I am currently en route back to Detroit from the Legacy Grand Prix in Washington DC, and the events of the past weekend have left me with a lot to think about. Most notably, I have spent the past hour or so pondering the question:
"What ever happened to fairness?"
I have been playing Sneak and Show for the past few weeks, but after this weekend’s event I think I’m going to make a switch and play a similar deck that I believe to be even more unfair: Omni-Tell. In today’s article, Omnigonnatell you why I will be switching things up and why I think you might want to put the deck back on the radar of great decks for Legacy. I’m also going to talk a little bit about some of the more bizarre things that I witnessed this weekend that have led me to believe that fairness is a fiction both in Legacy and often in the real world.
The most productive place to start this discussion is at the weekend’s end—from there I can work backward toward the beginning. So at the very conclusion I am left with the all-important life lesson:
And so I learned that life and Legacy are completely unfair.
About an hour and a half ago I just finished up dealing with one of the most obnoxious experiences I have ever been a part of. I drove out to DC with my friend Jon, and we stayed with my other friend Paul for the weekend because he lives only a few minutes from the tournament site.
Jon and I woke up early this morning to hit the road back to Detroit, and when we went outside we quickly discovered that Jon’s car had mysteriously vanished. Paul called his apartment complex and got the information for the tow service they use, and sure enough when we followed up that lead, we discovered that his car had been towed.
We had been diligent to park in a specifically marked "visitor" space, so we went back outside and took several pictures of the space we had been towed from in order to clearly show that we had been wrongfully towed. When we got to the car jail, we showed the young man who was working our photographs.
He brought up on his computer screen the photo that the tow driver had taken, and clearly visible in the photograph in bright white paint was the word "visitor." Ok, cool, we all agree that the car was clearly parked in a visitor spot, so this should be a pretty cut and dry case of "give us our car back and we’ll be on our way."
A reasonable person might assume this is what would happen, but it is not even remotely what ended up taking place. The tow guy explained to us that Paul’s apartment complex had rezoned where the visitor parking was at and that the visitor parking space we had parked in was no longer visitor parking.
"Yeah, but the space clearly signifies it as a visitor parking space."
"Yeah, but that isn’t the tow company’s problem. If you want the car back, it’s $225."
Take your car . . .
So we called the police.
A police officer came out and looked at the tow company’s photograph and told the tow guy to release the car. The tow guy said he wasn’t allowed to release it. The officer asked the attendant guy to call his supervisor. The attendant said no, he wasn’t allowed to call his boss. The officer then asked the attendant to give him the manager’s number so that he could talk to him. The attendant begrudgingly complied, and the manger told the cop that he wasn’t going to release the car!
How is this even happening!!!
The cop pulled my friends and me aside and told us, "Sorry, guys but there is nothing I can really do. It is probably best if you just pay the tow guys and go on your way." Uh, wait a second. You are the police officer, these guys basically stole our car and are holding it for ransom, and there is nothing you can do?
Bewildered, we paid the towing guys and went on our way.
Sometimes life is really unfair, and sometimes the bad guys win.
I left the tournament site last night with a disappointing 5-3-1 record. I played the Sneak and Show deck again but unfortunately didn’t do was well with it at the Legacy Grand Prix as I did at the Legacy Championship early in the month.
I followed suit with the changes that William Jensen made to the deck early in the week and added the Dazes and Misdirection to the maindeck.
I like the deck in general and felt that it was really powerful. I ended up losing to a Junk Sinkhole land destruction deck, Shallow Grave Reanimator, and Merfolk. All three matches were very close, but my Sneak and Show deck came up a little bit short at the wrong times for me.
One play that I got to make that was really cool was that I was able to Sneak Attack out a Griselbrand and block his Tarmogoyf (killing it) and then use the extra life to draw cards to find an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. I am a little bit new to playing with the card Sneak Attack and had never really used it defensively before!
Another interesting play that I got to make was I was put in a situation where I was playing against RUG Delver and ended up with three Show and Tells in my hand with nothing to "SHOW" for it, meaning no Griselbrand or Emrakul to put into play. I was fairly certain that my opponent had a counterspell in hand, so I played my Show and Tell anyway.
Obviously, my opponent thought I must have a monster to Show into play, so he Force of Willed my Show and Tell. The next turn I was able to play a Ponder and find a creature to Show and Tell, and because I had baited the Force of Will out of his hand the turn before, my spell resolved.
Split Card: Duress // Six Dark Rituals
The last kind of interesting play that I got to make was one I had been hoping to get to make at the Vintage Championship earlier in the month. I got to Misdirect an Abrupt Decay from my Blood Moon onto my opponent’s Deathrite Shaman, which ultimately locked him out of the game. Even though the Abrupt Decay is uncounterable, Misdirection just makes it somebody else’s problem.
One thing I noticed playing Show and Tell was that all of my opponents seemed pretty prepared to deal with my strategy. I felt like although my deck was super powerful and super unfair that my opponent’s decks were all very prepared to make plays that were able to deal with me trying to put gigantic legendary creatures into play.
In fact, if I could run the tournament back, I would play the deck that Paul Mastriano and Jon Johnson worked on.
If only I possessed the superpower of:
"Know it all."
What I like about this deck is that it has all of the raw power of getting to Show and Tell broken cards into play but in many ways what is being Show and Telled dodges a lot of the hate.
Nice Karakas, friend.
The kill in this deck is also super sweet. Once you have Omniscience or Dream Halls in play and cast Enter the Infinite, the plan is to Cunning Wish for Research // Development and shuffle Laboratory Manic into the one-card library, draw it using a Preordain, and cast Brainstorm with a million counterspell backup for the win.
I prefer this victory condition to the Release the Ants one. It doesn’t require the deck to play an Emrakul (zero dead cards) and not having to worry about clashing against an opposing Emrakul is sweet. I want to win the game on the spot no questions asked.
It is pretty sweet that the deck plays exactly zero victory conditions in the maindeck!
The other thing that I like about this deck is that it seems absolutely insane in the Show and Tell mirror match. I love the way that even though the opponent has scary monsters like Emrakul or Griselbrand that the Omni-Tell player can just Show and Tell and then instantly win the game on the spot.
I’ve noticed playing Sneak and Show that in the mirror you usually don’t want to be playing Show and Tell on your turn because if both players put a monster into play whoever gets the first attack step usually wins. Sneak and Show will probably lose the Show and Tell war if it Shows first; however, Omni-Tell can very easily Show and Tell and win on its own turn.
It is also pretty sweet that in the matchups where I want Force of Will all of my Show and Tell targets are pitchable and that the deck actually plays five basic Islands. Plus, the idea of drawing every card in my deck via Enter the Infinite seems pretty cool.
I would consider Omniscience to be an "unfair card," so it meets the criteria I am looking for in Legacy. Setting up a turn where a player just draws every card in their deck and basically does whatever they want is about as broken as a magical tow truck that can steal cars at will and hold them for ransom . . .
Here are the main points that have led me to believe that (at least for the moment) the Show and Tell deck that I want to be playing is this version of Omni-Tell.
I. The deck completely ignores all of the hate that typically punishes people for trying to win with Griselbrand or Emrakul. All of those Karakases, Stifles, and Pithing Needles that make life miserable for Sneak and Show are basically non-issues for Omni.
Granted, there are other hate cards that are better against Omni-Tell, such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben; Gaddock Teeg; and Ethersworn Canonist, but I think that most people have more cards for Griselbrand and Emrakul than the other way around. It is also pretty amazing that the sideboard Karakas answers both of Sneak and Show’s monsters, Thalia, and Gaddock Teeg in one card.
II. All of Omni’s blue-producing lands are basic. None of the actual spells that Omni wants to be casting before the turn it tries to go off even require colorless mana, which means that it is basically unnecessary to ever play a nonbasic land before the combo turn. No vulnerability to Wasteland at all is a pretty big game. Wastelands can be quite good against Sneak and Show’s Volcanic Islands in games where it is forced to play them out.
If Sneak and Show is a deck that is B+ at being good against Wasteland, Omni has an A+ grade.
III. Omni actually ends the game on the spot when it goes off. Sneak and Show kind of assembles a soft lock that will win most games. I have definitely lost games where I have resolved a Show and Tell and put a monster into play or where I have Sneak Attacked a guy and couldn’t win.
Granted, Omni needs a third card (which is a drawback) that can be either Cunning Wish or Enter the Infinite. The upside is that when you go off the game is over no questions asked.
IV. Omni doesn’t lose to a Jace the same way that Showing a fatty can. It is pretty annoying to Show and Tell out an Emrakul and have them drop a free land; cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor; and then bounce the legendary creature away.
V. With the Omni deck life total doesn’t actually matter, whereas in any situation where Griselbrand comes up it is very important. If Omni-Tell is alive, that is all the matters, as opposed to with Sneak and Show where drawing cards with Griselbrand may be a completely ineffective proposition. I had a game against Merfolk where all I could do was get a Griselbrand into play that didn’t actually win the game for me. If I’d had a combo kill, I feel I probably would have been able to make a better fight of it.
VI. I also like that Dream Halls (one of my eight Show and Tell targets) is a straight-up castable threat (unlike the eight targets in Sneak and Show that are 99.9% never actually getting cast without a Show and Tell, Sneak Attack, or Through the Breach being involved in the equation). Fewer dead cards makes for a happier me.
VII. Omni-Tell is way favored against all of the other Sneak Attack decks because it can win immediately and on the spot on the same turn it casts the card.
I have embraced the idea that Legacy and life are both completely unfair and have decided to act accordingly. My objective from now on is to only play Legacy decks that do extremely broken and completely degenerate things every single game, and playing a mono-blue deck that draws and can play every single card in its deck at any point in the game seems like a good fit to the aforementioned criteria.
If you are thinking about playing Show and Tell in Legacy, I recommend taking the Omni-Tell deck for a joyride and seeing if you like it. I am really on board with the deck and will likely be giving it some play for at least the foreseeable future. Especially with all of the emphasis with creature battles and wars over Jitte and True-Name Nemesis going on, I think that it seems like a legitimately smart metagame move to be playing a super-powerful deck that ignores everything except the few narrow ways of interacting with it that can also just win the game on the second turn.
I want a deck that when I play with it makes me feel like an all-powerful, god-like, omnipotent, infallible tow-truck operator who exists on a level that transcends all notions of fairness.
Playing fair is no longer in my vocabulary—I hereby formally announce that moving forward I am committing myself to the cause of becoming a combo player. Does anybody have a sick Doomsday list I can start practicing with?
I also hereby commit to never complaining about not liking Legacy ever because it is too broken. It is important to note that I was a sucker mage trying to play fair decks in a combo mage’s paradise. Being a newly transformed combo player, I now embrace and better appreciate a whole new dimension about what makes Legacy a great format.
Really, does anybody have a sick Doomsday list I can start practicing with?
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