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Rating  8

Contributed by

Joseph

Guide Type

Dust Cost

Last Updated

June 9, 2015

Table of Contents

Class Cards (10)
2
Flame Imp 1
2
Voidwalker 1
2
Voidcaller 4
2
Imp-losion 4
2
Doomguard 5
Neutral Cards (20)
2
Argent Squire 1
2
Abusive Sergeant 1
2
Nerubian Egg 2
2
Knife Juggler 2
2
Haunted Creeper 2
2
Dire Wolf Alpha 2
2
Annoy-o-Tron 2
2
Hobgoblin 3
2
Dark Iron Dwarf 4
2
Defender of Argus 4

Mana Curve

0 0
8 1
10 2
2 3
8 4
2 5
0 6
0 7

Attack Curve

4 0
10 1
4 2
8 3
2 4
2 5
0 6
0 7

Health Curve

2 0
4 1
12 2
6 3
4 4
0 5
0 6
2 7

Weekly Legends: Hobgoblin Zoo

Introduction


As the clocks continue to tick and we move past the Ides, we look at deck that brings the old and clashes it with the new. Today we look at one of the most universally disliked, and one of the best, decks Hearthstone has ever had to offer: Zoo. While it did spend some time in slumber, Zoo has arisen as of late, and, once again, has proven to be one of the best contenders on the ladder.

Ever since Reynad first put it together, Zoo has always been a deck that was fueled by small, efficient minions that help trade up without sacrificing board control. For this month’s run to legend, I took that idea one step further and, using the original Zoo shell from the early days of the game, added the king of all the small creatures: Hobgoblin.

As I have explained before in previous write-ups, Hobgoblin is one of the most powerful cards in GVG. However, due to how specific its requirement is, it has gotten very little love. Of course, you don’t want to go buffing things like Goldshire Footman or Wisp, but there is some serious potential with the card. There are a lot of hard-to-deal-with one attack minions in Hearthstone, such as Haunted Creeper, Argent Squire and Annoy-o-Tron, and they all work perfectly for what Zoo is trying to do. As such, I looked for a good number of one attack minions, sleeved up two goblins, and got ready for battle. During my climb, I only had one loss from rank three to legend, and throughout that time Hobgoblin was the guiding force behind this unassuming deck.

Key Cards


Argent Squire/Annoy-o-tron

While both of these cards are not typical Zoo fare, they are extremely important to understand what this deck is trying to do and exactly how it operates. Board control has long been a very important part of Zoo decks, but most of them have always been aggro-oriented. Of course, this deck does have an element of aggro, but it plays much more like a tempo deck; trading up for minions, and killing your opponents board while furthering your own. These two cards do that very well.

Divine shield is a great thing to have access to when trying to control the early game, which is why Scarlet Crusader was used for so long. Remember, this is not a deck that seeks to win on turn five or six, it is meant to go into the later stages of the game. You want to have this minions early and often, as they will help you clear the way for the middle stages of the game without sacrificing any presence. The fact that they both get buffed by Hobgoblin is merely icing on the cake.

Hobgoblin

The very namesake of the deck, Hobgoblin is a very powerful three drop for two distinct reasons. One, it allows you to hold back and truly play around AOE. In the past, while they do have some very efficient anti-AOE cards, Zoo has had the problem of not being able to recover from a timely Consecration or Blade Flurry. However, this card changes that. Due to the Warlock’s hero power, Hobgoblin allows you to sculpt your hand in a way that enables you to bounce back against board wipes. Instead of just dropping something like a Haunted Creeper and a Voidwalker, you can now get a 2/3, a 3/5 with taunt and a 3/4 that leaves two 1/1’s behind. Very strong, and backbreaking against many control decks.

The other reason that Hobgoblin is so powerful is that it demands immediate attention. This is one of the more subtle reasons it is so good for this deck, but a very important one. Not only does Hobgoblin put threats onto the board (3/3 Argent Squire for instance) but it also has to be killed immediately. That is very key. I have had many games where the threat of a Hobgoblin is more important than the goblin itself. Now, you always want to get at least one trigger out of it, but after that, the buffs aren’t as important. In fact, many times during my climb I had people kill this card over Knife Jugglers, Dire Wolf Alphas and even Dark Iron Dwarfs. This deck is all about a constant string of threats, and while it may seem small, none are bigger than the goblin.

Dark Iron Dwarf

It has come to my attention that there has been a recent trend to cut one or two dwarves from Zoo, and I have no idea why. Though not the most powerful card in the deck, Dark Iron Dwarf is essential to furthering your game plan. Often, while your opponent may be at a lot of life, the game is usually over by turn three or four. You either have crushing board control, or simply just have answers turn after turn. DID allows this to happen, because it makes it so your Argent Squires or Haunted Creepers can help clear taunts, or make the board clear without losing any value. The fact that it leaves a 4/4 body behind is just extra value. As such, while it may be tempting to play other four drops over this card, with so many sticky minions in the deck, I would not recommend it.

