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Milling Gone Rogue (Precon Upgrade Guide)[PRIMER]

Commander / EDH* Mill Primer Tribal UB (Dimir)


Guide to upgrading the Sneak Attack Zendikar Rising Preconstructed Commander Deck.

Wizards of the Coast has recently been turning their attention more towards Commander, and that shows in this latest round of preconstructed decks. The synergies are tighter, the decks are more consistent, and they are just more fun, period. As someone who bought the Ghired, Conclave Exile deck when it was new, precons have come a long way even in just two years.
Anowon, the Ruin Thief heads up a tight package full of classic Rogues from Magic's history, including Invisible Stalker, Slither Blade, Triton Shorestalker, and others. These cheap, evasive rogues provide good value with Anowon, the Ruin Thief's first ability, and with his third ability can help restock your hand with more action.

His second ability is what the precon is based around. He can fill up your opponent's graveyards fast, and the deck takes advantage of that in two ways. First, big graveyards can lead to big creatures like Consuming Aberration, Nighthowler, and Bonehoard. Secondly, and more focused upon in the original deck, is the ability to steal some of these milled creatures for your own use, through cards like Fated Return, Endless Obedience, Sepulchral Primordial, Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, Rise from the Grave, and Extract from Darkness. This side of the deck can both deprive opponents of big threats, and help beef up your boardstate.

The rest of the deck rounds out this two-pronged focus with a mix of tribal elements (Obelisk of Urd, Oona's Blackguard), ramp (Frogtosser Banneret, Sol Ring), control (Silumgar's Command, AEtherize), boardwipes (In Garruk's Wake, Scourge of Fleets), and card draw (Military Intelligence, Distant Melody.

Over all, the deck, in my opinion, is around a 3.5 power level; it is focused and streamlined, but there is a lot missing, and, at the end of the day, no one yet knows how Anowon, the Ruin Thief will handle himself in the vast arena of Commander. That said, this is a very fun deck, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning Magic.

When upgrading this deck, there are a couple decisions to be made before exchanging a single card. What direction are we going to take the deck, and how big is our budget? With Anowon, the Ruin Thief, there are a couple directions we could go, but he seems strongest in a rogue-tribal, take-advantage-of-our-opponent's-graveyard-type deck. This is an upgrade guide that I am going to be replicating on paper, so the budget is rather small (less than $200). Many of the cards can be swapped out for more effective/expensive versions if you are looking to take the deck to a higher power level.
As indicated by our commander, we want a lot of creatures. And not just any creatures, but rogues. There are 283 rogues in the game of Magic, and 189 that fit our commander's color identity. So which to pick? And why?

We want to be hitting our opponents reliably every turn, and rogues aren't big enough or mean enough to push through a bunch of blockers. They are pretty sneaky, however. Many rogues are unblockable, and it's with these that we're going to start. Already in the precon are Invisible Stalker, Marang River Prowler, Slither Blade, Triton Shorestalker, and Changeling Outcast. This is a formidable quintet of sneaky beasts, but there are still more. Ghostly Pilferer, Inkfathom Infiltrator, Keeper of Keys, Shadowmage Infiltrator, and True-Name Nemesis can help us be more consistent with our combat damage
These rogues aren't bigger themselves, but they make our other rogues bigger, which means more damage, more milling, and more fun times. Already in the precon are Oona's Blackguard, Stinkdrinker Bandit, Soaring Thought-Thief, Obelisk of Urd, and several Equipment. To this we can add Adaptive Automaton and Metallic Mimic, both of which, though technically not Rogues, can pretend well enough to pass measure. There is also Inkfathom Witch and Glen Elendra Liege, both of which, while not synergizing with our commander, can make our tiny rogues a force to be reckoned with.
Rounding out the creatures in the precon are a few multi-talented rogues with their own powerful abilities.

  • Gonti, Lord of Luxury, while most commonly seen as a commander, is a force to be reckoned with in the 99. Opponent tutors something to the top? Deprive them of their combo piece, and even use it yourself if you want to.

  • Notion Thief is a pet card of mine, and will help refill your hand while depriving your opponents of gas.

  • Oona, Queen of the Fae, while not a rogue herself, makes 1/1 Fairy Rogues while exiling your opponent's deck.

  • Sygg, River Cutthroat is another nice payoff for dealing some sneaky damage.

  • Syr Konrad, the Grim can deal massive amounts of damage to your opponents when you mill them, kill their creatures, when they kill your creatures...

