Grist for the Mill in Timeless OR Historic

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Explore strategic insights and deckbuilding tips for Grist, the Hunger Tide in both Timeless & Historic formats. Enhance your MTG gameplay with expert advice.

Grist for the Mill in Timeless or Historic

Golgari self-mill is one of my favorite archetypes in all of Magic. My go-to commander decks use it, and countless Arena brews have started with a Stitcher Supplier and I've just sort of went from there. Well, today's deck is using a number of tools that Wizards gave us in Modern Horizons 3 that really open up the archetype and give it a chance to shine.

Total Cards:

What is the Goal?

Our goal with this deck is to mill aggressively and play out creatures that benefit from having a large graveyard. We also can leverage some powerful loops that many opponents on the Timeless ladder right now just aren't ready for. It's best in best-of-three even if the amount of graveyard hate jumps up dramatically because we have a sideboard to address that.

The list we're discussing here is legal in both Timeless and Historic which is part of the reason I'm missing certain Timeless staples like the fetch lands or Orcish Bowmasters (yes, they're legal in Historic but the nerfed version is really bad). If you want to focus on Timeless, I'd recommend adding Bowmasters in place of Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler and maybe a copy or two of Accursed Marauder.

Our New Toys

Magic the Gathering Card - Grist, Voracious Larva - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Grist, the Plague Swarm - MTG Circle

Grist, Voracious Larva is a love letter to Golgari graveyard gremlins like myself, so of course I needed to include her in this build. If our deck is pulling from our graveyard, she's an easy planeswalker to flip by either playing her out early or reanimating her late, and the backside, Grist, the Plague Swarm, does everything we want by creating token bodies and milling more cards. Having a bonus -2 to destroy a pesky Leyline Binding or Unlicensed Hearse can be game-defining depending on the matchup.

Magic the Gathering Card - Wight of the Reliquary - MTG Circle

Wight of the Reliquary is the best goyf in Timeless, in my opinion (sorry, Nethergoyf). It carries the original Lhurgoyf flavor of growing based on how many creatures are in the yard, but it can also place creatures there by being a sacrifice outlet. The fact that it ramps you by being able to find any land in your deck also gives us fantastic flexibility to have one-of utility lands like Bojuka Bog and Phyrexian Tower with minimal cost. Because this deck is self-milling so aggressively and has so many creatures included, this creature is often a 6/6 or more by turn three or four. It's a kill on sight card for our opponent that wins if left unchecked.

Magic the Gathering Card - Chthonian Nightmare - MTG Circle

This is a card I've been playing for weeks now on stream and I'm still not sure I can pronounce it correctly, but however you say it, Chthonian Nightmare can deliver a lot of punishment. This take on Recurring Nightmare is balanced by only allowing you to reanimate creatures with low mana value by being energy dependent. Well, our deck wants to reanimate one- and two-drops, so that's no problem. The fact that it gives you three energy also gives us an opportunity to reanimate our most expensive creature in Lurrus of the Dream-Den.

Our Trusty Standbys

Magic the Gathering Card - Stitcher's Supplier - MTG Circle

This one-drop beauty is a staple in every graveyard based deck where it's legal for a good reason. Being able to mill potentially six cards for a single mana and being a creature itself that can be recurred is, frankly, best-in-class for this type of utility. Given that Chthonian Nightmare, Phyrexian Tower, and Wight of the Reliquary all like having sacrifice fodder around, it does double duty for us very cleanly. Big fan.

Magic the Gathering Card - Unearth - MTG Circle

Yes, Reanimate is legal in this format and I'm choosing to run its little brother Unearth. Mostly because the cycling ensures the card isn't dead even if graveyards have been answered, but also because it can do everything we need Reanimate to do without costing us any life. If we were using Grief or Troll of Khazad-dûm, Reanimate would be much better, but we aren't so there you have it.

Magic the Gathering Card - Lurrus of the Dream-Den - MTG Circle

Did you know there's no rule against putting the companion cards just in your deck? If you do that, there's no deckbuilding restriction, so we can still run Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler. I think that's neat. Lurrus is a house for us here because all of our creatures besides her and Boggart Trawler are eligible for graveyard casting, and a 3/2 lifelinker is a meaningful body in the formats we're playing. Having access to Lurrus makes our reanimation spells doubly useful if we have the mana.

