Let's move past stock archetypes like Golos and Oko decks, and onto something a bit more obscure! This deck is trying to mill itself as rapidly as possible, and recur Arclight Phoenix to eventually kill the opponent. It's like a combination of Modern Dredge, Izzet Phoenix and a mill deck. You aren't trying to deck out your opponent though, which makes it different from a traditional mill strategy. While it is possible to turn the tables and mill the opponent out, it normally isn't necessary, because it is easier to kill with Arclight Phoenixes and Creeping Chills.
Many of these cards have been in Standard for a little while now, but the archetype only recently resurfaced after the printing of Merfolk Secretkeeper, which is both a mill effect and an early blocker.
This deck may look underpowered because it plays a lot of cards we don't normally see in Constructed. Unsummon and Merfolk Secretkeeper play an important role though, and it isn't about the cards being individually powerful so much as working well together. We only have so many cheap blue cards to choose from.
In many ways this is a combo deck. It requires aggressively mulliganing to find the most important card for your opening hand. I talked about this during the games and it showed: the games when we had a turn-two Drowned Secrets were totally different from the games when we didn't. It's tough to get enough velocity going and mill through your deck fast enough without Drowned Secrets on the battlefield. On the other hand, there are cards you don't want to naturally draw like Creeping Chill, Narcomoeba and Arclight Phoenix. Flooding on too many of these is an easy way to lose.
Some of these matches were a bit odd. I was definitely not expecting to play against a mill deck, and it is basically impossible to lose when your opponent is helping fill up your graveyard for you. There will be times when you can play toward milling yourself out and winning with Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. The aggressive matchups have been the toughest in my experience, which is why there are cards like Cerulean Drake and Aether Gust to combat red decks.
This deck is a blast to play. I actually like the Golos Matchup quite a bit, and that is the most popular deck right now. Golos is a relatively slow deck, and the sideboard countermagic and Ashiok, Dream Render are great here. We don't know yet if there will be a banning in Standard, but if there is I don't expect it to impact this deck!
Seth Manfield is a professional Magic player and member of both the Magic Hall of Fame and the 2019 Magic Pro League.
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