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Ipnu Rivulet Discussion
1 week ago
This deck seems like it plays a little strange to me, the idea of having hand disruption such as Harsh Scrutiny is to be able to take the next turns play out of your opponents hands but the lack of unconditional removal means that you are forced to take 5 and 6 drops. Pair this with the fact that the deck isn't running the most efficient black sweepers ( Bontu's Last Reckoning ) and you've got a deck that is going to be fairly weak even against your best match-ups (which should be mid-range strategies)
Lost Legacy is not a mainboard-able card, it may give you free wins when you bring it in from the sideboard, though it's just a much stronger card once you know exactly what you are up against.
Also I'd suggest playing anything over Unburden, it's just not what you want to be doing.
Ipnu Rivulet is a fine card when it comes to mill strategies, it doesn't take up "real" card slots whilst still offering a Spell-like effect
1 week ago
And Mill is bad in any case - this metagame being not an exception. It certainly avoids most of your opponents' interactions, still it has got too many free losses and very unfavorable matchups.
1 week ago
I guess you should add 4 Ipnu Rivulet :)
Otherwise I think will is not as bad as you tell it to be
3 weeks ago
Looks like your having problems with the early game. Riddlekeeper and Death's Approach could get your friends, maybe pilfered plans for card draw. And I would suggest you to stay at ~60 cards for more reliability.If you want to throw away your money, Glimpse the Unthinkable is a good moneydump, Mind Sculpt is the budget Version.
Destroy the Evidence is too expensive and too weak.
3 weeks ago
Now that Darkness is back on my radar, I am likely going to drop Fatal Push. Currently, I had been cycling Dimir Aqueduct by playing it and picking it back up to trigger Hedron Crab and activate the Revolt on Fatal Push. It was quite satisfying. But with Darkness, I won't care about spot removal, since I can just Fog my opponent and mill him out. So I agree with Fatal Push.
I may give Shelldock Isle another go, but I played with it ALOT when I first brewed up my deck, and I hated everything about it. I felt like I was pitching 2 cards, often ones I wanted, and I hate that it comes into play tapped. If it was able to be tapped for mana immediately, I would be more inclined to put up with it. I feel much more like I'm driving the match with Ipnu Rivulet than on the back foot with Shelldock, especially on the draw. But perhaps, I will give it another shot.
Same with Visions of Beyond, I feel far to slow. I get greedy and it sits in my hand too late, until I panic on turn 3/4 because I don't have any action, and I cycle it digging for some, never benefiting from the full draw 3 effect. I played it as much as I played with Shelldock. Swapping it for Serum Visions has felt sooooo good. I love the scry. I can't say it enough. I love planning out my next 2 turns. I never feel bad about my timing when I play Serum Visions. I feel in control and on the offensive. Maybe I will try mixing them, two of each, but that might dilute the effectiveness. In any case, Serum Visions is currently my best turn 1 play, far and above Hedron Crab, and I don't lose anything for it. I don't miss a landfall trigger, and I keep him off the field and away from Fatal Push for at turn. Also, if I bring Shelldock back in, I can go land into Serum Visions turn one, then Hedron into Shelldock for the landfall trigger. Since it comes into play tapped, you don't lose anything.
However it plays out, I need to do much more testing. I am excited to play out Darkness though.
3 weeks ago
Shivalry Thanks a lot for your thorough post! I'll reply right away.
- I missed the nonbo between Leyline of the Void and Fraying Sanity. Good point!
- I think Visions of Beyond is still great even when bringing in Leyline of the Void: if you don't start with the enchantment or they destroy it early, you get a powerful card; if Leyline of the Void sticks, you get to cycle it easily.
- Totally agree about Ghost Quarter.
- I agree with all you have said about Visions of Beyond: it does not fit as an aggro card. However, when the game is not about aggroing out it is great; and even against aggro it digs towards your fogs (spot removals are worthless in this case), which you can easily play on turn 4 even after Visions of Beyond.
