Triple Khans draft is my favorite limited format since triple Innistrad. The two formats have a lot in common too, as they are both skill intensive formats with a litany of draftable archetypes. More importantly, self-mill is a thing in both.

I should clarify that nothing in Khans compares to Dream Twisting yourself into Spider Spawning/Gnaw to the Bone but having access to Ancestral Recall isn’t anything to sneeze at either. Self-mill in Khans is less focused on playing one big spell and centered more on using your graveyard as a resource to get some big discounts on delve cards. Dead Drop is surely overcosted at ten mana, but when you’re casting it for five, or three, or even one mana, it kind of feels like a brief vacation to Magical Christmas Land.

While I have admittedly only played two handfuls of Khans drafts, I have had a lot of luck playing variations of Sultai self-mill. The deck is usually base black-green with a blue splash, though I’ve gotten ambitious and gone for the double splash before as well. The game plan is to slow the game down, stonewall blockers with Disowned Ancestor and Archer’s Parapet, and start loading up the graveyard with Scout the Borders and Bitter Revelation. From that point your delve cards receive a nice cost reduction and even the generally unspectacular Dutiful Return becomes a potent draw spell. You can close out the game with the burly Shambling Attendants, evasive Sultai Scavenger, or any big green idiot you managed to pick up during the draft. The craziest part of the strategy is that I think it might be right to occasionally play more than 40 cards. Since the deck is looking to grind out victories and clog up the board, sometimes the games go long. If you played two Scout the Borders, you’ve gone through one-forth of your deck, and it’s not entirely uncommon to just run out of library, or at least run out of creatures in it. I’m still not sure what the correct number of cards to play in the deck is, since you don’t want to dilute your game plan but you want to have a few extra cards to ensure you don’t deck yourself. My guess is  the correct number is somewhere between 42-46, though I think more testing is needed.

Regardless, let’s talk about pick order and individual card choices.

Uncommon Removal:


Before picking up somewhat situational stuff like Scout the Borders or Treasure Cruise, it’s important to go back to drafting 101 and take solid removal.

  • There are very few cards I would take over Murderous Cut since it is unconditional spot removal that only commits you to one color. Furthermore, this card only gets better in decks that can consistently cast it for less than five.
  • Dead Drop is interesting because it is truly insane in some match-ups but kind of embarrassing in others. While I would always start this card, since a one sided Barter in Blood is awesome, it feels really bad to make your opponent sacrifice two Ponyback Brigade tokens. However, the rest of the time this card really is bonkers.
  • 90% of the time I’ve cast Sultai Charm it has been to destroy a creature but it’s nice to have the option of blowing up an ascendancy or looting to draw a threat. It’s also worth noting that I would probably take either of the other uncommon removal spells over Sultai Charm because of how color intensive it is.

Common Removal

Debilitatingforce away

  • Debilitating Injury is really important to this strategy. It’s cheap removal that kills morphs and keeps you alive in the early game. I can’t emphasize enough how good this card is in this format.
  • Even if you never trigger ferocious, this overcosted Unsummon does a lot of work in this format. Anything that prevents you from getting blown out by morphs or opposing fatties is alright by me.

Graveyard Enablers


  • Sultai Soothsayer does everything you want it to do. It mills, draws a relevant card, and sticks around to block just about everything. Having said that, I see this card going pretty late often and while I definitely want it in my deck, I would gladly take a mono-colored card over it in the hopes of catching it on the wheel.
  • Scout the Borders is another card that is important to the strategy but not one I’m willing to pick up over removal or a solid creature. You should try to snag these late because they are fantastic in this deck but pretty much no one else wants them. So often this card draws you a relevant threat and discounts your next delve spell by five mana which is a really big game.
  • I like digging four cards deep and being able to mulch my graveyard while I’m at it. I don’t think I’d play more than one Bitter Revelation since spending four mana to not impact the board is a little steep, but it’s certainly good in this strategy.
  • I can almost guarantee that you’ll get Rakshasa’s Secret last pick a few times. Most of the time Secret is a 23rd card that most opponents don’t ever see coming. In grindier games this card ends up being very good and even in not so grindy games, you can often snag that burn spell your opponent was getting ready to throw at your face. I think it’s fine to leave this one in the sideboard, but it’s certainly worth mentioning with the other enablers.

Delve Cards (AKA The Big Guns)

scavenger hooting shambling treasure set

  • The beauty of Sultai Scavenger and Hooting Mandrils is that even with a very marginal delve discount, one or two mana, they are very efficient beaters. These are both high picks even with zero Scout the Borders.
  • Without delve, Shambling Attendants is certainly overcosted but with a few cards to pitch this guy comes down and threatens to kill everything. It certainly helps that with five toughness, this guy dodges Throttle and an unraided Arrow Storm and can eat or trade with most creatures in the format.
  • Treasure Cruise is a card you should be able to pick up late. While like many delve cards, multiple copies have diminishing returns, having access to one of these in a grindy deck should be enough to put you ahead of the game.
  • While Set Adrift is pseudo-removal, I like to think of it as a tempo card in a format where timing is crucial. Often times this just time-walks your opponent, and that is awesome.

Early Game/Support Cards

archersdisownedembodiment Highland Game

  • None of these cards are super-exciting on their own but they each help to gum up the ground while you’re spending mana to play Scout the Borders or Bitter Revelation. It helps that they all come down early but have some utility the later the game goes on: Parapet slowing drains your opponent, Ancestor gets big and synergizes with the +1/+1 counters matter cards, Embodiment gets you a land, and even Highland Game can gain you a little life to put you out of range for a lethal attack.

Here is an example of a 3-0 Sultai Self-Mill list with 42 cards:



Sultai Self-Mill

Creatures (15)
Disowned Ancestor
Embodiment of Spring
Archer’s Parapet
Smoke Teller
Sagu Mauler
Abomination of Gudul
Mystic of the Hidden Way
Abzan Guide
Longshot Squad
Bellowing Saddlebrute
Sultai Soothesayer
Shambling Attendants

Spells (9)
Debilitating Injury
Force Away
Scout the Borders
Sultai Charm
Rakshasa’s Secret
Bitter Revelation
Murderous Cut
Dead Drop
Lands (19)
Tranquil Grove
Jungle Hollow
Thornwood Falls
Blossoming Sands
Dismal Backwater

Since I had a bunch of refuge lands and an Embodiment of Spring, I opted to splash two copies of Abzan Guide. This is the kind of card I like to splash as a 4/4 with lifelink gives fits to aggro decks and even without the white mana it is still a morph that can threaten to trade with their morph. Aside from the slightly ambitious white splash, this is pretty much the kind of deck I want to build when I’m drafting Sultai. The deck has a reasonable curve, good removal, and the delve cards are well supported with four graveyard enablers.

I think that right now is a good time to experiment with self-mill in draft as Sultai seems to be underdrafted in general. If people start catching on, then I would probably shy away from drafting the deck as you rely on the enablers and color intensive Sultai cards coming around late. Regardless, I plan on Scouting the Borders as much as possible in the upcoming weeks until they’ve been thoroughly mapped out.

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.

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