TheBizzar's picture
By: TheBizzar, Micah Kilian
May 21 2010 3:51am
Login or register to post comments

Hello all and welcome to what has arguably been the most controversial deck list I have had the pleasure of putting together in my time on MTGO. So here we go...

It certainly has been some time since I have been able to sit down and put some time playing anything other than STD. As an older player, I have to recognize the need to pull away from this game and focus on the real world. I know it is a lame excuse but it is true. However, with the release of Urza, I just could not control myself and had to come back to draft. With no expendable cash on hand I turned to my card collection and started selling cards. Unlike most of you, I am sure, I am terrible at timing when to sell cards. Here is a great example of this. Noticing the fact that Tarmogoyf was being played in just about every format other that block and standard, I moved to sell them at 35 just to watch them rocket up within a week to well over 45 tickets each. I also dumped off a play set of Baneslayer Angel along with nearly every card in the Standard format not in Jund. This racked me up to several hundred tickets to spend on events. Promptly I found that I was not able to pilot Jund with any success. With the need to find some pleasure in the game before I kicked my PC out the window like Charlie Murphy in a True Hollywood Stories skit, I turned to drafting UUU. Thank what ever God you want to pray to that I was able to crack open several money cards and win a few packs at the same time. However, it was not enough and sure as my tag name on MTGO is TheBizzar, I was down under 50 tickets and scrambling to figure out a way to enter into Legacy events. This lead to some major depression with the realization that Tarmogoyf was, at the time, the number one played card in Legacy. At this time Tarmogoyf was sitting at an easy 45 tickets and I felt I would never be able to compete in Legacy events. I bought the cards for mono-red-burn known as RDW since I saw it was able to pull a few 3-1 finishes. If only I could go back in time and stop myself from making that purchase. Good deck for some just not me. Luckily I had tried RDW in Classic with limited success and didn't have to drop more than 15 tickets to flush out the deck. However, I lost 12 tickets to event registration without as much as a match win. Next was an attempt to pull together a non-Tarmogoyf version of Zoo. Well that was a lost cause but it did put Umezawa's Jitte back in my collection.

At this point I was just about to give up hope knowing I could not afford to tap into the cash reserves to support my cardboard crack habit anytime soon. Then when things where looking their darkest my clan mate Blazelix started hitting 3-1 and 4-0 records with Death and Taxes. Realizing I had not sold any of my TSP block cards I started to look and see what all was needed to put this together and basically ride my buddies coat tails. Turns out I only needed 4 Karakas , Sword of Fire and Ice and a Sword of Light and Shadow . I was excited once more. Here I am, 30 tickets way from a deck that has proven to be a winner. So I made the move and promptly learned to lose with the deck. Here is the list for those that don't have it devoted to memory: 


For those of you that have not had the chance to test with this deck list it basically abuses Aether Vial as much as possible. It has an aggressive start to the game with 24 creatures all at 3CC or less. Flickerwisp is extremely useful in this deck with the Aether Vial since you can bounce back attackers and counter attack with a 3/1 body. The use of Benevolent Bodyguard and Aether Vial gives a nice combat trick and surprise protection that is hard to read. The deck is great vs Goblins, Zoo and Bant NO decks. Check out this link to read up on side boarding and the match ups here:[Deck]-Death-and-Taxes&p=452067&viewfull=1#post452067

Sorry but you will have to copy paste for now, but it is a very good view of the deck.

