I have been working on putting together a Mill deck and it occurred to me that there are likely much faster Milling decks out there. So, what is the fastest Milling win condition that can be achieved?

Deck limitations: Standard 4-card limit, and all cards except those from the Un-sets (Unglued and Unhinged) are legal.

Goal: Fastest win by Milling

Other considerations: You have perfect luck (you always draw the cards you need), your opponent won't be doing anything to disrupt you, your opponent has a 60-card deck that is susseptible to milling (ie. doesn't have any of the "shuffle your graveyard into your library" cards)

Also, if this sort of question isn't appropriate for this site, please let me know.

  • 1
    Poke. Cdeszaq, you've now seen multiple takes on a turn-1 combo kill. I think it's time to accept an answer. ;)
    – Alex P
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 21:47
  • Heh, sry. my bad :) fixed.
    – cdeszaq
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 15:20

12 Answers 12


Opening hand:

Turn 1:
Start with Leyline of the Void on the battlefield. Play a Swamp, then a Dark Ritual. Use one black mana to play another Dark Ritual. You will now have BBBBB in your pool. Play the Helm of Obedience and activate it for 1 mana. Your opponent's entire deck will be milled out because none of the cards ever goes to the graveyard.

Had someone use this against me in MTGO once and it took me a minute to work out how it had happened. Takes some serious luck to get this going on Turn 1, but if you can pull it off, it's definitely fun.

  • 9
    That is so beautifully wrong and evil. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:03

Activating the Grindstone when you have a Painter's Servant in play will mill an opponent's entire library in a single shot. The scarecrow turns all cards that aren't in play a single shared color; the Grindstone mills two cards from your opponent — and if those cards share at least one color, it recurs.

  • My first thought too. Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 14:28
  • 4
    That's disgusting. Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 19:22
  • 3
    This answer would be more complete if you offer one or many ways to get 3 mana on turn one.
    – Sparr
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 5:30
  • @Sparr Three is not enough, you would need another three to activate the Grindstone's ability. So, two Black Loti FTW!
    – M.Herzkamp
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 7:53

To cite a famous example, this is actually how the Tolarian Academy decks of Urza-block standard and extended worked. Here's a sample decklist, played by Tommi Hovi to win PT Rome (the first major tournament at which this sort of deck was legal):

This deck can easily put together a first-turn win, and all it needs is an above-average number of Lotus Petals and Mox Diamonds, which while unlikely, did happen often enough to get about a quarter of this deck banned. Here's a (hopefully somewhat realistic) example turn:

  1. Opening hand:
    Tolarian Academy, 2x Lotus Petal, Mox Diamond, Voltaic Key, Tundra, Windfall

  2. Play Lotus Petal #1 and Lotus Petal #2

  3. Play Mox Diamond, discarding Tundra
  4. Play Tolarian Academy
  5. Tap Mox Diamond to play Voltaic Key
  6. Tap Tolarian Academy to play Windfall. ({U} floating) Draw 7 cards:
    Lotus Petal, Power Sink, Mana Vault, Intuition, Voltaic Key, Volcanic Island, Stroke of Genius

  7. Play Lotus Petal #3 ({U} floating)

  8. Play Mana Vault
  9. Tap Mana Vault for 3 colorless mana ({C}{C}{C} floating)
  10. Use Voltaic Key to untap Mana Vault ({C}{C} floating)
  11. Tap Mana Vault again for 3 more colorless mana ({C}{C}{C}{C}{C} floating)
  12. Play Voltaic Key #2 ({C}{C}{C}{C} floating)
  13. Use Voltaic Key #2 to untap Mana Vault ({C}{C}{C} floating)
  14. Tap Mana Vault again for 3 more colorless mana ({C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C} floating)
  15. Sacrifice Lotus Petal #1 to play Stroke of Genius (X=4). Draw 4 cards:
    Windfall, Mox Diamond, Mana Vault, Scroll Rack

  16. Play Mox Diamond #2, discarding Volcanic Island

  17. Tap Mox Diamond #2 to play Mana Vault #2
  18. Tap Mana Vault #2 and sacrifice Lotus Petal #2 to play Windfall. (C floating) Draw 7 cards:
    Abeyance, Mind over Matter, City of Brass, Mox Diamond, Time Spiral, Mana Vault, Voltaic Key

  19. Play Mana Vault #3

  20. Play Mox Diamond #3, discarding City of Brass
  21. Tap Mana Vault #3 to play Voltaic Key #3 ({C}{C} floating)
  22. Use Voltaic Key #3 to untap Mana Vault #3 ({C} floating)
  23. Tap Mox Diamond #3 and Mana Vault #3, and sacrifice Lotus Petal #3, to play Time Spiral. Draw 7 cards:
    Abeyance, Intuition, Tundra, Time Spiral, Windfall, Tolarian Academy, City of Brass
    Untap Tolarian Academy.
  24. Tap Tolarian Academy to play Intuition. ({U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U} floating) Search for Mind Over Matter.
  25. Play Mind Over Matter.
  26. Use Mind Over Matter, discarding City of Brass, to untap Tolarian Academy.
  27. Tap Tolarian Academy for 9 blue mana. ({U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U} floating)
  28. Repeat the last two steps four more times, discarding Abeyance, Tundra, Tolarian Academy, and Time Spiral. (45x{U} floating)
  29. Play Windfall. (42x{U} floating) Draw 7 cards:
    Ancient Tomb, Lotus Petal, Power Sink, Scroll Rack, Stroke of Genius, 2x Volcanic Island
  30. Repeat steps 26-27 six times, discarding everything but Stroke of Genius (96x{U} floating)
  31. Play Stroke of Genius (X=93) on your opponent, making him/her draw 93 cards.

Mana symbols should render as images using this userscript.

  • 8
    I like that you use the most expensive lands in existence purely as discard fodder. I realize it's a competitive deck without perfect luck, but in the stacked deck case it's pretty funny. Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 23:25
  • 1
    'Most expensive lands in existence'? I suppose in their Beta versions, but I can get my hands on a Tundra much more cheaply than I can a Mishra's Workshop, Bazaar of Baghdad, or even Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, and Karakas (an uncommon!) is getting close... Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 21:49

With perfect draws, you can win on the first upkeep of each game. Basically take any first-turn-kill deck, add Leyline of Anticipation to allow you to play everything at instant speed, add a card that will force your opponent to draw on the spot, and use non-lands for your mana.

Let's go with the Helm plan since it's a two-card combo and blanks cards like Emrakul.

Here's an example that can kill your opponent before they even get a single draw step, taking advantage of the entire MTG card pool (Vintage-legal):

Starting hand: Leyline of Anticipation, Leyline of the Void, Black Lotus, Dark Ritual, Helm of Obedience, Ancestral Recall, Mox Sapphire.

Before the first turn:

  • Put both your Leylines into play (5 cards in hand).

On the first upkeep (either player's turn):

  • Cast Black Lotus, sac it for black mana (4 cards in hand, BBB in your mana pool).
  • Cast Dark Ritual (3 cards in hand, BBBBB in your mana pool).
  • Cast Helm of Obedience (2 cards in hand, B in your mana pool).
  • Activate the Helm with X=1, which will exile your opponent's entire library (2 card in hand).
  • Cast and activate Mox Sapphire (1 card in hand, U in your mana pool).
  • Cast Ancestral Recall to force your opponent to draw cards, which will win you the game (0 cards in hand).

If you can play any Vintage-legal card and have perfect control over your draws, you can always execute a turn-1 storm combo win off of Brain Freeze.

90% of the deck would be the same cards that make up Vintage Tendrils combo decks.

Without the "perfect draw" assumption, storm combo's probably the strongest first-turn kill deck just because most of the cards are nearly interchangeable. You can get unlucky with too much "draw a card" and not enough "make some mana" or vice versa, but it's more consistent than trying to assemble a classic multi-part combo.

  • 2
    This is probably the way to go if you want the most effective deck. Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 14:34

Play Ghost Quarter. Opponent plays a land. Tap Ghost quarter to destroy the land they just played. They search for a land and put it into play. You drop 4 Archive Traps on them for 52 cards. If they are running 60 cards, that would be their entire deck.

  • 1
    If you did this once in a tournament then every future opponent would know not to search for a land after you used Ghost Quarter on them. So, a one turn win, but only once, so not nearly as good as other answers.
    – Sparr
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 15:13
  • @Sparr is having ghost quarter play as strip mine (in modern no less) really that bad? this concept of deck is reasonably viable in modern, i suggested it in an answer to a similar question
    – Patters
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 7:52
  • @Rawrgramming oh, it's surely only slightly less viable due to my objection, but we are already talking about unbelievable odds (you need 5 specific cards in your opening hand for this one), so the difference is notable.
    – Sparr
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 18:21
  • @Sparr true enough, in terms of turn 1 mill this isnt the avenue to take. in terms of actual viable mill deck for playing in tournaments (at least, in modern), ghost quarter/archive trap is giving your opponent a choice between 2 effects that are very bad for them. A real deck doesnt just play a combo and lands, and this fits in well with a deck that has a mill kill and a general controlling playstyle.
    – Patters
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 7:52
  • @Sparr I think it's quite probable that opponent would search anyway, because the odds of you having 4 Archive Traps is very low, while the drawback of not searching for a land is very debilitating (it turns Ghost Quarter into Strip Mine - a card restricted in Vintage).
    – user22925
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 10:07

