Self-Mill

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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.

Self-mill is most commonly found in decks that include the colors black, green, and/or blue.

Popular Cards & Commanders

Hallmark self-mill cards include:

Common self-mill commanders include:

Strategy

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 Hermit Druid, Mirror-Mad Phantasm, Traumatize, or Morality Shift. Self-mill may also make use of tutors that put specific cards from their library directly into their graveyard as well, such as Buried Alive.
Self-mill may also use more incremental effects to fill their graveyards over time, such as with cards like Perpetual Timepiece, Mesmeric Orb, Underrealm Lich Stitcher's Supplier, and Nyx Weaver. Dredge cards are particularly useful to self-mill as a repeatable way to get cards into the graveyard quickly, such as Stinkweed Imp, Dakmor Salvage, and Life from the Loam.
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 Fact or Fiction or even wheel spells such as Windfall.

Related Abilities

  • Delve
  • Flashback
  • Dredge
  • Undergrowth
  • Unearth
  • Surveil

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 Wonder and Anger.
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 Lord of Extinction, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed, and Worm Harvest.

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 Laboratory Maniac and Thassa's Oracle, which allow a player to win the game when they have few or no cards remaining in their library.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • 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.

Weaknesses

  • Self-mill decks are excpetionally vulnerable to effects that exile cards from graveyards, such as Relic of Progenitus. 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 card advantage.
  • 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 Laboratory Maniac. 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.

References: