Liliana, Dreadhorde General Draws Cards
The first ability on Liliana, Dreadhorde General is a static ability which draws you a card whenever a creature dies. This ability is extremely important. Whether that creature is a token or nontoken does not matter. So, the incremental advantage of this Liliana planeswalker is fairly obvious right away.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General Makes Zombie Tokens
Liliana’s first loyalty ability is a plus-one to create a 2/2 Zombie creature token. That means she immediately can bring a creature into play to protect herself. As Liliana, Dreadhorde General gives you 6 loyalty counters to start, ticking right up to 7 is pretty good. Plus, the tokens created by this ability make her second loyalty ability even better.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General Forces Two Sacrifices
Liliana’s second loyalty ability is minus-4 loyalty to force each player to sacrifice two creatures. This is the same as the Barter in Blood card ability, which was a four-mana sorcery that saw play back in its day. While this ordinarily would be a symmetrical effect, because Liliana draws you a card for each of your creatures that dies, you will get to draw two cards (unless you only have one or no creatures to sacrifice). Drawing two cards is always good for you. Forcing your opponent to lose their own creatures is even better.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General Makes a One-Sided Cataclysm
Years ago in Exodus, there was a boardwipe called Cataclysm. This card was very powerful in control decks. All players would choose an artifact, an enchantment, a creature, and a land he or she controlled and sacrifice all the rest. Because this card was printed before the planeswalker card type was created, players would also have to sacrifice any planeswalkers.
But, Liliana, Dreadhorde General’s “ultimate” minus-9 loyalty ability does not affect you at all. It forces all opponents to choose one of each permanent they control (including planeswalkers) and sacrifice all the rest. This is an extremely crippling ability, especially considering that you do not have to lose anything - except potentially Liliana herself being sacrificed after spending 9 loyalty counters.
Because Liliana, Dreadhorde General begins with 6 loyalty counters, this ultimate ability is not impossible to pull off in a typical game. While she doesn’t win the game all by herself, this Liliana planeswalker can essentially give you such an absurd amount of card advantage with her ultimate loyalty ability that it would be extremely hard not to win.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General in EDH / Commander
Being a six-mana planeswalker in EDH does not matter when it comes to playability. In fact, many Commander decks will take advantage of Liliana, Dreadhorde General simply for her ability to draw cards. Sacrifice themes are huge in EDH, especially in mono-black and black/green, decks that are happy to make a home for Liliana, Dreadhorde General. It all comes down to how individual deck builders decide to fit her in that will determine just how popular she becomes in the EDH format.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General in Standard
Control decks should find a home for Liliana, Dreadhorde General at least as a one-of. While she’s not quite that great against decks that go wide with their creatures, she is very good against decks that don’t play many creatures. Liliana coming down late is fine if you are forcing your opponent to sacrifice their best creatures. Dreadhorde General’s ultimate is so strong that it makes sense for her to be a six-mana planeswalker. Bringing your opponent down to a single land pretty much spells the end for a game. So, there will be Standard decks that can use Liliana, Dreadhorde General.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General is probably too slow of a planeswalker for Modern and other Eternal formats outside of Commander. But, she is a very strong mid-to-late game planeswalker that continues the tradition of playable Liliana planeswalkers. Where do you think Liliana, Dreadhorde General will see play?
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