The new Grixis-colored faction in New Capenna, the Maestros, seem to have a bit of an interest in milling opponents out. There’s Cut Your Losses, the latest Traumatize-style card with the added bonus of casualty to copy it, and even the faction leader, Lord Xander, mills out half a library every time he attacks. Milling is a much-beloved (if not hugely successful) strategy in Magic – let’s have a look at some of the best tools in a mill deck’s arsenal!
10. Glimpse the Unthinkable
We begin with a classic, the starting point for any 60-card mill deck. It’s not very good in Commander, as it can only hit a single player and not the entire team. Nonetheless, this card offers just about the best mana-to-cards-milled ratio you’re going to find in 1v1 Magic, and was generally included as a four-of in any dedicated mill deck in, say, Modern. These days, where turbo-mill decks are generally found in Commander, Glimpse has fallen off a long way, but you’ve got to pay respects to the classics.
9. Fractured Sanity
A relative newcomer to mill decks, Fractured Sanity offers a great return on investment in terms of mana-to-cards-milled, almost as good as Glimpse! The key thing here, however, is that this one hits each opponent, not just one, and so in EDH will often hit 42 cards rather than just 14. Not bad at all, particularly if you’ve fired off a couple of Traumatize effects. Plus, the cycling ability is always welcome, warming up the mill engines a little bit while also digging you further into your library.
8. Mind Grind
EDH mill decks sometimes restrict themselves to just one color – blue – but others add black, and there are some very good reasons to do so. Cards such as Mind Grind can be huge, late game spells where X is large enough to mill out the table. If you dump 10 or more mana into this sucker, you’re going to hit, what, 30 cards per player? If they’ve been searching lands up with fetchlands or Farseeks, Mind Grind is going to make short work of your opponents.
7. Court of Cunning
There are a bunch of three-drop enchantments that have a triggered ability to mill out a few cards. Psychic Corrosion, Sphinx’s Tutelage, Memory Erosion – they all, broadly speaking, do the same thing, milling people out little by little as you play a natural game. Court of Cunning, however, takes this to a whole new level if you can defend your crown as the monarch. Rather than mill two cards like all the other three-drops, it mills 10, per opponent. That is a lot, and will incinerate opposing decks extremely quickly! The hard part, of course, is holding onto the monarchy with a mill deck…
6. Bruvac the Grandiloquent
If you’ve ever complained that your mill decks don’t feel impactful enough, try resolving mill spells with Bruvac the Grandiloquent out. Not only does it juice up all the three-drop enchantments, Glimpses and everything else, any Traumatize effect will immediately burn through the entire library (unless they have an odd number of cards, in which case it will leave them with one card remaining). If you’re looking to play mono-blue mill, there’s simply no better option for your commander. If you want to play black as well as blue, however, there’s always…
5. Phenax, God of Deception
Phenax does require you to build your deck with a good number of creatures, but hey, defensive, high-toughness creatures are exactly sort of creatures a mill deck wants to play, so as to soak up the damage that comes in. Phenax synergizes magnificently with Bruvac, of course, but there are plenty of other great creatures to tap with Phenax’s ability: small creatures like Manic Scribe and Imperious Mindbreaker, or bigger monsters like Nemesis of Reason and even Wrexial, the Risen Deep! Combine these with all the other mill spells, and Phenax will help you make short work of your opponents’ libraries.
4. Maddening Cacophony
Of all the Traumatize effects, Maddening Cacophony is probably the favorite. Perhaps it will be challenged by Cut Your Losses, but Maddening Cacophony’s strength is its flexibility as a kicker card plus the great rate of return you get on the two-mana version of the card. Sure, it’s not Glimpse the Unthinkable – what is – but it does hit all opponents for eight, and then can incinerate half their library for a very reasonable six mana. It’s one of the most popular mill cards in both 60 and 100-card formats, with good reason!
3. Consuming Aberration
Here’s a card that requires a pretty immediate answer – quite apart from its ongoing mill ability, Consuming Aberration will just be absolutely enormous from the get-go in a game of Commander, and if anyone is silly enough to leave themselves undefended, it may very well kill them in one shot. Sure, it doesn’t have evasion, but a Rogue’s Passage can help solve that problem! You shouldn’t underestimate a five-mana 40/40, let alone one that makes itself bigger every time you cast a spell.
2. Hedron Crab/Ruin Crab
Both Hedron and Ruin Crab have become the iconic mill creatures, with Ruin Crab edging out Hedron Crab in EDH due to its ability to hit all opponents (Hedron Crab, meanwhile, is much better put to use in self-mill decks). A turn one Crab sends a very clear message to whoever you’re playing against, and that message is “hey I really hope you’re not playing a graveyard-based deck because I’m about to give you a lot of help here for free.” Both these cards are beloved favorites of mill mages everywhere, however, and more or less the ideal opening play for anyone looking to burn away a library.
1. Persistent Petitioners
But if you’re a true mill mage, if you really want to mill your opponents out with style and grace and flair, there’s only one way to do it. Never mind Traumatizes, forget about your three-drop enchantments, don’t even worry about which commander you choose (although Bruvac the Grandiloquent definitely helps, I’ll admit). No, there’s only one card you ever need to think about: Persistent Petitioners. Deckbuilding couldn’t be simpler, either: 60 percent Petitioners, 40 percent lands, zero percent match wins. You love to see it.