Monday, October 12, 2009

Milling Deck (Zendikar Standard).

With the advent of a new Magic the Gathering set is the usual flurry of deck-building, and as always I find myself drawn towards building a mill deck in some shape or form.

Quick aside for those who don't know, Magic is a collectible card game where you are a powerful wizard called a 'planeswalker'. The objective is to beat other planeswalkers (players) in one-on-one or multiplayer duels. This is achieved primarily by either reducing an opponent's life to zero or running the opponent out of cards (although other less common ways to win do exist). This deck takes the latter option.

Here's the deck I played over the weekend at a local competition. It's pretty decent, going 3-2 against my opponents, and very fun to play! Not bad considering that I assembled it in about 15 minutes! There's still lots of room for improvement though, and I'll be tweaking the deck as time permits over the next few weeks.

Blue/White/Black Mill (Zendikar Standard)

Creatures (6)

Spells (24)

Artifacts (4)

Planeswalkers (3)

Land (23)
4 x Arcane Sanctum
3 x Island
2 x Plains
2 x Swamp

Sideboard (15)
4 x Twincast (more milling ammunition/"reflecting" a spell at the opponent)
4 x Safe Passage (damage prevention)
3 x Esper Charm (disruption and enchantment removal)
2 x Baneslayer Angel (alternative win condition)
2 x Telemin Performance (additional milling + good against creature-light control decks)
1 x Haunting Echoes (graveyard removal + additional milling)


One major stumbling block the deck faces is extremely fast and aggressive decks. My first loss piloting this build came to a Red/White aggressive deck. Basically it's hard to play and win when you're on the backfoot from start to finish. As they say, the best defense is a good offense, eh?

The other major stumbling block is any deck that happens to run Progenitus, Darksteel Colossus or the supremely annoying Quest for Ancient Secrets - cards which either put themselves back into the library or shuffles the graveyard into the library, thereby negating all the work that I've been doing. My second loss came when my opponent cast and later activated his Quest for Ancient Secrets TWICE during the game, necessitating me to mill his library all over again two more times! Needless to say, I lost. On the bright side, I now know that the deck can mill for over 150 cards if given a chance.

Deck changes

Early damage prevention or disruption out of the sideboard is essential versus fast aggressive decks, although I'm not sure what to add. Graveyard removal is another priority, especially to counter cards like Quest for Ancient Secrets or reanimation strategies - I'll be adding Relic of Progenitus to the sideboard for this.

Another possible sideboard inclusion is black removal spells to deal with frustrating irritants like Iona, Shield of Emeria which can stop my spell-casting dead it its tracks (set to Blue to prevent me milling, or set to White to prevent me disrupting their game plan).

Twincast and Telemin Performance were never utilised in any of my matches, nor did I ever have a need to cast either, so I'll probably be taking those cards out. Baneslayer Angel is a bit of a conundrum for me, because even though she never saw play, it's always good to have a backup alternative win condition just in case.

Any Magic players out there with any thoughts/comments/suggestions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I built a similar deck and I have to say that the best card out of the lot is that mind funeral. Crazy mill if it works right. I've also seen Traumatize in the deck and that seems to kick ass if you can survive that long. Telemin Performance is a great sideboard against Cascade decks too.
I think that the major understated card is Haunting Echos. I only had one in my deck but it kicked A$$ every time I managed to get it out. In standard play, everyone is playing a playset of everything so after a archive trap and/or a mind funeral, I've seen my opponent loose most of their deck. And the best part is it's removed from the game!
Finally, I completely agree that the relic of Progenitus is necessary in this deck. I got totally stomped by both an unearth deck and a knight of reliquary deck.