As I said above I did not do well with it. I lost in mirrors and I lost to Landstill nearly every time I played. However, one thing I have learned is that even in your loses you gain insight into the types of match ups you can expect in the next event. This was no different. I noticed that I was running into a Death n Taxes deck (or version of the deck) every event for 3 or 4 events. So I started thinking of how I can gain the advantage in these match ups. I tried making the deck black and white...I didn't like it as much as the mono white version and in testing the white Death n Taxes list won nearly every match. While testing with Blazelix he told me the mirror match up is all about the fliers. The more I played the mono white Death and Taxes list the more I found this to be true. I also noticed that the artifacts basically won or lost the game. If I could keep a sword in play I won, if not I lost. So, I started to think artifact/enchantment hate. This would also give me an edge in the Landstill match up to some extent. Looking for creatures that would give me some control in this area lead me to the best artifact/enchantment creature OF ALL TIME...Qasali Pridemage . In order to add this to the list I would need to splash green and that lead to a deck list that was nearly the exact same list as Death and Taxes except for the addition of pridemages. The Jotun Grunt moved out of the main deck and I reasoned that I could also take out the Runed Halo that at one point was put in to replace an Oblivion Ring. This made room for the 4 of Qasali Pridemage. The land base, of course, had to be changed to support the splash of green. Soon I was playing in the TP room again testing the list. Instantly I could see that the pridemages were the perfect answer for the mirror match. As buddies of mine popped in to see what I was doing and playing they started sending me links to different green/white lists. NO_1 and Blaxelix sent me to look at what is known as Living &Taxes. Here is the list:



As most of you can see, some of the cards are not online at this time but the deck was nearly all there for online play. The other issue I had with the deck as that Tarmogoyf was in the list. I didn't have the card or the money to make that happen. So, I stayed with Flickerwisp instead of using Tarmogoyf remembering what Blazelix had told me about the importance of fliers in the mirror match. Testing went really well for the deck list I was now playing. That is to say it went well with the exception the many loses I suffered to my other clan mate morgan_coke's Loam deck. A true uphill battle all the way for Death and Taxes. I also was not satisfied with the use of Benevolent Bodyguard as the 1 drop. Mostly because I wanted something that could both get under a StandStill and have a heavier body to push the issue. Since I was playing green I went with Loam Lion. This choice lead to many watchers of my games LOLing @ me and attempt to talk me out of the list that was starting to present itself to me. There was just one more thing that needed to be done. I needed some way to stop the big sweepers that the Loam deck and Goblin decks used that would clear my board. So, I went back to the Living & Taxes list and stole the use of Gaddock Teeg. So, here (with some additional Teegs in place of  Ethersworn Canonist) is the deck list I was able to pilot to a 3-1 record in one of the 5/19 DEs the first time I played it:



At first you might say I am out of my mind not playing Tarmogoyf in a creature based green deck and you would not be alone. In fact, I can not argue against it in such a deck except for this one. If you compare TaxMan to Living & Taxes you will notice that Flickerwhisp stayed in the deck over Tarmogoyf . Here is my reasoning. Lets say my opponent has a Tarmogoyf in play that is huge. Let's give it a body of 6/7. He does not have a flier since there are only 4 in the deck list but I do. Let's just say for the sake of this discussion I also have any other creature and a Sword of Light and Shadow. Here is how the Tarmogoyf fails over the use of the additional fliers. They attack and I chump block the Tarmogofy. In return I attack with a flyer that can not be blocked by any creatures in the Living & Taxes list triggering the "return a creature from the graveyare" ability from the sword. This allows me to drop the chump blocker into play and continue to hold the Tarmogoyf at bay. Now you might say that all the Tarmogoyf needs is a sword of it's own to break the block aid and you are correct. However, lets look at the advantages TaxMan has in controlling the artifacts. First, Living & Taxes trades the use of Oblivion Ring for Living Wish. I never liked that since Living Wish basically only helps in putting the Mangara of Corondor combo come together faster. Also, There are only 3  Qasali Pridemage compared to the 4 in the TaxMan deck list. That 3 card advantage in removal combined with the trickery of being able to bounce a sword with Flickerwisp creates a seven card advantage before boards in the fight over artifact control while maintaining all of the fundamentals of the original Death and Taxes list. Also, the Living &Taxes deck list has a harder to handle ratio of green mana producers/fetchers to green cards when compared to the TaxMan deck list because of the inclusion of Tarmogoyf . Not having Tarmogoyf allows the TaxMan deck to limit the number of times it is stuck with green spells in hand while having no green mana. This also allows it to run at nearly the same speed as the Death and Taxes list while gaining larger bodies in the creature base and more control over the artifacts in play. Some might argue that it is reasonable to take out the Loam Lion in place of  Tarmogoyf for the simple fact that it creates that huge boost to the size of the creature base but Tarmogoyf simply does not get out before StandStill in that match up 50% of the time. In that match up I see a need to have 8 1 drops that create a tempo advantage in that match up. 

