This is the most all-in, aggressive variant of zoo and is commonly referred to as suicide zoo. The core of the deck is exceedingly aggressive 1 mana creatures such as Monastery Swiftspear, Wild Nacatl, Death’s Shadow and occasionally also Steppe Lynx. The manabase of any zoo deck has always been somewhat of a liability given that it really wants to power up Wild Nacatl to a 3/3 on turn 2. This requires a Forest, Plains, and Mountain to be present, which in turn requires an awful lot of fetchlands and shocklands to be played. Suicide Zoo took this facet of the deck and ran with it. It plays somewhere in the region of 10 fetchlands, 4 copies of Gitaxian Probe, 4 copies of Mutagenic Growth , and 4 copies of Street Wraith. Why? Because of Death’s Shadow. The entire point of this deck is to lose as much life as possible whilst absolutely hammering the opponent with very cheap creatures and then finishing them off with a blowout spell like Become Immense or Temur Battle Rage. Not only do the noncreature spells buff your Death’s Shadow, but they also trigger prowess on Monastery Swiftspear which, all-in-all, results in one very dangerous deck. The other upside of the deck is that as Gitaxian Probe and Mutagenic Growth cost 0 mana to cast, it can achieve a surprising amount in a single turn, making it both very consistent (lots of card draw and ways to play cards even without the right mana) and exceedingly quick to kill.

Sideboarding Against This Deck

There a few ways to beat Suicide Zoo. One risky method is to let the Zoo player do what they want whilst they slowly whittle away their own life then finish them with a Lightning Bolt. Another key way to win is just to sideboard enough removal to ensure that their creatures never hit you. Suicide Zoo easily finds more creatures with Gitaxian Probe, and Street Wraith, among other cards, but in doing so they lose yet more life and make it easier for you to kill them with one surprising blow. Removing their creatures forces them to lose more life than perhaps they are comfortable with. The final method is just to put up solid blockers. A Wall of Omens or Tarmogoyf is going to be tricky for them to get through with anything smaller than a Death’s Shadow. A Monastery Swiftspear might be able to do it, but only if the Zoo player invest cards just to buff it up. In this case the cards used to buff the Monastery Swiftspear went towards killing your creature instead of hitting your face, which is a good outcome.

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