Growing Pains (Rank 40 to Ultimate, 86% winrate, In-Depth)

Edited 12/15: Added a section on the run, for those curious

Introduction

Hello, I’m Yulogy, a long-time TCG and CCG player. I’m a F2P player in PvZH, lucked out on opening Captain Combustible, and just managed to pilot this deck through Taco League to Ultimate with only 39 losses. Thought I’d share the deck since it is fairly cheap (even the two super-rares do very little), and players might like a deck tested through the ranks.

For this deck, I went with the tried and true method of sticking to one deck, knowing it really well, then learning each matchup on a turn to turn basis (the matchup section is really long because of this). There’s a lot of 4x cards for consistency, allowing me to play to my outs. Since I’m F2P and didn’t craft any cards, there’s obviously some cards that can be replaced with stronger tempo cards. I chose to play plants specifically because I didn’t have the cards to deal with the high tempo legendaries of plants, and CC Re-Peat Moss because it punishes the slower zombie decks. And yes, the name was initially a pun on trying to develop decks as a F2P.

The deck at its core is a midrange deck, designed to punish any inefficient turns by your opponent, with a finisher on the side. The game plan is to establish early board presence and damage, keep the pressure on with buffs, push through additional damage with the moderate cost cards, then finish off with a Re-Peat Moss if necessary.

Cards

Party Thyme – Card draw with Plant Food or Re-peat Moss. It also can be used to stop early aggression, but don’t drop the Party Thyme turn 1 otherwise. Not as great as Bonk Choy for those Headstone Carvers, Arm Wrestlers, or a smaller burst combo, but running Bonk Choy usually requires some card draw, namely Flourish. Flourish is just too slow without super high-tempo threats like Bananasaurus to hold you over, so I settled on Party Thyme.

Shroom for Two – Surprise, this deck uses shrooms to push for early damage and tempo. The double body helps with keeping targets available for the many buffs in the deck. You do want this down turn 1 to start chipping away, unlike how you would use Bonk Choy.

Berry Blast – Best removal in the game because of its versatility. Don’t use it on the hero though unless you’re going for the kill. Remember that Meteor Strike is 1 sun less and can only go for fighters, so plan accordingly whether you need to save Meteor Strike for Re-Peat Moss. In this deck, using a Meteor Strike to develop more of the board and push damage from a buffed fighter often pays off more than a bigger combo.

Black-Eyed Pea – Great as a 2-drop if you don’t have the shrooms ready, especially if your opponent has spent their brains that round. Putting a buff on it turn 3 against a non-Brainy class usually locks the lane down. It just makes your opponent’s turns awkward and inefficient, and the deck capitalizes on that fast.

Buff-Shroom – Obviously best played with Shroom for Two already present, but with Grow-Shroom there’s enough targets for later in the game as well. This does take up the slot of the more popular Fire Pea, but the mushroom synergy is worth it.

Fertilize – Your turn 3 is usually to buff one of your fighters. Based on how much brains the opponent used, choose your target accordingly. It’s great to buff a clear lane to get that damage in, then follow up with plant food turn 4 to send your opponent reeling. Fertilize is better than Grow-Shroom against Weed Spray of a Hearty class. Often not used on Re-Peat Moss, but if it’s a toss-up between this and Grow-Shroom, use the Grow-Shroom.

Grow-Shroom – Buffs less than Fertilize, but has a body attached. The body is good enough to clean up trash zombies, proc off a block efficiently, or as a threat itself. Use it similar to how you would use Fertilize, but note that it is better than Fertilize against Rocket Science from Brainy classes.

Plant Food – Bonus attacks are great, but this card is not meant to be used on Re-Peat Moss unless it’s a game-ender. It’s much better on a buffed fighter or Whipvine to clear a blocker and push damage, or even just Party Thyme for board control and a card cycle.

