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Raidrinn Reviews: Core Set Nekrium

Raidrinn Reviews: Core Set Nekrium

Greetings and salutations! I am Raidrinn, Necromancer; and these are the dark forces of Nekrium. Many of my minions are quite tenacious and will keep coming back to make you one of my own. Others are but peons sent to confuse and redirect your attentions. Worry not, I will help you separate what you should consider ally, and what should be avoided like the plague. The rating system is as follows.

Standard Constructed
0 – Unplayable – These cards should never ever be placed in a deck ever (ever ever never ever).
1 – Niche – Under regular circumstances, this card should not be played, but in certain decks may serve a key purpose
2 – Playable – Most cards fall under this category.
3 – Strong – Not a staple, but more powerful than average and will be played often.
4 – Staple – Most of the cards here will appear as play-sets and be the centerpieces of many decks.
5 – All Star – Very rare that a card will be rated this highly. Cards that appear in here should nearly always be included in decks that contain that faction.


Blight Walker: 1
Before the full set release, the Walker was a blight to all opponents. Now, he’s just too slow to justify including for his ability.


Bonescythe Reaver: 1
Don’t fear the Reaper, unless your opponent has a string of low level draws its not likely to do much. If your opponent did have a string of low level draws, he was likely losing anyway.


Contagion Surge: 2
I’m very surprised at this, I thought I’d like Contagian Surge much more than I do. That being said, the card is useful and free removal spells can’t be bad.


Corpse Crawler: 3
Look at that monster, he’s huge! With Death Seeker and Fell Walker as easy sacrifice fodder, you will have him crawling towards blockers and stomping them to corpses in no time.


Cull the Weak: 2
While weak against high Attack targets, it easily culls many powerful utility creatures. Still quite playable.


Darkheart Wanderer: 1
I’ve seen this fellow Necromancer around, but I honestly think there are better creatures you could play.


Darkshaper Savant: 3
He incapacitates or knocks the lights out of most creatures with only a couple activations. With the amount of cards letting you play free spells around, he’s pretty good.


Death Seeker: 4
This alone might not seem overly powerful, but with the amount of cards seeking a sacrifice in Nekrium, the ability and the very large risen body push him into staple status.


Doomwing, Dire Drake: 4
Wow. I stand in awe. Moving into lane effects are one some of the most powerful in the game, and he has one at Level 1. With the amount of cards that give Aggressive or the use of Windcaller Shaman to bounce him around when he enters play, this card is a dire threat that requires an immediate answer.


Dr. Frankenbaum: 0 (But his name is a 5!)
Frank bombed out of medical school and his abilities suffered because of it. If this triggered for zombies I’d be more lenient, but currently its an abominable card.


Dreadbolt: 4
Amazing removal spell that single-handedly destroys almost all the best creatures by itself. Really, I dread playing against this.


Epidemic: 2
A pox on the phony king of England… and everything else on your side of the board. I really like Epidemic in some decks, but it’s not a powerhouse.


Explosive Demise: 2
Even as a one of, this can have explosive results much to your opponent’s demise. Most importantly, it doesn’t need to be leveled aggressively in order to be useful.

Fell Walker

Fell Walker: 2
While not near as good as Death Seeker, this card is another sacrifice enabler for the decks that need it.


Fleshfiend: 3
This card is monstrous, an abomination, a fiend! Play him and be glad.


Ghastly Touch: 2
I like a touch of removal that doesn’t need to be leveled.


Gloomreaper Witch: 1
I feel gloomy when this card actually manages to kill something. Most of the time however, it’s just a mediocre body with a bland ability.


Grave Ghast: 0
I’m left aghast when someone plays this card. Grave mistake my friends.


Grave Pact: 2
In limited quantities, this card can be very strong. But make a pact with me that you’ll never play it without Death Seeker.

Graveborn Glutton

Graveborn Glutton: 3
You’re never unhappy when your opponent’s creatures eat these. His huge Attack trades with almost everything and the damage stacks up pretty fast. Try him out as a residual damage win condition in a controlling deck or as a way to eke out those last few points in an Aggressive build.


Grimgaunt Devourer: 3
When there is a field to be devoured, he’s amazing. But when your opponent is light on creatures, he’s a grim play. Still, the good times usually outweigh the bad, so he gets a 3 in my book.


Grimgaunt Predator: 4
Mobility is awesome. This Grimgaunt can stalk its prey across the field and just gets bigger. Even though he can be underwhelming if he doesn’t get a trigger right away, his stats alone are super solid. So, he’s actually a bit better than Grimgaunt Devourer in my opinion.


Grimgaunt Spectre: 0
What is this, the ghost of only good during Level 2? Bah, humbug. Don’t waste my time spirit.


Hellforged Avatar: 2
Hellforged? Looks more like purgatory forged to me. He’s pretty big, but not amazing.


Hungering Strike: 2
A perfectly playable card for those hungering to pump up a high health or regenerating creature.


