Zoo Warlock is almost a budget deck right out of the box: Magic Carpet is the only Epic card that is strictly mandatory for the standard builds, and then you can tune it up with the Legendary cards Zephrys the Great or Kanrethad Ebonlocke if you like, but they are not mandatory.
However, I have wanted to find out just how mandatory the Magic Carpet is, and while it does indeed seem mandatory for the most common version of Zoo, the Charge variant seems promising even without it: if your minions can do things immediately even without the Carpet, the Carpet might not be as necessary for success.
Therefore, I built this Carpetless variant of Charge Discard Zoo, and was actually able to climb with it with a 10-6 record from Diamond 4 to Diamond 3.
Carpetless Budget Zoo decklist
Deck code: AAECAf0GAA8woQKIBeMFzgfCCIidA/2kA/2nA/muA7W5A7a5A8e5A96+A9++AwA=
The dust cost of this deck is just 1040! Now, that’s one cheap deck.
You really want your Imprisoned Scrap Imp and Hand of Gul’dan to buff up your minions and draw lots of cards by discarding Hand of Gul’dan with Expired Merchant or Nightshade Matron.
The deck comes with the full suite of Charge minions: Stonetusk Boar, Bluegill Warrior, and Wolfrider. Sometimes you may have to use them for removal, but their main function is to get buffed up and go face.
With no Magic Carpet in the deck, Rocket Augmerchants can give your other minions Rush to enable trading, and EVIL Genius can provide you with Lackeys that can also be proactive by giving other minions Rush or by dealing direct damage.
The deck is extremely dependent on Imprisoned Scrap Imp: I did not win a single game where I did not find it. The more aggressive the matchup, the earlier you need it, but it is not absolutely mandatory to have it on turn two. Scrap Imp on three or four can still win games against many opponents, and sometimes it can be even later because you have so much potential charge damage from hand.
I am still evaluating the performance of multiple cards in the deck. Flame Imp, EVIL Genius, and the full package of four Augmerchants are all choices that I am not yet fully confident about. What I am confident about is that a Discard Zoo without Magic Carpet has to be built around the full Charge package: Carpet builds often run only Stonetusk Boar as a Charge minion.
I will post about the deck again if I find a better list, but I wanted to share this version already because it has felt playable and gives budget players some more alternatives.
Carpetless Budget Zoolock mulligan
You mulligan hard for Imprisoned Scrap Imp and Hand of Gul’dan in every matchup. If you have Hand of Gul’dan, you can keep Expired Merchant. That’s it.
Carpetless Budget Zoolock gameplay
Finally, here is a gameplay video of the deck in action. I hope it showcases how to pilot the list.