Monday, March 16, 2015

Modern Mondays: Mill

Welcome back to Modern Mondays! I've been busy working on our sales at TCGPlayer as well as maintaining Dragons of Tarkir spoilers, but I think it's about time for me to jump right back into deck builds.

During my travels through the multiverse over the past month, I've visited such wonderful places as Ravnica and Zendikar in search of some inspiration and I'm slowly piecing together the mental magic that is Mill. Please join me while I introduce you to a Modern Mill deck!

For those who do not know, Mill is basically removing an opponent's library. Story-wise, you're wiping another planeswalker's (your opponent) memory (deck) of spells. Blue wipes without caring while black pinpoints and removes specific spells. When you pair these together and consider some of the most powerful Mill spells available, you get an impressive arsenal.

U/B Mill


x4 Hedron Crab
x4 Jace's Phantasm


x4 Watery Grave
x4 Polluted Delta
x4 Underground River
x3 Island
x1 Swamp


x2 Isochron Scepter
x2 Trepanation Blade
x2 Sword of Body and Mind

Other Spells

x4 Dream Twist
x4 Horrifying Revelation
x4 Thought Scour
x4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
x4 Mind Sculpt
x4 Hinder
x4 Archive Trap
x2 Increasing Confusion


x2 Relic of Progenitus
x3 Surgical Extraction
x3 Spellskite
x3 Remand
x2 Dissipate
x2 Clever Impersonator

With the main deck, there should not be more than 3 mana paid for any spell. Of course, while converted mana cost is low, the deck cost is pretty steep. Some things will be fine, but the mana base will wind up around $80 to $100 by itself, and while many of the spells are cheap, playsets of Glimpse the Unthinkable and Archive Trap will together set you back about $120. Granted the average cost of a Modern deck is several hundred, as long as you've been playing for a few years, you likely have everything you need or can get them, especially while the big cost of the mana base can be found in Gatecrash and Khans of Tarkir. So let's check out what everything is here for...

Hedron Crab  Jace's Phantasm

Hedron Crab is here for the Landfall ability. Pair it with a 0/2 body, and it'll be used as a decent blocker for a turn or two.

Jace's Phantasm serves as secondary win condition. A 5/5 with flying is perfect. Your opponent will likely have at least ten cards in his or her graveyard by turn two, so a 5/5 swinging in is fantastic.

Isochron Scepter  Trepanation Blade  Sword of Body and Mind

Who doesn't love to cast their spells over and over and over? Isochron Scepter is here just for that. Exile any instant speed mill spell and you'll be casting it every turn. If you use Thought Scour, sure you're paying one more mana each time, but you mill your opponent and continue to draw.

Trepanation Blade is here for any game that goes long. Strap it to an Invisible Stalker (now see why he's here?) and you have a creature hitting hard and an opponent having to mill their library just because an untargetable, unblockable creature got in their way.

Sword of Body and Mind is also for a longer game, but it gives you creatures for attacking/blocking and mills opponent's cards. Not a bad combination.

Dream Twist  Horrifying Revelation  Thought Scour

Dream twist mills three cards and does it again the next turn. It's cheap, fast, and instant speed. Instant speed is important later when we consider the sideboard...

Horrifying Revelation is here just as a way to discard but also mill. Your opponent gets to choose, but I wanted a theme. If you have them, feel free to substitute Thoughtseize and/or Inquisition of Kozilek.

Thought Scour... Milling an opponent and gaining you cards. Just need to be able to do it every turn for card advantage... Wait, you can! So this explains Isochron Scepter.

  Glimpse the Unthinkable  Mind Sculpt  Hinder

Glimpse the Unthinkable is one of the all-stars of the deck. two mana for the top 10 cards of a library. Self explanatory if you ask me...

Mind Sculpt is also pretty obvious. It's not as great as Glimpse the Unthinkable, but seven cards still isn't too bad.

Hinder is important to this deck as a counter spell. It stops spells and places it on top of your opponent's library. You can then mill it on your turn or with an instant. That will slow down an opponent and take out some powerful threat.

Archive Trap  Increasing Confusion

In Modern, Archive Trap is the absolute best mill spell. Any time an opponent cracks a fetchland, they'll mill thirteen cards and you won't have to pay to cast it. Since fetchlands are used mostly in the first couple of turns to fix mana, this is perfect for the deck.

Increasing Confusion is a bit of an afterthough, but if you get enough mana, you could mill a decent amount and flash it back later to mill more cards.

Watery Grave  Polluted Delta  Underground River

You don't need much black mana. Just a little in the sideboard, Glimpse the Unthinkable, and Horrifying Revelation/Thoughtseize/Inquisition of Kozilek/whichever card you stick in that slot. Watery Grave and Underground River take care of that. Polluted Delta finds you Watery Grave or the single Swamp in the deck, so there aren't any problems here.

Let's now check out the sideboard...

Relic of Progenitus  Surgical Extraction  Spellskite

So what happens if you're going against some sort of dredge deck or Living End? Exile a graveyard. You're milling and hoping your opponent won't benefit from it so this helps solves that problem.

Surgical Extraction has so many application... When you mill cards, you can take anything you find in the graveyard and remove it. Take away Splinter Twin, remove one of the TRON lands to screw with your opponent's mana base, remove a key piece from Affinity (like Cranial Plating, Arcbound Ravager, etc.) or just take anything that could screw up your opponent. There are always at least one or two cards that ruin an opponent's deck and Surgical Extraction will help you do it.

Spellskite is perfect to protect you against Burn and Bogles. Take the burn spells to Spellskite instead of to yourself, suck in some enchantments to swing with, etc. Can't go wrong here.

Remand  Dissipate  Clever Impersonator

Remand is another counter spell with built in card draw. Seems decent enough...

Dissipate is also an extra counter spell. I began to run out of ideas for the deck's sideboard. Since the purpose is to mill, and the secondary purpose is to attack with creatures.

Honestly with Clever Impersonator, I was pretty much out of ideas on what to do and I remembered I could make Clever Impersonator anything. It copies any powerful creature, you can make your own planeswalker to compete with your opponent's copy, pretty much the possibilities are endless. If we can't mill, we might as well make this deck a control deck, right?

There are several more cards that could fit in here, but I just wanted to make the deck as simple to play as possible.

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