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Thread: Competitive Mill

  1. #1
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    Competitive Mill

    A few weeks back, there was some discussion about making mill competitive (or at least playable) in Legacy. As it so happens, Mind Funeral came into our possession, and joy was had. I've had a casual mill deck for years, which really only included Glimpse the Unthinkable and Panoptic Mirror, but with Alara Reborn we, the mill enthusiasts have been given Nemesis of Reason and Mind Funeral. I've started piecing some things together, and posted a list I had in another thread. The deck has gone away from the 70-card beast posted else ware, and has turned into the beast presented shortly.

    As you may/may not be aware of, there are two ways to win in Magic: run the opponents out of cards, or put their life total to 0. The latter can be done via creatures, spells, storm combo, etc. This thread will focus on the former via non-storm combo. Is my list the one and only? No. Would I love to hear suggestions and possible decklists? Absolutely, but I must stress that this is for non-storm combo. After a long read, I present Mill, Version 3 as of May 30 2009:

    Competitive Mill
    4 Underground Sea
    4 Polluted Delta
    1 Flooded Strand
    2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    2 Watery Grave
    1 Maze of Ith
    2 Shelldock Isle
    5 Island
    3 Swamp

    3 Nemesis of Reason
    3 Fog Bank
    3 Gilded Drake

    4 Damnation
    4 Force of Will
    4 Mind Funeral
    4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
    4 Smother
    4 Brainstorm
    2 Traumatize
    2 Haunting Echoes
    2 Panoptic Mirror/Wipe Away

    Possible Sideboard
    3 Arcane Laboratory
    3 Chill
    3 Veldaken Shackles
    3 Pithing Needle
    3 Extirpate


    I'll also try to enlighten you with my reasons for card choices:

    Underground Sea: The deck needs blue and black, thus, auto-include
    Polluted Delta: Fetches either black or blue lands that I require
    Flooded Strand: The deck cried for another fetch, this one does so nicely.
    Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: Helps with colour fixing, makes Maze, Shelldock, fetches, etc. tap for black.
    Watery Grave: Just can't get enough dual lands that are on-colour.
    Maze of Ith: when drawn, can allow a nice stall if the opponent is using a single, large threat, helps in the defense, which is what you're playing.
    Shelldock Isle: Digs for four cards. This was Lim-Dul's Vault, but that wasn't working out. The last twenty cards are usually the hardest, and having a nice trick under this when the game comes to a close is always handy; taps for blue.
    Island/Swamp: Basics to round out the lands/protect against Moon/Wasteland.
    Nemesis of Reason: The MVP of creatures in this deck. Is a fantastic blocker, and usually comes down after a Damnation. Mills ten cards before blocking, so even one attack can put Shelldock online/puts more cards into the yard. He does cost 5, but in this deck, he is reusable mill.
    Fog Bank: Trample does go over him, can be bolted, smothered, etc. but, he does nicely jump non-trampling fatties that flood legacy (mongoose, goyf, stalker, etc. Can really help the creature slowing process.
    Gilded Drake: Usually played after a Fog Bank, it nicely steals something that you could use/block with. Was Sower, but this is much faster to come out. All in all, a nice card, and pitches to FoW.
    Damnation: The deck doesn't play many creatures, and creatures are the main kill condition of legacy, I would think. This nicely buys you extra turns to mill/sweeps the board, and is a lovely surprise under Shelldock/Panoptic Mirror (who needs mill when you Wrath every turn?)
    Force of Will: Protects a crucial backbreaker, or stops something that you can't deal with from coming into play.
    Mind Funeral: My mainboard tech against two land belcher (har-har). In actuality, this card usually ends up milling for 10+ cards, and my personal record is 36 off of a Thresh deck (he wasn't laughing). This is the main mill spell of choice to be put under an Isle, as it will usually clear most of the final cards in their library.
    Glimpse the unthinkable: The most efficient mill spell.
    Smother: Did I mention this deck hates creatures? Kills Nacatl, Figure, Goyf, Confidant, etc.
    Traumatize: Seems a little casual, but can be a great card if it lands. If not, it pitches. Usually when this comes down, it mills for 20, which may not seem great, but 20 is 20.
    Haunting Echoes: Accelerates the mill process. Is really good when there are 15+ in the yard, which is easily done. It's a nice finisher when it gets right to the end of the library.
    The extra slot: Panoptic Mirror/Wipe Away: I know Panoptic Mirror seems like a really casual dollar rare, but in this deck, it can be interesting. Any spell put on here (minus FoW) can really help you out. Favourite imprints include Damnation, Mind Funeral, and Traumatize. It is slow to get out, but you're slowing the game anyway. Wipe Away was my other choice, as more bounce is always good. Virtually uncounterable (what cb player leaves 3cc on top?) and returns another that is giving me the gears.

