Explaining Destiny - Mill Decks

If you are a completely new player, I'll recommend you take a look at our "Ultimate Beginner's Guide for Destiny", while for the purpose of this "guide" I'll assume you've already familiarised yourself with the Rules Reference, maybe even started building a few decks on your own and got some games under the belt.

And usually this is where a number of questions pop up for a relatively new player. I'll go through as many things as possible, although not necessarily systematically. So, different sections might be useless to you, while you may (hopefully) benefit from others. If you are already a seasoned Destiny player, this guide is likely to be pretty much waste of your time ... move along then!not the droidsjpg
Most of what is written in this analysis will be extremely square, and while games normally evolve in very diverse patterns, this is meant to be a template for understanding the key concepts of the deck archetype and the choices involved in playing the deck!Squarejpg

Sometimes, and in most of our deck analyses, you'll hear various decks referred to as:
  1. Aggro deck
  2. Midrange deck
  3. Vehicle deck
  4. FAT Vehicle deck
  5. Mill deck
  6. Trick deck/Combo Deck
This list is not an exhaustive list of all the deck types in Destiny, but cover the most common archetypes. In the following I'll try and go through these archetypes and give examples of how the decks work and how you play them.

There will of course always be exceptions, but in most instances these exceptions does in fact prove the rule from a general perspective.

CLICK THE ARCHETYPE to go straight to the analysis of that archetype.

BOARDSTATE refers to the quality/quantity of each players side of the gaming board. How many characters in play, how many upgrades, number of resources and dice in play.

MITIGATION CARDS refer to all events (and a few supports) that can manipulate dice by turning them or removing them.

GOD ROLL refers to a situation in which either you or your opponent rolls dice to find EXACTLY the results you need or simply maximising on your dice results, i.e. rolling six 6's when you need six 6's to win the game.

MULLIGAN refers to the beginning of a game where you "pick your starting hand" by drawing 5 random cards and then choosing how many of the cards you keep before shuffling your remaining cards and redrawing into your hand size.

a TECH CARD or TECHNOLOGY CARD is a card that is added to a deck to counter specific decks or currents in a meta, while we also use it in a broader sense to describe cards that are added to your deck to facilitate your main win condition.

RAMPING refers to the accumulation of resources that allows you to play upgrades and supports, in order to eclipse an opponent in number of dice in the pool that will help you reach your win condition.

2WIDE, 3WIDE, etc. refer to the number of characters in a team. So, if you play 3 characters, i.e. eSnoke/eBazine/Battle Droid, you would be playing 3wide.

The "Mill deck" refers to decks that have two strands to enable their unique win condition.
  1. Controlling their opponent's dice.
  2. Discarding cards (milling) from their opponent's hand and/or deck.
The term "mill" in reference to discarding cards from an opponent's deck comes from Magic The Gathering and the card "Millstone". In this article I'll use both the expression mill and discard to signify the same thing: Discarding cards from deck or hand, and where the distinction between whether it's from deck or hand is relevant, I'll note it.Millstonejpg
Milling cards from an opponent's hand is generally more powerful and disruptive, but also more difficult, than from an opponent's deck because the former requires dice and your opponent can to some extent control how efficient your hand mill is going to be, i.e. play the most important cards from his hand first leaving only the least important cards, whereas there's little to no control over the deck (only very few cards allow you to control the composition and order of cards in your remaining deck during a game).

Being able to control an opponent's dice is important for several reasons:
  1. Limiting your opponent's access to resources limits his possibilities of playing useful cards
  2. Weakening the boardstate of your opponent can force your opponent to discard to reroll, thereby assisting in reaching your win condition.
  3. By controlling or removing your opponent's dice you keep your characters alive extending the game into more rounds and thereby keeping pressure on your opponent's deck.
Playing a "Mill deck" is definitely not easy, and is probably the least "beginner friendly" archetype.

"Mill decks" are more limited than any other deck type in what characters can be utilised since every character needs to add strengths to your deck's performance. Mill decks rarely have the luxury of just adding a sidekick to "make up the points", and most characters in a mill deck will fulfill one more of the following criteria:
  1. Possess one or more Discard sides
  2. Possess one or more Resource sides
  3. Possess an inherent mill ability
Normally, characters due to the powerful nature of hand mill possess few native Discard sides on their character die, and no character more than two. Comparatively, a few characters possess up to four damage sides on their die!

Traditionally, hero characters milled from deck whereas villain characters milled from hand, but that distinction is all but gone now.

Strong mill pairings include characters teams that either mill almost exclusively from hand, from deck or combine the two abilities:Explaining Destiny mill1jpg
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Health is obviously MASSIVELY important to a "mill deck" (which it of course is to all decks), but for a "mill deck" you need a clear strategy on how to preserve health. Different mill decks utilise different strategies to preserve health and ultimately keep characters alive.

