Dimir Mill, the Standard Pauper archetype that captured the trophy for MPDC 23.02.
But before we get to that, I have two quick points of interest:
1. I discovered today that I somehow neglected to write Thursday's post last week. No idea what happened, but clearly I dropped the ball. To make up for this, I will be publishing content three times this week.
2. From this point forward, I will be submitting new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays, instead of Tuesdays and Thursday. Frankly, my Thursdays have gotten hectic enough that it's no wonder I completely missed the fact until now that I didn't put up a post that day.
So with that out of the way...
I confess when I first got back into Magic, I loved the idea of a Mill deck. Back in a previous (and shortlived) blog, I even wrote a blog post exploring different options available at the time to try to make such an archetype work. Since that time, there have been a few viable Mill strategies that have come and gone, and in the mean time, I came to despise the archetype, much as I do almost any non-conventional win strategy. It isn't that such strategies are inherently weak or unfair or cheap. It's just that in an all-common format like Standard Pauper, dedicated answers simply don't exist for such archetypes.
It shouldn't surprise you then that I was somewhat distressed to see a new Mill deck not only emerge in the new metagame, but capture the trophy of the second event. In case you missed it, here's the decklist:
* Note that since Gatherling hasn't been updated for Magic 2014 or Theros yet, I had to make a best guess for the number of some of these cards included in the decklist.
Unlike almost every other Standard Pauper Mill deck I've seen, this one doesn't rely upon cards that only mill. In fact, it doesn't have a single dedicated Mill card in the decklist. Instead, this list runs permission spells, draw spells, and removal, and nearly every spell provides incidental milling. Furthermore, since the only creatures in the list are Archaeomancers, it blanks nearly all the removal spells from the opposing deck.
Having now played against this archetype, I can tell you that it's quite powerful. It has answers to just about every contender in the metagame. It can weather early aggression fairly well, can keep up with mid-range strategies, and plays fairly well in the end game. So the question is, how do you beat it? That's what I want to talk about on Wednesday...