It’s a new week, so it’s about time to learn how to go from a straight forward aggro deck, to one of the pillars of combo in Sneak & Show.
Sneak and Show has been a deck for a long time, and for good reason; nothing is more busted in Magic than cheating mana cost. We see it in every format – Aether Vial and Hollow One in Modern, Aetherworks Marvel in Kaladesh Standard, Oath of Druids in Vintage – but I’m getting ahead of myself. You’ve come here because you want to play the best format: DRAFT.
Okay seriously, Sneak and Show is a powerhouse. It is, in my opinion, the most fair unfair deck. It can win on turn 1, or it can play the xerox game until it can force something through – all while keeping you from doing what you want to do at the same time. And it’s quite achievable from UR Delver; all it’ll cost you is about $1,200, 5 months of budgeting, and your friendships.
Month 0 – $1,950
Our Old Friend
It’s not you UR Delver. It’s me. I’ve been changing you too much, and I’m sorry.
Also, disclaimer – this deck totally doesn’t cost 2k. Well, it shouldn’t, if you follow my budgeting guide, describing how we built this deck from Burn, so click here if you want to check that out before we move on.
Month 1 – $300-350
I Just Bought Duals!
+1 Volcanic Island
I know you did! I’m sorry! But aren’t they cool?!
In reality, 3 Volcanics is a good threshold for getting wasted out of the game, and also not losing to Back to Basics. It’s the stock land count for good reason. Plus, you get to just play this immediately to help the consistency of your current UR Delver list, which is more than you can do when we buy a playset of Griselbrand.
TheKing’s Everlasting Warning: Please don’t ever pay full price for a dual. Every legacy player uses Heavy Played, folded in half, washed-once-or-twice Revised duals that were bought for a high five. Please don’t think you need anything more than the worst case scenario in your sleeve – it’ll save you tons!
Month 2 – $200-250
A Little Less Aggro
+2 Preordain, +1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor, +1 Flusterstorm, (Sideboard > +1 Flusterstorm, +1 Grafdigger’s Cage, +1 Pyroclasm, +2 Abrade)
-2 Risk Factor, -1 Forked Bolt, -1 Stormchaser Mage, (Sideboard > -1 Tormod’s Crypt, -1 Red Elemental Blast, -1 Pyroblast, -2 Smash to Smithereens)
ALSO BUY – 4 Griselbrand, 2 Leyline of Sanctity
When we get closer to having a finished list, most of the sideboard pieces will make sense as inherent upgrades, but, for now, you’ll have to trust me. Abrade – for our purposes – is a better Smash. Same with Preordain and Flusterstorm. Jace helps our long game win percentage (even if it’s just a little), and the remaining cards help our 50/50 to bad Sneak and Show matchups from the board: Flusterstorm for.. well, storm, Cage for Reanimator/Dredge, and Pyroclasm for Elves and Death and Taxes.
In the “also buy but please oh God do not try to play these in your Delver deck” section this month, we have 4 of your main targets in Griselbrand, and some sideboard tech in Leyline. Leyline improves some brutal matchups involving discard, so let’s try and remember to not lose the game to Hymn to Tourach, and bring these in instead. We’re gonna be rockin’ 4 of these 0 mana bad bois in our final list.
Month 3 – $200-225
Keep Rockin’ With Delver
No List Changes
ALSO BUY – 3 Ancient Tomb, 4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, 2 Omniscience, 4 Lotus Petal, 1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All, 1 Arcane Artisan, 1 Leyline of Sanctity
While we keep it moving behind the scenes, our little Delver list is actually all out of love at the moment. Sure, you can play Boseiju and Leyline in the board, but it only sounds like a bad idea unless your meta is filled with Czech Pile/Death Shadow.
Investing in our deck – one which we can sleeve up next month – is super rewarding; Emrakul and Ancient Tomb just got reprinted in Ultimate Masters! It’s a great time to be playing this deck, as it only got cheaper. Pick these up for their lowered price and you will not be disappointed!
Arcane Artisan is a new little diddy, picked up from Battlebond. It makes Griselbrands that can’t be stopped by Flusterstorm (or any other counterspell, once it’s resolved. But it shoves through Flusterstorm, so take that Miracles!). Also, your pair of Omniscience reduce your potential Show and Tell targets left to buy down to 2 – that you’ll also be picking up next month – while a set of Lotus Petal ensure your sweet, sweet turn 1 Ancient Tomb into Petal into Show and Tell combo. Feels good just writing it.
Month 4 – $250-300
Dawn of the Final Day
+1 City of Traitors, +4 Show and Tell, +2 Sneak Attack, +1 Leyline of Sanctity
-2 Wasteland, -4 Delver of Secrets, -4 Monastery Swiftspear, -2 Soul-Scar Mage, -2 Stormchaser Mage, -4 Chain Lightning, -4 Lightning Bolt, -4 Price of Progress, -1 Grim Lavamancer, -2 Pyrostatic Pillar, -1 Sulfuric Vortex
Wait, we haven’t bought the namesake cards yet? Oops.
Now that we’ve got that solved, you have yourself a fully realized Sneak and Show list… except for one card, but we’ll pick up a second copy of City of Traitors next month. At this point in the process, I don’t think I need to tell you how to play the deck, so, instead, let’s talk about why this deck is a good choice at the moment: the hard control decks (including Miracles) have a hard time beating both the consistency and fairness of the deck, while the non-blue-xerox decks of the world have a hard time beating the speed.
It’s quick. It’s resilient. It’s good. If I were going into an unknown meta to play an event, this is the deck (and the list) that I’m taking.
Month 5 – $150-175
+1 City of Traitors
And there’s the list! The only thing we didn’t touch on specifically are the fetches, but, if you followed from the last article, it’s fine to take out 1 Bloodstained Mire to bring your fetches down to 4 Tarn, 3 Blue, 1 Red. The Flooded Strands in the picture above are just placeholders, if you will, for whatever Blue/Red fetches you decided to buy originally.
Hopefully I touched on everything, from how to play, to (simply) how to sideboard, to the deck’s position now and onwards. I appreciate everyone who voted on my twitter poll to decide this week’s deck. I love Sneak and Show – in fact, this exact path is how my first Legacy decks came to be: Burn to UR Delver to Sneak and Show. Humble Brag I got my Emrakuls and Ponders signed by Mark Tedin a few years ago because I was that all-in on this deck. I’m not currently planning to sleeve it up in my next events, but it remains a deck I will always take into a blind meta because of it’s sheer power, both proactively and reactively.
I know last time I talked about breaking out into other Delver shells, but, boy, that article was really boring. It became 1,200 words of “Buy 3 Underground Sea over 3 months, then buy the Grixis Delver shell in Month 4, then buy 2 more Volcanic Islands for Months 5 and 6.” I’ll be back next time with a few versions of Delver in one article, and then we can move into other archetypes. Stay tuned to my twitter for a poll about the next Budget to Tiered content, as well as my rants about Magic and my lack of streaming. Also, please let me know in the comments what you thought about the deck and my process – what you liked and didn’t like – and, as always, thank you for your eternal support; see what I did there, huh? Oh, I ruined it? Dang.