The Planeswalker Deck Project is moving along nicely and we're at Duel Deck #3! If you missed the kickoff article or my first two decks, check them out below.

The one-two punch combination of Liliana of the Veil followed by Liliana of the Dark Realms will always amuse me. It's interesting that they made the (extremely popular) identity of Liliana as "total resource denial" and then succeeded it with "incremental card advantage engine." To me, it reflects the depths of Planeswalker design that it took so much effort and so many iterations to create and affirm the identities of these characters.

For the purposes of this project, I'm grateful for the experimentation. Many Planeswalkers that have multiple versions are functionally very similar; when it comes to designing these lists, it's much more fun if the different variants of the character point in different directions, flavorfully or mechanically.

Liliana of the Dark Realms just cares about Swamps. Well, that's no problem! Ever since the days of Alpha and Drain Life, Black has long desired to have as many Swamps in play as possible. So Swamps (and by extension, lots of Black mana) matter. That's a nice jumping off point.

Without further ado, welcome to the Swamp-fest:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Liliana of the Dark Realms by Andy Hurst

'Liliana of the Dark Realms' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $35.14

Cards

Insatiable Harpy

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/71342_200w.jpg

Flying, lifelink

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/71342/magic-theros-insatiable-harpy

Corpulent Corpse

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233850_200w.jpg

Fear (This creature can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.)
Suspend 5—{B} (Rather than cast this card from your hand, you may pay {B} and exile it with five time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter. When the last is removed, cast it without paying its mana cost. It has haste.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/233850/magic-time-spiral-remastered-corpulent-corpse

Barren Moor

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236446_200w.jpg

Barren Moor enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B}.
Cycling {B} ({B}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/236446/magic-commander-2021-barren-moor

Carrion Wall

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11081_200w.jpg

Defender (This creature can't attack.)
{1}{B}: Regenerate Carrion Wall.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/11081/magic-8th-edition-carrion-wall

Squelching Leeches

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122265_200w.jpg

Squelching Leeches's power and toughness are each equal to the number of Swamps you control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/122265/magic-duel-decks-nissa-vs-ob-nixilis-squelching-leeches

Dark Banishing

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12617_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/12617/magic-9th-edition-dark-banishing

Liliana of the Dark Realms

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $18.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/69254_200w.jpg

+1: Search your library for a Swamp card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.
−3: Target creature gets +X/+X or -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of Swamps you control.
−6: You get an emblem with "Swamps you control have '{T}: Add {B}{B}{B}{B}.'"

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/69254/magic-magic-2014-m14-liliana-of-the-dark-realms

Nantuko Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/94313_200w.jpg

{B}: Nantuko Shade gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/94313/magic-commander-2014-nantuko-shade

Phyrexian Gargantua

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216450_200w.jpg

When Phyrexian Gargantua enters the battlefield, you draw two cards and you lose 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/216450/magic-jumpstart-phyrexian-gargantua

Read the Bones

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/140021_200w.jpg

Scry 2, then draw two cards. You lose 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/140021/magic-commander-2017-read-the-bones

Twisted Abomination

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219515_200w.jpg

{B}: Regenerate Twisted Abomination.
Swampcycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Search your library for a Swamp card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/219515/magic-double-masters-twisted-abomination

Restless Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5204_200w.jpg

{B}: Regenerate Restless Dead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/5204/magic-mirage-restless-dead

Quag Sickness

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/69181_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets -1/-1 for each Swamp you control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/69181/magic-magic-2014-m14-quag-sickness

Marang River Skeleton

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/96455_200w.jpg

{B}: Regenerate Marang River Skeleton.
Megamorph {3}{B} (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for {3}. Turn it face up any time for its megamorph cost and put a +1/+1 counter on it.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/96455/magic-dragons-of-tarkir-marang-river-skeleton

Grave Exchange

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/58916_200w.jpg

Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand. Target player sacrifices a creature.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/58916/magic-avacyn-restored-grave-exchange