With all this said, the deck is still only 1-0 in DE Event play payouts so far. I am currently debating on the usefulness of the Johan Grunt in the side board as I would like to strengthen my SB against LandStill and ANT even more.


lol Thanks for the comment by TheBizzar at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 09:07
TheBizzar's picture

I look forward to the counter arguments for Tarmogoyf. I know conventional wisdom dictates the use of tarmogoyf as I have personally bore the brunt of some negative comments and curses via MTGO recently. BTW thanks to everyone that has offered to loan me a play set of tarmos.

Personally, I applaud any by blau at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 09:43
blau's picture

Personally, I applaud any deck that can find a way not to run Tarmogoyf. Since I don't own any, I understand the frustration of looking at decklists and seeing 4x Goyf and thinking, so much for that idea.

Congrats on the finish and by menace13 at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 15:25
menace13's picture

Congrats on the finish and yes, your list is better in the mirror, tho i still can not justify not playing IT. Only way to prove that is keep putting up results.

Till Micheler's list is built to have answers/threats against control decks and a chance vs combo, his meta is Holland. Chant,Teeg,Canonist are his best plays against ANT and Choke,Teeg,Grips and Crucible(with a huge land package) recurring Ports and Wasteland round out the anti control suite. It plays a singelton E. Tutor to effectively play 2 of Canonist,Relic,Crypt,Choke and Crucible.

Living Wish is a great inclusion in an otherwise draw dependant deck, its purpose is to act as a tutor for anything the least of which is Mangara/Karakas; Harmonic Sliver(adds +2 maindeck to answers for Arts/Encht),Samurai of the Pale Curtain, and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale and Tividar are there for The Red Menace.

He ran a mono w to a finish and switched to Living Wish about a few months later last year. The 2 showings of Living taxes are in 30+man events with multi round swiss and top 8 playoff(only real way to gauge a deck and is also the formula Menendian uses to tally). Till has piloted his list in a 57 and 45 man event top 8's placing 4th both times.

Oh and buy fukin Tarmos!

this reminds me of the bwg by whiffy at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 15:26
whiffy's picture

this reminds me of the bwg hate bears deck i played in classic b4 legacy started. basically tarmogoyf is the worst card in the deck, for all the reasons u said. who cares if its a 90/millionty. it dosent matter if they haz blocks or just combos your faze b4 it does anythings. in a deck that needs to disrupt with out blue. tarmo is not gonna cut the mustard cause it does nothing. you already win creature match ups with out in mono whites.

I have been playing around by Cantripping at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 16:18
Cantripping's picture

I have been playing around with a BW build and have really been liking a pair of enlightened tutors in the maindeck - as mentioned above it lets your run a couple 1-ofs to help your g1 match-up against some of the tougher decks.

you mentioned by ShardFenix at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 17:09
ShardFenix's picture

you mentioned deadguy pale ale still viable in legacy or whatever the deck was called...I know it ran gerrard's verdict and Hymn to tourach...i just wonder if its playable without sinkhole...which hopefully is in MED4

Additional Thoughts by TheBizzar at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 17:29
TheBizzar's picture

