The Zoo is Dead, Long Live The Zoo!

After falling short of top eight at a Modern IQ/PPTQ that I played in recently, I was itching to play some more Magic. Luckily, SCG Philly was right around the corner. I was still up in the air about what I should play for the Sunday Premier IQs: either Constellation in Standard or some form of Zoo in Modern. I stuck to my guns and my best deck and played Zoo.

[Deck Title=Slightly Bigger Zoo]
[creatures]
4x Wild Nacatl
4x Noble Hierarch
4x Tarmogoyf
4x Scavenging Ooze
4x Qasali Pridemage
4x Knight of the Reliquary
2x Thrun, The last Troll
[/creatures]
[spells]
4x Lightning Bolt
4x Path to Exile
2x Ajani Vengeant
1x Garruk Wildspeaker
1x Gideon Jura
[/spells]
[lands]
4x Wooded Foothills
4x Windswept Heath
4x Arid Mesa
2x Stomping Ground
1x Temple Garden
1x Sacred Foundry
2x Forest
2x Plains
1x Horizon Canopy
1x Kessig Wolf Run
[/lands]
[Sideboard]
3x Blood Moon
3x Ancient Grudge
2x Choke
2x Engineered Explosives
2x Spellskite
2x Batterskull
1x Back to Nature
[/sideboard]
[/deck]

So as you can see, it is my normal Zoo list, but with the key change of cutting [card]Lightning Helix[/card] for the two planeswalkers, [card]Gideon Jura[/card] and [Card]Garruk Wildspeaker[/card]. I ended up going 5-2-1 on the day, good for a top 32 finish which equated to two open points and $50 cash money. The decks I played against were as follows

Round 1: Affinity, W

Round 2: Junk Pod, W

Round 3: RG Aggro, L

Round 4: Delver, L

Round 5: Junk, W

Round 6: Junk, T

Round 7: Affinity, W

Round 8: Affinity, W

I won every post sideboard game against Affinity and I can safely say that was due 100 percent to having three copies of [card]Ancient Grudge[/card] to bring in.

My two losses on the day came at the beginning and the middle of a grueling headache. I feel like I punted at least a portion of each match, but I decided to stay in and try to grind it out. Luckily, after wandering the floor asking every single player and judge that I knew (easily over 30 people), I was able to acquire something [Ed. note: Drugs, most likely] to make my headache subside marginally.

[card]Garruk Wildspeaker[/card] and [card]Gideon Jura[/card] were overachievers on the day and I’m glad I made the decision to play them roughly 30 minutes before the start of the tournament.

Overall, it felt like a decent day, but I knew I needed to be doing something more powerful, so I set my eyes on [card]Birthing Pod[/card] because I owned most of the deck already. As of January 19, 2015, though, this became a terrible idea as Pod just got the banhammer.

On To The Next Idea

Naya Zoo is just not cutting it anymore. I need to go big and I need to hit hard. I took some inspiration from Craig Wescoe and his top-16 finish at GP Omaha and crafted the new Zoo, featuring our new lord and savior Dr. Siegeman Rhinoceros.

Siege-Rhino-Khans-of-Tarkir-Spoiler

My New List

[Deck Title=Tribal Zoo]
[creatures]
4x Wild Nacatl
4x Noble Hierarch
1x Birds of Paradise
4x Tarmogoyf
4x Knight of the Reliquary
4x Siege Rhino
[/creatures]
[Spells]
4x Lightning Bolt
4x Tribal Flames
3x Path to Exile
2x Abrupt Decay
2x Bant Charm
1x Garruk Wildspeaker
1x Gideon Jura
[/spells]
[Lands]
4x Verdant Catacombs
4x Windswept Heath
3x Flooded Strand
2x Bloodstained Mire
1x Stomping Ground
1x Temple Garden
1x Breeding Pool
1x Sacred Foundry
1x Godless Shrine
1x Watery Grave
1x Forest
1x Plains
1x Kessig Wolf Run
[/lands]
[Sideboard]
3x Ancient Grudge
3x Slaughter Games
2x Negate
2x Flashfreeze
2x Spellskite
2x Engineered Explosives
1x Batterskull
[/sideboard]
[/deck]

I have only just begun fleshing this deck out, but it feels immensely powerful and I am excited to see how the Modern metagame will adapt with the fall of Delver and Pod, and presumably the rise of BGx and Splinter Twin.

I will keep updating my progress in Modern and Standard and my quest to meet my obscene goals for 2015. Thank you all for reading, and until next time, do yourself a favor and just start casting Siege Rhino—assuming you aren’t already.

About the Author
I am a full time student at Hampshire College and a Modern format specialist. I have been playing Big Zoo since the unbanning of Wild Nacatl. I hope you enjoy my writing and through it I can help us all improve and people and players in the Magic community.

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