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1UB, T: Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
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Nephalia Drownyard Discussion
2 weeks ago
The biggest issue I can see is that your deck is built around combos of having cards like Jace's Phantasm and Consuming Aberration benefit off of your opponent having cards in their graveyard, but you all of your mill is conditional aside from 4 cards: 2x Mind Funeral and 2x Nephalia Drownyard. Grisly Spectacle requires that your opponent play somehthing big you want to kill, and Psychic Strike has the same issue. If you burn either of those just because you need the mill, you just wasted removal on something that may not be that big of an issue. Dream Salvage doesn't make a lot of sense to me, as nothing in your deck forces any sort of discard. Also Desecration Demon, while a nice thing to use to mess with people, has no synergy in a mill deck and you want every card in your deck to help with your win condition. If you want to go full mill I'd look into cards like Tome Scour, Mind Grind, Traumatize, and maybe more defense like Guard Gomazoa. If you prefer the "big creatures for low cost" strat then I'd drop all of the mill-related cards, lands and creatures and run Heartless Summoning along with other fun things like Myr Superion, and maybe something like Tombstalker. Myr Superion is perfect with Heartless Summoning, since you can cheat a 4/5 into play as early as turn 2. None of the cards I mentioned should be overly expensive (no more than a couple bucks each for a few of them) and if you cut out the mill you can switch to mono-black, which makes your mana base easier to manage, more consistent, and cheaper; all important things for a new player.
2 weeks ago
The issue with going straight mill is you basically become a really bad burn deck. Instead of your opponent having 20 life, they have 53 life and lose 1 life per turn from each draw step. So if you consider a burn spell like Skullcrack, it deals 15% of your opponent's life total for . Compare that to Breaking / Entering, which costs and mills 8 cards out of your opponent's 51 (soonest you can cast Breaking / Entering). It's roughly the same at 15.6% of your opponent's "life." However, Breaking / Entering and Glimpse the Unthinkable are the two best direct mill spells. Everything after them is low quality, compared to the massive amounts of 3 damage burn spells.
Because of this, it's much easier to just play a control deck that has a mill finisher. By simply playing something like Sphinx's Tutelage, then sitting back and killing/Fog'ing everything else, you'll have a much easier time winning the game. Not only that, but you don't have to worry about trying to setup Jace's Phantasm or Hedron Crab. You can take those out of your deck and replace them with more removal and draw spells.
I would consider moving towards combining your two decks and eventually building Esper Mill. You play all of the Holy Day cards in white, the draw spells in blue, and then all of the utility and removal in black.
Lastly, Nephalia Drownyard is really useful. I'd also play Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver in multiples, possibly even 4 copies. Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver is an absolute brick wall against aggro and puts control decks on a fast clock. The real king is going to be Visions of Beyond due to how easy it is to get 20 cards in a graveyard.
2 weeks ago
Aside from assisting Grimgrin's ETB tapped factor, Amulet of Vigor is actually more handy than it looks considering I'm currently running 9 'enters tapped' lands. Unless I spruce up the land base, I'd have to really be struggling with cuts to consider axing Amulet. Totally agree with Syphon Flesh though, it's mediocre at best - every so often it shines but it's definitely a contender for replacement. Secrets of the Dead stays put! Not only is it fantastic from a thematic standpoint, the draw is insane with Gravecrawler in the mix (he's almost always my first tutor target as he enables virtually everything). At 3 mana, I'd hardly call it a win-more card.
Regarding your second paragraph, yeah...The overall deck synergy complements dozens of sneaky interactions.
Onto the lands - I like the idea of Crypt of Agadeem, Fetid Pools (really like the Island Swamp factor + cycling may come in handy if I pull it late game) & Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in here, good calls. Also agree with your Island suggestion - although Blood Moon/Back to Basics are rare in my meta, it would still really suck. I would absolutely run Underground Sea but yeah, I'm not ready to drop $350 on an ABUR dual just yet. I don't think I'd cut Reliquary Tower for the aforementioned draw engine and as for Nephalia Drownyard & Balthor the Defiled, I ran both of those in here in previous iterations and ended up removing them at some point - Drownyard is too slow + too little value & I found I was running enough recursion without giving my opponents potential advantage as well.
