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Type: Deck Idea
Variant Tag: conConstructed
Format: Modern
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Approx. Value:

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Mana Curve
Card Color Breakdown
Card Type Breakdown

Main Deck - 60 cards, 22 distinct
Name  Type Cost Edition Price
Color Rarity
Creature (7)
4 Hedron Crab Creature - Crab
3 Snapcaster Mage Creature - Human Wizard
Instant (14)
4 Archive Trap Instant - Trap
1 Fatal Push Instant
4 Path to Exile Instant
2 Surgical Extraction Instant
3 Visions of Beyond Instant
Sorcery (18)
3 Damnation Sorcery
4 Glimpse the Unthinkable Sorcery
4 Inquisition of Kozilek Sorcery
3 Mind Funeral Sorcery
4 Serum Visions Sorcery
Land (21)
3 Field of Ruin Land
4 Flooded Strand Land
1 Godless Shrine Land - Plains Swamp
1 Hallowed Fountain Land - Plains Island
4 Polluted Delta Land
2 Shelldock Isle Land
2 Snow-Covered Island Basic Snow Land - Island
1 Snow-Covered Plains Basic Snow Land - Plains
2 Snow-Covered Swamp Basic Snow Land - Swamp
1 Watery Grave Land - Island Swamp
Sideboard - 15 cards, 7 distinct
Name  Type Cost Edition Price
Color Rarity
Sorcery (3)
3 Collective Brutality Sorcery
Artifact (4)
2 Engineered Explosives Artifact
2 Pithing Needle Artifact
Enchantment (6)
2 Porphyry Nodes Enchantment
2 Rest in Peace Enchantment
2 Stony Silence Enchantment
Planeswalker (2)
2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver Planeswalker - Ashiok

Times have definitely changed. I've come off esper mill, but I knew I would return one day. Ixalan added some key new tech in settle the wreckage and field of ruin. I won't go through the full deck tech today, but mill is burn that gets to play the best disruption. The way my deck will play out is a game plan of mill, and I will tear apart my opponents deck in the process. It will unravel. I will pluck out the essential and most important pieces, and they will continue to draw to fewer answers. I will wreck their mana base, and eventually turn all my spells into better than vintage quality. My late game involves having ancestral recall, a straight path with no drawback, a mass path with no drawback,and a strip mine/fetch with no replacement. The plan is not just mill them out, but break their deck.

For sideboard slots, after playtesting with Fredo, I think I want the thoughtseize slots, which are primarily there for disrupting control/combo decks, to also be slots for my burn matchup. Therefore, to accomplish both I change them to duress, which still serves that purpose, but also can be used in the burn matchup. If the format get's more aggressive, shifting to two blessed alliance to still gain life but also deal with more creatures could be fine. I think these are my most flexible slots, and I want it to be very versatile.

Maybe 4 of Collective brutality is where it's at. The best card I have for burn, still helps in the noncreature matchups (if I forgoe both Eldrazi and Planeswalkers), and it's a bad disfigure, so a great tool against those 1-2 drop aggresive creature decks. Often times bad disfigure is still functional if not optimal. Like, I would straight up play bad disfigure in my human, infect, mana dork matchups. A lot of things have 2 toughness or less, and bad disfigure get's the job done better than duress or thoughtseize. Going into those matchups with four bad disfigure and two engineered explosives more is at least decent.

The articles by Brad Nelson and Todd Stevens brought up the doubt that always sinks in before a big tournament. Am I narrowing in on Mill at the wrong time yet again? Will I go to this tournament, only to be taken out un ceremoniously? Am I blind to the obvious fruits of my practice. The first time I entered mill competitively, I correctly identified the metagame as twin decks, Jund, and creature decks. I had a really good twin matchup, and I didn't really know how to approach the Jund matchup. I knew I had a weakness in my build to go wide strategies. I tried to mitigate this with a sideboad wrath and crypt incursion, which was not sufficient. Afterwards I had wished I had done more with the information I had. The next year I was back at it with mill. This time I took the deck into a similar meta, had adjusted for more removal and sweepers. I was taken out by living end and dredge due to a lack of preparation for graveyard matchups, asssuming I could contain them with surgical extraction. Now I am about to make a go of it again, on mill, which I'm clearly sweet on. I've done in-depth analysis for over thirty matchups, and I'm getting in as much testing as I can feasibly. I will have a completed sideboard guide. My read on the meta is a mixture of Jund, bloodbraid aggro decks, control decks trying to force Jace, linear combo, big mana tron/amulet, some linear creature decks like Humans, and B/R hollow one decks. Bolt is highly played, as is blood moon, hand disruption, field of ruin, and large undercosted creatures on turns 1-2. There are a lot of 3-color decks trying to midrange, and a lot of decks praying on manabases as a result. Graveyard hate is minimal, as is stony silence. I know these facts, and need to build mill accordingly, or repeat the mistakes of my past. And the question that nags me is, "Is mill the deck I should play for the tournament?". If I do decide to play mill, these are the questions I need to answer:
1.) What is our blood moon/mana disruption plan? How do I mitigate the effect of blood moon in deck construction?
2.) Early blood moon/ 4/4's rain supreme. What is my early interaction? Is it sufficient for the fast starts?
3.) What is my graveyard plan main and side?
4.) Am I resilient to hand disruption?
5.) Do I have enough interaction and is it sufficient? Does this affect my clock?
6.) Am I taking advantage of the information I have? The manabases, blood moon decks, midrange wars, linear decks, low graveyard hate, low stack interactions, low artifact hosers? Is there a deck doing this better that I can pick up?

