UB Mill Deck Guide: Standard’s Newest Tier 1 Deck

Hello everyone! I’m here today to proclaim that I’ve confirmed a new entry into the pantheon of Tier 1 decks in the new Standard. UB Lurrus Mill may look like a really good draft deck, but the synergies and power behind it are no laughing matter. This is no surprise, as I knew the rise of Rogues was nigh with the bannings yesterday, and I’m not the only one to see that. In functionally every deck I’ve seen and played with/against, everyone is teching against Rogues with more removal, escape cards, graveyard interaction, and anything else to improve their matchup. Thus, when I tried Rogues for the first time today, I didn’t have the highest hopes.

Despite that, even with most decks having a lot of tech cards against Rogues, I still felt very favored in most of my matchups. For example, I 2-0d a GB deck that was literally built to beat Rogues. How do I know? They played maindeck Chainweb Aracnir, Fiend Artisan, Elspeth’s Nightmare, Scavenging Ooze, Polukranos, Unchained, Skyclave Shade, Garruk’s Harbinger, and Ranger’s Guile. The hate for Rogues is strong, but my 10 IQ is stronger. With the power of Mill, I easily cruised from around 600 mythic to top 100.

Ok, so I barely cracked top 100, but I’m all about the technicalities! With most of my decks, I started with an established base and worked from there. For this list, I started with the Crokeyz version.

UB Mill Rogues by Crokeyz

Luckily, Crokeyz did a lot of the work for me and already had a strong base to start with. However, some of his choices definitely confused me. I understand Cling to Dust in theory, but the card is really bad most of the time, especially in game 1. It makes more sense in the postboard games when people have their escape cards, but 4 main deck seems unnecessary. Maybe it’s a necessity, but I haven’t seen the urgency to have it main quite yet. A 1 mana exile your escape creature and gain 3 life doesn’t inspire me particularly much. The Thieving Skydiver seems amazing when your opponent has a Stonecoil Serpent, but bad otherwise as there aren’t many relevant artifacts (and good luck stealing a Great Henge). Lastly, although I saw the logic behind Thassa’s Oracle for the mirror, it seemed unlikely that you could actually snag a game off it. Despite that, Crokeyz gave me a great start, and it didn’t take much to make the deck cleaner. Let’s take a look:

UB Mill by DoggertQBones – #99 Mythic

CARD CHOICES

Companion: Lurrus of the Dream-Den

This is easily one of the best Lurrus decks I’ve ever played. When deliberating if you want to play Lurrus or not, the most important factor is to see what cards you CAN’T play to fit his companion requirement. In this deck, all the cards we aren’t allowed to play aren’t particularly exciting to begin with. Brazen Borrower is good, but pretty unnecessary and not great in a format filled with ETB creatures. Zareth San can be good, but he’s relatively clunky. Lurrus, although also clunky, demands an answer immediately or you can accrue ridiculous amounts of value off of him. Every permanent you can recur generally has an immediate effect, making our resident cat nightmare even better.

4 Merfolk Windrobber

The worst card in the deck by far. Exciting, I know. However, having a critical mass of Rogues and 1 drops is important for the deck, and you get to board them out when you don’t want them. When you get Lurrus out, being able to cash this in for a block and a draw every turn is quite the nice synergy.

4 Ruin Crab

The best card in the deck by far. Exciting, I know. Ruin Crab is the only reason this deck is playable at all, as it’s so brutal if you play it early and game-ending if you find multiple. It does require many land drops to be good, but when playing four copies of Into the Story, finding excess lands is rarely a problem.

4 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer

In contention for the best card in the deck, this serves as another repeatable mill engine, but also functions as a great attacker and blocker. Similarly to Ruin Crab, getting multiple on board can kill your opponents extremely quickly. If you have to choose between playing this or Ruin Crab turn 1, generally play this first, as you ideally want to get a land drop out with Ruin Crab the same turn for some guaranteed value.

4 Soaring Thought-Thief

The last of the repeatable mill engines. The power buff isn’t often relevant, but multiples can quickly mill your opponent or just kill your opponent with damage. Furthermore, Thieves’ Guild Enforcer into Soaring-Thought Thief is already 6 cards milled, with both their abilities activated next turn! The flash is also a nice touch, for playing a weird Control game plan.

3 Agadeem’s Awakening

A Swamp that can be a 5/6 mana Gruesome Menagerie? Sign me up. I’ve been happy with 3, but if the mirror becomes even more prevalent, I wouldn’t be surprised if 4 becomes the correct number. However, as I’ve already written about, there is a real cost to playing the MDFCs, so you have to be careful.

4 Bloodchief’s Thirst

One of the best removal spells in Standard, no surprise it’s in here. You can kill most of the things you care about for 1 mana or kick it if you need to. This deck shines because of its ability to double and triple spell really early in the game, and this great card is crucial to that gameplan.

