The Jig Is Up – Winning Duals to Protect the Jewels with Death & Taxes

Hey, I’m Jack Jiggens for those who don’t know. I managed to win the recent big Legacy event in Melbourne on Death & Taxes. I’ve been playing the deck for about a year and Legacy on-and-off for about two and a bit years. I started Magic in the first Mirrodin block and played up until Shards. I took a few years off and started playing again in Theros. I’ve had ups and downs with the deck a lot, but it has served me mostly well. While some people find the deck boring, I find it fun and productive working out how to prison people and play around hate.

My deck list:

Creatures: (26)
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Mother of Runes
4 Flickerwisp
3 Phyrexian Revoker
3 Stoneforge Mystic
2 Serra Avenger
2 Mirran Crusader
2 Sanctum Prelate
2 Recruiter of the Guard

Non-Creature Spells: (11)
4 Aether Vial
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Swords to Plowshares

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

Sideboard: (15)
2 Rest in Peace
2 Containment Priest
2 Council’s Judgment
2 Path to Exile
2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Fairy Macabre
1 Pithing Needle
1 Palace Jailer
1 Leonin Relic-Warder

Round 1 vs. ANT (2-0)

The first game was rather one sided. He mulled to six and Lotus Petal’d into a Cabal Therapy naming Thalia, of which I had none in hand. This was followed by us not doing anything and me playing a Sanctum Prelate on four turn three, sealing the game.

+2 Rest in Peace
+2 Ethersworn Canonist
+1 Faerie Macabre

-4 Swords to Plowshares
-1 Flickerwisp

The second game he Probed me and saw a dangerous hand. This lead into an Ad Nauseam which wasn’t enough to win. He was on two life and was forced to go for a sixteen damage Tendrils. I quickly recovered with Revoker on LED and Canonist, and won the match.


Round 2 vs. BUG Landstill (2-0)

He got the play and fetched Underground Sea and played DRS. I knew I was playing a BUG variant, but with so many currently it was hard to tell what. The main tell was turn three he searched for an Island. Shardless never plays an Island in their list as far as I know, so I was able to exclude Shardless, hoping he wasn’t just running a weird mana base. He however then played Creeping Tar Pit which True-Name BUG nor Delver plays, so I was super confused thinking he was on Shardless again. I just kept playing a D&T game attacking with Serra and Thalia, porting his Bayou and Tar Pit. He then started Delving and I assumed for certain he was on either BUG Delver or a weird TNN list with turbo fish in it, however he played Tasigur instead. At this point I had no idea what he was doing, so I just kept attacking with fliers to seal the game.

+2 Council’s Judgment

-1 Flickerwisp
-1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

I would of boarded more, but I had still had no idea what he was on. The CJs are in because they are outs to random problem permanents.

Game two, he leads with DRS, I lead with Vial. He keeps killing my hate bears and lands a Jace. After landing a Jace he then casts a Standstill, giving away he’s on BUG Landstill. With Jace, DRS and Tar Pit the Standstill seems ok, however I did still have my Vial in play. I end up Porting his Tar Pit for a few turns and use Vial to develop my board and kill his Jace. At this point he ends up casting Brainstorm and I draw three cards off Standstill ending up with ten cards in hand during his turn. At this point I just win off card advantage.

Round 3 vs. Death & Taxes (2-1)

I really hate the D&T mirror and had hoped I wouldn’t play it once; but I ended up playing it three times. It was his first time playing Legacy and I gave him credit for doing so well. However, he did make some minor mistakes in the first game such as tapping Karakas to cast a Thalia, while I had an untapped Karakas and a Thalia in play. Game one ended with me playing Stoneforge, already having a Batterskull in hand, and giving a Batterskull a Jitte.

+2 Path to Exile
+1 Containment Priest
+2 Council’s Judgment
+1 Orzhov Pontiff
+1 Leonin Relic-Warder

-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
-2 Sanctum Prelate
-1 Aether Vial/land (Vial on the draw, land on the play)

Game two I had a very strong board presence, and was in a very good position, until he drew two Stoneforges and my life became hell. Stoneforge is really strong in the mirror and if you cannot answer it, it usually just ends the game. Which is what happened.

Game three was probably the best of the match. It was won with both sides having equipment out at the same time and good use of Flickerwisps. He didn’t have a Vial and I did, so my Flickerwisps were much more dangerous. I ended up winning just due to Flickerwisping his equipment at key times.

