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Mill
Keyword Action
Introduced Antiquities (mechanic)
Core Set 2021 (keyword)
Last Used Evergreen
Reminder Text Mill N cards (Put the top N cards from the library into your/their graveyard.)
Statistics
296 cards
{U} 43.9% {B} 19.6% {R} 2.4% {G} 6.1% {U/B} 8.1% {B/G} 4.1% {R/W} 0.3% {G/U} 0.3% {M} 1.7% {artifact symbol} 11.5% {land symbol} 2%
Scryfall Search
oracle:"Mill"

Mill is a keyword action used in Magic to describe the action of a player taking cards from the top of their library and putting them into their graveyard. For a player to mill N cards, they put the top N cards from their library into their graveyard. The term alludes to the card Millstone, which was first printed in Antiquities and was the first card to feature this mechanic.

History[]

From the beginning, the "milling" mechanic was written out in full as, "Target player puts the top N cards of their library into their graveyard,"[1] but ever since the original Millstone, players were using "mill" as an informal term. As it was so frequently used on cards, R&D wanted to create an official keyword for this mechanic, as actions with keywords have an increased chance of being used in designs.[2] During the development of Shadows over Innistrad, there was a point in which milling played a significant role in the design of the set, and the term “forget” was used for a while during its design.[3]

Ultimately, the word "mill" was chosen both in reference to the original card and because it was already so popular as an informal term. The keyword was first introduced as a keyword action on the Mystery Booster test card Truth or Dare (To mill, put the top card of that library into its owner's graveyard), and was officially introduced on legal cards with Core Set 2021.[4] It was featured soon after as one of the many themes in Jumpstart.

With the release of Core Set 2021, all cards with a milling effect received an Oracle update to use the "mill" keyword. This was not applied to effects that instruct players to look at a card from the top of a library and then possibly move it to a graveyard.[5]

Even before it got its keyword, milling was and still is essentially an evergreen mechanic, though never formally stated as such, as it appears in almost every set.

Description[]

Milling is a strategy some decks use which takes advantage of the decking rule.[6][7][8][9] Emptying the opponent's library is one way to ensure a victory, though note that they do not lose until they actually have to draw a card.

There are two basic types of mill decks: the control deck that looks to take over the game through killing the opponent's creatures and countering their spells, then milling the opponent to win the game once they have run out of resources; and a combo deck that plays primarily mill cards and looks to mill the opponent out as soon as possible.

Cards that cause a player to mill have most often been found in blue (primary) or black (secondary), especially in the Dimir guild of the Ravnica blocks, though most of the earliest milling cards were artifacts. Flavor-wise, milling is often portrayed as mental attacks, memory loss, insanity, or drowning.

Related terms[]

"Self-mill" is the informal term of using mill on yourself in order to fill up your own graveyard or dig through your library.

"Grind" is a variation of milling, which puts cards from a player's library into their graveyard until a specified number of land cards are put there.

Rules[]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (July 23, 2021—Adventures in the Forgotten Realms)

Mill
To mill a number of cards, a player puts that many cards from the top of their library into their graveyard. See rule 701.13.

From the Comprehensive Rules (July 23, 2021—Adventures in the Forgotten Realms)

  • 701.13. Mill
    • 701.13a For a player to mill a number of cards, that player puts that many cards from the top of their library into their graveyard.
    • 701.13b A player can’t mill a number of cards greater than the number of cards in their library. If given the choice to do so, they can’t choose to take that action. If instructed to do so, they mill as many as possible. Similarly, the player can’t pay a cost that includes milling a number of cards greater than the number of cards in their library.
    • 701.13c An effect that refers to a milled card can find that card in the zone it moved to from the library, as long as that zone is a public zone.
    • 701.13d If an ability checks information about a single milled card but more than one card was milled, that ability refers to each of the milled cards. If that ability asks for any information about the milled card, such as a characteristic or mana value, it gets multiple answers. If these answers are used to determine the value of a variable, the sum of the answers is used. If that ability performs any actions on “the” card, it performs that action on each milled card. If that ability performs any actions on “a” card, the controller of the ability chooses which card is affected.

From the Comprehensive Rules (July 23, 2021—Adventures in the Forgotten Realms)

  • 104.3c If a player is required to draw more cards than are left in their library, they draw the remaining cards and then lose the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)

Rulings[]

  • If a player is instructed to mill more cards than they have in their library, they put all of the cards in their library into their graveyard. On the other hand, if a player is given a choice to mill more cards than they have in their library, they can't choose to do so.
  • Once a player's library is empty, that player doesn't lose the game until they try to draw a card and can't.

