Daily Digest: Millstone Mayhem

It’s been a few days, but don’t worry mill players: No one has forgotten you. Ross Merriam tips his hat in your direction with this recently uncovered decklist!

One of the complaints I’ve heard about current Standard is that there is no good graveyard hate to help combat delirium. Vessel of Nascency and the other enablers make achieving delirium quite easy, so Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Traverse the Ulvenwald are very powerful cards, and only counterspells can effectively trade with them one-for-one.

But wanting a straight answer to every problem is a crutch. One of the most beautiful things in Magic is to solve a problem by turning your opponent’s advantage into a liability.

You want to mill a bunch of cards into your graveyard? You go right ahead. In fact, because I’m in a giving mood, I think I’ll help you out a little. Put another three cards in. And another three. Okay, thirteen more. Another two. Two. Counter that. Kill that. Bounce everything. Oh? You only have ten cards left? Mill thirteen again, I win. Kind of a lucky way to win.

But you know luck had nothing to do with it.

Most of this list is a classic U/B Control deck: a collection of counterspells, removal, and card draw. Crush of Tentacles is a great sweeper for this kind of deck because you don’t need to literally remove every creature from the battlefield, just buy time for your mill elements to do their thing.

Of those mill elements, Minister of Inquiries is the most aggressive. Landing it on turn 1 before most decks get off the ground will let you start the clock early and keep going as your many energy producers ensure you don’t run out of ammunition.

Manic Scribe has a similarly aggressive posture, but it serves double duty as a defensive creature against aggressive decks, although unfortunately three toughness doesn’t match up too well against small creatures outside of Inventor’s Apprentice.

Most games, you’ll be using those creatures to do most of the damage while your control elements buy time until your opponent is in Startled Awake range. Most people will have a mental clock in their head for the creatures that Startled Awake will completely destroy. I doubt you rebuy it that often, but in long games against other control decks, it’s a valuable option to have.

I imagine this deck struggles a lot with W/R Vehicles and I’m not sure about the W/U Flash matchup, but being able to beat one of the big two while retaining a close matchup against the other will put you in a good position, even if you have major holes elsewhere in the metagame. Narrow formats are generally good for off-the-wall strategies because you can focus more on what you are doing than what your opponents are doing. I expect to see more wacky decks like this one pop up over the next month or two, which should make my job easy!