Keeper of the Damned: 3
Maybe my opponents are just damned, but whenever I play against this it keeps doing nothing. That said, the ability is obviously quite powerful so I’ll let this card rise to a 3.


Lyria, Muse of Varna: 4
The ability on Lyria is music to my ears. While you do have to roll the dice with the Necrowisp, her ability is powerful enough to overlook the random factor.


Marrow Fiend: 0
This creature’s text box is bare bones, moving on.


Necroslime: 2
I really want to rate this card higher, but it’s slow as molasses and never gets the chance to grow out of control.


Necrotic Wurm: 0
This card is dead in every match up. Don’t let this wurm its way into your deck.


Necrovive: 0
Regenerating Grimgaunts are cool, but anything you cast this on still dies to the same removal spells.


Nether Embrace: 1
Super niche, but I really like the life swing this card provides! Embrace the ability and play it in your spells decks.


Rite of the Grimgaunt: 3
This spell is awesome, amiRite? Build a Grimgaunt out of whatever creature you’ve got around and nom nom nom.


Scavenger Scorpion: 0
Why does this not have Poison? Serious flavor fail. Either way, you aren’t going to scavenge this up when searching for playables.

Scourgeflame Sorcerer

Scourgeflame Sorcerer: 2
This is actually one of my favorite cards. Sadly, it’s just too slow to be played against most decks. Against some slower stall decks however, this is your opponent’s scourge.


Soul Drinker: 2
No ability at Level 1 means you’re going to have to work for this, but repeatable mobile removal is powerful.


Soul Harvest: 1
Some people love this card. I think it takes too long to reap the rewards.


Touch of Blight: 0
Build a Blight Walker? Not nearly as exciting as Build a Grimgaunt.


Unrelenting Dead: 2
Are you bigger? Then it dies. This is still a much better option than most of the Regenerating creatures.


Vengeful Spirit: 2
Thank you for being playable again. I often have just sacrificed this to one of the many cards looking for a victim and killed the creature across from it.


Witherfrost Succubus: 3
Activate is a bit slow, but if you can coerce your opponent into leaving it alone for a turn, it wrecks boards. Ghastly Touch on a stick!


Xithian Hulk: 0
It’s a hulking pile of not actually a card.


Xithian Shambler: 3
A card where the upside far outweighs the speed of Activate. It gets out of control so easily and has awesome synergy with Keeper of the Damned.


Xrath, Dreadnight of Varna: 2
Fear the Xrath of Varna. There are a bunch of good zombies to play this with, but don’t go adding bad ones to try to make this more effective.


Zimus, the Undying: 4
He’s either a cockroach or Wolverine. Either way he generates a ton of value.


Zombie Infantry: 0
Rank and file zombie, not worth promotion.

Top 5 Nekrium Constructed Cards:
5: Doomwing, Dire Drake
4: Death Seeker
3: Lyria, Muse of Varna
2: Zimus, the Undying
1: Dreadbolt

Honorable Mention:
75% of the things with Grimgaunt in the Card Name.

Doomwing has the potential to be utterly broken in this set. I can’t wait to get my hands on a playset to try it out myself. Dreadbolt is in the running for the set’s best removal spell. Zimus doesn’t die and that effect is too powerful to ignore. Lyria has a gambling problem, but even if you proc a bunch of tokens and Level 1s, she’s impacted the board quite a bit. If you are confused about my Death Seeker rating, maybe you want to read this article on the subject.

Stay tuned for when I review Tempys! It’ll be a song of ice and fire.

Read All the Reviews!

Core Set Alloyin Review
Core Set Nekrium Review
Core Set Tempys Review
Core Set Uterra Review

About Raidrinn

Raidrinn is a long time Magic the Gathering player and trading card game enthusiast. He won first place in the second ever Forge Watch sponsored tournament, which was the first one he attended, and had a top 16 finish in the first Forge Watch invitational. Over the past decade he has invested a significant amount of time and resources learning the ins and outs of games like the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars TCG, Decipher’s Lord of the Rings CCG, and Redemption by Cactus Game Design. He has also played a smattering of Decipher’s Star Trek CCG, the Pokemon TCG, Duel Masters, and Yu-Gi-Oh.


  1. Harsh grading! 🙂 I think you’ve got Death Seeker too high and some others like Fell Walker a bit too low- I find it much easier to set up a 2-turn trade with a Fell Walker than a Death Seeker, and many of the sac outlets in Nek are cards you also rated low (Explosive Demise, Grave Pact). Overall though I agree with most of the ratings. Can’t wait for the others!

  2. You waaaaay overrate Dreadbolt. The problem with removal like this is ALWAYS that you have to level it or its garbage. Cards like Cull the Weak or Lightning Spark can still be very relevant draws when underleveled, but Dreadbolt is just about always a blank when underleveled. I used to include multiples, but now I rarely play one.

    Marrowfiend also needs a bit more recognition. It’s pretty much a spell that deals 8 damage to an unblocked creature, again being fairly powerful when underleveled. In my more defensive decks I’ll play 1-2 to smooth out lvl 2+ draws.

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