Zoolock Deck List Guide – Rise of Shadows (RoS)

Zoolock is one of the most enduring decks in the history of Hearthstone! Will it be good enough to find a place in the Rise of Shadows meta?

Our Hearthstone Zoolock Deck List Guide goes over the ins-and-outs of this legendary Hearthstone deck. We're taking an early look at what this list looks like in the Rise of Shadows meta, and featuring a mulligans guide, card choices, play strategy, and are featuring substitutions for players who might be lacking some of the cards to play this deck.

Warlock Zoo is probably one of the most iconic decks in Hearthstone. It is also one of the best options for beginners who are heading into the game for the first time, because it teaches you how to efficiently trade minions and the importance of controlling the board. You'll also get a primer in positioning your minions correctly, because this deck from time to time runs minions that require you to keep your cards in the right spots to take advantage of positional buffs. Zoolock is not always at the top of the meta, however, it has never failed to comeback from the dead at some point.

Zoolock Deck List for Rise of Shadows

Warlock is off to a rocky start so far, but this Zoolock list that has popped up has been doing well in RoS!

Warlock Neutral
2x - Flame Imp 2x - Abusive Sergeant
2x - Grim Rally 2x - Argent Squire
1x - The Soularium 2x - Crystallizer
2x - Voidwalker 2x - Mecharoo
2x - EVIL Genius 2x - Saronite Taskmaster
1x - Arch-Villain Rafaam 2x - Dire Wolf Alpha
2x - Knife Juggler
2x - Scarab Egg
2x - Magic Carpet
2x - Sea Giant

Deck Code

Copy Code

Zoolock Gameplay

Zoolock Mulligan Guide

We're looking to get our plethora of 1-drops in the early game to start getting our board going right off the bat.

Always Keep

  • Argent Squire - Cheap 1-drop that can survive initial damage. Also, a great target for Dire Wolf Alpha's buff so you can get a trade and keep your minion.
  • Crystallizer - 1/3 for 1-mana is a solid stat line, and we need good 1-drops for our Magic Carpet. This card fits the bill, and is particularly good in the early game.
  • Flame Imp - Maybe the best 1-drop minion in the game? We largely don't care about taking damage, we will hopefully be controlling the board and forcing our opponent to focus on that rather than our face.
  • Mecharoo - Another solid 1-drop, and one that is harder to remove because it replaces itself. This also makes a decent target for EVIL Genius and Grim Rally.
  • Saronite Taskmaster - Good stats for a 1-drop, but summoning a minion for our opponent is not so great. Strong play with Magic Carpet, but hopefully we won't pop the Deathrattle on our turn.
  • Voidwalker - Another strong 1-drop, and this one protects some of our more important minions that we'd like to preserve.

Situational Keeps

  • EVIL Genius - Keep this if you already have a couple 1-drops, particularly Mecharoo because you keep a minion on the board even after its destroyed. The possible Lackeys you can get are pretty strong, plus the work with Magic Carpet.
  • Scarab Egg - Again keep if you have at least one 1-drop. This is also a prime target for EVIL Genius and Grim Rally.
  • Magic Carpet - One of the key cards in the mid-game, if you can get this going you might be able to snowball your way to victory. It's also pretty hard to remove in the early game, if there's an empty board it might be worth just throwing it down and forcing your opponent to have removal.

Zoolock Play Strategy

Zoolock has one main goal and that's to control the board. We have no ability to remove minions with spells, and generally our main objective is to keep our opponent from having much of anything on the board and getting in chip damage from turn to turn. This version of Zoo is particularly low cost due to us looking to abuse Magic Carpet which will allow us to trade up with our cheap minions. Playing these low cost minions also makes The Soularium even better. We should be able to play just about anything it pulls as long as we dodge Arch-Villain Rafaam and Sea Giant if we have an empty board.

Positioning can be very important in Zoo because there will be times when you are having to trade a bunch of your minions and you want to get the most out of your Dire Wolf Alpha buff. The general rule of thumb is to position your minions like this: Value Minions ( Knife Juggler , stuff you don't want to trade), Big Minions (higher health minions that generally won't die in a trad), with Dire Wolf Alpha in the middle. As for the right of Dire Wolf, we want to place our cheap, Deathrattle, or Token minions that will die on trade. Why do we need to do this? Well, because minions that are generated from a spell or Deathrattle spawn on the very right side of your board. These are generally the smaller minions you want to be trading, this allows us to trade each of these lesser minions efficiently, one after the other without being blocked by our stronger minions.

One exception to these rules in particular, is that we don't want to place Argent Squire on the right side (you can place it on the VERY right if you have a wide board already). It won't die if it has the Divine Shield, so don't place it on the right unless you are immediately popping the shield and don't need to trade anymore that turn.

Now that we have a good idea on how we're going to control the board, we'll need to take advantage of some of these unique cards. Grim Rally should generally be used on a wider board, and particularly with a minion that was generated or has a Deathrattle. Mecharoo and Scarab Egg are some of your prime targets for this card. However, if you are worried about AOE, it is going to be almost always better to destroy one of your weaker minions and keep the Deathrattles. This makes it much harder for your opponent to use the AOE, because they'll be leaving behind a board still. This goes for EVIL Genius as well.