Voidcaller 

As many have asked me, why do I call? Voidcaller may seem a little odd in this deck. It only really hits Doomguards, only does three damage and just hikes up the overall curve. All of these are true. However, as stated, this is more of a tempo deck than anything else, and you going to go into the long game. If you look at the list, it is very easy to see that almost every card is very important. As such, discarding cards with Doomguard can actually be very backbreaking. As discussed in the video, I almost never play Doomguard if I can avoid it, or unless I have lethal.

You will be tapping very often with this deck, which means that you will be seeing a lot of cards. Chances are, you will almost always have Voidcaller with Doomguard. In this way, this card acts like a Piloted Shredder that drops a 5/7 with charge instead of something like a Mad Scientist. A very powerful play, and one of the best “catch up” methods in this deck. In the same vein, Voidcaller can also be used as a way to fix one Zoo’s most common problems, having two Doomguards in hand at the same time.

Matchups


Control Warrior

As it has made a huge resurgence as of late, I start out this list with Control Warrior. For a while, Control Warrior was all but dead. Mech Mages roamed the landscape, and playing a slow class built on weapons was not a good idea. However, the reign of the Mage is gone, and that means it is once again safe to scream Lok’tar Ogar.

While Control Warrior’s return may be bad news for a lot of aggressive decks, it is actually good news for us. Control Warrior is a deck that is heavily built upon targeted removal, which makes clearing our board almost impossible. Everything in the early game, with the exception of the useless Flame Imp, can survive a hit from a . Their two best cards here are Brawl and Death's Bite. You have a lot of threats that need to be answered, so just play carefully and never over commit when you can avoid it.

Paladin

Paladin is a matchup I don’t know how to properly evaluate. On one hand, it seems like a deck that we should not be able to beat (and in the video we don’t). However, I was 4-0 against it during my climb, and most of the time it felt like I couldn’t lose. I figure that puts it around a 60/40 in our favor.

Shielded Minibot is not as strong here as it is in most matchups, as it can’t reliably trade with most of our early game minions. Consecration is likewise very weak, especially when you have a Nerubian Egg or Haunted Creeper on board. Muster for Battle can be a nightmare in the right situation, but Annoy-o-Tron and Haunted Creeper keep that in check as well. The goal of this match is to make sure that they never have minions on the board. Always clear their silver hand recruits, and make them use Consecration in very poor situations. Once you make it past turn three, and they have to start playing one card a turn, the game drastically changes in your favor.

Face Hunter

Yep, it’s still here. I keep waiting, but Hunter will never truly die, not with the stats it puts up. This matchup truly is a coinflip. While you have more taunts (Annoy-o-Tron, Defender of Argus etc.) and ways to stop aggro than traditional Zoo, you also are a lot slower. In some games, an early Annoy-o-Tron or Hobgoblined Voidwalker can lock down the board, and you will just win. In others, you can’t keep up with a Leper Gnome or Eaglehorn Bow, and eventually die to Kill Command.

The number one rule to follow is to always watch out of Explosive Trap and Unleash the Hounds. Sometimes you can’t afford to try and play around the hounds, but you only want to do that when you’re pushing for lethal. If you over-commit and they have it, you will just straight lose the game.

Tempo Mage

Although it is not the most popular opinion, I am sad to see Mech Mage go. The reason is, this deck crushes Mech Mage at all stages of the game. However, mechs have been on the rapid decline in the past few weeks, and now almost every Mage you see is going to be Tempo. For reference, that is the longer game mage that runs things like Sorcerer's Apprentice, Mana Wyrm, Ragnaros the Firelord and Dr. Boom. In this match, board control is all that matters. They play two secrets, Mirror Entity and . These are very easy to play around, and you want to always give them a minion you can kill right away (easy to do with all of the small creatures).

One other important point about Tempo Mage is that it doesn’t run any board wipes. Don’t be afraid to hold cards back here. The main strategy is to run out everything you have, play to your combos, and clear all of their minions. Nerubian Egg is also an all-star here as it plays around Flamecannon really well.

Oil Rogue

Oil Rogue is a deck that relies on AOE to win games. The good news? You have a ton of ways to dodge/rebound against AOE. The bad? They have a ton of AOE. This is a game where you want to out tempo them, and you want to do that by clearing their board at all costs. Rogue lives off of minions, and if you make good trades, they go on the back foot pretty fast.

The other way you are going to win is by forcing them to AOE bad boards (a theme you may have noticed). Blade Flurry and Fan of Knives are both very strong cards, but they are not as good when merely clearing a bunch of imps, or killing the first half of a Haunted Creeper or Nerubian Egg. Egg is also your best AOE deterrent, and should be kept in egg form at all costs. Tapping is also at a premium due to Rogue’s ability to burst. You obviously want to see cards, but don’t take too much of your own life.

Mulligan Guide


As with any Zoo deck, there are some cards you always want to mulligan for. These are Flame Imp, Annoy-o-Tron, Haunted Creeper and Voidwalker. Anything else isn’t worth keeping, even Knife Juggler. There of course, all some exceptions to these rules. There always is.

