Hello everyone, my name is Jonathan Anghelescu (you might know me as JPA93 on Magic Online) and I am very excited about the opportunity to write an article for Hareruya about my favorite deck in Legacy. I hope you find it enjoyable and informative!
If you have followed my results on Magic Online in the past months, you might have noticed that I switch back and forth between a Sneak & Show build with 《Cunning Wish》 (hereafter referred to as OmniSneak) and the more traditional version quite often.
Many people ask me if I make the switch for particular reasons, and while meta trends definitely play a role, I mostly just want to try out various different configurations. In any tournament I play with the sole goal of winning, I will most likely register OmniSneak, though.
A History of OmniSneak
OmniSneak was initially created for the Magic Online Championship in early 2016, aiming to improve problematic hateful matchups like Death and Taxes as well as gaining an edge in the 《Show and Tell》 mirror.
I had seen some lists that added 《Cunning Wish》 and thereby put a heavier focus on 《Omniscience》 to their Sneak & Show decks, but they weren’t refined and included some questionable card choices. After months of testing I arrived at the list that got a 3-0 record in the Legacy portion of the Magic Online Championship and helped me reach the Top 4 of that tournament.
3 《Volcanic Island》
4 《Scalding Tarn》
1 《Flooded Strand》
1 《Misty Rainforest》
1 《Polluted Delta》
3 《Ancient Tomb》
2 《City of Traitors》
-Land (19)- 3 《Griselbrand》
3 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》
3 《Spell Pierce》
4 《Show and Tell》
3 《Cunning Wish》
4 《Force of Will》
3 《Sneak Attack》
3 《Lotus Petal》
Over the following years, the list went through some small changes, but the basic configuration has always stayed very close to the original. I also switched back to traditional Sneak & Show many times and still have to admit that it is probably the more consistent deck in a vacuum.
Still, I prefer OmniSneak for my personal playstyle and appreciate its pre-board versatility thanks to 《Cunning Wish》, as well as the significantly improved Death and Taxes and 《Chalice of the Void》-deck matchups.
Testing for the 25th Anniversary Team Pro Tour was quite interesting, due to 《Deathrite Shaman》 and 《Gitaxian Probe》 getting banned a mere month before the tournament. I joined an excellent Legacy testing team comprised of Jarvis Yu, Rob Pisano, Tommy Ashton, Pascal Maynard, Scott Lipp, Matt Linde and Chris Pikula.
While I was open to try anything, curious if the new wide-open Legacy format could be broken, I was also rather certain that I would end up on a Sneak & Show variant either way. Both the Mono Blue 《The Antiquities War》 as well as the Steel Stompy deck developed by the team looked very powerful to me, but not enough to stray away from my comfort zone. Therefore, after trying some spicy brews of my own, such as RUG 《Bomat Courier》 or Esper Delver, I soon started to focus on finding the best Sneak & Show list for the upcoming Pro Tour.
Since RUG Delver seemed to be the new deck to beat and I expected many of the Legacy experts at the Pro Tour to play it, I started off with a list including 《Simian Spirit Guide》 and 《Daze》, which are supposed to improve the Delver matchup. The deck felt good, although I couldn’t get past 50% win rate against RUG Delver. Always having at best a 50-50 matchup against most Delver variants is an inherent trait of the Sneak & Show archetype itself that one has to accept.
3 《Volcanic Island》
4 《Scalding Tarn》
1 《Flooded Strand》
1 《Misty Rainforest》
1 《Polluted Delta》
3 《Ancient Tomb》
2 《City of Traitors》
-Land (19)- 4 《Griselbrand》
4 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》
2 《Spell Pierce》
4 《Show and Tell》
4 《Force of Will》
4 《Sneak Attack》
4 《Lotus Petal》
Both the 《Simian Spirit Guide》 and the 《Omniscience》 list didn’t get past a 66% win rate during PT testing (42-21 and 104-57, respectively) and after losing multiple matches in a row to Andrea Mengucci’s Eldrazi Stompy list, I thought I would give OmniSneak another shot – 8 days before the deck submission deadline.
I made some small changes to the original list, such as adding the 4th 《Lotus Petal》 and a second 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》, with the idea to up the land-count to 21 against RUG Delver. Again, my win rate against RUG Delver didn’t improve past 50%, but my overall win rate did improve drastically.
After finishing the last two leagues in my hotel room in Minneapolis with 10-0, ending the testing with the final list at a 77% win rate (54-16), I confidently locked it in and submitted the list. Our team finished 9-5 for 20th place at the Pro Tour and I was quite happy with my personal record of 10-4 against some of the best Legacy players in the world.
Since then (August 2018), my OmniSneak 75 has stayed unchanged and is still my number one choice for any tournament.
