Here is my list for worlds 2018 I call it toolbox mill because it is full of tools to deal with any situation presented to it. There are no good matchups or bad matchups. All matchups are equally difficult and force the mill player to earn their wins, you can’t god roll a win with this deck. Why did I bring this to Worlds instead of the standard “meta” deck? Because I wanted to play mill and represent some of the most underused cards in the game that I think can be pretty impactful in the right situations.
Birth Of A Mill Deck
The deck idea came from the Tampa Trilogies tournament where I took eYoda/Rose/Partisan toolbox mill. I knew I will always play mill decks but wanted something unique and able to handle burst decks, midrange decks and aggro. The current mill options in Trilogies weren’t interesting to me personally so I looked to build something totally unique and custom to my play style.
The deck was a huge success and I knew this was my pick for Worlds. The field of Trilogies decks were present and toolbox mill handles all of them very well. I will qualify that statement with this: the tournament was more fun than high level competition. The players were absolutely strong players and trying their best, but the event was more about playing locally at a brewery and spending time with the community. So this was not an event meant to hash out big meta vs meta matches in hopes of finding a World’s level Trilogies deck. Coming back from Tampa I needed to play the deck and find its weakness so I could fix it to play tighter and put pressure on my opponent. There are many stories and many changes so I’ll get to this week and Sunday/Monday before Worlds. I had my deck picked and knew I wanted 5 die mill with JarJar because I wanted 5 dice available early game and I wanted JarJar because 1) he’s just a lot of fun 2) people look down on this very powerful character 3) no one wanted to run him in a mill deck.
I wanted to prove JarJar was competitive as well as Mill if I was given the chance. Honestly I was considering dropping from Worlds because I bought the ticket as a guarantee to go to worlds and cover the event as press. Playing the tournament was not a big priority for me so I didn’t test at all with this deck, my plan was to show up round and play then drop (going back to covering the event). In fact we made significant changes on Tuesday and the first game I played in full was round 1 at worlds. But back to the construction of toolbox mill.
Here We Go
So I took the Tampa tournament to heart and looked for a new deck that wasn’t Rieekan/Yoda or Rainbow mill. I’d played both and honestly, disliked both greatly. I come from a magic background and I play heavy heavy control. I like to remove options and counter my opponents plays so they feel helpless. Mill doesn’t do that on its own, but I felt that there was a deck that could push the limits of controlling games so that my opponents were practically dead in the water all game.
This was the spark that created the idea for standard toolbox mill. This is also where I’m going to give credit to Todd, Rick, Andrew Larcher and Jon Magnuson for helping me finalize the last cards for the deck. Initially I was running 1x con artist, 2x diversion, no copies of caution, 2 copies of C-3PO and 1x entrenched. These were custom picks to pressure the opponent’s deck with con artist and also put pressure on them to kill JarJar over Yoda early game. I wanted to use diversion to kill their resource game especially if they were setting up for big 3 drop plays like Maul’s Saber or Heirloom Saber. I took entrenched over caution to put more shields on the team overall at the cost of my resources and the 2 copies of 3PO for consistency. Early in the list Todd and Rick mentioned that JarJar was a viable replacement for the Partisan and I was also curious about how to replace that character too. I didn’t like how inconsistent it was in both milling and pressuring the opponents board state. Both Yoda and Rose are monsters for economic pressure and I wanted another character to add to that.
This was where the light bulbs clicked and I added JarJar and went for a rebel/vandalize package to deny the opponent upgrades while reanimating any card I wanted or needed at a given moment. Rebel was in the deck from day 1 but I knew this mill deck was going to be a nightmare for people if I could get the right cards and ratios together. So that’s how JarJar was added permanently. He is a sound the alarm on a stick and does a lot for the deck. He has no melee, range or special side, so those will always re-roll after his activation. Those three symbols are the bane of my deck. Boba specials, Lightbow, Heirloom and Maul’s 3 or 4 damage sides. All the major threats come in melee, range or special symbols (which JarJar can effectively re-roll 100% of the time). He has other symbols that are useful but a lot of people asked why I took elite JarJar. The answer was because I needed him to hit more symbols on the re-roll. Being able to screw up the plans of the opponent is super useful. But also re-rolling my bad rolls saves me cards which means using my tools more consistently every game.
