Lim-Dul's Vault is a card from the Alliances expansion of the Magic: the Gathering trading card game.

Basic Card Information

Name of Card: Lim-Dul's Vault
Type of Card: Instant
Color: Multicolor; blue and black
Edition: Alliances
Artist: Rob Alexander
Casting Cost: UB
Rarity: Uncommon

Card Text: Look at the top five cards of your library. As many times as you choose, you may pay 1 life, put those cards on the bottom of your library, and look at the next five cards of your library. Then remove the top five cards from your library, shuffle it, and put those cards back in any order. (This is the official wording as of April 5, 2001; it takes into account all previous rulings and errata)

Strategic Analysis

The strength of this card lies in the ability to quickly sift through your deck until you find the card (or cards) that you want and putting them on top of your library. The sifting comes at a life cost, but life costs often are secondary in both blue and black decks, which often rely on lockdowns or extremely quick creature kills to win. Either way, losing a few life points to get the card you need is negligible.

In essence, this card shines in a few types of decks:

  • A combo deck. If you absoultely need to have a particular card combination to go for the win, an early Lim-Dul's Vault can make all the difference, enabling you to bring the card you need to the surface. The Vault is best, though, when only looking for one specific card; don't rely on it to entirely build the combo for you.
  • A deck with a number of key cards. If you are playing a quick creature deck, a handful of weenies and a Dark Ritual or two usually can put you in the driver's seat. Sifting through for a decent set of cards, thus increasing the quality of the small number of draws you will take in a given game, is invaluable.
  • A deck that relies on color hosing. If you want to use a deck that utilizes a few cards to hose a particular color that your opponent is playing, the Vault can bring them to the top early, allowing you to lock your opponent down very early.

Essentially, if there is a small set of cards that can get you rolling, or card order is especially vital, Lim-Dul's Vault can help you. If life is unimportant, then Lim-Dul's Vault can really help you. The key, as always, is to use the Vault in a deck best suited for it; there are other card sifters that don't have the life drawbacks that the Vault has, but aren't as effective in sifting, either.

Deck #1: Turbo Stasis

Deck Listing:

1 Library of Alexandria
1 Strip Mine
4 City of Brass
4 Tundra
4 Adarkar Wastes
8 Island
4 Plains

4 Stasis
3 Kismet
4 Boomerang
1 Balance
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Disenchant
4 Force of Will
4 Arcane Denial
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Windfall
1 Demonic Tutor
2 Lim-Dul's Vault
1 Land Tax

4 Howling Mine
1 Feldon's Cane
1 Ivory Tower
1 Sol Ring

Sideboard (not part of main deck)
4 Hydroblast
4 Blue Elemental Blast
4 Counterspell
3 Force Spike

Discussion: This deck has remained popular for many years simply because of its raw effectiveness; once you get the lock down, the game is as good as yours. The key is the single Feldon's Cane; it allows you to reshuffle your huge graveyard into your deck and retrieve the Boomerangs that have helped you to keep Stasis out (by Boomeranging it, untapping all your lands, then casting it again).

The sideboard mostly deals with this deck's biggest weakness: an extremely fast red deck using lots of quick spells to deal direct damage. Substitute these in for much of your card-drawing power if you face red.

Deck #2: Speed Black

10 Swamp
4 Island
3 Peat Bog
2 Spawning Pool

4 Hypnotic Specter
2 Skittering Horror
2 Lurking Evil
1 Thrashing Wumpus
1 Notorius Assasin
1 Phyrexian Negator
2 Black Knight
2 Dauthi Slayer
2 Junun Efreet

4 Dark Ritual
3 Unholy Strength
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Rhystic Tutor
1 Reanimate
4 Snuff Out
2 Hymn to Tourach
3 Duress
1 Unmask
1 Massacre
2 Contagion
2 Lim-Dul's Vault

Sideboard (not part of main deck)
3 Attrition
3 Coercion
3 Perish
3 Stupor
3 Shallow Grave

Discussion: This deck, in various forms, was very popular in mid-1999. The goal of this deck is to hit your opponent hard and fast and limit their recovery chances with the Hypnotic Specter and some discarding. The Vault serves merely to line up some creatures for you.

This deck takes a brute force approach in that it hits very hard without any regard to whether or not the player using the deck takes a life hit in the process. If the opponent manages to slow down the onslaught, you may have some trouble. A good solution to a deck actually able to manage the onslaught is to rotate in the Shallow Graves from the sideboard, which allow a player to bring the top creature in the graveyard back for a one-shot go-round, which could be enough to finish off the opponent (or hinder their plans significantly if you bring back a Hypnotic Specter).


Lim-Dul's Vault is an effective way to order cards in your deck in a more optimal fashion. If your deck can afford the life loss, it could be well worth the effort to work the Vault in.

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