12/13/2011 LI: "Milling Yourself for Fun and Profit"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

This looks like an awesome deck, but both the mothership and CF have now posted articles about it, so I doubt it'll be a good draft strategy for a while. Just like in Mirrodin, the good infect decks were so difficult to beat that they were also difficult to force.
Last time I checked, Delver of Secrets did not transform into Homicidal Brute.
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Count the Counter :U::U::U: Enchantment Whenever you counter a spell count the number of counters on target creature with counters and add the counted counters to countered spell, exile that spell it gains "Counter counting- At the beginning of your upkeep, you may count the number of counters on ths countered spell out loud, if you count them all before your opponent shouts (very loudly) 'Countered your count of counters!' you cast that spell without paying its manacost. Otherwise counter it and put half as many counters counted originally on it rounded up of the countered amount." Any questions?! -GawainBoneCrusher
This deck has some seriously harmful built-in reverse synergy.

Gnaw to the Bone/Spider Spawning: The more Sorceries you have in your deck, the less creatures you can possibly have.
BUG Mill-Yourself: Good luck fixing a 3 color mana base when you accidentally mill your splash color and/or fixing.
Mulch/Gnaw to the Bone/Memories Journey: How many cards can you afford to have in your deck that have no effect at all on the board state?

So basically, I might take this archetype if it seemed open and I had a bomb or 2 to go into it(Army of the Damned, Kessig Cagebreakers, Cakling Counterpart).  But I'd prefer to get the Olivia you passed. 
Another good card in both the Mill-You or Mill-Them decks is Cellar Door. If it hits not only do you get another creature in your graveyard for your Gnaw to the Bone or Spider Spawning, you get a 2/2 Zombie for the battlefield, which can definitely keep the ball rolling against creature heavy decks that want to swarm you to death before you get to mill them, spawn your spiders, or gnaw your bones.

Even when you are playing for an alternate win condition, you can't forget about your board presence.  I was playing a draft on Sunday and was really most sincerely dead, he had gained fun amounts of life, and I was at 2 life... but then, I stabilized the board with a Cackling Counterpart targetting one of my best defenders and suddenly it was a whole different ball game. (I did end up losing, but only by a turn.) Similarly, a good card to play against mill-you or mill-them decks is Nightbird's Clutches in an agressive deck. If I have big and or many creatures and I stop you from blocking me with whatever is keeping you alive, then your gonna die fairly quickly.
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This deck has some seriously harmful built-in reverse synergy.

Gnaw to the Bone/Spider Spawning: The more Sorceries you have in your deck, the less creatures you can possibly have.
BUG Mill-Yourself: Good luck fixing a 3 color mana base when you accidentally mill your splash color and/or fixing.
Mulch/Gnaw to the Bone/Memories Journey: How many cards can you afford to have in your deck that have no effect at all on the board state?

So basically, I might take this archetype if it seemed open and I had a bomb or 2 to go into it(Army of the Damned, Kessig Cagebreakers, Cakling Counterpart).  But I'd prefer to get the Olivia you passed. 


 
It's true, but isjust so strong, despite the reverse synergy. I'd say Armored Skaab is the key card in the deck you can't have enough of. Holds the fort, mills, counts as a creature, etc. The fixing part is definitely the most annoying part of the deck.

As for having effect on the board state, see it as a 'burn' deck, but instead of your opponent's life total, you're burning your library. Yes those cards do not effect the board state, but it's a race in the end. 


Another good card in both the Mill-You or Mill-Them decks is Cellar Door. If it hits not only do you get another creature in your graveyard for your Gnaw to the Bone or Spider Spawning, you get a 2/2 Zombie for the battlefield, which can definitely keep the ball rolling against creature heavy decks that want to swarm you to death before you get to mill them, spawn your spiders, or gnaw your bones.



Way to slow. Cellar Door is to Dream Twist what Treasure Trove is to Ancestral Recall =p
A quick word of warning about this deck: If you try to draft it and miss (and in my experience it's quite hard to get right) you'll end up with the worst pile of junk in the history of Limited. Consequently it's a pretty bad option for MtGO's Swiss queues or anywhere else with a flat prize structure and is best saved for those times you want to go 3-0 or go home.

The other card I recommend for this deck is Lumberknot, because if you're forced to fire off Spawning for only 3-4 Spiders to survive the midgame then by the time they've cleared them out your Lumberknot will be 5/5 or bigger and they'll have to play extremely carefully not to lose to it.
Normally, I am not an SS fan but this is a really good article.  It discusses a deck structure, how that deck works and, most importantly, what cards to include or not to include.  I have had great success with mill yourself decks but have never built one with Green.

I think xJudicatorx's comment about a hard mana base is probably unfounded as normally these type of decks are only splashing black for the flashback on Spider Spawning and Forbidden Alchemy and therefore you can afford to only run a couple of swamps and still have a fairly consistent mana base.  A Traveler's Amulet or Mulch should ensure that you get the one swamp you need to make the deck tick.

