Guest Tournament Report with David Lance

Hello everyone, my name is David Lance, and I recently played in the Legacy Eternal Weekend Championship, where I took 15th with Death and Taxes. I have been playing Death and Taxes for the last 2 years, picking it up after Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown. I’ve really enjoyed playing the deck, but recently the deck has not been in the greatest position with the Miracles matchup getting worse and Grixis Control being so prevalent. I was considering playing 5c Humans, as I’d been working with Eddie Zamora, but ultimately I decided to stick with my tried and true Death and Taxes. Here’s the list I had been working on:

David Lance, 15th at Eternal Weekend

Creatures (26)
Walking Ballista
Mother of Runes
Phyrexian Revoker
Remorseful Cleric
Stoneforge Mystic
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Hallowed Spiritkeeper
Mirran Crusader
Recruiter of the Guard
Sanctum Prelate
Palace Jailer

Spells (11)
Swords to Plowshares
Aether Vial
Umezawa’s Jitte
Sword of Fire and Ice
Lands (23)
Snow-Covered Plains
Rishadan Port

Sideboard (15)
Chalice of the Void
Path to Exile
Surgical Extraction
Containment Priest
Leonin Relic-Warder
Rest in Peace
Council’s Judgment
Mirran Crusader
Recruiter of the Guard

Let’s talk about some of the deck building considerations I made going into this event.

Hallowed Spiritkeeper: This creature is 100% in the deck with Grixis Control in mind. Based on my testing, winning game 1 was very important for winning this matchup. That’s why I put this tutorable haymaker in the maindeck instead of in the sideboard. It is, of course, still good sideboard card, but in games two and three, they have sweepers that give them outs to the army of spirits.

Remorseful Cleric: This was a consideration to the rise in Dredge that was showcased in the recent MTGO challenges. Even in more fair matchups, a 2/1 flier at two mana is still more aggressive than many of our other options. This is a really good rate for a somewhat disruptive creature that has a huge impact on certain matchups.

Cataclysm: The D&T community has been debating whether Gideon or Cataclysm is better in the four drop slots of this deck. I personally have been on the Cataclysm side of the argument over Gideon for a while. It provides a way to come back from games where we are really far behind against decks like 4c Loam and Miracles. Sometimes you have to be aggressive in casting Cataclysm, trusting to draw out of it better than your opponent. This does mean you get blown out by things like 4c Loam drawing one of their Life from the Loams after a resolved Cataclysm.

Rest in Peace: This card has been a staple 2 of in sideboards for a while, but I have been finding it to be pretty weak in the current metagame. In testing against Grixis Control, I found that Rest in Peace was not pulling its weight. Turning off Snapcaster and weakening Kolaghan’s Command were nice, but not quite as impactful as you might actually expect. Accordingly, I decided to play one Containment Priest as tutorable graveyard hate instead.

Mirran Crusader: The sideboard Mirran Crusader was one of the debated slots amoungst my friends, and I am still not sure that it is correct. I wanted a generic card that would help with the Shadow matchup. I’m not sure that is necessary with how things panned out but, it is something to consider.

I came to this event with 4 other Death and Taxes players and 1 Miracles player (a friend from college who actually went on to win the whole thing). The morning of the event I was feeling pretty good about myself, as I finished 8-2 in Vintage the previous day.

Round 1: Joseph “Brian” Anderson – Food Chain

I sit down and talk to Brian and recognize him from the Paragon City Games stream as the owner. I knew he would be playing Food Chain; I wasn’t feeling great about this, as it can be a difficult matchup AND I didn’t have Ethersworn Canonist in my 75.

G1: I keep a mana denial heavy hand with a Thalia and Stoneforge Mystic. I quickly get Thalia in play and start Porting him. I get some equipment and beat him down before he can really get off the ground.

G2: I keep another mana denial hand. I get a Thalia in play and start the beat down. My opponent casts Living Wish for Massacre Wurm, which he affectionately refers to as “Mr. Smiles.” Thankfully my draw allowed me to keep him from ever having BB in his main phase, let alone BBB.

2-0 Win (1-0 overall)

Round 2: Nick Leyder – TES

G1: My opponent has a turn one Lotus Petal into Ponder hand. He hits his land drop, but doesn’t do anything on turn 2. I cast Thalia and win the game.

G2: I mull to 5 and keep a weak hand that can win if I hit some lands. I don’t. He wins on turn 3.

