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"The procedure is quite an art, really.

Peeling back the dermis from the cranium isn't as easy as one might imagine -the blood, you see.. it makes things quite slick. It takes a certain.. technique. One, I'm afraid, that you won't have the privilege of appreciating in posterity.

The skull -and yours is a most wonderful specimen -is a magnificently designed vessel. Nigh thicker than a copper piece, it protects everything you are, all knowledge you possess, and every minute memory ever made. At the conclusion of this step, several different blades will have been used to ensure a symmetrical, 45 degree incision into the crown's cranial cavity.

(Sigh) Unfortunately, that's where the finesse ends. After I remove your skullcap and split away the meninges, I'm going to crawl my fingers around your brain, and very slowly pull it out of your skull.

If you don't mind satisfying one curiosity for me, please describe this sensation in detail.. and do try to stay alive as long as possible?"

-Circu, Dimir Lobotomist

(v 4.0)
This Modern Competitive or Multiplayer, turn 4-kill deck, works by using Mindcrank (damage=mill) and Duskmantle Guildmage's first ability (Mill=Damage). One triggers the other, and the combo destroys your opponent.

All you need to win is: Duskmantle Guildmage + Gut Shot + Mindcrank + 1

Ideally, turn 4 could be the hour of reckoning for up to 3 opponents. Here's how:

Turn 1: Drop a land. Pass turn.
Turn 2: Drop an untapped land. Play Mindcrank. Pass turn.
Turn 3: Drop an untapped land (Make sure you have both / at this point). Cast Duskmantle Guildmage. Pass turn.
Turn 4: Drop a land. Pay the cost of Duskmantle Guildmage's first ability. Then, Duress , Vapor Snag, Inquisition of Kozilek or Thoughtseize an opponent for the remaining one mana.
Turn 4(b): Gut Shot The second opponent by paying 2 life for the .
Turn 4(c): Attack the third opponent (with no blocking creatures) with the guildmage.
Smile smugly.
Apostle's Blessing - Simply THE best choice for protection for this deck: not limited to targeting Duskmantle Guildmage, it targets Mindcrank, if the need arises.

Dimir Infiltrator - Unblockable for combo trigger, transmute to find combo pieces.

Duress- Noncreature, hand hate.

Duskmantle Guildmage- Combo piece. Can be tutored with Muddle the Mixture, Dimir Infiltrator or Shred Memory(SB).

Fog Bank- Absorbs combat damage. Can be tutored through transmute cards.

Gut Shot - Kinda-free wincon.

Inquisition of Kozilek- Fatal Push, Abrupt Decay or Lightning Bolt a problem? Not anymore.

Mindcrank- Combo piece. Can also be tutored with the aforementioned transmute cards.

Muddle the Mixture- Counter and transmute.

Thoughtseize- MOAR! HAND! HATE!

Turn Aside- Counters removal targeting your combo.

Vapor Snag- It's like Unsummon with the added benefit of tripping the combo.
Honestly, the deck often wins because I never tell the opponent anything about it.

Game one: The combo comes out , and the opponent is so busy working on ramp, or their own kill con, they often don't notice they are one turn away from losing.

When you do win, it's with a minimum number of played cards. This leaves plenty to the imagination for your opponent because they've only seen 3-4 of your playable cards in the deck; putting you at a psychological advantage.

Game two: Duress, Inquisition of Kozilek or Thoughtseize, the first 2-3 turns to ensure card play safety. Thus, ridding any Pithing Needle, Phyrexian Revoker, Wheel of Sun and Moon, or [removal] an opponent may have slipped in from their sideboard. I would even wait until you can cast the guildmage and use his ability in the same turn.

As far as the "perfect" draw goes; with so many wincons in the deck, you really only need the combo pieces and to cast them. Then, draw or already have another land to use Duskmantle Guildmage's first ability. Almost every other card in the deck is useful for setting off the combo.

