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Hi everyone, my name is Daisyx and this is my guide to my Demonzoo deck. This week I am here to write about the Demonzoo. Since the start of Hearthstone there have been many different iterations of Zoo decks that everyone loved -- or loved to hate -- so it is hard to point to a specific person who was responsible for creating this kind of Zoo-type deck. The list I am using, however, was created by Phalanx but it is very similar to lists provided by Savjz and Tiddler Celestial.
If I were to try and characterize this deck, I would say it's a Zoo deck with a similar playstyle to that of a Tempo Mage. This deck uses all the cheap cards that are the core of the Zoo, but instead of topping out at five mana and relying on Life Tap, this deck includes a Voidcaller and Mal'Ganis as well as a Sea Giant and Dr. Boom. This late game package allows the deck to translate a strong early game into some late game power plays. Just like the Tempo Mage, this deck relies heavily on drawing your early game first. Sometimes, therefore, you will hopelessly lose because you draw all your reactive spells -- or big money cards -- leaving you unable to take control of the early board.
Reynad, the godfather of Zoo, once described Zoo decks as the "ground game" that all professional players should be familiar with in order to do well with other decks. I completely agree with this statement since this deck steals aspects from all other playstyles: it requires players to balance tempo, trading, going face, and playing around removal. Zoo decks do all of this while still being forgiving for new players.
Ready to beat down?
While this is essentially the same as my Demonlock guide, all concepts are pretty much the same. Now this is an often debated topic: when do you play a Voidcaller without actually having a demon in your hand? My answer to that question, though some other prominent Demonlock players have disagreed, is almost never. The only time you want to do this is when the opponent already has a threatening board and you need to quickly apply a band-aid in order to prevent the game from snowballing out of control. On higher rankings, the vast majority of players will ignore a Voidcaller simply because killing it can give the Warlock player a huge demon that is often very difficult to clear. In lower-level play, I feel that bluffing is more dangerous since people simply don’t realize how big of a threat might be hiding behind that Deathrattle; therefore, they just kill the Voidcaller essentially calling your bluff by accident.
That said, if you are going to bluff make sure that you don’t accidentally taunt the Voidcaller or at least provide other targets for trading. Unlike Demonlock, where the enemy will often try to hit your face, against Demonzoo people will mostly be focused on clearing your board.
When to Play Big Demons the Hard Way
While you are obviously hoping to get your big demons out through your Voidcaller, sometimes this simply isn’t going to be the case. Voidcallers can be Silenced, at the bottom of your deck, or used up with Demons to spare. In this case you need to make an evaluation as to which you want to manually play versus which you want to play through Voidcaller.
Unlike regular Zoo where you can often play Doomguard for free, in this deck you will often still have plenty of cards in your hand at that stage of the game. I therefore recommend not to play it at that point unless either the enemy has a high priority target on the board that needs to die this turn: think Flamewaker or Emperor. If you play Doomguard against a control deck and discard one of your other big guys you can land yourself in trouble.
For Mal'Ganis, you kind of never want to play him unless you need the immunity or you already have two or more demons on the board and you can use Mal'Ganis to make improved trades. That said, if you have the choice of playing Mal'Ganis or two cards then the latter is almost always a better option. Mal'Ganis by himself has very little impact due to his low Health.
In this deck minion positioning is what separates a good Demonzoo player from a great one. When playing your cards, you always want to keep in mind where you would place a Dire Wolf Alpha should you get it or a Defender of Argus. If you play Imp-losion into a Dire Wolf you can create a conga-line and transfer the wolf buff to many different minions. Minions with Deathrattles, however, can prevent you from doing this so keep them out of the conga-line.
For the Defender of Argus, you always want to have the target that you want to Argus in the middle of your board so that you are able to taunt it regardless of secondary targets. The downside of this is that if you place an Egg in the middle of your board you can’t conga line past it so only do this if you actually have the Argus in hand. If you run Void Terror, always make sure that you have the minions you would potentially want to sacrifice next to each other.
Minion positioning in general is rather hard to learn since it is often a case by case basis. Make sure to spend a few seconds every turn to think about which is the most optimal way of positioning them. You should know that Deathrattle minions always spawn at exactly the same spot that the original cards do, minions spawned by Bane of Doom spawn to the right side of the board, and minions spawned by Imp Gang Boss spawn to the right side of the boss.
Dr. Boom can also get some value along the conga-line.
Notable Cards and Synergies
Voidcaller + Doomguard / Mal'Ganis:This is essentially your mid-game win condition. If you can get nine to twelve mana worth of demons on the board very early into the game, this often gives you a large enough tempo swing to completely dominate the board.
Nerubian Eggs serve as an insurance policy against enemy board wipes. When playing enemies that have big board clears -- Explosive Trap, Flamestrike, Consecrate -- it is often best to keep your Nerubian Eggs unpopped until you either need them to keep control of the board or the enemy pops it by using an board clear spell.
Nerubian Egg alternative. Make sure to never get your Void Terror over seven attack due to BGH unless you are looking to bait it and play Mal'Ganis.
Imp-losion. You won't get juggles if your board is too full.
Knife Juggler + Taunts:Since you have so many small minions in your deck it is often very beneficial to be able to protect your Knife Juggler. If you can set him up behind a taunt one Juggler can get a lot of value.
Playing Protect the Gnome can be a very productive gameplan.
Sea Giant. Always check and see if you can play the giant before you start making trades. Furthermore, make sure that you always play whatever other minions you would like to play before playing the giant since it will make him cost less: all one-drops can essentially be played for free.
Death Coil x2:This card is usually really good for finishing of those pesky small enemy minions; however, when enemies are mostly running big stuff these can get stuck in your hand.
