The SpartanNerd’s collection of Liliana cards…Commentary on Amonkhet Liliana(s)

 

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(nicknames for Liliana…..

Liliana Vess- (Why would you give this a nickname?)

Duel-iana (Alternate art Liliana Vess vs Garruk)

Pricey-ana (Liliana of the Veil)

Swamp-iana (Liliana of the Dark Realms)

Flip-iana (Liliana, Heretical Healer//Liliana, Defiant Necromancer)

Hope-iana (Liliana, the Last Hope)

Zombie-ana (Liliana, Death’s Majesty)

Slow-iana (Liliana, Death Wielder)

 

 

So with the release of AMONKHET, we now have not just one, but two new Liliana cards!

Liliana has long been my favorite planeswalker, as I owned Liliana Vess way back when I opened her in a core set pack that I purchased as I started to get into the game.  Liliana Vess plus Grave Titan was just AWESOME!

I continued a legacy of loving the cards as I drafted a Liliana Vess back in M15…and I remember when I began to get into standard heavily main-decking Liliana of the Dark Realms and I remember getting the emblem, and then spectacularly topdecking Rakdos Return for a win…everone in the room made a noise when I did that! (Wow!  AHHH!  Ugh!)  Topdecking stuff like that is one reason why I love playing black.

How did I get Liliana of the Veil…such an expensive and rare card?  A friend gave me a booster pack of Battle for Zendikar, and I opened a Zendikar Expedition Marsh Flats, which I traded for Liliana of the Veil.  Pricey-ana is an important piece of “the rack” deck, as well as an enabler for re-animation in the “Gifts Ungiven” deck.

My pet commander deck is Liliana, Heretical Healer.  And all of the Liliana cards I have had up until recently are in that deck…which brings us to the recent two versions of the cards.  (Oh yes.  You might be wondering if I marked on my cards…the little “ZZZ’s” are meant to remind me to get a Zombie when she flips!  Don’t worry, I wrote on the inner sleeve.  double sleeved)

LILIANA, DEATH’S MAJESTY

A five-drop Liliana.  But this is where the similarities to Liliana Vess end.  I think they costed her out at five though, because her top two abilities are absolutely use-able very relevant abilities that are worth five mana.  If she gets removed next turn, your investment was not in vain!  The art on this one is also some of the best art depicting the character.  I really do like how snobby and in-charge she appears.  Liliana is the ultimate “mean girl.”  Maybe I like the art on Heretical Healer//Defiant Necromancer better?  The -7 ability on this card is a sweeper.  But the problem is that little word, “destroy.”  There are a lot of indestructible creatures out there in standard, especially the new “god” cards.  But also Gideon.  Also that she only gets non-zombies can’t be ignored.  There are and will be mirror decks, as well as emergent zombie decks.

I wish I had a foil!

LILIANA, DEATH WIELDER

It hurts me to say this…this is one of the JANK-IEST CARDS ever printed.  (Janky-ana?)

You know those lists of bad cards that people sometimes make?  Liliana of the Dark Realms makes that list occasionally.  Yeah, yeah.  The flavor is a little off.  It takes a while to ultimate.  You have to play mono black pretty much.  And what’s with the hair?

But this card just bumped that Liliana off the list.  Why?

OK.  Seven Drop.  In a mono-black deck, it’s going to be at least a full seven turns before you play this, if you aren’t doing DARK RITUAL, or some other crazy acceleration trick.  Which most of the time you won’t be doing.  If you wanted ramp, your color would be green….

What else?  +2, put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.  By turn 7, your green opponent could have any number of gigantic threats.  Even White and Blue will have bigger creatures by turn seven.  What about red?  By turn seven, red already killed you if you were counting on this card to win you the game.  So let’s say you DO get a -1/-1 counter on a creature…

-3 Destroy target creature with a -1/-1 counter on it.

Let’s math for a minute.  3>2.  So.  you just lost that progress you made last turn, PLUS ANOTHER LOYALTY POINT.

How about her ultimate….

-10  Return all creature cards from your graveyard to the battlefield.