Moving along…….. Andrew Larcher suggested 1 copy of mind trick. I didn’t make the adjustment because I didn’t have space. But I did file that away as an auto include if I could find a slot for the card. I added the full art patience in because 1) I wanted to be a giant show off and win a game by using it to kill someone (which actually happened) and 2) no one uses it and I wanted to be the first player to make the top tables with a full art patience and JarJar. I was fiddling around with patience VS strength through weakness and Todd was the big push for patience and I’m so glad I listened. He told me stores and gave me reasons why it’s better than strength through weakness but the biggest takeaway he gave me was how it filters my dice into value at ANY GIVEN MOMENT. This played right into how the deck needs to play games and ultimately win them. Make everything I have valuable in one way or another. So patience was in the deck.
Moving along to Tuesday of Worlds. We go to the FFG HQ and meet friends and start to hang out/goof off while there is no destiny available at the main HQ and pods weren’t firing quite yet (or maybe they were and I wasn’t aware). I met up with Jon from the Destiny Council and talked to him about the deck and how it had been built and asked for ideas or weaknesses he saw. He quickly picked out the biggest problem I had also been trying to figure out. I had too many “spot yellow” cards. 2 easy pickings. 2 entangle. 2 friends in low places. Almost 1/3 of my deck went offline of JarJar died. He quickly offered help with making changes and said that caution was better than entrenched to help use dice I didn’t need and lower my cost curve. So now we talked about dropping FILP for Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder so I could target threats or cards I needed to get rid of in clutch situations. Plus I could claim to pressure removal of critical combo pieces if I had used Scout to see their hand earlier in the turn. We pulled out FILP and swapped with scruffy. We took out 1 entangle and I immediately knew that mind trick was the replacement.
The deck was coming together and I was ready to get some testing in before Worlds to see how well it would perform. Then reality hit and being sick took its toll on me. I was basically going to FFG, doing coverage and then going to bed at the hotel. I had little to no energy and no voice.
The week was going by fast and I was basically getting enough sleep to stay awake for the day. I was prepping for the 3v3 and Happy Hour while doing coverage of Worlds and having a lot of fun with my friends. Playing the mill deck was not on my list of things to worry about and i was still going to drop after round 1 or even before (I didn’t want to screw up my opponent’s SOS). So the week went by fast and I started feeling better and really enjoying my time in the community. However something happened I didn’t expect. People kept asking when I played and wanted me to do well with mill. The closer we got to Sat the more people were surprised I was playing JarJar mill and wanted to see how the deck played out on the most stacked day of the event (IMHO).
I really think Friday night at the Happy Hour was the tipping point for me. I was having so much fun talking to our guests and everyone was hoping mill would make the cut. At this point I was going to actually try but I was rather concerned. No testing, no practice and just walking into Worlds with noth9ing but theory crafting was kinda scary. But I wanted to try my best and see what happened. I knew the deck well enough. I have been playing mill since day 1 and this was just a single game at a time. No biggie right?
I’m not going to go into the depths of all my 6 games. TLDR: I went 3-0 and then flopped at 0-3 with a total 3-3. I actually cost myself the cut by making a critical play error and killing my Yoda early when I should have verified the damage my opponent stated on a Rey 2 activation. I will cover that in the podcast but overall I was very very happy with my performance and the deck as a whole. I am not happy that 2 of my wins were against Agent of Zion and Rick but I am proud I can play against people I highly respect and hold my own with a mill deck.
