Mind Bend - Boros Self-Mill
Mill Brings All the Cards to the Yard
The wizard’s spellbook was full of burning questions.
Boros is bad. At least, that seems to be the meme in Commander. Only narrow-minded fools would venture into red and/or white, the two colors notorious for a lack of card advantage. As soon as the game goes long, Boros finds itself in a bad spot, unable to recover as quickly as anyone else.
If only Boros could be more like Sultai, which utilizes blue, black, and green and never finds itself wanting for cards. Heck, Sultai uses its graveyard the best of all color combinations. Just ask, or , or : they'll tell you all the fun shenanigans you can get into with your graveyard, especially if you put those cards there yourself! Well, this is Mind Bend, the article series that breaks down the conventional notions of the color pie to forge new ground outside the confines of the already established. And we're going mill ourselves for fun and profit. . . in Boros.
The Self-Mill theme page on EDHREC tells the tale best: Sultai is the most popular combination when it comes to putting your own cards in the 'yard. And by a wide margin, no less. Sultai has nearly twice the number of decklists as its nearest competitor, Golgari, which is just Sultai minus all the greatness of blue.
Digging into Sultai's own self-mill page, you'll find the two leading commanders of the theme:at over 600 decks dedicated to milling yourself, and , with about a third of the self-mill decks that Sidisi holds.
It's no surprise thatsits atop the self-mill throne, since she wants multiple little mill effects for maximum Zombies. Cards like and provide extra chances at an army of Zombies each turn. And since she's generous with the tokens if you're generous with the mill, Zombie tribal, with its sweet lords like , fits the bill for an overall theme of beefy tokens ready to tear down the competition.
Pair all that token production via incremental mill with payoffs like's death trigger, and you're looking at a quite potent all-around package. Additionally, decks look to cast one spell or resurrect one creature from the graveyard a turn with cards like .
Turning to the other Sultai self-mill leader,is even more inclined to use self-mill as a way to "draw" cards. Being able to cast multiple permanent spells from the graveyard each turn, and being given the choice on what you can cast, and cards like almost read "tap: draw two cards".
However, self-mill isn't necessarily the focus for, but an added upside. Instant- and sorcery-like permanents, a la doing a great impression of , is where Muldrotha shines. Since you can cast those pesky permanents every turn, looks more and more like a repeatable . In short, Muldrotha looks to cast multiple permanents each turn for slow, hard-fought advantage.
For the Legion
To properly transfer this strategy into Boros, we'll need to use a blend of the two strategies above. We want little mills to "draw" cards AND have a choice of what big spells to play. But just how are we going to get those cards into our graveyard for later plucking? Here are a few ways to do that.
First, we have straight-up self-mill cards. I've already mentionedas being a great card in , well, it's great here, too. The same goes for smaller effects like and . And, of course, since we're in red, let's add a self-mill card I had no idea existed until building this deck: . Six damage is quite a lot to pay for an opponent when you're going to target yourself to mill.
Looting effects such asand the aptly named give us the choice on what cards we put in the bin. If it's going from the top of the library to the graveyard, who cares if it was briefly in our hand? I'm calling this self-mill as well.
We even have a pretty good Dredge card to help put cards in the graveyard, in the also-aptly-named (at least for what we're trying to pull off) card. There's a lot of great artifacts that find their way onto a Commander board, and having a way to hit the best of them each turn is always welcome.
Escape the Conventional
So what are we going to do with all of that milling and de-facto milling? There are a few great mechanics from Magic's history, plus a brand new one, that let us cast spells from our graveyard.
Let's start with the fresh out of Theros Beyond Death mechanic of Escape. Cards with Escape can be cast over and over again from the graveyard as long as you have other cards to exile (which we will).gives us a token-making planeswalker we can recur without much help. can be sweet card advantage in the late game, with or without being cast with Escape. And of course, the so-good-it's-already-banned-in-Legacy makes every card in our graveyard get into the Escape plan.
Commander 2019 saw the release of a Jeskai deck themed around the flashback mechanic, which we're going to use here, too.can become a ramp spell if we put a land or mana rock in the graveyard, or it can get back one of our milling permanents. Not to mention it works even better when cast from the 'yard.
With flashback, we also get a board wipe from, impulse draw via , and a whole heap of tokens from . Card advantage, chump blockers, and board wipes! Sounds like we're in control! (Or at least we're playing control!)
Retrace was introduced all the way back in Eventide, and we'll kindly use our unnecessary lands to make more tokens with, or spin the wheel and see what spell we get with .
However, all this token production is for the benefit of. Being able to Retrace a land to convert a token into something much more powerful is undeniably fun. As such, we have a small cadre of heavy-hitting creatures we can Scramble into, beaters like or board-devastators like .
To aid in the "" strategy, we'll also run and . Both of which usually benefit us directly but will be not as lucky if we need to take out a few permanents of our opponents.
For extra card shenanigans, I've also included the classicplus pairing that allows you to convert extra lands into potentially useful cards. Additionally, and make each land searched into additional cards.
The above synergies, coupled with the self-mill nature of the deck, makes the cardstand out. We'll be heavily invested in playing basic lands, so even if our opponents pitch one or two, we'll end up ahead on lands, regardless. Normally, white decks can't or don't want to mill themselves, but we've found a home for such a unique card for the color.
To round out the deck, I've included a typical board wipe and removal package in Boros that can be adjusted according to your meta. If you see more wide threats, throw in a few more wipes. If not, maybe more pinpoint removal or looting is the way to go. Also, the choices for creature wincons can vary should you need to. Look for creatures that will shut down your meta's gameplans.
Millin' Is Easy
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From Bad to Good
So there you have it. I hope I was able to squeeze a little bit of goodness from Sultai and sprinkle it onto thethat is Boros. I guarantee that running the self-mill cards listed above in the deck is sure to turn some heads at the table. And hopefully you'll be turning a or two sideways for some sweet beats.
Catch you next month for more mind-bending brews!