This week I’ll be continuing my series of deck discussions with an old favorite, Death and Taxes. D&T is a classic white weenies deck that uses various small creatures (bears) to tax their opponent and then beat them down. The deck name comes from the idea that it taxes its opponents with creatures that will eventually beat you to death referencing the old adage, nothing in this world is certain, except for death and taxes (and white weenies). For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the name “white weenie” has always been an archetype throughout magics history and references any mono-white deck that uses bears to get the job done.

The core of most D&T decks will be the same from list to list. There are just some control elements that are too good for them to not run. This includes four copies of Swords to Plowshares, Wasteland, and Rishadan Port. These cards allow you to keep your opponent off of both mana and creatures. D&T runs four copies of Aether Vial to leverage your mana denial with Rishadan Port and Wasteland so you can disrupt your opponent while still developing your board.

You will also find four copies of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in almost every list. Many Legacy decks really depend on non-creature spells so it’s basically a one sided tax that also isn’t a half-bad beater despite only having two power since it has first strike and the deck runs plenty of equipment. A lot of decks are also now running one or two copies of Thalia, Heretic Cathar as it is extremely powerful and shuts down so many Legacy decks. Forcing your opponent to wait up to three turns before having their land tap for mana is pretty helpful (fetch land comes in tapped, followed by non-issue land, then finally tapping for mana). This suite of spells and lands help the deck really lock their opponent down and give D&T time to slowly kill their opponent.

For the parts of the deck intended to win, you’ll always find four Stoneforge Mystics to find powerful equipment and then cheat them into play. Most D&T decks only run three pieces of equipment: Batterskull, Sword of Fire and Ice, and Umezawa’s Jitte. I don’t think there needs to be any explanation on why these cards are so good.

The rest of the deck you’ll find some variance in the list. Most lists run 3-4 Phyrexian Revokers, 1-2 Mirran Crusaders, 1-2 Serra Avengers, 3-4 Flickerwisps and occasionally one Mangara of Corondor. The creatures obviously help lock your opponent down even more as well as providing some value beaters. Exactly what creatures you’ll find in these slots tends to very a bit but the ones I’ve listed here are most common. I’ve seen lists with Spirit of the Labyrinth or Ethersworn Canonist here, it varies quite a bit. A lot of D&T players will also play around with these slots depending on the metagame but you can assume you’ll see at least a few of the above named creatures.

Recently many D&T decks have been changing up their lists because of the latest Conspiracy set printing Recruiter of the Guard and Sanctum Prelate. Recruiter of the Guard is an awesome way for D&T to tutor up any creature in their deck and provide card advantage, especially with Flickerwisp. The only card that D&T runs that can’t be fetched by Recruiter of the Guard is Serra Avenger, which is why a lot of lists are currently running three. Sanctum Prelate is an awesome card for D&T as a Chalice of the Void on a stick but it’s even better than Chalice because it doesn’t allow the spells to be cast. It’s a powerful card in a lot of match-ups and I bet we will continue to see this card in D&T lists in the future.

Good luck playing against D&T and the many ways they will disrupt your deck’s plan!

Kate hails from Worcester MA and also does a bit of Card Altering. Check her Stuff out on Facebook! She mainly plays legacy and modern though will occasionally find herself playing EDH. 

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