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Much Abrew: CoCo & Taxes (Historic)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Almost since Historic was created, people have been asking if some sort of Modern-style Taxes deck could work in the format. While we are missing some key pieces (especially ways to tax lands like Leonin Arbiter), thanks to Zendikar Rising and various Historic Anthologies sets, we actually have a pretty good foundation for a Taxes-style deck in the format. So today, we're going to give Historic CoCo & Taxes a try and see just how practical it is to annoy opponents to death with small, annoying white creatures in the format! Can Death & Taxes make the jump to Historic with the help of Collected Company to snag two taxing creatures at once at instant speed? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: CoCo & Taxes

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  • Record-wise, we finished 3-2 with CoCo & Taxes, going 1-1 against Sultai Midrange and beating Goblins and Izzet Phoenix while getting out–Collected Companied by a Bant Party deck. 
  • In general, the deck felt solid, although it's worth pointing out that we don't have a lot of raw power. Technically, every single creature in our main deck is either one or two power, which means we aren't going to get many accidental wins by slamming huge threats and hoping our opponent can't answer them. The deck felt like it often runs on really tight margins and ekes out wins, rather than running away with games (although we do get some weird free wins thanks to some of our Taxes pieces in certain matchups). If you decide to try it, make sure to practice a bunch and learn the matches. We have a lot of tax pieces that are really, really good in certain matchups and really, really bad in others. Learning what pieces we're looking for and trying to protect in each matchup is important to playing the deck successfully. Here's a quick rundown of our primary tax cards and where they are especially good and especially bad.
  • Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is especially good against combo or control but much worse if we run into a deck similar to ours with a bunch of creatures but few spells. Thankfully, a 2/1 first strike isn't horrible, although it can be right to take out Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in creature-heavy matchups. 
  • Meddling Mage is decent in most matchups since we can usually name something relevant, although it is at its best against decks built around one or two very important cards. Against Goblins naming Muxus, Goblin Grandee, it can win games almost on its own, while the same is true naming Neoform against Neoform combo. Even outside of these best-case matchups, naming a random wrath against control or something like Nissa, Who Shakes the World against Sultai is helpful. The only matchups where Meddling Mage is pretty bad is against redundant aggro decks like Mono-Red or Burn.
  • As we learned during our matches, Archon of Emeria is really good against Izzet Phoenix (although that isn't a heavily played deck) and also various Paradox Engine–style combo decks that need to cast a bunch of spells in one turn to be effective. The land-taxing ability is okay, sometimes making our opponent play off curve, and it does play well with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, where having lands come into play tapped and spells costing one more can really slow down some decks.
  • Skyclave Apparition and Deputy of Detention are good in most matchups, although we don't always need all eight copies against spell-based combo or planeswalker-based control. Thankfully, since both Skyclave Apparition and Deputy of Detention can hit any permanent type, even in the "bad" matchups, there often are random mana rocks or enchantment-based removal spells like Baffling End that we can hit, so even when Skyclave Apparition are Deputy of Detention are not great, they are almost never truly dead.
  • The other super-important package in the deck is Selfless Savior and Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate. We were just talking about how a single taxing creature can win the game in the right matchups (like Meddling Mage against Goblins or Archon of Emeria verses Izzet Phoenix), but this does require that a small, fragile, easy-to-kill creature sits on the battlefield for several or even many turns. Selfless Savior and Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate give us ways to make sure that our more important creature sticks around and keeps taxing our opponent.
  • In general, thanks to Collected Company and our protection creatures (Selfless Savior and Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate), our deck is pretty good at fighting through removal, even more so when you consider that Meddling Mage can name a removal spell while Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Archon of Emeria can slow down sweepers and wraths for a turn or two. However, one thing we learned during our league is that black-based control decks have a lot of ways to get around our protection. When we played against Sultai Midrange, our opponent had Cry of the Carnarium, Extinction Event, Languish, and Witch's Vengeance, all sweepers that get around both Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate and Selfless Savior, while having a split of these cards made it difficult to stop them with Meddling Mage, which made the matchup a lot more difficult than I expected. Our plan is much more effective against UW Control–style decks that lean on cards like Wrath of God to control the board. 
  • So, should you play CoCo & Taxes in Historic? I think the answer is yes, with a "but." The deck felt solid, and while I don't think it's top tier, it could easily develop into a tier-two or -three option for the format. But it's not an easy deck to pick up and play without a bunch of practice. Since we don't have busted "oops, I win" cards like Nissa, Uro, Hydroid Krasis, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, or Muxus, Goblin Grandee, every decision we make really matters, and even slight mistakes can end up costing us the game. Toss in that our taxing effects can be very matchup specific, and to have success with CoCo & Taxes, you need to not only practice and learn the deck itself but also learn how other popular decks in Historic function and what cards are important. Basically, CoCo & Taxes felt solid, but it's not the easiest deck to pick up and play well! On the other hand, with enough practice, the deck feels like it has a plan for and answers to most of the popular archetypes in the Historic format, and like it might actually be pretty good!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at Happy New Year, everyone!

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