Last updated on April 12, 2022

Maddening Cacophony - Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Maddening Cacophony | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Magic is a game that pushes you to get creative in ways to kill your opponents. The single most effective way is to get their life total to zero, but there are other non-conventional ways to win the game. Sure, cards like Felidar Sovereign and Revel in Riches are alternative win conditions that give you other ways to win, but they need to be built around to succeed.

Today I’ll be going over a deck that doesn’t care about how much life your opponent has. Its primary wincon depletes their library instead. That’s right, it’s back! You thought milling was impossible post-rotation because rogues is out? Prepare for a big surprise.

Dimir Mill is on today’s plate!

The Deck

Tasha’s Hideous Laughter | Illustrated by Ilse Gort

The Strategy

Milling is the act of making your opponent move their cards from their library into exile or the graveyard. In case you didn’t know or weren’t present in the previous Standard, milling your opponent is another way to win in Magic. If a player would draw a card when their library is empty, they lose the game.

This was prevalent in the previous Standard meta in the rogues decks. But with the main enablers like Thieves’ Guild Enforcer gone post-rotation, what are your options now? Let’s find out!

The Creatures

Even though this deck lost some pieces, not only does it keep the same Dimir () color scheme as previous mill decks, but creatures like Ruin Crab, Merfolk Windrobber, and Soaring Thought-Thief are old friends that are willing to help you on today’s feat. Which is, of course, milling your opponent.

The most important of them by far is Ruin Crab. This little guy can start working from turn 2 and it stops early aggro starts from some decks. One is bad news but having two in play represents a speedy clock for your opponents.

Merfolk Windrobber is also another early worker that’ll mill a few cards in the early game. It can also be a cantrip or a chump blocker plus a cantrip when needed.

Finally you have Soaring Thought-Thief. This rogue enables more milling potential since your opponent will have to mill two cards whenever a rogue attacks, and the effect stacks the more you have. You can also use it to ambush creatures your opponent attacks with if they’re unaware of what you’re running.

The Win Conditions

While the Crab, Merfolk, and Thought-Thief help get your opponent’s cards into the graveyard little by little, these spells put a significant portion of their deck out of duty.

Maddening Cacophony

Maddening Cacophony is the first one on the list. It’ll usually mill eight cards from your opponent but it can put half of their deck out of business when kicked.

Tasha's Hideous Laughter

Next, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is dedicated to making your opponent’s cards useless. The upside on this one is that it exiles those cards instead of sending them to the graveyard. This is somewhat relevant most of the time but especially against decks that run spells with flashback.

Laughter’s downside is that it’s sometimes less reliable than the Cacophony since it’s dependent on your opponent’s deck. Opponents with a low-curve deck could end up milling almost twenty cards with one swing, but don’t be surprised if you only get rid of a handful of cards from decks with a bigger curve. Still, a kicked Cacophony into the Laughter usually seals the deal regardless of the variance.

Now, that’s a lot of mana. So how do you survive up until then? This is where the disruption package comes into play.

The Disruption Package

Bloodchief's Thirst

Four copies of Bloodchief’s Thirst is your interaction. The current meta is filled with werewolves or enablers and cards like Werewolf Pack Leader and Jaspera Sentinel can very easily put you in challenging scenarios.

Fading Hope

Fading Hope is next on the list since Unsummon effects with an upside are pretty good in this meta, especially if you’re facing opponents running Wrenn and Seven or Smoldering Egg. Bounce Wrenn’s token and kill the planeswalker or just reset your opponent’s entire Egg. Bloodchief’s Thirst is better but Fading Hope acts as your sixth and seventh copy in blue in this kind of scenario.

Some boards may start loading pretty quickly and that’s why you need to have ways to clear it before it becomes impossible to handle. Crippling Fear and Shadows’ Verdict do fine jobs of this. Fear usually acts as a one-sided board wipe in your favor while Verdict exiles just about everything in the format. This is crucial against popular creatures like Old-Growth Troll.

Jwari Disruption

Another way to disrupt is making sure your opponent can’t resolve spells. Dealing with cards like Esika’s Chariot is huge since it’s hard to remove once it’s resolved. Four copies of Jwari Disruption are a must for this since it acts as an unexpected counterspell or as a land in the long game to trigger some Ruin Crab activations.

Saw It Coming

Saw It Coming is the last disruption piece of the deck. It hard counters everything with no restriction and you can spend less mana on it in the later game by using its foretell side.

The Card Advantage

Memory Deluge

As far as card advantage goes you no longer have access to Into the Story. Memory Deluge acts as an acceptable replacement, though, since it does a very similar job. There’s also the upside of choice instead of drawing cards in the dark.

Previous Standard decks ran four copies of the Story, so a full playset of Deluge seems like a good plan. This list only runs two, but you could run the full set and trim your Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.

The Lands

You have a very smooth mana base at your disposal with the introduction of Shipwreck Marsh along with Clearwater Pathway and Ice Tunnel. Since Fabled Passage is out of the format, Evolving Wilds becomes your only way to exploit Ruin Crabs a bit more.

Exactly how many copies of Ice Tunnel you should include is a bit up in the air. You don’t want to enter the battlefield tapped a lot of the time but you could trim it down to two copies in future builds.

