FTAW For the *Alternate* Win!

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You send your Darksteel Colossus charging forward with three Giant Growths on the stack for good measure and crush your opponent.

As with any game, there is a level of satisfaction in winning a round of Magic: The Gathering. Unlike Monopoly or Battleship, there is more than one way to win a game of Magic and when you can utilize one of these alternate strategies, you’ll really start to have fun. This brings us to one of my favorite alternate win condition: milling. Eliminating your opponent’s library allows you to ignore damage and creatures and is really fun to watch. Dimir is just the guild to make this happen. This color combo has been strong for quite some time in eliminating decks. Cards like Nemesis of Reason, Mind Funeral, and Raven Guild Master can lead to the quick destruction of a library.

In the spirit of milling and with Dragon’s Maze upon us, let’s grab a few cards from the Return to Ravnica block and start burning down a library or two.

Card List (60 Cards +15 Card Sideboard)

2x Dimir Guildgate
9x Island
1x Rogue's Passage
11x Swamp
2x Watery Grave

25 Lands
2x Consuming Aberration
4x Crypt Ghast
1x Duskmantle Guildmage
1x Lazav, Dimir Mastermind
1x Lord of the Void
2x Mindeye Drake
1x Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker
4x Nightveil Specter
2x Realmwright
2x Wight of Precinct Six

20 Creatures
1x Chronic Flooding
2x Dying Wish
4x Mind Grind
2x Paranoid Delusions
2x Psychic Spiral
4x Psychic Strike

15 Other Spells
4x Breaking/Entering
1x Death's Approach
2x Dimir Charm
2x Dispel
2x Illness in the Ranks
4x Woodlot Crawler

Sideboard (15)

The temptation to add nothing but powerful milling spells to a deck like this is a dangerous one as it will leave you without any defense. The first mill decks I constructed would take about 30 cards off a library and I’d end up losing because I had nothing to block the two creatures that had been damaging me for seven rounds. Adding creatures to the mix, especially ones that essentially double your mana output and provide a chance to gain some health (the Crypt Ghast, of course), provide you with protection and a chance to save yourself if you need an extra hit point or two. The Wight of Precinct Six and the Consuming Aberration will help keep you safe and grow as your opponent’s graveyard fills up. They could also help you keep the win by damage if your opponent finds a way to thwart your milling ways. Dying Wish and Mindeye Drake force your opponent to make a tough choice: “Is it worth it to kill the creatures and lose five of the seven cards left in my library so I can attack next turn?”

Nightveil Specter: “Realmwright, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” A Realmwright is a great card to have in any multicolor deck just in case you don’t get the one land you need to bring everything together. There’s not much worse than sitting on nine Islands with a full hand and nothing to do because you need a single Swamp. Beyond the ability to save you from a black mana-less quandary, the Realmwright can help you steal the spells exiled by the Nightveil Specter.

Lord of the Void will steal cards outright and at 7/7, he’s not the kind of creature your enemies can ignore. Lazav, Dimir Mastermind is also somewhat of a thief, potentially becoming any huge creature you siphon off your opponent’s library.

The Woodlot Crawler only made the sideboard because a 2/1 creature for two mana isn’t too shabby (and it’ll beat Grizzly Bears in a fight) but it’s more useful as shield against potential monsters if you’re up against a Gruul deck sporting a Rubblehulk or a Savageborn Hydra (if they break out the creatures with trample, you’ve got a solution in Death’s Approach). Drop it in if you’re getting spanked by these kinds of behemoths. Illness in the Ranks will keep those pesky Selesnya tokens in check.

Psychic Spiral is a fun card in that it allows you to be somewhat reckless with your creatures, using them to fuel a spell that only becomes more powerful with every loss you suffer. Furthermore, it is an excellent counter to a mill deck should you find yourself racing to purge your opponent’s library before they ruin yours.

Mind Grind is a lovely spell as it opens up the possibility of running a mill deck in multiplayer. Often, it is difficult to eliminate more than one deck before your life total hits zero. This deck is certainly not designed for more than a single opponent but it’s always nice to know that options are there.

Good luck finding your way through Dragon’s Maze. If you still have a library intact, I’ll see you on the other side.

Author: Chris Curtis


Comments on "FTAW For the *Alternate* Win!"

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Author: Gabriel Chase

Date: May 08, 2013


Good stuff, I like it! If you can get hold of Jace, Memory Adept (I am aware it’s not RtR block), then his 0 cost ability coupled with Duskmantle Guildmage’s life loss ability is an absolute killer!

Author: PWLAdmin

Date: May 08, 2013


Great addition! Jace, Memory Adept would be the perfect planeswalker for this deck. He helps mill, plus the combo you pointed out with Duskmantle Guildmage provides another way to win if milling isn't going to get you there quick enough.

Author: Chris Curtis

Date: May 09, 2013


Had he only been a little more Dimir, I'd have found some excuse to work him into this deck... when we start pulling from other sets, we can put together unbelievably nasty milling combos: Fastbond + Zuran Orb + Crucible of Worlds + Hedron Crab = Infinite milling and life on your second hand!

Author: Nicholas Graziano

Date: May 27, 2013


It's so fun playing Dimir. The satisfaction in milling an opponents library to 0 cards is priceless. I really love Mirko Vosk's ability and adding in some breaking/entering and mind sculpts is just wonderful.