Smoke, blood, and miasma sloughed into the air over the sun-baked crags of the Kadrasian Plateau, shrouding the Thranik warrens below like a foul-hued thunderstorm. Within the putrid mist, lightning and frostbreathed wyrms exhaled their crackling torrents into the titanic frame of an ichor-drenched demon, its thunderous roars of pain and anger surging in reply.
Korok, Kahn of this vertiginous domain, watched from a nearby cloud, surrounded by his corps of wind, ice and fire asirs. All were held aloft by strands of air crafted by Borean windweavers and the horde of berserker warriors clutched lava, frost, and spark-dripping weapons tightly, waiting for the right moment.
As the mighty demon swatted a flight of frostmane dragons from the sky, its body sucked their corpses into its mass, causing scorchmarks to fade and tattered skin to mend; it roared again, spraying out a needling ball of draconic bone fragments that lacerated its nearby foes.
“Now! We can delay no longer!” Korok bellowed to his warriors, and as one, the “Elemental Tide” bore down from the skies, driving sharp blades and crackling energy into the monster’s form.
Hours later, the triumphant but bloodied Kadrasians stood amongst hundreds of funeral pyres, incinerating the putrid remnants of the demonic titan, lest any piece re-form the whole.
Hundreds of feet below, jammed in a twisted crevasse, a few shards of crimson bone lay unnoticed.
Years later, a passing crag walker, clutching the remains of a fresh kill, would allow a few spatters of blood and gristle to rain into the crevasse as it scuttled along the cliffsides. The long-forgotten bone fragments would agglutinate with the fresh carrion, the mass growing ever so little. These unthinking remnants of Iniog, the Carrion Demon could be patient; everything dies.
This is Magagumo (aka Ossis, Fortnight) from The Ironmind Company and I want to discuss an old set 5 legend given new life. These decks helped me and other TIC members (tch0rt) to reach Titanium in Season 5 and I hope you enjoy playing them as well.
Iniog presented players with one of the first opportunities to get a creature on the board of higher rank than could be played from hand. We see this mimicked with Lorus, Killion, and most recently the 7.3 Uterra legendary, Ramble. This potential has always teased me, wanting to make it viable in a competitive deck,
but Iniog presented some challenges. He was extremely vulnerable at rank 1 and 2, and even in his “ultimate form” his health stat was horrific.
Now, with the 7.3 release and minor re-balance, Iniog has gotten another shot at “rebirth”. Many noticed the increased health at rank 2 and 3, but the Mobility 1 at rank 2 has actually proven to be one of the biggest boosts, allowing a freshly re-born Iniog 2 to dodge a lethal blocker, to press damage, or devour an adjacent creature and further boost his regeneration.
But, the key to a competitive Iniog deck is making sure that you aren’t going “all-in” on a creature that past PL 1 is dangerous but not unstoppable—we need alternative threats that gain value from the same tools we use to quickly “rank up” Iniog.
These decks are all intended to operate at “mid-range,” optimally operating in late PL 1 and PL2, and finishing off your opponent in early PL 3; they are built around a standard shell designed to do three things:
1. Debuff your opponent’s board to give you time to grow Iniog, allow its ranks 2 and 3 to survive creature combat, and set-up Cyrus, the Merciless plays for board wipes.
2. Produce multiple board threats to keep your opponent from focusing on Iniog.
3. Play big-bodied threats that facilitate formation plays and benefit from regeneration.
Iniog/Cyrus Shell (21 cards):
Iniog, Carrion Demon, 3
Cyrus the Merciless, 3
Lichmane Dragon, 3
Scythe of Chiron, 3
Death Current, 3
Spiritstone Sentry, 2
Rite of Undeath, 2
Explanation of the Shell:
This Iniog/Cyrus shell uses the standard suite of removal spells (Death Current and Spiritcleave) but also leverages Scythe of Chiron as a damage-boost and board-wide debuff. A Scythe on a Lichmane Dragon can punish a grow-wide opponent while simulatenously pushing his/her creatures below the 5/7/9 attack mark for a Cyrus wipe out; also, a Scythe on an Iniog 1 can protect it from your own Cyrus, which may clear the board to allow it to then rank-up at the end of your turn/
Spiritstone Sentry is a “sticky’ creature, which usually guarantees you have one of the 2 creatures necessary for a formation play at the start of every turn (for both Cyrus and Lichmane Dragon) and doesn’t mind feeding Cyrus and bouncing-back.
Lastly is the “unusual” Rite of Undeath—a common spell that exemplifies later release “power creep”– this spell gives 4/6/8 regeneration to your entire board. As Iniog 1 or 2 requires an increase of its baseline regeneration by 5, a single Rite spell, coupled with one creature death, sets up an end-of turn rank-up. This should be reserved either for PL 1 plays (where its use can give you an Iniog 3 by 1.3 or 1.4) or when you have other big threats on the board (like Cyrus, Lichmane or other faction creatures) that will benefit from the regeneration as well.