As with all decks, it doesn't draw perfectly 100% of the time. Here are some tips for playing the deck hard:

1. Take some damage

- Some people get over-excited and make the mistake of wasting a kill card or sending a creature back to the opponent's hand in the first two or three turns, even when the creature is only doing 2-3 damage. Don't do that. Time your kill/removal spells wisely.

2. Artifact first, then the creature

- The combo relies on you having at least both Duskmantle Guildmage + Mindcrank .
Since most decks run some sort of removal, I think it's wise to play Duskmantle Guildmage when your opponent is tapped out, hellbent, or when you have a counter spell in hand.
Duress, Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek the 2-4 turns before and between bringing combo pieces out. Yes, there are 4 of them; but no, there's no guarantee you'll survive long enough to get another.

3. No kill card? No problem

- DGM's ability can also be used purely defensively, as pointed out by one player:

toponal says...
"I love this idea, also if I'm correct in thinking you can use Duskmantle Guildmage's 1st ability on your opponent's turn, which will lock them from playing instants and sorceries since his text says 'any card'..."

This is true. Even if they manage to destroy your guildmage with his ability activated, his effects still last the turn.
For example: say your opponent is Murdering the guildmage; in response, activate his ability. When Murder resolves, the player will die if he/she has a life total less than the number of cards in his/her library.
Should the player have more life than library, all you need to do is survive to, and end your next turn; and they lose at their draw phase.
The sideboard is designed to keep you alive when facing more specialized deck mechanics. Of course, switch out the main/sideboard cards as you see fit. Here's some tips on replacing/playing the sideboard cards:

Annul : ETB effects and enchantments aren't usually a problem for this deck, but when they are, here's the answer.

Darkness: Buys a turn against an array of aggro decks.

Dispel-To counter counterspells aimed at your combo pieces from ETB.

Geth's Verdict- Loose removal, it gets around Hexproof and shroud creatures. More importantly, a win trigger.

Shred Memory- Graveyard hate for those pesky Flashback cards and Reanimator Decks; and another transmute card.

Void Snare: Opponent managed to sideboard and play Leyline of Sanctity, Pithing Needle, or some other BS, turn one? Send it back to their hand, then hate the hell out of it, so you aren't shut down for the game.

The deck price as of 8/17 is around $255. I've taken the extra time to include a casual, budget-friendly version, for a fraction of the price.

The budget version is not meant to be competitive. It's meant to be more casual-friendly as a lot of people don't play tournaments; let alone with a homebrew deck.

I took out the fetch and pain lands as they are nearly $3-$20 a pop, and replaced those with basics and cheaper slow lands. This should only slow the deck down a turn or two, which is still great for a casual game.

I also took out Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek for Distress and Despise.

I did not include the sideboard in the budget. Many of the cards are very affordable in the SB, with perhaps the exception of Surgical Extraction, which isn't really needed for casual play.

2x Apostle's Blessing
4x Dimir Guildgate
2x Dimir Infiltrator
4x Dismal Backwater
4x Despise
4x Duress
4x Duskmantle Guildmage
4x Distress
2x Gut Shot
4x Island
4x Mindcrank
4x Muddle the Mixture
2x Psychic Barrier
2x Shred Memory
4x Swamp
4x Temple of Deceit
4x Turn Aside
2x Vapor Snag

Like this deck? Then please the card below!

Feel free to check out some of my other competitive decks!
13 Reasons Why (Mill Can Do Modern)
Esper Salt Mill
Dead: Legion Elite
Chronic Blue-Balls


Updates Add

After some vigorous playtesting, the deck was misfiring/drawing badly an awful lot. So, I reviewed previous versions of this deck and went back to its roots. Somewhere between v1.2 and 2.6, I had this deck pretty good. Plus the experience.of playing this the past few years, has given me some insight to what the deck's speed and flavor is.

Therefore, I toned down the hand hate, added some more transmute, and dropped in the nostalgic 4x Fog Bank from v1.0, for some game length.

**Big shout outs to my recent upvotes and feedback participants!!

Go forth and conquer!!

