Wow. Just wow. A three cost Liliana. THREE MANA! For a measly 1BB I can cast one of my favorite planeswalkers of all time…and she’s good. Is she as glitzy and glamorous as some of the fakes circulating the interwebs in the past few days? No. But that doesn’t mean the wait hasn’t been well worth it.
Knowing how Liliana is, and then viewing her as the “Last Hope”, would not normally be a welcomed sight. It wouldn’t even be one that was completely faithful to the lore. However, these aren’t normal circumstances, and against the Eldrazi (who we may or may not be getting a little tired of anyway), she is a force to be reckoned with. It’s almost a bit refreshing to see this side of her, gleefully playing in a sandbox of the dead. She is still trying to be completely manipulative and is also going about things the absolute hardest way possible, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from our newest Gatewatch member.
Under these special circumstances, our anti-heroine’s motives are definitely her own.
“If only he could owe her,” she thought in the latest Magic Story written by Doug Beyer. That one line sums up everything about her willingness to go to extremes to avoid asking for help. She’s willing to take on the biggest baddie in the known universe just to have something to hang over Jace’s head. Well, Lili, save the world and Cloak Boy will surely help with the Chain Veil. He has to, right?
Aggressively costed, three mana planeswalkers have a habit of being good to great and Liliana, the Last Hope is no different. Each one of her abilities drips with flavor and of WWLD (What Would Lili Do). Her plus one provides protection, which seems to be a staple when creating a new planeswalker these days, BUT also remember, her protection is her PLUS ability. You’re getting closer to her ultimate every time you kill or neutralize your opponents one and two drops. She might even be good against some of these token strategies running around.
Also keeping with tradition, there is some form of card advantage with her negative two. Yes, it only mills you two cards. And it hits only creatures. Those may be two negatives, BUT, a graveyard recursion deck may have found its engine with this new Lili, because it does generate advantage. Remember, you don’t have to choose one of the two cards you milled to return to your hand. It can be any creature already in your graveyard.
Liliana, the Last Hope will probably be tried out in delirium and zombie shells simply for this ability. Will that make them good enough for tier 1 standard? That has yet to be seen since the whole set is still a week from being spoiled. One of the reasons to love this ability is; it’s a set number (-2) instead of an X=cmc like the Origins flip Lili. Being able to return any creature to your hand and not the battlefield is a huge difference though. It isn’t that big of a negative though. It will also be interesting to see how she plays with the new Gisa and Geralf too. Since the non-legendary clause is exempt from this second ability. They curve right into each other as well. You may not even need her second ability in a zombie shell with the twins hitting the board next turn.
On the face, her third ability could definitely fall into the “win more” category, however, once you read it through again and realize it’s X+2 zombies every endstep, that’s quite good. It can take over a game very quickly even if you are behind. Managing to stick 1-2 zombies, in addition to the two bonus ones you are given every endstep, and one turn later you will have a writhing mass of necrotic flesh on your board that needs to be dealt with. Immediately. Getting to her -7 shouldn’t be impossible, or even improbable in a lot match-ups. She protects herself well, and will get to her ultimate quickly.
Since you’re obviously running black, a little control can go a long way in the early game with her. Ruinous Path and To the Slaughter are two of your best allies, but also two of her biggest threats. Having said that, they aren’t played all that much currently and aren’t in either of the two decks that hold the largest % of the current meta, Bant Company and GW Tokens. That could change with the introduction of all these sweet, sweet zombies. Maybe a Zombie tribal decklist will be on the way?
That’s all I’ve got for this post. Like the Lore? Tell me about it! Don’t forget to leave feedback in the comments!