Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
What Are Mill Decks in Yu-Gi-Oh?
Most Yu-Gi-Oh decks aim to win by depleting their opponent's 8000 life points by summoning the strongest monsters and bolstering them with spells/traps. However, mill decks forgo life point depletion to win by ravaging your foe's deck, forcing a loss when your opponent has to draw but has nothing left in their build.
Mill decks can be risky since you want to rummage through your opponent's array quickly, but many mill cards add to your opponent's hand, a dangerous strategy that gives them many cards to play. However, since most players opt for the 40-card minimum (decks contain 40-60 cards), mill decks function better than you might think. Additionally, many players employ the popular draw engine Pot of Desires, whose trademark downside of banishing ten cards from the deck typically only causes problems against, you guessed it, mill decks. But with dozens of deck-depleting units available, which cards reign supreme? Here are 10 cards you definitely want for your Yu-Gi-Oh mill deck!
10. Warm Worm
A rare fire-attributed insect-type monster, Warm Worm simply mills three cards from the top of your opponent's deck when it's destroyed, meaning they're sent to the graveyard. Three is a decent number to ransack, and although Warm's not particularly strong in battle, the fact that his ability triggers with all types of destruction (battle and effect, even if your own card initiated the effect destruction) lends him some appreciated versatility.
Additionally, while some cards can activate from the graveyard, it's generally safer to mill into your opponent's graveyard rather than their hand, making it harder to play most of their units.
9. Chainsaw Insect
Like Warm Worm, Chainsaw is an insect-type who can be normal summoned or set without tributes, but Chainsaw bears the earth attribute and a formidable 2400 ATK, an amazing score for a level 4 monster.
The downside is that whenever Chainsaw attacks or is attacked, your opponent gets to draw a card; however, this "drawback" works toward a mill deck's strategy. Although your goal isn't to eliminate your opponent's life points, having an impressive champion like Chainsaw around can help you take down your adversary's stronger monsters while also milling, buying time to let you further harass their deck.
8. Dark Bribe
Another older but useful card, Dark Bribe negates and destroys an opposing spell or trap, then lets your opponent draw a card. Same principle as Chainsaw: slow down their strategy while using the bonus draw they receive to your advantage. And since Dark Bribe is a trap, it doesn't take your normal summon/set for the turn like Chainsaw does, letting your prepare other creatures instead.
Without getting too deep into the rules, also note that Dark Bribe is a counter trap, operating at "spell speed 3" (which you can learn about here), meaning your opponent can only respond to it with other counter traps, making Bribe impossible to negate with regular quick-play effects like Mist Valley Apex Avian.
7. Gravekeeper's Servant
As you attack your opponent's deck, you'll also want to stall them with defensive tactics or punish them for assaulting you. Enter Gravekeeper's Servant, a continuous spell that forces your opponent to send the top card of their deck to the graveyard whenever they declare an attack.
It's as simple as that. When your opponent realizes you're trying to mill their deck, they'll want to swing at you with everything they have, but with the Servant, they'll be orchestrating their own demise whenever the strike. Also, Servant helpfully operates whether they attack your monsters or directly assault your life points, and since it doesn't bear any pesky "once per turn" errata, you're free to field multiple copies at once.
6. Book of Eclipse
Book of Eclipse was arguably the best mill card for a time and it's still pretty good, but it's been dampened thanks to link summoning. As a quick-play spell, you can set Eclipse and activate it on your opponent's turn (like a trap) at any time. Doing so flips all face-up monsters (including yours) into face-down defense position, then at the end phase, flips opposing monster face-up, and your opponent draws cards equal to the number of monsters flipped.
Not only does this place all foes into defense position, essentially protecting you from attacks for an entire turn, it also mills multiple cards. While they unfortunately go into your opponent's hand, since it happens at the end step, your opponent won't have time to play any until their next turn and may have to discard if their hand gets above six. Eclipse also changes your monsters to face-down defense position, perfect for resetting Needle Worm's flip ability. Overall, an awesome card that's only hindered by its inability to impact link monsters since they can't go into defense position (whether face-up or face-down). But speaking of Needle Worm...