Re-Peat Moss – Meant to be used mainly with your superpower tricks to deal a lot of damage in one turn, usually killing your opponent. Other tricks in the deck work too just more difficult to execute. I won’t go over the specific combos, but in this deck, you don’t always need to kill your opponent with it; keeping it unbuffed and using the bonus attack as a clear and cycle with Party Thyme can be the correct play. Your opponent will still scramble to deal with it while you secure all the other lanes. Even if it’s blocked by a gravestone, dropping Party Thyme and cycling your spells on your other fighters will gain huge card advantage without losing board position. Also, dropping it naked turn 4 is actually acceptable if you have a decent board, and especially if you have two in your hand. If the zombie has no brains they will invest resources next turn taking care of it, leaving your other fighters to roam free. And without a gravestone blocking it, it shouldn’t be hard to kill the zombie in front of it and your opponent. Even if they do have brains turn 4, it’s unlikely for them to have a good answer: Rolling Stone is probably expended on your little shrooms or Black-Eyed Pea, and a Weed Spray or similar still means they likely spent 3 brains and float 1 brain for that single 4 sun plant. Finally, sometimes it’s just a desperation move and hoping it survives is the only way to win. A word of advice on combos though: keep a record of which superpowers the opponent has used. If you are proccing a block with it, sometimes it’s better to use Embiggen before Blazing Bark because of the 3 damage superpowers or Cut Down, and vice versa with other superpowers. Also, position the repeat moss in a later lane to allow zombies to proc your block for an extra attack.

Whipvine – Very underrated card. In a lane based game, lane manipulation is very powerful, and it’s practically free on Whipvine. It allows you to setup trades, save a high attack plant, block damage, pull amphibious, or use a low attack zombie to build your meter. The stats are great; pretty much takes on any equal lower cost zombie, or eats a quarter out of your opponent’s health. A word on building your meter: start early, try to set it up so that you take 1 attack a turn, preferably 1 damage but 2 damage is fine too. The reason for only 1 attack is that you can better control when your opponent procs your meter to maintain your health and for the combos.

Grapes of Wrath – By the time you use this, you’re running out of steam. It’s a last resort against the slow controlling decks that just managed to squeak by your onslaught. I chose this over Expresso Fiesta because this deck is not a deck with many big fighters, and by turn 8 your buffed fighters probably are removed, making Expresso Fiesta subpar. Instead, Grapes of Wrath can be used a turn earlier, and either deal damage attacking or as a chump blocker for its effect. Against a big frenzy fighters, its effect occurs first, winning you the game. It doesn’t factor in most games I play though, so it may be just as good without any super-rare cards at all, even just the fourth Party Thyme or Black-Eyed Pea if I had it.

General Mulligan

Always start with tossing the highest cost card, and mulligan for a 1 drop, preferably Shroom for Two. Don’t toss away a Party Thyme if you don’t get another 1 drop, you will need it if your opponent turns out to be aggressive. Ideally you want a Shroom for Two and a Buff-Shroom, and the other two either Berry Blasts, or Black-Eyed Peas and buffs for certain opponents. Note that the mulligan tips per class are just the best cards to have on top of the standard mulligan.

Matchups

  • Super Brains

Mulligan for Berry Blast. There’s two main decks for Super Brains: Imps or Gravestones. Aggro Imp is ok, all you need to do is block and remove imps while building your meter slowly. However, Midrange Imp is a difficult matchup, since the Imp Commander can’t be rid of easily and then you end up with a flood of imps blocking you. If an Imp Commander goes down where you can’t take it out without losing a lot of resources, you will need to race Super Brains, sometimes give up the combo. As for Gravestone, unlike Neptuna most of the gravestones are predictable. If there’s no Headstone Carver turn 1 or no 2 drop gravestone, you’re golden, since your mushrooms will trade well early on. Surprise Gargantuar is sometimes a surprise, but you should have some damage put in and combo ready before you get anywhere close to dying. Be careful of overbuffing due to Rocket Science; 4 attack is enough to bait the Rocket Science, and you aren’t falling behind when it’s just a shroom.

  • The Smash

Mulligan for buffs. Almost always uses sport zombies, with either more sport synergy, buffs, or just end-game legendaries. Two Buff-Shrooms is amazing if there isn’t Arm Wrestler AND Sumo Wrestler. It’s also often fine to drop a Black-Eyed Pea down turn 2 after the Shroom for Two; very often they run Weed Spray as opposed to Rolling Stone and will wait for value turn 3. That’s when you Fertilize it, Weed Spray kills just a Shroom for Two, and your Black-Eyed Pea either deals 12 damage minus 5 for each zombie they chump block with, and if they don’t Locust Swarm turn 5 (it will be obvious due to saved brains) you just win. Even if they do, you should have a developed board with a Whipvine smashing into him that turn anyway, and with combo as followup. Don’t get frustrated if he heals with Medics, he’ll just fall behind on board and you have plenty of damage. For a Pet Smash, your cards tend to trade better unless Camel Crossing gains value, so fight for the board early.

