Deck Highlight: Modern Death and Taxes


Modern Death and Taxes by DoubleB_33


In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except for Death and Taxes.

In Modern, the mono white deck lives up to the origins of its name. Through Charbelcher, Oops All Spells, Tibalt’s Trickery and everyone else fighting over Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor, this simple, unassuming creature deck holds strong. It stands to become even stronger with the impending banning of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (I won’t speculate about any changes related to cascade and double-faced cards).

Let’s examine what’s going on here. What allows Death and Taxes to succeed in a world where other strategies are seemingly so much flashier and more powerful?

Death & Taxes is very much a “finesse” deck. You’re not likely to outmuscle people based on the raw power level of your cards. Instead, it’s about making things as inconvenient as possible for your opponent and finding ways to steal wins. 


Thalia, Guardian of ThrabenLeonin ArbiterGhost QuarterField of Ruin


You accomplish this in a number of ways. First and foremost is mana disruption. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a very key and iconic card of this strategy. Similarly, Leonin Arbiter is good as a standalone card when you consider how many mana bases are centered around fetchlands, not to mention cards like Expedition Map and Primeval Titan.

The real punch, however, comes when you combine Arbiter with the full eight copies of Ghost Quarter and Field of Ruin, which become full Strip Mines if you have an Arbiter and the opponent is short on mana (which they will be). There are some decks where firing off Field of Ruins early on is effective even without Leonin Arbiter. For example, Charbelcher and Oops All Spells decks have no basic lands by definition. 


Giver of RunesAuriok ChampionSword of Fire and Ice


Next come resilient threats. Between Giver of Runes, Auriok Champion, and Sword of Fire and Ice, “protection from” becomes a main theme of Death and Taxes. This forces your opponents to have specific answers at specific times, which becomes harder and harder as their resources, mana and life total come under siege. 


Aether Vial


Turn one Aether Vial allows the deck to operate at greatly increased potency by deploying multiple spells and take advantage of instant speed interactions involving Flickerwisp, Leonin Arbiter, and Spirit of the Labyrinth. However, it’s not necessary to mulligan to Vial, since you can also win games fair and square by casting your creatures on curve.



If you’d like to play some good, clean Magic, and maybe embarrass your opponent’s $500 Omnath mana base, Death and Taxes might be the deck for you. In particular, it should be a nice, safe strategy to invest in with Uro on the chopping block. 



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