There is one big difference that can make a play set of tarmos worth being in the deck and that is the inclusion of Mother of Runes. She helps push the tarmo over the red zone. She is not online so the next best thing is the bodyguard(just not as effective). Once they are online they would probably come in place of the lions(3of) and a 3rd teeg would come into the deck. I don't see Tarmo doing much for the deck other than being a really big stick. The same effect (to a much lesser extent, but easier to get out under a standstill) is loam lion. I have no plans to continue playing paper magic is STD or any other format. One just can not find enough local events to make it affordable and preferable to MTGO. As for meta, the Taxman deck was put together to give an advantage over Death n Taxes and the variants of that deck since I was running into that deck once every event. It has truly become an it deck. So Taxman does the job that is was built to do. Our buddy Bobby-ganoosh, at some point, will be looking for ways to add tarmos to the list while keeping bodyguards(Mother of Runes soon)in the list. It is going to be interesting to see what he comes up with. I don't want anyone thinking I don't have access to Tarmos though. I recall some one offering them to me to play in the Wednesday night DE and warning me to play the Death n Taxes list that I have already failed to take to any prize pay out. I am just choosing to use flickers for the over the top flight.

No matter what, I do plan to get back to my tarmos. I just have to earn them through payouts for now. One thing is for sure they are used in so many deck lists I really miss having them accessible on my own account. I think the loam lion in the list is what is really getting under the skin of most people that are pro-tarmo in the deck list. They are not there as a replacement for tarmo but rather as the replacement for Bodyguard. I am on the fence about the E Tutor in the deck mostly because of the use of COW over a SOLS. Currently the online meta totally justifies White hate, ANT hate, Standstill hate and Dredge hate. Goblins are out there in force but they end up in the crossfire. So not having a SOLS seems like a bad call for the online meta.

I love the banter though. One thing I did not take into account is the use of E Tutor for Cannonist. Thanks for bringing that up menace. It may make a difference in future lists for me since I am looking for that extra advantage in the ANT match up. It also explains the 1 of Cannonist in the list. You know I respect your knowledge of the game. I just hope you can return the love to a brother that is not head over heals over tarmo in this one list. I remember a time when green was played before tarmo was printed so I know it can be done. lol...joking. Tarmo is the bomb. As for this deck being a budget's true, but the same can be said about any legacy deck that does not run blue really. I mean only 4 dual lands alone makes it budget while also making the list more expensive than Death n Taxes by nearly 80 USD. Anyway, Ill see you all online soon. BTW whats up Wiffy...long time buddy.

To ShardFenix by TheBizzar at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 17:32
TheBizzar's picture

ShardFenix- from what I have seen all the lists that sport sinkhole are currently not attractive in the online meta. The really awesome thing about the online meta over paper is the enormous amount of meta feedback we can get from these DEs firing all the time. Some one is going to break a new list from all this Legacy play. I want to see sinkhole come online so I can mix in some pox play...oh wait that takes tarmos...=) I know I will have to buy them then.

lol thats why im going for by ShardFenix at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 19:00
ShardFenix's picture

lol thats why im going for deadguy ale...itss an older list but there are almost no money cards at all in it other than scrublands

The Basics: Deadguy Ale is a B/W Aggro Control deck, that disrupts it's opponants with such spells as Sinkhole, Hymn to Tourach, and Duress. The creatures it plays are generally there not because of their power, but because of their utility, such as Hypnotic Spector or Dark Confidant. It's problem matchups are generally midrange aggro decks, such as Faerie Stompy, RGSA, or Angel Stompy. It has very good matchups against Combo in all forms, due to the large amount of Discard and Land Distruction, and has favorable matchups against most Control decks. The original decklist was played by Chris Pikula, the creator of Meddling Mage, to a second place finish.

10 x Swamp
4 x Scrubland
4 x Bloodstained Mire
4 x Wasteland
1 x Tainted Field
4 x Dark Confidant
4 x Hypnotic Specter
3 x Nantuko Shade
4 x Duress
4 x Hymn to Tourach
4 x Sinkhole
4 x Dark Ritual
4 x Vindicate
2 x Gerrard's Verdict
2 x Engineered Plague
2 x Cursed Scroll

4 x Withered Wretch
3 x Pithing Needle
2 x Engineered Plague
2 x Darkblast
2 x Swords to Plowshares
2 x Phyrexian Negator

That just looks like really by Paul Leicht at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 19:37
Paul Leicht's picture

That just looks like really old school discard control. Though the sideboarded Swords are different since they usually are main deck.

i tink the swords are by ShardFenix at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 20:59
ShardFenix's picture

i tink the swords are sideboarded because at the time the meta was more combo and control oriented

re: Shard by menace13 at Sat, 05/22/2010 - 01:19
menace13's picture

There is a Deadguy list or 2 running around.
is more like the one your aiming at. Hahaucare has a Rock list with Scullers and a ton of discard.