If you have the coin, and if you have early plays (one or two drops) it is ok to keep Imp-losion against Mech Mage and Oil Rogue. However, that card is too low impact (and too bad against Unleash the Hounds) to keep in any other match, coin or not. The other small rule is, if you have one of the sticky minions in your opener (Haunted Creeper, Argent Squire, Annoy-o-Tron) then you want to always keep or mulligan for Abusive Sergeant. That card may seem unassuming, but it is one of the reasons you can control the early game so well. It even laughs at Zombie Chow, which is always a plus.

So, that’s the deck. I hope you guys enjoyed looking at Zoo, and I hope you guys have fun with the list. I love Hobgoblin, and this is just some of its potential. Until next time, as we move towards a certain mountain, may all of your Hobgoblins be followed by one drops.

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20 Comments

Leave a Reply

  1. inposition says:

    Hi. I’ve been playing this deck for several days now and having great fun with it. Thanks!

    Have you been tempted to work dire wolf back into this deck? would you recommend for or against it?

  2. belegorn says:

    I would love to see an update to this deck for the new expansion!

  3. fyzder says:

    Hi There!
    I big thanks for the share here, I really love the deck. Trying to get myself legend with it and it’s working very well so far. I actually have a terrible match up against all Handlock I have seen. Do you have any advice for this match up?
    Thanks in advance

    • thetvsurgeon says:

      Honestly, Handlock is basically a conceit. Without silence, you need to just go face and hope to God they don’t have giants or taunts. The last two games I played to hit legend with this were actually Handlock, and both times they had nothing. That’s really the only way you can win, since they will run you over in the long game. Glad you’re enjoying the deck!

  4. kidnebraska says:

    Your thoughts on putting in Mistress of Pain in place of Void Caller … and also thoughts on putting in the new Imp Gang Boss again would be in place of Void Caller. Thanks

    I’ve been playing around a lot with Hob Goblin decks … learned early on it can only be an added threat for a deck, not something to build a deck around completely. I do like this one. Played it for a bit — 2-4 so far. Trouble against Handlock once they taunt up.

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      For now, Imp Gang Boss (which I think is one of the best, if not the best, three drops in the game) is not worth playing until the bug gets fixed (so it can survive a Swipe). Mistress of Pain could work for this deck, as it does trade up, but it does it a lot worse than both creeper and tron. In terms of Voidcaller, I have said this a couple of times, but I would never cut that card from my list. During my climb to legend that card one we me more games than any other card. Being able to drop a doomguard and do other things is just so powerful. Also allows you to play both on one turn. If you were to cut it, the boss could be a good fit, but I think cutting really hurts yourself.

  5. Anonymous says:

    can you fit echoing ooze anywhere in this deck? I’m currently trying to fit it in echoing ooze + hobgob is really nice

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      So, echoing ooze is a very powerful card with goblin. I touched on this a bit in the video, but in testing it really didn’t do enough on it’s own. It’s two 1-2’s, which aren’t really a threat, and aren’t sticky. Where as every minion on this list that interacts with Hobgoblin (squire, creeper, walker) can crash into something and live to tell the tale, ooze mostly can’t. However, as you said, 2 3/4’s is nothing to scoff at. If you wanted to include Ooze I would maybe try it over an annoy-o-tron or flame imp. I would also suggest voidcaller (as it is the flex spot) but caller is too goo with doomguard imo.

  6. Falathar says:

    I really like the article, especially the fact that Leper Gnome is missing. I never understood this card in Zoo, because Zoo is all about board control.

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      Thanks! I agree. Personally this is my favorite Zoo list to date (mainly because I built it, lol). I just love how it is almost completely focused on board control, which pushes it forward a lot.

  7. hmmmpie says:

    Thanks for the article and writeup!

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      No problem. Glad you like it! I really hope Hobgoblin gets more use in the future. I think it truly is an underrated card.

  8. warnerve says:

    All this info is available for free all over the net. I canceled my sub and will not be renewing. Hearthstone is a game of rng that is meant to be a timesink and a timewaster. Bots go to legend in this game simply because they play 500 games and its a joke. you build a deck around a gimmick card you hope to draw to buff other minions and you flip the coin. every class runs a mass aoe and games take forever to play. All i do is farm gold to collect cards and if i dont draw a perfect start or have a win by turn three i just quit because its not worth the time it takes to win a game. I dont know how many ways you guys can keep writing the same stuff about the same old cards. there is nothing new here just recycled garbage from months past. i see a lot of the people who write stuff here posting the same stuff on other sites for free so why should anyone pay to be a member. I’d rather pay one of you to climb the borefest known as the ladder for me…..id get more for my money. maybe tomorrow you can write up another article on zoo lock and toss in some sea giants for flare and the first five games you play the other guy will have double bgh and laugh…….blizzard is good for one thing…laughs just like this gimmick deck….laughs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like Hearthstone (maybe Blizzard in general, maybe life) is your problem–not the website or article. Move along, good luck.