Happy Friday friends, and welcome to this week’s edition of Fan Favorite Friday!
This week we had what I believe was the closest race between two cards (at least in the first few days) since starting the column, and I’m not surprised! We had two powerhouse planeswalkers going head to head: Jace the Mind Sculptor and Liliana of the Veil. If you follow our Facebook page, then you probably already know that Liliana surged ahead and won the battle with 61% of the votes to her name.
Honestly, I’m not surprised about Liliana’s victory. Liliana has always been a polarizing planeswalker, and this version of the card is (in my opinion) one of the most recognizable modern magic cards, and definitely one of the cards that made Steve Argyle a Magic household name. Liliana of the Veil is my favorite iteration of this spooky necromancer, but she’s made plenty of appearances through the years. Let’s dig in!
Liliana of the Veil might have been my first exposure to this fierce femme fatal, but she’s been a big part of Magic’s lore for years! If you’ve been playing Magic for a while, I’m sure you haven’t been able to avoid Liliana’s piercing gaze. Her lore is really quite fascinating – in her storied career she’s been Jace’s romantic partner (eventually betraying him and tricking him into fighting an angry Tezzeret), a friend of Nicol Bolas, made pacts with demons (that she then hunted down), and all sorts of awesome, necromancy fueled things. I’d highly recommend looking into Liliana’s story if you enjoy all of the lore.
Currently, she has returned to Dominaria, and seems to be playing nice with everyone else… though time will tell!
Lili’s first showing on a card was as Liliana Vess in Lorwyn. But the one competing this week, Liliana of the Veil, was first printed in the Innistrad set, and even with a reprint in Modern Masters 2017 (and a slick promo), copies are still commanding a high price point because of her power.
What Makes This Card So Good?
This version of Lili just has SO MUCH utility. In most of the decks that play her, the +1 is either pretty negligible or actually benefits you (pitch a Lingering Souls to your graveyard? No problem!), but it’s almost sure to be a thorn in the side of your opponent. Her -2 forces your opponent to sacrifice one of their precious creatures, and the -6 pretty much spells game over if you get there. Forcing your opponent to sacrifice half or more of their stuff is just backbreaking!
Not only is she just good on her own, but now that Bloodbraid Elf has come back to play in Modern, you can have a devastating cascade into Lili in JUND builds (I’ve had this happen to me too many times already since the unbanning!).
What Formats is This Card Played In?
While she definitely saw plenty of play during Innistrad’s time in the standard season, now that she has rotated Liliana of the Veil spends the majority of her time shining in the Modern format. You can find her in 9.5% of the current Modern meta.
One of my favorite lists I’ve ever played her in was this JUNK Midrange list that I took to Grand Prix Vegas 2017. I ran 3 Liliana of the Veil paired with 1 Liliana, the Last Hope (my second favorite version of Lili). I had them both on the board at one point, with a Grim Flayer and a Tarmogoyf (I think), and let me tell you it felt good. Being able to run those powerhouses along one of my favorite cards of all time, Lingering Souls, made me one happy Modern player that season.
Of course, the most popular Modern decks running Lili right now is the value-packed JUND. This list from Jacob Heiring Soerensen showcases all of the awesomeness that JUND is known for. It pairs 4 Liliana of the Veil (and a 1 of Liliana, the Last Hope) with powerhouses like Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf, Bloodbraid Elf, Kolaghan’s Command, and plenty of removal and discard spells.
Liliana’s power is also tapped in to in Legacy, with a respectable 6.4% of the meta running her. I think my favorite Legacy archetype that runs her would have to be Deadguy Ale (here’s an awesome YouTube video from The Professor and Jeff Hoogland breaking it down). Again, we see her finding a home in a super value filled deck where she gets to work her dark discard magic on our opponents.
Apparently, Liliana of the Veil plays an even bigger part in Duel Commander than I realized! She fills a slot in a whopping 26% of the Duel Commander meta according to mtgtop8.com!
So there you have it, folks, not only is Liliana a powerhouse in Magic’s lore, her outing as Liliana of the Veil was a game changer across all formats! Which of the Lilianas is your favorite? What are some of your favorite Liliana of the Veil moments?
What cards do you all want me to feature in the future? There won’t be a vote for next week due to GP Vegas, but we’ll still be doing a Fan Favorite Friday (a very special one, be sure to keep an eye out on our Facebook page because I heard a rumor that you’ll be able to win something cool…)
See you next week! If you’re in Vegas, hit me up and say hi!