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Much Abrew: Liliana Tribal (Historic)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Thanks to Amonkhet Remastered, we now have three Lilianas in Historic on Magic Arena: Liliana, Waker of the Dead (one of my new favorite cards in all of Magic), Liliana, Death's Majesty from Amonkhet Remastered, and Liliana, Dreadhorde General. What happens if we put them all together in a mono-black shell and try to assemble Liliana Tron? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Liliana Tribal

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  • Liliana Tribal was pretty insane. Not only did we go 5-0 in Diamond on Magic Arena, but we only lost a single game along the way, in a crazy match against Maze's End. Even more impressively, we beat control (Esper Control), combo (Maze's End / Jund Sacrifice), midrange (Golgari), and aggro (Feather). It really felt like our deck had a reasonably good matchup against most major archetypes, with a good combination of removal, discard, threats, and, of course, Lilianas.

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  • All of our Lilianas are solid standalone cards. Liliana, Waker of the Dead always overperforms, no matter what deck or format we play it in, and today was no different. Apart from killing things and forcing our opponent to discard cards, we even managed to ultimate it to reanimate our opponent's Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath every turn for lifegain and card draw. Normally, the fact that we have to discard a card to Liliana, Waker of the Dead's +1 is a drawback, but this isn't always the case in Liliana Tribal thanks to our next Liliana...

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  • At the top of our Liliana curve is Liliana, Dreadhorde General, which is our least synergistic but perhaps most powerful Liliana. While Liliana, Dreadhorde General doesn't really do anything special with our other Lilianas, it is a great finisher, offering more Zombies, removal, and an ultimate that almost always wins the game.
  • While our Lilianas are the most exciting part of our deck, part of the reason why the deck performed so well is that we have really solid interaction, decent creatures, and good card draw. Thoughtseize might be the most powerful card in the Historic format. Combined with removal from our Lilianas and spells like Grasp of Darkness, Heartless Act, Murderous Rider, and Vraska's Contempt, we have answers for pretty much anything our opponent can present.

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  • Creature-wise, Gifted Aetherborn and Pack Rat are our main four-ofs, with Gifted Aetherborn offering some lifegain against aggro and a deathtouching blocker against bigger creatures, which means it's good against everything but pure control. And even against control, a 2/3 for two isn't a bad deal. Meanwhile, Pack Rat can steal games by itself if our opponent doesn't have removal, and even if it dies in the early game, we can always use Liliana, Death's Majesty to reanimate it later once our opponent is empty-handed.
  • The rest of our creatures are fun-ofs, giving us a variety of reanimation targets that we can draw into or mill with Liliana, Death's Majesty. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is our scariest reanimation target, closing out the game in just a couple of attacks. Platinum Angel can be hit or miss, depending on the matchup and how easily our opponent can kill it, but does occasionally steal games by preventing us from losing. Massacre Wurm is great against go-wide creature decks like Goblins. Gonti, Lord of Luxury is especially helpful against midrange and control, where its enters-the-battlefield trigger generates grindy card advantage. Finally, Dread Presence offers some lifegain and removal against aggro and card draw against control, although it is fragile and dies to a lot of popular removal.
  • So, should you play Liliana Tribal in Historic? I think the answer is pretty clearly yes. In all honesty, I was surprised at how good the deck was and how much fun it was to play. I figured it would be at least decent since we have a lot of powerful cards and all three of our namesake planeswalkers are solid, but I didn't expect to just roll over the field and hardly drop a game. The deck sounds like a meme, but it's actually quite competitive. And thanks to our sweet planeswalkers and spicy one-ofs, it's also super fun to play!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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