List of mill instants and sorceries[]

Instants[]

  • Archive Trap {3}{U}{U} — target opponent (thirteen) - Trap
  • Brain Freeze {1}{U} — target player (three) - Storm
  • Broken Ambitions {X}{U} — counter target spell unless its controller pays {X}. Clash with an opponent. If you win, that spell's controller (four)
  • Countermand {2}{U}{U} — counter target spell. Its controller (four)
  • Dampen Thought {1}{U} — target player (four) - Splice onto Arcane {1}{U}
  • Didn't Say Please {1}{U}{U} — counter target spell. Its controller (three)
  • Dimir Charm {U}{B} — look at the top three cards of target player's library, then put one back and mill the rest - tri-modal spell
  • Dream Twist {U} — target player (three) - Flashback {1}{U}
  • Glacial Grasp {2}{U} — target creature's controller (two)
  • Grisly Spectacle {2}{B}{B} — destroy target nonartifact creature. Its controller mills a number of cards equal to that creature's power.
  • Induce Paranoia {2}{U}{U} — counter target spell. If {B} was spent to cast Induce Paranoia, that spell's controller (X), where X is the spell's converted mana cost.
  • Lammastide Weave {1}{G} — name a card, then target player (one). If that card is the named card, you gain life equal to its converted mana cost.
  • Predict {1}{U} — choose a card name, then target player (one). If that card has the chosen name, drawn two cards
  • Psychic Spiral {4}{U} — shuffle all cards from your graveyard into your library, then target player (that many cards)
  • Psychic Strike {1}{U}{B} — counter target spell. Its controller (two)
  • Ray of Erasure {U} — target player (one) - Slowtrip
  • Tibalt's Trickery {1}{R} — Counter target Spell. Its controller (one, two, or three (at random))
  • Thought Collapse {1}{U}{U} — counter target spell. Its controller (three)
  • Thought Scour {U} — target player (two) - Cantrip
  • Very Cryptic Command {1}{U}{U}{U} — Target player (X) where X is the total of two dice rolls - quad-modal spell
  • Vision Charm {U} — target player (four) - tri-modal spell
  • Winds of Rebuke {1}{U} — Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. Each player (two).

Sorceries[]

Creatures which cause mill[]

Planeswalkers which cause mill[]

Enchantments[]

Artifacts which cause mill[]

  • Altar of Dementia {2} — Sacrifice a creature: target player (creature's power)
  • Altar of the Brood {1} — Whenever another permanent enters the battlefield under your control, each opponent (one)
  • Cellar Door {2}{3}, {T}: target player (one) ((from bottom of library))
  • Codex Shredder {1}{T}: target player (one)
  • Decimator Web {4}{4}, {T}: target opponent loses 2 life, gets a poison counter, then (six)
  • Embalmer's Tools {2} — tap an untapped Zombie you control: target player (one)
  • Folio of Fancies {1}{U}{T}: each opponent (number of cards in their hand)
  • Ghoulcaller's Bell {1}{T}: each player (one)
  • Grindclock {2}{T}: put a charge counter on Grindclock. {T}: Target player (X), where X is the number of charge counters on Grindclock.
  • Grinding Station {2}{T}, sacrifice an artifact: target player (three)
  • Grindstone {1}{3},{T}: Target player (two). If both cards share a color, repeat this process.
  • Hair-Strung Koto {6} — tap an untapped creature you control: target player (one)
  • Keening Stone {6}{5}, {T}: target player (X), where X is the number of cards in that player's graveyard.
  • Mesmeric Orb {2} — whenever a permanent becomes untapped, that permanent's controller (one)
  • Millstone {2}{2}, {T}: target player (two)
  • Mindcrank {2} — whenever an opponent loses life (X), where X is amount of life lost
  • Pestilent Cauldron {2}{B}{1}, {T}: each opponent (X), where X is the amount of life you gained this turn
  • Sands of Delirium {3}{X}, {T}: target player (X)
  • Shriekhorn {1} — Shriekhorn enters the battlefield with three charge counters on it. {T}, remove a charge counter from Shriekhorn: target player (two)
  • Screaming Shield {1} — Equipment; equip {3}; equipped creature gets +0/+3 and has {2}, {T}: target player (3).
  • Sword of Body and Mind {3}Equipment - whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield and that player (ten)
  • Tower of Murmurs {4}{8}, {T}: target player (eight)
  • Throne of Death {B} — at the beginning of your upkeep, you (one).
  • Whetstone {3}{3}: each player (two)
  • Whetwheel {4}{X}{X}, {T}: target player (X) - Morph {3}
  • Worry Beads {3} — at the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player (one)

Lands which cause mill[]

Grind[]

Grind is a variation of milling, which put cards from either an opponent's or target player's library into their graveyard until n land cards were put there.[10][11] It was originally designed as the Dimir mechanic for Gatecrash.[12] The mechanic was preserved without the keyword in several cards.[13]

List of grind spells[]

Creatures[]

Equipment[]

  • Trepanation Blade {3} — Equip {2} - Whenever equipped creature attacks, defending player, reveals a land card; The creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn for each card revealed.

Sorceries[]

Artifacts[]

References[]

  1. Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (June 29, 2020). "Odds & Ends: Core Set 2021". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (May 28, 2018). "Hi mark i believe in the past youve mentioned...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. Eli Shiffrin (June 20, 2020). "Core Set 2021 and Jumpstart Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Eli Shiffrin (June 23, 2020). "M21 Oracle Changes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (January 11, 2010). "Milling, About". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Tom LaPille (January 15, 2010). "Milled Potpourri". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Michael Yichao (August 19, 2015). "Mill Through the Ages". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Gavin Verhey (February 16, 2017). "The Miserable Mill". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Gottlieb (December 31, 2012). "Gatecrash Diaries". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mark Rosewater (January 7, 2013). "Gatecrashing the Party, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater (March 27, 2016). "Can you share anything about Cipher?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (May 23, 2015). "Do you have any trivia on Consuming Aberration?". Blogatog. Tumblr.