Last weekend I attended a 9-round tournament in Italy: Nebraska’s War. My testing began after Kentaro Yamamoto won GP Chiba with Sneak and Show, a deck I felt was very underplayed for how good it is. His was an old-school stock list, without Omniscience or Cunning Wish, but solid. Its matchup against Miracles is incredible, but it has a terrible time against Death & Taxes, despite a sizable sideboard plan.
You’ll often discover some of your decks flaws in playtesting, and you try to solve them with small adjustments. The problem is that Legacy is such a wide open format that you can’t be prepared to beat every single deck, so you have to ignore some matchups.
I definitely wasn’t giving up on the D&T matchup with 10 cards to board in, but I was not at all happy to face it.
If you’re going to ignore a matchup, however, you have to consider how much that deck will be played. If your deck has a poor Miracles matchup, then I would never advise you to play it, and with Conspiracy 2 out, I believe the same goes for Death & Taxes. Those two decks are incredibly popular, and if you want to play a different deck, you have to be very ready for both.
Despite all of my preparation, I faced two Death & Taxes in the first two rounds, and even though my matches were close, I fell to some timely topdecks. I lost both, and was knocked out of the tournament before I even realized I was in it.
Nonetheless, the deck is incredibly powerful, and if your metagame is full of B/U/G Shardless and Miracles, then you can’t go wrong with this build:
Sneak and Show
The only differences from Yamamoto’s list are:
I didn’t like Jace in my testing. It was weak to sideboard cards (Red Elemental Blast) and it didn’t fit with the Vendilion Clique and Grim Lavamancer plan. It’s a great card, but it was out of place.
Gitaxian Probe plays an important role in the deck, showing you exactly what cards to play around. I also found the deck a little mana hungry, and I appreciated the ability to cantrip into more lands.
Still, it turns out that losing 2 life is very relevant against many archetypes, so maybe it would have been better to simply play a 20th land, and perhaps a Daze.
I really wanted a basic Mountain against D&T and Delver decks, because in order to win with Sneak Attack you often need 2 red sources, and against D&T you board in 8 red cards (EE being basically red), so you need a reliable red source.
At first I thought it was strange not to have Boseiju, Who Shelters All to protect your Show and Tell from counters, but this version is way different from the one with Omniscence. Miracles is equipped to answer Show and Tell even when they can’t counter it thanks to multiple copies of Containment Priest and Vendilion Clique. I decided to cut Boseiju for Vendilion Clique.
Keep in mind though that this combo deck can’t board in too many cards, unless you are prepared to significantly alter your plan. When in doubt, you’ll usually cut Gitaxian Probe, since it doesn’t really dig for the combo and it’s a weak card overall. I also like to cut 1 or 2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, because you don’t want to draw too many copies, and you don’t generally want to Show and Tell it in as much as you do Griselbrand.
Miracles is a good matchup for this version of Sneak and Show. Game 1 you are heavily favored since they have a huge number of dead cards, while you have a streamlined plan.
Post-sideboard you’ll change strategy a little bit and slow down, cutting 5 mana sources so as not to flood, and cutting 2 Emrakul because when the game goes long you’ll eventually find a good creature to cheat into play.
Remember that they board out Sword to Plowshares and some number of Terminus, so you can easily win with just your 4 creatures if they are too focused on countering your key cards, or you can exhaust their resources with a different plan and then just get with the regular one.
It’s a tricky game to play, but easy to win.
You really just board in nothing. I can see having Flusterstorm to answer their Hymn to Tourach/Thoughtseize, but overall you want to be as efficient as possible and don’t want to change too much. This is another super easy matchup that you’re happy to face.
Death & Taxes
At GP Madrid I played about 30 matches against Thomas Enevolsen, the D&T master, and I got crushed in game 1, while post-sideboard I managed to split games. This means that the matchup is unfavorable but you have the tools to win with this sideboard.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Phyrexian Revoker are two insanely annoying cards no matter what you do. I love that Explosives can “play around” Thalia’s ability, making you as efficient as possible.
Vendilion Clique doesn’t look great, but the fact that it can ambush some key creatures and slow them down can be crucial.
I recorded some videos with Sneak & Show, so check those out to see just how strong this deck is.