Liliana, the Last Hope – Double Masters
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’m very grateful to James for linking us to the last time we reviewed Liliana, the Last Hope – for one thing, her recent reinvention as a university lecturer is almost as far from her previous modus operandi as a card named “the Vestal Virgin” would be, and for another, I think it’s fascinating how she didn’t end up being completely overshadowed by her other three-mana card. Liliana of the Veil is more powerful in a vacuum, yes, but it turns out that the Last Hope fills a different niche. Despite the power level of modern (2015 included) creatures, there are still surprisingly many decks which rely on one-toughness creatures she can straight-up kill, and the fact that it lasts a whole turn cycle can mess up combat when things are more evenly matched. On top of that, a planeswalker that so readily plays into the graveyard-as-resource concept for such a low mana cost is, it seems, just what many decks wanted. If you can get it to work even once, you should be ahead – and when it potentially combines setup and recursion, your opponent/s can’t afford to let you make it work more than once.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
The second of the three-mana Liliana planeswalkers, Liliana, the Last Hope is an interesting mix of abilities that has actually shown to compare favorably at times to Liliana of the Veil. Setting aside her potent ultimate (which is certainly a showstopper), you have your choice of weakening/removal and graveyard recursion/self mill. The +1 being her removal option has actually proven itself quite handy, especially with a surfeit of little creatures running around; she easily dispatches a lot of mana dorks and can protect herself decently well early. And three mana to fish back a creature isn’t so bad, especially since it doesn’t target the creature and so you’ll always hit something as long as you have a graveyard (and you can even use it as a sort of hopeful bit of set-up if you want to).
While she’s not going to cause jaws to drop, the planeswalkers that have had the longest proverbial legs are the ones that offer incremental, day-to-day advantage over a long game, and Liliana does just that while even attempting to protect herself. While Liliana of the Veil has entrenched herself as a Modern staple, the Last Hope shows up more in Legacy and Vintage for her unique set of talents; still, you can do far worse than her in Modern and other formats.
Commander [EDH]: 4
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