How is this ultimate not strictly, strictly, strictly worse than the original Liliana Vess’ ultimate ability, that takes all creatures from all graveyards and puts them on the battlefield under your control?

Now I’m quite aware why this card is the way it is.

The art is big and splashy.  A nice foil.  And new players will be attracted to the looks of this card.  Which is exactly the point.

Liliana, Death Wielder can only be gotten in a Planeswalker Deck, the equivalent of an intro pack, (which the Wizards don’t make any more.)  I can see a kid really digging this card.

But I think I am going to keep her in the Planeswalker Pack with the rest of her deck. She’s just too bad for my special commander deck.  I have played this card against the SpartanKid a couple of times, and found it to be lacking in every department except for the art and flavor departments.  I have yet to try it out against the Gideon Planeswalker deck, but all accounts out there on the internet say that his deck is better, and partly because his Planeswalker card is better.

 

 

Review of the Liliana Planeswalker Pack will be coming soon!

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Eldritch Moon Fat Pack

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True story.  I attended the Eldritch Moon pre-release.  It was my hope to score a Liliana, the Last Hope.  I did not during that event.

The LGS (The Tangled Web in Spartanburg,) does random rolls for the losers.  I was one of those losers!  I won an extra pack.  My wife picked me up, and I opened it on the way home, and what was in that pack?  Not only a Liliana, but a FOIL LILIANA.

At the time, that card was worth over $100.  Now it is hovering around $70.  But hey, that was fun!

My most recent problem has been storage.  I didn’t buy a fat pack box for Shadows Over Innistrad.  Instead, I purchased a booster box.  That box has held all of my cards from that set.  It is a flimsy box, but serves its purpose…the problem is I have a fat pack box from every expansion set since Return to Ravnica.  So….

Making the problem worse, I decided with Eldritch Moon that I wouldn’t get any boosters I didn’t draft or obtain in sealed products.  My Shadows Over Innistrad box was a real stinker, and just about swore me off of booster packs.  (The only legendary creature I got was The Gitrog Monster.  And I got no planeswalkers.)  So I have been storing my Eldritch Moon cards in Pre-Release boxes…which have eventually become inadequate.

I also swore off the “Fat Pack” back during Theros block.  Fat Packs come with a ton of lands.  I have a giant box of lands!  I started finding the Fat Pack boxes here and there.  Sometimes the Tangled Web sells them for $5.  Sometimes people don’t want them and donate them to whoever wants one.  And this is how I have come to get half of the Fat Pack storage boxes that I have.

But recently, my land collection has been dwindling.  The SpartanKid has been making lots of decks.  And that’s great.  So I needed the box.  I needed the land.  I like Liliana alot.  So I went ahead and shelled out the money.

Notably, this is the final Fat Pack I will get to unbox and review.  From Kaladesh forward, the basically same product is called “Bundle Box” or similar.  (It is a better storage box, too!)

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The Players Guide.  I almost forgot about this important piece.  The players guide fills the player in on the story, and has a catalog of all of the cards availiable in the set.  Here are some pictures.  Actually, when I removed the cellophane, the package fell apart, and this fell out into the floor, giving me a sudden reminder.

This time the guide takes a moment to explain the “meld” cards.  Basically you get to pair two cards with meld instructions together to make an oversized card.  The most notable is the combination of Bruna and Gisela, sister angels who become Eldrazi-ed up and combined into Brisela.

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The sleeve for the box unfolds to make this poster.  Which is really nice.  Especially since it depicts the SpartanNerd Liliana.

The storage box looks like this…

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These boxes are pretty good.  Sometimes if they get overstuffed, cards on the ends can be damaged.  I use these Fat Pack boxes to store my common and uncommon cards.  I keep all my rares sleeved in binders.  (Incidently, I organize my cards by CMC, grouped by name, alphabetically.  Is that excessive?)

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Here is the package contents.  The only thing I am not showing you is the cardboard spacers that helped the package maintain its girth.  You can see the deck boxes.  The Spindown Counter.  The stack of lands.  And the nine booster packs.

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These deck boxes are good for a sixty card deck without sleeves.  Good art.  But I have said repeatedly that the Wizards could do better.  And they have proven it by giving us better boxes in some other products.  (Duel Deck Anthology, Chandra and Nissa Planeswalker packs, Commander decks, and Planeschase decks.)