Round 4 vs. Merfolk (2-0)

I honestly don’t remember much of this match, though my opponent made some critical mistakes during the match which he recognised afterwards. I certainly felt bad for him, but it happens to all of us though. Two weeks ago I had the same situation where I missed a Haunt trigger off my Pontiff which would of killed an entire board.

Anyway, it was basically just Fish vs. D&T with only TNN being a huge threat. I quickly win game one with fliers. Game two would of been a lot closer, but he Forced a Swords to Plowshares targeting a Phantasmal Image and put a creature into play with Vial while I had Containment Priest in play.

+2 Council’s Judgment
+2 Path to Exile
+1 Orzhov Pontiff
+1 Containment Priest

-3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
-2 Phyrexian Revoker
-1 Aether Vial

Round 5 vs. 4c Loam (1-2)

I played the eventual top of the Swiss and another Top 4er. I would like to congratulate him for doing so well, as he’s somewhat new to the format and I think this this was his first big tournament.

Game one I beat him down with fliers while he had a Dark Confidant down the entire match and it ended up killing him. He did draw a lot of lands off Confidant, which did annoy me somewhat. The only way D&T can really beat Loam is if we play aggressively by putting down Mirran or Serra Avenger and tax their land base. It is also possible to go over them with equipment, but since he was heavy on walkers I didn’t want to try.

+1 Palace Jailer
+1 Pithing Needle

-1 Aether Vial
-1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Game two. This game I kept a risky hand of two Wastelands, two Plains and two Serra Avengers. The game plan was to Wasteland him out quickly and hope he didn’t have a Mox, then stall turns and jam Serra Avengers. It worked out well until he drew a Maze of Ith and I didn’t draw any outs to it. The game stalled and he just crushed me with his walkers.

Game three was basically the same game as game two but he chained Lilianas at me. Not much to say, it was fairly one-sided, I never really developed a good board state and was oppressed by walkers.

Round 6 vs. RUG Delver (0-2)

I was playing against a good friend Sean Brown who happens to be the best D&T player I know. This isn’t great news because I was on D&T, however his Delver deck doesn’t have a strong plan of attack against D&T. However Sean’s superior knowledge was enough to seal the win.

(Editor’s note: Find Sean’s perspective of the matchup from the other side here.)

Game one the game drew out for a while; he kept killing my threats and I kept killing his. He eventually landed a threat and I couldn’t deal with it and lost.

+2 Council’s Judgment

-1 Aether Vial
-1 Mirran Crusader

Sean’s somewhat special tech destroyed me. His Spell Snare on my Thalia turn two and later Stoneforge Mystic just crushed my hand and I couldn’t recover from it.

I have to hand it to him, I’ve played against RUG twice before and they were relatively easy wins, so for him to win such a hard matchup is proof of his amazing understanding of D&T. The good news was watching him beat me gave me more insight into how D&T’s weaknesses can be exposed.

After two straight losses I thought my day would be over and I didn’t have a chance to Top 8. When I saw the standings list and realised I was still eighth I was very happy; I just had to win the next round to make it in!

Round 7 vs. Merfolk (2-1)

Game one was rather simple with fliers flying over Merfolk and me Plowing lords and my ground troops keeping him back. At one stage he lands a lord, attacks me and I block, letting first strike damage happen and then Plow his lord before normal damage, resulting in a huge blow out.

+2 Path to Exile
+2 Council’s Judgment
+1 Orzhov Pontiff

-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
-1 Phyrexian Revoker

The game plan is to remove every lord you see, then potentially blow them out with Orzhov Pontiff. You’re casting more non-creature spells than them, so Thalias are annoying.

Game two four Mutavaults just crushed me to death, with me removing every lord I saw. I think in the end I misplayed. I had a CJ in hand and I could’ve of used it on his lord a turn sooner, but I was hesitant to waste a CJ on a lord.

Game three I had early Vial, and Stoneforge into Batterskull with SoFI just seals the game quickly. There isn’t really much they can do about it apart from bouncing the equipment (and I don’t think he had ways to do this).

End of this Swiss I stole seventh spot thanks to the good old tie breakers.

Quarterfinals vs. Death & Taxes (2-0)

The fun old D&T mirror.

Game one was me just removing his creatures with equipment while attacking with my own equipped creatures and sealing the win.