Tendrils of Corruption

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233862_200w.jpg

Tendrils of Corruption deals X damage to target creature and you gain X life, where X is the number of Swamps you control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/233862/magic-time-spiral-remastered-tendrils-of-corruption

Mutilate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93723_200w.jpg

All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each Swamp you control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/93723/magic-duel-decks-anthology-mutilate

Dread Presence

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192519_200w.jpg

Whenever a Swamp enters the battlefield under your control, choose one —
• You draw a card and you lose 1 life.
• Dread Presence deals 2 damage to any target and you gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/192519/magic-core-set-2020-dread-presence

Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248314_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248314/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-duress

Defile

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191582_200w.jpg

Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn for each Swamp you control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/191582/magic-modern-horizons-defile

Keepsake Gorgon

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/121858_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
{5}{B}{B}: Monstrosity 1. (If this creature isn't monstrous, put a +1/+1 counter on it and it becomes monstrous.)
When Keepsake Gorgon becomes monstrous, destroy target non-Gorgon creature an opponent controls.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/121858/magic-conspiracy-take-the-crown-keepsake-gorgon

Crypt Ripper

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33282_200w.jpg

Haste
{B}: Crypt Ripper gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/33282/magic-zendikar-crypt-ripper

Spawning Pool

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15327_200w.jpg

Spawning Pool enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}: Spawning Pool becomes a 1/1 black Skeleton creature with "{B}: Regenerate this creature" until end of turn. It's still a land. (If it regenerates, the next time it would be destroyed this turn, it isn't. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/15327/magic-10th-edition-spawning-pool

Mind Sludge

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33368_200w.jpg

Target player discards a card for each Swamp you control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/33368/magic-zendikar-mind-sludge

Sanguine Guard

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/36895_200w.jpg

First strike
{1}{B}: Regenerate Sanguine Guard.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/36895/magic-duel-decks-phyrexia-vs-the-coalition-sanguine-guard

Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196476_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/196476/magic-commander-2019-swamp-294

Reassembling Skeleton

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243962_200w.jpg

{1}{B}: Return Reassembling Skeleton from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243962/magic-commander-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-reassembling-skeleton

Giant Scorpion

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122238_200w.jpg

Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/122238/magic-duel-decks-nissa-vs-ob-nixilis-giant-scorpion

Tooth Collector

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/114840_200w.jpg

When Tooth Collector enters the battlefield, target creature an opponent controls gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
Delirium — At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, if there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard, target creature that player controls gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/114840/magic-shadows-over-innistrad-tooth-collector

Consume Spirit

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93569_200w.jpg

Spend only black mana on X.
Consume Spirit deals X damage to any target and you gain X life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/93569/magic-duel-decks-anthology-consume-spirit

Phyrexian Rager

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226628_200w.jpg

When Phyrexian Rager enters the battlefield, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/226628/magic-commander-legends-phyrexian-rager

Lashwrithe

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/94412_200w.jpg

Living weapon (When this Equipment enters the battlefield, create a 0/0 black Phyrexian Germ creature token, then attach this to it.)
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 for each Swamp you control.
Equip {B/P}{B/P} ({B/P} can be paid with either {B} or 2 life.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/94412/magic-commander-2014-lashwrithe

Grasp of Darkness

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215560_200w.jpg

Target creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215560/magic-core-set-2021-grasp-of-darkness

Walking Atlas

Market Price: $1.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/34464_200w.jpg

{T}: You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/34464/magic-worldwake-walking-atlas

Corrupt

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93570_200w.jpg

Corrupt deals damage to any target equal to the number of Swamps you control. You gain life equal to the damage dealt this way.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/93570/magic-duel-decks-anthology-corrupt-divine-v-demonic

Wayfarer's Bauble

Market Price: $2.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243989_200w.jpg

{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Wayfarer's Bauble: Search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/243989/magic-commander-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms-wayfarers-bauble

Diabolic Tutor

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132015_200w.jpg

Search your library for a card, put that card into your hand, then shuffle.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/132015/magic-commander-anthology-diabolic-tutor

The Game Plan

First, play a Swamp every turn. That'll make things so much easier. Your early drops are largely unexciting, but the skeletons and Giant Scorpion hold the fort well and discourage incoming attackers. As an aside, I thought it important to purposefully include creatures that aren't zombies in this build. Liliana has several variants that are much more focused on the undead, and because this one doesn't, her cohort here includes other denizens of the swamplands.

