Deck Highlight: Modern Paulo and Taxes

Deck - Modern Death and Taxes by Kiko


Modern Death and Taxes by Kiko


It’s not uncommon to see Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa finishing in the Top 8 of tournaments, and apparently the same is true of the card that bears his likeness. Elite Spellbinder finished second in the Modern Challenge last weekend, and the deck sporting it looks like a great meta call.


Header - The Game Plan

Play cheap disruptive creatures to slow the opponent down and kill them with those creatures equipped with a variety of powerful Equipment.

This is a classic Modern (and Legacy) deck, with Aether Vial powering out disruptive creatures and stopping the opponent from doing whatever it is they were planning on doing. It makes use of Elite Spellbinder from Strixhaven, as well as a couple great additions from prior sets (Skyclave Apparition especially). The more good white creatures get printed, the better this deck becomes.


Header - Key Cards

Aether Vial


As always, Vial is the best card in Vial decks. This deck really fires on all cylinders when it opens on Vial, both because it saves mana and because it can put creatures into play at instant speed.


Skyclave ApparitionFlickerwisp (Timeshifted)


Skyclave Apparition deals with just about any problematic permanent and is card advantage (at least until they remove it). It’s a fantastic card, and fits perfectly into the deck. Flickerwisp lets you double up on ETB abilities while also being a flying threat and is one of  the best cards to use with Aether Vial.


Elite SpellbinderTidehollow Sculler (Timeshifted)


These give the deck hand disruption, which mono-white typically doesn’t have. They let you deal with the scariest cards while giving you info to play around the rest.


Thalia, Guardian of Thraben


Thalia, Guardian of Thraben taxes any noncreature deck and makes life extremely difficult for your opponent. She’s the best disruptive white creature we’ve ever seen, and she dominates most games she shows up in.


Wasteland StranglerPath to Exile (Timeshifted)


Not only are these extra removal, Wasteland Strangler can snipe cards exiled by Sculler or Spellbinder, which means the opponent never gets them back.


Stoneforge MysticBatterskullMaul of the SkyclavesSword of Fire and Ice


The Stoneforge Mystic package is how this deck finishes games, as it hits very hard and for such a small amount of mana.


Header - Tips and Tricks

  • Flickerwisp does nasty stuff, especially with Vial. You can use it to re-trigger ETB abilities, protect your stuff or flicker out their tokens and/or blockers.
  • Try to avoid using Path to Exile unless you have to, as mana denial is an important part of your plan.
  • Elite Spellbinder’s ability persists even if it dies, so don’t worry about losing Paulo to removal.


Somebody will always build this deck, and this version seems quite good. Paulo is a big upgrade, and the combination of disruptive creatures and Aether Vial is a winning one. Best of luck if you play it, and make sure to exile their cards early and often.


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