by Phoenix A. Desertsong, Staff Writer, Healer & Advocate
First printed in Magic 2011, Phylactery Lich is an interesting mono-black zombie. The Lich was later reprinted in the Magic 2013 and Magic 2019 Core Sets. It’s a 5/5 Zombie for only 3 mana, and it’s indestructible.
Of course, with that power and toughness for a low cost. there’s a downside. But, it’s an interesting drawback. When the Lich enters the battlefield, you put a phylactery counter on an artifact you control. The counter itself doesn’t do anything, but if you control no permanents with phylactery counters on them, you sacrifice Phylactery Lich.
There are, of course, cases in which you could easily have four of these on the board at a time and spread out the counters among four artifacts. You only have to have one of those counters no matter how many of the Lich you have on the board. The question is, what artifacts are going to be played in mono-black?
When this card was first in Standard, Scars of Mirrodin block was still available, and there were several good options. You had Mortarpod and Lashwrithe, both often played in mono-black control decks. There were other artifacts that could be playable, as well, but it will be interesting to see what artifacts will be played in this sort of Constructed deck in the future.
Potentially, this is an extremely good card. It’s especially good in mono-black Zombies (for obvious reasons). I’d like to see some competitive decks playing it, though I’m not sure we will. In any case, you’ll want to have one if you ever play Zombies in EDH. It’s a good card that may go overlooked, and can work in a deck made for it.
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