Gaea's Might Get There (Domain Zoo) Archetype Thread

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Domain Zoo is a deck which uses the Fetchlands and Shocklands to abuse efficient creatures and effects from as many colors as possible while taking advantage of domain effects.

This is an aggro deck, and is essentially a variation of BDW which sacrifices stability and consistency for raw power and strong topdecks. This deck has been putting up strong results since worlds, and I think it deserves an archetype thread.

The Decklists

Raphael Levy, GP Dallas 1st



4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Boros+Swiftblade" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Boros+Swiftblade">Boros Swiftblade</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Grim+Lavamancer" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Grim+Lavamancer">Grim Lavamancer</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Kird+Ape" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Kird+Ape">Kird Ape</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Savannah+Lions" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Savannah+Lions">Savannah Lions</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Watchwolf" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Watchwolf">Watchwolf</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Wild+Mongrel" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Wild+Mongrel">Wild Mongrel</a>


2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Armadillo+Cloak" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Armadillo+Cloak">Armadillo Cloak</a>


1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Brute+Force" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Brute+Force">Brute Force</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Gaea%27s+Might" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Gaea%27s+Might">Gaea's Might</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Sudden+Shock" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Sudden+Shock">Sudden Shock</a>


3 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Isamaru%2C+Hound+Of+Konda" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Isamaru%2C+Hound+Of+Konda">Isamaru, Hound Of Konda</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Kataki%2C+War%27s+Wage" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Kataki%2C+War%27s+Wage">Kataki, War's Wage</a>


1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Firebolt" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Firebolt">Firebolt</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Tribal+Flames" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Tribal+Flames">Tribal Flames</a>


1 x Mountain
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Bloodstained+Mire" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Bloodstained+Mire">Bloodstained Mire</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Breeding+Pool" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Breeding+Pool">Breeding Pool</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Flooded+Strand" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Flooded+Strand">Flooded Strand</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Godless+Shrine" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Godless+Shrine">Godless Shrine</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Sacred+Foundry" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Sacred+Foundry">Sacred Foundry</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Steam+Vents" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Steam+Vents">Steam Vents</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Stomping+Ground" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Stomping+Ground">Stomping Ground</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Temple+Garden" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Temple+Garden">Temple Garden</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Windswept+Heath" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Windswept+Heath">Windswept Heath</a>
4 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Wooded+Foothills" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Wooded+Foothills">Wooded Foothills</a>


2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Jotun+Grunt" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Jotun+Grunt">Jotun Grunt</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Loxodon+Hierarch" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Loxodon+Hierarch">Loxodon Hierarch</a>
3 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Meddling+Mage" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Meddling+Mage">Meddling Mage</a>
1 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Armadillo+Cloak" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Armadillo+Cloak">Armadillo Cloak</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Krosan+Grip" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Krosan+Grip">Krosan Grip</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Lightning+Helix" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Lightning+Helix">Lightning Helix</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Umezawa%27s+Jitte" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Umezawa%27s+Jitte">Umezawa's Jitte</a>
2 x <a href="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Kataki%2C+War%27s+Wage" class="autocard-link" data-image-url="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?type=card&amp;name=Kataki%2C+War%27s+Wage">Kataki, War's Wage</a>









Card Choices






This is about as efficient as aggro decks get in extended, and I think it merits some discussion.
does Kavu Scout have a place in here at all? its basically a 5/2 for 3...
The curve for creatures tops out at two, so a creature would have to be pretty incredible to make it in at cmc of 3. I don't see why the kavu would make it in over..say Troll Ascetic. Kavu isn't good because, though it's big, it has no evasion and isn't very efficient on its own.

One card that I've been considering testing is Defiant Elf just because it's a one drop with trample. It would be great for game ending Gaea's Mights
Wouldn't scab clan mauler be a better trampler? A 1/1 is pretty useless except with gaea's might and would reduce the deck's consistancy.
Levy has got to be pretty close to optimal if he won back to back Grand Prixs!