At least it has Liliana on one!  (The other is Emrakul)

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The only way this spindown counter could be better is…I guess this is as good as they get, besides my lucky one with a skull on it from “Graveborn.”

img_9457Here are the lands I assured you I would get.  And YIPPEE.  Checklist cards.  I needed more of those too.  (not)

img_9458Now for the MAIN EVENT.  Nine (9) booster packs.  I wonder what they will contain?  Here is alot of hopefulness.  Liliana is the most expensive card in this set..about $40 for a regular printing.  Emrakul is second place, at around $15.  Thalia is worth about $5.00, but is expected to go up.  Tamiyo is worth about $10. Gisela is worth $10. Not much else of value in this set.  So what did I get?

NONE OF THE ABOVE.

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About $7.20 (TCG Median) worth of value.  The most valuable card I pulled was Summary Dismissal, which exiles the cards on the stack.  It will never be a Remand, at four-drop.  The two foils I got were not worth more than fifty cents combined.

In short.  This box was a stinker.  Adding everything up gets you about $17.20.  The Fat Pack costed $4o, so….

Now it could have gone the other way, of course.  I could have had a TON of Lilianas.  Fat Packs are supposedly even more randomized than Booster Boxes.

But it didn’t.  I gambled, and lost.

Is the product worth it?  Now I have an Eldritch Moon box that matches the size of all my others.  It is making me want to seek out and find a Shadows Over Innistrad Fat Pack Box.  SO there’s that.  It has great arwork depicting Liliana.  We haven’t had that since…I guess we had it in Origins, and in the first Innistrad block.  But this is the one I now own.

The guide…all of that information is available on the internet.  The lands and checklist.  Meh.  My boosters were lame.  So…

This Eldritch Moon Fat Pack gets a D+.  It could be a higher score if I pulled better cards.  (you CAN pull up to three rares and mythics from a pack if Eldritch Moon and Shadows Over Innistrad packs….the regular rare.  A foil.  And a double-sided.  But none of this happened for me this time!)

The SpartanNerd is going to rate his Eldritch Moon Fat Pack at 2/5.  The box is the best part.

 

Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd…For the Love of Liliana! (help!)

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I have put together a home-brew black discard deck built around Liliana Vess…and I have been playing it…competitively I might add, at the Tangled Web* for the past three weeks.

It has done reasonably well…averaging a win half of the time and splitting that other half with losses and draws.  The problem is, I want to make it a star.  I’m just not sure how?  Here is my decklist.

Lands

  • 22 Swamps

Creatures

  • 4 Black Cat
  • 3 Master of the Feast
  • 1 Erebos, God of the Dead
  • 2 Gray Merchant
  • 1 Abhorrent Overlord

Spells

  • 4 Thoughtsieze
  • 4 Despise
  • 3 Hero’s Downfall
  • 2 Sign in Blood
  • 4 Dark Deal
  • 2 Murderous Cut

Enchantments

  • 1 Whip of Erebos
  • 4 Waste Not

Planeswalkers

3 Liliana Vess

Sideboard**

  • 2 Dark Betrayal
  • 1 Hero’s Downfall
  • 4 Bile Blight
  • 1 Pharika’s Cure
  • 1 Nighthowler
  • 4 Staff of the Death Magus
  • 1 Master of the Feast
  • 1 Liliana Vess

How I’ve been playing the deck…

In my opening hand, I am looking for two lands (of coarse), 1 removal spell…probably Hero’s Downfall, Black Cat, Waste Not, and either Despise or Thoughtsieze.  I generally mulligan if I don’t have some kind of disruption…for instance, Master of the Feast might be good in an opening hand against some Jeskai chump decks.  But our meta-game has shifted away from that it seems.  And the Master is generally removed before he can get two attack phases.

I ideally want to get Waste Not online, and really stick it to my opponent.  Lately there has been ZERO enchantment removal in the meta-game.  And Waste Not seems innocuous, until three Zombie Tokens are staring at you.  The deck plays great against most aggro decks, and Master of the Feast makes sure that they have a card in their hand for you to discard and get value from your Waste Not in the mid-game…(The ideal mid-game has an opponent top-decking.)

