Everyone knows that casual players love mill cards – cards that win the game by running your opponent out cards, so they lose when they can't draw a card for their turn. An ingenious-but-not-obvious mechanic that Richard Garfield brilliantly included in the original game of Magic, it ensures that the game will (almost) always come to a natural End at some point. Ever since Alpha, players have been obsessed with winning the game through this alternate method, but it very rarely has made it to the competitive tables.
That may be changing.
This is an interesting new take on the archetype, and one that managed to go an undefeated 5-0 in a recent Magic Online league. The big addition is the Hour of Devastation hit Fraying Sanity. If milling your opponent is good, then milling them for double thanks to the Fraying Sanity is great, right? And I don't even know how to describe what it is when you have double Fraying Sanity out and mill your opponent for double, and then double that with the second trigger.
It definitely allows the deck to play fewer mill cards than it would in the past, and that turns out to make a huge difference.
The usual expected pieces are here – Glimpse the Unthinkable and Mind Funeral provides big chunks of mill at a time, while Mesmeric Orb adds up to that or more over the course of a game while also providing a much-needed way to beat the dreaded Leyline of Sanctity. Archive Trap ranges from insane to just good, but the games where you fire off a Trap or two on the first turn feel incredible.
Visions of Beyond is a sweet card (even if it took me a few games to play it properly), and it helps you refill your hand late in the game for the final blow, as does Shelldock Isle. Hedron Crab does, well, Hedron Crab things and gives opponents an awkward choice of whether or not to keep removal in their deck after sideboarding – it's good for Crab, but given that's the only creature in the deck it can become a liability when they're on a clock. Of course, if the Crab goes unchecked it tends to mill upwards of 15 cards a game.
Finally, with the space saved by not having to play cards like Breaking // Entering, we get access to a full eight non-mill cards. Fatal Push and Darkness are perfect for this, allowing you to survive and early rush but still force them to commit to the board, playing into Mesmeric Orb and giving you a lot of extra mill to finish things off. Field of Ruin is another perfect addition to the deck, giving you additional game against Tron and Valakut strategies while also providing another trigger for Hedron Crab or a shuffle effect to trigger Archive Trap without costing you a land the way Ghost Quarter would.
Put it all together, and you've got a heck of a mill deck – one that is absolutely competitive with the top decks in Modern.
Thanks for reading,