BG 'Anti Playgroup' - a creation story...

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Hi folks,

So on Wednesday evening I had a gaming sesh with my two main Magic buddies, and let's say I got a little frustrated. We always play 3 player, so I tend to design my decks with that in mind (ie. rarely go blazing aggro, usually opting for mid/late game decks). One of these two players tends to play his very fast goblin deck about 70% of the time, which can often kill one player, but then get crushed by the other. The other player plays a variety of decks, but his most feared deck is a reanimator deck which pretty much wins if allowed to resolve uninhibited - and he just brought out a new EDH deck he's working with, which also won via a graveyard shenanigan (Mikaeus, the Unhallowed + Triskelion). With that in mind, I decided to work on crafting a deck that would have the edge over these two types, so that if they want to keep bringing them out, they'll suffer for it - more or less, I'm hoping that I can subtly shift the metagame in our playgroup slightly.

So with all that in mind, I decided my new deck needed to have three things in order to effectively counter these decks:

1. Graveyard hate.
2. Removal that can be played on turn 1 (due to Goblin Lackey).

On top of that, I had two other conditions I wanted to meet:

3. Sweepers (besides these decks, standard creature based decks are the normal, with a few tribal decks, token decks and that kind of jazz)
4. Be able to hit any nonland permanent that doesn't have shroud or hexproof (for those pesky enchantments like Bitterblossom and Defense of the Heart)

So with that criteria in mind, it was up to choosing colors. Now, (1) could be fulfilled in any color thanks to GY hating artifacts. However, being someone who hates card disadvantage... I didn't want card disadvantage. I felt my best options were thus Relic of Progenitus or Nihil Spellbomb. I felt Nihil was a kinder option to myself, allowing me to pop it for disadvantage if I seriously needed to and didn't have mana available for the card draw - as such, it got the nod. This also meant I was playing Bx deck.

(2) had options in every color. If I went white, I had the best 1 drop removal in Swords to Plowshares, or I could have even gone for a creature in Order of the Stars. Blue could bounce, but this option was not as permanent as I wanted. Black had a few options, with stuff like Tragic Slip and Vendetta. Red has all those nice burn spells like Lightning Bolt and Burst Lightning. And in green... well, Hornet Sting I guess. Ultimately, I decided on black... but with Dismember. I felt like the deck wasn't comfortable enough to get morbid up with Tragic Slip, and Vendetta had too much of a drawback late game. I can play Dismember off 1 mana if I really need to, and it can hit a lot of threats between 1 and 5 mana (and I'll have plenty of other answers by 6).

I was already in black, so (3) wasn't too hard at all. I'll spare the long debate process and say I went with Black Sun's Zenith. I like the recyclability, the ability to hit indestructible permanents and in this particular shell I'm running it's not hard to pump it up. I could very easily swap this for Mutilate though.

Finally, with (4) I felt my best options were either white or green - red couldn't hit enchantments, and blue requires saving mana for those potential threats, when I could need that mana to deal with the other player's deck. White offered options like Vindicate and Oblivion Ring. Green had options like Maelstrom Pulse and Abrupt Decay. Ultimately, I went green. I won't lie, it was party due to wanting to play Vraska the Unseen in a deck where she could live, do some damage, and even potentially win off of her ultimate.

So with some deck choices already directed by my playgroup's meta, I fleshed out the list, and ended up going for a similar control suite to what I use already. I won't lie - I really want to put Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in this deck. But for some reason, players seem to hate getting Emrakul'd much more than getting Consume Spirit'd to the face for lethal, even though the end result is the same (a game loss). So I went with Karn Liberated as my 'expensive' wincon. I guess he helps out the control angle better too.

But anyway, the finished product (for now - may be adjusted after I face those decks and see how it performs):

 The Metagame Shifter

/// Lands - 24

Pretty standard land style I use for Bx decks that I include a Coffers engine in. I like Boseiju alongside Urborg, as if I don't need counterspell protection it's just another swamp. Bojuka Bog as an extra source of GY hate.

/// Creatures - 0

/// Noncreatures - 37
[deck]4 Nihil Spellbomb
4 Dismember
4 Sylvan Scrying
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Beseech the Queen
4 Maelstrom Pulse
3 Consume Spirit
4 Black Sun's Zenith
2 Vraska the Unseen
1 Mind Sludge
2 Diabolic Revelation
1 Karn Liberated[/deck]
I consider Beseech a 3 drop, Consume a 3 drop (3 mana to kill the weakest creatures), Black Sun's a 4 drop (2 counters to impact a boardstate that requires a sweeper), and Revelation a 6 drop (to get at least 1 card, albeit expensively). In any case, both Sylvan and Beseech can fetch GY hate; Beseech can also fetch any of the removal spells (that aren't attached to a walker). Singleton Mind Sludge (more useful in 1v1, but can keep me on top of the warfare), and Revelation powered by Coffers and potentially protected by Boseiju is just gamebreaking. Typical wincon is 7 lands, 4 of those being Coffers and 1 being Urborg, powering out a 21 damage Consume. Karn and Vraska can also do the job if left around. As I mentioned above, I could easily include Emmy in this decklist (and I'd get him out even easier than a lethal Consume) - but I'm holding myself back. If I end up losing a game because I chose Karn over Emmy, I'll make the switch at that point. ^^

Anyway, enjoy the decklist - and I'd love to here any input anyone has. I think it's pretty solid, but this is one of my more important decklists given that I'm trying to actually influence our metagame here. ^^ I am curious as to whether or not people think Tragic Slip should be taken over Dismember. It can hit Goblin Lackey even without morbid; I just have little experience with the card, and I can't imagine too many turns where I do something like Maelstrom Pulse one creature and Tragic Slip another, with neither of those creatures being small enough for a Dismember.


