Threshold for non game winning Mill

@inkfathombiomage said in Threshold for non game winning Mill:

Note that in hearthstone it’s different because a) you have a smaller deck, so you’re more likely to go through the whole thing and b) you don’t lose when you run out of cards in deck, so removing cards from an opponent’s library is relevant in more situations where decking is not.

I dont think it is that different as to not be relevant. Hearthstone games on average last around the same number of turns as magic, sometimes a bit more. You don't outright lose in that game when you run out of deck, you do however start progressively start losing more and more life every turn because of it and eventually it will kill you. There are mill strategies for just that reason.

We regard a card like sadistic sacrament fringe playable because it is targeted mill, we know what it will hit, but there is not a gaurentee that the cards we remove would ever be drawn in the first place. Where as people dont play blind mill for this very reason, they do play sacrament.

I guess my question then becomes how much value does this type of mill add when it is incidental/value added to the card. If Ashiok did not mill but still did everything else, how would we regard him? I think its clear that the mill into exile adds something we ascribe some value to, but how much?

Even if its exile based mill, mill is almost completely worthless against Workshops and some other decks. You'd have to make the X number excessively high, like 15+, which would be a huge power creep from mill effects in the past and would adversely affect the format.

Heartstone the deck size is literally half and the biggest mill deck functions by putting more cards in its own deck (rather than reducing its opponent's deck size). I think its almost totally different here.

If you set X=20 or something ridiculous like that it might be worthwhile, but only because it makes progress towards a mill victory. If you only want to consider the value of exiling the cards (like if you imagined that there was no possibility of removing their whole deck for whatever reason), I'm not sure any value of X is better than any other value.

@protoaddict said in Threshold for non game winning Mill:

Let's say in my example X =20 and your opponent has 40 cards left in their deck. They have one wincon in the deck (again, for simplicity sake).

I think the thing with this example is that there are better cards if your opponent truly has one win condition in their deck. One mana to have a 50/50 chance of winning on the spot seems great, but for two mana you could play Seek and have a 100% chance. That along with Sadistic Sacrament (which hits their backups too, if they have them) are pretty fringe cards because they're very narrow as it is, but they do destroy a deck that doesn't have a way to win without a crucial one-of. So if we're considering random mill, I think we have to consider what it does or doesn't do against "normal" decks that have a bunch of threats, because if you're targeting the decks that fall apart without one card you probably wouldn't choose to play Super Tomb Scour anyway.

Jester's cap has seen some play in MUD.

Now most deck have 3 or more wincon maindeck. If you blind mill them of 20 cards you only have 3% to hit all three wincon.
This order of magnitude make blind mill almost irrelevant.

Let's put it this way: if Traumatize costed 1 mana it would be unplayable. IF it costed one mana AND exiled the graveyard afterwards like Ashiok does, then it would probably be a SB card against decks that have few killcons or against grindy matchups where you exile half their library and the grindy game will be in your favor - you'd SB out all your wincons, play the ultimate control role and deck them (well, it would also be good against Dredge of course).
So I'd say the card you're looking for is a 1-mana-ashioked-Traumatize.

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco if traumatize cost 1 mana it'd be played in dredge with mental missteps and forces to protect it. but self-mill is essentially a completely different card evaluation situation than this thread.

@blindtherapy oh yeah, I'm considering the card only mills opponents, since that's what the thread is about. Forgot Traumatize actually reads "target player".

@fsecco ashiok is capable of self-mill, which is probably going to be more relevant in legacy where it clears brainstorms than it is in this format. I think part of the card's versatility is targetting self, while still crypting the opponent.

@blindtherapy it sure will, as in Modern too. Gives more fuel to Snapcaster too.

@InkfathomBiomage has it correct in their original post, IMO.

Against a deck with no tutors, milling X cards is provably useless (and often counterproductive) unless the opponent will see more than 60-X cards over the course of the game.

So what does X need to be for mill to become playable? Let's assume that we're playing against Workshops or Hatebears, with no card-draw engine. We can conservatively estimate the length of the game as 10 turns, so that the opponent will naturally draw 17 cards. This means that the opponent starts with 43 cards of buffer in their library, and 20 life, for a ratio of 2.15 cards:life.

Glimpse the Unthinkable therefore is roughly equivalent to a burn spell that deals 4.65 damage for 2 mana: that's worse than Lava Axe, and clearly unplayable. Archive Trap deals a very respectable 6 virtual damage for one card and zero mana, and is the best mill spell that I'm aware of.

In addition to problem with efficiency, mill has a problem with consistency: a one-mana mill-10 card is probably strong enough to be playable, but along with Archive Trap that's not enough to build a deck around. You're probably better off building the Vintage Snapcaster-Bolts deck.

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