  • Impfinity

Mulligan for Berry Blast and buffs. Play similar to how you would against Super Brains, as the only decent Impfinity deck is an imp deck. You can more freely buff your plants, but block gravestones past turn 3 because of Abracadaver or Exploding Imp. They typically don’t run much removal because it slows down the imps too much.

  • Rustbolt

Mulligan for Berry Blast, it’s versatile and especially useful if Rustbolt goes with Team Mascots. Rustbolt has the potential to run both Rocket Science and Weed Spray, and you won’t know how much your particular opponent decided on until you run into it. Unlike Smash who can buff out huge frenzy fighters, you have more time to work the board and get your combo ready. There’s not a clear distinction between Rustbolt decks, but if it’s heavy on sports you have a big advantage, and if it’s control and heavy on removal it will be a test to see if you can kill him before his tanky end-game zombies come out.

  • Electric Boogaloo

Mulligan for Black-Eyed Peas and buffs. This is actually the best matchup for this deck; only one loss against Electric Boogaloo. The main concern is The Chickening, as Bungee Plumber won’t gain much against you. Almost always runs a dance deck. Like Impfinity, be aware of the turn 3 gravestones, but you will likely have to factor in Jester as well. Turn 2 gravestones shouldn’t be blocked, or you will have to deal with the consequences. You can often leave 1 zombie with 1 attack like Jester to build your block meter, but be aware that it activates Flamenco. Just keep trading efficiently and you will win.

  • Brain Freeze

Mulligan for Berry Blast. I’ve seen both imp and pet decks on the ladder, and only lost against imp decks (it’s the worst matchup, I’ve had few Brain Freeze matchups but 2 were losses). Brain Freeze is able to buff his imps, so if an imp gets out of hand and you will need to race. Pet decks are usually played more aggressively since they don’t have access to Camel Crossing, and overall more easily dealt with than Smash. Do look out for buffed Zombie Chickens though, you may need to race if they get it going.

  • Professor Brainstorm

Mulligan for Black-Eyed Peas. The most common matchup, but there are 3 different decks currently being played. There’s heavy trick decks, Valkyrie OTK decks, and then there’s the cheaper science decks (some people call it Eureka). You only need to distinguish between the tricks vs Valkyrie, and it’s fairly easy as Valkyrie has those aggressive throwaway zombies. Against trick decks, the strategy is simple, rush them down and hope they don’t have answers (only rarely will they have all the answers to your spam). Black-Eyed Peas are invaluable. Against Valkyrie OTK, you also want to rush them down, but you can abuse their 1-1 zombies to build your meter. It’s fine to have 2 attacks a turn in this case. Usually it will be a Tennis Champ, rarely will it be a Cell Phone Zombie. Do get rid of the 3 attack zombies if it’s efficient. With your meter building, you will have the combo turn 6 or 7 as long as you draw a single Re-Peat Moss, while your opponent’s combo requires 3 specific cards and isn’t ready until turn 8+. They also can’t OTK you if there’s no clear lanes because they have 1-1s around, buying you even more turns until they get a Fireworks Zombie. Finally, the science decks take a while to get going, so you will likely win trades early, locking out the game. As long as Gadget Scientist gets no value, you win.

  • Immorticia

Mulligan for Berry Blast. Immorticia decks are very hard to predict. They could be pets, tricks, science, or control, with varying degrees of buffs or removal. You pretty much have to play it by ear, and adapt when you figure out what she’s playing.

  • Z-Mech

Mulligan for buffs, as Z-Mech has no good removal for your buffed fighters. Whether it’s a sport or dance deck, as long as their opening doesn’t completely dominate yours, it shouldn’t be too hard. The gravestones can be tricky if they take from both classes, but that’s not too common since it hurts their synergy.

  • Neptuna

Mulligan for Berry Blast. Gravestone seems to be the only good Neptuna deck around the ladder right now. We don’t have good answers for Headstone Carver, so it can be difficult. You can use Berry Blast turn 2 to prevent the buff from going off, though it’s slightly inefficient. Your fighters can go toe to toe with hers, but the issue is figuring out what fighters are behind the gravestone. Unlike other gravestone decks, cost doesn’t help as much, and you may have to go off whether the gravestone was placed in front of your fighters or not. If it’s in an open lane, block it, if it’s in a contested lane, buff it to 4 attack. Whipvine really helps in this matchup, as it can reassign lanes after the zombie pops up. You combo can still go off, you usually need to do it from hand though.

