play to the ten drop as much as possible and if you are losing board, ramp to it hard.
Just know that you are often going to be at a lower life total when you make it to these turns. The new versions of Zoo run a lot of burst in the form of Power Overwhelming, Soulfire, Doomguard and Leeroy Jenkins (not to mention their own buffs). For that reason you need to be vary wary of their life total during these turns, watch what cards they’re holding in their hand and clear everything they put down.
Play to your damage. Though you have a flashy end game, you are a token deck that has many ways to do damage. Savage Roar, Swipe, Living Roots, your hero power and Feral Rage are all ways to stack up lethal. Add on the fact that Zoo takes a lot of damage from their hero power, and you usually will have some way to end the game if it goes on long enough.