This is something I sort of whipped up out of boredom but
have come to really love. Its just a simple budget zoo build
but I was hoping to change that a little. I'd like to remove
all the red cards and change it to just a GW since I've kind
of fallen in love with Qasali Ambusher and Hedge Troll. The
strategy is fairly simple (after all, simple is what zoo
does), drop efficient creatures backed with Armadillo Cloak
and Behemoth Sledge and swing until I win. Beside that,
there isn't much to it. Anyway, I'd sort of like to keep it
casual-ish, though I've been thinking about entering the
tournament scene ever since my recent move away from my old
This deck fix is going to be a challenge for me, since there
are two pairs of contradicting factors I have to account
for. Contradiction One: Karl says he wants to keep it
"casual-ish", but still wants it to be tournament viable.
Contradiction Two: he wants to take the red out and make it
a strict G/W deck, but still play it like a Zoo deck, and
historically all Zoo decks have had burn spells.
Why does Zoo need burn? As a consent to the reality that
Wrath of God and Wall of Roots exist. Sometimes Zoo can't
swing hard enough for the win. Burn solves that problem,
either by removing blockers or by going to the opponent's
face for the final few points. This is known as "reach"--
the ability to win the game outside of the combat damage
step. Zoo values it highly.
Luckily, I can make these two paradoxes cancel each other
out. Since most tournament-placing Zoo decks run burn, any
Zoo deck that didn't would be fairly "casual-ish". So out
goes red, and now all I have to do is make it
tournament-worthy. Simple, right?
Now, a while back I read an
article about Zoo decks which put forth the hypothesis that
Time Spiral common Thrill of the Hunt was very potent in
them. The theory was that most Zoo-on-Zoo matchups contain a
lot of 2/3 creatures-- Kird Ape, Loam Lion, and in Karl's
deck, Qasali Ambusher. Playing Thrill of the Hunt on a 2/3
makes it a 3/5, big enough to kill a 2/3 or a 3/3 Wild
Nacatl without dying. And because it has flashback, each one
copy of Thrill you draw will trade with two of your
opponent's creatures, if you play correctly. Thrill of the
Hunt can also "trade with" most damage- or toughness-based
removal, by increasing your creature's toughness. That's the
The problem is, you're only getting one extra point of
damage for each mana paid. Zoo is an aggressive deck, not
one that wants to hold up mana to play pump spells just to
protect their creature without doing appreciable extra
damage. Straight-up Giant Growth might be a better choice,
since it has an equivalent damage output as Lightning Bolt.
Unfortunately it's limited to the combat phase, but it can
be used both to kill blocking creatures and to do extra
damage to opponents, which is everything traditional Zoo
builds use burn for.
Since you're running white, and white's strong suit has
always been pumping all your creatures, it seems a shame not
to include some of that. So why not include both kinds of
creature pump in the same card? That's what
the folks who designed Sigil Blessing thought!
Now for your creatures. Burn is but one of two things almost
every Zoo deck runs. The other is Tarmogoyf. There's just
something about a creature who has the potential to grow
much larger than its mana cost suggests that appeals to Zoo
players. Knight of the Reliquary has that same attraction,
but at one mana more and harder to grow, you're going to be
struggling a lot without Tarmogoyf.
I'm also fairly partial to Quest for the Gemblades, but I'm
not sure if it's fast enough for me to endorse here. Maybe
in the sideboard against other creature-heavy decks? Or
against decks with Walls that you bash into and can't take
down? Or maybe I'm just letting a fondness for a pet card
get the better of me.
That's all I can think to do to this deck, Karl. Just
remember: if you have a creature and it isn't attacking, ask
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