Burn after reading (your Taxes)

A new year is a time of reflection. A time to look back on what you have accomplished and see what you can do better. This can be in your home life, your career, or even your deck. Last year when Amonkhet was released I was inspired to brew a R/W Death & Taxes deck with Harsh Mentor. The deck was a lot of fun, but I always felt like it needed work. Well I’ve had a year to improve my deck building skills, and since it is a new year maybe it is time to have another crack at it. This time I’ll have a little help from a fellow UKMTG content creator, and he knows a thing or two about Death & Taxes.

Such a Pleasant Fellow

Over the last few months UK content creators (including MoM), have been working together to help promote the British Magic scene. You have probably seen some of these collaborations already, and if you want to know more about the UKMTG scene then you can check out Scryed Away Sunday. This year we are planning to do even more collaborations, and they start right here and now.

When I decided to have another crack at Death & Taxes I reached out to Youtuber and fellow bearded gent Pleasant Kenobi. A man well known for his love of Death & Taxes, I sought out his expertise in order to make a more competitive list. If you want to see Vince in his natural habitat then check out the link here. Be warned, Vince is known for being a little blue with his language and content. But if you are in the mood for a bit of a laugh and don’t mind some mature humour, then Mr Pleasant Kenobi has you covered.

A New Game Plan

When I first tried my hand at Death & Taxes, I was keen to punish my opponent with creatures like Eidolon of the Great Revel and Harsh Mentor. While these are great cards for dealing damage, there are some games where they have little to no effect. Eldrazi Tron laughs in the face of Eidolon, while Mentor can get blanked by Storm and Death’s Shadow. After chatting with Vince, I understood where I went wrong in my last build. The goal of a D&T is not to punish your opponent with damage effects, but to use taxation effects to make any kind of offence impossible for your opponent. That doesn’t mean we can’t find a use for these creatures, but they can’t be the focal point of the deck.

So instead we start off with a solid core of D&T staples. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Leonin Arbiter and Flickerwisp are all playsets, with Eldrazi Displacer and Restoration Angel taking up three slots apiece. Thalia and Arbiter are well known for their disruptive capabilities, while Wisp, Displacer and Resto allow for some interesting interactions with enter the battlefield effects (such as Blade Splicer). In terms of red creatures, Magus of the Moon punishes greedy mana bases, and Harsh Mentors is still a good idea with Affinity and the PT winning Lantern Control on the prowl.

Since we have so many flicker effects, we want to be getting our monies worth with enter the battlefield triggers. Pia and Kiran Nalaar are one such pay off. Every time ma and pa enter the battlefield they create two 1/1 flying Thopters, which can be sacrificed to deal two damage to a target creature or player. This can lead to an engine of sorts with Eldrazi Displacer continually producing ammunition for Pia and Kiran. The deck also runs two copies of Avalanche Riders, which when combined with all these flicker effects allows you to rip apart your opponent’s mana base.

For non-creature spells the deck runs full playsets of Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt for removal, and four copies of Aether Vial to get your creatures out effectively. The inclusion of Bolt allows for the deck to have more early game interaction, as well as giving you some reach in the late game. Vial is a classic staple of D&T, helping you amass your army of taxation effects while lowering your land count and allowing you to get your creatures in at instant speed.

The deck runs twenty-two lands in total. Arid Mesa, Inspiring Vantage, Sacred Foundry and Battlefield Forge provide effective mana fixing and are combined with a couple Plains and a single Mountain. The deck also runs a single Wastes to avoid being got by your own Magus of the Moon. The final four lands slots are taken up with a playset of Ghost Quarters, which do a great job of imitating Wasteland when a Leonin Arbiter is on the board.

The sideboard is pretty robust, able to handle most threats in the Modern format. Eidolon of the Great Revel offers additional avenues of attack against Storm. Kataki, War’s Wage and Stony Silence help shut down Affinity, while Rest in Peace handles graveyard decks like Dredge. Aven Mindcensor stops Chord of Calling from being so effective, and Surgical Extraction and Blood Moon do great work against Tron. Finally, two Kor Firewalkers provide a road block to Burn and Rampaging Ferocidon puts a stop to life gain and token decks.

Creatures (26)
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Leonin Arbiter
2 Harsh Mentor
4 Flickerwisp
1 Blade Splicer
2 Magus of the Moon
3 Eldrazi Displacer
3 Restoration Angel
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
2 Avalanche Riders
Non-Creature Spells (12)
4 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Aether Vial
Lands (22)
4 Arid Mesa
4 Inspiring Vantage
2 Sacred Foundry
4 Battlefield Forge
2 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Wastes
4 Ghost Quarter
Sideboard (15)
2 Eidolon of the Great Revel
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
2 Stony Silence
2 Rest in Peace
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Surgical Extraction
2 Blood Moon
2 Kor Firewalker
2 Rampaging Ferocidon

And there you have it, an updated R/W Death & Taxes Modern list for you all. But what do you think? Do you want to try the deck out for yourself? If that is the case let us know about it in the comments below, and don’t forget to like a subscribe to keep up to date on all the goings on here at Master of Magics. Finally, a big thank you to Vince/aka Pleasant Kenobi for his input in todays article. This coming year will bring even more collaborations between the UKMTG content makes, so watch this space to see what else we have planned. But until next time remember, Good Luck and Have Fun.

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