This Week in Legacy — Legacy Tax Season!

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This Week in Legacy: Legacy Tax Season!

Howdy folks, this is Joe again and this week we're taking a short dive into tax season! That's right, we're gonna talk about Legacy Death and Taxes. With Masters 25 right around the corner, one of the spicier and obvious reprints is one of the keystones of the DnT archetype, Rishadan Port!

 

With the reprint of Port and recent reprints from Eternal Masters such as Karakas and Wasteland, DnT pushes ever closer to being a fairly affordable deck in the format. What does this mean? More Death and Taxes pilots picking up the deck and playing at events, which means more new pilots on the deck. Today we're going to talk a little about Death and Taxes and what the deck means to the format.

The Most Meta of Meta Decks

DnT is essentially the quintessential meta deck, meaning that it can tune its list to generally perform well in any metagame. Because of this, the difficulty level of playing Death and Taxes actually starts at deckbuilding. There have been so many options printed for a deck like this that it takes plenty of time to determine what is good at the moment and what is not.

Beyond that, there's also a numbers game to consider. How many Mirran Crusader is right in the main deck? How many Sanctum Prelate? These are all questions you have to consider when dealing with building the deck.

Furthermore, there's the consideration of whether or not you wish to dip into another color. Red is the most popular splash color since it gives you access to cards like Magus of the Moon and Dire Fleet Daredevil in addition to things like Pia and Kiran Nalaar.

Regardless of what you pick, one of the best resources you can use to your advantage is the website Thraben University, run by Phillip Gallagher. There is a vast array of DnT resources over there that can greatly assist you in understanding the deck.

The List

Let's take a look at a typical DnT list. This one comes to us from a 7–0 MTGO Legacy Challenge.

Death and Taxes — malimujo | 7–0 MTGO Legacy Challenge 2/18/2018

Creatures (26)
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Flickerwisp
1 Mirran Crusader
4 Mother of Runes
2 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Recruiter of the Guard
1 Sanctum Prelate
2 Serra Avenger
1 Spirit of the Labyrinth
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Instants/Sorceries (4)
4 Swords to Plowshares

Artifacts (7)
4 Aether Vial
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Umezawa's Jitte

Lands (23)
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Horizon Canopy
3 Karakas
9 Plains
4 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland

Sideboard (15)
1 Containment Priest
2 Council's Judgment
1 Disenchant
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Path to Exile
1 Pithing Needle
2 Rest in Peace
2 Surgical Extraction

No matter what most DnT lists look like, there's generally always a few things that hold true to the deck's construction:

#1 — The mainstay creatures of the deck generally stay the same

Thalia, Mother of Runes, Stoneforge, Flickerwisp—these are generally accepted as the core DnT creatures. The power level of this package is not to be denied since they can generally disrupt and delay your opponent while at the same time provide a powerful clock to close out the game.

#2 — Aether Vial, of course

Aether Vial is one of the most important pieces of DnT; it's what lets the deck leverage its threats through countermagic and turns Flickerwisp into a powerful threat and trick. Never leave home without four of these guys.

#3 — The equipment package is pretty set in stone

While occasionally you will see different equipment in the sideboards of DnT lists (typically another Sword like Sword of War and Peace or the equipment-hating Manriki-Gusari), the equipment package in the main deck has been set in stone for quite a while. Nothing in the format is nearly as powerful as the triple threat of Batterskull, Sword of Fire and Ice, and Jitte.

The Strategy

The strategy behind DnT can take pages and pages of information to fully understand, which is more than we have time here to take a stab at; however, one of the biggest pieces to understanding how to best play the deck is how to analyze your role in the match. DnT is not a particularly fast deck, so understanding how best to approach a match is very important to navigating it. Another important skill to learn is reading your opponent and their board state.

One of the different roles you might take in a match is the disrupt and beat down plan, where your goal is to provide enough disruption that your opponent can't perform their game plan while you beat them to death with creatures. This comes into play in match-ups such as Storm where all you have to do is keep them from executing their combo.

