Despite Sidisi, Undead Vizier being the most popular mono black general seen in cEDH - this list is designed to prove that mono black has more to offer to the cEDH format (though not as busted as Gonti Food Chain).

This list is the culmination of many hours of goldfishing & interactive cEDH pod playing, having tested for many hours in LGS cEDH pods - I'm now looking to begin play on cEDH Discords for better evidence and a wider experience.

This requires the simplest setup, least mana & most efficient way to achieve a win. The below is the common state of what's needed to combo.

Bridge from Below + Gravecrawler + Phyrexian Altar = unbounded mana & zombie tokens.

A lot of the card choices in the deck are better understood when we break down the above like so:

Creature doubler + recurrable creature + mana source + sac outlet = win

Some of the fine examples of how you achieve the same as the original combo with different pieces are changing phyrexian altar for Pitiless Plunderer & a sac outlet / using cards such as Diregraf Colossus in place of Bridge from Below . The nature of the deck is very straight-forward: you require a few key pieces (for which there are several redundancy plans) in order to use one of two main combos: Crypt Ghast extort triggers / Walking Ballista & Mikaeus, the Unhallowed . These combos explained: 1: With unbounded mana and a sac' outlet: sacrifice gravecrawler with a zombie in play. Cast gravecrawler & extort with Crypt Ghast trigger; sac' Gravecrawler ; repeat. 2: With a sac' outlet: remove a counter from Walking Ballista do deal 1 damage to any opponent; sacrifice Walking Ballista & return him via Mikaeus, the Unhallowed undying trigger; repeat.

Playing this deck you inevitably uncover more and more ways to assemble your win condition from very few resources - whether that's a burst of 4 cards from Baleful Force / value over time via Dark Confidant your wins are easily assembled. Usually your win will require the following: Razaketh; a reanimation spell; 1 piece of sac' fodder. Using Razaketh you're able to tutor up rituals to begin comboing - often it's incredibly useful to use the commander to reanimate Raza' fodder / to gain tokens via waste not. Even without these you can even cast & sacrifice Lili for a low mana cost in a pinch.

Your recipe for winning: creature doubler; mana; raza fodder. What you get first will often depend on your board state at the time Razaketh hits the field. Fetching Lion's Eye Diamond , Culling the Weak , Dark Ritual , Cabal Ritual , Rain of Filth , Songs of the Damned , Lake of the Dead , Crypt of Agadeem will all give you the initial mana you need to begin the combo (casting pitiless plunderer/phyrexian altar etc). Gravecrawler , Nether Traitor , Liliana, Untouched By Death all fill the roll of recurrable creatures (with lili you need to fetch any 1-drop zombie ie cryptbreaker / carrion feeder, but she makes the combo turn smoother). Pitiless Plunderer , Phyrexian Altar both function for generating the combo mana. Bridge from Below , Diregraf Colossus , Mikaeus, the Unhallowed all work as creature doublers. Crypt Ghast / Walking Ballista will then win you the game.

Your average line: Liliana, Heretical Healer  , Carrion Feeder on board & Razaketh, the Foulblooded / a tutor card in hand. Sacrificing the creature you have to whatever means you need will flip liliana and replace itself with a 2/2 body. Ticking up liliana will allow you to discard razaketh. Reanimating him, then sacrificing the token to get Gravecrawler ; cast & sac gravecrawler to get any zombie (we'll say Cryptbreaker for example); cast gravecrawler; sac gravecrawler to fetch a mana sink ie phyrexian altar / a ritual to cast phyrexian altar; cast & sac Gravecrawler to get a creature doubler - put that card into play (like by searching for LED and activating it to discard Bridge from Below , or getting a ritual to cast Diregraf Colossus / Pawn of Ulamog ); begin the combos as above until you achieve excess resources, before finally searching up a win condition. In summary: this simple line requires very redundant setup, has many ways to be achieved & can be reached in a number of ways, with very little starting mana.

Listed in the maybeboard are some options, dependent on your meta / how often you play against specific decks. The following cards are what we'd advise you swap out: Minister of Pain Baleful Force Kozilek, the Great Distortion Demon of Dark Schemes Graveborn Muse Toxic Deluge

In an aetherflux heavy meta you'd be more inclined to use Erebos, God of the Dead .

In a dork-heavy meta you may decide to take a page from legacy and use Doomwake Giant or Noxious Ghoul to sweep your opponents' boards. Each have their upside, though I'd recommend using NG due to the zombie synergy & it allows you to lock out board-states while you find combo pieces if you have Gravecrawler available.

A more general option would be Kozilek, the Great Distortion as he synergises greatly with this deck - fueling Lili's reanimation ability by pitching cards to interact on the stack - I'd gladly pitch Pitiless Plunderer to counter Leyline of the Void , or Blood Pet to counter Grafdigger's Cage - the stack based interaction gives you room to work with.

Yixlid Jailer is an option vs lightning druid, breakfast, titan-shuffles, Gaea's Blessing , despite the fact that it turns off gravecrawler combos, this also stops bridge from below being exiled from opponent's creatures dying, and given that we are more equipped to remove this hate-bear, it's quite effective. Withered Wretch adds the possibility of constant grave-hate - quite strong

not perfect, but Soot Imp offers storm hate

In a flash-hulk meta Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is also very strong thanks to the replacement effect it offers while also fueling your zombie strategy (side-note - the lifegain offered by him offsets the great lengths this deck goes to spend life).