Great feedback & suggestions McDeity, I appreciate it!
2 weeks ago
I respect the build. I'm not sure that I love Amulet of Vigor in the deck though, nor that Syphon Flesh is neccessary. Secrets of the Dead also feels slightly win-more since it looks like only Gravecrawler, Yawgmoth's Will, Army of the Damned's flashback, and Havengul Lich trigger it.
On the topic of Havengul Lich, I believe you already have the components of a somewhat messy combo (besides anything with Rooftop Storm- that's pretty obvious). Cast a Fatestitcher from the graveyard to gain a sweet tap ability; if you can get Grimgrin in there as well, you pickup a means to untap the Lich; add a land that can make larger doses of mana (e.g. Cabal Coffers), and you can cast all zombies from your graveyard. If your Coffers taps for enough, just feed creatures to Havengul to keep untapping the Coffer and recasting dudes from the sandbox. Geralf's Messenger works pretty well here as well (or anything with Undying), as you get two untaps. The only uncertainty I have is that Grimgrin's untap ability says to untap "Grimgrin," and I'm not sure how that translates to Havengul copying the ability (I've never found a ruling). All that does require a decent mana investment to get started though, so it's pretty much limited to the late-late game.
Somewhat still in the same vein, I'd reccomend Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Crypt of Agadeem, and Nephalia Drownyard to the list. Ooh, also an Underground Sea (budget permitting), Fetid Pools, and possibly Bad River (or other black fetch) and basic Island. The Nykthos is just good, and the Crypt+Drownyard combine well with your plethora of Zombie Apocalypse effects (though Balthor the Defiled is conspicuously missing). Underground Sea, Fetid Pools and Bad River just juice up Coffers a little more. The basic is a concession to Blood Moon/Back to Basics effects, even if it's otherwise miserable. Maybe Reliquary Tower could go? I cut it a long time ago, since discarding with the deck isn't that bad. Anyhow, you write a good intro and the list is one of the more sensible ones I've seen. Keep up the good work and God bless. -McDeity
1 month ago
1 month ago
Although Death's Approach is good, you're definitely going to want instant-speed removal of some sort, otherwise the deck is significantly handicapped. Oh, also maybe consider Nephalia Drownyard as a replacement for Duskmantle(even though it has like the greatest flavor text ever)
1 month ago
From the start, let me establish that my recommendations are complete "competitive player" based. So I am talking strictly from a position of strengthening this list so it has a better chance of top 4/8 for prizes in an LGS. if they offer prize support, I would use it to further enhance the deck list. Now, there are a lot of factors I cannot account for, Meta, LGS, and that sort of thing. The suggestions I make here are merely observations based on my experience and play style.
Off the bat, there is nothing wrong with "Kitchen Table" magic. The best games I've ever played have been around my kitchen table with friends and family. That being said, if you are keeping it casual, you can disregard the upgrades as merely the ramblings of a "Spike" player. I assure you, my only interest is in seeing you play a deck that you can both enjoy and have fun with. Winning with the deck is just icing on the cake.
Dismal Backwater is a good budget card, but it is slow. There are faster options to consider, and the lifegain is marginal at best. I've rarely said in games "Damn, if only I have one more life point, I could have won that." If I did, it was usually against RDW and that ilk of deck archetype. Dimir Aqueduct is another one of those good but slow cards. Yes, it does give you two mana, but it punishes you twice for that gift. Not only does it enter tapped, but you have to return a land to your hand as well. So you cannot play this turn one, it has come down minimally on turn two, which means that you are most likely not playing something on turn two, just to get this out (so best case scenario is Turn one, Island, Tap Island, play Hedron Crab, turn two, tap Island, play second Hedron Crab, then play tapped Dimir Aqueduct returning tapped Island back to your hand, but what are the odds of having all of those cards in your opening hand all the time?). That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think we can agree that a turn where you aren't casting something with this deck, and just land cycling/fixing is "meh" at best, not a well spent turn. Later in game, when resources are higher, it is less obtrusive, but Modern is nicknamed "the Four Turn Format" for a reason, so by turn 3 or 4, you ideally should have a clear path to victory, or be setting up to win. Of course, this applies far more in a competitive setting, not a kitchen table setting. Again, my position on Dimir Aqueduct is that it is a good card, but there are clearly better choices.