+2 Path to Exile
+1 Containment Priest
+2 Council’s Judgment
+1 Orzhov Pontiff
+1 Leonin Relic-Warder

-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
-2 Sanctum Prelate
-1 Aether Vial/land (Vial on the draw, land on the play)

Game two was more or less the same except for on turn four he played Gideon, and I really was hoping he would. In response to the Gideon I Vial’d in a Revoker naming Gideon and then activated Stoneforge putting Batterskull into play. The next turn I put Jitte into play, gave it to Batterskull, killed his Gideon and just had a huge tempo swing to win the game.

Semifinals vs. Eldrazi Stompy (2-0)

Game one I kept a hand with Vials, Wasteland and a Serra Avenger. I hoped to tempo him out and crush with Avenger. He leads with City into Chalice on one, which took away my Vial chances. I played a Plains and passed. He tapped City for two then played temple and played Thought-Knot Seer. I then Wastelanded his only land and attempted to resolve an Aether Vial through Chalice. I was luckily successful! He continued to beat me down some more; I drew another Wasteland and Wastelanded him again. I then traded two Revokers for his Thought-Knot Seer. After putting Avenger into play I just won off fliers.

+2 Path to Exile
+1 Council’s Judgment

-3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

This was incorrect, correct boarding is:

+2 Path to Exile
+2 Council’s Judgment

-4 Mother of Runes

I forgot what I was supposed to take out, which were my Moms, but I took Thalias out because they would affect my ability to cast removal.

Game two he got stuck on three mana after I Wasteland him, with only a Mimic in play, and I just crushed him with random creatures.

Finals vs. Death & Taxes (2-1)

Game one I drew a very strong hand which in all honesty could of stopped nearly everything my opponent could do. I couldn’t see a way out for him had he tried to do anything. The situation was he had a Jitte in play with a Stoneforge with four mana up, I had an active Stoneforge, mana up and Vial on two. I had a Plow, Revoker, Jitte and a Thalia in hand. If he Revoked my Vial, I would of Plowed the Revoker, Vial’d Thalia in, blocked and then Jitted him. If he Flickerwisped something he didn’t have mana to equip. He equipped and attacked, I put in Thalia and blocked, he then cast Revoker on my Jitte which I had in play and I Plowed it. On my turn I gave Stoneforge Jitte and sealed the game.

+2 Path to Exile
+1 Containment Priest (on the play)
+2 Council’s Judgment
+1 Orzhov Pontiff

-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
-2 Sanctum Prelate

Game two we both mulled to five, he lead turn one Mom, turn two Stoneforge. That is nearly impossible to beat in the D&T mirror. I was thinking of ways out and remembered I forgot to bring in Relic-Warder when I sided, so I had no ways out except for maybe a CJ. I draw for two more turns to see what happens, and then quickly concede.

+1 Leonin Relic-Warder
-1 Plains

Game three was also one sided. I lead with Vial off Plains. He leads with Vial off Rishadan Port. For those who don’t know, a D&T player leading Rishadan Port into Vial often means they have barely any decent lands in hand – only a Karakas as a White source or something. I decide to cast a Revoker on Mom, since I had a Flickerwisp in hand I could always put it on Vial if he didn’t play any more White sources. He didn’t, so turn three I Vial in Serra Avenger and Flicker my Revoker to Vial and the next turn Wasteland his Wasteland (it was tapped from Porting my plains). The match ends with me just killing him with fliers

Tl;dr fliers are o.p. in Legacy!

Highlights of the deck: Serra Avenger and Flickerwisp.
Lows of the deck: Didn’t face many matchups where Thalia shined.

By Jack Jiggens

3 thoughts on “The Jig Is Up – Winning Duals to Protect the Jewels with Death & Taxes”

  1. “I then Wastelanded his only land and attempted to resolve an Aether Vial through Chalice. I was luckily successful!”

    Is this even “legal”? Chalice looks non-optional to me, so he couldn’t have missed the trigger, even if he had wanted to.

    Disclaimer: I haven’t been following “recent” rules development since my last PT (2008?). As such, maybe some “new” rules allow this kind of things to happen.


    1. The onus is on the opponent to remember the Chalice trigger – there is nothing wrong with casting a one cmc spell (unlike Sanctum Prelate where you explicitly cannot cast a spell). So yeah, this isn’t illegal.

      – Sean


  2. @self Manners, where art thou?

    Congratulations to placing #1, of course! How does 3 Stoneforge Mystic work out for you in general? I can barely imagine not having 4, tbh.


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