Only Two Things in Life Are Certain: An Interview on Death and Taxes
Recently I played versus "Egget" on MTGO and he showed me some new tech out of his R/W Death and Taxes deck that I piqued my curiosity. So I sat down and had a chat with him about how he came up with it and what results he has gotten as well as where he thinks the deck is headed from here.
Say Hello to Egil and His Little Dire Fleet Daredevil
My name is Egil (Egget on MTGO). I'm 29 years old and I live in Stockholm, Sweden. I started playing magic in 2012 and quickly realized that new cards are boring, so I started playing Legacy (and Vintage). I've played a lot of elves and miracles in the past, but I grew tired of drawing cards and acquired a certain deck known as Death and Taxes. When I'm not porting your white sources, I work as a software developer during the day and play computer games during the evening (mostly mainstream games like Counter-Strike, Overwatch and Playerunknown's Battlegrounds).
Anders: Hi Egil, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Can you tell me a bit about how you got the idea to test Dire Fleet Daredevil?
Egil: No problem. I'm not much of a Limited, Standard or Modern player, so the card wasn't really on my radar until I saw someone talk about it on The Source. It looked like it had a lot of potential and it's a fun, wacky non-blue card which I like, so I tried it. I was looking to splash red anyways for Magus of the Moon to combat four-color decks.
Anders: Yeah, I get that, Kolaghan's Commands can be pretty hard for you without the Magus I guess?
Egil: It's not that bad. Command is a good card but with Rishadan Port and/or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, you can make it cost four or more mana. So, you play your Stoneforge Mystic and they have to commit four mana to play the command, and then you just play something else instead of putting the Equipment into play. Death and Taxes is all about stranding cards in their hand or making their cards be less effective than they could otherwise be. The Magus just gives some free wins against them, which can be needed because they have so many powerful things going on.
Anders: Interesting, yeah, I have thought of Death and Taxes like it's almost like this kind of Boa Constricter of a legacy deck where it looks unassuming until they gently and carefully squeeze the outs out of you until you eventually suffocate under a pile of mediocre creatures.
Egil: Yeah, that's pretty much the deck.
Anders: In your experience is the splash just better or is it still up for debate?
Egil: It's still very much up for debate, but until people start running less greedy mana bases and playing more wastelands I like it.
Anders: So, the elephant in the room. How has Dire Fleet Daredevil been for you?
Egil: It has been quite good. The first strike is very relevant, I have ambushed Germ tokens in the mirror with Daredevil and a Thalia. Against lands, I have exiled their Life of the Loam, as it exiles the card even if you don't cast it so you have some incidental graveyard hate. Another very nice thing is that it's a red creature in the mirror, stretching their Mother of Runes a bit more. All that is apart from the obvious in just flashbacking some of your opponent's best spells. I have cast Supreme Verdict versus Miracles after they went off with Mentor. You and I had a game where I knew you had Entreat the Angels on top so I tried to Predict it, but you had the Brainstorm in response.
Anders: Yeah, good times. It sounds like the little pirate is finding a home in your list. Is it here to stay?
Egil: Yeah, I think so, I'm not cutting it any time soon.
Anders: So how do you think Death and Taxes are positioned right now? Will we keep seeing you top 8 Challenges?
Egil: I think it's well positioned in the meta game, the blue decks take care of its few bad match-ups and it's good versus Grixis Delver, especially if you tune it with Path to Exile in the sideboard. Magus of the Moon shores up the Czech pile matchup. However, it is really hard to pilot and you have to play many different roles, with many different game plans over the course of a tournament.
Anders: Do you have any tips if somebody feels inspired to sleeve up the plains?
Egil: You need to practice a lot and have deep knowledge of what all the other decks can do. Even though it is sometimes listed as an aggro deck it plays more like a control or prison deck. Like the Boa constrictor you mentioned it wants to slowly take away an opponent's options. So, you need to be aware of what their options are.
Egget's Taxing Tips
Some quick tips include: Rely on your opener and plan your game from it while continually adjusting for each draw. You don't have to port on upkeep, especially if you have a Vial, you might want to let them play a cantrip and then port them out of removal (say, if you want to vial in a Mother or a Stoneforge where it's important that you get to untap with the creature). Remember that if you choose to play with Daredevil, Deathrite Shaman's Instant/Sorcery eating ability suddenly becomes relevant.
But the best tip is just to practice a lot and try seeing games from the other side of table as well. Put yourself in your opponent's seat, what do they want to do, and how can you prevent it?
I asked Egil if I could share his list here for reference in case you want your taxmen to employ a pirate or two:
|3Cavern of Souls||2Dire Fleet Daredevil||4Swords to Plowshares|
|2Flooded Strand||3Flickerwisp||4Aether Vial|
|3Karakas||2Magus of the Moon||1Batterskull|
|3Plains||4Mother of Runes||1Sword of Fire and Ice|
|3Plateau||2Phyrexian Revoker||1Umezawa's Jitte|
|4Rishadan Port||1Pia and Kiran Nalaar|
|4Wasteland||2Recruiter of the Guard|
|2Windswept Heath||4Stoneforge Mystic|
|4Thalia, Guardian of Thraben|
|1Containment Priest||2Council's Judgment||2Ethersworn Canonist|
|1Gideon, Ally of Zendikar||1Leonin Relic-Warder||2Mindbreak Trap|
|3Path to Exile||1Recruiter of the Guard||2Rest in Peace|
That's it from me this time and thanks a lot to Egil for letting me chat with him!
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