FTAW For the *Alternate* Win!
As with any game, there is a level of satisfaction in winning a round of Magic: The Gathering. Unlike Monopoly or Battleship, there is more than one way to win a game of Magic and when you can utilize one of these alternate strategies, you’ll really start to have fun. This brings us to one of my favorite alternate win condition: milling. Eliminating your opponent’s library allows you to ignore damage and creatures and is really fun to watch. Dimir is just the guild to make this happen. This color combo has been strong for quite some time in eliminating decks. Cards like Nemesis of Reason, Mind Funeral, and Raven Guild Master can lead to the quick destruction of a library.
The temptation to add nothing but powerful milling spells to a deck like this is a dangerous one as it will leave you without any defense. The first mill decks I constructed would take about 30 cards off a library and I’d end up losing because I had nothing to block the two creatures that had been damaging me for seven rounds. Adding creatures to the mix, especially ones that essentially double your mana output and provide a chance to gain some health (the Crypt Ghast, of course), provide you with protection and a chance to save yourself if you need an extra hit point or two. The Wight of Precinct Six and the Consuming Aberration will help keep you safe and grow as your opponent’s graveyard fills up. They could also help you keep the win by damage if your opponent finds a way to thwart your milling ways. Dying Wish and Mindeye Drake force your opponent to make a tough choice: “Is it worth it to kill the creatures and lose five of the seven cards left in my library so I can attack next turn?”
Nightveil Specter: “Realmwright, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” A Realmwright is a great card to have in any multicolor deck just in case you don’t get the one land you need to bring everything together. There’s not much worse than sitting on nine Islands with a full hand and nothing to do because you need a single Swamp. Beyond the ability to save you from a black mana-less quandary, the Realmwright can help you steal the spells exiled by the Nightveil Specter.
Lord of the Void will steal cards outright and at 7/7, he’s not the kind of creature your enemies can ignore. Lazav, Dimir Mastermind is also somewhat of a thief, potentially becoming any huge creature you siphon off your opponent’s library.
The Woodlot Crawler only made the sideboard because a 2/1 creature for two mana isn’t too shabby (and it’ll beat Grizzly Bears in a fight) but it’s more useful as shield against potential monsters if you’re up against a Gruul deck sporting a Rubblehulk or a Savageborn Hydra (if they break out the creatures with trample, you’ve got a solution in Death’s Approach). Drop it in if you’re getting spanked by these kinds of behemoths. Illness in the Ranks will keep those pesky Selesnya tokens in check.
Psychic Spiral is a fun card in that it allows you to be somewhat reckless with your creatures, using them to fuel a spell that only becomes more powerful with every loss you suffer. Furthermore, it is an excellent counter to a mill deck should you find yourself racing to purge your opponent’s library before they ruin yours.
Mind Grind is a lovely spell as it opens up the possibility of running a mill deck in multiplayer. Often, it is difficult to eliminate more than one deck before your life total hits zero. This deck is certainly not designed for more than a single opponent but it’s always nice to know that options are there.
Good luck finding your way through Dragon’s Maze. If you still have a library intact, I’ll see you on the other side.