Modern Death & Taxes by apodepueblopaleta on MtGO

Creatures (28)
4 Blade Splicer
4 Flickerwisp
4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Leonin Arbiter
3 Mirran Crusader
3 Restoration Angel
1 Serra Avenger
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Non-Creature Spells (10)
4 Path to Exile
2 Honor of the Pure
4 Aether Vial

Lands (22)
4 Ghost Quarter
14 Plains
4 Tectonic Edge

Sideboard (15)
2 Blessed Alliance
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Condemn
2 Leonin Relic-Warder
3 Rest in Peace
2 Selfless Spirit
2 Stony Silence


Death & Taxes has been a premier Legacy deck for a very long time. Its ability to fight the mid and late game against much of the format and deny the opponent’s mana all while applying significant beatdowns makes it a very appealing option for many players. In Modern, however, the mono-white strategy hasn’t quite broken through, but it still appears on the fringes every now and again, waiting for the right metagame.

The most important part of this deck is its ability to disrupt the opponent’s strategy, usually through attacking their mana base. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is both excellent in combat and a big thorn in the side of most opponents. The mana she gains by taxing your opponent usually makes up for the 2 you invested into her. Thalia, Heretic Cathar similarly attacks the opponent’s mana, but in a more roundabout and less consistently powerful way, but is still situationally incredible.

Judge’s Familiar, also known as the little birdy that won 2 Pro Tours, is a good evasive threat that may take forever to get in a card’s worth of damage, but the mana tax it puts on the opponent is very valuable for only 1 mana. Leonin Arbiter, on the other hand, is perhaps the strongest point of this deck. With fetchlands the go-to land in Modern, Arbiter inherently has a lot of applications, but its combination with Ghost Quarter is what makes it so powerful. Turning Quarter into Strip Mine is no small thing, and it can easily win games on its own.

While this disruption is taking place, this deck has several good ways to lay down the beats. Blade Splicer (or more accurately the Golem it produces) is excellent in combat, Mirran Crusader is well-positioned in this Death’s Shadow and Counters Company metagame, and Restoration Angel and Flickerwisp both put a significant evasive clock on board while gaining card advantage if flickering Blade Splicer or saving a creature in combat.

Aether Vial‘s presence makes this deck tick. Much of the deck’s strengths could be described by its ability to get a mana edge on the opponent, and perhaps no card does this better than Aether Vial, allowing you to get an army of impactful creatures on the board while keeping the opponent off theirs until it is too late. Honor of the Pure isn’t an exciting option, but this deck frequently needs ways of pushing through damage, and Honor does that.

These are the changes I would make going forward:


-1 Flickerwisp

+1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar


-2 Condemn

-2 Stony Silence

+2 Kataki, War’s Wage

+2 Celestial Purge

This is day 174 of’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 173 here, where we featured a Standard combo deck that feels and plays a lot like a classic Storm deck.

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