A couple of cool things that happened over the past few weeks…Liliana ultimate-ed in three matches last week!  This week I was able to produce 20 Zombie tokens on turn five!  (two copies of Waste Not, into a Dark Deal).  Someone Aetherspout-ed Master of the Feast, and said “will he go to the top or the bottom of your deck.”  I chose option C, which was Dark Betrayal, sending him to the graveyard! And the first week I played this deck, someone tried to cancel my Murderous Cut, only to have me cast another copy on top of the stack!

The problem is a new deck has emerged…a near mirror that uses Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver instead of Liliana.  This deck has two big advantages…Dig Through Time, and the planeswalker herself.  I have played against “Esper” variations that also used Elspeth, Sun’s Champion but this past week it was “Sultai” that was taking the stage, featuring Kiora, the Crashing Wave and  Pearl Lake Ancient.  These decks basically are designed to hold off any strategy with Cancel type spells, get a lot of card advantage out of Dig Through Time and scry lands, and hope to eventually drop that bomb…casting the cards exiled with Ashiok, just good old Aertherling style beatdown with the uncountable and hard to kill Pearl Lake Ancient, or ultimate-ing either Elspeth or Kiora, which is generally Good Game.

The past two weekends I have bumped into these decks, and either lost or came to a draw with them.  Lilliana isn’t good against burn decks, and generally I have to side in removal for the small creatures like Goblin Rabblemaster for game two.  I don’t mind losing to those decks…they do what they do, well. What bothers me is what I am playing is pitting black based long form Magic the Gathering against other players who want to go long, but the losing and tie-ing should be able to be overcome.  My “Early Game” and “Mid Game” are good…the “Long Game” is what is in question.

I have made minor adjustments to get the deck where it is now…I added a second Gray Merchant to play this week.  And that was a good choice.  Someone might wonder why not a full four copies, but it stops being a discard deck and wants to become a full on devotion deck.  I specifically switched Brain Maggot out with Black Cat because the Brain Maggot is just a bad Oblivion Ring.  It is really better in devotion decks.  The Black Cat is deterrent.  Unless the person has a hand that they don’t mind getting randomly wrecked and activating Waste Not triggers.

I have found that four copies of Dark Deal are just unnecessary.  This is the first thing I am changing…bumping that down to two copies.  I am also considering dumping Master of the Feast.  He is great for getting cards in the opponents hand.  But he is usually removed after (or during) the attack phase in late mid-game.  I heard a seasoned player, correctly say…”You don’t want control players to have extra cards in their hands.”  He’s right.  That is why the enemy deck is running Dig Through Time and Jace’s Ingenuity.

I am considering switching the Master of the Feast out for Sign in Blood, and using that only to target my opponents when they don’t have cards.  (I am guilty of hitting myself with Sign in Blood.)  This would mean main-decking that other copy of Liliana Vess…or would it?  Another whip or another Erebos?  Erebos is good for that corner card advantage, generally a non-threat to the opponent but I love it when he activates.  I have never ran more than two whips.  Actually, I don’t ever want two of either in my hand, ever.  And that’s why.  Also, this past week for the first time, I really wished I had a Bile Blight to tutor up with Liliana main-deck.  So that will be added.

Hub City Geeks, HELP!  Send me your advice on how I might improve this deck. I’m not sure if I’m playing this Friday night or not…I have a class on Saturday.  Next time I get to play standard, I want Liliana to be at the top!

*Be on the lookout for brand new SpartanNerd Business cards!  If you played me, then you got one!

**(That sideboard is really to protect against Burn and some of the beatdown trick decks that have emerged.  Sometimes I have to side in over ten cards, depending on my opponent.  I am siding in Staff of the Death Magus, which makes it harder for them to be effective.  Usually I am taking out one copy of Waste Not, and this past week a couple of Dark Deals.  Also I prefer not to Thoughtsieze against that fast burn or Red Deck Wins.  Also, I usually switch out Murderous Cut for Dark Betrayal if I am playing another black deck.)