The artifacts in the precon back up our army of rogues in two ways: ramp and buffs. We have a collection of Equipment (Blackblade Reforged, Scytheclaw, Bonehoard, Whispersteel Dagger, and Heirloom Blade), some of which synergize with filling our opponent's graveyards, and others that are just plain good. Other equipment, to help our rogues be sneaker, hit harder, and be meaner, includes cards like Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, Neurok Stealthsuit, Cloak and Dagger, Stoneforge Masterwork, Mask of Riddles, and Whispersilk Cloak, to name a few.

The other artifacts in the deck are concerned with ramping. As this deck is , we don't have access to the kind of ramp that or does. But that doesn't mean we have to follow the mana curve. Included in the deck are Dimir Keyrune, Dimir Locket, Dimir Signet, Mind Stone, Arcane Signet, Commander's Sphere, and a classic Sol Ring. There is not much other ramp to be found in these colors, but there are some other powerful artifacts.

  • Keening Stone can help us finish off long grindy matches.
  • Mindcrank doubles our milling through combat damage.
  • Grindclock can speed of the transfer of cards from the deck to the graveyard.
Most of the sorceries in the precon revolve around reanimating your opponent's creatures (Endless Obedience, Extract from Darkness, Rise from the Grave), or clearing away said creatures (In Garruk's Wake, Necromantic Selection). There is also Notorious Throng to beef up your board state and maybe snag an extra turn, Stolen Identity to copy opponent-controlled powerhouses or your own lords, Open Into Wonder to deal some extra-sneaky damage and draw some cards, and Distant Melody to draw even more.

Some powerful sorceries to add if focusing on the milling aspect of the deck include Increasing Confusion and Mind Grind, both of which can be game-enders. Kindred Dominance is a pricey but hugely effective tribal boardwipe. Knowledge Exploitation can be a boardwipe, a kill spell, a reanimator, or whatever else your opponent's are running, and a personal favorite: Mnemonic Betrayal, which prevents all those cards you've milled from going to waste.

In Progress
In Progress
So. Now that we've gone over the precon, let's get down to the upgrading. The upgrades listed here are actual changes that I will be making to the deck in the near future.


  • Scourge of Fleets. While a pretty effective boardwipe, against big creature decks or big mana decks this just wastes both of your turns. Kindred Dominance works better as a boardwipe in tribal decks, and is more permanent.

  • Gonti, Lord of Luxury. Yes, he's a rogue, and yes, he is a hugely popular commander, but his ability just has no synergy with our deck.

  • Nighthowler. 95% of the time this would be cast as an aura, and it doesn't give enough of a boost, just counting creatures.

  • Ogre Slumlord. We don't want our creatures dying, and without that he is just an overpriced vanilla rogue.

  • Sepulchral Primordial. I am still undecided about the effectiveness of this big bad boy. We are generally going to be focusing on one player, so not everyone's yards will fill up as fast, and he's not a rogue. More playtesting needed before a final decision is made.

  • Consuming Aberration. Another tough decision. Without trample this can be stopped by chump blockers every turn, and can make us enemies at the table.

  • Oona, Queen of the Fae. Similar to Gonti, she doesn't have as much synergy with the rest of the deck, and a mana sink is the last thing we need.

  • Faerie Vandal. There are better rogues to fill this slot.

  • Latchkey Faerie. Again, there are better cheap rogues.

  • Marang River Prowler. See above.

  • Master Thief. Stealing a mana rock? Maybe some Lightning Greaves? Not really worth it except against artifact combo decks.

  • Nightveil Sprite. FOR THE LAST TIME, there are better cheap rogues.

  • Whirler Rogue. More playtesting is necessary to make a decision, but I'm leaning towards no. There is equipment that can do this cheaper.

  • Marsh Flitter. Way overpriced for anything except sacrifice decks.

  • Syr Konrad, the Grim. Again, good against creature decks, but otherwise a dead draw, and a 5cmc dead draw is something I don't need.

  • Zulaport Cutthroat. We still don't want our creatures dying.

Congratulations, you made it all the way through this primer, and now, hopefully, have some new ideas around this commander. Thanks for checking out this primer. If you enjoyed it, learned from it, or were just amused by it, please give it a +1, or leave a comment.


Updates Add

The primer has only been live for a week, and we're the #1 EDH primer on the site! Thanks to everyone who helped with the deck, left comments, or gave it a +1.

Special thanks to Goblin_Guide and This_is_your_commander_speaking for help with playtesting.

Who else is excited for Zendikar Rising?!! Tell me in the comments what cards/themes you're looking forward to the most.


Top Ranked
Date added 3 weeks
Last updated 1 week

This deck is not Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

7 - 0 Mythic Rares

36 - 0 Rares

20 - 0 Uncommons

11 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.06
Tokens 1/1 Faerie Rogue, Monarch
Folders Uncategorized, Mill, Commander, cool decks, Zendikar
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