This entry is part 20 of 23 in the series Deckbuilder's Spotlight

mahler, mark - headshot

Remember the days when using a Planeswalker as your general was a heretical idea? Remember when flipping over creatures was just for werewolves and poorly thought-out science experiments? Well, Sam does and he says to hell with your nostalgia! (Not really. He’s just a super nice guy who brewed up a sweet new deck, but it sounds way more dramatic if I phrase it this way.)

So sit back and listen to us spin a yarn about the one of the commanders most likely to give Andy fits.  For what it’s worth, brother (wherever you are), I’m sure it wasn’t personal on WotC’s end.


Deckbuilder's Spotlight



Show notes:

  1. Link to Sam’s Liliana, Heretical Healer deck on TappedOut that we discussed on this show and an updated list on Deckbox (a quick aside: which site do you folks prefer for organizing or viewing deck lists?)
  2. Sam’s contact info: g1yph on Reddit;
  3. CommanderCast e162: Rowe, Walker Expert (discussion of Planeswalkers as Commanders, pre- 2014 pre-cons).



In a world where I’m either rich or copyright law doesn’t exist, this is the song that should be on loop for the soundtrack to this episode:

Series Navigation<< Deckbuilder’s Spotlight 14: Adam’s Hazezon Tamar deckDeckbuilder’s Spotlight 16: Pfeiffer’s Kresh/Eldrazi deck >>

14 Responses to “Deckbuilder’s Spotlight 15: Sam’s Liliana, Heretical Healer deck”

  1. Dan said

    Tapped Out please.

  2. Kinghonkey said

    Nice discussion about art towards the end. I think the original Grave Pact is supposed to be a bunch of En Dal or Il Dal because they’re all red-heads waiting to see which one is going to wuss out on the suicide agreement. It was back in the day when some of the Magic artists were trying to introduce “artsy” textures into their pieces (see also Minion of the Wastes and Puppet Strings). So, while I appreciate it for what it is, Kirschner’s artwork always has this odd stylized, expressionist quality that doesn’t quite fit with Magic’s flavor or many of its players’ aesthetics. Also, Scott Kirschner seems to have a problem with, or aversion to, drawing faces. Do a gatherer search for his work and see what I mean. It’s all African-style masks, arms and hands hiding many of his faces.

    I think D. Alexander Gregory (who’s probably in my top ten Magic Artists) also has a similar style, but was able to make the transition to the newer sets much easier.

    As far as zombie tokens, for generic zombies based on no specific world, the M10/M11 zombies would get my vote, but I think I like the Dragons of Tarkir zombies the best.

    Also, Exsanguinate. Yeah, you guys are right, fuck that card. Most people in my playgroup have abandoned it except for one guy, and everyone else gives him the raised eyebrow and stink eye. Even Gray Merchant is more acceptable.

    • Mark Mahler said

      We should definitely talk up the art more. Maybe a “worst art ever” episode. Here’s my vote:

      • Kinghonkey said

        The ol’ “Bone Crank”. I have a sentimental connection to this one, despite the “Rube Goldberg Machine Painted by a Junior High Student” look.

        One of my college buds who got me into Magic had an original Icy Manipulator (along with a Black Lotus and Moxen), and they were so hard to get a hold of. When they reprinted it in Ice Age, I was overjoyed to get one of my own.

    • Sam Alpert said

      If I had to take a side I’d choose Ebon Praetor. What even is that?

  3. Dat_Nekosaka said

    Exsanguinate yes! Boring, – also vampirism. I think OG Liliana HH art is actually better because it’s gorgeous. Personally, Tappedout seems like it can do more than deckbox. I would have had more of a zombie-human theme, as it feels more like the races Liliana uses for her necromancy. Cards like Overeager Apprentice, Soldevi Adnate, Martyr of Bones, Gnawing Zombie and Cemetery Reaper seem similar to what Sam is doing. Similar to Toxic Deluge, i wonder if Killing Wave or Deadly Tempest would be any good? The zombie tokens from Khans block are pretty cool looking and have a lot more going on than some of the other tokens from recent sets.

  4. Parker Stockwell said

    I love deckbuilder’s spotlight. Favorite show of the week on the network. Sam’s views are pretty cool to listen to

  5. chooch said

    In my Lili HH build, I used a lot of “reanimate other peoples shit” because my meta would often discard their fatties when I +2 lili. They have since learned not to, but then they have hands full of titans they cant cast yet. This deck can be very oppressive if tuned for it. I actually took mine apart and added some of the fun (including lili herself) to Meren of Clan Nel Toth. It’s delightful.

    • Sam Alpert said

      Yeah the oppressiveness of this build is one of the reasons why I moved away from it initially. I think if someone were looking for pure power in their deck that would be a better approach.

      And yes Meren is likely a better Liliana, but I’m definitely not playing the deck because it’s the best reanimator deck. I’m playing it cause I love the uniqueness. I feel like Meren decks more often than not, look exactly the same.

  6. Anonymous said

    Best token is alara zombie

  7. Grandpa Growth said

    Mark, Augur of Skulls sees play in Pauper. Maybe we can get it to catch on in Meren decks. Segue. Meren is the new Shirei. Green/Black is the new Black.

  8. Sam Alpert said

    Thanks for the support everyone, hating Exsanguinate along with me. Sorry I haven’t been around, I’ve been through a couple rough weeks (lost a job) but things are finally starting to look up.

    As far as tokens are concerned, I’m actually looking into Johannes Voss who apparently makes gorgeous tokens, but I’m not sure if he has a zombie yet. Anyone know?

    This deck is still kicking and if anyone was curious there have been a couple changes that should be reflected in my deckbox link.

  9. Ggodo said

    Khans of Tarkir golden zombies FTW!

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