I'm pretty new to the game, but I've liked the idea of a mill deck. My main goal is to lock down my opponents creatures and keep him from doing much damage while I mill him. Like I said, I'm pretty new, so any suggestions to this deck would be appreciated.
Back when I was in high school, I used to write little quotes on the whiteboard of my chemistry class, little, funny things that I'd made up and attributed to an anonymous author. Just tiny things I found amusing. Some time near the end of the year, a substitute teacher game in, read it, and told us a quote she had heard from a 13 year old girl. I don't remember what it was, but the quote sounded deep and philosophical. Then I actually thought about it. I realized that the quote was actually meaningless, but simply couched in the language of philosophy and depth. And that's what your post is. It is meaningless bull**** that you said in such a way as to make it seem sophisticated. But just as a lab coat doesn't make you a scientist, language won't make you a philosopher. Only love of wisdom will. And until then, you will always remind me of a nameless 13 year old.
Its because having a mana leak in hand is like having BOTH an essence scatter and a negate at the same time. Nothing feels worse than your opponent resolving a HUGE creature because the counter in your hand is a negate.
Onto the deck: My friend plays mill in standard whenever he can. He LOVES it as an archetype, so I see a lot of it. With standard rotating in Oct., we have been contemplating this:
I really like the entrancers, just because they have a big butt and provide consistant mill. They also encourage leaving all your mana up for counters, which is a HUGE deal in this kind of deck. I don't even know if mind sculpt is necessary, but it enables the Phantasm pretty fast giving you a secondary plan. Splashing green for fog often buys you the last few turns you need to win (or at least it does for him, in his current version).
The deck has a MASSIVE weakness to noncreature wincons, as with only 7 leaks they will probably resolve one at some time.
forumbrowser and I had a nice back-and-forth about a mill deck concept in a thread I started the other day, which might give you some ideas. Mine had the extra condition of being M13 only, which made it a lot more limited in some ways, but I think the thread ended up with some nice concepts being bounced around.
Of course with other sets involved you can replace a lot of the cards with ones that are similar but better, and add things like Snapcaster Mage and Delver of Secrets . For example, Archaeomancer is pretty good but if your goal is to straight-up mill your opponent, then Snapcaster is better since you can cast your Mind Sculpt for the same CMC as an Archaeomancer costs on its own.
It also might be a good call to get rid of the 2x Spelltwine that are in the deck. It's a pretty solid card, but might not be necessary. 2x Think Twice would probably be significantly better, or even removing 2x Index as well for another 2x Think Twice or Divination since you might run out of cards in your hand with the way the deck is currently structured.
A major weakness of this deck is likely to be a lack of counter spells, so swapping some stuff out in favour of Mana Leak and/or Dissipate is probably a good idea if they're not heavily creature based (since fog bank more or less takes care of a quick creature approach with a lack of removal.
I don't think Jace's Phantasm has a place in a mill deck. It does not help your mill plan at all, just rewarding you with an effecient guy one you have milled some cards. If you want to win by milling and not with damage, I would not run it.
Those are both very solid counter spells that you can use instead of Jace's Phantasm to great effect. This will stop your mill cards from being countered too heavily, and will keep things like Fog Wall alive from destroys and sweeps.
Player of "Magic the Gathering" since July 19th 2012. I have a LOT of catching up to do. XD
Please help with my decks: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29322665/Need_Input_-_Blood_Artist_Sacrifice_Deck
Traumatize is immensely cheap to pick up these days, coming in at under £1, if not 49/50p.
That will cleave your opponent's deck in twain there and then, though it's effectiveness depends entirely on how quickly you can play it. Even then, targetting a 30 card deck, it's 15 cards.
You've plenty of mill suggestions above, but to add a few: Chill of Foreboding is another effective deck thinner (though it hits you too, this won't matter, as you're milling them quicker than you'll deck out). Thought Scour is an effective cantrip, allowing you to remove two from their deck with the bonus of replacing itself.
Looking further afield, and in a bigger budget, the best mill card in blue in my opinion is Brain Freeze . If you play it response to a solitary spell of your opponent's, it's 6 cards from their deck for . This is it's basic level, it can easily strip 12+ if you play it in your own turn alongside cantrips. Follow it up after a Thought Scour and a Tome Scour and you've removed 16 cards from their deck for . That is not to be sniffed at, as you'll also draw into a new card.
I'd suggest Halimar Depths in this deck. This frees up a draw card slot for more mill or defenders. It counts as a quasi-Ponder , so you can count ahead of your turn to see how long it will take to mill your opponent.
One important rule to remember when playing mill, is that, at any time, you are entitled to know the number of cards remaining in your opponent's library. Whilst they do not have to count it and inform you themselves, if they decline, you can count (provided you do not shuffle or alter the card order in any way of course). This will give you a constant target to work towards, and give you some math to work out how long it will take you to win the game.
For creatures, Rotcrown Ghoul might be worth your time as a chump blocker your opponent is going to loathe attacking. Belltower Sphinx might be too expensive to cast for your tastes, but it has the added benefit of having Flying, so it can block a wider variety of creatures, and protect you against the large sort of monsters that can easily chomp through twenty life and get through your defenses.