Of course, I should have realized that this would be more challenging than I expected. As it turns out, most of the successful decklists right now in the metagame are either mono- or dual-colored, with pretty simply color requirements.
Fortunately, the Dimir Mill archetype is just complex enough to be worth applying Karsten's numbers. For reference, here's the exact decklist I'm referencing, which took 2nd place in Monday's MPDC 23.10:
So, what are the mana requirements for this decklist?
- Access to either B or U on Turn 2 (for Devour Flesh or Essence Scatter)
- Access to both B and U on Turn 3 (for Psychic Strike and Pilfered Plans)
- Access to BB on Turn 2 (for Pharika's Cure)
- Access to UU on Turn 3 (for Cancel)
- 13 sources of Black and Blue
- 12 sources of Black and Blue
- 20 sources of Black
- 19 sources of Blue
Well, playing 39 Lands isn't going to happen. And even with the dual-colored Gates, that only reduces the Basics needed to 16 Black and 15 Blue, which is still excessive. So the question is, how important are these last two requirements?
Turn 2 Pharika's Cure is helpful, but certainly not necessary for this decklist to function, especially since Devour Flesh accomplishes a similar role. In the same way, a Turn 3 Cancel isn't a requirement, since Psychic Strike is a much more viable Turn 3 play. As it stands, the deck should practically always have access to Pharika's Cure by Turn 6, and Cancel by Turn 8. This same guideline applies to both Grisly Spectacle and Archaeomancer. Is this good enough?
I actually think this is correct as built. With only 2 Cancels in the main, and with Archaeomancer being a late play for this archetype, favoring Black sources over Blue seems to be the right choice. Considering how controlling this archetype is, I might even be tempted to run a 25th Land for a Swamp, easing the BB threshold to Turn 5. What do you think?
I hope you've found this application of Karsten's article to be helpful. Thanks for reading.