Newer Zoolocks have undergone some change, it has gotten a bit more bursty and new cards rotated in while old one rotated out, e.g. Forbidden Ritual and Darkshire Councilman have replaced cards Imp-losion and Haunted Creeper. Leeroy Jenkins is also back in a big fashion. One choice though struck me as odd: the inclusion of Crazed Alchemist. Without proper reflection, my initial thoughts were, that the card was probably chosen to get off some additional burst if needed or preventing e.g. an injured Darkshire Councilman from dying. In some situation this might be an useful application, but the general assumption was way off the mark.
Crazed Alchemist – A Surprisingly Effective Tech Choice
Looking at the minions in the deck, apart from the already mentioned Darkshire Councilman, changing high health minion’s attack and health to generate burst, seems not likely to be the reasoning behind the inclusion of Crazed Alchemist. To find the answers, we have to search outside the deck list and look at the opponent’s decks.
Actual control decks have adapted to the changes made by pre-OldGods nerfs, most notably the nerf of Big Game Hunter, by including Doomsayer. Previously, you saw this fella almost exclusively in Freeze Mage and Anyfin Paladin and only rarely in Control Warrior. Nowadays, he sneaked into most of the control decks, e.g. N’Zoth Paladin, Control Warrior to name a few. Doomsayer is really good at stopping early aggression of decks like Aggro Shaman, Aggro Paladin and – who has guessed – Zoolock. If the aggressive player has no way to remove it, it clears the whole board as well as preventing the further minions to be played. Zoo in particular relies heavily on minions which Doomsayer counters really well. Even if the aggressive player is able to remove or little exploding friend, he is not worthless because 7 damage did not hit the control player’s face – mission accomplished!
Here is where Crazed alchemist shines and performs his trick very well. Doomsayer, being a 0/7, will instantly die when hit by the health-attack swapping effect. Poof! Problem solved.
You might think it sub-optimal when you are not facing Doomsayer because of its inferior stats for a 2-Mana drop. Yes and no. You can still use it to squeeze some more damage in by swapping you minions stats or you can make trades favorable by swapping stats of an opponent’s minion. Scenarios to this regard are vast. There are also some other cards in the actual meta, that are worth countering. As you all know, shaman is highly represented on the ladder right now. You won’t deal with a Flamewreathed Faceless but Mana Tide Totem as well as Flametongue Totem will suffer a similar fate as Doomsayer by instantly dying off the effect.
Deck Lists (click to enlarge)
Here are some example deck lists of Zoolocks that use Crazed Alchemist as a tech choice. I also provideed the generic ladder list for Zoo with tech choice recommendations depending on the matchup as given by TempoStorm.
Crazed Aclhemist Zoo and Pro Player Choices
*Rosty removed one Dire Wolf Alpha from the core Cards.
TempoStorm Standard Zoolock (Meta Sanpshot 18th of May 2016)
As you see, a previously underwhelming card can become very strong under the right circumstances. Crazed Alchemist is the perfect example. It can turn the tide of a game hugly into your favor and has also the advantage of being potentially beneficial in a number of other situations, as I tried to point out above. This is what makes a tech decision good and worthwhile to become staple as a certain meta persist. This concludes today’s article and as always, I you like to comment, do it below or contact me via twitter @OtakuMZ1978. Good luck and have fun!