G3: I keep a hand of Mom, Thalia, Revoker, Plains, Land, and 2 other cards that don’t matter. I play my Mom and pray to Thalia that my opponent won’t cast a Thoughtsieze. The prayer was answered! I cast Thalia followed by a pair of Revokers on Lion’s Eye Diamond and Lotus Petal. Unsurprisingly I got there.

2-1 Win (2-0 overall)

Round 3: Kwan Han – Lands

G1: My opponent has an explosive opener with Exploration, but lacks a Life from the Loam to really take over the game. I have both a Wasteland and a Swords to Plowshares as protection, so the game goes long. I take him off of colored mana with a Wasteland, leaving my opponent with a bunch of Thespian’s Stages. He draws a Glacial Chasm, which is problematic, as my opponent can keep coping it with Thespian’s Stage to stay alive. I keep a Wasteland in hand, hoping to find a spot where my opponent taps low on mana so that I can Waste the Chasm at a time when he doesn’t have the mana to copy it. He draws a Life from the Loam, and my patience is rewarded with a win.

G2: I have an early Rest in Peace into Thalia. I quickly beat down as my opponent misses land drops and can’t cast his Kozilek’s Return.

2-0 Win (3-0 overall)

Round 4: Mike Perrien – UB Shadow

G1: My opponent has an early Delver into Death’s Shadow at 10 life. How convenient… I draw a Swords to Plowshares and remove the Delver, causing my opponent’s life total to rise, which kills the Death’s Shadow too! I run away with the game from there.

G2: I keep a hand of Path, Path, Council’s Judgment, and 3 lands. I remove two of threats and then tutor up a Palace Jailer. I easily run away with the game.

2-0 Win (4-0 overall)

Round 5: Brent Clawson – RB Reanimator

G1: He makes a turn 2 Griselbrand, draws 14 cards, and does not kill me! It was pretty nice to untap and still have outs. Eventually I remove the big demon and kill my OP with a Walking Ballista on 2, because he could not find any non-Reanimate reanimation spells after getting the big bag Griseldad in play.

G2: He puts Griselbrand into play early and I quickly die to my opponent reanimating more creatures.

G3: I am able to remove his Chancellors with Surgical Extraction on turn one, leaving him with some Exhumes and Dark Rituals. I put in a Containment Priest the following turn and felt pretty good about things. The next turn my opponent uses the Dark Rituals to cast Sire of Insanity. This is usually not a problem since there are 8+ answers to it and every creature can block for another turn. I proceed to draw lands and then a Palace Jailer (with 3 lands) in play and die.

1-2 Loss (4-1)

Round 6: Greg Kotcsharjan – UW Delverblade

G1: I keep a 3 land hand on a mull to 5, draw a bunch of lands, and die to a turn 3 True-Name Nemesis.

G2: Early on we both get Jitte online. I remove his with Leonin Relic-Warder for a little while and then Council’s Judgement it. In the meantime, my opponent hits me several times with a Batterskull before I find my own and start blocking. I have more lands, so I am able to redeploy while also Porting my opponent off of recasting or equipping Batterskull. Eventually my Germ also finds a Sword of Fire and Ice to close out the game.

G3: My OP keeps an Island and Ponder hand, but never finds another colored source. I kill him quickly.

2-1 Win (5-1 overall)

Round 7: Trey Moats – Infect

G1: I lead with a Vial off a Karakas and my opponent plays a green fetchland. I’m praying that my opponent doesn’t cast an elf. He casts an elf, but it is an elf that I am scared of, but not dead to: Glistener Elf. On my turn I Wasteland and then Swords the Glistener Elf to play around Daze. My opponent Wastelands me back on his turn. On my turn I put in a Thalia off my Vial and my opponent never finds another land.

G2: My opponent gets in some initial infect damage, but I am able to put a Walking Ballista on 1 into play against an Inkmoth Nexus and a Blighted Agent. We do an awkward dance back and forth for a few turns. Eventually I end step kill the Blighted Agent, losing my Ballista in the process. I have a Port to hold back my opponent’s Inkmoth, and I soon get my Jitte online to lock up the game.

