Some people are born mill people. We come out the womb a little mill baby and slowly develop into that person across from you at FNM going after your library.
Not everyone believes in violently attacking for damage. Why kill when you can disarm? What a waste of a wizard’s life to be killed over a simple duel. Some of us would rather destroy the spellbook and let them walk away with a lesson and their life. There is a non-lethal approach available.
Mill players are frequently misunderstood and even discriminated against. We need to raise awareness and tolerance. Off-hand comments like “annoying little mill player.” Insinuating that we “choose to irritate.”
Even tougher is when mill goes entirely unsupported in a format. It’s like Wizards forgets you exist and you might as well not play this season.
Well we’re not going anywhere! Through the good times and the bad we will play mill. If it means starting the game with a mulligan or playing 61 cards, hell, we’re doin’ it! Where there’s a will there’s a mill!
There’s been a bit of a dry stretch for mill recently, but we’re still here and we’re still hanging on. There isn’t much to work with but we’re working. Today I can’t promise you a 10/10 competitive deck but I’m doing the best I can with the options available.
Today’s deck is a hybridized mill version of the recent Save the Whales deck. If you’ve been with me on the Master of Waves train this year this deck will be easy to put together while offering a totally different play style.
Aetherspouts is the card that really lets the deck function. It is the blue Wrath of God. Even better in this deck as it can kill haste creatures like Stormbreath Dragon. You put it on top of your deck? Sure, mill it with Pyxis!
Better to have for-real blockers that are permanents for Altar of the Brood and add devotion. Gumming up the battlefield with walls forces the opponent to overextend into Aetherspouts.
I’ve found Stratus Walk to be a great answer for flying threats like Mantis Rider and Stormbreath Dragon. While there is no Wall of Denial in Standard we can build our own Wall of Denial by putting this on a Wall of Frost. The card also is another devotion permanent that cycles nicely.
For finishing power I am still on board with Scourge of Fleets. It’s an amazing reset button that can be flipped up off Pyxis of Pandemonium. Whatever they get is immediately returned to their hand. Combo!
We’ve got to show Radiant Fountain some love as a really strong life-gain land to extend games. Gaining 2 life with an untapped source is pretty incredible. While it competes with Nykthos for colorless land spots I’ve found space to squeeze in 3 of them.
Standard Mono-Blue Mill
I’ve found this deck to be perfectly fun and satisfying for the mill player inside of me, though it admittedly is a bit weak competitively speaking. It can win matches against top tier decks but I wouldn’t expect to win a Grand Prix with this thing. This is for those of us that have no choice but to play mill.
The games can play out like turbo mill or like control mill, really depending on Dictate of Kruphix. Stick that card early and things spiral like crazy. Don’t hit one early and prepare for a long drag.
This is my 60 + 15 but there is more than just one way to do it. I’ll be discussing some alternative options to spice things up, depending on preference.
To Splash or Not to Splash?
I’ve chosen to play mono-blue but we have several attractive splash options.
With white and black fetchlands and a playset of Temples, we could pretty easiliy splash white or black, and both are tempting.
In white we have Resolute Archangel.
Arbiter of Knollridge was one of my all time favorite Limited rares and I picked Resolute Archangel at the M15 prerelease for a 10-0 record so I could easily see myself building around this in Standard.
Resolute Archangel would be a pretty straightforward swap for competing 7-drop Scourge of Fleets. Is it way better though? Is it better? It has a similar effect, so it really depends what you’re going for. If you have a preference for radiant winged humans over cephalopod krakens, then sure, go for it.
Another nice option is Ashiok.
Ashiok packs a crazy punch and demands a lot of board attention. This planeswalker can stabilize the board on its lonesome while whittling down the opponent’s deck. Totally reasonable to play these if you have them.
Though with Ashiok we are cutting Islands to make Scourge of the Fleets worse, so we’d have to tough it out or play an Esper build. Lots of options.
To Fetch or Not to Fetch?
If you’re wondering, the fetchlands are for Altar of the Brood. A little bit of extra mill punch. Just a little.
I know a lot of people like fetchlands for “deck thinning” but I think that is as logically sound as medical blood letting. The analogy is obvious—take pain to let out the bad stuff. Well hell, if it’s bad why would we put it in there to begin with! Life really does matter! We only get 20 of it and 99% of opponents are trying to kill us that way.
HOWEVER, this deck has one of the best arguments for paying life to thin. With Dictate of Kruphix we can expect to draw a lot of our deck and the difference between 4 life for two extra spells could win some games.
With all that said, if you want to make this deck but don’t have them, don’t worry about it. They’re not vital. It’s entirely possible basic Island is just better.
Important Sideboard Cards
So far the most important sideboard card seems to be Whelming Wave. I recorded this week’s video set without the card in the sideboard and missed them dearly. They are a versatile card that can do a lot in this deck.
First of all there’s heroic decks. Whelming Wave makes them pick up all those creatures and take all those counters off. And protection of blue can’t save them at all! Great sideboard card against heroic.
Whelming Wave is also a stud against Sidisi/Whip decks. When the opponent drops Sidisi, Blood Tyrant, Altar of Brood becomes a massive liability. They get ALLL the Zombies. But Whelming Wave can clear the board and each time they have to replay Sidisi it mills them that much closer to death.
Here’s the rest of the sideboard:
I’ve got some counterspells, some extra life gain, and some extra late-game cards.
I’m also trying out a couple Dakra Mystic as an additional Dictate type effect. It’s a card that I always forget about and when I remember I have mixed feelings. But if we can expect it to live to draw extra cards or trade with a 3-mana removal spell, it seems fantastic.
That’s my sideboard. Again there are a lot of options. We could splash, but even mono-blue has a lot of nice alternatives to play with. If you think there’s something essential that I’m missing in my list I’d love to hear it.
Mill Players Unite
I hope that mill players can unite around a common cause of Altar / Pyxis mill in standard. It’s an opportunity to spread the nonviolent magic duel cause. Everywhere we look there are Wizard slayings, and I believe many people just don’t know there’s an alternative. It’s on us to spread the message!
I hope that non mill-players can come to an understanding of accepting non-traditional game play. Not every Wizard is the same. We all come from different background, different perspectives, and that is reflected in our play style. But even minority playstyles should be respected by the majority and I hope Wizards continues to give support!
Happy milling to all!