About the author: MANTO
I have been playing Magic since 1996 and have been involved in some of the pro-tours in that state of Virginia. I’ve placed as high as second in the state in 1997. But took a long lay-off when I grew tired of the investment paper magic was costing me and decided to pursue my other passion which is chess. The advent of the Planeswalker series rekindled my passion for Magic once again the past year and now I am back into full swing. I have a passion for the Liliana deck and play it regularly with much success.
With grave power…
It would be nice to have a discard theme like in the past, but this is Duels 2013. There seems to be a little of everything offered in Liliana’s deck, so we can’t aim for a strong aggro variant or a discard variant: not enough cards to support either theme. But there are some of the most brutally efficient cards in the game, many of which are undercosted. So what is needed is a balanced approach:
- Have enough early game resistance to handle aggro decks
- Remove legitimate creature threats
- Drop the mid-late game winning bombs
The Obedient Dead decklist presented below is very effective at achieving these aims.
Obedient Dead card-by-card analysis
Mire’s Toll: 4.5
Black has trouble removing artifacts and enchantments to say the least. This is one great way to eliminate them… only that they need to be in your opponent’s hand first.
Crippling Blight: rating 2.5
This card is merely situational. It does not fully disable a creature, just makes it scared to block. The -1/-1 doesn’t do much later on.
Fume Spitter: 3.5
This miniature monster has plenty of utility. It can provide resistance to aggro decks and buy time later by sacrificing itself after blocking, canceling the blocked creatures damage no matter how large it is.
Innocent blood: 3.5
Can be both strong and weak depending on how flooded the board is with weenies. Best if used as a followup with a sweeper to kill the remaining fattie. It’s also great for early removal when you have nothing out.
Blister Beetle: 3.0
Acts as an early Nekrataal, generating card advantage. But its value decreases as the game proceeds.
Its greatest power seems to be when there are more players involved in the game. The problem with this card is that you can only target players, taking away flexibility.
Jet Medallion 3.0
This black ramp card can be very valuable when dropped turn 2. It can mean you get to have your demon army out sooner, rather than later. However, it is a dead draw mid to late game.
Nantuko Shade: 4.5
2/1 body that can inflate. At such a low casting cost and such high potential, this insect can grow to epic proportions as the game drags on.
Sign in Blood: 5.0
By drawing two cards for two life you gain card advantage. Also, it helps deal with land issues that may crop up on starting hands. Now hands with two lands to five lands are more playable. No build should be without both copies of this.
Dread Warlock: 2.0
Not the most ideal card, even with its evasion ability. This card seems to be counterproductive if you’re including both of the essential sweepers in the deck.
Efficient creature removal at three mana makes this an essential part of any black deck. The instant ability can generate card advantage or give you a extra turn if used right.
Warpath Goul: 1.5
Nothing to write home about. Merely a body to chump block with in order to buy time for your heavier drops.
Vampire Nighthawk: 5.0
Three mana for a 2/3 with flying, deathtouch, and lifelink? Are you kidding me? A card that’s easily effective anytime it hits the board. I’ll take four! Oh wait, all you get is one.
Last Kiss: 4.0
Can really slow down aggro decks with the instant aspect. Imagine the typical goblin attack with a chieftain played and two 3-power goblins coming at you . Then you kiss the chief, gain two life and take only two damage rather than eight.
Liliana’s Spectre: 4.5
Its ability alone is worth one card. With a 2/1 flying body you simply gain card advantage. It’s one of the cards that often times goes unnoticed as a reason for out attritioning your opponent.
Will provide much needed relief against aggro. Especially against the Goblin and Peacekeeper decks when turn three is a pivotal time.
Underworld Dreams: 3.5
I feel that if black had more ways of making you opponent draw like Jace does, then this card will be invaluable and maybe even unfair. But it does add restriction on many drawing and bouncing strategies that are used for card advantage. It makes it just that much more uncomfortable to execute.
Phyrexian Obliterator: 5.0
Arguably the most feared creature to hit the board. For four black mana u get a 5/5 with a game ending ability. This card alone can shut down green and red decks, because in order to kill it, five damage needs to be dealt to it. And losing five permanents is much of the time too costly.
When infest insn’t enough, this strong sweeper clears the way for when it’s time to start showing off how great the black high cost drops are. It’s an essential card to say the least.
The ability to destroy a creature or land can come in handy but its higher casting cost (of four mana at a sorcery) makes one think about including multiple copies in the deck. Since its only targeting nonblack creatures, this is a dead draw when playing mirror matches.
Bloodhunter Bat: 1.5
Not the best card you can play at the 4 mana slot even with its ability. I’m sure there are those instances when the opponent has two life left and this card can be a miracle draw, but that just doesn’t happen that often.
Liliana’s Shade: 4.0
Provides needed land and deck thinning all into a potentially large creature, assuming your mana supply is sufficient.
Icy Manipulator: 3.5
Since it’s an artifact, it can neutralize protection from black creatures. This is a staple that can be considered for a slot in any competitive build. The ability to tap and turn off some artifacts makes it even more versatile.
Another way to get card advantage against 90% of the decks out there. If there were anther copy, Befoul will be almost pointless.
Diabolical Tutor: 4.0
Of course we would rather have a two cost Demonic Tutor, but then Obedient Dead would have too many overpowered cards. At four mana we just need to be patient enough to get the needed card.
