Death and Taxes strategies are a big part of Modern and Legacy. The combination of mana denial and value creatures can beat a wide variety of opposition.

The headliner for this archetype is Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. A reasonably sized creature with 2 power and first strike for just 2 mana, Thalia can completely invalidate your opponent’s game plan. She’ll tax cheap cantrips and removal spells, and completely shut down combo decks. Adding an extra mana to their sweeper, or even forcing a Tron deck to wait an extra turn or two for Karn or Ugin, can be the difference between winning and losing, and Thalia is always an impactful creature.

Leonin Arbiter is another way to mess up your opponent’s plans. It hinders fetchlands while ruining the day of many important Modern cards like Expedition Map and Scapeshift (as well as all of the other ways to search lands out of your deck). It also combos well with our own mana base. Ghost Quarter becomes Strip Mine against a tapped out opponent. Field of Ruin is already excellent in Modern, but mana screwing an opponent with your Field is an option. Path to Exile becomes an efficient way to exile anything with an Arbiter on the battlefield.

Aether Vial is the best turn-1 play these decks have available, but this deck takes extra special advantage of it. Not only can Vial provide instantaneous blockers, but the enters-the-battlefield abilities can really mess with your opponent’s interaction as well.

Restoration Angel is a large creature that dodges a lot of Modern’s removal, hits hard, and gives you an excellent blink effect. Flickerwisp is a little cheaper but requires a Vial to get that flash effect. Either way, these help get the most out of your enters-the-battlefield triggers and you’re getting a 3-power evasive creature. Flickerwisp can also target opposing tokens, enchanted creatures, and a slew of other potential targets to great effect.

As far as your own creatures to blink, you have the full playset of Thraben Inspector for the early game and Blade Splicer for the middle stages. On top of that, Pia and Kiran Nalaar is an excellent threat that can easily win the game and combos super well with flicker effects.

Dire Fleet Daredevil is the new kid on the block. The reverse Snapcaster Mage can come down early as a threat or later for value. Combining Daredevil with Aether Vial can give you a closer approximation to Snapcaster as you can flash it in at instant speed. This is also another great creature to blink and get you even more value.

The creature you don’t see too often in any format that makes its way into this deck is Akroma, Angel of Fury. The red Akroma hits hard, but it’s hard to cast. Even Vialing it out is nearly impossible, but that’s not what this deck is trying to do! You only have the single copy, but with Flickerwisps and Restoration Angels in your deck, you can morph the Akroma and flicker it with one of these creature to have a 6/6 flying, trample, protection from white and blue, and firebreathing threat. And maybe you can unmorph it in the late game if you flood or have a Magus of the Moon in play after sideboarding!

Alongside your Paths you have a trio of Lightning Bolts for reach, early interaction, and a strong card even though they are both nombos with Thalia.

Mono-White, G/W, and U/W Hatebears or Death and Taxes decks have all had some success in Modern, and red has quite a few excellent cards to add to the archetype! And who doesn’t like attacking with an Akroma?

Bolts and Taxes

PARSIFICUS, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League