Coming back for another episode of “Missing Decks Resurrected by Atraxa”! Sneak n' Show (SnS) is one of the most iconic decks in Legacy, gaining a lot of steam when the Great Spaghetti Monster aka Emrakul, the Aeons Torn saw the light of day.
Since then, the deck was for a long time one of the “heads” of the Metagame, but saw new competitors emerging with each new set without gaining many new toys in the format. Due to a combination of UR Delver's dominance made Pyroblast reach the main deck of many archetypes with Urza's Saga looking for Aether Spellbomb, the deck entered a long period of retreat.
Well then, in the same way that interest in Dimir Reanimator, Atraxa, Grand Unifier began to appear on the archetype, with promising results.
For those who don't know how the deck works, the proposal is simple: resolve a Show and Tell or a Sneak Attack, cheat a monster (Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Griselbrand or Atraxa, Grand Unifier) on the board much earlier than would be fair, profit.
The blue spell also opens up the possibility of putting Omniscience into play, and I assure you that everything is much easier when nothing costs mana! Importantly, casting Emrakul via Sneak or Show doesn't trigger its ability to gain an extra turn, but via Omniscience, yes - you're casting the spell, which conveniently now costs 0 mana.
Also, a part of the deck is dedicated to finding the combo pieces: Brainstorm, Ponder and Preordain; a part to speed it up: Lotus Petal, Simian Spirit Guide, City of Traitors and Ancient Tomb; and the rest to protect it: Force of Will and Daze.
It's pretty common to find lists that opt to cut some amounts of Omniscience, Simian Spirit Guide or Preordain for more protection like Misdirection, Spell Pierce and/or Flusterstorm.
The ideal hand: Show and Tell on turn 1, with Force of Will as backup and a monster to bring into play. Not much will happen, but that's basically what you're after, using your various cantrips to find what's missing between combo pieces and protection cards.
Against decks without counterspells, you can mulligan more aggressively for the combo. Hands with none of the combo and without cantrips must be exchanged.
Building the Sideboard
Unlike the last two combo decks discussed by me in the latest deck techs, Sneak n’ Show doesn’t have a plan B, it’s really a big deal. Therefore, your sideboard is focused on increasing the protection of your cards against potential counterspells.
The main answer in your arsenal is Defense Grid, which once resolved basically clears the way for you to do whatever you want. Complementing this plan are the ubiquitous Flusterstorm and Pyroblast.
Another card that is brutal against some decks and that doesn't affect the SnS's manabase too much when you play accordingly is Blood Moon. Pulling the basics with Fetch Lands, the Red enchantment with counterspell backup wins a few games by itself.
It's also nice to have versatile cards that deal with problematic permanents. Currently, the favorite in this position is Brotherhood’s End, but cards like Meltdown, Abrade, Fury, and Brazen Borrower appear from time to time.
Finally, as an answer against graveyard decks, the preferred option is Surgical Extraction because it is more versatile and effectively costs 0 mana, which allows you to respond to decks that seek to combo with the graveyard on turn 1 – sometimes, your Force of Will will be available. Leyline of the Void and Faerie Macabre would be the best options in the sequel, but Extraction is the consensus choice among players.
The Omniscience sideboard extra is for maintaining an adequate number of threats in games where you choose to take some creatures out to play around cards like Containment Priest or Solitude.
This is a tough matchup, and their rise to the point where players run maindeck Pyroblast was one of the factors that contributed to the decline of SnS. With the shakeup promoted by the White Initiative (which may now be replaced by DnT), Delver decks, as well as the format as a whole, had to adapt to the new opponent and this gave a window of respite so that Eldrazis, Demons and Phyrexian Angels could make a surprise attack.
In this game, the ideal would be to always play around Daze, but this is a problem with Wasteland hindering its development.
In the first game, it's not uncommon for you to play a Show and Tell or Sneak Attack just to fish out a counterspell and prepare for a second wave. Post-side, you deposit your chips in the Defense Grid, in an attempt to overload their counterspells, as it almost guarantees the combo once it hits the board.
OUT (On the Play)
OUT (On the Draw)
Death and Taxes
The little old king of the park before the White Initiative arrived can be a tricky opponent, with several cards that are a real headache like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben that disturbs our cantrips, Spirit of the Labyrinth which stops our cantrips; and Solitude and Karakas which serve as very effective answers to our creatures, and can work against Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.
But at the end of the day, they're still fundamentally a deck without Blue, without counterspells: hands that make a Show and Tell will quickly resolve, and if you put Griselbrand or Atraxa, Grand Unifier in play, they will fuel another round of threats even if they deal with the first wave.
On the sideboard, Blood Moon not only takes care of Karakas, but also hinders its many non-basic lands (Wasteland and Rishadan Port). Brotherhood's End serves to buy time, dealing with troublesome creatures - beware of the protection offered by Mother of Runes.
As they have many answers for the monstrous Eldrazi, which, unlike other creatures does not generate cards in your hand, we bring one more Omniscience – it's also another card that plays around Containment Priest.
OUT (On the Play):
OUT (On the Draw):
In game 1, if possible, avoid relying on Show and Tell, Sneak Attack is the way to go – playing the blue spell is spinning the roulette wheel and can go very wrong. This is a game where you are the control, but it's hard to hold too long against their discards – your cantrips can help you by keeping important cards at the top of the deck that only need to be drawn on the turn they're going to be used.
Post-side, even on red lists, they are quite vulnerable to Blood Moon, especially on the first turn. Without Show and Tell, there's no point in keeping an Omniscience that you cannot cast.
Against lists without Blue
Against lists with Blue
As the tendency here is that they try to tie the game, even if you try to combo early, cards like Daze and Simian Spirit Guide, more focused on the early game, lose value. We run Omniscience hoping to play around Containment Priest.
If you consider they don't have the Priest, remove the enchantments, returning some Preordain. Blood Moon is also an option against lists with many colors, you trim some combo pieces like 1 Sneak Attack and 1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn for them.
I've been a Red Prison player for a few years now. There is no opponent I want to avoid more in front of me than Sneak n' Show. As much as Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere can slow us down, they don't have much to do against this deck. Lists with Karn, the Great Creator still have some hope of doing something, but the most common aggressive lists to encounter are easy prey.
They will try to add Pyroblast to try and stop Show and Tell, but they have no answer against Sneak Attack. Fetch basics with your lands to avoid any hassle with Blood Moon and that's it.
Another game where you are the control. Resolving a Griselbrand quickly should guarantee enough counterspells to stall the game. Keeping hands with no answers is asking to move on to the next game. Using your cantrips to hide your combo pieces from their discards is crucial.
On the play, resolving a Blood Moon on turn 1 virtually removes them from the game. On the draw, they have time to crack a Fetch Land for an Island and move on.
On the Play
On the Draw
I hope you enjoyed this participation of our favorite Phyrexian Angel on yet another Legacy deck! See you next time!