Die for Lily: My Liliana, Heretical Healer EDH deck

Hi everyone!
Today I come to you with another Commander deck, but it isn’t for my Commander Exercise series. In fact this time I will show to you one of my own personal deck.

As you can read from the title, it is a deck with Liliana, Heretical Healer as a Commander. It is the first Commander deck I built from scratch and it went through numerous changing during its lifespan, starting from a sacrifice deck, becoming a reanimator, to a full combo and then to this final iteration.

The deck is basically a Mono Black Control that uses creature destruction and hand disruption to slow down our opponents until we can get one of our combo online or we win by some other occasional methods.
Liliana can be useful to us both in creature and planeswalker form; in creature form she can get us some life back and we will benefit from this as mono black is a really life-hungry color. Lots of our card ask us to pay life points in some way to get benefits. In planeswalker form we can use her +2 to disrupt our opponents hand; it also hit us, but we can discard some creature that we can get back with her -X or some cards that are not so useful at the moment. The -X is the ability we are gonna use the most because it is really useful to get back our creatures. We play lots of creature with powerful ETB and we can sacrifice and reanimate them to repeat their effects. The -8 is a win condition that we will rarely reach as it is really powerful and our opponents will start targeting her once she is able to activate it; this is a little mind trick because by targeting her they will buy us some more time to dig for our combo pieces.
So, after this long introduction, let’s start talking about the various card of the deck!
Here is the deck list:
Die for Lily (Liliana, Heretical Healer EDH)

Ramp
Most of the cards here are classical ramp pieces for a mono-black deck, but we have some other ones specifically for this deck.
Bontu’s Monument can ramp us while also acting as one of our combo pieces. Pitiless Plunderer is also a secondary combo piece. Blood Pet and Culling the Weak are two cards that give us black mana by sacrificing a creature, flipping Liliana. Solemn Simulacrum ramp us and make us draw, generating us value if we have a way to sacrifice it and then reanimate it.

Removal
With the possibility to reanimate our creatures, Attrition is a card that let us clean the board from dangerous non-black creatures while we have the advantage to get ours back.
No Mercy is a good card to make harder to our opponents to target us with their attack; the only flaw is that they still can attack our Planeswalkers freely.
Flashbag Marauder, and its better version Plaguecrafter, are a way to make all our opponents sacrifice a creature while also giving us the possibility to flip Liliana.
Liliana’s Triumph is really awesome in this deck: making each opponent sacrifice a creature and eventually discard a card for only two mana is really good.
Noxious Gearhulk is a removal on a stick the we can recur by reanimating it; it also get us back some life that, as I already said, is super useful for this deck.
Pharika’s Libation in the only way to hit enchantment in black while Murderous Rider and Vampire Hexmage are here to hit the Planeswalkers.
Sheoldred is a really powerful card that does the double job of continuously reanimate our creatures while also make our opponents sacrifice theirs. She can create a really powerful lock to opponents that have one or less creatures on the field.

Wraths
Two staples here plus Mussacre Wurm. The Wurm can clean the board from small creatures but even from the bigger ones if we have a way to sacrifice and reanimate it multiple times in a single turn.

Disruption
Various card to disrupt our opponents hand or board. Phyrexian Obliterator is an awesome way to mess with our opponent by keeping it ready to block; it is a protection for ourself and for Liliana, and if they dare to attack us they will have to sacrifice some permanents.
Yarok’s Fenlurker remove from the game a card from the hand of each opponents. Mesmeric Fiend do the same thing but only to one opponent but we decide which card to remove. Alone the fiend will remove the card until it is on the field, but with a little help it can remove it forever: we only need to sacrifice the Fiend when its ETB is on the stack; that will trigger is LTB when nothing is exiled, negating it and then we will remove a card of our choice from our opponents hand forever. This is possible only because the two effects are in two different paragraph of the card.

Reanimation
These with Liliana are what let us continuously replay our disrupting creatures. Coffin Queen and Chainer are especially good as their effect are repeatable.

Tutor
By relaying on combos and synergies to win the game, having the ability to look for the cards that we need is fundamental.

