Deck Tech – Murderous Nugs

Introduction

Hello Solforgers. My name is Magagumo, and you may have also seen me playing on my alt accounts, Ossis and Fortnight. I’ve been a regular drafter for about two years, League player on Kaelari’s Ladder, and trying to make a mark on the constructed/brewing scene. This article presents a deck that takes advantage of the newest, scariest 7.2 legendary, Murderous Necromancer. Together with Nug, Fury Fists and Lichmane Dragon, we’re taking a new approach to a classic archetype – Byzerak Reanimator:

Murderous Nugs

3 Death Current
2 Epidemic
2 Grimgaunt Devourer
3 Immortal Echoes
3 Lichmane Dragon
3 Murderous Necromancer
3 Nug, Fury Fists
3 Ignir, Khan of Ashur
3 Spiritcleave
2 Xerxes, the Executioner
2 Tarsus Deathweaver
1 Blazing Hostility

Synopsis

Murderous Necromancer has already captured the imaginations of numerous players, especially with this weekend’s Forgemaster Weekend Warrior allowing them to brew to their heart’s desire; Necrobots, Necro-Lifegain, Necro-Dinos… it seems like players tried to add him to any archetype that Nekrium can support.

This deck takes the newest addition to Nekrium Reanimation/Grow-wide and works to establish board pressure by turn 1.2 or 1.3, culminating in the potential for a deadly double-bind by rank 3 by using an overlooked-legend from set 7.1, Nug Fury Fists.

What’s the plan?

The primary strategy is to get Necromancers to the board and keep them there, so the start of each turn brings fresh new monstrosities. Murderous Necromancer is a powerful reanimation target herself.  When she comes back from the dead you often get an extra body back with her start-of-the-next-turn trigger. Multiple Necromancers in play during PL1 can create overwhelming pressure for any opponent not packing cards that can wipe the board.

The addition of Nug allows a certain degree of “protection” to your newly spawned creatures until the start of the next turn, when any surviving Nugs will allow them to directly harm their opposition. This makes it more challenging for your opponent to put a threat against a new Murderous Necromancer, as their attack at ranks 1 & 2 will clear most equal-ranked threats with the aid of Nug’s trigger.

Murderous Nugs_1

An excellent set-up. Opponent might clear Necromancer and Nug, but we have Rank 2 replacements and an Echoes waiting to replace a lost creature.

Additionally, should 2 Nugs survive to the start of the next turn, due to Echoes or Necromancer-spawning, they will cause all non-Nugs to trigger twice (and trigger each other once), typically clearing the opponent’s board. Note, due to the nature of random triggers, a Necromancer-spawned creature may enter play before or after Nug triggers, and thus may or may not deal damage to its opposing creature.

Murderous Nugs_2

The following round; opponent has no safe places unless they kill both Nugs, but Necromancer will begin spawning again. Opponent conceded.

This all culminates in Rank 3, where the Murderous Necromancer’s spawn now auto-kills a creature in opposition—if played right, your use of rank 3 Necromancers and any-rank Nugs will force your opponent to place their creatures in front of yours, incurring damage from the Nug trigger, or sit in an open-lane and risk being automatically destroyed.

Supporting cast

This deck uses Immortal Echoes to help ensure more Necromancers stay in supply and includes Tarsus Deathweaver to make sure that everything reanimated is even stronger than before.

Lichmane Dragon, from 7.1, is also included as a reanimator, which provides a useful twist of focusing on your opponent’s “dead pool,” making it more useful against Indomitable Fiend decks and or ones using massive creatures like Oros, or Shardplate Behemoths.

Ignir is included to provide reach and late-game pressure, and has the nice bonus of a Necromancer-spawned Ignir being able to trigger at turn’s end, unlike an Immortal Echoes-spawned one.

Grimgaunt Devourers are useful for mirror matches versus other Necromancer decks, as the sheer number of creatures spawning and dying will quickly pump a rank 2 or 3 Devourer to a towering size, with any Nugs making it impossible to chump block on your turn.

Xerxes is useful for any mono-Nekrium deck, and adds to the theme of stealing and reanimating, as well as providing some board control against non-Nekrium growwide. Remember, Nugs is a Tempys creature and the Necromancer/Lichmane Dragon spawns of your opponent’s creatures may be non-Nekrium. Be judicious in his use– he is in this deck specifically as a role player against certain opponents and not as a general tool.

