Self-mill is a strategy that focuses on placing as much of one’s own library into the graveyard as quickly as possible, most commonly for the purposes of using cards in that graveyard for additional resources, recursion, and/or reanimation. This is contrasted to the mill archetype, which puts cards from opponents' libraries into the graveyard, though both archetypes may use similar cards to achieve these goals.
Popular Cards & Commanders
Hallmark self-mill cards include:
Common self-mill commanders include:
Self-mill decks seek to fill their graveyard as a means of accruing advantages over their enemies, and often make use of a combination of the following components in their decks:
Filling the Graveyard
- Self-mill decks often utilize effects that put a large number of cards from their library into their graveyard with effects such as tutors that put specific cards from their library directly into their graveyard as well, such as . , , , or . Self-mill may also make use of
- Self-mill may also use more incremental effects to fill their graveyards over time, such as with cards like , , , and . Dredge cards are particularly useful to self-mill as a repeatable way to get cards into the graveyard quickly, such as , , and .
- Effects that allow a self-mill player to simultaneously fill their hand as well as their graveyard can also be highly desirable for self-mill decks. This may include cards such as wheel spells such as . or even
Graveyard as a Resource
- Self-mill decks will commonly fill their graveyard for the express purpose of using those cards as an additional resource. This may include using those cards to provide additional mana, or for the purposes of recursion and/or reanimation. They may also use effects that are only active while a card is in the graveyard, such as Flashback spells or creatures like and .
- A large number of cards in the graveyard allows self-mill players to treat that graveyard as a 'second hand' from which to play cards, giving them significant card advantage over their opponents.
- Self-mill decks may also use a large graveyard as a means of increasing the power level of the cards they play, such as , , and .
Self-Mill as a Win Condition
- Rather than using a large graveyard as a means of victory, self-mill decks may instead use a decreased library as their win condition. This is most commonly achieved with cards such as and , which allow a player to win the game when they have few or no cards remaining in their library.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Self-mill players that utilize the cards in their graveyard are able to accrue massive card advantage against their opponents, giving them a high number of options and a high degree of flexibility during gameplay.
- In contrast to mill strategies, which must eliminate all cards from multiple opponents' libraries, self-mill decks only need to focus on one library - their own - to achieve their plans, which therefore requires them to expend far fewer resources.
- Self-mill decks are excpetionally vulnerable to effects that exile cards from graveyards, such as card advantage. . Such effects can wholly undo an entire game's worth of work from a self-mill deck and significantly hamper their strategy by eliminating an enormous pool of
- Self-mill decks that focus on eliminating their entire library run the risk of losing the game when they attempt to draw a card from an empty library if they do not locate a game-winning card such as . This can make the self-mill deck hyper-reliant on a few key cards, which allows opponents to vastly incapacitate their strategy if those linchpin cards are removed.
- If you are using self-mill to assemble an alternate win condition you may not be contributing creatures to the board to hold back your opponents. If this is a weakness it can often be remedied with some Pillowfort effects to negate your opponent's advantage
- Example Cards: , ,
- Since you want to fill your graveyard, why not consider taking an extra step with symmetrical mill effects and also potentially empty your opponent's libraries?
- Since self mill effects put cards in your graveyard, why not use that as an opening to bring some creature cards directly onto the battlefield, far earlier than you normally should be able to? This also gives you another angle to be able to protect certain key components (at least those that are creatures)
- Since you are looking to put cards in your graveyard from your library, why not consider having them come via your hand first? wheel spells allow you to exchange cards you don't need right now for cards you may want later while also filling your graveyard