Run Details

I played this deck from 12/4 to 12/7, 239 wins 39 losses. Unfortunately I didn’t record which decks I beat since it would have taken too much of my time, but I did record which decks I lost to at each rank so I could learn from them. In general, I felt I had poor draws for most of the losses, and if you consider that half the time you will have a worse draw than your opponent, it makes sense. I started to mulligan VERY carefully, and there was noticeable improvement during the second half of the run. Also, I lost to a lot of imp decks, a few due to them being aggressive with better draws, but most due to commanders getting out of hand and then spamming the board. Here are the losses; there are abbreviations, but they are obvious:

R40 – BF imp
R41 – PBS trick, PBS trick, SB imp
R42 – TS buff, Nep grave, SB imps, ZM sport, SB grave, IF imp, IF imp, SB grave
R43 – TS control, SB imp, SB control, BF imp, PBS trick
R44 – PBS trick, IMM buff, SB imp, EB dance, SB grave, SB grave
R45 – PBS valk, PBS dance, EB dance, PBS valk, SB imp
R46 – no losses
R47 – SB imp, IF grave
R48 – RB control, SB imp, SB imp, IMM pet, TS control
R49 – TS control, PBS valk, IMM science, RB control

I hope my guide is a little useful, good luck ranking up!

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9 thoughts on “Growing Pains (Rank 40 to Ultimate, 86% winrate, In-Depth)

  1. HotCarl
    January 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    If I only have one GoW, substitute Bananasaurus? Combos well with Party Thyme.

    Reply
  2. TopHatCat
    January 11, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Are there any cards you would upgrade the deck with if you drew them/had enough to craft them?

    You know like a 1x Espresso Fiesta, Bananasaurus Rex, or Dandy Lion King, etc etc

    Reply
  3. BlueShadow
    January 8, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Great deck!

    Replaced the grapes with Poison Oak and havn’t lost… Yet

    Reply
  4. WordsAmp
    January 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for this great deck. I’ve been running a similar version that I’ve tweaked a bit for my own tastes. It’s a LOT of fun, and your break-down of playing against the different zombies has really helped me as a player overall. Again, thanks a bunch.

    Reply
  5. Aeasy
    December 31, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Great deck, got from rank 46->50 with it. Just a few things about this deck:
    -Pray to RNGesus that you high roll small blocks for your opponent
    -Usually I put moss in the 1st lane, so if I begin with a shroom for two I
    -Play it in lane 2 if I intend to buff them with buff shroom, so they can proc the block meter first
    -Play it in lane 4 if I don’t intend to buff them or are using them to remove a dog walker, etc. so they proc the block meter last
    -Go face whenever possible, even if it requires moving huge zombies (ie. bucketheads, 5/5 gargantuars) to let whipvine hit it.
    -Repeat moss is your saving grace, but can’t do much without tricks. Allow small zombies to proc your block meter whenever possible to build up to an otk. Don’t be surprised if they have a whole board dedicated to proccing your block meter and pulling out a repeat moss OTK when they think they’re about to win.

    Again, this is my experience with the deck, and you may have a completely different opinion. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • RickGamer
      January 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks for adding some more advices, i’ve been playing from 33 to 38. I faced you once when i used to play as zombie and also I have you in my friendlist lol

      Reply
  6. Tatel
    December 20, 2016 at 3:06 am

    Just played 5 games with this deck (rank gold 27) won everyone . My last game I beat a 40 taco league opponent as well. Awesome deck, the GoW definelty do a lot of work , same with repeat moss . Thanks !

    Reply
  7. GGBasilisk
    December 14, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for putting this up – I’m playing it in diamond league with +1 Black Eyed Pea and -1 Grapes of Wrath. Makes sense due to how many “Mulligan for BEP” you have in your guide – it’s a great card to have on turn 2.

    GoW is certainly hard for an opponent to play around, but the top end of this deck is already mostly Plant Food plays, which have an immediate impact on your turn before the zombies get to play tricks.

    Reply
    • Yulogy
      December 15, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Glad it’s working out for you! I was certainly iffy on GoW as well when making the deck, and a better chance of getting fighters on the board for the turn 3 buffs is a great idea. I just didn’t have that 4th BEP.

      Reply

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