Xerxes, the Executioner, 2
Infernal Ritual, 2
Patron of Tarsus, 3
Hellforged Avatar, 2
The pure Nekrium version adds the Infernal Ritual spell, making the sidelanes a prime location for Iniog placement. This does cause a conflict between Spiritstone Sentry plays, however, but that may be used to force an opponent to “guard” the side lanes for leveling Iniogs and be forced to battle your Spiritstones instead, especially if you level an Iniog to 3 and no longer require the Ritual boost. The deck brings the full power of Xerxes and Patron debuffs to a Cyrus deck, but be warned that Cyrus rank 1 will eat both of these allies at their rank 1s. Hellforged Avatar provides a strong body at each level and extra regeneration only benefits it.
Uriel Ironwing, 3
Relic Hunter, 3
Oreian Justicar, 2
Wipe Clean, 1
The “Onyxium” Iniog deck takes the recently boosted Uriel Ironwing and throws it into a standard Cyrus pairing, while also adding Relic Hunters to provide extra “free” formation-enabling Relic Scouts, and extra board control against Burn, Zimus, and Poison Dino decks with Justicars and Wipe Clean.
This is the most “controlling” of the 4 versions and it can regularly hit its formation triggers. I personally used this to hit Titanium as Fortnight.
Warhound Raider, 3
Frostmane Dragon, 3
Ignir, Khan of Ashur, 3
The “Byzerak” version is, unsurprisingly, the most aggressive, with Warhound Chargers taking the role of formation-enablers—that they are aggressive also allows you to hurl them against a creature with Iniog on the board, guaranteeing the single death needed for a 1.1 or 1.2 Iniog, Charger, Rite of Undeath play to net you an early Iniog 2 (or 3).
Cyrus plays here are more opportunistic, as Scythe of Chiron is your only tool for debuffing your opponent’s creatures, but this deck presents an array of parallel threats to Iniog, with Frostmane eggs preparing to hatch and Ignirs lashing out randomly at creatures or opponent. Spiritstone Sentries also tend to survive the best in this version, as eggs provide even more formation enabling.
Tch0rt designed this list and used it to get to Titanium. He found Ignir provided a solid backup win condition to Iniog, especially against mono Nekrium.
Oros, Deepwood Champion, 3
Shardplate Behemoth, 3
Demara’s Pitguard, 2
Dysian Siphon, 2
Lysian Shard, 2
Remove Spiritcleave, 2
Remove Lichmane Dragon, 1
The “Dysian” variety is the least “Iniog/Cyrus” focused in the sense that it is less able to produce formation plays and creature deaths without the “free” creatures.
Why play it then? The biggest weakness of Iniog/Cyrus is decks that exert both board-wide and targeted control (mono Nekrium and AT Alyssa as examples), but a deck that produces massive threats like Oros and Behemoth can weather the low to mid damage and debuff and can still trade well in direct creature combat; giving them regeneration only adds to their strength.
Pitguard is included for “point removal” of weakened creatures (a role played by Chargers and Relic Scouts in previous versions) as is Dysian Siphon, which when it receives its allied trigger (10 Uterra cards in deck) can make for a very dangerous Oros or Iniog.
To account for the diminished opportunity for formation plays, we reduce the Lichmane Dragon count by one, with Oros becoming the new favorite target for Scythe of Chiron. We also eliminate Spiritcleave, as Behemoths and Oros tend to block your cleave plays, especially when Siphon or Shard is used.
We add two Lysian Shards to push early Oros to unstoppable levels against non-Nekrium decks, or to make a rank 2 or 3 Iniog truly mighty (the fact that the shard’s buff on rank 3 also hurts our opponent is just an extra bonus).
If you find that you’d prefer more consistent lanefill to formation plays, we would suggest removing the remaining 2 Lichmane Dragons and replacing them with Murderous Necromancers, although this will further weaken you against Burn, AT Alyssa, and Fiend.
Regardless of what style you choose, Iniog presents an alternative “Nekrium bomb” to Zimus and Varna, Immortal King and promotes an “Aggro” style of play for Nekrium when coupled with spawning and board control.
If it establishes an early lock, it can devastate AU Control and Atorbots, and can even go toe-to-toe with mono Nekrium.
However, watch out for AN Hate punishing your extra plays and spawns, especially if they use Justicar to slow you to a crawl, allowing you to be overrun by Zimuses.
Burn is also a tough match-up for these decks, as it can punish iniog and make it hard to get worthwhile Formation triggers.
Poison decks vary, with a heavy use of Patron of Deepwood or Bron, Dino Tamer proving a challenge for all but the Justicar-using AN version.
AT Alyssa 36 and Space Marines can easily suppress your Iniogs and force you to rely on your other faction cards (if any) more, without support from Leyline Demons. Scythe of Chiron is inordinately helpful in these matchups.