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Budget Magic: $96 (23 tix) Blue-White Mill (Standard)


Բարև, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we're heading back to Guilds of Ravnica Standard to play everyone's favorite archetype: Mill! With the release of Guilds of Ravnica adding Drowned Secrets to the format to join Psychic Corrosion, we've got two enchantments that sit out on the battlefield and mill our opponent out as we do what we want to be doing anyway: casting blue spells to draw cards. Combine this with the fact that Nexus of Fate—the natural enemy of mill decks—is on the downswing, and the time is right to try to kill our opponent by emptying their library. The basic plan of the deck is simple: we play as many copies of Psychic Corrosion and Drowned Secrets as possible, draw as many cards as possible, back everything up with some removal and sweepers, and hopefully empty our opponent's library before they manage to kill us. Can mill compete in Guilds of Ravnica Standard? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Blue-White Mill (Standard)

The Deck

UW Mill is basically a turbo-mill deck. While we do have some control elements in main-deck sweepers and sideboard counters, our primary goal is to stack up as many of our mill enchantments as possible, cast as many blue card-draw spells as possible to trigger our enchantments, and hopefully mill our opponent out before they find a way to kill us. 

The Mill

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When it comes to milling our opponent out of the game, we're relying on two cards: Drowned Secrets and Psychic Corrosion. While the cards are worded differently, they are actually pretty similar in our deck. Drowned Secrets mills our opponent for two whenever we cast a blue spell, while Psychic Corrosion triggers when we draw a card. Since pretty much all of our blue cards draw us cards, they all trigger both enchantments, doubling up their power. 

The upside of Drowned Secrets is that it only costs two mana, so we can sneak it in early under counterspells and start milling our opponent as we cast our other spells, like Psychic Corrosion. Meanwhile, Psychic Corrosion is more expensive but also more powerful, since we get to mill for free each turn on our draw step and some of our card-draw spells draw us multiple cards to trigger Psychic Corrosion multiple times.

Ideally, we'll stack up at least two and preferably three or four of these cards, which greatly speeds up the milling process. In the late game when we have a bunch of our mill enchantments on the battlefield, we can often cast several blue card-draw spells and mill 20 or 30 cards to kill our opponent in one big combo mill turn.

Card Draw

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Opt is our cheapest way to trigger our mill enchantments, being a one-mana blue spell for Drowned Secrets and a one-mana card-draw spell for Psychic Corrosion. In the early game, we can also use it to dig through our deck and help find our mill enchantments to get our win condition online as quickly as possible.

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Chart a Course is a bit strange in our deck since we have zero creatures, which means we're always looting rather than generating card advantage, but we do have some jump-start cards that we don't mind discarding. The upside of Chart a Course is that it's the cheapest draw two in Standard, triggering our Psychic Corrosion twice for just two mana while triggering Drowned Secrets as well.

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Radical Idea and Chemister's Insight are the two best card-draw spells in our deck, since jump-start works really well with Drowned Secrets. Since Drowned Secrets cares about blue spells being cast, jump-start gives us a way to trigger the enchantment twice with just a single card. Chemister's Insight is a bit expensive but offers a ton of milling in the late game, when it can trigger each Drowned Secrets twice and each Psychic Corrosion four times, which is a lot of mill in a single turn.

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Finally, we have Induced Amnesia, which seemed like a good idea on paper but was pretty bad in practice, and we ended up sideboarding it out in most of our matches. In theory, Induced Amnesia gives us a way to mill a bunch of cards with Psychic Corrosion, especially if we have a full hand when it resolves and then draw even more cards if it happens to die, but it's actually pretty rare for Blue-White Mill to have a full hand, which makes Induced Amnesia worse than it looks. Apart from Chemister's Insight, none of our card draw actually generates card advantage, which means rather than playing with a full hand of cards, we often only have two or three cards in hand, but we loot a bunch of times each turn to trigger our enchantments. While I could picture a build of Blue-White Mill where Induced Amnesia was good, next time I play the deck, I'm planning on dropping the enchantment for more removal.