1 Call of the Death-Dweller

Agadeem’s Awakening-lite. Although this is less powerful, it’s also 2-3 mana cheaper. Furthermore, having a cheaper way to recur Lurrus is extremely nice for the deck. Even if you can’t get back a Lurrus, if you are able to recur a Thieves’ Guild Enforcer and a Soaring Though Thief, you’ll still be in a great spot.

2 Lullmage’s Domination

A significantly better version of Entrancing Melody. Being able to steal anything for the same investment your opponent put into it once they hit 8 cards in graveyard is very powerful. Triple Blue can sometimes be difficult to get, especially since you also want triple Black for Agadeem’s Awakening, but you generally only want to play late in the game anyway. They can be clunky and are obviously bad against decks that don’t play creatures, so I’ve liked 2 so far.

4 Drown in the Loch

Another card in contention for the best card in the deck. It doesn’t take much to turn on your deck’s Counterspell/Terminate. This card is one of the backbones of your deck for such a cheap rate, but be careful what you use it on; one of the issues with this deck is that it’s a little light on interaction.

3 Mystical Dispute

The reason I included 3 main deck is twofold: I thought the deck needed more counterspells, and the mirror is very popular. You board these out against every non-blue deck, but honestly a 3 mana Mana Leak isn’t even that bad, compared to the other Eldraine Color Hosers that are unplayable outside of their specific spots.

4 Into the Story

This card is so powerful! Being able to draw 4 cards on turn 4 is so ridiculous, and can easily slam the door in your opponent’s face if played early. All the cheap spells put you in the best position to use the cards you draw almost immediately. A small thing to note is that the Rogues are activated when your opponent hits 8 cards in graveyard, but Into the Story only requires 7. Try to keep that in mind when planning your turns.

23 Lands

SIDEBOARD

2 Cling to Dust

I don’t like the card very much, but nabbing annoying escape creatures is relatively nice. Furthermore, being able to flash it back sometimes can also be cute, despite it being expensive and burning away cards for Agadeem’s Awakening. I would love to not play these, but I only want to board Lanterns in against dedicated graveyard decks.

3 Soul-Guide Lantern

The better graveyard hate card in my opinion. It’s unfortunate as the only graveyard-centric deck is Rakdos, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more pop up, thanks to the Rogues deck’s popularity.  Take for example “GB I Hate Rogues” that I mentioned earlier.

4 Eliminate

Sometimes you need a bunch of removal spells, and Eliminate is the one I favour because Stonecoil Serpent and Scavenging Ooze can be real issues for this deck. However, if strong 4+ cmc creatures begin popping up, you can definitely switch to Heartless Act.

2 Negate

Sometimes you just need a Negate. Narrow but efficient; not much more you can ask for.

2 Lullmage’s Domination

Bring this in against the creature decks, no brainer.

1 Mystical Dispute

Get bent, fellow blue players.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

embercleave_by_joeslucher

Evergreen disclaimer: I’m not the biggest fan of definitive sideboard guides as they can harm your ability for on the fly decision making, but knowing how I approach each matchup is obviously extremely helpful. There you go. Now, onto the matchups:

Mono Red Aggro

InOut
+4 Eliminate
+2 Lullmage’s Domination
-3 Mystical Dispute
-3 Into the Story

They’re going to put you under the gun very quickly, so you need to try and stabilize as fast as possible. If you can survive the initial onslaught, you should be able to grind back into the game relatively easily. I hate having to board out Into the Story, but it’s going to be too clunky most of the time. If you see a lot of Phoenix of Ash, take out the last Into the Story for a Cling to Dust.

Monogreen / Gruul

InOut
+4 Eliminate
+2 Lullmage’s Domination
+2 Cling to Dust
-3 Mystical Dispute
-4 Merfolk Windrobber
-1 Agadeem’s Awakening

The boarding is similar to Mono Red, but the matchup is way easier since they’re significantly slower. Just stymie their early plays, and kill them with your insane card advantage in Lullmage’s Domination and Into the Story.

Rakdos Midrange

InOut
+2 Cling to Dust
+3 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Lullmage’s Domination
-4 Merfolk Windrobber
-3 Mystical Dispute

This matchup isn’t bad per se, because it’s absolutely horrible. With a plethora of removal spells and Kroxa, this is a matchup I have yet to see this version of Rogues win. The bigger version of Rogues also struggled against Rakdos, but it felt more tenable. If you can stop their Kroxas from ever coming back, you definitely have a chance, but their infinite removal plan is still pretty hard to deal with. Although I believe Rakdos is the best deck since it beats up on aggro decks and Rogues, its Control matchups leave a lot to be desired, leaving some space for us to breathe.