Tendrils of Corruption: 4.0
Essential removal which gains life. It a great card when you played sign in blood multiple times and took some damage. It can both eliminate a creature and bring your life out of the red zone.
Rise from the Grave: 4.5
Liliana has enough removal to basically make this card a legitimate winning advantage. Although we would rather have control magic rather than spending two cards to gain control of the fatty that your opponent just played. But there is no enchantment to destroy, look on the bright side.
Halo Hunter: 3.0
Merely situational. Roughly 30% of the decks actually play angels, so you are looking at an Intimidating 6/3 creature most of the time.
Incremental Blight: 2.5
The opponent needs three creature out for this to be effective, otherwise you’re hurting yourself as well.
Nightwing Shade: 1.5
Would be worth of consideration if it didn’t cost 2 to pump it +1/+1. Even though it has flying, I still prefer the more efficient Nantuko and Liliana shades.
Velborn Goul: 3.5
Its great against decks heavy in removal. It can easily wear down your opponent, cause it will just keep coming back many times after it dies. It does cost five mana though, but if it’s later in the game that may be negligible.
Nightmare Incursion: 4.0
This card can either win you a long game or lose you a short one: it eliminates the cards you fear most. Remember you cannot deal with enchantments/artifacts easily: this card is one way! On the other hand, it’s not as effective against Peacekeepers and Goblins, since they can win the game before this card is available. I feel though that it is worthy of consideration if you don’t mind sacrificing one of your six mana creature slots for a little less firepower and better chances throughout the game. Oh yeah, and it also increases your opponent’s chances of drawing lands the rest of the game.
Grave Titan: 4.5
An intimidating creature to hit the board at 6/6. Not sure if the deathtouch is going to be very valuable on a creature of this size (as opposed to Trample), but it’s also a zombie factory allowing it to attack every turn leaving 2/2 chumps behind.
Two cards in one. You get a 6/6 body with that can’t be blocked most of the time and a built in No Mercy. Pretty much a self contained win condition. This is a great card because it provides outs against protection from black creatures as well as the annoying hexproof ones.
Great flyer that gets more nightmarish as the game proceeds.
Public Execution: 2.5
It’s basically very expensive removal that will save you from a weenie rush and buy you another turn. Not the greatest deal. Liliana has much more efficient removal at the lower cost slots.
Xathrid Gorgon: 4.5
Can single-handedly shut down creature heavy decks. Imagine making a stone statue army out of your opponent’s creatures. Apparently you can also create flying statues, which doesn’t make sense, but this is Magic not the real world.
Massacre Wurm: 5.0
Both a fatty and a sweeper with the added plus of damaging your opponent for each creature killed. With the creature heavy game format this powerhouse is a win condition in and of itself. I can’t believe the number of times this card won me the game singlehandedly against aggro variants after suffering a lot of damage.
Hell-Carver Demon: 2.5 – 5.0 (depending on you’re the top 6 cards of your deck)
You like to gamble? Why not play this flying casino, it will not disappoint! This card can be both strong and weak depending on what cards hit the board. Your first obstacle is actually getting it through. Remember you are going to lose your entire land supply and hand. So if hell-carver demon gets removed…it may be game over for you.
Phage the Untouchable: 4.0
Practically guaranteed to draw removal cards. Because if it doesn’t, your opponent can’t afford to leave one creature untapped (you may have removal just keep at least one card in your hand as a bluff). Seems tailor made against Celestial Light. To say the least, when it hits the board it will receive immediate respect.
Rune Scarred Demon: 5.0
A large flyer with demonic tutor attached. You get a large flyer and just the card you need with it.
Riever Demon: 3.5
7/7 flyer with a doomsday ability. It’s good, but it’s just that you need to survive long enough to get it out.
Pestilence Demon: 3.5
If you have more life than your opponent, this becomes a win condition. Otherwise it can clear the board of the minor nuisances.
A strong eight mana drop that will give you a game-winning seven card advantage. Let’s just hope that doesn’t bring your life total in the red zone though.
Avatar of Woe: 4.0
It’s a great card when there are plenty of creature in the graveyard since you can cast this powerhouse for two mana. However, if hard-cast at eight mana, your opponent may have plenty of ways to deal with it.
Obedient Dead deck list
- 2 x Fume Spitter
- 2 x Innocent Blood
- 1 x Mire’s Toll
- 1 x Blister Beetle
- 2 x Nantuko Shade
- 2 x Sign in Blood
- 1 x Infest
- 1 x Last Kiss
- 2 x Liliana’s Specter
- 4 x Murder
- 1 x Vampire Nighthawk
- 1 x Icy Manipulator
- 1 x Diabolic Tutor
- 3 x Liliana’s Shade
- 1 x Mutilate
- 1 x Nekrataal
- 1 x Phyrexian Obliterator
- 1 x Tendrils of Corruption
- 2 x Rise from the Grave
- 1 x Corrupt
- 1 x Dread
- 1 x Grave Titan
- 1 x Massacre Wurm
- 1 x Xathrid Gorgon
- 1 x Rune-Scarred Demon
Note: The last five cards can be customized however you like. You can put all demons in those last slots and the deck will still be effective, but you may just have to wait longer for a win condition. What I provided is a balanced endgame I feel you can’t really go wrong with, as it provides a good mix of removal and mid-late game support.