As to why I personally would choose Evolving Wilds over Dimir Aqueduct, I can control the nature of the fetch (ie: which color I need most), I'm not losing a land drop (I didn't have to return something to my hand), and if timed right, I can benefit from a double Hedron Crab trigger. Mathematically, I feel as though Evolving Wilds brings more to that table in the long run than Dimir Aqueduct, however, we are crunching numbers and talking about small differences in comparison to the non-budget counterpart of Polluted Deltas, Watery Graves, and Darkslick Shores. I get what you are saying, and you can make an argument for either, I am just stating my case for the choice I would make. Both are fine choices, but I would go the route I outlined above.
With regard to Nephalia Drownyard, it has its place. I think it is good mana sink when you are out of cards or need that last little bit of mill, but again, while it is good, I personally feel there are better choices.
With regard to Turbo Mill style decks, you are basically going full tilt kamikaze on your opponent with minimal regard for your life total. Who cares if you are at 1 life when you mill your opponent's last card. You still won once you pass the turn. The equation to keep in mind for Mill vs Everything is this. You are at 20 life (actual life points) and they are at 60 life (the size of their library, if it is higher, that makes it even worse). So you are already behind the curve, so you need to spend resources on compensating for the difference in life totals, so you should care less about attacking your opponent's life total, but rather, spending every resource (life and mana) that you can to put all of those cards into their graveyard as fast as you can. This is the biggest issue with Mill, that 20/60 life total difference. A lot of folks see it as an impossibly unfair difference, but if you hyper focus and mill and do nothing else, you find that you can close that gap just fine. This is what sets mill players apart from everyone else.
This is why I always recommend a deck that is less responsive in archetype (ie Turbo Fog Mill, Counterspell Mill, Planeswalker Mill, and Mill/Kill) in favor of a deck that is laser focused on making your opponent dump chunks of their library into the graveyard like trash.
I hope that this post offers you some insight on my "spike-ish" recommendations and helps you figure out what kind of Mill player you want to aspire to be. There is no wrong answer. As long as you have fun, then you are already winning at Magic; and that is more than most Modern players can say, so keep that in mind my friend.
1 month ago
@TheGodofNight: Thank you so much for your review. You're probably right, it's more of a "kitchen table magic"-deck.
Tight budget always depends on the point of view, but I think, you're right with that. I already got myself some Sunken Hollow and think, Evolving Wilds and Dimir Aqueduct have a good synergy with Hedron Crab. Of course, both are way worse than Polluted Delta because of coming tapped. I agree, that Dismal Backwater is a cheap try for manafixing.
How is Dimir Aqueduct worse than Evolving Wilds? Yes, it hits the board not before T2, but if you have nothing better to do, you have a hedron-crab mill engine by playing Dimir Aqueduct each turn and give itself back, as long as you don't draw the next land. Yes, not that good but it's something.You can also obviously tap your Island or Swamp before taking it back to your hand plus it helps you getting that land count a bit lower, as you need for example just 4 lands for 5 mana (playing one of them twice after bounce). Does this make any sense?
I already thought a few times about cutting Nephalia Drownyard, but as I almost never went manascrewed I think, it's still better than doing nothing if you got too much mana. But of course, that shouldn't happen.
I also thought about Fog effects, because my main problem is getting stomped over by aggro/tron, usually I'm one turn late there.
I actually didn't want to go for mill/kill, but eventually, more turbo mill or control would do better than Nighthowler and the like. I didn't care about the missing evasion with him as I don't want to swing in the first place.
I'm probably going to go for that Archive Traps, but I'm not sure about Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. He's removal bait and doesn't necessarily mill that much. The same thing is also true about Consuming Aberration, that's true.
Thanks again so much! I totally agree, that mill is fun to play and not to be underestimated.