Lastly, this deck contains a single Blazing Hostility, another 7.2 Heroic. This card scales very well against Murderous Necromancer’s health and can be excellent point removal in a mirror match, especially to avoid an endless chain of surviving Necromancers. It also can break a mirror match’s endless creature trades with powerful damage directly to your opponent.

Leveling Priorities

Above all else, you must level Murderous Necromancer in order to gain access to high level spawns and the ultimate Level 3 “spawn-kill” ability. Depending on the matchup, you might find yourself prioritizing Xerxes. Against non-Nekrium decks his higher levels are difficult to push through. Many of the important cards in this deck function under-leveled, including Nug and Lichmane Dragon. Still, it is my recommendation that you prioritize Nug plays, in order to fill your “dead pool” with them.

Variations

Varna, Immortal King can provide useful on-turn reanimation of your key cards, like Nug or Necromancer, but you risk adding a weak attacker to your “dead pool”, so tread carefully. As a bonus, Varna’s large health makes it better able to survive in matches against Poison or Burn decks.

With the swiftly growing popularity of Murderous Necromancer, Xerxes may or may not be useful depending on the rest of your opponent’s deck. If you are facing a lot of Nekrium, you may benefit from swapping in extra Blazing Hostilities for those Xerxes or Tarsus Deathweavers.

Match-Ups

The Challenges:

Poison: Like any grow-wide deck, Murderous Nugs is vulnerable to decks that use a great deal of consistent board control, such as Poison. If you begin to produce only level 1 Nugs or Necromancers with your spawning, it can be challenging in the face of Demara Pitguards, Toxoids, and Venomous Netherscales.

Burn: Against Burn, Echoing Necromancers can be your key tactic, with even one survivor propagating a swarm of new Necromancers, freeing you up to play removal spells or push Ignirs. Firestorm is highly effective against Rank 1 Necros, so be prepared for your opponent to make it difficult to keep them out.

AT Alyssa: This deck may be your worst match-up, as it provides strong board control and Alyssas draw strength from standing in front of your Nug-activated creatures and Ignir triggers, making it difficult to manage them. If you are seeing a lot of AT Alyssa, strong bodied creatures like Ebonskull Knight (or even Rotfiends if you’re afraid of the end of rank death for EBKs) could be a useful swap-in the Blazing Hostilities ad Tarsus Deathweavers. Key plays are your Xerxes, due to their strong bodies and useful triggers, your removal cards, especially Spiritcleaves, and even Lichmane dragons, which may add Alyssas to your dead pool to provide a buffer against your opponent’s indiscriminate board control.

The Advantages:

Fiend / Ceaseless GG: Against NT Fiend or Cease Grimgaunt decks, this deck tends to work well once one or two Nugs hit the board, as they can repeatedly clear the path for attackers and put more creatures on the board than your opponent can clear them. AN Fiend can use debuffs and let your creatures clog the lanes with their negative attacks, so be careful.

AU Control: It is recommended to get your Grimgaunts out against AU control, as they can provide powerful attackers at Rank 2 and 3 can become all the more threatening after an Edict. Don’t be afraid to level your removal spells alongside your Necromancers to deal with the “power” creature in rank 3.  Typically your opponent’s life will be so low by Rank 3 that you can crush them after clearing one or two bombs. Don’t be afraid to discard and level a Spiritcleave or Death Current against an empty board in preparation for their bombs.

Atorbots: This deck can outrace Murderous Nugs, but can falter if you managed to fill the lanes quickly with Necromancers, Echoes, and Lichmane Dragons to block Ator’s ability.

Last Words

Murderous Nugs may not be a ladder-wrecking juggernaut  on the scale of Konan’s Poison Grow-wide (we don’t have Leyline Vermin ;)) but it does provide a scaling board presence at all ranks that requires your opponent to continuously consider board placement and removal. It requires careful choices and management of your dead pool, but can provide rewarding games where an opponent concedes on 1.3 to a board of Nugs and Necros or late-rank games that allow you to ignore your opponent’s Chorgias or Othra to kill them with your threats in the other 3-4 lanes.