Some decks produce massive amounts of Shields to functionally mitigate damage dealt by an opponent using a combination of dice and cards like:Explaining mill5jpg
Whereas others, normally hero decks, rely on healing characters adding to an already considerable health pool. Healing damage on a character can at time be preferable to shielding up due to cards and effects that ignore shields or deal unblockable damage:explaining mill7jpg
Another unique way for hero decks to preserve health is to play powerful "end-turn" cards, like:Explaining mill8jpg
Playing an "end-turn" card is both preservation of health, because you can "control" how much damage you are taking and it's the most powerful kind of mitigation because you make all an opponent's unresolved dice either worthless (Hyperspace Jump) or limited in power (Retreat).youtube gamejpg
The above video, which has previously been available exclusive to our Patrons, exemplifies how an "end-turn" card, Hyperspace Jump, can be used to also end the game for a "Mill deck"!

Any other deck than a "mill deck" is banking on damage to defeat all an opponent's characters to win the game! It is essential for you to have a clearly formulated plan as to NOT make that happen!

Most decks can God roll themselves to victory. You just activate your characters and roll damage to kill off characters at will. That's obviously not a very good strategy, because you don't have any control over it, but it happens. Just not for "mill decks". At least not very often.

"Mill decks" very often rely on a combination of cards, effects and die results, which means that just activating and winning due to the dice results is very rarely an option. Winning with a mill deck often feels like hard work, and you constantly need to keep in mind how to fulfill your win condition.explaining mill9jpg
Most of the above cards requiring planning and consideration. When to keep a Flames of the Past in hand, and when to discard it to find better suited cards in a particular match-up, sequencing the activation of Blackmail right so it cannot be removed and when to Discard cards from an opponent's deck with Padme Amidala's Special, spend the resource to mill two or not, or reroll to go aggressively for his hand instead?

As opposed to "aggro decks" or "vehicle decks" (really any other deck), "mill decks" often have very few specialised upgrades. Some upgrades provide shields, others help milling, while some helps mitigating dice. A gun is really just a gun, and some might be better than others, but looking at upgrades often used by "mill decks" it's obvious that all of them fulfill very specific tasks in the deck:explaining mill10jpg
Knowing in which match-ups different upgrades are going to be the most efficient is vital to your mulligan strategy, while knowing when to play various upgrades and when to discard them to dig deeper into your deck is going to be key to winning your games.

In some instances you will be winning games using very few upgrades, which makes the choosing and use of them that much more important.

While speed is not essential per se in a "mill deck", being able to control the pace of the game is! Losing control of the pace of the game is the easiest way to lose for a "mill deck".explaining mill12jpg
Cards like Force Speed, Hit and Run, Swiftness are all enemies of a "mill deck" as they allow your opponent consecutive actions where you cannot interact with their dice, which more often than not means either damage on your characters or plays that help facilitate your opponent's gameplan, i.e. take resources to secure more dice in the pool.

While you cannot necessarily do anything about a Hit and Run played by your opponent, you can anticipate these plays and counter them to the best of your ability, i.e. Shield up the weakest of your characters so you are on the better side of variance IF your opponent utilises speed to his advantage.

You also have access to several tech cards that can take care of cards that can expose your weaknesses, and while you might not want to play all of them, consider if you are so susceptible to suffering from speed that you need to proactively or reactively do something about it!explaining mill13jpg

For most "mill decks" mitigation cards is your life blood! Taking control of a game is paramount and one of the easiest ways to do this is by consistently controlling your opponent's best dice! Whether your plan is to blank their dice, forcing them into rerolling, remove their dice (either permanently or temporarily), you need a fairly large and consistent mitigation suite.

Most "mill decks" are also decent at making resources, and usually employs several characters or upgrades that are "just" there to generate resources (and to add health and access to specific colours), which means that you often can afford yourself the best and usually also most expensive mitigation. It's good and expensive because it usually affects several dice at once and therefore gives the highest level of control. This includes cards like:Explaining mill14jpg
Remember that although all these control cards are excellent, you cannot afford yourself to be overwhelmed by dice in the pool. There's a limit to how much mitigation you can play and thereby how many dice you can affect per turn. Mitigation in a "mill deck" goes way beyond just affecting the dice in the pool, but also includes controlling your opponent's access to dice, i.e. by controlling their resources (Disrupt) and their hand (Discard).Explaining mill15jpg
There are a few cards in Destiny that have strong dual purposes, and they are usually excellent in a "mill deck". They give you options in different situations and options are good!

Normally, "mill decks" are good at generating resources, although there are some notable exceptions, but adding cards, or characters in your team, that can help generate resources are still essential as you will also be spending a lot of resources in the course of a game. Having a steady flow of resources will help you control the game.explaining mill17jpg
You will often be picking up resources early in a game, when your opponent has the fewest dice in the pool to make your midgame stronger where you need the most mitigation, while still making sure that your opponent is not ramping out of control.

Click the images to go straight to the deck analysis of the deck!
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