- I cannot disagree more about Shelldock Isle: it is fantastic. It is not a win more: it is card advantage and an important piece of the mill department, even if every spell you cast through it costs . It is the perfect card for the fog plan, allowing you to fog on turn 4 and cast two mill spells on turn 5 for the win (it comes up quite a lot!!!). Ipnu Rivulet on the other hand costs the same fof getting its effects but, while not entering tapped, even when you activate it milling only 4 cards is irrelevant (Mill bites out the opponent's library using spells milling around 10, for a total of 50: there's no need to spend resources to round up the count if you can avoid it). There are certainly builds that don't want Shelldock Isle, but I don't think they are good enough.
- I partially disagree about Hedron Crab too. It is not a good turn 1 play, BUT (1) you said yourself that you too are concerned with mana constraints (I agree), and would not even play Visions of Beyond as a cantrip in bad scenarios (I do not agree); (2) spot removals like Fatal Push are really useless in Mill, so again they cannot cover the 1-mana slot; (3) there aren't other 1-mana Mill spells you want (or, worse, need) to play, and on the opposite the 2-mana slots are choked: so you really need to open up with Hedron Crab a lot of times (you will certainly save it for later against midrange, for example).
- Ahah I actually didn't consider aggressive bannings as a way for us to be competitive for once! Nice catch!
3 weeks ago
After HoD was released, I brewed my own modern UB Mill based around Fraying Sanity, and I would like to share with you what I have learned. Some things may be obvious, some things may be new, and some things you may have already known. I have read through your post, but I may be saying something you already touched on without remembering it (there was alot to read!). I will split them up into facts and opinions for simplicity's sake.
Leyline of the Void blanks Fraying Sanity and Visions of the Beyond
This is something I did not anticipate when I first added a couple copies of Leyline into my 75 and started play testing. Because the cards never actually enter the GY and simply go straight to exile, your milling is not compounded with Fraying Sanity's end step trigger. This does not necessarily make Leyline a bad card, or a bad card in the 75 deck. However, you should keep Leyline in the sideboard, and when you decide to bring it IN, you need to board Fraying Sanity OUT. Also, there are never 20 cards in a GY to make Visions anything more than a cycle card, unless your opponent happens to be milling you as well (or you spent precious turns/mana/cards to mill yourself). My solution for the unfavorable interaction with Visions I detail a little further down.
Your opponent does NOT have to search for a basic land after Ghost Quarter resolves
If your opponent can read cards, they will know that searching their deck opens them up to an Archive Trap. You will more than likely be able to get a free Ghost Quarter into Archive Trap combo the very first time you set it off. But after that, your opponent will opt out of searching his deck, turning your Archive Trap into a 5CMC 13 mill. Not the best bang for your buck at that point. My advice is to sideboard out Archive Trap after game one. Ghost Quarter is now essentially a Wasteland, as your opponent will opt out to search for a basic thinking you have Archive Trap in hand. I personally run another 3 mill cards in my SB to swap in for Archive Trap after game one, assuming I don't have other SB options in mind for the match up. Now of course, I am not forgetting about fetch lands and tutors that your opponent may have in their deck; there are many options for turning Archive Trap on. Just keep in mind when you go to sideboard, if you are relying on Ghost Quarter to set up Archive Trap, you should board Trap out.
Visions of Beyond is a trap card
By this I mean, it is a trap for the mill player. The earlier iterations of my deck of course contained a full play set of this magnificent (or so it seemed) card. The problem is, Visions makes you greedy. You don't want to cycle it for one card, no! You want 3 cards for one blue, oh yeah baby! And so you hold onto it; it sits in your hand until you fire off at least two mill cards (Fraying Sanity included). Now that sounds good as a mid to late game refueling, top decking it after your opponent already has 20 cards in the GY and Visions is online. But what Mill is lacking to really put it into a competitive position, is explosiveness. We want to mill them to 0 at the end of turn 4. That is the perfect and best play out of our deck, and there is a lot of competition for action on turns 1 thru 3, and possibly not enough cards in the GY to bring Visions online. My solution was to trade Visions of Beyond out completely for Serum Visions. The scry 2 is amazing. Because the card doesn't change or have a bonus attached to playing it later, you don't fall into the trap, you don't get greedy. Fire it off on turn one to setup your next 1-2 turns. It doesn't sit in your hand, it doesn't conflict with a turn 4 win (in fact it helps you prepare for one), and it costs the same as Visions of Beyond (one blue).