As the game goes on, a board full of Swamps will allow our spells to pack a massive punch. Squelching Leeches become large enough to contend with even the Greenest competition, removing enemy creatures becomes trivial as Defile, Quag Sickness, Tendrils of Corruption, and good ol' Corrupt get supercharged, and Mind Sludge becomes a knockout punch.

Card advantage comes from Read the Bones as well as our Phyrexian creature corps of Rager and Gargantua. Grave Exchange, while expensive, creates a huge swing, and Keepsake Gorgon eventually finds dinner once it gets monstrous. Look to finish your game with a big Consume Spirit or Corrupt.

The Rares

If you're a newer player, you might ask why Nantuko Shade gets the nod over something like Dread Shade, which is basically a better card. We might generally want a 3/3 for 3 instead of a 2/1 for 2 after all. The answer - and those of you who played during Odyssey Block will attest - is nostalgia. Back in those days, Shade was one of the marquee cards from Torment, a set unique because it obviously favored Black spells and abilities. Remember, creatures weren't as good back then, and shade creatures were notorious for having terrible stats, only deemed playable in the heaviest of (Limited) Black decks. All of a sudden, Nantuko Shade presented a creature with an okay rate, already priced for aggression in an environment built for it to succeed. Shade was a dominant force back in those days, and I miss when it was one of the better threats in Standard. Also, the Torment version of the card with the old border looks incredible, and to me aesthetically represents exactly what a Black card wants to look like. Rereleasing this with the new border was printing malpractice.

I once drafted a Blue/Black deck, and this Debbie Downer was one of the rares. It was an important player in every grame, and I crushed through my matches. That deck was only 50% Swamps—just imagine what it can do in a Mono-Black deck! For a mid-rangey build like ours, this solves a lot of our problems. It can pick off aggressive creatures and help pad the life total in the face of an oncoming rush, or it can bury our opponent in an avalanche of card advantage, and it does all of this while costing no extra mana and in support of our primary game plan (playing Swamps). Remember that it's often wise to play this on a turn where you are also playing a land, to guarantee you get your money's worth. Only your opponent will be feeling dread at this guy's presence.

Another Torment All Star. Back in the day, Black had tons of targeted removal, but very little in the way of board wipe. Mutilate gave Black its first Wrath effect, and since that effect is based on Swamps, it's a natural fit here. Just remember that you need to make sure you play carefully when setting it up because your skeletons—good as they may be at regenerating—cannot survive even the meekest of Mutilates. However, maybe our last Rare can help…

Squelching Leeches that can also equip to something else? Sign me up! This deck will always appreciate its contribution as a standalone threat or a fantastic reinforcement. As alluded to above, equipping this will allow any of your creatures to survive a Mutilate. Dream combo with Insatiable Harpy, as the lifelink will be preposterous.

Unsung Hero

It's hilarious that Corrupt's cost is 5B. It might as well be 1BBBBB, and that would make much more sense! It cares about Swamps! I nominate Corrupt for the short list of "Perfect Black Cards." Black seems to care about having lots of Swamps more than any other color cares about its basic land type, and its effects scale as such. Corrupt has the Black flavor to a T: go deeper into the darkness, enrich yourself further with Black mana, and your effects will be more potent. When it comes to this project, there are cards that seem like slam dunks, perfect fits in the right shell. I didn't know exactly where Corrupts would end up, only that they had to be included. A classic Magic card in both flavor and function.