I felt proud of myself for having already considered Jotun Grunt main over Kataki; they are both rock in appropriate matchups (Loam, Affinity resp.) but against the non-specific match Grunt is just better. I personally am a fan of Ancient Grudge in the sideboard because of more versatility over Kataki against thnigs like Flow Rock and NO Stick, but Kataki beats down and just owns Affinity. I'm not sure how I feel about the sideboard yet; I was tempted to want to run 14 one-drops (3 Savannah Lions) instead of 12, but the deck has got to be very close. The way it beats other aggro, though, is inherent life gain, on top of better burn (Tribal Flames) and as great as Sudden Shock is supposed to be in this format there's gotta be room for more Lightning Helixes. I've been thinking about this deck a lot because I want to play it at an upcoming City Champs Tourney.

Levy's original list is above I believe. The 2 Jotun for 2 Kataki seems like an obvious improvement to me, but I also feel like the random brute force / firebolt one-of's should come out, for more helixes and keeping the sudden shocks at four. His sideboard I just don't know about, but based off of it, here's what I would do and how I would sideboard, but I don't know if this is the best sideboarding strategies (or cards).

4 grim lavamancer
4 kird ape
3 isamaru, hound of konda
1 savannah lions
2 jotun grunt
2 wild mongrel
4 watchwolf
4 boros swiftblade

2 lightning helix
2 armadillo cloak
4 sudden shock
4 tribal flames
4 gaea's might

identical land base, which is about perfect for this deck.

I'd like to have the sideboard more streamlined, and even though it's only 1 hierarch, I can't imagine this deck actually hits 4 mana all that often, so that's gone. I'd do it like this:

4 meddling mage
2 krosan grip
2 lightning helix
3 kataki, war's wage
2 umezawa's jitte
1 armadillo cloak
1 jotun grunt

In general, I'd sideboard like this:

Affinity:
-4 sudden shock, +2 lightning helix, +2 jitte
-2 wild mongrel, -1 savannah lions +3 kataki, war's wage

Aggro Loam:
-1 savannah lions, +1 jotun grunt
-2 swiftblade, -2 wild mongrel, +4 meddling mage
-2 armadillo cloak, +2 lightning helix / +2 krosan grip if you are really afraid of seismic assault...they should be dead before it is online though.

Mirror / BDW / Colored Aggro:
-4 sudden shock, +2 jitte, +2 lightning helix
-1 savannah lions +1 armadillo cloak

Tron / CounterTopTog
-2 swiftblade -2 mongrel +4 meddling mage
-2 armadillo cloak +2 krosan grip
-1 savannah lions +1 jotun grunt ?

I'm not sure what else is big right now; I think you'd just bring in Med Mages and maybe helix over cloak against TEPs; I've never played against Balancing Tings so I don't know there either...any advice?
I kinda figured, but I run a few more pump spells than most other builds, so it might be worth a shot. Also, Mauler is a weak 2 drop in its own right, and so I wouldn't count on it coming down as a 3/3 because it's not necessarily going to happen as often as you'd like.

I'm also a little concerned about stretching the mana base to handle two 2 drops that have heavy color requirements, but if there's any deck that can pull it off it's this one.
I was originally thinking about Tin Street Hooligan over Kataki, which is basically the same CC as Scab-Clan, but you usually end up getting a Stomping Ground, because in this deck, on turn one you want Red or White, but you could very well want Red AND white on turn 2, but you'd like to be fetching 2 more colors for domain's sake, so you don't want to fetch another red or white if you fetched sacred foundry on turn 1. The point is, making sure you have GW for Watchwolf, RW for Swiftblade, and RG For Mauler on turn 2 is only possible with combinations that put you at 3 basic land types, not four, requiring you to pain yourself even more to maximize your domain ability, and it gets even more messy with Meddling Mage, so the nice uniting factor is that they are all W/X cards. Mauler screws this up.
what about Vinelasher Kudzu for control matches? We run more fetches than most decks, so he gets big pretty fast.
by the time you play it, you've used 2 fetches already, probably hit yourself for 6 points, and you may not even have much of a desire to play anymore lands, esp for example against aggro loam, where you save what you draw for after the devastating dreams..
What exactly are this decks worst matchups. From some goldfishing it would seem that you don want to face aggro decks. In my area though there tends to be very little aggro at all. The meta is usually like 70 percent blue control if not more with the remaining 30 percent being a mix of other decks. I'm very interested in playing this deck at my ptq this weekend and am curious about its matchups.