2-0 Win (6-1 overall)

Round 8: John Poggemeyer – Belcher

This is the round that I got called for a feature math. I walk over to the feature match, excited and ready to showcase Death and Taxes on camera, as it is my first camera match ever. We are about to get started with the match when the production team moved the matches around, taking me off the camera so that Rich Shay could be on camera. Clearly I should have known that someone had seen our matchup and told production that nobody on stream wants to watch a poor Death and Taxes player get beaten up by Belcher. Thankfully my death was swift by a kind opponent off screen.

G1: He made 12 goblins on turn 1 and I died.

G2: My opponent did not do anything on his first turn, so I cast turn two Thalia. He died.

G3: My opponent once again made 12 goblins and I died. Not even Stoneforge Mystic can save you on the draw against that many Goblins.

1-2 Win (6-2 overall)

Round 9: James Beach – Death and Taxes

G1: I get a Jitte online before my opponent. I win the game.

G2: We both lose our Jittes in the early game. He gets mine with Council’s Judgment, and I get his with Leonin Relic-Warder and Path my cat in response to the trigger. This means the Jitte will never come back. My opponent floods, and my Stoneforge and follow up pieces of equipment take over the game. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of games where you are not able to leverage your skill in the mirror, and instead the equipment war determines the winner.

2-0 Win (7-2 overall)

Round 10: Joseph Bogaard – Grixis Control

G1: I have a nice hand that potentially curves into Hallowed Spiritkeeper. I tutor up a Jailer, and I’m feeling great about the game. I lose the Jailer to Hymn to Tourach and then my Spiritkeeper gets countered. My opponent then resolves Jace and takes over the game.

G2: I get out ahead pretty quickly with the help of Thalia and some Porting. I eventually get a board of Stoneforge and Hallowed Spiritkeeper, at which point I cast Cataclysm. I have a land and Batterskull in hand to be far ahead after Cataclysm. Unfortunately, my opponent kills Spiritkeeper, so I don’t get to keep my token army post-Cataclysm. My Batterskull stares down his Gurmag Angler for a few turns until I cast a Council’s Judgment to remove it and lock up the game.

G3: My opponent removes my first few creatures, and my double Stoneforge hand puts me in great shape. My opponent plays out a True-Name Nemesis, but I am able to equip my germ with both Sword of Fire and Ice and Jitte. My opponent doesn’t find a Kolaghan’s Command or other removal spell that can answer the germ, and I cruise to victory.

2-1 Win (8-2 overall)

Round 11: R Desrosiers – Eldrazi Post

G1: I have one Wasteland and a Port, which I utilize to keep my opponent behind while my Moms and Thalia get across the finish line.

G2: I mull to 5 and keep a mopey hand in hopes that my opponent stumbles. My opponent quickly deploys a Revoker on my Vial and casts a Thought-Knot Seer; I concede in response to in order to hide the Cataclysm in my hand. I was going to die anyway and figured concealing some information was worth it.

G3: I have 2 Wastelands early, which buys me a bunch of time until I find a Port. I draw a Vial, which dumps in creatures to put a ton of pressure on my opponent. There was also a fun moment in the game where I deployed Hallowed Spiritkeeper to insulate myself against a potential All is Dust, one of my opponent’s few outs.

2-1 Win (9-2 overall, 15th place)


1. Death and Taxes Discord. I went down with some of these folks, which was a great decision, and I would run it back if given the chance.
2. Patrick Green. He is a good friend from college and the guy I drove down with, so it was pretty great to see him take down the event.
3. Cataclysm. This card is great and is so much better than Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in the current metagame in my opinion. Cataclysm wins games that you had no business winning, where as Gideon might stabilize the board in game where you are slightly behind or push you further ahead when you are already winning.
4. My choice to stick with Death and Taxes. I have way more reps with D&T, and I’m glad I didn’t switch to Humans for the event. I love Flickerwisp and Rishadan Port too much!
5. Vintage. I really enjoyed this event. I was able to borrow a full set of power and play Survival of the Fittest, which I learned will never ever ever be unbanned in Legacy, if you were curious
6. Moctzal, Piroko, and XJCloud. They worked with me to get the list to were it is now.


1. Belcher. Seriously, how did I face Belcher in round 8 at 6-1…
2. Apple Maps. It tricked us multiple times. Also the city of Pittsburgh does not make sense; all of their streets are nonsense and that bike race made it really awkward to get to the venue.
3. CardTitan. They did not have tablecloths at the premier Eternal event of the year.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out to me on the Death and Taxes Discord, where I am StaticGripped.

About the Author

Phil Gallagher

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