Comments View Archive

Congrats I'm your 200 upvote! Always like UB builds. Could you review and upvote my UB Ensoul? By the way, your deck is nice. If someone want to see tier 1 decks, just point them to

August 20, 2017 10:52 a.m.

aekrusty- Thanks for your upvote and kind words! I get that it's a homebrew, but I've found that homebrews can do really well in a stale meta because they bring surprises and flavor when most have gotten comfortable with the usual suspects. Much like Heartless Summoning combo decks, they once had a place in Modern, and got there by someone bringing a homebrew to the table.

Cheers, friend.

August 20, 2017 10:58 a.m.

put in 4 Polluted Delta

August 22, 2017 10:50 a.m.

Yeah, I forgot to do that last night. Thank you.

August 22, 2017 10:58 a.m.

Dude, you need lands like Sunken Ruins (from Shadowmoor), Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (M15 and Planar Chaos), and Underground River (9th and 10th edition). You might also want to consider Mana Confluence (Journey into Nyx), Lotus Bloom (Time Spiral), and Boseiju, Who Shelters All (Champions of Kamigawa).

October 5, 2017 4:25 p.m.

mtgApprentice21- I like Sunken Ruins, but I don't have any, and the price tag is a bit more than I would like to deal with. Tomb simply doesn't do enough for this deck. Mana Confluence is nice, but I run low on life at the end of the game as it is since there's few ways to stop damage. Bloom is neat but is susceptible to counter, especially when they see it coming, thus, the price tag is not worth investing in more than one; and more than one is taking away from the control.

October 5, 2017 6:08 p.m.

I'm going for a tough question (i believe i was here about a year ago): Does it actually do much against top decks? Is it consistent? Does it win? I guess i'm asking if it has a legitimate raison d'etre other than being a brew..

October 6, 2017 2:29 p.m.

TheAlexGnan- Does the deck win? Yes. The wincon is nearly iron-clad. To be able to get around the Eldrazi titans consistently these days in modern, is impressive in any homebrew.

Does it beat top-tier decks? Eh, occasionally. It, in itself, is not a top tier deck. Therefore I expect it to lose to them more often than not. Admittedly, it's casually competitive. MY aim here IS to make this once-standard combo as modern competitive as possible.

Is it consistent? Hardly. Transmute is almost essential to this deck's solidarity. And those cards, aside from Muddle the Mixture, seem only to take up space if they aren't transmuting. I wish I had a bit more control and a touch more speed.

Piloting this deck takes lots of practice, both in timing, patience, and a dash of pure luck. Especially patience. The turn 4 combo mentioned in the description is best case scenario. This deck doesn't become competitive in presence until turn 4 or 5, when casting a combo piece and protecting it are favorable.

The concept is strong: combo pieces, and protect those pieces. That's it. Of course, this makes the Achilles' heel of this deck: any removal and Surgical Extraction of either one of the two combo cards. Either via hand-hate or old-fashioned counter. Or Chalice of the Void. It's an automatic loss.

The deck is far from perfect. I'm probably going to screw my budget, and go balls deep to max out this potential with a few recent ideas from mtgApprentice21 plus a few suggestions from waaaay back versions are stirring in my head. Will update soon. (a lot of work to redo a description).

I make no brag about this deck, but psychologically, I do have to sell the concept to get people on board to help me, and who doesn't love a little flavor as well, eh?

Thanks for great questions! Gave me lots to think about, and the push I need to do it!

Play hard, friend!

October 6, 2017 6:28 p.m.

67% Casual

33% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Date added 2 years
Last updated 3 months
Exclude colors WR
Key combos

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.59
Folders net, Deck Ideas, 2 cost mill modern, To Show to Friends, decks i like, Cool Decks, Interesting, Potential decks, Deck Ideas, andere Decks mit coolen karten, See all 122
Top rank #1 on 2017-08-21
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Revision 35 See all

3 months ago)

-4 Polluted Delta main
+4 Sunken Ruins main