With the introduction of Hearthstone's Goblins vs Gnomes expansion, I've read comments that a 'Mill Deck' strategy may become viable. What does that mean? Is it a term from Magic the Gathering? Examples of that style of deck and strategies for playing with/against it please.

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    In MtG, a "Mill" deck (named for Millstone) is when your goal is to win via emptying your opponent's library rather than bringing him to 0 life. I don't know Hearthstone well enough to answer for that game, however. Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 2:06
  • Thanks - that sounds like where the name comes from - a similar card in Hearthstone is the Coldlight Oracle, where both players draw 2 cards, which is useful if your opponent already has a full hand as they burn the cards.
    – JonathanJ
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 2:48
  • @StrixVaria My guess for a milldeck in HS, is to just quickly empty the library of the opponent by card draw, because if he has more then 10 cards in his hand, and needs to draw another the other card gets discarded. When the library is empty each draw will remove some life from him. Beginning with 1 and getting +1 each time.
    – Lyrion
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 7:35

1 Answer 1


For the origin of the term, @StrixVaria explained it perfectly :

In MtG, a "Mill" deck (named for Millstone) is when your goal is to win via emptying your opponent's library rather than bringing him to 0 life. I don't know Hearthstone well enough to answer for that game, however.

In Hearthstone the Mill strategy has two main objectives :

  • Make players draw cards as fast as possible, with the opponent drawing more so that he will die to Fatigue first (each time you "draw" a card when your library is empty you lose X+1 HP, starting at X = 0)
  • Burn cards to your opponent (as in Hearthstone the hand is limited to 10 cards, every card going into the hand after this point will directly be destroyed)

The decks revolve around neutral cards such as :

And a lot of optionnal/depending on style cards, the objectives are just to fill his hand (Mukla, Lorewalker Cho) before your oracle to burn cards and survive (Antique Healbot).

There are only two viable classes for Mill decks at the moment because they have key cards working in the same direction. They are Rogue (Vanish/sap to destroy his board when his hand is full, Shadowstep to play oracle again) and Druid (Naturalize make him draw two cards and grove tender is a mini oracle). Rogue is more viable than Druid though.

Those are two examples of decklists (there are a lot of variants with the same core cards) :

Now a lot of people think that this can become viable (I would love that, this is my favorite playstyle) thanks to the new GvG cards working in this direction, which are :

To counter those decks there are two main rules and a specific playstyle depending on the class :

  • Don't DRAW, limit as much as possible all the drawing power of your deck, don't help him in his task
  • Empty your hand, play enough cards to prevent the burning mechanism (5 or less is often enough, it protects you from double oracle and the draw at your turn) but don't play a board that can get instantly wyped or you'll have trouble keeping pressure on him
  • against Rogue only : avoid creating tokens, totems, recruits or the Vanish will instantly fill you hand and the following oracles will be devastating (example on turn 10: oracle, preparation, vanish, oracle, shadowstep, oracle)
  • against Druid only : Play a lot of 3+ Health creatures to resist swipe/starfall rather than big creatures that will just get Naturalized for 1 mana and make you draw
  • With numerous freeze effects and Duplicate to make more Coldlight Oracles, I am surprised that mage isn't on the list of viable mill classes.
    – jsnlxndrlv
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 10:05
  • @jsnlxndrlv nice idea, but getting your opponent to kill your oracle to duplicate it is really hard considering you have other minions, moreover if it works once, he will just never kill it a second time when there is an active secret ^^. The main thing though is mage doesn't have cards to fill enemy's hand like the HUGE Naturalize, or the shadowstep combos, and Vanish and Sap. Moreover iceblock doesn't protect from fatigue. But well it is worth a try :)
    – Shunwoo
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 10:14
  • @Shunwoo Dancing Swords is also strong in this deck. Jeeves is interesting against zoo or other very fast decks (esp. before your opponent realizes what your deck is doing).
    – spudone
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 18:30
  • Better players than myself have demonstrated the effectiveness of Mage mill decks, particularly with the addition of Echo of Medivh.
    – jsnlxndrlv
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 23:11
  • This is more viable now with the addition of Gang Up
    – spudone
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 21:20

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