Flame Imp x1:Don’t play this card if there are a lot of Hunters around.
Doomguard x1:Since you have only two Voidcallers there is a chance to end up with a spare big demon you don’t want to hardcast. Having two Doomguards in your hand can also really mess up your game since you will often be forced to discard one to the other.
Haunted Creeper x2:This card provides a better early game and makes your board more resistant to board clear board clear.
Matchups and Mulligans
- Voidwalker: Always keep.
- Flame Imp: Always keep.
- Imp Gang Boss: Always keep if you play second; if you're going first, only keep if you have a turn two play.
- Knife Juggler: Only keep if you already have a turn one play or are going second and you have two turn two-drops against a deck that has difficulties dealing with turn two minions.
- Mortal Coil: Keep only against Hunter if you are going second.
- Abusive Sergeant: Keep only against Hunter if you don’t have another one-drop or if you have a Nerubian Egg in your hand.
- Nerubian Egg: Always mulligan away unless you go second and have an Abusive or Dire Wolf in your hand.
- Dire Wolf Alpha: Only keep if you play second and have an Egg in your hand.
- Voidcaller: never keep.
- Mulligan away all the other cards.
Lightbomb Priest 40%: Dog DecklistThis is one of the harder matchups since most of your minions are vulnerable to removal. The key to winning this matchup is to always keep in mind which removal options he has at hand and play around them accordingly. ome more recent priest decks have opted to start running Shadow Word: Death again, so make sure not to put all your eggs into one basket.
Freeze Mage 30%: Firebat DecklistThis is an extremely hard matchup that you can really only win if he draws badly. Part of the issue here is that you have no ways of dealing with Doomsayer unless you tech in an Owl. Make sure to save your Doomguards for when you need to close out a game and make sure to save Mal'Ganis for when he is going in for the kill.
Saving your life total and buffing some guys is a good time to play Mal'Ganis. This is especially true against Freeze Mage.
Tempo/Aggro/Mech Mage 60% Daisyx DecklistThis matchups is all about the early game. If the Mage wins it he can often translate that into huge value on his Apprentices and Flamewakers. If you win it, you can just methodically remove everything he plays. Make sure to leave your Eggs unpopped so he can’t use his random missiles without fear of breaking your Eggs. Try to play around the turn seven Flamestrike that these decks sometimes run. Outside of that just keep clearing his board and you will run him out of cards eventually, make sure not to Life Tap under 15 due to the double Fireball combo which will allow him to slowly ping you down since you don’t have any healing.
Demonzoo 50%: Savjz DecklistThis matchup can go either way depending on who gets the better early game. Make sure to keep control of the board at all times and you can win this.
Handlock 30%: Lifecoach DecklistThis is one of your hardest matchups since you lack the power to properly close the game. Your best bet in this matchup is just to push him down quickly while hoping he doesn’t have too many Moltens. Alternatively, if Handlock makes plays turn two or three you can go for the out-value and just hope to get better value than him since you will be able to Life Tap more frequently.
Oil Rogue 60%: Firebat DecklistThis is a pretty good matchup, just make sure to keep his board clear and don’t overextend into his board clears. If you manage this then you will be able to slowly run him out of cards and life. If he does get a board presence try to avoid tapping too much since it is important that you get the board back and you don’t want to bring yourself into his lethal range.
Midrange/Ramp Druid 80%: Sjow DecklistThis matchup is your bread and butter. The only way in which you can lose is if the Druid has a turn one to four play and you have poor draws. Just keep clearing his board and playing around Swipe and you should be fine.
Mech Shaman 70%: Archon DecklistYou should be able to go toe-to-toe with Mech Shaman in the early game without too much difficulty. In the later stages of the game you can easily take control over the board
Face/Hybrid Hunter 50%: Kolento DecklistThis matchup depends on who draws better; however, if you manage to get an Imp Gang Boss to stick you should be in a pretty good spot.
Midrange Hunter 45%: Era DecklistA pretty poor matchup since you get punished really hard for Life Tapping. Try to not get your minions frozen if you can manage but instead use the imps from your Boss or your Imp-losion to do that. This matchup is all about board control and if you manage to stabilize the board before you are in range of his spells/Hero Power then you can win this.
Control Warrior 60%: Fibonacci DecklistThis is a pretty good matchup since Warrior will often struggle to keep you in check in the early game and you are pretty resistant to his big board clears. Be careful about his removal and don’t be afraid to push face early but make sure to always clear the Armorsmiths since he can sometimes get absurd amounts of Armor and that can lose you the game if it takes too long.
Grim Patron Warrior 50%: Neirea DecklistThere are people who say that this is a pretty poor matchup. In my experience, however, you can often win this without too many difficulties since he is forced to use his Whirlwinds for removal. That said, if he does get the Patron combo off you can be pretty screwed since you lack the ability to remove his board.
Midrange Paladin 70%: Xzirez DecklistFight for early board control and don’t let him snowball the match. Out-value the Paladin by tapping a lot since his burst -- just like Priest -- is very limited. Try to avoid playing big creatures on the board since Equality can hurt them a lot. Make sure to keep your Eggs unpopped against his Consecrate and you should be able to win the early game and therefore deny him the board without too many difficulties.
- This deck is basically the faster brother of the Demonlock deck that my previous guide was about, so a lot of concepts are the same so feel free to check that guide as well.
- Always keep in mind the options your opponent has to remove your board and make sure to not overextend too much into them.
- Practice going for face at times. While with this deck it is often the right choice to go for board control, against certain decks which out-value this deck heavily you need to go for his face at some point or risk losing the late game.
- This is a really good deck for newer players because it really uses all the different concepts that are important to learn in this game.
Now go forth with your knowledge and dominate some boards.