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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Blue/White Mill Control
April 12, 2010

Normally, I don't respond to people who give me their decklists as attached files instead of typing them in the body of their E-mail. This is for two reasons. First, it complicates matters if I have to copy/paste the decklist out of a word processing program and into an E-mail window. Second, opening files E-mailed to me by people I don't know personally is a good way to get viruses, and since this deck garage requires me to allow anybody I've never met to E-mail me, I'm probably at higher risk of virus infection than I want to admit.

Today's client, who I'm calling "Iggy" after his/her E-mail address, is a rare exception, because the body of his/her E-mail had so much information I can provide a suitable deck fix without even needing the attached files.


Okay, I know you've already written an article pertaining to mill, and I know this is probably the umpteenth million message you've read about mill, but I'm getting desperate. Got my ass kicked playing mono-blue mill at my first ever 2010 Standard Magic Tourney (are you surprised?). Anyway, it's back to the drawing board for me, because I couldn't seem to build an effective blue/white ally deck either (because aggro kept killing me when my opponent used a kicked Vines of Vastwood and Primal Bellows AFTER I agreed to take the damage his 1/1 was sending my way [is that legal?]!!!!). The way I see it, even if you win a few matches, you'll just be fighting the $450 decks in the final rounds (and losing on turn 4). Remember the Madness mechanic? I had a Madness deck back when Time Spiral was Type 2. That deck was peace back in the day. There was barely a card in the deck above uncommon rarity. THAT'S how you build a deck man; any moron can build a deck full of rares with Daddy's money (cough Jund cough). Unfortunately, it seems that I'm gonna have to shell out the dough for Day of Judgment and stuff if I want this type of deck to have a chance. Fact is, I've wasted so much money on this deck idea I don't have any way of getting such things. Say it ain't so Bmoor!! 

I have the first White/Blue standard deck attached as "Type 2 white blue". This deck was alright, and I'd win a bit, but when I did, I cut it close, and the big issue there was mana. Either I can't shuffle properly, or the symbol occurrence is off balance, or... I understand the maxim, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", but I must admit I took this deck list straight from Jacob Van Luen's MTG Daily article "Building on a Budget: Honing Your Deckbuilding Skills." Although it's slightly altered, I finally caved to the idea of adding a splash of white to my mono-blue mill, because I saw the potential Path to Exile+Archive Trap had. Eventually I made the deck, as you can see from the list attached, and I was so excited to use it. I followed your advice on the "Tourney Worthy Mill a Myth?" article, and I tried to make the deck my own. As you can see, I dropped Hedron Crabs entirely, because of aggro pumping creatures to 9/9 with trample on turn five (damn Overrun). I put in Wall of Denial (but once again, I kept being pressured to block from a 9/9 with trample and no way to gain life or prevent the damage.) Overall, I tried to focus on keeping my ally deck as it was in terms of creatures used, and use mill as the win condition. See, Halimar Excavator is the only one doing any decent, consistent milling, and by the time I've drawn a card like the Archive Trap, I can't use it effectively because he uses Overrun to force me into a block, killing all of my creatures. On top of that, my opponent knows better than to search his library for any reason because he knows I have it, and why should he need to--he just kicked a Wolfbriar elemental and has flooded the field with tokens! Next turn I'll draw something useless like a Jwari Shapeshifter (my allies are dead!), and he'll hit me for a deadly amount of damage when I'm wide open.

See, I've thought of ways around stuff like this, like using Meddling Mage to shut down an opponent's boosting instants, and that standard legal white Fog that has Cycle (whatever it's called.) But I don't have the room between sideboard and deck to add cards that slow down the momentum of my opponent's agressiveness, and even if I did put in plenty of white Fog and Meddling Mages and Walls of Denial, I don't have enough room for Archive Trap or Halimar Excavator or any of the "game winning" mill cards I need, and by then I might as well have made a new deck with a different strategy! Because once I go up against something non-aggro, I'm being brought to my knees from the guy who built a budget blue deck and uses Dispel to shut down Path and Archive Trap!

Have I made some good points? Do you see my dilemma here? I'm thinking the Mill deck's hopeless, do you agree? Is it wrong to simply walk in with a slightly modified deck l found on the internet, or is it simply suicide? Please help!!!

