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November 30, 2016

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Next Level Analysis – Sneak and Show Me the Way to Victory

Hello and welcome to this week’s version of Next Level Analysis. Each week we take a deeper look into the latest decks and the cards performing best in them. Each week the goal is to pick up a new strategy or idea that can help you take your game to the next level either at your local card shop or at a large tournament.

This week I am going to be looking into a legacy deck that has put up some pretty impressive results lately. A few weeks ago a reader messaged me and asked if I could do an article about this deck and here it is. The deck we are putting under the microscope this week is none other than Sneak and Show. The deck recently won GP Chiba and I just so happen to be in the process of building my own variation of the deck. So, what made me decide on this deck? It is an unfair combo, those are the best decks to play when going to a large tournament. Who wants to sit there and go to time in multiple rounds? Not me!

When planning to play Sneak and Show in a Legacy event, it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the other decks in the format. Even if you are very familiar with the legacy format you should still look into new decks that have been putting up fringe results, as a mistimed Show and Tell can be devastating. Obviously, not every player will play a net deck, and even if they do, they do it may have some variation.

You want to identify what your opponent is playing as quickly as possible. This will give you a wealth of information when deciding between casting Show and Tell and trying to hold out until you can find a Sneak Attack. Also of relevance is whether you are putting an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or a Griselbrand into play. Some versions of the deck play Gitaxian Probe to make this decision easier. However, there are a few problems with Gitaxian Probe. Like many combo decks, the deck is pretty short on space, and every card in the list needs to have ultimate value. Second of all, decks with Gitaxian Probe are often faced with extremely difficult mulligan decisions. This can especially be seen if you have more than one copy of Gitaxian Probe in your hand. Essentially you are keeping 5 good cards and 2 potentially good cards.

Many decks in the current legacy meta include hand disruption, so opening hands with multiple copies of versatile spells like Brainstorm and Ponder are the best opening hands. Not only can they hide what you are playing, but, they also are very good at rebuilding your hand after an early game Thoughtseize or Hymn to Tourach. Brainstorm also is very strong due to the ability to interact with your deck while working with your fetch lands. Much like any combo deck learning how to mulligan with this deck is probably the most important part and that will just take practice and time.

Now let’s take a look at the first place deck from GP Chiba.

Sneak and Show by Kentaro Yamamoto

Main Deck: (60)
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
Flooded Strand
Island
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Volcanic Island
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Griselbrand
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Ponder
Preordain
Show and Tell
Spell Pierce
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lotus Petal
Sneak Attack
Sideboard: (15)
Blood Moon
Engineered Explosives
Flusterstorm
Grafdigger’s Cage
Grim Lavamancer
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Red Elemental Blast
Vendilion Clique

If you like the list how it is you can purchase it for roughly $3,000 from Wizard Tower without any changes. Notice this list has cut the Gitaxian Probes and obviously, it worked its way to the first place finish. Some of the changes that I have made to the deck include cutting City of Traitors from the deck. With multiple combo decks in the format, the damage from Ancient Tomb is not as big of an issue for me. I also am a fan of playing Simian Spirit Guide in my decks so I have replaced some of the shuffle and draw effects such as 2 copies of Preordain and 1 copy of Ponder. Another change I have done is also switching 2 copies of Spell Pierce for Spell Snare. This change just feels right as I have been testing the deck. All the other changes are minor personal preferences but here is the list that I have been testing with.

Sneak and Show by Andrew Crossett

Next Level Decklist: (60)
Ancient Tomb
Brainstorm
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Flooded Strand
Force of Will
Griselbrand
Island
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lotus Petal
Polluted Delta
Ponder
Preordain
Scalding Tarn
Show and Tell
Simian Spirit Guide
Sneak Attack
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Swamp
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Sideboard: (15)
Blood Moon
Engineered Explosives
Flusterstorm
Grafdigger’s Cage
Leyline of the Void
Liliana of the Veil
Red Elemental Blast
Through the Breach
Vendilion Clique

I originally did not plan on writing about this deck so I don’t have many notes from play-testing it and the decks I played against but here are some of them.

Game 1: 2-0 Win versus Elves
Elves may be a fast deck but we just happened to be a little faster. When we cast an early Show and Tell into an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn the elf player usually doesn’t just annihilate the few small green guys they have assembled but they scoop all their cards up and prepare for game 2. This game ended in similar fashion.

Game 2: 2-1 Win versus Storm
Combo versus Combo, this is how magic is supposed to be. This game was fast and honestly there was little interaction either way. It came down to who was faster to combo off and today we were victorious.

Game 3: Grixis Delver
We were able to use our own counter-magic to deal with the control based deck of Grixis Delver. When the two targets from Show and Tell are Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Delver of Secrets it is a very one sided battle. The real battle is who has more copies of Force of Will when it comes time for the combo player to try to win. Another card that is great in this match is Blood Moon. With many of the Delver of Secrets decks playing 0 basic lands it gets extra value.

This deck is very solid as the person who recommended this article can vouch for as well. For those of you who have gotten to play with John B. from Potsdam, NY you know that he consistently makes it to Day two in Grands Prix and most recently found himself in the Top 16 of the SCG Open in Syracuse playing Jund in Modern. So here is a little shout out and congratulations on these accomplishments from Next Level Analysis.

Back to the deck itself, it is a great option for players who are playing Through the Breach in modern and would like to make the transition into the legacy format. My list is a little cheaper than the original list with the total coming in at $2750. The price tag may seem steep but the price of these cards has been very consistent and in my opinion they are worth investing in.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article and all of the other great ones that can be found on MTG Canada. Until next time, best of luck in taking your game to the next level. I also would love to hear from you whether it be feedback on my article, or a deck that you want me to take a look into. You can send any questions or feedback to crossear@gmail.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.