Removal

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Last but not least, we have our removal. While our deck can mill our opponents out pretty quickly, we're not fast enough to just race our opponents without some help, which is where Seal Away, Ixalan's Binding, and Cleansing Nova come in. Seal Away gets rid of creatures in the early game, and Ixalan's Binding has some extra upside in hitting annoying planeswalkers like Vraska, Golgari Queen or Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Meanwhile, Cleansing Nova is the most important card in our deck in creature matchups, giving us one card that can sweep away our opponent's entire board for just five mana, which buys us a bunch of turns to finish milling our opponent out of the game.

Wrap-Up

Blue-White Mill is a pretty simple deck, but it's surprisingly effective, especially against creature decks. We finished our matches 3-2, with our two losses coming to aggressive decks that could back up their aggression with counterspells (Mono-Blue Tempo and Jeskai Midrange), which is a pretty good way to beat our deck. Our sweepers are great against normal aggro, and we consistently find them on time thanks to our endless card draw, but things become a bit more questionable against aggro decks with counters, since a Negate or two on our Cleansing Nova or Settle the Wreckage is usually enough for our opponent to kill us. 

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As far as changes I'd make to the budget build of the deck now that we've played some games, the biggest one is cutting Induced Amnesia, which we already talked about. Moving a couple of Settle the Wreckages into the main deck makes sense, since drawing a wrath is extremely important against both aggro and midrange. Otherwise, most of the upgrades require expensive cards like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. However, I did want to mention one card that isn't in the deck: Patient Rebuilding. While Patient Rebuilding can be a strong mill option, it's a little bit awkward with the turbo-mill theme of our deck, where we're looking to stick our enchantments and kill on our opponent with one big turn. Patient Rebuilding is better as a finisher in a more control-focused deck with counterspells and more removal. This being said, it could be worth considering out of the sideboard to bring in against slower decks, where the card advantage it generates could be pretty important.

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It's also worth mentioning that the build we played in the videos today is pretty budget friendly on Magic Arena as well, containing just 18 rares. If you're looking to make the deck even cheaper on Arena, you can cut Glacial Fortress for Evolving Wilds and drop Induced Amnesia (which wasn't very good anyway), which would get you down to just 12 rares and zero mythics, even including the sideboard! Then, since mythics all cost the same on Arena anyway, you can even include some copies of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria in the Induced Amnesia slot if you have them sitting around.

All in all, mill felt surprisingly solid. Against control, we can sneak in a Drowned Secrets or Psychic Corrosion early and eventually mill our opponent out slowly. Against creature decks, we have a bunch of wraths and good removal, and the card draw to make sure we find what we need. Combine these things together, and it seems like Blue-White Mill actually has a pretty reasonable matchup against a lot of the format! If you like alternate win conditions and drawing tons of cards, it might be the Standard budget deck for you!

Getting UW Mill down in the ultra-budget range is pretty easy: we drop the Settle the Wreckages from the sideboard, turn Glacial Fortress and Field of Ruin into Evolving Wilds and more basic lands, and we have a $47 deck! While losing Settle the Wreckage does hurt against creature decks, the addition of Shield Mare and Baffling End does give us some more good sideboard options to help against aggressive decks, so hopefully the damage will be mitigated. The deck should be mostly fine with the mana base downgrades, but if you are looking to take the ultra-budget build to an FNM, I'd try to squeeze Settle the Wreckage into the budget, if possible; otherwise, we risk running out of wraths against aggro decks. Plus, having a wrath that exiles is relevant against Golgari Midrange, which is really good at getting its creatures back from the graveyard.

Our non-budget UW Mill deck gets two big additions. First, in the main deck, we get three copies of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, which is perfect for the deck. Not only is it a blue card for Drowned Secrets and a repeatable card-draw machine for Psychic Corrosion, but the planeswalker also works a removal spell (since we can tuck and then mill something) and a backup finisher as well! Second, we get Lyra Dawnbringer in our sideboard, which is a great option against aggro. Plus, most decks will take out their creature removal after seeing that we're playing a creature-free mill deck, and if our opponent doesn't have removal, Lyra Dawnbringer is a great way to steal games by surprise. All in all, the upgrades make the deck quite a bit better, adding two extremely powerful options to the mix. While I probably wouldn't run out and spend $200 on a playset of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria just to play Blue-White Mill, you should definitely run them if you already have copies in your collection.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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