And thanks in advance!


Okay, Iggy, let's see what I can do for you. Sadly, a good mill deck in today's Standard is a thorny issue indeed. Especially against fast aggro decks and Jund, as you observed. But it's puzzles like these on which I thrive!

Iggy's observations have given me a lot to think about, actually. In many articles I've written, I've mentioned how life gain isn't a viable strategy, and life gain cards have to do something else in order for them to be good. I'm starting to think that milling might be the same way. After all, it doesn't matter how many cards a person has in their library until you mill away the last one, right? It's the same with damage to a player-- it doesn't matter if you have 1 life or 100 when you win, but once you lose that last point, it's all over.

So, a card that mills for you has to do something else to be good? Maybe. It's a new theory and an untested one. After all, a creature that isn't good for anything but attacking is still pretty good, because it's dealing damage to an opponent, right? But a creature is better than a straight-up Lava Axe type effect, because a creature can attack turn after turn while a Lava Axe is a one-time effect. And Archive Trap is also a one-time effect, it just attacks the library instead of the life total. So, in theory, a repeatable milling effect should be superior to a one-time shot like Archive Trap. The best repeatable miller in Standard right now, and likely the best milling effect in general, is Memory Erosion. Every spell the opponent plays will mill him for another two. This works well against Jund-- their cascade spells will mill them out faster, and the only card they have to stop the Erosion is Maelstrom Pulse.

That reminds me, you will indeed need to defend yourself, from both creature assaults and unsavory spells. I know this will sound strange, but in a deck with Memory Erosion, I think Lapse of Certainty would be the best choice of counterspells. Why is it better than any blue counterspell you could run? Because it puts the countered spell on top of your library. If you play Laspe in response to Memory Erosion's triggering off of the spell you want to counter, the spell will get put on top of your opponent's library, then directly into his graveyard, making Laspe a less color-intensive Cancel.

I also think you should stick
with Path to Exile. I know your opponents have stopped searching their libraries to avoid Archive Trap, but that's actually a good thing. If your opponent doesn't search, Path to Exile becomes even better than Swords to Plowshares. You can also play PtE on a creature in response to his pumping instant, which means you'll not only take out a creature, but also make them waste their pump spell.

And that really is what you need to do--make sure you trade your cards for more of your opponent's cards than you spend to do so. That's how Jund built its fame, and that's what you need to do to win against it. Luckily, there's been a card from Rise of the Eldrazi spoiled that's just what you need: Wall of Omens. It's a 0/4 Wall for 1W that draws you a card when you play it, so by the time your opponent kills it, you haven't even lost a card, but he has.

Also, I think you should consider adding black to this deck as well as white. Blue and Black have always been the traditional mill colors. In Alara block, you have Nemesis of Reason, a creature that "attacks" the library. It also gives you access to Agadeem Occultist, today's Card fo the Day by coincidence.

That's right, I'm recommending you re-add the Ally theme. Halimar Excavator is too strong of a repeatable mill to go without, and Jwari Shapeshifter can really turn it into high gear. Plus Ondu Cleric in white, to keep your life buffer up, and Join the Ranks for additional Ally triggers, plus Agadeem Occultist, who can exploit the fact that you're putting your opponents' creature cards into their graveyards, you have the start of a solid Ally mill deck.

There's plenty of other cards you could use, but I'd best stop here before i get too carried away. Here's a sample decklist.


4 Halimar Excavator
4 Jwari Shapeshifter
4 Ondu Cleric
3 Agadeem Occultist
3 Nemesis of Reason

4 Memory Erosion
4 Lapse of Certainty
3 Join the Ranks
4 Path to Exile
4 Archive Trap

4 Arcane Sanctum
2 Swamp
9 Island
8 Plains

If you don't want to work with Allies, that's fine. You can use the extra space for Twincast (to cast on Archive Traps or what else have you), or Wall of Omens, or Wall of Denial, or Kiss of the Amesha, another card that gets you two cards.

And while I know you don't want to rely on rares, and I applaud you for it, Jace Beleren and his later form Jace the Mind Sculptor are both very powerful in milling decks. Beleren shouldn't be too expensive, now that the Mind Sculptor have eclipsed it. Think about it.

Good luck!



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Magic the Gathering Deck Fixes