    63 Cards? What?
    Yes, the deck is 63 cards. I am a believer in the 63-card deck. I've always played decks of 63, as 3 extra doesn't greatly hurt your chances mathematically topdecking the win (the percentage is small), and allows me to run a 3-of that can really help me out. Does 60 cards improve my chances of lucksacking a win? Yes, numbers don't lie. Is it nice to have that extra tech in there for a tiny drawback? To me, it is. Perhaps to you it isn't. I could cut this deck down 60, but as of yet, it sits at 63.

    I really want to know what you guys think. I would say give it a try on workstation. Is it the new Threshold? No. Is it super cool to win via milling an opponent? Oh dear sweet baby Jesus it is. I will try to update this with coll pictures and banners, if someone is willing to make this thread look beautiful!

    Thanks, and comments are appreciated!

    -Matt
    Last edited by sdematt; 06-03-2009 at 10:41 AM.

  2. #2
    The Courage Wolf
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I don't know how the hell you put Glimpse on Scepter (which is what I assume you did looking at your little intro).

    This seems too slow to be labeled "competitive" to me. A lot of your spells cost 5...kinda makes any deck packing a lot of land disruption (Eva Green, Lands, Thrash, even Goblins, etc) a real bitch. Even being held off for a few turns of disruption is doing a ton for these decks.

    I do like the concept of mill. I do however believe that you need to make it more like control with a mill main finish. You could probably do Ub CBTop Control and start work from there. I'd cut out Traumatize and Nemesis personally...to slow.

    Although this may not be the greatest idea, Mystical Tutor has some synergy with this style of deck. A single blue mana gives you tutor to find your mill and/or gets you a specific CC on top. It allows you to run a wide variety of sideboard hate as well. Again, maybe not the best idea however.

    EDIT: "As you may/may not be aware of, there are two ways to win in Magic: run the opponents out of cards, or put their life total to 0"
    Door to Nothingness :P.

  3. #3

    Re: Competitive Mill

    I'm not sure how well it works in practice, but Natural Balance / New Frontiers -> Mind Funeral is pretty funny.

    There still aren't quite enough cards for 'deck burn' to work so well. Combo based mill like Solidarity or Painter Grindstone, or even Helm of Obedience/Lleyline of the Void seems to work better with one or two cards that completely wipe out the opponent's deck.

    P.S. There are also card-based wins like Battle of Wits and poison counters.

  4. #4
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    whoops, just a bit of a mistake there :D, was thinking Panoptic Mirror. I meant the two fundamental ways, but yeah, Door, Coalition victory, etc. can win you the game, yeah. Also, I know that Storm Combo mill/Painter's Servant is more effective, I'm just trying to work on one deck that isn't those mill those decks. Any other suggestions guys?

  5. #5
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    Is 4 counterspells really enough? I feel like there definitely should be more in a control deck, let alone one that is so vulnerable. Add in either 4 counterspell, or maybe 2 counterspell and 2 spell snare.

    Also you need more control elements. Consider removing all the creatures (except for maybe 2 NoR) for things like propaganda, more counters, and vedalken shackles. If you really want to keep Fog Bank, consider splashing white for wall of denial instead. The should act like control in that it has only several win conditions, with lots of control elements. Worse comes to worse, you deck the person via stalling.

    Also definitely consider 2 Jace beleran.

    You have 63 cards, and although you mentioned that you are fine with that, it is the easiest thing in the world to get rid of 3 cards because there are so many "danger of cool things" cards in this deck, like traumatize, haunting echoes and panoptic mirror. Maybe stick with 2 of either traumatize or haunting echoes, or one of each?

    Hope that gives you some ideas of where to take the deck.

  6. #6

    Re: Competitive Mill

    Quote Originally Posted by sdematt View Post
    whoops, just a bit of a mistake there :D, was thinking Panoptic Mirror. I meant the two fundamental ways, but yeah, Door, Coalition victory, etc. can win you the game, yeah. Also, I know that Storm Combo mill/Painter's Servant is more effective, I'm just trying to work on one deck that isn't those mill those decks. Any other suggestions guys?
    You're going into casual and which is, of course, just fine, but this is the wrong place for that.