The thing that really blew my mind was how well the deck performed when it was running on all cylinders. Even with the 3 losses all my opponents had 2 or less cards in their hand/deck. No game was a blowout and that makes me very interested to actually practice with the deck.
Round 1: Boba/7th
Round 2: (Agent of Zion) Hero Vehicles 4 Wide
Round 3: (Rick) Boba/7th
Round 4: (Luke Magnuson) Obi/Maz
Round 5: Rey2/Aayla
Round 6 Rey2/Aayla
A lot of people asked about takeaways, why did you run mill and being insane for running JarJar at the top tables. Sure all those statements are fine and I’m sincerely proud to have run mill at those top tables with lots of people watching my games. But there are some very clear cut takeaways I want to share here.
- This deck is scary. No it is not aggro and it is not easy to pilot. 6 rounds of this deck is straining on your mental state. The beauty of the deck is being able to have almost unlimited options and lines of play. The problem is that you have to discern those lines of play every single action you take and then take. The deck is unforgiving and relentless for you and the opponent. In the 3 games I won, those players looked pretty upset most of the game. Their resources were limited, their upgrades and supports were removed from the table and they weren’t able to do much of anything. (My round 1 opponent did a total of 9 damage to Yoda the whole game and only had 1 upgrade on the last turn where I won). Toolbox mill is a monster because that’s how I play Magic. My opponent gets to sit and watch me play solitaire, which this deck has the capacity to do.
- Mill has a chance. I am fully behind mill decks being competitive at any level of play. Is it easy? *utini* NO! Can it be done? Yes. I sincerely believe this is the premiere control mill deck on the market right now. It could arguably be the best control deck period. But I took the challenge of seeing how far I could take a deck I had never played before against the best players in the world. I can say I am pleased with 3-3.
- Player skill matters. I know a lot of people say I don’t play Destiny and that’s very true. I usually can’t make local events because I work the night shifts and my day or days off are spent with my wife. Have I stopped playing Destiny? *utini* no. I love this game and play when and where I can. But we said this going into worlds with the podcast. Player skill is going to impact who wins and loses over the specific decks being played. Seeing the people who made top 16 and the winner of Worlds, I absolutely believe in that more than ever before. Homebrew decks, meta decks, rogue decks……all of these successful players are skilled and earned their wins (outside of god roll wins which are usually in the >10% of games played). Going 3-3 with no testing and no practice to me at least means this deck has potential.
Where To Now?
I hope that mill players enjoy the deck. I challenge them to make the deck their own though. In Destiny (or any card game for that matter) its way to easy for someone to name a deck and players just copy and paste the original and make no adjustments. I believe that a deck should be an extension of you as a human player. Take a deck you enjoy and add in cards you think will be powerful in your meta or against bad matchups. This deck list is meant to be a starting point for bigger and better decks to evolve from. Destiny is an amazing game and I love it so much, but the people are by far the best part of Destiny. So I truly hope this deck can give control players and mill players a strong weapon against their meta.
I am going to keep practicing with this deck and finding more ways to tune it and make it more efficient and dangerous in the right hands. I also want a rematch with Menion at some point! We played his aggro mill vs my control mill and I lost by a battlefield claim. It was a magical matchup and I am really really honored to play against one of the best mill players in the community. But I stand by my belief that this is the best control deck available and I want to keep playing it as much as I can.
Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed the coverage from Worlds and this deck writeup. We are working hard on lots of new content and preparation for NOVA in the 2018 season for Star Wars Destiny. If you want to help support the Knights of Ren directly you can donate to our Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KORpodcast. We will always keep our content free so that any player can come into Destiny and find the information they need. With your help we can keep giving back to the community, even $1 a month helps pay for our server and editing fees plus being able to travel to events and bring coverage to you. Thank you to all of our Patreons and everyone we met at Worlds. This was the best event of the year and we are excited to begin planning Happy Hour 3 and meeting everyone next year at Worlds 2019.