I've seen the GW and BW by JustSin at Fri, 05/21/2010 - 23:43
JustSin's picture

I've seen the GW and BW versions appear in the DEs, but I have to say I'm not a fan of those that choose to skip the flickerwisps

nice by Salgy at Sat, 05/22/2010 - 00:11
Salgy's picture

I wouldn't mind play testing against your build bizz, I been up against the mono W version and feel comfortable playing against it, want to see how much of a challenge playing over teeg will be

Sup by TheBizzar at Sat, 05/22/2010 - 01:56
TheBizzar's picture

Im on line now looking for a PT. Look in the PT room.

Newest update by TheBizzar at Sat, 05/22/2010 - 16:02
TheBizzar's picture

Well as usual I am never satified with a deck. Event the best player's deck lists get me thinking of what can change. With that said I have gone back to my list and tweeked it a little more. Thanks to about 100 play test matches against my buddy MilkShake's dredge deck the sb is now modified for that match up and the reanimator match up. We tried it all too. From a play set of Leylines just chillin' in the sb to the original package in the deck list above to a non-trap using gy hate set of cards. After it all was said and done it seemed to be a tie between the Leyline package with a 1 of tormod's and 1 of relic (I added E. Tutor to the main deck with a COW so the one of's really tricked out nicely) and the all artifact list of 3 tormod's and 3 relics. For now the sb is staying with the artifacts simply because the early chain of vapors does make leyline a dead card. However, with that said, the leyline package was undefeated while the artifact based package did loose a match. The trap package, while effective, is to easy to play around for reanimator and thresh. In addition to the gy hate the dredge match up pulls in the 3 of BFTs for the sac ability. So, currently the deck list is looking like this:
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
4 Qasali Pridemage
3 Loam Lion
1 Enlightened Tutor
4 Savannah
1 Swords to Plowshares
4 Flickerwisp
1 Umezawa's Jitte
4 Karakas
4 Serra Avenger
4 Wasteland
3 Mishra's Factory
1 Forest
3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Windswept Heath
1 Crucible of Worlds
2 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Plains
2 Oblivion Ring
3 Gaddock Teeg
4 Æther Vial
1 Plains
3 Mangara of Corondor
1 Sword of Light and Shadow

1 Tivadar of Thorn
2 Tormod's Crypt
1 Aura of Silence
2 Pithing Needle
1 Ethersworn Canonist
3 Relic of Progenitus
3 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Silence

My 2 cents by FuryPower at Sat, 05/22/2010 - 17:35
FuryPower's picture

After watching near 50 of Blazelix's D&T games I would have to say that I am most fond of his list, I do like your list but I feel like the inclusion of Green is unnecessary. I do have to agree with you on one thing. Tarmogoyf, while an excellent card, is over rated.

I have a few concerns:
Personally, I like Jotun Grunts. It is a pretty fat creature at 4/4 that keeps an ever growing Tarmogoyf from getting to out of hand by recycling the cards that make it so big. It also helps against reanimator and, if you catch someone off thier game, can recycle the Bridges in Dredge.

Ethersworn Cannonist should be a 2 of IMO. If anything it is a roadblock storm has to get through.

I wouldn't LoL at your Loam Lion, seeing as how it is ALMOST identical to kird ape, which sees/has seen a lot play. But it still think that the Bodygaurd is better. It provides awesome combat tricks with the Vial.

Aside from that I like you list.