    I'm guessing that you're looking for something non-conventional, so Solitary Confinement and stasis-lock are off the list. There's a bunch of ramp up/infinite combos which can easily use deck death finishes (Second Sunrise, Kiki-Jiki, Swans of Brynn Agol, Reveillark, High Tide, Cadaverous Bloom and so on.)

    I'd guess that Forced Fruition is one of the stronger choices for 'deck burning'. There's also Shocker/Barbed Shocker/Dragon Mage/Magus of the Jar stuff. It might also be interesting in BR with Kederket Parasite, Underworld Dreams or Chains of Mephistopholes, and so on.

  7. #7
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I'm not trying to make it casual, I'm trying to improve it for Legacy actually :D
    Before, it was casual (before Nemesis etc.), but now, I think it has potential. And har-har about why not just build another deck.

    I actually used to splash white before for wall of denial, I just found that three colours made it much harder to run (more susceptible to land-screw), but it did work great. I'll rework it in. But yeah, I could cut it down to 60 although I'd be a tad saddened :D

    The new list I've made up drops a bunch of filler for Counter-Balance-top, and it seems to be going pretty well.

  8. #8

    Re: Competitive Mill

    In concept, playing a bunch of spells that wipe out the opponent's deck can be strong, and in strong colors (U/B). The problem is that there aren't really enough solid deck destroying spells available -- Glimpse, Mind Funeral, Brain Freeze and not much else. In practical terms you'd have to see 1/3 to 1/2 of the deck, and land all of the spells to make it stick. I think the concept needs 2 or 3 more good decking spells to really work. If you try to use draw and acceleration to mitigate that, you end up with storm combo, and control and tutor elements lead to painter/grindstone.

  9. #9
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I think the obvious problem with slow mill (as opposed to "fast mill" like solidarity and painter) is that graveyard based strategies make up such a large percentage of the format. Goyf? Mongoose? Lavamancer? Tombstalker? Loam? ICHORID?

    So yes, the title of this thread is an oxymoron.

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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I used to run Fog Bank as 4-of in my U/B Mill deck, but I found it sub-par. Typically it would either get Plowed or Burned out. In it's place I put Ensnaring Bridge and haven't looked back.

    Also - Drift of Phantasms can provide protection or can be transmuted for:
    Mind Funeral
    Ensnaring Bridge
    Infest - I run this as my sweeper of choice since I run Bridge to stop fatties
    Propaganda

    This ended up being my wife's deck to play and she enjoys it quite a lot. Once I get home, I can post the list if you'd like.

  11. #11

    Re: Competitive Mill

    What a great idea! I love it!

    I've had some success with Competitive Mill. However, this was in a standard environment and was more of a side event than tournament play. Here's what I can tell ya:

    Nemesis of Reason: This card really needs vigilance. As is it's too win-more.

    Gilded Drake: I'm not entirely sure what the interaction is here. Wipe Away? I think this slot could be replace with more countermagic or removal.

    Traumatize: I never liked it. It's much to expensive to cast and the reward is not worth it if you run other mill cards. Try replacing this with Mesmeric Orb. It's a much better investment over the course of the game.

    Panoptic Mirror: I don't think this card belongs. It's worse than Isochron Scepter and I don't think I would play Scepter in this deck.


    This deck sure screams Propaganda. Between Maze of Ith and Fog Bank you have creature wall which forces your opponent tap out or not attack. The rest of tpnp's suggestions are solid as well.

  12. #12
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I don't think the title is an oxymoron.

    I definitely appreciate the suggestions, and am reworking the deck as we speak. I will post a list on Friday.

  13. #13
    The Courage Wolf
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    So I decided to take a crack at a version of the deck. I ended up with this.

    1 Academy Ruins
    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Underground Sea
    2 Swamp
    3 Island

    4 Dark Confidant
    3 Trinket Mage

    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Counterbalance
    3 SDT
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Smother
    4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
    4 Mind Funeral
    3 Mystical Tutor
    1 Engineered Explosives

    SB
    2 Hydroblast
    2 BEB
    1 Relic of Progenitus
    1 Pithing Needle
    2 Tormod's Crypt
    3 Duress
    1 Echoing Truth
    1 Wipe Away
    1 Rebuild
    1 Extirpate

    Mind Funeral was pretty awesome. I only did 3-4 games but it hit between 8 and 17 cards with an average of about 13. I don't think I like Mystical Tutor too much. It was nice to give a 3cc card on top, but that's about it. It basically gave me Mind Funerals. I never tutored for a Glimpse. I think the deck needs some serious work...I felt mana heavy some games and mana light other games. Also I think I want more removal or pack extra in the board.

