‘Cause I’m the Death and Taxman

I’m excited for the CFB Grand Prix Vegas experience. 3 days, 3 GPs—be there or be somewhere not nearly as fun! Of all the events, the one I am most looking forward to? Legacy.

I’ve spent the past week researching deck lists and results to gain perspective on how the B&R announcement to stop the Top has reshaped the format.

Let me tell you how it will be.

The king is dead and we humble peasants are left searching for new leadership. I heard the siren’s song of the Taxman and have been recruited into the D&T ranks.

There’s one for you, nineteen for me.

Conspiracy: Take the Crown brought the archetype new toys: Recruiter of the Guard and Sanctum Prelate. Miracles was a tough matchup for Taxes and without that obstacle, the deck’s stock improves dramatically.

Should five percent appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t take it all.

Here’s the list that I’ve been testing with:

Death and Taxes

Brian DeMars

D&T suits my play style. I like Prison decks. I like decks with high threat density. D&T feels like putting chocolate and peanut butter together.

A quick, basic breakdown of strengths and weaknesses: The deck tends to be strong against blue aggro decks like Delver (which are by far the most popular decks) and unfavored against fast combo. The saving grace is that in the unfavorable matchups, the fast combo decks have a short window to win before things cascade out of reach. If they stumble or can’t put you away, things get out of hand.

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street…

The critical turn for D&T is 2, when the first lock piece is typically deployed. The first one is annoying—the second, backbreaking…

If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat…

The deck attacks opposing mana hard. Between Thalia, Wasteland, and Rishadan Port, your opponent’s resources are under pressure.

The deck also dominates the board thanks to Aether Vial and a cast of unforgettable characters. Vial is great because it makes mana and provides the strategic advantage of flash. There are some nasty instant-speed interactions with Flickerwisp as well.

If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat…

If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet…

An equipment for every situation! SFM plus battle gear is potent in creature-based mirror matches. Not-so-breaking news: SFM is great!

One innovation I’ve seen cropping up is Orzhov Pontiff. I’ve Chord of Calling’d for a lot of Pontiffs in Modern, and Recruiting for it is also good.

Don’t ask me what I want it for…

OK, OK, I’ll tell you.

If you don’t want to pay some more…

There a few ways to deal with TNN, and Pontiff is one. Pontiff is also a house in the mirror and an answer to Empty the Warrens and Elves.

The Mana Base

There are two different ways to build the mana base. Pontiff has become widely adopted among winning lists, and you’ll need to decide how you want to facilitate it. The first 18 lands are going to be the same, but the last 5 are up for debate:

Option #1

Option #2

The upside of option #1 is 3 more sources of black mana, which opens up the potential to play black spells:

Now my advice to those who die,
Declare the pennies on your eyes.

The Scrubland option is also a little more stable for casting some of the “off tribal” spells such as Flickerwisp, STP, or Council’s Judgment.

Certainly a viable route.

The upside of option #2 is that you get to play more Cavern of Souls (which is a powerful card) and you get more basics. No fetches saves some damage too. I also enjoy not adding fodder to the graveyard for opposing Deathrite Shamans.

More Cavern of Souls also makes it easier to cast the sideboard Magus of the Moon.

There are pros and cons to each route, but as a former blue mage I take a certain satisfaction in maxing out on Cavern of Souls.

The Sideboard

I like straightforward sideboards where I’m going to use all of my cards a lot. I don’t tend to play “fun-ofs.” I value consistency and high impact spells.

Combo and Graveyard Hate

(Warning: Cards May Be More Hateful Than They Appear!)

Cause I’m the Taxman…

All of these cards fill similar but significant roles—they help you stay alive against combo decks.

The Faerie can be tutored up by Recruiter of the Guard and is a free and uncounterable answer to Reanimator decks.

Surgical Extraction interacts with Reanimator, Storm, and Dredge. It takes out Punishing Fire, Loam, or a combo land against Lands.

Rest In Peace shuts down graveyard decks and is a slam dunk against many Deathrite, ‘Goyf, and Snapcaster strategies.

Containment Priest shuts down anybody trying to cheat things into play (graveyard or otherwise). You can’t cheat, sneak, show, reanimate, or dredge against the Taxman without paying the price!

Canonist is an ace when a storm is brewing.

I’m not on Mindbreak Trap but it is the most popular sideboard card not currently in my 75. It’s great against Belcher and Storm, but I’m not sure those decks are popular enough to warrant the space. Time will tell and my opinion could be swayed.

Creature Matchups

Death and Taxes is already pre-boarded (i.e., built specifically for) creature decks like Delver. We still have more tools in the board.

Yeah, I’m the Taxman…

Council’s Judgment is a flexible answer that covers many bases. It deals with TNN, which is huge. The biggest upside of the card is that with a mere 2 sideboard spots it provides answers to anything in the format that sits on the battlefield.

Magus of the Moon is really spicy against the Sultai and 4c “good stuff” decks that don’t play basics. It can steal games by locking an opponent off colored mana sources. It’s also a house against Eldrazi and Lands. It’s a Human for Cavern.

Mirran Crusader is a beatstick. ‘Nuff said.

Death and Taxes is easily one of the important decks in Legacy. The deck was already solid and improves after the banning as it is the natural predator of the blue decks gaining momentum.

George Harrison—easily my favorite Beatle. Why? Because I’m the Taxman, and you’re working for nobody but me….

1 thought on “‘Cause I’m the Death and Taxman”

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