Scheming symmetry -> Shelldock Isle -> Emrakul
I’m gonna have some fun with this one
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Jun 7, 2019I currently play Esper, splashing w for path. It’s great. This is a different deck entirely than UB though. Plays different and does different things. Here we are going almost all-in on Archive Trap, forgoing mill spell diversity (Glimpse, Breaking, etc) in return for the ability to “alpha strike” our opponent through a big mill turn (Turn 4 most of the time).Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
If you’re looking at Winds of Abandon as just a removal spell, you’re missing something very important. It’s a FORCED search. Your opponent HAS to search their library, just like Field of Ruin, which activates your Archive Traps. The overload is not terribly relevant for our deck, but the exiling spot removal certainly is. But you’re not using this as spot removal much of the time, we have Path to Exile for that. This is used as a definite way to activate Archive Trap and so long as they have a creature on board they run the risk of doing so. This can also force a search 1 turn earlier than we previously had access to with Field of Ruin. The real culmination happens at Turn 4, which almost the entirety of our deck synergizes together to cast multiple Archive Traps in a single turn.
We represent threats on 4 fronts: creatures (Hedron Crab), artifacts (Mesmeric Orb), enchantments (Fraying Sanity), and the ever looming Archive Trap. That puts our opponent in a tough spot as we’re not just a one-note deck. We are superior than UB in almost any match up that tries to win with direct damage since we can sideboard in Leyline of Sanctity, which also makes our mirror match against UB mill laughable. Admittedly, we are soft to a opponent’s Surgical Extraction on our own Archive Trap, which worries me some.
The true goal of my brew here is to create a “smarter” mill deck. There’s many top tier decks that you run into that love the fact that you’re milling their graveyard and almost all of them “go off” before you traditionally can win as a UB mill player. Here, we take a different approach, we’re milling their library in a single turn. I understand the hesitation, this is a much different approach to mill than what had been successful for us in the past. I’ll be running this on MTGO and locally to rigorously test it out. I’ll be sure to report back!
Jun 6, 2019Am I the only one that has a feeling that Winds of Abandon is going to crack this deck wide open?Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
We no longer have to worry about jamming substandard cards just to make a forced search happen. The probability of a definite turn 4 archive trap just got a lot better.
The fact that it doubles as spot removal or a board wipe late in the game is pure gravy.
I think this deck now has some serious legs.
Here’s my starting point:
May 31, 2019Man, this really makes you appreciate Hedron Crab.Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
This imitation crab meat costs 2, doesn’t mill the turn you play it, and needs 5 snow land drops to equal one Glimpse the Unthinkable that you could of played on turn 2 instead of this imposter.
I suppose it could be used as a combo piece for some snow permanent infinite flicker deck, but when looking at it’s value as a mill outlet I would rather run Manic Scribe over this.
Hedron Crab is offended by this card.
May 25, 2019I think it’s pretty obvious that when we bring up cards like Stream of Thought and Winds of Abandon we’re talking about them in contexts outside of the average UB mill builds.Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
Considering Archive Trap is arguably the best mill card in modern, not keeping an eye on Esper possibilities is a mistake considering most search clauses exist in white.
So far I don’t see UB mill getting any notable pickups from this set.
May 19, 2019Posted in: Aggro & TempoHas anyone else used Blast Zone? How has it been with having to compete with Field of Ruin?
I’ve been running a singleton lately. It’s awesome to have access to this kind of removal but it does certainly strain your mana base. Archive Trap puts a heavy demand on your deck. One of those demands is Field of Ruin. There’s certainly value in Blasting Zone, but finding a balance between your colorless mana sources has been a challenge.
May 11, 2019There’s certainly some space to brew there. I’d be curious to see what you come up with.Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
In terms of targeting lands with Surgical Extraction, it’s definitely one of the weapons we have in our arsenal. It really shines against a deck like Tron (where a Mind Funeral or two out of the sideboard can be great), but I think it should be an option in the back of your mind for other match ups as well. Before using a surgical I like to ask myself “what does my opponent need right now to beat me?”. Sometimes the answer to that question is a specific land. I don’t suggest doing this blind, but certainly after you’ve gotten a peak at their library or if your familiar with their deck. Humans is an example of a match up where sometimes targeting their mana base can be very effective.
