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This or That Magic: Death or Taxes

Welcome to the eighth episode of This or That Magic, the series where we answer life's most important questions the best way we know how: with a game of Magic! It's tax season here in the United States, so this week's episode is pretty timely and deals with the two inevitabilities in life: death and taxes. While neither seems like a lot of fun, which is more powerful: the tax man reaching into your pocket or the ever-creeping Death's Shadow? That's what we're looking to figure out this week! Tomer will be representing Taxes and doing his best to make things miserable for everyone involved, while Seth will be representing Death, with a deck that's overloaded with different ways to die! Who will come out on top? Let's see!

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Well, there you have it. While death is powerful, it can't keep up with taxes (which is probably pretty realistic: death only happens once, while taxes are sort of like dying a little every year, not even so much because you have to pay money but because the process is so confusing and time consuming). The games were actually pretty interesting. While Tomer ended up winning 2-0, they felt oddly close. None of the taxing effects were really that powerful on their own, but once Tomer got several on the battlefield, they were really hard to overcome. It got even worse once I started sacrificing lands, since every land I sacced made it harder to pay for the taxing effects, and that in turn made it more difficult to pay for future "sacrifice a permanent" effects. Also, the matchup felt difficult from the Death side, mostly because a bunch of Ghostly Prisons is hard for a creature deck to beat. While I had a couple of enchantment-removal effects, I just didn't draw them early enough in the game for them to really matter. Oh yeah, and Energy Vortex is a weird card. It's like a repeatable blue Lava Spike that costs five mana to cast and then something like four to 10 mana a turn. While this sounds horrible, it was actually really strong in combination with the taxing effects, since by the end I didn't have enough lands to pay for the Energy Vortex, even if I wanted to. 

Anyway, now it's your turn. Which deck did you think was more on-point, flavor-wise: Seth's Death or Tomer's Taxes?


Anyway, that's all for today. We'll be back in a couple of weeks with another This or That Magic. In the meantime, if you have a sweet idea for a "this or that" question we can answer with a game of Magic, make sure to let us know in the comments! As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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