From goldfishing I can say that the levy build usually wins around turn 5. I personally dont think this is fast enouhg when tron and scepter chant are all over my meta. I have tested a build with things like reckless charge in the slots of some of the slower cards like sudden shock and jitte, and this build wins by turn four almost every game. Winning on turn 3 is also posssible but requires a swiftblade. The turn four kill is what you can usually expect if you dont see a swiftblade. I am wondering what you guys think of playing this faster more explosive build in a control heavy meta.
in my meta of all aggro, i'm interested in things like cloak, jitte, but i think if you want a faster deck, and you won't have too many blockers, pump is the way to go, in this deck when you definitely have dorks, brute force is a lightning bolt, even worse on a boros swiftblade, maybe go up to 2 of it, or maybe even try might of old krosa? it's another point of damage, if you don't need to do tricks during combat it's worth it.
against control and combo reckless charge is far better than brute force. It allows you to drop a critter and swing with it. In this deck that means for one mana you just dealt 5 extra damage. It also has flashback which makes it even nicer. What i have experimented with is more or less Levy's decklist but removing the mountain for a blood crypt as well as dropping jitte, firebolt, helix and a sudden shock to add 4 reckless charges. In reality i dont like the shocks much and am thinking of dropping them for good. They really dont do much as mongrel isnt played and in an aggo version you can race tog and dont have to worry about burning him off. I would consider replacing the sudden shocks with 2 brute forces. The only problem with this is that you become very dependant on pump.
it's certainly worth considering, each has their pro/cons, and you're right, in a non-aggro environment reckless charge is probably strictly better (i just looked it up again, for some reason i thought the cost was 1R). and i agree with you, sudden shock is not that great as people say it is. it's a really bad shock. countertoptog can counterbalance it anyways, and you're right, you can race that deck, mongrel doesn't happen much (and if you tribal flames it, are they really going to discard their hand?) and also most good affinity players play around it, pumping on their own turn. overrated card imo, when you have firebolt, lightning helix, magma jet, etc....esp not over lightning helix.
Heres a decklist that has been performing well for me in online testing.

Creatures
4 boros swiftblade
3 isamaru
2 wild mongrel
3 watchwolf
4 grim lavamancer
4 dark confidant
4 kird ape
2 jotun grunt

Spells
4 gaea's might
4 tribal flames
1 armadillo cloak
2 brute force
2 reckless charge
1 umezawas jitte

lands
4 wooded foothills
4 windswept heath
3 bloodstained mire
1 flooded strand
2 stomping ground
1 steam vents
1 blood crypt
1 godless shrine
1 sacred foundry
1 temple garden
1 breeding pool

The sideboard isnt something i have really worked on too much but it will definatley include 3/4 katakis, 3/4 meddling mages, and a couple jittes.

Now when it comes to the maindeck as ive said before my meta is defined by control decks. At the ptq we had about a month ago the only true aggro i saw were a few affinity decks. Then there were some teps, aggroloam and rock decks running around and of course the scepter chant and uw tron decks which made up more than half the room. Knowing that my meta is always control based i am cutting the cards that are weak against those decks.

Out go 4 sudden shocks and in go the confidants. Confidants add consistancy which this deck lacks.

I have also removed the helixes and lone firebolt for more pump spells. This allows me to just race any aggro decks i might see as my creatures are far superior. few people will expect this and it is doubtfull they will take advantage of it.
This choice gives me the element of surprise which is always advantageous.
you sure about switching burn to pump? burn is generally better against control cause it can get those last few points in on its own.
I think adding pump is fine in the current extended as most control decks, at least in my area, rely on boardsweepers and counters rather than removal spells such as putrefy and smother. I would cut some of the pump though because you really need a couple of helixes when your up against an aggro deck to improve the matchup as its like your staring the game at 13 life because of your fetches and duals. I would remove reckless charge though because it is absolutely amazing in any combo matchup as well as an array of other matchups. It can basically speed your deck up by a full turn. Heres an example opening hand, kird ape, isamaru, watchwolf, land, land, land, reckless charge. Lets assume your playing against teps. You go turn 1 kape after cracking a fetch. Your oponent opens with a bloom setting up for a t4 win. Your second turn you crack another fetch, at this point depending on what you drew you either drop the wolf or drop the isamaru and charge it. Lets say you drop the wolf and swing for 2. On your third turn you drop the isamaru charge it and swing for a wopping 10. Then on your fourth turn you can flashback the charge and swing for 10 again.
Reckless charge also improves something like jotun grunt who is usually in play for a limited time. It can also catch an opponent off balance. imagine dropping a swiftblade and then charging it. Thats 3 mana for 8 damage. Overall i think a couple of charges are great in the deck.