Surgical Extraction is one of the most important cards in the meta right now and Mill is arguably the best deck that runs them as part of their primary strategy. I’m confident that if more pros played this deck it would be seeing top 8 finishes. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
May 10, 2019Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
Crackling Drake - Read the card again and see your comments
The problem with splashing white is turning it into a control/mill deck which is too slow for the meta. Being a swiss army knife of a deck slows the milling by a lot which will cause us games.
I realized how bad of an example that was as soon as I post it. The thought behind it was sometimes it’s better to drop a Rest In Peace and continue on with our gameplan than spend resources to strip out specific threats. I was three sheets to the wind when I wrote this up, I’m amazed it made any sense at all.
I agree with your sentiment about not crossing the line into a control deck. We need to keep velocity since we don’t have the necessary tools to truly control into the late game like other control decks. What I’m proposing is not to add white control elements but rather supplement or replace the black spells that we’ve been relying on for survival. For instance, making the switch from Fatal Push to Path to Exile, Bontu’s/Damnation to Settle the Wreckage, etc. In spirit it’s the same deck, it’s just lining up different answers for a different meta game.
I’ve been using this to great success both online and in paper:
4 Hedron Crab
4 Path to Exile
3 Surgical Extraction
4 Visions of Beyond
4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
3 Mission Briefing
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Settle the Wreckage
4 Archive Trap
3 Mesmeric Orb
3 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Detention Sphere
2 Fraying Sanity
3 Field of Ruin
4 Flooded Strand
1 Godless Shrine
2 Hallowed Fountain
4 Polluted Delta
2 Shelldock Isle
1 Watery Grave
1 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Collective Brutality
2 Crypt Incursion
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Torpor Orb
2 Rest in Peace
I recently won a local tournament with this build. I faced Humans, ElectroBalance, BW Gideons, and Tron. The deck felt great.
Biggest challenge to Esper is the mana base. I found that the fourth Field of Ruin was too strenuous and I’ve been going back and forth between lists that include and exclude Oboro...honestly if you’re turtled up to the point where you can win by bouncing Oboro then you can probably win by drawing into mill spells.
I’ve also been changing my mentality about how to play surgical extraction in a shell that runs exiling effects. It’s lead me to dig deeper into decks I don’t play in an attempt to understand them better; to understand what cards enable their game plans. Now, I try and focus on stripping out the card you need to get your threats online instead of the threats themselves. It sounds odd, but I feel like it’s forced me to make smarter plays with my surgicals.
Of course, everything is anecdotal and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but if your looking for something to freshen up your mill life, I suggest a revisit to Esper.
May 8, 2019So I’ve been playing mill for quite some time. I always saw the potential it had in its unusual axis of attack. Some of you will remember how depressing it was to play mill during the Eldrazi Winter...but then it got better. There were less Eldrazi in the format and it seemed people all but forgot about mill so you were able to steal a lot of games from inexperienced opponents who had no idea what an Archive Trap was. Recently we got some new tools that put us on the map and forced people to look at Mill as a serious contender in competitive play. We’ve had a good run and UB mill is still really powerful....but does anyone else feel like we’ve stalled a little; lost a little footing in the meta game?Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
I always try to brew and build my decks in a way that takes advantage of slight shifts in deck choices and meta changes. Right now, in my humble opinion, I believe white lines up better with what’s on the horizon than black does. Before you grab your pitchforks, let me be clear that I don’t think ditching black completely will ever be the correct choice. Black provides us with some our most crucial cards: Glimpse the Unthinkable, Surgical/Extirpate, Crypt Incursion, etc. Generally, UW mill had been seen as an inferior mill build and in a lot of ways, it is. Esper, however, has proven to be incredibly relevant in our current meta.