Mirror

InOut
+4 Eliminate
+1 Mystical Dispute
+1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-4 Merfolk Windrobber
-2 Lullmage’s Domination

This matchup can be pretty frustrating if it comes down to who draws Ruin Crab first, but there’s definitely a lot of play with sequencing and timing your spells. A lot of games turn into this weird Control mirror where one player tries to force the other to tap out so they can resolve an Into the Story. Kill everything on sight and you can come out ahead. 

Esper Yorion (and other random Control decks)

InOut
+2 Cling to Dust
+1 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Negate
+1 Mystical Dispute
-4 Bloodchief’s Thirst
-2 Lullmage’s Domination

As per usual, this boarding is going to heavily depend on what version of Control they are playing, but here’s the general idea. Until a Control deck cements it’s position into the metagame, I’ll have to keep doing board plans in abstraction. In that vein, the most popular version of Control I’ve seen so far is Esper Yorion, so that’s how I’ll base the boarding. I really like Rogues because it’s very powerful against Control decks of every flavor. Although Yorion starts at 20 more “life”, you can easily kill them with a slew of creatures and a few counterspells. Clunky decks do not work well against Rogues.

WRAP UP

Rogues seems like a great option right now, as it has a strong game plan against both fast and slow decks. The biggest limiting factor for their position in Tier 1 is going to be how hard the field techs to beat this deck, which seems to be rather heavy so far. Despite that, your deck has a straight-forward, fast, and powerful game plan that feels more efficient than many of the other strategies running around right now.

That’s all I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can follow me on Twitch! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP and PTQ Top 8, has 3-0d 3 professional draft pods, and loves writing and teaching!

9 Responses

  1. grotavumaggl grotavumaggl says:

    Good and interesting write-up !
    I’ve played similar versions of the deck and followed a bit crokeyz playing the list so I can chime in on Cling to Dust and Skydiver.
    Cling to Dust is also a card I didn’t like much at the beginning but I’ve grown to really appreciate and I believe you should always have at least one copy in the main deck. 4 seems excessive, but from what I’ve seen crokeyz has been facing a lot of decks with graveyard synergy in the main-deck, notably rakdos and more recently the mono-green food deck.
    Besides you didn’t mention a couple of things about it that really help making it better :
    1) You can always cantrip it in match-ups where it isn’t needed. A 1 mana basic cantrip isn’t much, but it’s deck-thinning and at least the card isn’t dead. Besides it’s repeatable, so you can sometimes sink some mana in it for an extra card or just some hp, giving it some fringe utility later in the game as well.
    2) You can use them to exile your own graveyard in the mirror and deny their pseudo-threshold effects. I’ve found this to be more relevant than I’d think as later in the game you can read it as “4 mana exile 5-6 cards from your graveyard and draw a card”. Not great, but mirrors can often hinge on small things. Denying the cost reduction on Into the Story or their TGE’s buffs can do a lot.
    3) Other than escape cards there’s another very relevant target for Clings in the meta in Frantic Inventory. In mirrors and against control decks it can be huge.

    As for Skydiver, it’s indeed mostly a good tech against Stonecoil Serpent, but it’s also there for the control match-up where you can use it to steal a Mazemind Tome. Also helps against the Food deck if it stays popular.

    • Well articulated points! That being said, I understand where Cling can be good, and at worst it’s a cycle, but for me, the floor is too low to justify it main most of the time. That being said, playing one main can be a smart maneuver, but you have to give up on a real card to play something that most of the time is just medium. I didn’t think of Mazemind Tome for Skydiver, but I feel like Tome is not so problematic that we need a targeted answer for it.

  2. cgmonroe06 cgmonroe06 says:

    Really curious, why Mystical Dispute instead of Didn’t Say Please. Seems to be a milling counter would be more productive.

    • cgmonroe06 cgmonroe06 says:

      Otherwise been running your deck all night and having a blast with it. I have another one I had made, but that’s more of a race while this has some longevity to it.

    • Excellent question! I touched on it briefly but getting incidental mill is not exactly how this deck wins. Didn’t Say Please is strong in this deck though, for sure, but I think the ability to get a 1 mana counter off is more relevant. However, if Blue decks really fall off, Didn’t Say Please would be an excellent choice.

      • cgmonroe06 cgmonroe06 says:

        That makes sense. It’s definitely an interesting mill deck, looking at it at first I was like “no maddening cacophony??!! Where’s the vantress gargoyle?! No didn’t say please?!” But then I tried it out and it’s been a blast with better win percentage than the more speed based mill deck Ive been playing throughout the season.

  3. damianvc31 damianvc31 says:

    Is Crab good enough against Yorion decks? If the plan is killing them by attacking, all it does is helping the rogues to get to the 8-cards threshold which doesn’t seem good enough to justify keeping 4 copies postboard

  4. cgmonroe06 cgmonroe06 says:

    I just had to come back to say: this is one of the most fun decks I’ve ever played.

  5. why no Cling to Dust in the mirror since they play lurrus?

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