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Mana denial has always been a successful strategy in Magic, and for those who wish to prevent their opponents from doing anything, we have a variety of options. Modern Horizons has given us multiple revitalizing staples for the Taxes archetype, putting the deck in a position to regularly prey upon those who cast Serum Visions.

I’ll be evaluating the card choices of the archetype, as well the recommended number of copies for each card. Additionally, I’ll be evaluating the sideboard options and which ones are flexible.

Disruptive Creatures

Giver of Runes | A recent addition from Modern Horizons, Giver of Runes is the best one drop printed for the archetype. While giving the opponent a one turn window to deal with your board may seem underwhelming, the ability to push through damage and protect creatures on curve is akin to the value generated by Aether Vial. Protecting against colorless also blanks Wurmcoil Engine or Karn Liberated.

Leonin Arbiter | Easily the most punishing creature in the deck, Leonin Arbiter slows down fetch heavy mana bases while pairing with Path to Exile and Ghost Quarter to manage the board. Being a 2/2 makes Arbiter fragile, but we have Giver of Runes and other creatures to protect it.

Tidehollow Sculler | A linchpin engine piece, Tidehollow Sculler is our equivalent of Kitesail Freebooter, but trades flying for a bigger body. Additionally, Tidehollow Sculler combines with Eldrazi Displacer to permanent exile cards from an opponent’s hand — even at instant speed! To do this, activate Displacer in response to Tidehollow’s enters the battlefield trigger. This leaves you with the exile trigger resolving after the leaves the battlefield trigger.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben | The default disruptive creature in Modern, Thalia is the perfect creature to deploy alongside the other disruptive options. While Legendary, she is deserving of four slots, due to the prevalence of cheap cantrips. Thalia can also slow down removal spell heavy decks long enough to chain threats.

Thought-Knot Seer | Smashing into the Modern scene during Eldrazi Winter, Thought-Knot Seer gives the deck access to more copies of Tidehollow Sculler, but on a much bigger body. Many decks will be ill-equipped to deal with two “discard” spells and overcome the 4/4 body. Sometimes you even play it on Turn 2 off of some Eldrazi Temples.

Interactive Spells

Path to Exile | The premier white removal spell in Modern, Path to Exile serves as one of the few interactive elements in Eldrazi and Taxes. While a mana denial package my not seem to work well with Path, Leonin Arbiter mitigates the drawback.

Eldrazi Displacer | This Modern staple broke the format alongside Thought-Knot Seer, but has gone on to be an engine piece alongside a variety of disruptive threats. From looping a Tidehollow, to instant speed blinking with Flickerwisp, Eldrazi Displacer is the most versatile threat in the archetype. Like Giver of Runes, Displacer can push through damage by blinking blockers, and can protect on board threats by whisking them away from removal spells. The choices are many with Eldrazi Displacer, but so to is the power level.

Flickerwisp | This Elemental comes from Lorwyn Block, but its best friends come from other years. Flashing in a Flickerwisp on end step with an Aether Vial has been a play since its printing, but seldom do you as much impact as when paired alongside Eldrazi Displacer. Together these two cards can lock down nearly any permanent, and can even stunt an opponent’s mana development.

Wasteland Strangler | One of the flex slots in the archetype, Wasteland Strangler uses Tidehollow Sculler or Flickerwisp exiled cards to mitigate the temporary nature of these effects. On doing so, it also kills smaller creatures, giving the deck access to repeatable removal spells. Two copies is perfect for most lists.

Supporting Cards

Aether Vial | Easily the best one drop in the deck, Aether Vial serves as both an acceleration piece and a critical piece of disruption. By enabling instant speed threats, as well as 0 mana plays, Eldrazi Displacer and disruptive creatures can prevent the opponent from ever getting off the ground. Four copies is absolutely essential. Learning all the tricks of Aether Vial may take a long time, but understanding how best to use it is the difference between winning and losing games.

Silent Clearing | A recent addition to the mana base, Silent Clearing ensures that Eldrazi and Taxes never runs out of fuel. While ordinarily Shambling Vent would make the list, I’ve opted for the full four copies of this land instead, valuing mana efficiency over a grindier threat. You can mix and match with Shambling Vent as necessary.

Ghost Quarter | A “combo” piece with Leonin Arbiter, Ghost Quarter serves as both mana denial and removal spell. While able to nab utility lands in grindier matchups, Ghost Quarter acts as both Blood Moon prevention (you can target your own land to get any basic), as well as Wasteland. Like Aether Vial, four copies is mandatory.

The Sideboard

Fatal Push |  A defining removal spell of Modern, Fatal Push makes the sideboard over Dismember mostly due to a decrease in Gurmag Angler. While not castable off of a Ghost Quarter or a Plains, Fatal Push can hit larger threats and is better against aggressive decks.

Rest in Peace | A powerful piece of graveyard hate, Rest in Peace is necessary in multiples in order to beat Bridgevine. I would consider four copies, or some number of Relic of Progenitus alongside it.

Stony Silence | The Rest in Peace equivalent for most Artifacts, Stony Silence serves as a speedbump against Tron as well as a haymaker against Arcbound Ravager. At least one copy is default, but play more depending on the metagame.

Kambal, Consul of Allocation | Serving as both an anti-Burn card and a hate piece, Kambal is critical for fighting through Thing in the Ice. At least two copies is perfect right now, as he is legendary and has a fragile body.

Kaya, Orzhov Usurper | Slow to gain traction in most lists, Kaya is a removal spell against much of the format, while serving as an additional tool against graveyard decks. When combined with Rest in Peace she can kill incredibly quickly. One copy is perfect, as you cannot put her in with Aether Vial.

Plague Engineer | While nowhere near as hyped as many Modern Horizons cards, Plague Engineer does a reasonable Izzet Staticaster impression. While this archetype had Orzhov Pontiff available to it, Plague Engineer has overall more utility. The effect is not a trigger, and it persists across multiple turns.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar | The premier planeswalker threat for disruptive creature decks, Gideon is often a two of in the sideboard. Due to a unique vulnerability to removal spells, many post board games involved diversifying threats. Cards like Wasteland Stranger turn into Gideon, while you’re less likely to be in a racing scenario. As such, having a planeswalker that quickly ends the game is a good idea.


Thanks for checking out our Eldrazi and Taxes Deck Tech, and as always let us know what you want to see next in the comments below. You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/PariahPopular for more competitive content.