Card Advantage
Bolas’s Citadel is a really powerful cards that could possibly win us the game letting us storm off by playing a huge amount of spells.
Necropotence and Phyrexian Arena are two ways that transform our life into card draw, while Grim Haruspex give us advantage for killing our creatures. Skullclamp is a way to sacrifice our small creatures to draw two cards and Phyrexian Reclamation is to get those creatures back.

Token Generator
This are all ways to generate token, so we can have always something to sacrifice to get some kind of advantages, being the card draw from Skullclamp or one of our sac outlet’s effects.
Dreadhorde Invasion is usually considered the poor-man’s Bitterblossom, but it can create a really huge army token if left unchecked by our opponents.

Sac Outlets
Phyrexian Altar is the best card of our deck as most of our combo are enabled or helped out by it.
Viscera Seer and Carrion Feeder are general sac outlets that can enabled the combo but they need more help then the Altar.
Dimir House Guard is a recent addition and is thank to a recent video of the Professor; in my deck it can be really useful as it can act as a sac outlet while also giving me the possibility to discard it to tutor for cards like No Mercy and Phyrexian Obliterator.

Self-Reanimator
This are all cards that reanimate themselves and can be useful to enable some of the cards that ask us to sacrifice a creature to work.
Gravecrawler and Oathsworn Vampire are also two combo pieces.

Zulaport Effects
These cards are Zulaport Cutthroat and other that emulate his effect when a creatures dies or get into play. These become game-ending with our combos as they let us drain all our opponents life.

Planeswalkers
Liliana Vess is here for her -2 as it lets us tutor for a card. His +1 will be used when she don’t have enough loyalty to tutor. I never used her -8.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General is a powerful way to draw cards, generate tokens and disrupt the board; basically everything our deck wants to do.
Ugin, the Ineffable is here mostly for the -3 as it is one of the few ways that a mono-black deck has to deal with non-creatures permanents.

Other
Contamination this is a really powerful way to block all the decks that doesn’t play black and slow them down. With Bitterblossom or Dreadhorde Invasion we ensure ourselves to have always something to fuel this enchantment.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel can be one of our win condition especially if we have some way to sacrifice and recur it.
Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is a really powerful taxing effect for tutors but also he can quickly become really big with the right set up.
Painful Quandary is a piece of stax that will punish our opponents for simply casting their spells, disrupting their hands or reducing their life.
Phage, the Untouchable is another win condition but is here mostly for a nostalgic feeling as this was the pet card of the guy who taught me how to play Magic.

Lands
Mostly Swamps but with also some utility lands. Between these Blast Zone is here to help us remove non-creature permanents; Maze of Ith is to protect us and Liliana; and Thespian Stage is here to become a copy of powerful lands like the Maze or Cabal Coffers.

Combos & Sinergies
I talked about combo the whole time but now let me explain which they are.
The first one is Gravecrawler + Phyrexian Altar: with another zombie on the field we can continuously sacrifice and recast the Gravecrawler. If we add a Zulaport Effect on the field we can win the game by draining our opponents.
The second one is Bontu’s Monument + Oathsworn Vampire and Phyrexian Altar: thanks to the synergy between this three cards we can continuously sacrifice the Vampire and recast it from the graveyard, draining our opponents each time.
Finally there is the synergy between Chainer and Gray Merchant: we can pay three black mana and three life to reanimate Gray Merchant from the graveyard and it will drain all our opponents for at least four. With a sac outlet we can repeat this process if we have enough mana.
In each combo, the Altar can be substituted by Pitiless Plunderer plus a Sac Outlet.

Upgrades
Cards I’m considering to add to upgrade the manabase are surely Cabal Coffers, Urborg and Nikthos.
Vesuva is another card I would like to add to copy Maze of Ith and Cabal Coffers while Strip Mine would be a nice upgrade to Field of Ruin.
Vampiric Tutor is another tutor I want in the deck.
I would like Karn Liberated to replace Ugin because it is much better at removing non-creature permanents as it can also hit artifacts.

I hope you enjoyed the post and that this could be useful to someone looking for despicable deck to bath in the pure evilness of mono-black.

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3 comments

    • Thank you! At the moment I have two other personal decks: Queen Marchesa and Tatyova. I will soon or later showcase them on the blog

      Like

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