Milling About

Once or twice a year, we see Mill start putting up results in Modern. Modern is in a strange place as far as Mill goes. There’s a high enough density of cards that mill efficiently enough that you can race all but the fastest combo decks, but there’s also the possibility of you milling critical singletons that decks are just unable to win without. When decks are getting a little too cute or midrangey, it’s a great time to break out your Archive Traps and get to work:


Archive Trap
The key of this deck is in the raw efficiency of the mill effects. Hedron Crab and Shriekhorn are your better one-mana plays, each representing somewhere around six cards milled. Your best follow up is Mesmeric Orb, though Manic Scribe can be reasonable depending on how quickly you can get delirium enabled. Mesmeric Orb lets you consistently get four or more cards from your opponent each time they untap, and quickly gets out of hand in conjunction with Fraying Sanity.

The key to this deck is the combination of Archive Trap, Trapmaker’s Snare, and Visions of Beyond. Quick and consistent access to multiple copies of Archive Trap is a great way to punish opposing fetchlands and quickly run your opponent out of cards, particularly if you can stick a Fraying Sanity to double up on one or more Archive Traps.

Previous iterations of this deck have combined this plan with Surgical Extractions and Extirpates. The idea was that a lot of Modern has become pseudo-combo decks that are reliant on namesake cards or combinations to take over games. If you can find, for example, an Ad Nauseam or Primeval Titan in the early turns with an Archive Trap or Mesmeric Orb and then follow up with Surgical Extraction, you can render your opponent’s deck functionally without a way to win the game.

If you’re looking for a format where you can reasonably break out your Shelldock Isles, Modern is one of the best to do it in. It seems that Mill is well-positioned in the current format, and it has a number of strategic advantages against some of the top decks that are narrowly dependent on cards like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle or Collected Company to adequately pressure you before you can run them out of cards.


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