    White splash is an option I've considered. Better removal, makes EE better, strong potential beaters, and gives better options for SB tech. Also I'd like to add Spell Snare and possibly Shackles. Basically go for a NLU build with no green and mill wins. Not sure yet.

    Feedback and ideas wanted and appreciated.

  14. #14
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    You shouldn't run Daze if you have no pressure. Try Twincast. Opt to play no creatures in the deck and instead run Damnation and Innocent Blood. Run 1-2 copies of Yawgmoth's Agenda for the late game.

    You can be daring and run a transformation sideboard of Raven Guild Master, Nemesis of Reason, and Scalpelexis since most opponents will side out all the creature hate against you.

    I would also splash red for Wheel of Fate. If you get there, consider Shelldock Isle since your already running Brainstorms. Use the Shelldock ability to hide Szadek, Decree of Silence, Forced Fruitation, or Crumbling Sanctuary. Forced Fruitation really gets there if you can protect it with Remand or Counterspell.
    You know that nightmare where your running but you just can't get away...

  15. #15
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    Wouldn't reanimate be a possibility to improve this deck? Or at least other ways to abuse the large graveyard your opponent will have? Cards like Terravore come to mind...but that would require double green...but they're significantly better than a Fog Bank or Gilded Drake.
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I don't post often on these board (more of a voyeur, really), but here's some thoughts:

    1) I don't think this concept is viable at the moment, the format is simply too fast if you ask me. I like rogue decks (and Mind Funeral) as much as anyone, but I doubt it this deck can have any success in competitive legacy.

    2) Now that we have (1) out of the way, some suggestions for the deck.
    * First, try Ghost Quarter. It's sort-of like Wasteland (well, not really) and it pulls lands from their deck => seems cool with Mind Funeral. Occasionally it will even serve as a full-on wasteland (hello Nassif.deck).
    * Play some discard spells (Thoughtseize, Duress). They will buy you some time and let you save your FoW's for the most important targets.
    * Put Extirpate in the main deck. Works great with discard and even better with Ghost Quarter/Mind Funeral. I would prefer these over Haunting Echoes and Traumatize.
    * I think I'd rather play twincast than Panoptic Mirror. Twincast is more versatile and serves a similar function.
    * You need some sort of carddrawing mechanism. Jace is nice, although I'm not sure whether you will be able to keep him alive. Thoughtseizes will help you achieve this though.

    Anyway, hope some of these ideas prove to be useful.

    Tom

  17. #17
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I'm liking these suggestions. Again, I'm not wanting it to be the next deck to beat, just something that can get in a tournament and do decently well. Tis a pet project of mine :D

    I'm liking the creatureless main/creature sideboard, and/or splashing white. Keep the suggestions up, I'm liking it! I'll post tomorrow with a list...

    Cheers!

    Matt

  18. #18
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    Quote Originally Posted by NiRVeS View Post
    Put Extirpate in the main deck. Works great with discard and even better with Ghost Quarter/Mind Funeral.
    Yes! This will tear through decks. Run a mock deck and see how much of a big difference it does. You don't have to live test this, just use statistics. Proxy up a deck like Standstill or U/G control and try it out.

    Spash green for Veteran Explorer? He rips two lands out of the opponent's deck while boosting you as well. Mana ramp yourself to a big Nightmare Incursion - rip as many lands out of the deck as you can - next turn, Mind Funeral and Twincast. Unlogical but live the dream man... live it.

    I think Legacy is the wrong format for this deck. Most of the good mill cards fit into Extended. I would consider playing this deck in Extended rather than Legacy.
    You know that nightmare where your running but you just can't get away...

  19. #19
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    Re: Competitive Mill

    I'll try and build it for legacy, but we can also port it to Extended as well!

  20. #20

    Re: Competitive Mill

    I agree with Team-Hero. What does Legacy give to competitive mill really? Gilded Drake? Fog Bank? Every deck already runs 4 Force of Will in Legacy.

    You could port this deck to Extended and it would not lose a thing. In fact, it would gain a lot more just from the downgraded competition. And since the best mill cards are from Ravinca onwards, you could run this deck in Extended tournaments for years to come.

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