One note on Lurrus: be sure to cast the spell from the graveyard with the first round of priority you receive after she resolves. Your opponent will not be able to fire removal to prevent it. If you take a different game action first, a Lightning Bolt or Go for the Throat can ruin your party.

Overperformers

Magic the Gathering Card - Gnawing Vermin - MTG Circle

Okay, hear me out, this card lines up really nicely in this deck and in Timeless in general. Milling two cards isn't nothing, but it's repeatable just like Stitcher's Supplier and adds another four creature cards for our other synergies. Where this little guy starts biting above its weight class, however, is the death trigger. It can kill a lot of major threats in the format like Orcish Bowmasters, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, and Ocelot Pride, and we can control when it triggers if we have instant-speed sacrifice outlets online. Heck, if it gets to tangle with a two-toughness creature in combat, the death trigger can help ensure the trade.

The satisfaction I feel every time someone targets this with an Orcish Bowmasters is indescribable.

Magic the Gathering Card - Accursed Marauder - MTG Circle

If you've played any kind of aristocrat deck in the past, you're probably no stranger to Plaguecrafter- or Fleshbag Marauder-style effects. Accursed Marauder is one of the best ones, though, because it only costs two to play and it will not accept tokens to satisfy its sacrifice cost. There are many decks where it lines up poorly – most notably Boros energy that can have three or five bodies by turn two – but it's a beauty against decks with only one or two creatures online. Control or Scam sitting on one Solitude or Fury get absolutely blasted by this thing, and because we have tons of recursion, it into an Unearth can even deal with multiple threats in one turn.

Magic the Gathering Card - Fiend Artisan - MTG Circle

This card flew under the radar when it first came out in Ikoria, but in a deck like this, it can get huge fast. It's a worse version of Wight of the Reliquary most of the time, but it having a back-pocket tutor for Lurrus or Deathrite Shaman available can be very relevant. It's one of our primary win-cons and ensures we have eight stat monsters available to us to keep the pressure on our opponents.

Sideboard Considerations

Magic the Gathering Card - Graf Reaver - MTG Circle

A lot of control decks in the current Timeless meta rely on planeswalkers like Teferi, Time Raveler, or Oko, Thief of Crowns to generate value. This creature can target those and remove them in the late game but also represents a 3/3 body that fits our plan perfectly.

Magic the Gathering Card - Witherbloom Command - MTG Circle

Witherbloom Command has a few relevant modes on it, but I wouldn't bring it into our deck unless your opponent is giving us targets for the destroy mode. Against Grafdigger's Cage, Rest in Peace, or even Tamiyo, Seasoned Scholar, it can be excellent. Notably, a lot of the targets might be coming from our opponent's sideboard, so if you suspect they'll go that route, bring these in.

Magic the Gathering Card - Haywire Mite - MTG Circle

Similar reasoning from Witherbloom Command applies to Haywire Mite. Honestly, graveyard hate pieces that stick on the battlefield like Rest in Peace or Unlicensed Hearse will appear in almost every Best-of-Three matchup you have with this, so Mite coming in for games two and three every time is probably wise. You could put them in the main if you'd prefer, but I like reserving them for later in the match so our gameplan can be focused in game one.

Conclusion

I honestly believe this deck is onto something. Having an efficient graveyard deck that can even hate back on graveyard hate feels great to play. It's hurt a lot by being on the draw in its current build given that it wants to set the tone for the match and be the beatdown, so some additional tuning could be beneficial with that in mind, but there's a core of something very competitive here. Against decks relying on one-for-one removal, it's great to have so much recursion, and it's also very strong against hand hate and counterspells seeing as our graveyard is where we get most of our value. If you're a Golgari enthusiast like me, I'd invite you to take a crack at this deck and even iterate on it in either Timeless or Historic. If you find any killer tech it needs, please sound off in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and happy brewing!

See it in action!

Graham, also known as HamHocks42 on the internet, is a Twitch streamer who adores Magic: the Gathering in all its forms and tries to find the fun, even in the most competitive and sweaty environments.