Deckbuilding – Liliana’s Lords of the Underworld

man in black leather jacket and woman in black jacket

Happy Hallowe’en, Commander players! I hope you are wearing a fun costume, stuffed with candy, and staying inside. Hallowe’en is social media’s favourite holiday, so post, share, and Zoom your spooky! Stay safe, people!!

I don’t have much time to post today, so I’m going to throw up a quick decklist and some links, and hit the candy bowl. I love Zombies, and even though we’ve been saturated with them and the PoMo takes on their lore and physics, they’re still fun to cast and turn sideways in a game of Magic. I’ve played Zombie decks almost as long as I’ve played Commander, and while I’ve built esper around Varina, Lich Queen, which even won me a Commander Challenge, and four colours with Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus and Ravos, Soultender , there’s no substitute for good old mono-black.

I’ve played this deck with Syr Konrad, the Grim at the helm for a Commander Challenge last year, and did well, but I prefer Liliana, Heretical Healer, both for flavour and as a sort-of toolbox of abilities. The deck is strong enough that it doesn’t need the Commander to do anything specific. Here it is as a list, and you can also find it on Archidekt.

Lords of the Underworld

Commander (1)
Liliana, Heretical Healer

Creatures (35)
Agent of Erebos
Cemetery Reaper
Crashing Drawbridge
Crypt Ghast
Custodi Lich
Death Baron
Diregraf Colossus
Erebos, God of the Dead
Gempalm Polluter
Ghoulcaller Gisa
Grave Defiler
Grave Titan
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Lord of the Accursed
Lord of the Undead
Midnight Reaper
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Murderous Rider
Noxious Ghoul
Overseer of the Damned
Phyrexian Delver
Plague Belcher
Relentless Dead
Risen Executioner
Shepherd of Rot
Undead Augur
Undead Warchief
Vengeful Dead
Vindictive Lich
Zombie Master
Zombie Trailblazer

Artifacts (11)
Akroma’s Memorial
Bontu’s Monument
Caged Sun
Cryptic Gateway
Fellwar Stone
Gilded Lotus
Herald’s Horn
Heraldic Banner
Jet Medallion
Sol Ring
Throne of the God-Pharaoh

Sorceries (8)
Ambition’s Cost
Ancient Craving
Army of the Damned
In Garruk’s Wake
Living Death
Necromantic Selection
Profane Command

Instants (1)
Sudden Spoiling

Enchantments (8)
Black Market
Dictate of Erebos
Dreadhorde Invasion
Endless Ranks of the Dead
Grave Pact
Liliana’s Mastery
Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian Reclamation

Land (36)
Barren Moor
Bojuka Bog
Castle Locthwain
City of Shadows
Crypt of Agadeem
Desert of the Glorified
Field of the Dead
High Market
Ifnir Deadlands
Leechridden Swamp
Maze of Ith
Memorial to Folly
Miren, the Moaning Well
Mortuary Mire
Myriad Landscape
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Phyrexian Tower
Polluted Mire
Scavenger Grounds
Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
Spawning Pool
Throne of the High City
Unholy Grotto
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Witch’s Cottage

There isn’t a ton of complexity here. It makes Zombie tokens, makes them bigger and comes knocking. It has lots of card draw and passive lifedrain for those games with board clogs and pillow forts. It’s also not really the current pile.

I tend to shunt staple cards like Field of the Dead, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Gilded Lotus, etc. from deck to deck, and while they’d go in any version of this list that I’d take to a Commander Challenge or something, I maintain a more tame pile made of cards for regular kitchen table play. I have multiple copies of some of the cards in my current list, and some that are really niche and wouldn’t go in other decks. I’ll point out a few of those cards here.

I’ve enjoyed cards like Noosegraf Mob, Gravedigger, Fleshbag Marauder, Liliana’s Reaver, and Wight of Precinct Six. Cheap fun zombies that do work. I haven’t played with Blood Scrivener, Corpse Augur and Skirk Ridge Exhumer much yet, but I like their potential. I’m really high on Loyal Subordinate, which was a key piece of my Varina, Lich Queen deck. I’m not as high on Scourge of Nel Toth, but zombies don’t have much air presence and it has some interesting upside as a sac outlet.

I love three cards from Core 2021, and have already got some good work out of them. Liliana’s Devotee, while not a zombie, is a lord and a token maker, Silversmote Ghoul, which is more card draw and recursion, and Liliana’s Standard Bearer which is just a sweet piece of hand-refilling tech.

I’ll also mention that Black Sun’s Zenith is always a pleasant surprise, and that Thrilling Encore has been too. Dread Summons often makes crazy amounts of zombies, and From Under the Floorboards can too. Ever After may seem expensive to cast, but it looks way better once you cast it. Vanquisher’s Banner doesn’t do much for the theme, but it’s a great card in the deck, and both Deathrender and Deathmantle of Nim are slam dunks.

Finally, there’s a few caution cards in the list. Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos are really mean cards, and with a sacrifice outlet and an empty board, can keep players from ever managing to get any steam with their Commanders. I don’t like playing these cards, but you might need them against hordes of flyers. Same with Akroma’s Memorial. Dreadhorde Invasion, on the other hand seems like it might suck. I’m trying to make it work, but yeah. Might suck. It’s no Bitterblossom.

That’s all my time today, Commander players! Once again, stay safe out there. Thanks for reading, and as always, your life matters! Black Lives Matter!

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