Another role is that of control, where you are primarily just trying to manage what the opponent is doing and countering with answers and removal. A good example of this is against Eldrazi, where many of DnT's creature threats don't line up well against the Thought-Knot Seers and Reality Smashers that Eldrazi plays.

Finally, DnT can also assume a very aggro-centric role, where it's quick to establish a clock and push through that clock so that it can quickly end the game. Decks like Miracles require a small creature base with a quick, established clock to push them into action where they would rather durdle and let you overextend.

And of course, the ultimate role of the deck—as noted by Phillip on Thraben University—is punching bag. This of course applies to what is often described by DnT pilots as the "AHHHH GET IT OFF ME GET IT OFF ME!" match-up: Elves. Be forewarned that if you are seeking to learn and get into DnT, Elves is one of those decks that is the most extreme of nightmare match-ups. Because DnT's primary mana denial plan hinges on dealing with lands, Elves can easily outpace this because their mana generation comes from creatures. Trying to trade one-for-one with removal with this deck is insanely pointless, and Elves can easily outdraw you with the most powerful value engine probably in all of Legacy with Glimpse of Nature. It's only worth noting this because some people might try to take measures in their sideboard to combat this match-up, and my advice to you on that is: Don't. Warping your sideboard for one stunningly bad match-up in this format makes your sideboard weaker to other strategies, so just accept the fact that most of the time unless the Elves pilot is braindead, you're probably gonna get overrun by little Green men.

Another solid route to strategy when it comes to playing DnT is to not play DnT. What I mean by this is that sometimes it's correct to take the time to play other decks in the metagame either by proxy or some other means to get a better understanding of how that deck functions. As I said before, DnT is a meta deck, so its game plan and your strategy will vastly improve as a player the more familiar you are with what your opponent is doing. Take a break occasionally and learn a new deck and play around with it—it will definitely help.

Color Splash — RW Taxes

Another card from Masters 25 that people may have seen pop up is Imperial Recruiter. While it may seem like this is a great card you want to run for a deck like Red/White Taxes, in all reality it actually isn't—at least not since Recruiter of the Guard came around. When it comes to tutoring, the new Recruiter gets pretty much every creature you want out of DnT, including grabbing Flickerwisp.

Let's take a look at a newer RW DnT list, shall we?

WR Taxes — Egget | 6–1 MTGO Legacy Challenge 02/11/2018

Creatures (25)
2 Dire Fleet Daredevil
3 Flickerwisp
2 Magus of the Moon
4 Mother of Runes
2 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
2 Recruiter of the Guard
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Vryn Wingmare

Instants/Sorceries (4)
4 Swords to Plowshares

Artifacts (7)
4 Aether Vial
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Umezawa's Jitte

Lands (24)
3 Cavern of Souls
2 Flooded Strand
3 Karakas
3 Plains
3 Plateau
4 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland
2 Windswept Heath

Sideboard (15)
1 Containment Priest
2 Council's Judgment
2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Leonin Relic-Warder
2 Mindbreak Trap
3 Path to Exile
1 Recruiter of the Guard
2 Rest in Peace

With new cards available like Dire Fleet, RW DnT has indeed grown in some measure of popularity as of late while people are still testing the card out. Phillip Gallagher even wrote a nice long article on how the card fits into the deck right over here.

Wrapping Up

As we look forward to the rest of the year, it's clear that this year is going to be a pretty fun year for Legacy. With Legacy on the Pro Tour to big events like Eternal Weekend and SCG Con's Duels for Duals, it's going to be an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the format.

Until next time!

Joseph Dyer (@volrathxp) is an avid Legacy enthusiast. He's admin of the /r/NicFitMTG subreddit, as well as a regular participant on the Source and MTGLegacy subreddits. His knowledge of the Legacy format is deeply rooted in constant analysis, playtesting, and lots of discussion of the format. Joseph's primary accomplishments include a 10–5 finish at GP Columbus 2016 with Rhino Fit, and a 32nd place finish at a SCG Columbus Legacy Classic with Sneak Fit. 

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