Yes it’s very difficult to pilot through your mana and manage your life loss, but the tools that white brings to the table line up really well with what you’re generally seeing across the table.
Path to Exile is a no brainer: despite creating a slight tension with Surgical Extraction, it’s one of the best removal spells in the game and has a search clause to boot. And pathing your Hedron Crab to fix your mana in a pinch can be clutch.
Settle the Wreckage: As many of you know turn 4 is quite possibly the most crucial turn for us and a surprise Settle can often single handedly turn the tide toward your favor. Also turns out exiling creatures is really good right now. Search clause included. Oh and don’t tell anyone but you can totally Settle your own Hedron Crab to ensure that land drop you need for a game winning Archive Trap.
Timely Reinforcements: I was skeptical about this card when I first started testing it in my Esper build. I’ve won so many games that I had no business winning off the back of this card. Now I never leave home without 2 in my sideboard.
Rest In Peace: Have you ever been fortunate enough to experience what it’s like to surgical all the Thing in the Ices and Phoenixes out of a deck only to lose to a Crackling Drake? I have...more times than I’d like to admit. Sometimes Surgicaling threats is the right call, sometimes RiP is better. Having the ability to switch between the two has felt so good in this current meta.
Of course there’s plenty of other white goodies to mess around with, but these are the key players I’ve found to be very effective in battling the most played decks in the format. I’m not necessarily saying Esper is better than the finely tuned UB versions, but if the meta keeps leaning into Humans at the top of the food chain again, I can see it being something worth considering.
Ok, commence the pitchforking
Dec 15, 2018For sure should of included thoughtseize, and while queller and sprite surely can stop a bridge cold, playing around those cards is something we’re cognisant of in those match ups so I didn’t classify them as “answers” to bridge. They make it harder to land a bridge, but once you do there’s little they can do about it. The fact still remains that with all but nut Trap draws, we’re a turn slower than most so we need something to help us survive until we can finish the job. Bridge definitely doesn’t cover the entire meta, but what other card will do it’s job better?Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
Darkness gets a little more enticing with a full play set of Mission Briefings, but I never felt like it was more powerful than Ensnaring Bridge in general.
Dec 14, 2018Ensnaring Bridge is a really dumb magic card. It’s one of those cards that lets you win games you have no business winning. Sure, it gets removed sometimes, but when that happens just ask yourself how much sooner would you have died without it at all?Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
The real problem is speed. Mill simply doesn’t have the card pool to play like burn which means we need some form of survivability. You’ll be hard pressed to find a card that does more to add to your survival with as little of an investment than Ensnaring Bridge.
Take a look at the most recent Grand Prix in Portland. Out of the entire top 8, only 3 decks have mainboard answers to a resolved Ensaring Bridge, and only 8 answer cards between those 3 decks (cryptic, atrophy & repeal). That’s 8 cards out of 480 being played game 1. Anecdotally, I know how much it sucks to feel like your opponent somehow always has the perfect answer the turn after you play bridge, but if you look the numbers objectively, the odds look pretty damn good.
Dec 13, 2018I’m currently running a BUG version for Assassin’s Trophy mb and Nature’s Claim out of the side. Nothing too crazy there, they do pretty much what you would imagine. I’m not wholly convinced it’s worth the splash, but what i’m really after is some game data to test out Ancient Stirrings in the deck. With Stirrings, finding your best survival spell (Ensnaring Bridge) is trivial, ensuring your land drops for your crab triggers becomes easier, and digging for a Field of Ruin allows you to leverage your Archive Traps much more successfully. I’m hesistant to say whether or not this is any better than the current UB lists, but having the card filtering feels tremendously powerful.Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
Dec 9, 2018His match on camera against dredge did a good job showcasing how underestimated this archtype is right now. He went from looking pretty grim with 2 lands on the table to sweeping up the game with a surgical-trap-trap-surgical play from seemingly nowhere. Archive Trap demands respect.Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
Congrats to Chung on a strong showing
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