The key to the deck is Magic Carpet. We've packed our list with 1-drops, and we want to use as many of them as we can with the card. We get a lot more easy trades, and some stronger minions to push damage with if we can get some value out of it. Most of the time you'll want to save it for turns where you can get at least a couple of buffs from it, but if there's an empty board on an early turn you can risk playing it. It has a lot of health, so it's going to be hard to remove. Your knowledge of how other decks are built will also dictate if this is the right play. Against something like Priest, you'd be less likely to do this if you think they are running Shadow Word: Pain and haven't used one yet.

If we're still fighting off our opponent in the later part of the game, then we do have a final go to card to help us out. That card is Arch-Villain Rafaam ! While there's quite a few Legendaries that are kind of weak, for the most part we should be getting some strong stuff that can push our opponent to the brink. It's not always going to work out for this if we're this deep in the game, but it can give us a better shot at winning if things are looking bleak.

Zoolock Card Choices

  • Abusive Sergeant - One of the quintessential trade up cards that allows you to use a weak minion to take out something stronger. Can also be used to push for lethal. It's even better with Magic Carpet because of the extra damage.
  • Argent Squire - A very solid early game minion that can get trades for free because of the Divine Shield. It also pairs well with buff cards like Dire Wolf Alpha.
  • Crystallizer - A 1-mana 1/3 is a solid stat-line. The take 5-damage and gain 5-armor part is not super valuable or deterring.
  • Flame Imp - The ever strong Flame Imp will always find a spot in Zoolock. A 1-mana 3/2 that deals a small bit of damage to us? Sign us up every time!
  • Grim Rally - This card works well if we have minions we would want to blow up. This includes small 1/1 tokens, but could also be cards like Eager Underling that buffs minions on our board when it dies.
  • Mecharoo - Solid 1-drop that will replace itself when it dies.
  • Saronite Taskmaster - Usually, you don't want to give your opponent a minion, but we need good 1-drops with solid stats and this is one of them. Not to mention if you get the buff from Magic Carpet on this you can trade into the minion it summons right away.
  • The Soularium - Great card for our low cost deck. We are very likely to get cards we can play right away, so this can help us widen the board.
  • Voidwalker - Solid 1-drop that can protect some of our more important minions in the early game. It also just requires our opponent to get through it to get to our other minions.
  • Dire Wolf Alpha - Great for trading up with our cheaper minions, and also pairs great with our Deathrattles and minions with Divine Shield.
  • EVIL Genius - This is an interesting card, because obviously destroying your own minions isn't great. However, the Lackeys you can get are very solid and pack some pretty nice effects. This also works particularly well if you are running Magic Carpet, because the Lackeys are 1-drops and will get the buff from it.
  • Knife Juggler - Good for getting in damage or potentially softening up some of our enemies minions. This also pairs well with stuff like Doubling Imp, and the new Rafaam's Scheme.
  • Scarab Egg - You've got a lot of cards that give buffs, so we should be able to get some value out of this. We also run two Grim Rally, and this is the prime target for that card.
  • Magic Carpet - I really like this card and I think it's very strong in a build that takes advantage of it. It also would work pretty well with Evil Genius and the Lackeys that it would give you. It also has a pretty interesting stat line that might be hard to deal with on turn three. Generally, you'll want to make sure you are getting at least one minion on the board that gets the buff, but there will be times you can drop it on an empty board and see if your opponent can deal with it.
  • Arch-Villain Rafaam - We don't want to draw this in the early game because it's a dead card, but once we reach the late game our 1-drops are far less exciting. Rafaam makes our deck much more powerful if we're still fighting to finish off our opponent.
  • Sea Giant - This deck runs a ton of 1-drops, so we're going to be able to widen the board quite often. This card also pairs well with the Scarab Egg and Grim Rally combo that will drop the cost significantly on the giant.

Zoolock Card Substitutions

  • Hungry Crab - If you're running into a lot of Murloc Shaman, it might be worth teching this one in. The crab also works nicely with Magic Carpet, so it's pretty nice all-around.
  • Soulfire - If we're wanting more burst from hand, or just a card that can get at a minion around a taunt then Soulfire is a good choice.
  • Witchwood Imp - It's a 1-drop, and it also helps give our board some more protection. Not a bad inclusion for this list.
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze - Rogue and Warrior are common occurrences on the ladder, we can make their life a bit more difficult with some weapon hate.
  • Crazed Alchemist - Can give us some burst protection if we've got a high health minion, can also pop our Scarab Egg if that's a priority.
  • Hench-Clan Hogsteed - Great card for getting a trade and sticking a minion. Also works great with Dire Wolf Alpha.
  • Defender of Argus - Great for trading up and even protecting some of our value minions.
  • Leeroy Jenkins - If you want a bit more burst in your deck, Leeroy is a common inclusion in Zoo lists.
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About the Author

Shaun aka Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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  1. Awesome guide. Ty!

    1. No problem, glad you liked it!