Mindcrank, Duskmantle Guildmage and any card that will force opponent to mill at least one card will start an infinite combo loop. They will mill cards and lose life until they run out of cards or lives.


Is it cheating to use three-turn infinite mana combo?

Opening hand:

Paradise Mantle Forest Elvish Pioneer Island Pili-Pala Heartstone

+ One of these:

Blue Sun's Zenith Psychic Drain Braingeyser Stroke of Genius

  1. Turn 1: Play Forest, Paradise Mantle, Elvish Pioneer, Island
  2. Turn 2: Draw another land, Play land, Pili-Pala, Equip Paradise Mantle
  3. Turn 3: Draw something. Play Heartstone, tap Pili-Pala for [U], Pay [U] to Untap it for [U], repeat (target player's library size + 4) times, (make sure to add a black mana in the cycle if you use Psychic Drain.) Play Psychic Drain, Blue Sun's Zenith, Braingeyser, Stroke of Genius, or whatever other spell that does the trick. Boom.
  • 3
    It's not cheating, since the "rules" didn't specify against it. However, non-infinite-mana combos are what I was hoping to get. I do like the solution, however, and infinite mana combos are always fun to use.
    – cdeszaq
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 21:01
  • 1
    I'd take out green entirely, along with the Heartstone and Paradise Mantle, and just use Grand Architect. Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 0:28
  • Pili-Pala doesn't have haste either, so this mill deck would require 2 turns to pull off.
    – user1873
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 14:17

I've always done four Mind Sculpts plus four Archaeomancers, plus four Curse of the Bloody Tome. So every upkeep they'd mill 8, and then if you play all the Archaeomancers and Mind Sculpts, that's mill 56.


No infinite combos, (mostly) red deck, almost 600 cards milled on first turn. But I took you at your word and allowed myself 4 copies of Power 5 cards.

Deck List:

Opening hand: 3 Mox Ruby, 1 Mox Diamond (discard Mountain), Black Lotus, Wheel of Fortune. Play all, tapping 3 Moxes.

Mill count: 7

Draw 7: Mox Ruby, 2 Mox Diamond (discard 2 Mountains), Black Lotus, Wheel of Fortune, play all, tapping 3 Moxes.

Mill count: 14

Draw 7: 1 Mox Diamond (discard Mountain), 2 x Black Lotus, 2 x Lotus Petal, Wheel of Fortune, play all tap last 2 Moxes and sac 1 Lotus Petal.

Mill count: 21

Draw 7: 3x Lotus Petal, Tolarian Academy, tap out, Through the Breach -> Szadek, Wheel of Fortune.

Mill count: 28, 15U, 15R floating

Draw 7: Enrage -> Szadek +13/+0 = 18/5. Attack!

Mill count: 46, 2U 14R floating, Szadek 36/5

Relentless Assault (1) Attack! MC 82, Szadek 72/5

Relentless Assault (2) Attack! MC 154, Szadek 144/5

Relentlass Assault (3) Attack! MC 298, Szadek 288/5

Relentless Assault (4) Attack! MC 586, Szadek 576/5


Here's the best I can find (based around the Halimar Excavator Ally):

Turn 1:

Turn 2:

  • Island
  • Halimar Excavator (mill 2)
  • Running mill total: 2

Turn 3:

  • Island
  • Halimar Excavator (mill 6)
  • Mothdust Changeling (mill 8)
  • Running mill total: 16

Turn 4:

  • Island
  • Halimar Excavator (mill 15)
  • Halimar Excavator (mill 24)
  • Running mill total: 55 (win)

What always works for me in my mill deck is having cards like Tome Scour, Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker or traumatize to mill a pretty good amount of their deck. In the meantime I have my fog banks and Kraken Hatchling doing a little blocking while I am searching my library for Consuming Aberration using Diabolic Tutor. I then use either Dying Wish or Rite of Consumption to sacrifice consuming aberration alowing to do damage equal to its toughness to the opponent.


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