Played FNM last night. It was very illumative. I won't talked about the non-sense vehicles deck I mercy killed aside from this sentence. R1 was against R/W taxes. They never really assembled disruptive elements against me, nor did they pressure me effectively. It was fairly easy to mill out this aggro control matchup as expected, due to no hand or stack disruption.

R3 I played Humans against Charlie Powell, overall good guy. A competent player with loose on the fly analysis. I did get the advantage of Charlie not knowing how to sideboard for the matchup, leaving in reflector mages repeatedly. Unfortunately, his deck easily crushed mine. Meddling mage was not the issue I had though, it was definitely mantis rider. Basically any combination of two creatures is 5 damage, and thalia's lieutenant is a lot like a haste threat. The disruption was mostly manageable, but the clock wasn't. Settle the wreckage was easily played around every time, as a freebooter, mage, or just attacking solo was devastating. I also noticed that I typically in my testing have had to shock 1-2 times for the mere possibility of drawing settle. I'm thinking it might be better to take out settle, which isn't really doing it's job anyway, and play damnation, which encourages fetching basics, and is a better top deck. Hedron crab always dies anyway, and I need to be more resilient to mana disruption as well. Collective brutality way over performed. It was hard to find cards to escalate, but the option was always great. The game I won was by a quick mill, achieved by mind funeral as expected. Humans will be a bad match.

R3 was a close loss versus a decent brewer with intricate understanding of match up analysis. When i get paired against the wierdo's with some experience with competitive mill I lose an edge I take for granted. He appropriately prioritized clocking me all games, molten rained off a manadork, and used relic to control the graveyard both for surgical and otherwise. Yeesh. Even so, milling this deck was trivial. Need to be prepared for the fastest starts.

Generally, my feeling about the deck today is that it has serious teeth, and big holes that are not fillable. This is not he best deck versus very aggressive disruptive decks. Their is a resurgence in these decks this week. I'm hoping the next two weeks shows a reaction to this trend with more tron, dialed in control and Jund lists, and other midrange beats. If that happens, I can slip mill into the classic on the 7th. If this trend continues though, I'm worried that I will have many matchups in a likely tournament that will just KO mill.

As an aside, to kill my darlings, letting go of settle makes me also question search for azcanta and esper charm. Would it be better to instead run more snapcaster, visions, and field of ruin? I want to try a lean list and see how it feels with none of the hedge cards that over perform. Like set adrift. great versus tron and planeswalkers, weird artifact decks, etc. Kind of bad if it's just a bad time walk, especially with the abundance of haste threats. Is this better as another pece of removal? I really included to fight jace and blood monn, I need to re-examine that. I took out detention sphere's with the uptick of engineered explosives. It always has done ok in testing, but never really the card I wanted. Shelldock aisle has been a great inclusion all the way through. Really over performs, and had the great interaction with choke.

Did a little modern at BGB tonight. Feeling like a 60-40 deck for sure. Tried swathing search back for another snap and visions. Supreme verdicts were not really tested. Made some play mistakes. Optimizing mana cantrips, not targeting logic knot with surgical, not knowing how to sideboard graveyard hate for the Jeskai matchup. Certainly need to do my elephants. Esper planeswalkers was a pretty good matchup. Pithing needle was great, set adrift was just ok every time I cast it, even when it was optimal. The snap felt good, extra visions was sitting in my hand for awhile, lead to some play mistakes. Not sure if esper charm isn't better than the third visions. Snapcaster was great. With all the control decks in the room for people just like me, makes methinks to prey on them, but also not fold to all the linear decks that are bound to come out. Jeskai was close. I didn't bring in the collective brutalities, huge mistake. The matchup is dictated by 1-1 trades. Without playing more disruption, I allowed the control player to prioritize what spells they countered, which effectively shut off a million mill spells. They maintain their clock, pithing needle was over taxed. Needed to end the game more quickly. Both players knew to kill crab. Not knowing how to do graveyard hate was also too confusing on the hip. Visions is the best card in the matchup, but logic knot really modulates it's effectiveness. Logic knot was insane against me. I need all surgical's, no spell bomb. Ashiok is cute, but pretty much too cute. Turning on my opponents search was also really bad. Trying a couple of search's and keeping the snapcaster seems fine, perhaps adding another field of ruin. Again, should I jump ship? Can I break 50/50 with optimal play? I had the thought of Grixis reveler. Also lost legacy is awesome!

