Deck Tech: The Miller's Daughter WhiteBlueBlack

The Miller's Daughter (v1) 60 cards

Ah, the milling deck. It’s the ultimate dick move but there is something immensely satisfying about watching cards disappear into a graveyard with the cherry on top being the question “what happens if I can’t draw any cards on my turn?”1. My version has a number of bombs that can help you succeed but the crucial key is definitely Psychic Corrosion; without those the deck just doesn’t work. As always, I’ve tried to list a few tips and tricks for various cards as well as giving you some sideboard suggestions.

The General Technique

Psychic Corrosion
Revitalize
Opt
Fundamentally this is a milling deck. That means you need to get cards from your opponents library into their graveyard until they can't draw any more and thus lose the game. To do that you're going to be playing a load of Psychic Corrosion so that everytime you draw a card they are potentially milling 8 cards. Then, you're going to play Revitalize and Opt so that you can cause draws for another potential 8 mills. There is also a Chemister's Insight (with jump-start so you really get 2 of them) so you can do a potential 16 mills with a single card!

Bomb #1: The Miller's Daughter

Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
Remorseful Cleric
If we operate on the basis that you are going to mill a ton of cards into your opponents graveyard, it seems only fair we should exploit that potential weakness. Ideally you need to get Kaya, Orzhov Usurper into play and get her loyalty to 5; you have plenty of counters and sweepers in this deck so that shouldn't be a problem. Now, when there are more than cards in the graveyard than your opponent has life, bring in Remorseful Cleric, immediately sacrifice it to put the cards into exile, and then trigger Kaya's ultimate for an instant win. Wonderful! Alternatively use this same trick for life-gain should you be desperately low on health.

Bomb #2: The Miller's Haunt

The Haunt of Hightower
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a flying creature with life-link that grew in power every time you milled a card. Oh, there is! This is a simple dirty tactic whereby you get your milling engine established with Psychic Corrosion and then drop in The Haunt of Hightower. Every single card that is milled nets you a +1/+1 and he'll mill a card for you when he attacks. The life-link can also save you if you are desperately low on health and it is very possible that you can kill an opponent with one attack if you have enough Psychic Corrosion in play.

Tactics

This deck is fundamentally built around Psychic Corrosion; without those, you have no way of milling. It is therefore imperative that you don’t throw them away by casting them when your opponent has mana available for counters. Whilst a certain amount of enchantment destruction is expected, hopefully those will be wasted on the Seal Away that are locking up powerful creatures (which you can then sweep away with Settle the Wreckage or Cleansing Nova). If you do end up losing them, they can be retrived by utilising Clear the Mind which is also a nice way of extending the game.

I find that this deck is particularly weak against Izzet spells where you are just being hit directly; this is especially true of Beacon Bolt which we are essentially pumping with milling2. Another weakness is Nexus of Fate due to it’s ability to never be milled; it’s for this reason that I have Syncopate as it purposefully exiles the card it counters.

If you manage to activate the The Haunt of Hightower, don’t forget that it has life-link. An opponent of mine did this to their folly. I had 1 health, no available mana, and my The Haunt of Hightower at 3/3; they had two creatures, a 2/2 and a 1/1, which they attacked with saying “good game” as they did so. I blocked the 2/2 and took damage from the 1/1 putting me to 0 health but then the life-link triggered putting me back to 2 health. They are now tapped out and it is my turn; I draw a card, cast a few copies of Opt, and return the 1/1 to their hand with Arrester’s Admonition. By the end of all of this, my The Haunt of Hightower is a 16/16; I attack with it triggering another mill and another +1/+1 to swing in for 17 damage. They die, I finish the game with 19 health. That’s how you use this deck!

Sideboarding

I don’t tend to have a prescribed sideboard in my decks due to the way that I nearly always play on Magic Arena in Arena Standard (best-of-one). That said, there are a number of things you could use in this deck:

  • Nexus of Fate would definitely be a useful way of being able to play more cards whilst also giving you at least one free draw to trigger some milling. Note that this card is now banned in Arena Standard.
  • Verity Circle is only really in the deck as a counter to ramp decks that use Llanowar Elves and friends. It could either be swapped out for something else if your opponent has no cards that tap or you can double down on it if up against an aggro ramp deck.
  • Wall of Lost Thoughts is a good way of getting some defence on the board and it also mills your opponent for 4 cards.
  • You can’t have a milling deck without mentioning Persistent Petitioners. I don’t really think they would work well here as the goal is “counter, counter, counter, DRAW, MILL” and they would slow that down but it’s something you could consider. Related to this is also Teysa Karlov as another “advisor” card in colours you can cast although I don’t think there is much mileage there unless you are adding something with tokens.
  1. You lose. That’s what happens. From the Comprehensive Rules: 104.3c If a player is required to draw more cards than are left in their library, they draw the remaining cards and then lose the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.) ↩︎

  2. And it has jump-start which means even if you mill it then they are going to be able to use it pretty quickly - thank goodness it’s a sorcery rather than an instant. This is why we have Syncopate↩︎