Brute force on the other hand can be dropped as well as levy's firebolt. Armadillo cloak also is questionable as you will now have pump from the reckless charges. Armadillo cloak is quite bad in the control matchup as well as the combo matchup. Against aggro a jitte would serve you better, the only difference being that the cloak is better than jitte in the combo matchup. With this said i would probably change my previous list by cutting a cloak, and 2 brute forces to add either 3 lightning helixes or 2 helixes and a savannah lions.

At this poitn confidant in the maindeck might be overkill but he is such a beast, especially in a deck which runs mostly 1 and 2 drops
@ Andrew:

Would you consider switching one of your duals for Watery Grave? I realize it's harder to fetch, but if we could balance out the mana base to make that work, it'd make it much easier to get domain. I'm only suggesting it because you're playing Confidant, and I think it wouldn't be too hard to fix the mana base to support it.

I haven't really decided how important I think turn 3/4 domain is, but that's a factor to consider as well.
To 5C Zoo, Watery Grave says "tap: add 1 colorless to your mana pool." Don't add it.

I like the brute force, it has been amazing when I draw it. The firebolt has been nice for killing birds on the draw etc. but I might try a Terminate in its place.

I think Levy's list is the best list right now, it just beats everything, we've tested against affinity, gifts rock, Kyle Sanchez, Trinket Angel, etc. even the decks that are supposed to beat aggro, 5C zoo can dominate.

One thing we've noticed though, it has a randomly bad matchup vs. Ichorid. Doesn't really matter since noone plays it anymore, but just thought I'd put it out there.
I'd like to hear more about your playtesting. These are all good thoughts. About the Watery Grave, though, in general, I think you need every land to at least produce R, W, or G. His land base (Levy) is pretty much perfect for his version of the deck, though you should definitely change it if you add Dark Confidants. That's certainly not a bad idea, but it is a bit dangerous in a mirror match.

Cloak vs. Jitte can be discussed all day; but in particular, I can't get over only 1 Lightning Helix. It hits for 1 more than Sudden Shock and gives you a whole THREE more life, which seems huge in any aggro mirror. I really think this should probably be 4 Lightning Helixes.

What about Levy's Sideboard? I know I probably want to go up to 4 Meddling Mages, and Goblins is nonexistant around here (I'm assuming that's what Plague is for in the 2nd Grand Prix SB) and even though Kataki is a dude, I'd think Ancient Grudge is more versatile, but you probably want Krosan Grip for, in particular, Counterbalance and Chalices set at 2 (and possibly Worship). So I don't know. I don't know what to take in/out, either.

Also, if Firebolt is basically meant for spot removal, and i can't imagine this deck hitting 5 for flashback, what about Lava Dart?
When it comes to watery grave i dont really like it. I originally started by dropping a stomping ground for a blood crypt to support the confidants but i found myself wanting to fetch black off a heath too often so i dropped the basica land for a tomb also. This manabase has worked fine so far.

The other thing i have seen in testing the build with more pump is that you really tend to win game one just on the element of surprise. This deck isn't extremely well known yet and there are still people who will let a swiftblade through so you can might it for the kill. Others who know the deck will not expect things ike reckless charge or confidant. In testing about 10 matches last night i think i only dropped game one once and it was toa turn one scepter chant. Game two usually is your hardest game because your on the draw and you dont know what your opponent boarded in against you especially against control. When facing aggro your postboard matchups improve nicely.

Im still unsure about the confidants though. They are somewhat against the idea of going for the turn 4 kill but are great after your opponent wraths or something. The other creature im thinking of bumping up to at least a 3 of is wild mongrel. You usually dont want to se 2 in your opening hand but his pump effect is so good, especially when you have a mediocre hand.
I'd like to take the SB spots from Engineered Plague and see what can be done to help the control matchup apart from Meddling Mage which is obviously good. What do you guys take out for Meddling Mage, though? Swiftblades? Wolves? Mongrels?

The Confidants warp your mana base a bit - I think the 1 basic land was in there to keep yourself from being screwed by Ghost Quarter, which is quite possible. Also, like I said, not so great in the aggro matchup. I'd still really like to get 4 Helixes in here, but I'm not just not certain about the value/necessity of Sudden Shock in this format.

