While experimenting with my play-style I fooled around a little bit with mill (see Dimir Mill [Modern]). I found it to be pretty fun but was constantly disappointed with its results, missing by only single digit cards most games. I knew I needed to find ways to prolong the game. Preferring a spell based deck for this style I did not want to add more creatures. For a while I planned to keep it two colors but ended up favoring some of the defensive options offered in white. Now here we are with my personal brew of Esper Mill.

Why Esper?

Like I said before, I didn't really want to add creatures. This was making it difficult to handle damage intake. I considered slotting in some Ensnaring Bridges but it never really worked out in my head. Despite a fairly low CMC for this deck, there's a lot of sitting and waiting with a full hand to try and Mill all their cards at once. I basically needed a Fog effect. This lead me to a choice between Darkness or Holy Day. If I went for Darkness I could stay Dimir, but I decided that white brought enough to the table (for reasons you'll see explained further) for Holy Day to make the cut instead. Now I also wanted to have a bit more removal; deciding on Path to Exile was easy given the combo with Archive Trap and further justified going 3-colors. Splashing white also allowed me to throw in the handful of Leyline of Sanctitys in the side board to help combat burn (very common at my shop). Probably more importantly the 4xRest in Peace lets me deal with any deck that can utilize the graveyard. I also expected to get destroyed by anything with Blood Moon so I dug my feet further into white for Disenchant.

How to Play

Ideally the opening hand should have at least two lands (3 wouldn't hurt) with at least one of them being fetch. You should also look for either the Thoughtseize+Surgical Extraction combo, the Path to Exile+Archive Trap combo, or a Holy Day and a cantrip. If you are lucky and can open the game with a Leyline of Anticipation then certainly leverage that instant speed but it is not strictly necessary. Early you're gonna want blue to draw and white for the defensive spells. To actually get any work done however you are going to need black so be sure to secure it before long. The idea is to stall for a full one or maybe two turn mill, so try to hold your mill spells until you've played Fraying Sanity (excluding punishing them with Archive Trap when they fetch). You of course aren't forced to wait and can pull the trigger early to try to hit the 20 card benchmark for Visions of Beyond. Once you have them cursed, hit them with basically everything you have. An important caveat is that you do not want to use Traumatize unless you have Fraying Sanity out AND they have an EVEN number of cards in library.


The number 1 thing you want to identify in game one is how capable of graveyard-play your opponent's deck is. If it is able to play from it then you want to swap Fraying Sanity completely out for Rest in Peace, one to one, never play them together. This will slow your win condition but they will no longer be benefiting from your spells. I also suggest removing Visions of Beyond for anything else remotely useful as you theoretically will never get the triple draw with this sideboard strategy. If you have any reason to fear either Blood Moon or Leyline of Sanctity toss in the Disenchants. If you are facing: burn, storm, mill, hand hate, etc.; side in your own Leyline of Sanctitys. If they are managing to flood the board with creatures toss in Supreme Verdict. With no way of dealing damage I acknowledge that this deck falls short against planeswalkers ( Gideon of the Trials ) but if you need it there is one more Hero's Downfall you can throw in. Finally if you are facing something fragile like Tron or are afraid of seeing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn hit the graveyard then play the Unmoored Egos and take care of the threat preemptively.

Thoughts? Suggestions?


Updates Add

Been busy for the last few months but managed to keep playing/testing/improving when I could. I hope that if you liked the deck before that you like it even more now! I personally find that it plays much better with this updated list so please take a look and maybe reread the description as I have updated that too. If you have any questions about the changes I've made I am more than happy to answer!



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Date added 6 months
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.20
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Revision 3 See all

1 month ago)

-4 Holy Day main
+4 Ethereal Haze main