Tested with Fredo today. Played a sweet tree folk deck, Affinity, and Infect. I was pretty worried going into it playing against linear decks. I wanted to get at least one of the two match ups to maintain my win rate. Affinity first, taking game one. I was out pressured my master of etherium, lords being some of the best cards against me. I think my use of surgical extraction game was appropriate, as snagging a land put me in range of milling both affinity and infect G1. In the second games these were sided out for more effective counter measures. I was also stifled both games by having only two lands for the duration, keeping me off mind funeral. i went up to 21 lands and Azcanta's, I'm comfortable with that. Sideboard games were very good. I was able to stabilize and manage their threats, and then cast successive mill spells. I don't think I'm worried about these low land, middling clock, minimal disruption linear decks. I can navigate around them. Humans is another story...

Wisdom of the day, midrange control strategies have to dodge their problem matchups in a tournament in order to make day two. Although these decks are better day 2. These decks draw the wrong parts at the wrong time. I think I've mitigated this by being a dedicated mill deck, and including so much selection. Still, I can't deny that I'm trying to dodge humans. So, Jadine says we solve problems as a tuner, a metagamer, and a player. I've tuned for wraths over settle, and more removal. I don't thnk I want to switch decks, or switch to phantasm's that leads to the player. Play the matchup in and out, until I can maximize my chances to win everytime I encounter it. It's 25-75 right now. Can I shift that average?

My first reaction was to see if I could make my deck more synergistic to shift the match. Lead me to a search of the keyword multi color in gatherer modern. Interesting for another brew, but not particularly mill. Bring to light issue/ demonic tutor conundrum. What was fruitful was realizing I want Porphry Nodes in the sideboard. It came in a dream. I realized the nodes can't be easily thalia'd, freebooted, meddling maged, selfless/necromancer/gaddock, and they best deployed in conditions where the opponent has two or more creatures and we have none. Hedron Crab complicates it, but not invalidates. After all the testing, my rate is slightly better than 1 out of 3. I need to shift my build to include main deck fatal push, and sideboard nodes I think. Search is a very dead card, but one of my best in other match ups. Switching for visions should be a good compromise. Nodes is also great against many other linear creature decks, particularly hexproof.

What I've learned in the matchup is that the sideboard cards are subtle, creating another layer to their already complicated puzzle. The haste threats of mantis rider and thalia's lieutenant create a virtual card advantage in the turns it denies us. Gaddock Teeg is a house versus EE. Aggresively milling is mostly what all games come down too. Making them sequence threats through removal is how we win that game. Field is a forced search, so good! The random Ashiok wasn't performing thus far. With moving away from 3 surgical main to two, it is appealing to go to RIP instead of Nihil in the side, to have similar graveyard hate as we do artifact hate. occupies a similar space, a certain appeal.

Tested at BGB tonight. I still beat all hank. Reveler was closer than I expected. They have a redundancy of threats. I played Juan on Humans. A great player on a deck they know well. He put the pressure on, and dire fleet sucks! Still, I got a game, so it's kind of a toss up. Crypt incursion... I also don't have room to real side much, as just milling aggressively is still the best.

Did the last of my testing last night for SCG MKE with Fredo. We played a final match with our best decks, and I resoundingly crushed him. I was surprised with his sideboard, as batterskull was insane against humans. Equip it on a creature was awesome, and the game was out of reach upon the second attack. I gave it serious consideration for mill. I can play that kind of game generally, so it's not unfeasible. I think it takes the same spot as nodes though, which is deployed much faster than the random haymaker. Nodes also helps more versatility, so I give the edge there. It's close though. I think I just don't have a high enough land count to reliably cast it on 5, so I think I would die with it in hand more often than not. Today I finished my in-depth play draw sideboard guide for whoping 28 math ups on a single piece of legal pad. My battle box is ready to go, I've got my reps, I've got my optimized list. All needed cards are waiting for me. Next time I edit these notes, it will be with a tournament report! What a long road. I hope to reap the fruits of this extensive preparation. I just want top 4 for an invite, I will be totally redeemed if I even place though. No matter happens, this is for sure: I'm probably the most skilled mill player in modern, and I will not be defeated easily.

This version's running test list:
74 games 14-10-0 (matches)
Jund: 2-0-0 100/00 (2-0)
Burn: 0-1-0 33/66 (1-2)
Kiki Moon: 2-1-0 70/30 (2-1)
Emrakul Tron :1-0-0 66/33 (2-1)
Bloodbraid Zoo :1-0-0 100/00 (2-0)
Skred: 0-1-0 00/100 (0-2)
Humans: 3-4-0 47/53 (7-13)
R/W taxes: 1-0-0 100/00 (2-0)
Temur Bloodbraid: 0-1-0 33/66 (1-2)
Esper Walkers: 1-0-0 100/00 (2-0)
Jeskai Control: 0-1-0 33/66 (1-2)
Affinity: 1-0-0 66/33 (2-1)
Infect: 1-0-0 66/33 (2-1)
Bedlam Reveler: 0-0-0 00/50 (0-1)
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