Rubin’s Zoo Deck Guide
Hey, it’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung and I’m here to highlight a deck designed by the incredible dev himself, RubinZoo!
This deck has been known for a little while, but it’s never been given the full attention it deserves.
Within just a few days of the new patch, RubinZoo hit Rank 1 with this Zoe/Viktor/Vi mashup.
This is no surprise as the deck packs some real power.
Deck Code: CEBQGAYJBFKN2AIBAMCAKAIBAQ2AKAQBAQNSOBADBERVKVTAAEBQIDIBAQEQ2AQCAQAQQAQCAMCAGBADAMEROM24
Let’s dive in and explore this unique archetype!
First off, this deck is incredibly versatile. We have very efficient ways to play through the early, mid, and late game.
As you’ve likely already noticed, we’re running a lot of 1-of’s and 2-of’s.
This allows us to play powerful cards like Subpurrsible and add consistency towards leveling up Zoe.
However, due to the flexible nature of Targon’s Invokes, we don’t have to rely on any particular game plan.
This is a huge advantage as not only does it give us options, but it provides more opportunities for our opponents to misplay.
There are so many things to account for from either perspective, and that’s what makes this deck so rewarding!
We have some interesting choices to make during the mulligan phase.
Unlike most other decks, our lack of 3-of’s leaves us with fewer consistent options to work with.
This means it can be important to keep a key piece of removal against decks with must-kill champions (ex. Miss Fortune, Twisted Fate, Yasuo, etc.).
Against aggro, we want our early drops, cheap removal like Mystic Shot, and our MVP; The Fangs.
In most other matchups we want to mulligan more aggressively to look for Zoe and Ballistic Bot.
These two are insane value engines that give us a big edge early on.
Solari Priestess is a good option if the matchup is slow enough.
Lastly, you can also keep Vi if the rest of your hand is solid.
Example hand against aggressive matchups:
Example hand against slower matchups:
Our plan begins by asking which player is the aggressor of the matchup.
If that person is our opponent, all we have to do is survive, and we have plenty of tools to do so.
If we’re against combo or control, we need to plan things more carefully and try to bully them early on.
Play for the board and maintain tempo, but don’t be afraid to pass as we have plenty of options to play a long game.
We occasionally struggle to deal with opposing threats, so let them play into us first if they have the mana to play a priority target.
Taking a pass can trick them to play into The Serpent, which helps give us a smoother path to the mid-late game.
One of the biggest challenges is choosing the right cards from our Invokes.
When things are going well, we can choose whatever follower we need to best fill our curve.
However, if we know there are high priority targets we may have to deal with, look to find the appropriate removal.
Sometimes this is as simple as an Equinox.
Other times, we’ll need Meteor Shower, Falling Comet, Cosmic Rays, or Supernova.
Be very careful because there are many times these spells can be sidestepped and punished due to their slow speed and high-cost inefficiency.
Key Cards and Synergies
Zoe is arguably the best 1-drop in the entire game.
She generates immediate value after just one Nexus Strike and puts a clock on the opponent to deal with her before she can level up.
Don’t play her with the sole intention of reaching 10|10 as there are far too many ways to be countered.
If Zoe generates one or two Invokes, that’s already a fantastic value.
However, when she does stick around long enough to get close to leveling, we do have a few tricky ways of protecting her.
This isn’t an option I would prioritize, but if we get a good opening to use this without risk of punishment it could almost guarantee survival in some matchups.
Challengers are one of Zoe’s biggest weaknesses, but Crescent Strike can be key to surviving them. Just be aware that slow speed really matters here as it won’t prevent any open attacks.
Mystic Shot/Get Excited!/Death Ray:
Our only means of defense at Fast speed.
Unfortunately, this really only helps against weak challengers, but sometimes that is enough.
Don’t forget Zoe’s level-up triggers upon “play”, so having spells on the stack is enough to make that final push without them needing to resolve. One final note, don’t get blown out by Hush or Sharpsight.
Victor & Vi:
These two champions serve more of a supporting role but can also threaten to win the game as well.
Victor gives us repeatable Augment triggers for Ballistic Bot and can also provide Fleeting discard fodder when needed.
He also gives two unique triggers for Zoe and Subpurrsible. When unpressured and with a little luck, Victor can grow to be a monster!
Vi acts mostly as a tougher form of removal.
Due to the nature of cheap Fleeting spells and Invokes, she gains a lot of attack very quickly.
Alongside other Invoked Challengers and Stuns, she can occasionally attack directly to the Nexus.
While this is generally overkill, sometimes Zoe gives her Elusive/Overwhelm, and then she just becomes ridiculous.
Subpurrsible & Iterative Improvement:
If you think Subpurrsible isn’t worth the deck building cost, you’ve got to be crazy! Or maybe you’re just not a cat person…
Seriously though, a 5|5 Elusive that draws a card for 5 mana is INCREDIBLE.
Pair this with Iterative Improvement and you’ve got yourself a quick, unexpected way to close out the game.
There really isn’t much to punish this effectively, and even when they do you’re maintaining card advantage without the loss of tempo.
Don’t forget, you can also use Iterative Improvement on your opponent’s followers!
You can copy a threat to turn against them as a win condition, or even copy a play effect to disrupt their plans.
There’s a lot of potential lines with this card so use it wisely.
Targon is a pretty silly region.
It has some of the best early plays, is extremely flexible, and occasionally wins games it had no business winning.
The latter is due to the power of its Invokes. Most often it comes down to The Great Beyond, The Immortal Fire, or The Destroyer.
The Scourge can be good with a busy board, but it does make us vulnerable to cards like Ruination.
Honestly, a lot of the time it doesn’t take a big Invoke to end the game.
Our incremental value throughout the game allows many of the early-medium followers to occasionally be enough on their own.
But if you prefer to go nuts with Living Legends I fully respect that.
There’s a lot of room to experiment with this deck as it can be easily tuned to adapt to different metas.
However, I would advise against adjusting any of the 3-of’s as they’re staple to the playstyle of this archetype.
I’ll leave a list of some fair considerations if you would like to explore further.
Speaking of flexibility, this is a wacky card that can really mess up your opponent’s plans.
Sometimes you can steal their counterspells or other removals you don’t get access to in Targon/PnZ.
It also has the added benefit of giving us two Zoe/Subpurrsible triggers.
In metagames with more spot removal, this can be a handy tool to protect Zoe.
This is a sneaky card. It’s very situational but can win games on the spot during the right moment.
While I’m generally not a fan of running three copies of Hush, there are the occasional times that call for it.
It can be the most important card in some matchups and is necessary for us to overcome some late-game exchanges.
I know I didn’t go into much detail regarding matchups, but that’s due to the flexible nature of the deck. You really have options to contest almost anything if you manage your cards efficiently.
I’m sure some of you will be happy to hear it does very well at dealing with the likes of Azir and Irelia.
They have a very difficult time keeping damage through the likes of The Fangs and Starshaping.
As for tougher matchups, Overwhelm Midrange can be tricky if we don’t have our stuns at the right time.
If you enjoy this deck, be sure to give some love to RubinZoo!
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
In life, we naturally consume content more than we create it. Why is this? Usually, it’s because of the entertainment it provides.
However, if we can create something we’re passionate about, we’ll not only be entertained; we’ll be fulfilled.
Imagine what you could do with such a simple shift in perspective.