I'm all about super-control in MTG. If you're able to stop my shenanigans, then there aren't enough shenanigans. Lv 1 Judge Current Decklists Sweeping Beauty (Casual) A Vision of Clones (Casual) Coming soon... more decks! :-O
-4 sylvan scrying
+4 rampant growth/farseek

-2 spellbomb
-2 maelstrom pulse
+4 deathrite shaman

-1 abrupt...

You know, forget it. Like I get where you are going, but you have some really wonky card choices for MP games.

It would be easier for me to just make a fresh list I think. Tho your land base is pretty darn spunky


Sylvan Scrying is in there for the ability to fetch primarily Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (which is pretty crucial to the land-based ramp side of the deck), plus in a pinch it can pick up Boseiju or Bojuka Bog. It's more a tutor than a ramp card in this deck. ^^

I considered Deathrite, and it's still in the sideboard of my decklist as I work on it. It's just sort of a removal magnet - well, at least in 1v1, given that it's the only target. But I guess it'd be added protection against that evil Lackey, so it's an option.

I also like 61 card decks these days. Pretty good article I read a while ago (, highlighting how that extra card isn't a huge deal, and can help fine tune a land:nonland ratio even further than 60 cards (often I'd go 25:36, but in this case I've got 8 2/3 CMC tutors, so 24 is comfortable).

Any thoughts on Tragic Slip? Or is Dismember just dandy? ^^ 
I'm all about super-control in MTG. If you're able to stop my shenanigans, then there aren't enough shenanigans. Lv 1 Judge Current Decklists Sweeping Beauty (Casual) A Vision of Clones (Casual) Coming soon... more decks! :-O
I'd prob suggest gut shot in there somewhere to deal with x/1 gobs. And Id run like a 3/1 split of dismember/slip

Fetching urborg is dandy, but no reason not to run more land fetch and draw too.


BG MP hate.

Your land base + ...

--creatures (5)
3xdeathrite shaman
1xwurmcoil engine
1xsisters of stone death

--spells (32)
3xgut shot
1xrelic of progenitus
1xtragic slip
1xblack sun's zenith
1xconsume spirit
4xrampant growth
2xsylvan scrying
4xsyphon mind
3xtezzeret's gambit
1xvraska the unseen
1xkarn liberated

Tons of draw. GY hate. More sweepers. Less spot removal. You should be 2 and 3 for 1'ing the whole game. Spot remove only what you have to. Life gain to compensate. Lots of mana fetch. God I'd splash blue just for tamiyo to ult her here! Several win cons now. Dig finds you what you need instead of relying on top decking.

Should play tighter



In multiplayer games, it generally helps to have some creatures as deterrents, otherwise you look like an easy target. Maybe Wall of Blossoms, Elvish Visionary or Phyrexian Rager for cantripping?
If these are MP decks, wtf are 1v1 decks!?

Seriously, will a single pyrostatic pillar just immediately kill everybody?

You know what stops a goblin lackey...storm crow. No really! A simple 1/2 can solve that problem really quick. Deathrite shaman is perfect for what you want to do, I'd use them.

Personally, I'm not a fan of dismember or tragic slip for this deck. If you use the shamans and maybe toss in another useful creature, you can easily defend yourself from goblins. I would much rather focus on getting some form of discard like duress to get a quick start on that reanimator player if you can.

Other than that it looks tip top!
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Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
The issue with relying on a creature based answer to the Lackey is threefold...

1. Lightning Bolt
2. Smoldering Spires
3. Another player who may not have a creature to block with (given that the issue with the lackey isn't ever the damage, but the fact it can lead to turn 2 Siege-Gang Commander, potentially with a Quest for the Goblin Lord on the battlefield)

So I do need to include some cheap non-creature based answers for the lackey. I'm hesitant about something like Gut Shot, or even Disfigure, as I'm trying to make it a deck that can counter these themes in the meta, but still be viable against other decks (where Gut Shot and Disfigure might hit a Birds of Paradise or Mayor of Avabruck if I'm lucky ^^).

Some card draw might not be a bad idea. I'll just have to see what I'm comfortable taking out. It might be Beseech, but then Beseech is fantastic.

As for the deck not seeming multiplayer-ish... besides the goblins, most decks in the meta aren't super-aggressive. At least, not so aggressive that we're likely to die before I can Black Sun's Zenith for 3 on turn 4 and likely clean the board. It's just the 3 of us most of the time, so it's not like I'm worrying about 5 or 6 other players seeing me creatureless and baring their fangs at me.
I'm all about super-control in MTG. If you're able to stop my shenanigans, then there aren't enough shenanigans. Lv 1 Judge Current Decklists Sweeping Beauty (Casual) A Vision of Clones (Casual) Coming soon... more decks! :-O
As for my build, rampant growth should have been farseek :p

As for gut shot, it gives you a response to a lot of nasty x/1 dudes, and while it is a measly 1 to the dome, it's not entirely useless, cuz then the shaman can deal an additional 2 damage to each opponent a good thing me tinks!

I think the 7 card draw spells I list (11 with syphon mind) is better than tutor like beseech because it gives you positive CA instead of just a singe card. Yeah it may be the card you need for this turn, but there will most likely be more turns later, and you will need a full grip. It's just a ton of draw and you will blow thru your deck. I goldfished a few games and my hand was overflowing with goodies. Anything I was forced to pitch EoT discard phase was just gobbled by deathrite for more advantage. I'd try out something like it for your next match


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