Shelldock Isle is a trap card
Again, a trap for the mill player. In theory, it sounds fantastic. You exile a card (best case scenario, Glimpse or Breaking/Entering or Mind Funeral or Archive Trap) that costs more than one blue mana, making it inherently cheaper, and use it to close out the game. However, you can only use this ability if your opponent has 20 or fewer cards in their library. So it is essentially a "win more" card with serious draw backs. You remove the top three cards of your library and only pick one. Two are sent to the bottom never to be heard from again (the odds are better with fetch lands of course) and one is exiled and can't be used till later. The idea that the exiled card only costs one blue mana is also technically untrue, as you have to tap Shelldock Isle in addition to the one blue mana. So this exiled card actually costs one colorless (the Isle) and one blue, making Glimpse a tie and Mind Funeral only one black cheaper. Archive Trap and the Entering half of B/E are the best possible cards to have exiled under Shelldock but the odds are very low that they will consistently be one of the three cards available to choose from. Hoping for a perfect Shelldock into B/E or Archive Trap combo is chasing the win instead of playing for the win. There is no guarantee that Entering will have an amazing target to choose from, and Archive Trap can be played for free via other more reliable methods. I personally think the draw backs do not out weigh the advantages, that there are better lands to choose from, and since it comes into play tapped, it is too slow for the turn 4 win we are aiming for. Having a land that doubles as a mill spell is great for this deck, but I think Ipnu Rivulet fills that role better. It costs 1 more mana to play, only mills 4 cards, and requires you to sacrifice it, but in terms of a "win more" scenario, it can push you over the finish line without inhibiting your early game, which I feel is more important.
Hedron Crab is not a turn 1 play
I think that the idea of playing Hedron Crab on turn 1 as an assumed "perfect turn one play" is incorrect. In my opinion, it's perfect place is on turn 2, and this is why: you gain nothing by playing it on turn one over playing it on turn 2. There is no advantage, no bonus, no reason to play it one turn early. It is impossible to get a turn one trigger off it's landfall ability (which is practically a guarantee on turn two), in general you don't want to chump block with it until you've gotten some value out of it, and not having it available to block 1 damage (if you are on the draw) is not a game breaking concern. What you should be doing on turn one is playing cantrips. Thought Scour, Serum Visions, and even Fatal Push (if you were on the draw or think your opponent will have a creature to play next turn) are far and away better turn one plays than Hedron Crab. Hedron Crab belongs on turn two, played before you drop your second land, guaranteeing a trigger. Playing Crab on turn 1 opens it up to creature removal before you even get one landfall trigger off it.
Finally I want to say, I quite enjoyed your write up. I learned a few things, confirmed a few things, and even disagreed with a few things, haha! Darkness is brilliant; I completely forgot that card even existed. As you said in one of the comment chains, it's essentially a 1 mana Time Walk, which is fantastic for what this deck (and mine) is trying to do: win asap. Often times, I find myself losing a game thinking "man, if I only had one more turn." I will be testing Darkness later today as a matter of fact. I am also testing Haunting Echoes as a possible substitute for Leyline of the Void (allowing you to keep Fraying Sanity relevant). I'll follow up on that later.
However, I do disagree with your conclusion that mill will never be a "Tier 1" deck. Modern has changed so much so often over the years, I believe any deck has a chance to be the best deck in the meta at that time. Mill simply hasn't found it's footing yet. New cards will always shake things up. Even if they aren't cards we can use in UB Mill, often times they simply push out cards that are/were problems for us.
People always said Death and Taxes had no place competitively in Modern, and Brian Coval proved everyone wrong. The same possibility exists for mill. We just have to find the right combination of cards.