Three things are inevitable in the life of a Legacy magician: death, taxes, and blue cards. Looking for a deck to play at Grand Prix Seattle this weekend? Guest author Aaron Gazzaniga shares his inventive blue-white Death and Taxes brew. 

None of you have ever been privy to the insanity of my creative mind in brewing, but I like to take up and alter both well-known and lesser known decks that have put up results. If Magic: the Gathering has given me anything, it has been an outlet for my creativity and imagination as well as a few long lasting friendships and my engagement to Hipsters’ own, Kate Donnelly. Sometimes my brewing brings success as well. I placed first in the Swiss and made Top 8 of the Legacy 5k at SCG Providence last April with my take on green-white Twelve Post. Sneak and Show bested me in the quarters in some very close games. I lost game three to a turn three Blood Moon, turn four Show and Tell for Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. One mana shy of casting Oblivion Stone and cracking it to essentially win. What a shame. “I could have been somebody, I could have been a contender.”

Anyway, let’s talk about my latest sweet Legacy brew: blue-white Death and Taxes. I have loved mono white Death and Taxes for a very long time. In this build of Death and Taxes I wanted to try Meddling Mage to see how it improved the deck. Adding blue to decks was not something that I was used to as I tend to have an aversion to the color blue in Magic. Meddling Mage seemed liberating, and I did not simply stop there. I added Vendilion Clique and before I knew it the blue splash went even further. I realized that by restricting myself from an entire color of possibility, I was missing out on all the joys Magic could bring. Without further ado, I present to you the deck list.

Blue-White Death and Taxes

Lands (23)
Cavern of Souls
Eiganjo Castle
Flooded Strand
Seachrome Coast

Creatures (26)
Geist of Saint Traft
Meddling Mage
Mother of Runes
Stoneforge Mystic
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
True-Name Nemesis
Vendilion Clique

Spells (11)
Sword of Fire and Ice
Swords to Plowshares
Umezawa’s Jitte
Aether Vial
Sideboard (15)
Containment Priest
Ethersworn Canonist
Grafdigger’s Cage
Leonin Relic-Warder
Phyrexian Revoker
Rest in Peace
Sword of War and Peace

The idea behind this deck during the Dig Through Time era was that not only did I want to tax spells but I also wanted to restrict what my opponents could do. When playing against Omnitell naming Show and Tell with Meddling Mage, then naming Cunning Wish with a second Meddling Mage was usually enough to get my “enemy” to scoop out of rage to me. In the meantime I noticed that Miracles used Vendilion Clique to combat the Omnitell menace. Cavern of Souls was a great way to sneak these two key pieces in through all the countermagic that Omnitell has at its disposal. The benefit of running both Clique and Mage was the fact that I could use three mana to cast Clique, see what was in hand, and then use Aether Vial to play Meddling Mage, answering two problematic cards in a row.

So far I have had a lot of local success with the deck and was asked recently to take part in a brief Q&A with the Leaving a Legacy podcast. A couple of friends run this podcast and they had a lot of questions from listeners when they mentioned my brew of blue-white Death and Taxes. I’m looking forward to hear how successful other individuals are with this new archetype.

Card Choices

Meddling Mage—In place of Phyrexian Revoker in the main, as you may be used to in your standard DnT lists. I found that rather than shutting down a card that may have already hit the battlefield, it was better to shut down the follow up or possible kill conditions your opponents use in general. Examples being Tendrils of Agony, Show and Tell, or Natural Order. Mage has also been amazing against Lands by shutting down Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire.

Other good targets include removal in the form of Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares, etc. One of my favorite choices to name with Mage has been Terminus, the main card that Miracles can use to blow us out and take over a game. Naming this and having Geist of Saint Traft with equipment tends to play a huge role in beating Miracles.


Geist of Saint Traft—In place of Mirran Crusader, who tends to fill the role of protected beater. Crusader has double strike and he is protected from Tarmogoyf, Abrupt Decay, Disfigure, etc. Geist has very similar features in hexproof and is completely immune from all spot removal as well as opposing Karakas. However, given that it has hexproof and not shroud it can also be protected by our own Karakas, which against Miracles can be key to closing a game quickly. There is something special about dodging Terminus thanks to my own Karakas and then vialing Geist back in before I equip Sword of Fire and Ice, hit for ten, and draw an extra card.

Vendilion Clique—With Miracles making up approximately 15% of the metagame (according to mtgtop8) it was important for me to address this match up when creating this deck list.  I know it seems like I am beating a dead horse but Vendilion Clique really is an All Star against Miracles.  I doubt that any of you could possibly miss the relevance of Clique against a deck that triggers large-impact spells based on them being drawn into the hand. Having Karakas to abuse this ability cripples Miracles. Add in the fact that Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial open the possibility of re-using this effect (without giving them a chance to counter it) which makes it nearly impossible to be blown out by Terminus or Entreat the Angels. For similar reasons Clique is a key spell against Show and Tell, making a normally easy match up that much smoother.


True Name Nemesis—The last blue card that really pains my soul to play is this guy. His protection from an opponent makes him difficult to answer and is a boogeyman for Mono White Death and Taxes. I have always run Council’s Judgment as an answer to him and other problem permanents. But here I am after all my whining and complaining about how Swords to Plowshares, Sword of Fire and Ice as well as Mangara of Corondor cannot hit True-Name Nemesis. He replaces Serra Avenger as my evasive beater/defender. He has been completely impossible for RUG Delver to answer, which we already have a good match up as it is, but he has been great to push damage through decks like Junk, Jund and Lands which are full of removal that is useless versus the Nemesis. Suit him up with equipment and I am sure most of the readers are aware of what TNN is capable of, especially with Umezawa’s Jitte equipped. That is likely game over against most creature decks.

The sideboard is an interesting smorgasbord against some of the odd match ups. I am using Divert as an option versus Shardless BUG as well as other deck that run Abrupt Decay. It allows the deck to take advantage of their card draw as well as removal. Hibernation is an answer to Elves since that deck is still an issue even after board with Phyrexian Revoker. Other than that it is a pretty standard DnT sideboard.

Overall the deck has been delightful to play and to edit. Gazzaniga is the name and making odd changes to top tier decks is my game. Thank you for the read, I hope you enjoyed this crazy ride through my psyche.

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