Deck Highlight: Modern GW Death and Taxes


Modern GW Death and Taxes by RESPECTTHECAT


I was watching the Modern Challenge last Saturday as my friend Josh McClain made Top 8 with a GW Heliod Company deck. In the quarterfinals, he played against a unique take on the white Death and Taxes archetype, so I looked up that list to highlight. Josh did end up beating this deck, but it still looked sweet to me.


Header - The Game Plan

Efficiently deploy threats using Aether Vial while taxing the opponent with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Leonin Arbiter. Use Stoneforge Mystic and Shalai, Voice of Plenty as finishers.

This deck adds green to the typical white shell of Thalia, Vial, Arbiter and Stoneforge. Green gives it access to Oath of Nissa, Eternal Witness and Noble Hierarch, which also all make the Yorion, Sky Nomad companion aspect better (because who plays 60 cards when you could play 80?).


Header - Key Cards

Aether Vial


Aether Vial is always the best card in these decks, as it functions as Sol Ring-plus. That’s a high bar, and the biggest cost to playing Yorion is that you have Vial on turn one less often.


Thalia, Guardian of ThrabenLeonin ArbiterArchon of Emeria


This trio is what puts the taxes in “Death and Taxes.” Thalia is the best of them, but all of them punish the opponent for trying to do things, up to and including fetching lands. Arbiter is also savage with Ghost Quarter, and these three miscreants can easily manascrew unsuspecting opponents.


Stoneforge MysticMaul of the SkyclavesBatterskullSword of Fire and Ice


Stoneforge packs a punch here and it’s how you can turn an army of dorks into a real squad. Maul of the Skyclaves is a nice touch, as it can give wings to anything you need.


Skyclave Apparition


The best white card in the format is an auto-include here. Skyclave Apparition covers all your bases and more, all for the low price of just three mana.


Header - Mulliganing

The best cards to see in your opener are Vial, Hierarch and Thalia, though Stoneforge and Arbiter aren’t far behind. You basically just want a good curve, and this deck is designed to hand you one.


Aether VialTemple GardenThalia, Guardian of ThrabenLeonin ArbiterFlickerwispArchon of EmeriaPath to Exile


Keep. Vial plus creatures is a keep, and this even has Path to interact with.


Noble HierarchBranchloft Pathway // Boulderloft PathwayTemple GardenOath of NissaFlickerwispPlainsMaul of the Skyclaves


Keep. This hand is a little awkward, but Noble into Oath and having Wisp to flicker Oath isn’t too bad, even if you have to play off-curve.


Ghost QuarterStoneforge MysticShalai, Voice of PlentyPlainsTemple GardenHorizon CanopyHorizon Canopy


Keep. Stoneforge goes a long way in making hands keepable, and this even has Horizon Canopy to protect against flood.


Header - Tips and Tricks

  • Getting Vial up to five in anticipation of Yorion isn’t crazy. You even get to flicker Vial with Yorion so you can build it back to two or three.
  • Shalai’s activated ability is a great finisher – don’t disregard it.
  • Stoneforge plus Maul is a combat trick of sorts, so you can set up some nice plays with it.


Header - Tax Time is Coming

If you’re looking to collect on unpaid bills, this is a good choice. It’s got the depth and fun of Yorion with the aggressive tax element, and it looked pretty good last weekend. Just watch out for those late penalties and you’re good to go.



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