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Sean Handy on Magic
Back by popular demand: Mill!
April 25, 2012

"I hate playing against this"

"Play a real deck cheeseball"

"I'd say good game, but, it wasn't, let's be honest"

If these are sentences that make you happy to play Magic: the Gathering, and similar games, rejoice! For, this is the article for you. If, you are weak-hearted and prefer a more straightforward way of playing the game, well, you may be the wiser not to read any further, today I'll be talking about a deck archetype as old as the game itself, mill.

Mill comes from the namesake card of the original deck "Millstone". For those who are newer to the game

Millstone
(2)
Artifact
(2), Tap: Target player puts the top two cards of his/her library into their graveyard.

Since the printing of millstone, an entirely new way of playing magic became all too real, causing player's gears to start running on overdrive with all of the possibilities.

Mill in standard at the moment has two 'accepted' (that is a term being used /VERY/ loosely) methods of milling.

1. Milling
2. Turbo Fog

People who know me know that I prefer the Turbo Fog archetype, though both have their ups and their downs. I'll go into detail (as best I can) with both of the strategies in this article.

I'll start with the more common of the two strategies with a standard mill deck and some popular cards in the archetype right now

Jace, Memory Adept
Jace's Archivist
Jace's Erasure
Dream Twist
Shriekhorn
Nephalia Drownyard
Increasing Confusion
Thought Scour
Belltower Sphinx*
Mindcrank*
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Ghoulcaller's Bell
Decimator Web*
Chill of Forboding*

There are a couple of different ways to approach the mill archetype, I'm going to present a really straightforward "mill em as fast as you can" approach, and then a couple of cuter approaches.

UB Mill
As presented by Sean Handy

Lands (25)
3 Nephalia Drownyard
4 Ghost Quarter
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Darkslick Shores
6 Island
4 Swamp

Creatures (0)

Enchantments (4)
4 Jace's Erasure

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Jace, Memory Adept

Artifacts (4)
3 Shriekhorn
1 Ghoulcaller's Bell

Instants (17)
4 Thoughtscour
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
3 Forbidden Alchemy
4 Mana Leak
3 Tragic Slip
2 Dissipate

Sorceries
3 Increasing Confusion
4 Black Sun's Zenith

This is mostly a UB control list that is much more dedicated to the mill plan than most (hence the loss of grave titan and friends). The list is very rough, but, overall it plays a lot more tapout than standard UB with the enchantments, artifacts, and x-spell sorceries. The forbidden alchemys really help speed the deck up (naturally) but they also serve a purpose of dumping increasing confusion straight to the graveyard.

-cool play to keep in mind-
You can play Increasing Confusion from your hand for x=0 just to put in in your graveyard and go straight to doubling the mill on it, if you are planning to spend your mana on other things for awhile, effectively making it a spell that reads
Increasing Confusion
UUX
Target player mills twice X. Exile increasing confusion."
-end cool play-

The next list is a cuter variant of the deck that my friend at locals played for a couple of tournies (I promise this isn't my deck idea). I don't know his exact list, but here is what I would do with it.

Mill Ramp
As presented by Sean Handy

Lands (26)
2 Nephalia Drownyard
4 Hinterland Harbor
2 Drowned Catacombs
1 Swamp
10 Forest
7 Island

Creatures (11)
4 Primeval Titan
3 Birds of Paradise
4 Solemn Simulacrum

Sorceries (8)
4 Rampant Growth
4 Increasing Confusion

Enchantments (4)
4 Rites of Flourishing

Artifacts (6)
4 Sphere of Suns
2 Batterskull

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Jace, Memory Adept

Instants (2)
1 Beast Within
1 Blue Sun's Zenith

Again, a very rough list, but, if you love slamming Primeval Titan even half as much as I do, I'd say this is a really fun deck to play around with.

Next up, I'm going to talk some about the Turbo Fog archetype. For those who don't know how the deck works, it is the most not-fun you can ever have with a game of Magic: The Gathering. I personally love it, but, I love lock-down strategies. The whole premise of the deck is that you will actually make your opponent draw their whole deck, you won't really mill them at all unless you play Memory Adept. Don't be confused though, you literally just run them out of threats and they're aren't able to reduce your life to 0 before they have to draw and are unable to. Here is a list, for example.

Lands (27)
2 Seachrome Coast
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Sunpetal Grove
2 Razorverge Thicket
4 Hinterland Harbor
3 Evolving Wilds
1 Buried Ruin
3 Island
3 Plains
2 Forest

Creatures (6)
3 Snapcaster Mage
3 Stonehorn Dignitary

Artifacts (1)
1 Elixer of Immortality

Instants (12)
4 Fog
4 Moonmist
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
3 Dissipate

Planeswalkers (7)
2 Karn, Liberated
1 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Venser, The Sojourner
2 Gideon Jura

Sorceries (3)
3 Day of Judgment

Enchantments (4)
4 Rites of Flourishing

Literally what this deck does is stall your opponent out of cards. There is the crazy Venser/Stonehorn combo that, if unanswered, makes your opponent unable to attack ever. There are also ways of winning faster if you play memory adept or start going nuts with Karn. The biggest thing about this deck that newer players have trouble realizing with fog styled effects, you don't need to fog until you get to 'problem' lifetotals. If you're at 20 and they're attacking for 6, just take it. Who really cares? That isn't worth a fog. You could almost view the deck as a Bant Super-Friends. That stalls. And doesn't actually kill you opponent fairly. There are also few things as wonderful as flashing in a Snapcaster Mage to give Fog Flashback until end of turn. I know that it doesn't seem awesome, but, don't bash it 'till you've tried it.

I can't honestly say that any of the aforementioned decks are tier one, or, even tier 2, for that matter, but, I will say that they are incredibly fun, as well as relatively easy to pilot. The first list is relatively inexpensive (Jaces and Darkslicks being basically the whole cost) if you want to try it for yourself.

Feel free to try and contact me on any of the various social media websites
youtube: TheMcShakeAlchemist
pojo forums: Themcshakealchemis (no T)
email: andro_sphinx@yahoo.com
facebook: facebook.com/shakezilluh
twitter: Paper_gangsta_

I'd love to chat about anything in mtg and get to know some of the people with the patience to read my articles.

Thanks for reading!
Sean Handy
"The McShake Alchemist"

*These cards are bad**, do not let anyone tell you differently.
**Seriously, I would rather have basics out of my packs than these


 

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