31-5-19: Modern horizons (spoiler season). It's been a hard-slog as of late, with the stronger flash-hulk decks' prevalence becoming more and more apparent most weeks; though breakfast is able to use Grand Abolisher , a number of hulk piles don't have the room to fetch it as well as the win. Thanks to this, force of despair is currently in testing against these builds. This also has application against Yisan, Yeva, Gitrog and other decks too - but picking the right moment with this card is everything.

Undead Augur really does everything that several cards in this deck want to do, for a lower mana cost - and it's a zombie? Perfect. -1 Walking Ballista , +1 undead augur Walking ballista was always a risk, with opponents running cards such as the new collector ouphe, Null Rod , Stony Silence , Cursed Totem we need to lean more heavily on win conditions that can be achieved with fewer activated abilities - extort triggers fill this role fantastically. Midnight Reaper is also looking to take a spot in this, as another zombie with a strong card-draw potential. For the theme I wish I could add yawgmoth, but unfortunately I don't see it being nearly good enough in the deck. But a cool design nonetheless.

9-5-19: WAR update. Currently Liliana, Untouched By Death & Praetor's Grasp are both up for debate on whether or not they should remain in the maindeck - grasp is a necessity I feel, as it facilitates an overpriced tutor for an opposing Krosan Grip (or similar) to stop any stax effect that we can't deal with. It also functions as ramp in a more dire situation and a 'hatebear' if we really need it. -1 Polluted Delta , -1 Collective Brutality , -1 Infernal Tutor , -1 Baleful Force , -1 Rain of Filth ; +1 Meteor Golem , +1 Bitter Ordeal , +1 Blast Zone , +1 Liliana's Triumph , +1 Crucible of Worlds

8-3-19: -1 Erebos, God of the dead; +1 Kozilek, the great distortion; added flex-board; updated description

15-4-19: -1 kozilek, +1 chains of mephistopheles. I've avoided running this card for too long. Chains is literally backbreaking and bob breaks parity. Added some other cheeky options for maybeboard (look forward to a makeover soon).

Original credits to lithiumbrigadebait - this guy created one of my favourite fringe cEDH builds on his own & has had a lot of time to refine & improve the list. This is the current version of the Liliana, Heretical Healer   cEDH build that I'm running. Original credits all to the deck deck:

For the past few months this list has been a work in progress for MediSyntax and I, playing variations & discussing alternatives to card choices from the OP.


Updates Add

This is quite long overdue; unfortunately my life's been getting in the way a lot as of late.

Yawgmoth is in for periodic testing. If I feel like I really want mindslicer back, I'll consider other slots, but in the more tymna meta - having protection from humans is more important ;^)

Mindslicer => Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

Cabal therapist really disinterested me. But it is a true measure of skill to be able to read your opponents hands without seeing them. Abusing knowledge other players have (via Gitaxian Probe , a common tell etc.) is an ability that makes this card worth a damn. Being a 1-drop never hurts, and it costs us "nothing" from lili's -x, as well as facilitating a "free" flip (something that cabal therapy rarely couldn't facilitate) - lots of cabal therapy is better than one.

Cabal Therapy => Cabal Therapist

Rune-Scarred Demon => Vilis, Broker of Blood This feels like a strict upgrade. Often due to the higher power of decks that we're up against reanimation would've been burned on rune-scarred demon to proactively try to find answers to those decks; really, what we aim to do is win first; failing that: Vilis offers us tons of removal, and more cards than any player should be given, as cracking fetches, paying life to ancient tomb etc suddenly draws cards - this card draws incredibly quick answers due to the raw card advantage he provides, in conjunction with the answers he finds (more often than not he grabs us a win). A strict upgrade.

Liliana, Untouched By Death has been pulling incredible weight, offering alternative win-loops, semi-card advantage and the occasional removal - it's... grown on me, and for that reason it's not getting cut just yet.

Corpse Augur , Midnight Reaper both of these cards are INCREDIBLE for this build - providing card advantage with (as we always say in edh) virtually no downside. While both being zombies that draw cards, they facilitate most of what we want this deck to offer.

Hope of Ghirapur => Corpse Augur Night's Whisper => Midnight Reaper

So, night's whisper is out temporarily due to it feeling lackluster. The draw two is incredible without chains in play, and often finds us what we need. And while these are 'dependent' draws, they both facilitate the necessary zombie slot for winning with Gravecrawler and draw cards at the same (or near enough) mana cost. Further, they also block tymna and can be reanimated via lilly, which night's whisper is unable. Cutting hope has been on my radar for quite some time, mostly due to the fact that it's a legendary creature, making it a nonbo with lily, while not furthering our gameplan.

I've been looking at cards such as Pox a lot lately, but that's a very different style of liliana deck, as opposed to this which aims to press advantage through fast paced combo and minimal interaction; if you're interested in a liliana combo-stax hybrid build, watch this space.



100% Competitive

Date added 10 months
Last updated 5 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

12 - 1 Mythic Rares

38 - 4 Rares

20 - 1 Uncommons

11 - 1 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.67
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, None Treasure, 0/1 Eldrazi Spawn, Liliana
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