The one problem with this deck is that it is quite slow and therefore Armored Skaab is a must for both milling and defence.  Cards like Fortress Crab also work well here as removing a 6 toughness creature is pretty hard in this format.  As already mentioned, a Nightbird's Clutches can ruin you if you only have one or two creatures out.

Finally, cards like Boneyard Wurm should be great here as they will often come out as a 3/3 or 4/4 and you don't mind too much if you end up milling them into your graveyard either to activate a spawning or to turn on some blue zombie love.
Nice article on an interesting deck archetype that has been seeing increasing play.  I've always been a big fan of spider spawning, and tried to shoehorn it into any deck where it is at all reasonable, but this deck is pretty much all built around it.  I think it probably is an evolution of blue/green decks, where people gradually realized how good gnaw to the bone is, since that is what really makes this deck distinctive.  The huge lifegain gives you a lot more time to get this "combo" deck to work.  I played against it recently online, and lost to it (1-2 for the match overall) with the last game going down to him with no library left but enough spiders to kill me on the last turn.  This is a complicated deck to build and drive, but it's definitely worth going for if the parts are coming your way.
It's a fun archtype if it's open.  I doubt it will be open very much since everyone knows about it now.  Also don't forget that Sever the Bloodline exists as does Purify the Grave.  It reminds me of the Venerated Teacher archtype from Rise in that you need a critical mass of creatures plus the enablers.
I got fairly lucky with a URb mill yourself deck, double Burning Vengeance, however the deck's goal became win with Lab Maniac with BV being used to clear the opponents creatures away. Ended up 2-1 losing the final, Gnaw to the Bone would have been a great addition, so this article is definately giving good ideas.
All I can think of are my favorite mill cards. Don't worry, Jace 2.0 isn't involved. (I mean, mill has been a strong strategy before, but I think Jace 2.0 is the only non-Shahrazad mill card to ever be banned.)

10. Geth, Lord of the Vault: Also known as "evil dredge" around my play group (and since the Golgari Swarm are some of the bad guys, he must be really evil), this only mills your opponent, but it also gives you one of his creatures in his graveyard.
9. Bonehoard: Lhurgoyf is a great card, even though it is "variable vanilla" (meaning its rules text only sets its power/toughness). Why not give its greatness to any creature? Also, this was one of the first living weapons I got.
8. Chronatog: You can be forgiven for asking "How is this a mill card?" or thinking it's crap because you haven't seen the other two required cards. Chronatog was the first card to truly show me that a downside was also an upside. I mean, I knew that theoretically, Necro could stop a mill deck cold as long as its controller didn't use something to force me to draw a card, but I'll file that in the "Oh sorry, I killed you on turn 4" file.
7. Bloodchief Ascension: With all that milling you're doing, what about another path to victory? Usually multiple roads to victory are bad, but this one profits well from milling.
6. Sword of Body and Mind: Milling and a token. Can be doubled. And it's an artifact, so even green can benefit.
5. Eradicate: This + any land animation + Armageddon = shutting down one whole color.
4. Shahrazad: This card is broken by mill (and is possibly the slowest route to victory in Magic), by simply playing one copy after another until your opponent can't draw all 7 cards. Also, "yo dawg, I heard you liked Magic, so we put a game in your game..."
3. Jace Beleren: 20 cards. And your opponent probably won't even fight you for it, as you make him gain life the whole time. And I can proliferate it.
2. Tarmogoyf: 8/9 for ? Yes, please.
And at number one, we have:
1. Laboratory Maniac: I imagine a conversation being like this:
Alice: You just lost.
Bob: I win.
Alice: No, you lost. You have to draw a card, and you can't. I know the rules.
Bob: No, I win. See this upside-down Laboratory Maniac? I win.
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After reading the article last night I gave the deck a shot. I went in trying to force it, and it worked. I did have a first pick Kessig Cage Breakers, into 2nd pick Spider Spawning. In the end I wound running with pretty much these cards.
 2 spider spawnings
2 Armored Skaab
the cage breakers
2 forbidden Alchemy
2 mulch
think twice
dream twist
Skaab Goliath
2 Markov Patrician
Darkthicket wolf
2 Delvers
2 orchard spirits
Silent departure
gnaw to the bone
Villagers of Estewald
2 stitched drakes
Falkenrath Noble

It was a really fun deck with no removal at all if I recall, and I won the draft.  Someone landed a turn four curse of oblivion and the deck still pulled through. In the last matchup my opponent had a mindshrieker and I was decked next turn so I double dream twisted myself having kessig run buck wild. There was quite a bit of planning and thinking with this deck.  It's hard to pick the allstar in the build besides the spawning, but the Cagebreakers always won me the game if he swung.
Just tried to force this, even though I saw a total of 0 armored skaabs and spider spawning. As one would predict, had a REALLY hard time getting lethal damage, and even decked myself once. The deck is absolutely awful if you try to force it. Granted, I probably shouldn't have forced, but I read this article this week and thought it might be a fun one to try...

Needless to say I'm never doing this again unless I open a first pack SS or similarly powered bomb appropriate for this deck.