Things I like a lot:

Your sideboard is pretty much perfect IMO.
You made a good use of the Green splash without taking away from the White Skeleton that is D&T
Obviously I like Flickerwisp. For those of you who don't see the full potential of this creature read this
it is a good representation of the D&T deck with an excellent explanation of how to play it.

What I would do:
I would run 2 Horizon Canopy
I would also replace the loam lions with either A: Bodyguards or B: Elvish spirit guide.
spirit guide isn't so good as a creature, but it is nice to excel to a T1 2 drop. or a T2 Mangara(which is awesome with Karakas or Flickerwisp)

Final points:
Are you going to run Mother of Runes when it gets released? Personally, I think it is too good not to run as at least a 3 of.

I am considering making this deck so Blaze, You, and I can run a little D&T Juggs playtest group.
Good luck to you, I look forward to watching your replays.

TheBizzar's picture

You bring up some good points on match ups that I can reply on. The Grunts are a hard one to let go. They are fun to play and totally tear up a gy. But the are limited as to when they can target the GY. Because of this I found that Grunts (while they have the potential to mess up a reanimator player that is dumb enough to not put the creature in the gy at the end of your turn) simply can be played around. Now with that said they are more useful in the Dredge match up in game one. On the play they are best since Dredge start dropping 2/2s into play turn 2. As for them being in the main deck I found they have all the same problems vs standstill and tarmo does while being very situational. With the cow in the deck list it starts to make even less sense to include the Grunts. But I love those 2 drop 4/4s.

The one of cannonist in the sb actually ends up being a 2 of with E. Tutor. So, I dropped the 1 I had in the main deck for a 3rd Teeg since I can bounce and replace into play teeg at instant speed provided I have a Karakas and a Vial set at 2 untapped. It makes it very hard for ANT to storm off on you. But I might figure out a way to bring one more cannonist into the main deck in place of the COW if I am not pleased with the way it works out with the current cards online. Not having ports limits the usefulness of the COW.

Loam lion seems to be the card that is putting players on tilt the most. It is simply there for one thing...provide a blocker/attacker in the standstill match up. It is also not bad to have vs Goblins and zoo. In the DnT match up Lion is a beast. Turn 2 I can be setting the tempo of the match attacking with a 3/4 provided I get a Pridemage out. That 4 toughness keeps they DnT player from dropping a Serra to block even if they have a bodyguard out.

As for Mother of runes, I think that is the card that will go in the place of the Loam Lions when we get them online. She makes to much sense in the deck. She represents one of the stronger creatures for this deck list.

Finally, the cost vs reward of splashing green. Costs are that it opens the list up to stifle, some additional clunkiness in the mana base (it happens) and wastelands are more effective against you (kinda) To fight off these "-"s the deck has COW in it so stifle and wasteland are not as painfully effective as they could be. Plus, having a dual land out there makes for a nice target for them to wasteland over your Karakas. One forest helps prevent wasteland lock and as for the is not hard to pull the mana together. Now lets think of the positive of splashing green. First there is the thinning of the deck's mana. It makes for some really great late game draws. Since the deck has no draw producing cards (canopies are not in my collection currently but I like the card for this deck) the thinning is very much needed. In addition to that, green adds the versatility needed to deal with so many problem match up for the deck. Teeg stops Dredge and ANT while keeping Jace and FOWs from being played out of standstill. Pridemages help in the occasional stack match up, standstill, and the various mirror match variants. So I have to say the rewards seem to outweigh the costs.

I hope this clears up some of the reasoning I used or better yet seemed to gather from the guys in our play groups.

That makes a lot of sense. by FuryPower at Sat, 05/22/2010 - 18:40
FuryPower's picture

That makes a lot of sense. Hows your matchup with Fish? It seems to me like that would be a toughy. Shutting down your Vial T1 on the draw with FOW or cursecatcher on the play. How often do you find yourself tapping out and running into a Daze? Personally, I think merfolk is the best eternal deck, but with a playset of FOW covering my rent for the month and Daze and mutavalt i cant so much afford it.