My Mistress of Black Mana, My Mentor when I began to really delve into Magic: the Gathering competitively, the beautiful horror which that can make men shudder and fall to her knees in blind obedience. None other than Liliana, Liliana of the Veil.
AS far as Planeswalkers and design are concerned Ms. Liliana of the Veil is unique. Looking at her when she arrived during Innistrad she fit in the set as perfect as zombies on the prowl. Perfect. She had the Victorian Gothic flare that tied all of the first block of Innistrad together nicely. And she was perfect for any Black Deck that needed a good threat.
At three CMC (1BB) Three Loyalty (3) “+1 Each player discards. -2 Target Player Sacrifices a Creature. -6Separate all permanents target player controls into two piles. That player sacrifices all permanents in the pile of his or her choice” she was what the essence of Black, in my mind, was supposed to be. She allowed the player to keep their opponents on edge with her +1. At the time there was Flashback cards so this ability was able to add more effect to the mechanics of the set if the player wished to splash another color that has a good Flashback foundation.
With her second ability of forcing a player to sacrifice a creature placed her in a very strong position. For a time one of the biggest threat before Ms. Liliana entered the foray was the Mirran Crusader. The sac-outlet the she provided alongside cards like Geth’s Verdict made her that much more threatening.
AS far as design is concerned she is powerful all-round. Because her CMC is only three player with Dark Ritual are able to cast her turn one. No other Planeswalker has that luxury (as far as I have seen). It is in part, in my opinion, because of her CMC that she has flourished as a card in Magic: the Gathering.
But she is not overpowered. Her first ability must be taken into consideration and used carefully, less a player discard the card they need accidentally. The first ability keeps with the spirit of the original card Liliana Vess.
The final ability acts as a nice touch when the opponent must choose what they might loose and how they will lose it. But again Liliana is not overpowered and it is not like she gets to use the -6 frequently (unless you are up against a player who has never faced a Planewalker in battle before).
Also with the design aspect Liliana’s card is not overly provocative. Thanks in part to Steve Argyle who has managed to make many tasteful card art for Magic: the Gathering and has done so for many different sets. Art work itself has such a feel of fantasy that she is almost as believable as she is beautiful.
I consider Liliana one of my mentors in Magic: the Gathering because through her design, she has taught me how I want my decks to run when I play the, against an opponent. Since she has entered the game Liliana has risen from a $40 dollar card to an $80 dollar card and even in certain circles surpassed Jace in price and playability. And just another reason that I will always love the game of Magic: the Gathering.