Video Daily Digest: Afterlife And Taxes

And here you thought death saved you from taxes! Modern is a strange place where Spirits (and Eldrazi!) can tax your mana better than you ever thought possible! SCG Philly is one day away!

I guess it’s Death and Taxes week here at the Daily Digest, but when I
wrote on Wednesday that this shell has been on my mind I wasn’t kidding. I
like disruptive aggro decks and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is one of my
favorite cards of all time, so figuring out how to make it work best in
Modern is a personal goal of mine.

This version of the deck goes a little heavier on its splash, but that’s
okay because Adarkar Wastes supports the Eldrazi that fit nicely into the
deck anyway, so you have a solid number of blue sources along with Aether
Vial to facilitate the blue creatures.

The gains from blue come primarily from the Spirit tribe, which offers
Mausoleum Wanderer and Spell Queller. Wanderer is the more questionable of
the two, but plays very nicely in this deck. It’s a one-drop for Aether
Vial so you can get on the battlefield quickly, and potentially, surprise
an unsuspecting opponent with a Force Spike. (It’s as sweet as it sounds, I

Beyond that, Mausoleum Wanderer is just a good card in this deck. You’re
heavily taxing your opponent’s mana with Leonin Arbiter, Ghost Quarter, and
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, so the Force Spike is going to be relevant
more often than in any other deck in Modern, and you have enough Spirits to
make it a real threat in the air, getting in around five damage pretty

Reflector Mage may not be a Spirit, but bouncing your opponent’s creatures
is great when they’re already constrained on mana, and if you follow it up
with a well-placed Ghost Quarter or two, you may just strand that creature
in their hand for good. At that point it’s just a three mana Ravenous
Chupacabra and I’ve heard that card is good. Oh, and Reflector Mage is
unbeatabilibuddies (try saying that one three times fast) with Eldrazi
Displacer in the late game. Death and Taxes-style decks don’t have the mana
base to play high cost, powerful effects; having a combo like this that can
take over late fills what would otherwise be a hole in the deck’s bag of

I like my mana denial decks to be able to punish the opponent for stumbling
with immediate aggression, because eventually they will draw out of their
screw, and this list seems to do that very well while also having more
disruption than most builds. The mana is never going to be as good as
mono-white, but on the balance the blue looks good.