The War Report: Draw, Mill, Go.

Besides trying to build decks that follow different themes (like Control, Stax, Aggro, etc.) I also have been trying to represent different pieces of the color pie. I have built or brewed most of the mono-colored decks, most of the two color, several three color, one four color and a couple of 5-color decks. It turns out that I have not brewed a mono blue deck, and it just so happens that I managed to brew a mono blue deck that falls under a theme I hadn’t used either. The inspiration for this deck started off because I was looking at a particular legendary creature that came out with Dominaria, and found that it had use in the Arcades deck I wrote about a while back. I liked the card so much that I felt like it deserved its own brew, but after the first rough draft it was lacking a concise win condition. Having gone over it again, I feel like it is a little on the janky side but it now at least knows what it’s trying to do. Let’s look at the commander first:

Tetsuko Umezawa is a 1/3 for 1U that gives all creatures you control with power OR toughness 1 or less unblockable. This was a perfect fit in my wall deck, because walls typically have 0-1 power but high toughness, and due to Arcades ability they can attack, so you get a bunch of cheap cmc creatures with high toughness that can attack as though they weren’t defenders and do damage equal to their toughness while being unblockable with Tetsuko on the board. It turns out that in blue, there are a bunch of creatures with 1 or less power and 1 or less toughness so we can essentially build a deck full of creatures that can’t be blocked as long as our commander is on the battlefield. But how do we win, considering these creatures aren’t going to be hitting for much damage? The answer, is card draw and mill, two things we’re going to focus on. Let’s look at our card draw first:

Most of the card draw built into the deck comes on the back of creatures with power or toughness 1 or less, that will be unblockable and get in for damage to trigger their card drawing effects. You can double and triple down on this with a Coastal Piracy and Bident of Thassa on the board. You should be drawing at least one extra card a turn with this deck consistently, because you won’t be worried about blocking, you’ll just be swinging in for sweet card draw. Drawing cards won’t win you a game though, so how do we capitalize on this? By using mill effects as well, so that your opponents are losing cards while we are drawing them.

This selection of creatures, spells and artifacts all focus on putting cards from your opponents’ libraries into their graveyards. Each will take a particular number of cards and “mill” your opponents’ libraries a little bit at a time, though some of the enchantments and artifacts will also do this based on your card drawing, while the creatures usually have to do combat damage (but will be unblockable) to trigger the effect. Some of these effects will be reusable, but we have to mill hundreds of cards here, to win the game (each player has a deck of 99 cards to start with, so it’s a big task) meaning these effects might not be enough, but will be a nuisance as the game progresses. You might be able to mill out one opponent over the course of a game with these tricks, but it’s likely you’ll need more help, so here are some of the win cons I’ve baked in:

Win-con #1: Use Psychosis Crawler in conjuction with card draw to kill all of your opponents at the same time. This can be done over time, or all at once with a large mana cost Stroke of Genius or Blue Sun’s Zenith. The Crawler can be tutored out with Fabricate.

Win-con #2: Use Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal to make infinite mana. With that mana, use Stroke of Genius or Blue Sun’s Zenith to make an opponent draw their library and lose the game. The Scepter can be tutored with Fabricate, Dramatic Reversal and either draw spell can be tutored with Mystical Tutor or Merchant Scroll.

Win-con #3: Equip Quietus Spike to any of your creatures that can be made unblockable with our Commander’s ability. Each hit will damage the player for half their life, so you should be able to make short work of them. Quietus Spike can be tutored with Fabricate, or a transumted Muddle the Mixture.

In short, you should be able to eliminate one player at a time with win-cons 2 and 3, or kill everyone at once with win-con 1. Here are some other support cards I’ve included to help you along the way:

This subpackage of creatures didn’t fit into the draw or mill categories, because they either bounce creatures your opponents control back to their hands, or can outright steal an opponent’s creature. Archaeomancer will get us back a spell from the graveyard which might be needed again, while the Phyrexian Revoker is removal for a pesky creature with a nasty activated ability. Speaking of removal, we have some of the standard blue stuff — Imprisoned in the Moon, Reality Shift and Rapid Hybridization (there are of course several counterspells in the deck for removal as well). Aetherize and Innundate will get rid of attackers coming your way and bounce them to hand, while Dissipation Field will do this to any permanent that damages you. Lastly, Frozen Aether is a nasty little stax card that causes all premanents your opponents play to come into play tapped.

For a budget deck ($105 at the time of this writing), this should be viable in most casual groups. I wouldn’t say it’s high tier and it’s pretty janky but I think I’ve made something here that should be fun to pilot and has multiple ways to go about winning. Have fun!

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