Common Interactions

Ruin Crab - Illustration by Simon Dominic

Ruin Crab | Illustrated by Simon Dominic

  • Save your Evolving Wilds’ activations in the late game instead of immediately cracking them to fetch land. It’s a significant upside if you happen to draw Ruin Crab.
  • Save your Tasha’s Hideous Laughter at the end. It’ll prove to be more efficient in terms of sequence.
  • Once enabled, Merfolk Windrobber can act as fog to block and draw you a card for one turn. This is key against creatures that don’t have trample.
  • Always try to hold Soaring Thought-Thief until the end of your opponent’s turn. The only scenario where this shouldn’t happen is if you’re trying to mill a couple more cards and have answers to your opponent’s threat.
  • The key to this deck is to not recklessly tap out. This is why Thought-Thief is critical in this meta. You can be severely punished by a turn 3 Esika’s Chariot or a turn 4 Wrenn and Seven. You can still bluff it even if you don’t have a counterspell which buys you some time to find your big mill spells.
  • Bloodchief’s Thirst goes up in value against decks running planeswalkers but don’t forget that it can kill almost every creature in the long game.

Sideboard Guide

Dimir Mill is not a tier 1 deck, but it’s fun because it’s different from what players are running in the current Standard. This can sometimes give you the upper hand since your opponent won’t be prepared to handle your threats in game 1.

You need to prepare a robust sideboard while not messing with your current game plan too much to raise your odds a bit. You’ll usually trim your removal package against control decks and your counterspell package against heavy aggro ones.

Let’s see how this lines up in specific matchups.

Mono Green Aggro Matchups

You need to be careful of the aggressive starts when you’re up against mono green aggro. Bloodchief’s Thirst is your best option here. You can tempo them out until you mill them after the initial barrage is finished.

Post-sideboard you need to adjust to if your opponent is running Jaspera Sentinel or not. If they are, cut some copies of Merfolk Windrobber. Otherwise, cut some Saw It Comings.

In

Disdainful Stroke

Out

Izzet Control Matchups

You need to make sure you don’t let your opponent resolve their big spells in an Izzet Control matchup. Always keep up counterspells and mana from turn 5 and on.

You also need to keep an eye on the milled cards. Holding counters for Goldspan Dragon is no use if you’ve already milled them. On the other hand, if your opponent’s library is low on cards and they haven’t cast Alrund’s Epiphany, chances are pretty high that they’re still lurking around. Keep an eye on it, especially in this matchup.

Aside from that, post-sideboard is treated like any other Standard control mirror. Swap out some of your removal and add in hand disruption and counterspells. You usually want to play longer games so trimming a few copies of Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is okay. Izzet Control runs bigger spells anyway.

In

Out

Mono White Aggro Matchups

Mono white aggro has been rising in popularity lately so don’t get caught by surprise if you run into it. This deck threatens to put a lot of pressure on you in the early stages of the game. Ruin Crab can usually hold them for a few turns but the beats start getting real once they resolve Adeline, Resplendent Cathar or Luminarch Aspirant.

Bounce spells are your best bet alongside ambushing some attackers with Soaring Thought-Thief. Post-sideboard you run dedicated, cheap removal in the form of Ray of Enfeeblement. An extra copy of Crippling Fear also makes your work easier.

In

Out

Sacrifice Midrange Matchups

This is a reasonably tough matchup. Sacrifice Midrange pairs up creatures and mass removal. Still, they’re usually out of resources earlier than you are so timely counterspells are critical. That along with hand disruption post-sideboard is the key to winning this matchup.

In

Duress

Out

Other Matchups

The rest of the sideboard package is swappable depending on what you see between games.

You can cut your mill package and add Skyclave Shade and Malevolent Hermit alongside all the copies of Duress and Disdainful Stroke if you want to switch to a more aggressive plan against control decks. The same can be done against tempo decks but I wouldn’t recommend this strategy against midrange ones that run bigger creatures than yours.

The sideboard is flexible outside of that and it has tons of room for improvement.

Wrap Up

Saw It Coming - Illustration by Randy Vargas

Saw It Coming | Illustration by Randy Vargas

So what do you think? Is milling back on the plate? I would say so! It’s not top tier or anything but it can certainly give most of the top decks a run for their money. You should also already have most of these cards from the latest Standard, so that’s a plus.

Did you like the deck? What changes would you make? Please let me know in the comments. Oh, and don’t forget to grab Arena Tutor if you happen to play on MTGA. With Draftsim’s signature AI, match tracking, not to mention that it’s free, it’s worth it.

As always, take care, and I’ll see you next time. Have a great one!

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4 Comments

  • NICOLAS May 16, 2020 10:07 am

    Hi! I’m having TONS of fun with the Super Friends deck. Thanks a lot!
    One question: I feel like sometimes witching well is kind of a dead weight. Maybe I’m not understanding its value on the bigger picture, what would you say is its main use and place in the game? Also, if I decided to take it out, what other cards would you recommend as alternative?
    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • Matthew Macinante May 17, 2020 12:44 am

      Hi Nicolas,

      It’s definitely the most contentious spot, I like it as it gives us slighting more turn 1 plays, without being a dead card later on due to the sacrifice. Honestly if you’ve got the brazen borrowers i’d run those if you’re not feeling the witching wells. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the deck!

      😀

  • casperionx August 18, 2020 3:25 pm

    Teferis tutelage!!!

  • Lucas Vieira October 30, 2020 3:12 pm

    In the Deck Budget BO1 Mono Blue Mill, I’ve trade the 2 Overwhelmed Apprentice and 2 Islands to 4 Frantic Inventory. That improved the drawability of the Deck. And i used one Jwari Disruption. So the Deck is with 61 cards and works well. I’ve thought using Winged Words as we have 6 flying creatures in this deck. Nevertheless I think any strategy to draw more cards would be an improvement to this Deck. If anyone has some ideas, I would like to hear you Guys!

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