3 《Volcanic Island》
2 《Flooded Strand》
2 《Misty Rainforest》
2 《Polluted Delta》
2 《Scalding Tarn》
3 《Ancient Tomb》
2 《City of Traitors》
-Land (19)- 3 《Griselbrand》
3 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》
1 《Spell Pierce》
4 《Show and Tell》
3 《Cunning Wish》
4 《Force of Will》
3 《Sneak Attack》
4 《Lotus Petal》
Let’s look a bit closer at the configuration and card choices of this list in the next paragraph.
OmniSneak Deck Construction
(Note: +1 《Intuition》 in the Wish board)
These are your combo pieces. Unlike traditional Sneak & Show, they are mostly 3-ofs to make room for an extra 《Omniscience》 and 《Cunning Wish》. 《Intuition》 fits in nicely in the 3-of-configuration and finds any combo piece, as well as counters or even 《Brainstorm》 when you need to find multiple pieces.
Without 《Cunning Wish》, OmniSneak would just be Sneak & Show with 3 《Omniscience》. 《Cunning Wish》 provides great versatility, gives you access to sideboard cards in pre-boarded games and enables an instant speed kill with 《Omniscience》 (see sideboard section). It also acts as a pseudo-enabler / combo piece by finding either 《Through the Breach》 or 《Intuition》.
I have tried adding up to three 《Preordain》 for more consistency in the past, but this cantrip suite fits best into the rest of the deck. 《Cunning Wish》 and 《Intuition》 are slower than 《Preordain》, but will almost always find you exactly what you need. 《Impulse》 is a 2-drop target for 《Firemind’s Foresight》 (see sideboard section), but also a respectable cantrip on its own.
The counter-suite is pretty straight-forward (don’t forget that 《Cunning Wish》 also acts as 《Flusterstorm》 and 《Pyroblast》, albeit often at 4 mana). I started out with 3 《Spell Pierce》 instead of the 2-1 split with 《Flusterstorm》, and if new Planeswalkers 《Teferi, Time Raveler》, 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Karn, the Great Creator》 all prove to be as impactful in Legacy as they seem to be, I think it might be correct to go back to all 《Spell Pierce》.
《Flusterstorm》 is much better than 《Spell Pierce》 in your combo turn, since it counters a 《Force of Will》 even with two open mana on your opponent’s side. It is also much more effective against Storm, which is one of the closer matchups for OmniSneak. You can adjust this split depending on an expected metagame, but for an open / GP-sized tournament I would play 2 《Flusterstorm》 and 1 《Spell Pierce》 (again, this might change with the impact of the War of the Spark Planeswalkers).
I am quite convinced this is the best mana-base for OmniSneak (and most Sneak & Show variants, too). Basic 《Mountain》 is rather unnecessary in this deck, as you have a much weaker focus on red cards and rarely want to see it in your opening hand.
The list started out with 3 《Lotus Petal》 to make room for all the inclusions, but the 4th 《Lotus Petal》 is crucial to increasing your chance of comboing off as early as possible, as well as fighting mana-denial-heavy decks. It also makes 《Griselbrand》 better by increasing the chance of finding 《Lotus Petal》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 after a Sneak Attack activation, or comboing off via 《Show and Tell》 for a second time after getting 《Griselbrand》 into play.
These Wish-targets are your instant-speed kill package with 《Cunning Wish》 + 《Omniscience》. You 《Cunning Wish》 for 《Firemind’s Foresight》, 《Firemind’s Foresight》 for 《Cunning Wish》, 《Impulse》 and 《Brainstorm》. Cast 《Impulse》, if necessary, to find a high enough converted mana cost card like 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》, 《Griselbrand》 or 《Omniscience》, 《Brainstorm》 that card on top of your library, cast 《Cunning Wish》 for 《Release the Ants》, and deal lethal damage to your opponent with 《Release the Ants》.
Having a 《Stifle》-effect as a Wish-target is useful in many situations, but 《Trickbind》 mostly serves as a safety valve if your 《Firemind’s Foresight》 instant speed kill fizzles (with an opponent’s 《Knight of Autumn》, 《Ashen Rider》, 《Thought-Knot Seer》, or whatever trigger on the stack).
If, for example, you only find 《Griselbrand》 or more cantrips with BR Reanimator opponent’s 《Ashen Rider》 trigger on the stack, you are not guaranteed to win the 《Release the Ants》 Clash, since your opponent has 4 《Griselbrand》 of their own. In that case, you can use 《Cunning Wish》 to find 《Trickbind》 and counter the 《Ashen Rider》 trigger, leaving you free to cast 《Griselbrand》 and cantrips.
