Cheap as Chips, Ep. 6: The Deck Colonel Kurtz Would Play


Which is worse? Getting hit with ten poison counters or being milled to zero cards?

Neither is fun, and some would even argue neither is a respectable, gentlemanly way of winning the game of Magic. Others would say that in war, the end justifies the means.

I’m not sure yet where I fall in this debate, but I’m always mildly impressed by mill decks that can get the job done without any creatures on the battlefield. From a playing perspective, however, pure mill decks don’t float my boat. I’m a simpleton that likes to swing with critters that do regular, old-fashioned, face-beating damage.

So my first milling deck – one of the first decks I ever brewed – aimed to mill a moderate amount of cards and then win with one of the biggest creatures in the game of Magic. Queue Marlon Brando:

The horror… The… ho-rror!

Hungry Centipede

Hungry Centipede is a deck that tries to build very large creatures by milling cards into your opponent’s graveyard. It is structured first-and-foremost around the tried-and-true [c]Duskmantle Guildmage[/c]-[c]Mindcrank[/c] combo. This is win-con number one. But as this combo is sensitive to removal, the deck uses a weenie attack ([c]Jace’s Phantasm[/c] and [c]Wight of Precinct Six[/c]) to distract your opponent long enough to either hit the combo or play a huge [c]Consuming Aberration[/c] and go to town with it.

As many decks will have the blockers to keep the huge centipede-horror at bay, the alternate-alternate win condition is to cast [c]Rite of Consumption[/c] or [c]Essence Harvest[/c] on a huge Wight or Consuming Aberration.

[d title=”Hungry Centipede (Modern)”]

4 Drowned Catacomb

2 Halimar Depths

1 Nephalia Drownyard

9 Island

8 Swamp


4 Hedron Crab

4 Jace’s Phantasm

4 Wight of Precinct Six

4 Duskmantle Guildmage

3 Consuming Aberration

4 Tome Scour

4 Memory Sluice

4 Mindcrank

1 Rite of Consumption

2 Essence Harvest

2 Murderous Cut

2 Geth’s Verdict

1 Cranial Archive

2 Skaab Ruinator

2 Bonehoard

2 Sultai Scavenger

2 Soulflayer

2 Necropolis Fiend

2 Killing Wave [/d]

Ideal gameflow:

T1: Play a Hedron Crab, Jace’s Phantasm or Tome Scour/Memory Sluice.

T2: Play another Crab, a Jace’s Phantasm or either of the Duskmantle/Mindcrank combo.

T3: Play a Wight of Precinct Six, a Jace’s Phantasm or either of the combo pieces.

T4: If you have 4 land down and your combo pieces, enact Duskmantle’s first ability, play a Tome Scour or Memory Sluice, go to the next duel.

T5: Blow up the combo here, or if it’s been removed then play a Consuming Aberration.

T6-T7: Essence Harvest the Aberration or swing with it. If you’ve done a bit of damage already, you can also Essence Harvest a big Wight or even a Jace’s Phantasm to push through the final damage.


The current sideboard for this deck attempts to completely change the strategy of attack against decks that can either stop you from milling them ([c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c], [c]Aegis of the Gods[/c]) or that benefit excessively from you milling them ([c]Vengevine[/c] and other dredge/delve decks).

Put in all the delve critters (judge for yourself whether you need the [c]Murderous Cut[/c]) and take out either the Jace’s Phantasm, a Mindcrank or two, and all the Consuming Aberrations. Mill yourself and use the graveyard cards to play your big delve guys.