See, Scepter/Chant is another reason I'm tempted to run Ancient Grudges in the sideboard over Kataki. Along with that, a lot of Flow Rock or UGW Haterator varients and even UW Tron are running Chalices, Chrome Moxes, Scepters, Sword of Fire and Ice, Jitte, etc although chalice at 2 screws your ancient grudge....but then it screws kataki too anyway...
Im probably going to drop the confidant count to two. I keep getting multiples and the deck really doesnt want to see much of confidant in the aggro matchup.

When it comes to the meddling mages it usually depends what im playing against and what list im running. Running something like levy's build i would take out the savannah lions, the firebolt, the jitte and probably the dillo cloak although it really depends what im up against. The only thing id definatly take out against most control is the bolt as its just weak in that matchup. If your playing against trinket tog id drop the dillo cloak and probably a brute force as well as something else. Against scepter chant take out lions jitte bolt and cloak seems fine.

Id also consider some molten rains in the board if you expect to face a lot of control. Ancient grudge is also a house agaisnt scepter chant as they not only need scepter to beat you but often rely on chrome mox or artifact lands. I would still probably keep room for 2 kataki's since a resolved kataki is gg against affinity if they cant burn it out asap.
before I started testing with Levy's build, I was thinking of swapping the firebolt with Terminate, but I have liked both the random firebolt and brute force. Firebolt kills birds and stuff which is sweet, and the Brute force is like Gaeas Might Jr.

edit: Keep in mind that it is easier to get Kataki to stick in this deck, since we have the pump, so I think MD Kataki is cool, because it rapes affinity, is randomly good vs. other decks such as PocketLocket, TrinketTog, etc., and against other decks, it beats for 2.
i suggest you test with reckless charge. Its such a fun card and it totally surprises your opponents. Anyway I have currently dropped the confidants and am playing something very similar to the Levy build from singapore. The only difference is that im running 2 reckless charges instead of the bolt and brute force and i cut the sudden shocks which sucked 90 percent of the time for another helix and 2 fire ices main.

Originally i wanted to test 4 helixes but i remembered from when i tested Chris Wolterecks ptq list that they werent spectacular especially if you got multiples against control. Fire/ice though can do a lot. It can shut down scepter giving you another turn to swing all out, it can tap the extremey annoying silver knights, it can take out a couple elves/birds, it can tap an opponents land during upkeep keeping them off the 4 mana they need to wrath. These are just some some of the many uses of fire/ice.

I also cut the armadillo cloak and added a third wild mongrel. I dont know if this is a mistake but its just a preferance for me. The cloak is pretty slow and is easier to get rid of than jitte and not as powerful. I also really liked the 4 mongrels in Wolterecks build. I almost always prefer a mongrel over a watchwolf in my opening hand, i just dont really want to get 2 and by only running 3 i rarely have that problem.
I personally would much rather have Watchwolf than Mongrel, unless I am alpha striking and need those last few cards in my hand.

Silver Knight isnt that bad because of watchwolf, cloak, etc.
mongrel, especially in this deck creates a massive amoutn of pressure. He also causes your opponent to make unfavorable trades just in case you might have a might or flames to end it. Mongrel is also much better when your racing sometihng like chant or teps. In my testing against chant for example i have won multiple games on the back of mongrel by discarding 3 or 4 cards i didnt have mana to play before they would lock me down.

Also when i usually see silver knight i see it paired with other nasty cards ranging from burn to smothers and jittes. In most of my games against those decks it basically comes down to me trying to deal them 20 damage before they can stablilize and overall with my current build it works nicely.

What i really like about the deck is its power in game one. As ive said before few people expect to be killed turn 3 or 4 by an aggro deck, and some people still dont know the deck and its tricks. In testing i rarely drop game one, but i dont seem to have any really bad matchups in the following games either. There are some decks which i really seem to love to play. Loam decks for example are a cakewalk for us. Teps is also heavily in our favor, especially if we are on the play. The only decks that tend to be close are the ones against nassif style counterbalance decks that run silver knights and jittes. The trinket tog decks arent that dangerous although the games will take a while you usually overwhelm them around turn 6.
I've found in testing, that this deck walks all over Trinket Angels. and pretty much everything haha. I think it's probably the deck to beat right now.
I definatly agree that its the deck to beat. When i headed out to a ptq about a month back i was planning on playing this and letting a friend play my scepter chant. In the end (the night before the ptq) i decided to play the chant as it had just been ripping everything apart in testing, not that gaeas might get there wasnt, but my scepter chant deck is all foiled out and im quite fond of it. Anyway i got there and scepter chant failed misrably as the deck seemed to hate me. In 3 rounds of play i remember mulliganing 8 times and going a misreable 1-2 drop. Meanwhile my friend piloted gaeas to 4-2 before dropping. His last loss came to affinity, but can be attributed to him being a massive noob and mulliganing some very playable hands trying to find a kataki. He also made a number of misplays in the third game, and im sure he should have won. His only other loss came to Aggro loam which was once again his fault. I can't really blame him though as his rating is still around 1700, so he isn't that great of a player.

Anyway since then I have more or less become obsessed with the deck and even took a very shakey zoo deck using swiftblade for surprise kills to a type 2 mss this past weekend and placing third, only losing to a beach house deck(yes beach house, WTF, it beat dralnu in the quraterfinals, WTF again).

Anyway this weekend i will be playing something close to levy's list at my ptq and will hopefully be top 8'ing
I think this deck needs more than 1 Lightning Helix. You thought 4 were not that good? Against control, maybe not, but they seem like they would make a world of difference in the aggro matchup. Granted, Fire // Ice is a very good idea and could set you up for 2-for-1's in the aggro matchup also.

I, honestly, keep going back and forth about all of the 1-of's. They are not bad choices but I'd like to see the deck more streamlined, with an obvious sideboard plan. Kataki surely rapes affinity but Ancient Grudge is no fun for them either, and Ancient Grudge is a considerably more versatile card, mattering much more in Scepter/Chant and matchups against the midrange Chalice/Equipment decks. In general, I'd like to do something near my above list, except 4 helixes main (take out 2 shock) and make the 2 sideboard cards be something good against control to put in for the cloaks, maybe just fat burn like char or flames of the blood hand since they get around Counterbalance (usually) and Chalices set at 1 or 2.
Here's my current list, which im liking a lot

Lands
4 wooded foothills
2 bloodstained mire
2 flooded strand
4 windswept heath
1 mountain
1 sacred foundry
1 steam vents
1 breeding pool
1 godless shrine
1 overgrown tomb
1 temple garden
1 stomping ground

critters
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Boros Swiftblade
3 Wild Mongrel
4 Kird Ape
3 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
1 Savannah Lions
4 Watchwolf
2 jotun grunt

spells
4 gaeas might
4 tribal flames
2 lightning helix
2 fire/ice
1 umezawas jitte

Sideboard

2 jotun grunt
3 meddling mage
2 umezawas jitte
2 krosan grip
3 kataki
3 deathmark (could swap vindicate in here instead but i like the 1 cc)
Have you tested the Deathmarks much? Seem like a good idea, but what do you bring them in against? Seems like you'd want your anti-aggro cards a bit more broader in scope, like Jitte, primarily because of decks like Goblins. Unless you had another archetype in mind.
deathmark gets rid of 2 of the most annoying cards you can face, silver knight and exalted angel. It also kills heirarchs, baloths and a bunch of other things. Its very possible to replace them with vindicates although im not crazy about the 3cc.
Doh. I hadn't even thought about the Flow Rock matchup or anything Big Green ish.......not bad.
Have any of you read Levy's scg article? I'm basically ready to signup for premium just for a month to get to read it.
haven't read it...I don't have premium. Meh, I guess there's always waiting until it's not premium anymore...but that's a little late...At least I'm building this deck for casual too.

here's an idea that's kinda out there, and I don't think it has much merit, but I'm tired and so not in much condition to think about it very much.

If you're running Reckless Charge, what about Psychatog? Your manabase could be tweaked a little to support Dr. Teeth, and he comes out of nowhere as anything from a 5-10 point burn spell for four when you use him in conjunction with Reckless Charge.
Tog doesnt really work well when your running grim lavamaners and jotun grunts. He is also at the top of your curve and to charge him you need 4 mana which you dont usually have. There are many times where i cant even charge a watchwolf on turn 3 due to mana issues. We still also have some explosive charge targets. For example playing against u/w tron last night i waited for them to wrath, then i dropped a mongrel charged it and discarded my hand to kill him. You can also charge a swiftblade to get 8 damage that comes out of nowhere.
I've been testing with this deck a bunch more, and I think it's the best deck in the format, it beats pretty much everything. I've also tested with the 4C Confidant/Vindicate/Molten Rain list and while it is really cool, unfortunately it lacks the power that levy 5c has.

I like the deck just as it is, I think levy had it perfect. Deathmarks would be a great addition, but I'm not sure what I would take out of the sideboard, besides probably the random Hierarch, which I guess was for aggro.

I haven't read his article, I was considering getting a membership for something else, I forget what, but I never did. If you do tell me if it was helpful, and I'll probably check it out.

I will be playing this deck at the last PTQ (I played Ichorid @ the last one, and ended up in like 45th :[).
I've been testing with this deck a bunch more, and I think it's the best deck in the format, it beats pretty much everything. I've also tested with the 4C Confidant/Vindicate/Molten Rain list and while it is really cool, unfortunately it lacks the power that levy 5c has.

I like the deck just as it is, I think levy had it perfect. Deathmarks would be a great addition, but I'm not sure what I would take out of the sideboard, besides probably the random Hierarch, which I guess was for aggro.

I haven't read his article, I was considering getting a membership for something else, I forget what, but I never did. If you do tell me if it was helpful, and I'll probably check it out.

I will be playing this deck at the last PTQ (I played Ichorid @ the last one, and ended up in like 45th :[).

From what my friend who has scg premium has told me the article really doesnt say too much as it is more of an informational article on the deck and how it works.

The next thing is that i have done a lot more testing against affinity and tog decks and i have to say that although the lists from both grand prixs shouldnt be a problem some people run much more dangerous tog decks. From about 10 matches against trinket tog i can say that the version without trinket mages is quite weak against us but the version that runs them is not fun to play against, especially if it is being played by someone who knows his deck as well as ours. It really becomes a coin flip style matchup depening on who is on the play in the postboard games. Preboard we probably have an advantage though.

I am also starting to really like Levy's list more and more. The more testing i do the more i understand why Levy chose certain cards. The only thing i really dont like about Levy's list at this point is the lone firebolt. I am still debating whether to run reckless charge or brute force also. Both have advantages and disadvantages. playing around with the sudden shock count also seems ok but 2 seem necessary. The build he played in Singapore seems almost perfect. I would drop the 3 plagues and the heirarch from the sb though. Its hard to say what id add in but cabal therapies might be interesting to test as well as molten rains. Then theres also the possibly of adding vindicates, which are awesome if you can get the 3 mana to play them.
I was playing the list with MD Kataki, but I think I'm going to switch over to the one with MD Grunt. Affinity shouldn't really be that much of a problem even without kataki.

Yes, I would remove the Hierarch, it seems kind of random, and the Plagues too, that must've been a metagame call or something. Vindicate and Molten Rain would both be great against Control. I'm not sure which one I would test with (I doubt I can get Vindicates in time, but not sure), Vinicate hits their creatures, but the 2 damage from Rain is nice.

If you do any testing with those 2, let me know.

I personally love the random firebolt, I'm keeping it.
So today i went to my local card shop and tested against everyone there numerous times. Heres what happened...

7-1 preboard v trinkettog
5-2 preboard v affinity
4-4 preboard v deadguy boros
6-1 preboard v cal
5-1 preboard v scepter

These are the results with me piloting the deck. I then asked a few of my opponents to switch decks with me and the results scare me a bit.

3-1 in favor of trinkettog
3-3 against affinity
4-0 in favor of deadguy boros
1-3 for cal
3-2 in favor of scepter.

Now these results really show that altough domain zoo is a strong deck a lot of your matches will be decided on how good of a player you are and how good your opponents are. The trinkettog matchup is a great example. Against an ok opponent you will almost always win. If your opponent is very good and knows your deck inside and out as well as his the matchup becomes much closer though.

I also did some minor testing with molten rain and vindicate in the side. They both seem ok but arent extremely great either. Molten rain is amazing against control but vindicate is better all around. If you could somehow manage to fit 4 vindicates or rains in the board along with 4 confidants though it would definatly be worth it. I would probably say vindicates are a better choice for their versatility
But the thing with vindicate is that sometimes you don't always have that B source, I know it's the point of the deck, but with only 4 fetchlands getting it, it can happen. We might have to tweak the manabase a beat (aka: add blooxcrypt).