While I claim in my previous article “10 Reasons to Play Standard Pauper” that the format currently has a diverse metagame, some have called me out on that fact (without any data other than that there are a lot of Dimir 1st place trophies). Sure, Dimir Mill has won 4 of 7 MPDC tournaments since Theros was added to the rotation. However, each time only one or two Dimir decks even made it into the top 8. The deck has been gaining in popularity as it has gained recognition, but I still find it odd that so few Dimir Mill decks were making it to the top 8. Sometimes they draw poorly, and sometimes the aggro decks are too fast. But overall, Dimir is the current powerhouse to deal with. So much card advantage coupled with efficient counterspells and removal for the best threats in the format have led it to be the most annoying deck to combat. I want to change that. I want to play a deck that rarely, if ever, loses to it. It was actually pretty easy task. As for making the list competitive against the rest of the field – it’s a work in progress.
While the list only contains 16 creatures, it has 16 spells that produce creatures, as well. This helps us keep our threat density high without giving them too much life from Crypt Incursion. Of the 32 total spells that create power and toughness, half them spawn 2 for price of one. When you are fighting against all one-for-one removal spells, anything that can make 2 bodies is highly valued. Without it, there’s no way to keep up with the additional 2 for 1s and 3 for 1s they have through Pilfered Plans and Thassa’s Bounty.
Once you land a few threats in play the game plan is to force them to be answered. This means, don’t play into counterspells until after they are forced to use removal on your team. There are 8 main deck answers to targeted removal such as Pharika’s Cure and Grisly Spectacle in Gods Willing and Rootborn Defenses. While Fortify can be used offensively, the utility to save a creature from Pharika’s Cure is a bonus.
We have no way to prevent a Devour Flesh from killing one of our creatures but that should be fine by us since we should have plenty of sacrificial lambs to pay tribute.
Eyes in the Skies is definitely the best card against them because it can force them to spend mana on their turn when we attempt to resolve it on their end step. If they counter, then we are free to resolve anything the following turn, and if they don’t, then we can protect them and ride the over-costed Midnight Haunting to victory.
Post-board they could have access to Shrivel, which helps them recoup card advantage against our multiple threats per spell. For this reason I like having access to Fortify to boost toughness, so that our threats survive and provide a continuous source of damage.
Keening Apparition and Leafcrown Dryad were originally Predatory Sliver and Sentinel Sliver. I found the tribal synergy to be marginal – the upside of growing some Hive Stirrings tokens pales in comparison to having outs to Stab Wound, bestow creatures, Ethereal Armor, flying creatures, and growing a creature with bestow can get 2 power creatures past 4 toughness blockers.
2 Courser’s Accord – Go big or go home. Slow at 6 mana, won’t come down early often but can provide a huge late game threat against Gatekeeper Control decks. We have a lot of X/2s and X/1s so added some X/3s should help if the game goes late. Just another threat that can’t be hit with Essence Scatter.
3 Last Breath – There are cards we need to proactively kill. Deathcult Rogue, anything with extort, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Gatekeepers, things that can block our attackers profitably. The lifegain drawback is an unfortunate consequence but can sometimes benefit us if we need to target our own creature to avoid getting burned out.
At heart we are a value-based mid-range creature deck. We play threats in droves and do our best to protect them. We poke through for a few points of damage here and there and hope to create some blowouts with our combat tricks. Our nemesis is Gatekeeper Control (Esper/Jund). Ubul Sar Gatekeepers can kill off our flyers and stand the ground against our ground attackers. Fortunately the Gatekeeper decks are awful against Dimir Mill, so it’s unlikely that you will run into many of them. The problem is that they do well against fast aggro decks, which are prevalent, so we’re bound to run into a healthy mix.
The entire metagame is not Dimir vs Dimir Antidote. It is very much Rock/Paper/Scissors where match-ups between aggro, mid-range, and control vary wildly based on the deck’s card choices. Try the antidote, and if it doesn’t cure you of your Dimir Mill sickness, maybe this formula will suffice.
Selesnya Aggro Auras
2 Pacifism: Pumps our Ethereal Armors while stopping a Voltron or aggressive threat. Probably doesn’t come in against white in fear of Gods Willing, black with Altar’s Reap, blue with Voyage’s End or Dramatic Rescue
2 Knightly Valor: Not sure if Knight Watch is better. Requires a creature to already be in play and not die, but if it lands it creates 2 blockers and a huge threat. Works better than Observant Alseid sometimes.
3 Last Breath: Interacts proactively against problematic creatures.