A variety of useful wish-targets, depending on the game situation you find yourself in, including combo pieces / enablers, counter magic, removal, sweeper, bounce and graveyard-hate. 《Rushing River》 could be 《Echoing Truth》 or 《Wipe Away》, but I have found that I often want to be able to bounce multiple hateful permanents from my Death and Taxes or Eldrazi opponents.
The Best Answer for Counterspells
《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 is much more effective in OmniSneak than in traditional Sneak & Show, since it synergizes with 《Show and Tell》 and 《Cunning Wish》. It is the most feared card you can play against Miracles and provides very few counter-play opportunities. Moreover, 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 is a mirror-breaker and land 20 + 21 against Delver decks, which have to find and use a 《Wasteland》 immediately most of the time.
Additional removal to board in against decks like Death and Taxes, Tribal strategies and Delver-decks to buy time.
Matchup and Sideboard Guide
Even with the arrival of 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 and 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 as powerful Planeswalkers with great abilities against 《Show and Tell》 strategies, Miracles is a rather pleasant matchup that I don’t mind facing.
Pre-board they have many mostly dead cards like 《Terminus》 and 《Swords to Plowshares》 and even if they draw the right part of their deck (《Force of Will》, 《Counterspell》, 《Spell Pierce》), you shouldn’t have a hard time winning through one or two counter spells. Try to play around 《Spell Pierce》 if you can afford to keep making land drops.
Finding the right window is not too difficult with some practice, and with 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 and 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 becoming mainstays in Miracles, they will tap out on turn 3 more often. You will rarely have to 《Force of Will》 a turn 3 《Narset, Parter of Veils》, unless you can’t go off on your own turn and/or have a cantrip-heavy hand.
Also, be wary of dropping a naked 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 via 《Show and Tell》 pre-board, unless you are forced to and have no other options, as they have 《Terminus》 as a clean answer, in addition to 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》, 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 and 《Council’s Judgment》.
Post-board they gain access to 《Containment Priest》, sometimes 《Vendilion Clique》, 《Ethersworn Canonist》 or 《Palace Jailer》, additional counter magic such as 《Flusterstorm》 and 《Pyroblast》 effects and 《Disenchant》, which can disrupt 《Omniscience》 combo kills and thus should be played around, if possible.
Finding 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 should be your highest priority in the post-board games. You can still try to push through early 《Show and Tell》, but 《Flusterstorm》 makes it much more difficult, even with counter-backup of your own.
If they pass turn 2 with 《Plains》 + blue land up you should expect a 《Containment Priest》, which makes 《Show and Tell》 + 《Omniscience》 much more live, since they will often have to decide between 《Flusterstorm》 and 《Containment Priest》 and will get punished if they go for 《Containment Priest》.
Even if you have 《Show and Tell》 + creature with 《Force of Will》 backup, you should go for it most of the time if you expect 《Containment Priest》 from your opponent, since waiting another turn will turn on their 《Flusterstorm》 and 《Pyroblast》. I am, however, way less inclined to go for it on turn 2 if they pass with two blue mana open instead of 《Plains》 and blue source.
With enough experience and ability to read your opponent’s sequencing to expect which kind of interaction they have ready, the Miracles matchup will be rather positive for you, even post-board. When in doubt, just wait until you find 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》.
Death and Taxes
Death and Taxes used to be one of the most difficult matchups for traditional Sneak & Show, with mana-denial like 《Thalia, Guardian of Thraben》 + 《Rishadan Port》 and main deck hard-locks such as 《Phyrexian Revoker》 (naming 《Sneak Attack》) + 《Karakas》.
For OmniSneak, it is significantly easier and very difficult to navigate from the Death and Taxes player’s side, to find the correct combination of hate-cards to be insured against every angle of attack is often impossible.
As in many matchups, try to avoid 《Show and Tell》 a “mere” 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 into play, but rather wait until you find 《Omniscience》, 《Griselbrand》 or 《Sneak Attack》. Many lists play multiple 《Palace Jailer》 now, so they have even more outs to 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 than they used to.
《Cunning Wish》 provides both a way to find 《Omniscience》 via 《Intuition》 as well as removal / sweepers with 《Sudden Shock》 and 《Kozilek’s Return》. Another common use of 《Cunning Wish》 will be to cast it with 《Ancient Tomb》 / 《City of Traitors》 on turn 2 to find a removal spell and then jam 《Sneak Attack》 on turn 3, with a creature already in hand. They usually don’t play 《Council’s Judgment》 or 《Leonin Relic-Warder》 main deck, so don’t be afraid to play out 《Sneak Attack》, to avoid getting constrained by their mana-denial.
If you have a slow hand, 《Aether Vial》 is a must-counter. If you are ready to combo off before 《Aether Vial》 ticks up to 2, you can often afford to let it resolve and save 《Force of Will》 for a turn 2 《Thalia, Guardian of Thraben》 or 《Phyrexian Revoker》. The games where they don’t have 《Aether Vial》 on turn 1 are much easier to navigate and face them with a difficult decision of casting creatures or leaving up mana for 《Rishadan Port》 activations.
《Sudden Shock》 gets boarded in to have one more out to 《Sanctum Prelate》 on 3. Most of Death and Taxes hate cards are in the main deck already. They might bring in more removal / answers for 《Omniscience》, such as 《Disenchant》, 《Council’s Judgment》, 《Leonin Relic-Warder》 and 《Ethersworn Canonist》.
Gaining access to 《Pyroclasm》 and boarding out the dead 《Flusterstorm》 improves your matchup against them quite a bit. The post-board matchup dynamic is not that different from pre-board, although you should be more careful just jamming a 《Sneak Attack》, since they have more removal for it.
《Containment Priest》 is less effective against you and can often hurt them more than you, by turning off 《Aether Vial》 as well as removing the option of putting in 《Leonin Relic-Warder》 or 《Flickerwisp》 into play with 《Show and Tell》 to deal with 《Omniscience》.
UR / Grixis / UW Delver
As written in the history of OmniSneak, Delver strategies are mostly 50-50 matchups for Show & Tell decks and definitely among the more unpleasant matchups. UR Delver has a faster clock than Grixis, but can only interact with you on the stack and doesn’t have access to discard and 《Liliana’s Triumph》 (formerly 《Diabolic Edict》), thus making it the easiest of the Delver matchups.
Try to make your land drops every turn, avoid exposing yourself to 《Wasteland》 and wait for them to tap out or until you have enough mana to pay for as many soft-counters as possible. Many of the latest lists have included up to 3 《Spell Pierce》 in the main deck, which means that you should ideally be able to play around 1 《Daze》 + 1 《Spell Pierce》. You will often have more than one enabler, and in that case, it is commonly correct to only play around 《Daze》 and jam the next enabler on the following turn if the first one gets 《Spell Pierce》.
If they tap out for a 《Delver of Secrets》 on turn 1 and you have the ability to go for it turn 2 on the play with either 《Force of Will》 backup or the ability to pay for 《Daze》, you should do so most of the time, especially against Grixis Delver due to the threat of getting 《Thoughtseize》. You do lose to 《Daze》 + 《Force of Will》 or 《Force of Will》 respectively, but letting them untap and cantrip for counter magic or turning on their 《Spell Pierce》 is often more dangerous.
The 《Omniscience》 + Wish package is rather clunky and unnecessary against most Delver decks (you leave in 《Omniscience》 against UW Delver to have more outs to 《Containment Priest》), so you bring in your impactful wish-targets instead.
I have tried out boarding in 《Trickbind》 to protect 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 from 《Wasteland》 to some success, but it is a dead card too often. If you have mana-heavy hands including 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 and 《Show and Tell》 you can bait out their 《Wasteland》 by playing out Sol-lands or fetching 《Volcanic Island》.
Your Delver opponent will board in additional counter magic (every Delver deck has 《Flusterstorm》, the red ones also have 《Pyroblast》) and sometimes disruptive 1-ofs such as 《Pithing Needle》 or, more rarely, 《Vendilion Clique》.
In the case of UW Delver, they gain access to 《Containment Priest》 / 《Ethersworn Canonist》 and 《Disenchant》 effects. Since the Red Delver decks will board out some of their clock / 《Lightning Bolt》 / 《Chain Lightning》, you will usually have more time to build your manabase in the sideboarded games. 《Pyroclasm》 and 《Sudden Shock》 will slow down their clock to buy you even more time to sculpt your hand and wait for the right moment to go off.
This Stoneblade deck has gained some popularity in the past months and the pre-board matchup gets more difficult for you the more 《Spell Pierce》 they are running (2-3 seems to be the most common). Still, even with 《Spell Pierce》, you are favored pre-board, where they still have dead cards to draw such as 《Swords to Plowshares》.
《Stoneforge Mystic》 is a respectable clock, but they will often get punished if they tap out for it on turn 2. Again, try to avoid running out unprotected 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》, as they have 2 《Council’s Judgment》 and 2-3 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 and sometimes 1 《Karakas》 or 《Palace Jailer》 as clean answers.
Waiting to find 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 becomes more difficult against Stoneblade compared to Miracles, due to the fast clock provided by 《Stoneforge Mystic》 and 《Batterskull》 / 《Sword of Fire and Ice》.
They will rarely tap out for a turn 2 《Stoneforge Mystic》 without 《Force of Will》 backup, but if you have counter backup of your own you should definitely use that window to go off. Turn 2 《Stoneforge Mystic》 into 《Pyroclasm》 is another common early turn pattern. Don’t be afraid to use removal on 《Stoneforge Mystic》 – you have enough outs to 《Containment Priest》.
During Pro Tour 25 testing I went 11-0 against it with OmniSneak. While the matchup certainly isn’t that one-sided, it is still quite firmly in your favor. They might steal a pre-board game with 《Liliana’s Triumph》 (formerly 《Diabolic Edict》), of which almost every list plays 2 main, if you go for an unprotected 《Show and Tell》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》.
Still, unlike against Miracles or UW Stoneblade, you should still go for it most of the time, if you don’t have any other options like casting cantrips or 《Cunning Wish》 on your opponent’s turn. This stems from the fact that they have more discard effects than 《Diabolic Edict》, including 《Snapcaster Mage》 if they already cast a 《Thoughtseize》 or 《Hymn to Tourach》 in the early turns.
Their discard-heavy draws can be troublesome, but they have enough dead removal pre-board that you should have an easy time more often than not. 《Gurmag Angler》 is a significant clock and early discard + turn 4 or 5 《Gurmag Angler》 is their most effective way to beat you game 1.
Due to their discard spells, 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 is less effective here than against non-black control decks. Still, it is an absolute beating against their discard-light and counter-heavy hands.
Their discard also makes 《Surgical Extraction》 much more effective than it would be out of Miracles or Stoneblade sideboards.
《Sneak Attack》 is one of your best ways to beat them post-board, since most Grixis Control lists play 《Flusterstorm》 over 《Spell Pierce》. You might still lose to 1-ofs like 《Pithing Needle》 or 《Hydroblast》, but it is still correct to jam 《Sneak Attack》 for a “《Force of Will》 check” most of the time.
BG Turbo / Medium / Slow Depths
BG Depths is one of the closer matchups, especially Turbo Depths. 《Pithing Needle》 is highly effective at shutting off 《Sneak Attack》 and 《Griselbrand》, especially if they know before the match that you are playing OmniSneak (which is the case for me online).
In addition, they have the ability to make Marit Lage very early on, which often turns the matchup into a race. Their discard spells are much more disruptive to you than your counter magic is to them, considering they can often go off just via 《Dark Depths》 + 《Thespian’s Stage》 without putting spells on the stack.
《Cunning Wish》 for 《Rushing River》 is a nice albeit clunky out to Marit Lage and if you can identify them as Turbo Depths on turn 1 you will sometimes have to Sol-Land + 《Lotus Petal》 and 《Cunning Wish》 for 《Rushing River》, especially if they don’t have turn 1 discard.
If you can afford to wait, you should try to find 《Griselbrand》 or 《Omniscience》 for 《Show and Tell》 instead of 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》, although an 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 protected by 《Force of Will》 for 《Crop Rotation》 into 《Karakas》 will still often get the job done. Most lists of both Turbo Depths and Medium / Slow Depths don’t even play 《Karakas》 main at the moment. Don’t forget they can put in 《Vampire Hexmage》 via 《Show and Tell》 and force your 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 to block if they already have 《Dark Depths》 in play.
Medium / Slow Depths is a more pleasant matchup thanks to dead cards like 《Abrupt Decay》 instead of 《Pithing Needle》 main, even though 《Hymn to Tourach》 can hit you very hard and they are still capable of accelerated Marit Lage sequences with 《Mox Diamond》.
You can try experimenting with 《Pyroclasm》 against Medium / Slow Depths for 《Dark Confidant》, but I prefer just bringing in 《Sudden Shock》 against both versions. They will rarely sacrifice their 《Vampire Hexmage》 immediately after resolving it, so 《Sudden Shock》 can get you some sneaky free wins.
They will bring in some amount of 《Assassin’s Trophy》, which can disrupt your 《Omniscience》 combo turns and punish you for jamming 《Sneak Attack》, even though you should still do so most of the time to play around discard.
《Surgical Extraction》 and additional discard (Medium / Slow Depths goes up to 4 《Hymn to Tourach》) make the post-board games a bit more difficult, but it is rather even overall and they will often get punished for keeping hands without discard.
Sneak & Show
The mirror / pseudo-mirror can get quite silly. Generally, I prefer to wait to make my move as long as possible, since the first person to go off often loses the counter-war and then dies to the opponent’s combo on the following turn without protection. I often see players countering cantrips with 《Spell Pierce》 and 《Flusterstorm》 in the mirror, which I almost never do, even if the opponent is constrained on mana.
You want to save all of your counters for the combo turn on either side. Even with a lot of mana, 《Spell Pierce》 and 《Flusterstorm》 will rarely be dead, because of your opponent’s own soft counters and the ability of 《Spell Pierce》 to shut off a 《Show and Tell》 into 《Sneak Attack》 activation line, as well as pseudo-countering 《Sneak Attack》 with 2 mana open by making them pay, being forced to pass the turn and then allowing you to win on your own turn.
Although it is a high-risk play, you can often let their 《Show and Tell》 resolve if you have 《Omniscience》 and 《Cunning Wish》 in hand. Especially with 2 《Force of Will》 in hand, it is better to let 《Show and Tell》 resolve, since you turn on both 《Force of Will》 with 《Omniscience》 in play.
Your play pattern after that usually involves 《Cunning Wish》 for 《Firemind’s Foresight》, finding 《Cunning Wish》, 《Impulse》 and 《Brainstorm》 (or sometimes 《Flusterstorm》 in corner-cases), and 《Cunning Wish》ing for 《Trickbind》 to counter an 《Omniscience》 – cast 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 extra-turn trigger, a 《Sneak Attack》 activation, or something similar.
If they put in 《Omniscience》 and start off with a cantrip, you will often do the same play, except Wishing for 《Rushing River》 to bounce 《Omniscience》 in response to the cantrip. If you have the choice between 《Griselbrand》 or 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 via a resolved 《Sneak Attack》, you should go for 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 most of the time.
It’s much more likely that you don’t find 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 + 《Lotus Petal》 in 7-14 cards and die on their turn, after using some of your 《Force of Will》 to resolve 《Sneak Attack》, than it is for them to recover from “Annihilator 6” in a single turn.
If you see 《Surgical Extraction》 from your Sneak & Show opponent, you should board the same as against OmniSneak / OmniTell.
《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 is a great mirror-breaker and should be your top priority in the post-board games. Your opponent can’t afford and would be incorrect to board in 《Blood Moon》 as an answer, so they usually won’t have an out to it. 《Cunning Wish》ing for 《Through the Breach》 off 《Boseiju, Who Shelters All》 will be one of your most common winning plays.
The most impactful sideboard card from Sneak & Show is 《Vendilion Clique》, although when they have the choice between using 《Vendilion Clique》 and a soft-counter to disrupt you on your combo turn, the experienced players will usually make the safer play of 《Flusterstorm》 / 《Spell Pierce》 instead. Thus, you generally don’t need to try and play around 《Vendilion Clique》 unless it doesn’t cost you anything to do so. 《Arcane Artisan》 is an additional enabler they will bring in and is often a must-counter, unless you can go off on your own turn.
Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT)
Though slightly more pleasant to play against than its little brother TES (The Epic Storm), which is generally a turn faster than ANT, it is still one of the more difficult matchups.
An early 《Show and Tell》 for 《Griselbrand》 or 《Omniscience》 after protecting yourself from early discard with 《Brainstorm》, soft-counters and sometimes even 《Force of Will》, is usually your best bet to win.
《Cunning Wish》 provides another hard-counter in many situations, being able to find 《Flusterstorm》 or 《Surgical Extraction》 to break up 《Past in Flames》 lines. You should always prioritize holding up 《Flusterstorm》 or 《Cunning Wish》 for 《Flusterstorm》 / 《Surgical Extraction》 over just tapping out 《Sneak Attack》 or even 《Show and Tell》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 most of the time (turn 1 and sometimes turn 2 on the play 《Show and Tell》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 is an exception, which you should almost always go for).
Leaving up 《Cunning Wish》 with 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 or 《Griselbrand》 in hand allows you to end of turn Wish for 《Through the Breach》 to Annihilate or 《Griselbrand》 your ANT opponent on your turn, if you don’t have to 《Cunning Wish》 for 《Flusterstorm》 / 《Surgical Extraction》 on theirs.
If you already have a non-creature combo-piece in hand or not enough mana to 《Through the Breach》, 《Cunning Wish》 for 《Intuition》 in your opponent’s end step is another viable and usually safe line, since you can still 《Intuition》 for 《Force of Will》 in case your opponent goes off on their next turn.
Even though they have 7-8 discard spells you should generally not use your 《Flusterstorm》 on cantrips, even though it can be fine to 《Spell Pierce》 a turn 2 《Brainstorm》 if you have a slow hand. If your hand is ready to go off on the next turn, you should rather save 《Spell Pierce》 for a discard spell or 《Dark Ritual》 after the 《Brainstorm》.
Post-board ANT gains access to 《Flusterstorm》, which is pretty huge in the matchup. Since it’s only a 2-of, you shouldn’t play around it unless they heavily telegraph it – losing your 《Show and Tell》 to a discard spell is much more likely.
Signs that they have it are plays like casting a 《Lotus Petal》 and passing after tapping out for cantrips, although that can be a bluff or playing around your 《Flusterstorm》s as well. I usually don’t play around 《Flusterstorm》.
《Xantid Swarm》 is very annoying and a must 《Force of Will》 a lot of the times, but thankfully it’s a 1-of at most in the majority of ANT lists. If you know that your opponent is bringing in both 《Xantid Swarm》 and 《Empty the Warrens》, boarding in 2 《Pyroclasm》 might be worth considering.
《Extirpate》 is another annoying way for them to interact with you and has seen increased play in the past months.
Alongside Delver variants, BR Reanimator is the only one of the Tier 1 decks I would consider labelling as a slightly negative or negative matchup for OmniSneak. A ton of discard paired with the ability to easily combo off on turn 1, annoying 《Chancellor of the Annex》 triggers and hateful creatures to put in via 《Show and Tell》 with 《Ashen Rider》 and 《Tidespout Tyrant》, which they both play main deck, makes this matchup very tough.
《Cunning Wish》 for 《Surgical Extraction》 and 《Sneak Attack》 into 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 lines become live and 《Show and Tell》 for 《Griselbrand》 or 《Omniscience》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 is still often game-ending in the early game.
If you don’t have any other options, 《Show and Tell》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 will also often get you there, although even if they don’t have 《Ashen Rider》 or 《Tidespout Tyrant》 to put into play, an opposing 《Griselbrand》 will often be enough to find and reanimate one of those.
You should save your counter-magic for 《Entomb》 and reanimation spells, although once your opponent starts flash backing 《Faithless Looting》 off of three lands, your 《Flusterstorm》 and 《Spell Pierce》 should be used to counter that. Letting 《Faithless Looting》 resolve also makes your 《Show and Tell》 better, since they will sometimes discard the creatures they could put into play with your 《Show and Tell》 otherwise.
Note that 《Intuition》 for 《Griselbrand》 is somewhat of a counter to 《Exhume》, allowing you to reanimate your own 《Griselbrand》. Another neat interaction to keep in mind is that an 《Omniscience》 – cast 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 is immune to 《Chancellor of the Annex》 triggers.
You can improve this matchup by adding 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 to your sideboard, but I don’t think there is space for them in this configuration and haven’t noticed a difference in win rate compared to Sneak & Show lists with 2-3 《Grafdigger’s Cage》, anyway.
More inexperienced BR Reanimator players or those who don’t recognize you as OmniSneak will often hedge by boarding in 《Abrade》 or other removal for 《Grafdigger’s Cage》. 《Wear/Tear》 and 《Assassin’s Trophy》 are not as dead as 《Abrade》, since they can break up 《Omniscience》 lines or destroy a tap-out 《Sneak Attack》. Other than that, the matchup dynamic doesn’t change much post-board.
Already a great matchup for any 《Show and Tell》 variant, this matchup becomes even easier for OmniSneak. Most lists have already cut 《Ensnaring Bridge》 from the main deck, thus lessening the advantage of being virtually immune to 《Ensnaring Bridge》.
Still, you have 《Cunning Wish》 instead of 《Preordain》 2-4, which makes 《Chalice of the Void》 much less impactful. There will, however, still be situations where you keep a cantrip-heavy hand and will be hosted by or compelled to 《Force of Will》 a 《Chalice of the Void》.
《Goblin Rabblemaster》 and 《Legion Warboss》 are scary clocks that can turn the matchup into a race and force you to find a combo kill fast or use 《Cunning Wish》 on 《Kozilek’s Return》 to buy you more time if you haven’t been able to put together the combo pieces.
《Scab-Clan Berserker》 serves a similar purpose like 《Goblin Rabblemaster》 and 《Legion Warboss》 by giving them a fast clock, while being immune to 《Pyroclasm》. 《Pyroclasm》 buys you a ton of time against the 3-mana Goblins and you should almost always cast it once they have one of them in play, even if the prospect of removing two at once is very alluring.
Similar to the Moon Stompy matchup, Eldrazi variants are more pleasant to play against with OmniSneak than traditional Sneak & Show variants, thanks to 《Cunning Wish》 providing outs to any hateful permanent and the general configuration of the deck being less vulnerable to 《Chalice of the Void》 on 1.
While it used to be the highest tier version of the archetype, Eldrazi Aggro with 《Eldrazi Mimic》 has died down for the most part and has been replaced by Big Eldrazi, often featuring 《Karn, the Great Creator》 now.
Your opponent will usually slam 《Mycosynth Lattice》 instead of keeping it in hand to put into play via 《Show and Tell》, since they might just die to 《Sneak Attack》 or 《Show and Tell》 + 《Omniscience》 if they do that.
Main deck 《Trinisphere》 and sometimes 《Sorcerous Spyglass》, as well as potentially any sideboard card main deck thanks to 《Karn, the Great Creator》, can give you some trouble, and their turbo 《Thought-Knot Seer》 curve-outs can be very hard to beat.
《Endbringer》 or 《Karakas》 will also often steal games against you, especially if you have to go for a mere 《Show and Tell》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》. Overall, this is still a positive matchup I don’t mind facing and their less disruptive draws involving one hate-piece max are rather easy to beat.
No Sideboard Against Big Eldrazi
Outside of corner-cases like double 《Pyroclasm》 to kill 《Thought-Knot Seer》, 《Pyroclasm》 doesn’t do anything against Big Eldrazi. 《Flusterstorm》 is still a blue card to pitch to 《Force of Will》, as well as being able to counter 《Warping Wail》 most of the time.
《Warping Wail》 is the main shift in matchup dynamic post-board, giving them the ability to interact on the stack. It is usually easy to see when they might have it early on, passing the turn with open colorless mana. Since it is a 4-of in most sideboards, you should play around it if you can afford to do so and consider it heavily telegraphed.
Also note that the recent lists play either 《Warping Wail》 or 《Thorn of Amethyst》, for the most part. Therefore, if you see one of them, you can usually assume that they don’t play the other. 《Thorn of Amethyst》 can be annoying, and you should always play out your 《Lotus Petal》 to make it less impactful (and to play around 《Chalice of the Void》 on 0, which is a play they sometimes have to make), but your manabase is well-equipped to deal with tax effects thanks to 《Ancient Tomb》 + 《City of Traitors》. It is also less effective because the Big Eldrazi version doesn’t have mana-denial to support 《Thorn of Amethyst》 effects.
Maverick is another matchup where OmniSneak has the edge over Sneak & Show. Playing against Maverick feels similar to Death and Taxes, although missing 《Aether Vial》 and 《Rishadan Port》 makes this matchup even better for you.
《Knight of the Reliquary》 is both a fast clock and can be a beating if put into play via 《Show and Tell》 by tutoring up 《Karakas》. Therefore, once again, you should try to avoid 《Show and Tell》 + 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 unless you don’t have any other options.
《Griselbrand》 should be able to draw you 7-14 cards through 《Karakas》, and hopefully give you the ability to combo off another time via 《Omniscience》 or 《Sneak Attack》. 《Qasali Pridemage》 and 《Knight of Autumn》 can be powerful answers to 《Omniscience》, although 《Omniscience》 + 《Cunning Wish》 is still mostly unbeatable for them.
You can also board out 《Intuition》 for 《Sudden Shock》 if you fear 《Surgical Extraction》, but I prefer to leave 《Sudden Shock》 in the sideboard as a Wish-target here. If you have enough time, you can sometimes even play around 《Surgical Extraction》 with 《Intuition》.
For example, with 6 mana you can 《Intuition》 for 《Show and Tell》 and cast 《Show and Tell》 before your opponent receives priority to 《Surgical Extraction》 it from your hand. When push comes to shove, 《Force of Will》 can also protect you from 《Surgical Extraction》.
《Choke》 is their strongest sideboard card against you. If you don’t have a 《Force of Will》 or 《Spell Pierce》 for 《Choke》, you should try to play around it, for instance by not casting multiple cantrips on your main phase before they get to 3 mana. Of course, sometimes you won’t be able to afford to play around it and with 《Lotus Petal》 and Sol-lands you can often win even after some of your 《Island》s got 《Choke》.
Some lists run 《Banishing Light》 / 《Oblivion Ring》 effects in the sideboard, which mostly act as another 《Knight of the Reliquary》 against creatures or 《Knight of Autumn》 against 《Omniscience》, and can usually be handled easily enough.
It’s rather tough to put an accurate percentage number on each matchup. Still, to give you some general idea how they compare, this is how I would rank above’s tier decks from easiest to most difficult matchup:
Please take this with a grain of salt, as changes in deck configuration can lead to fluctuations, some of the margins are very small and my assessment of matchups might change. For what it’s worth, BR Reanimator and Grixis Delver are the only matchups I would label as negative.
What’s next for OmniSneak?
With the potential introduction of the London Mulligan, I will observe metagame shifts and try out various 《Show and Tell》 builds tuned to tackle the new Legacy world. During the few weeks where the London Mulligan was live on Magic Online, I have found the faster 《Simian Spirit Guide》 + 《Daze》 version of Sneak & Show without any 《Omniscience》 very powerful. 《Omniscience》 itself suffers from requiring three cards to combo off, which makes it slightly worse in a world where you will mulligan more often and more aggressively.
As for OmniSneak, I might go back to 3 《Spell Pierce》 due to the hype and popularity of 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》. Other than that, I wouldn’t make any change to the list for now.
I am curious if and how the metagame will shift with the addition of these powerful War of the Spark Planeswalkers and if their impact on Legacy might not be overestimated at the moment.
Thank you for reading!
Jonathan Anghelescu @JPAnghelescu on Twitter