5. Needle Worm
A mill staple, whenever Needle Worm flips face-up, he sends the top five cards of your opponent's deck to the graveyard. Assuming you're facing a standard 40-card deck, that's an entire eighth of their build whenever you use Needle. Coupled with an opening hand of five cards, three Needles can get your foe halfway to your zero-deck goal for them.
Although his battle stats are low, Needle Worm is essentially a must for milling, and he works especially well when you can reuse his flip ability with Book of Eclipse. You can also recover him from your graveyard with Night Assailant, although be sure to check the current ban list for updates on its status (as of this writing, it's limited, allowing only one in your deck).
4. Present Card
Activating this handy trap forces your opponent to discard their entire hand, then draw five cards. While this often means you're adding more to their hand than what was originally present (no pun intended), it's simply an awesome way to remove five cards from their deck at instant speed. You can also bait your opponent into "wasting" a spell/trap removal on Present, then activate it to resolve its effects before it's destroyed.
Easy to use and preserving your normal summon/set for the turn, Present Card also forms a great combo with Greed, which slams your foe for 500 effect damage whenever they draw through a card effect, landing 2500 in a single blow! Finally, Present serves as a great counter against Exodia decks, sending the Forbidden One components from your opponent's hand (where they need to be for the instant-win condition) to the graveyard.
3. DNA Checkup
DNA Checkup is a bit unpredictable, but since both its possible outcomes should help you, you'll benefit either way. You select a face-down monster you control (another great way to use Needle Worm), then your opponent selects two attributes. Without flipping your monster, you reveal it, and if either of your opponent's guesses matches the monster's attribute, they draw two cards. If not, you draw two cards.
Think about. If they guess right, well congratulations Kaiba, your hand is larger but your deck is two cards shorter. If they guess wrong, you instead take the coveted two-card prize. Unless you're also facing a mill-deck, you're gonna want those extra cards to ensure you have enough defenses to survive; don't overlook the importance of your own draw capabilities even when milling.
2. One Day of Peace
Speaking of defenses, drawing, and milling (oh my), One Day Of Peace combines all into a perfect magic package. As of this writing, it's limited, allowing only one in your deck, but One Day of Peace has both players draw a card, replacing itself in your hand while removing a card from your opponent's deck. Then, neither player takes any damage (including effect) until the end of your opponent's next turn.
Not only does this safeguard you during the rest of your move and your opponent's following turn, it's easy to bypass their protection; on the off chance you want to attack with your mill deck (you crazy Kuriboh, you), simply use One Day of Peace in your second main phase, after your strikes have gone through. This lets you employ battle damage-reliant mill cards like The Bistro Butcher or Robbin' Zombie even in tangent with this amazing card.
1. Cup of Ace
Normally, I'm not too keen on luck-based cards, but in this case, Cup of Ace is win-win. You flip a coin, and a heads lets you draw two cards, mimicking the long-forbidden Pot of Greed's superb draw prowess. A tails instead has your opponent draw two cards, normally a downside but serving your mill strategy perfectly.
Essentially, Cup of Ace is an easier-to-use DNA Surgery. Since it's a spell, you can activate it on the turn you draw it, and you don't need face-down monsters for its ability. Either you're ultimately gaining an extra draw (spending one card to draw two), or you pilfer two cards from your foe's deck. Either way, you're that much closer to victory. An often-underestimated force in milling, I've used Cup of Ace to great avail in my mill builds, and best of all, it's available even to budget decks since it costs a little more than two dollars!
More Mill Deck Support
While mill decks have trouble against the occasional 60-card deck, they remain a popular and fun theme because they change the entire nature of dueling. With thousands of cards available, you can even blend your mill deck with other themes—for instance, using the popular Virus Control cards lets you eradicate many of the cards you grant your opponent, and the Iron Chain archetype includes many mill-focused members. Just never brandish a mill deck against the Lightsworn archetype, where your deck destruction will play right into their Judgment Dragon-loving hands.
Update: as of this writing, both "Card Destruction" and "Morphing Jar" are now limited rather than banned, offering more potent mill tools. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of deck-destroying cards, vote for your favorite mill unit and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill