Milling out a table in EDH is a formidable task. It’s hard enough dealing 40 damage to everyone else on the table when the other players are all trying to do the same thing – but when you’re trying to mill out 300 cards, on your own, it’s a steep hill to climb. On top of that, you’ve got some graveyard-based deck that are actually aided by what you’re doing! Mill in Commander is not for the faint-hearted.
Nonetheless, it remains a perpetual favorite for many, and there are plenty of sweet cards you can put to use in trying to winnow opposing libraries down to nothing. Most of these are blue, but enough good ones touch on black to justify playing Phenax, God of Deception as a general – which is just what Marcus_Aurelius13 has done with this take on the mill archetype.
Phenax Mill by Marcus_Aurelius13
Finding a balance between creatures and spells is tough in a Phenax deck. You want a respectable enough battlefield that you’re milling consistently with Phenax, but all the best mill cards are, invariably, instants, sorceries and enchantments. This deck does a good job of splitting the difference, walking the fine line between maintaining a critical mass of creatures while not losing out on key mill spells.
When it comes to creatures, there are some that are absolute no-brainers. Consuming Aberration, Nemesis of Reason, Fleet Swallower: these cards are all going to do incredible work once you push towards the lategame, and in the early turns there is the Crab double act, both Hedron and Ruin, alongside cards like Manic Scribe and the absolute all-star, Bruvac the Grandiloquent.
Additionally, there are some sick threats enabled by milling your opponents out. Wight of Precinct Six will be a truly enormous two-drop with even some modest milling, as will Nighthowler and Mortivore.
The real action begins, however, with the noncreature spells. All the classics are here: the three-drop enchantments like Psychic Corrosion, Teferi’s Tutelage and of course Court of Cunning. Other classics can be found amongst the sorceries, too, with Traumatize, Maddening Cacophony and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter ready to burn some libraries up. Then, on top of that, planeswalkers like Ashiok, Dream Render and Jace, Memory Adept are ready to put in work, with Ashiok being particularly useful in combatting the graveyard decks you’re inadvertently powering up.
Even the interaction suite is mill-themed, with Didn’t Say Please and Thought Collapse for countermagic and Grisly Spectacle for removal – as well as, of course, Drown in the Loch, that Counterspell/Murder split card. There’s even a pseudo-Ancestral Recall in Visions of Beyond!
As I mentioned, milling out an EDH table is a tall order. But if you think you’re up to the challenge, a Phenax deck like this will stand you in good stead to get the job done. If you prefer mono-blue, you can cut the black cards and play Bruvac – but however you choose to approach it, best of luck in emptying out those libraries!