A surprisingly large number of people came to MKM Series Milan 2017 to play Mill in Modern. Okay, the actual number was three, but a surprise it was nevertheless. The strategy, named for the original Millstone, was often made fun of in the past, because milling in general doesn't accomplish much until one actually empties a players library.

However, more and more cards with the ability to mill had accumulated. Maybe a critical mass was reached and now was the time? At the very least, one of the Mill players, 26-year-old David Teich from Lausanne, Switzerland, had started the tournament with a 3-1 record and found himself in 14th place after four rounds.

So why was Mill this popular all of a sudden?

Teich shrugged and pointed to a recent Grand Prix where a Mill deck went 7-2 on Day 1. But he himself had been a fan of the strategy for a long time. “I started to play Mill five years ago. That's the reason why the deck is so pimped,” he added with a laugh and showed of his shiny Asian foils.

Five years go, the deck didn't have Manic Scribe, but it did have Archive Trap, which Teich considered the most important tool in the Mill player's arsenal. “Over the years, I also tried various other cards like Augur of Bolas, Jace's Phantasm, Thought Scour, and Breaking // Entering.”

The configuration Teich had ended up with now was indeed close to the Grand Prix list mentioned earlier and had a lot of neat things going for it. Teich particularly pointed to the interaction between Surgical Extraction and Mind Funeral, sometimes helped along by Ghost Quarter. “When you extract all copies of a land, a lot of decks in the format don't have that many left. Affinity, for example, or Tron.”

Although Teich admitted that his deck's Affinity matchup wasn't good. “First game, Affinity is 75% to win, after sideboarding it's about fifty-fifty,” he said. “Decks like Kiki-Chord and Tron are great matchups; they do a lot of shuffling.”

Teich didn't want to suggest that Mill was really a top tier strategy. “It's a fun game because you don't kill like any other deck,” he said, and added with a smile, “And at least, no one has a sideboard against you!”

David Teich – Mill

Main Deck:
  • 4 Hedron Crab
  • 4 Manic Scribe
  • 4 Archive Trap
  • 3 Crypt Incursion
  • 4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
  • 3 Mesmeric Orb
  • 3 Mind Funeral
  • 2 Ensnaring Bridge
  • 3 Fatal Push
  • 3 Surgical Extraction
  • 4 Visions of Beyond
  • 1 Darkslick Shores
  • 2 Flooded Strand
  • 3 Ghost Quarter
  • 3 Island
  • 2 Marsh Flats
  • 4 Polluted Delta
  • 1 Shelldock Isle
  • 3 Swamp
  • 4 Watery Grave
Sideboard:
  • 4 Leyline of the Void
  • 3 Darkblast
  • 2 Echoing Truth
  • 2 Darkness
  • 2 Damnation
  • 2 Hurkyll's Recall
txt version

David Teich – Mill
Main Deck:
4 Hedron Crab
4 Manic Scribe
4 Archive Trap
3 Crypt Incursion
4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
3 Mesmeric Orb
3 Mind Funeral
2 Ensnaring Bridge
3 Fatal Push
3 Surgical Extraction
4 Visions of Beyond
1 Darkslick Shores
2 Flooded Strand
3 Ghost Quarter
3 Island
2 Marsh Flats
4 Polluted Delta
1 Shelldock Isle
3 Swamp
4 Watery Grave
Sideboard:
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Darkblast
2 Echoing Truth
2 Darkness
2 Damnation
2 Hurkyll's Recall