PV’s Playhouse – Sneak Attacking in Denver


Yesterday, I wrote that I was undecided between three styles of decks, but leaning more towards [card]Sneak Attack[/card]. In the end, this is what I played:

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
2 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Force of Will
2 Intuition
3 Spell Pierce
1 Daze
4 Show and Tell
4 Sneak Attack
4 Griselbrand
4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Lotus Petal
3 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Traitors
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Volcanic Island
2 Island
1 Mountain
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Pyroblast
1 Karakas
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Pyroclasm
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Hydroblast
2 Arcane Laboratory
2 Through the Breach
1 Blood Moon[/deck]

So, why Sneak Attack? Two reasons: First, I felt like people were going too far out of the way to try to beat the fair decks, creating a downward spiral in which every fair deck got incrementally worse against the unfair decks—not unlike what happened when Jund started playing [card]Lingering Souls[/card], for example, and other Jund decks would either lose percentage in the Jund mirror or make their decks much worse versus Scapeshift, Tron, and Pod. This gives a “fair deck” player the option of losing to the unfair decks, or losing to the other fair decks, neither of which is very appealing—as Adam Prosak nicely put it, “I would not lose to [card]Squadron Hawk[/card].”

The second reason is that the deck is just very powerful—you have an excellent nut draw and enough deck manipulation to beat a ton of disruption not backed up by pressure, and most things that people think beat you actually lose to Sneak Attack.

Now, onto the individual cards:

[draft]4 Emrakul, the aeons torn
4 Griselbrand
4 Show and Tell
4 Sneak Attack[/draft]

The “combo” part of the deck. I’ve seen many decks running other creatures (such as [card]Progenitus[/card]), but I think that’s very bad because they basically can’t be used with [card]Sneak Attack[/card] (plus, you don’t need any more—I wanted to cut an Emrakul already). If you must play something else, play a [card]Terastodon[/card], but it isn’t necessary.

[draft]4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
2 sensei’s divining Top
2 Preordain
2 Intuition[/draft]

My original configuration had 3 [card]Preordain[/card] 1 [card sensei’s divining top]Top[/card], but I thought discard was going to be a lot more prevalent, and Top is much better than Preordain if that is the case. You can’t play four Tops, because they’re kinda slow and don’t pitch to [card]Force of Will[/card], but you can certainly afford to play two.

[draft]4 Force of Will
3 Spell Pierce
1 Daze[/draft]

[card]Daze[/card] is slightly better in counter wars, but [card]Spell Pierce[/card] is much better at countering discard, planeswalkers, and [card]Counterbalance[/card]—since those are often more popular nowadays, I think [card]Spell Pierce[/card] is better. There is still a [card]Daze[/card] because you often [card]Show and Tell[/card] [card]Griselbrand[/card], so you want to be able to draw into free counterspells.

That’s it! The deck is pretty much all combo, card drawing, permission, and mana.

The sideboard is a bit trickier, and it’s honestly my least favorite part about the deck. You rarely have something to take out, so you can’t side a lot of things in, but people will have better stuff against you.

[draft]2 Pyroblast[/draft]

[card]Pyroblast[/card] is pretty good, but if you have more than 2 you end up cutting [card]Spell Pierce[/card]s for them, and at that point it’s not worth it—especially since Pierce is actually better against BUG.

[draft]2 Hydroblast[/draft]

A concession to the mirror, where the single most important card is [card]Sneak Attack[/card], plus a good card against Goblins, Burn, and any red-ritual based deck.

[draft]2 Relic of Progenitus[/draft]

Dredge, Reanimator, Ad Nauseum, and Sam Black’s deck. Not an incredibly efficient card, and [card]Tormod’s Crypt[/card] would be better against Dredge, but then you wouldn’t be able to side it in against stuff like Ad Nauseum.

[draft]2 Through the Breach[/draft]

Ways to combo out when you have to take out [card]Show and Tell[/card].

[draft]2 Arcane Lab[/draft]

Against Storm.


Ways to beat their [card]Karakas[/card], as well as an extra mana source against decks with [card]Wasteland[/card] and [card]Daze[/card]. If they don’t have Wasteland (Storm, some Stoneblade) then you can take out a Mountain for it. If you want it as an extra mana source (or if you take out [card]Lotus Petal[/card]), then take out a spell and go up to 19 lands.

[draft]2 Pyroclasm[/draft]

Goblins, Elves, [card]Empty the Warrens[/card].

[draft]1 Jace, the mind sculptor[/draft]

Just a decent card that beats discard-heavy draws. Used to be 2, but I realized I never wanted to side it in.

[draft]1 Blood Moon[/draft]

This was my last addition. It’s a great card on the play against certain decks (BUG mostly), but there’s only one because you definitely don’t want to draw two, it’s not that good on the draw and you don’t really need it, it’s just a random way to get a free win.

The deck seems very straightforward, but it’s actually quite complicated to play—like most Legacy decks. Combo is historically non-interactive, but when people play free counterspells, [card]Stifle[/card]s, [card]Wasteland[/card]s, and [card]Thoughtseize[/card]s; and you play fetchlands, [card]Brainstorm[/card]s, and [card sensei’s divining top]Tops[/card], every single thing you do has to be the result of a conscious decision. You often have many permutations on turn one and you need to choose the correct one. Some general tips:

• If you have the choice, [card]Griselbrand[/card] is almost always better than [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] because of [card jace, the mind sculptor]Jace[/card] and [card liliana of the veil]Liliana[/card]. It’s almost impossible to lose when you play [card]Griselbrand[/card] at a healthy life total.

• You can [card]Show and Tell[/card] a [card]Sneak Attack[/card] into play—this acts as a ritual of sorts, but also dodges almost every hate card. Watch your opponent’s face when their [card]Gilded Drake[/card] fizzles, it’s great.

• Play your [card]Brainstorm[/card]s. I’ve been known to say, “the best [card]Brainstorm[/card] is the one you never cast,” but that’s not true with this deck. I’ll often play a [card]Brainstorm[/card] turn one if I don’t have a better alternative (though any other 1cc spell is better to cast). Of course, if your hand is three [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakuls[/card], then you might wait to shuffle both of them away, but most of the time you should just use your spell.

• Protect your key spells! All of your draw spells save [card]Intuition[/card] give you the ability to hide something useful from discard, and you should plan for that. Imagine you’re playing against a [card]Thoughtseize[/card] deck, and you cast a [card]Preordain[/card]. Your hand is [card]Griselbrand[/card], [card]Griselbrand[/card], and the top cards are Island, [card]Show and Tell[/card] (that you can’t cast this turn but will be able to cast next turn). In this case, it’s possible that it’s better to just draw the Island and leave the [card]Show and Tell[/card] there for next turn—if you resolve it, then you don’t care that you drew a useless card.

• [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] shuffles your library, so be careful of that when setting up some sequence of plays.

• When you have [card]Griselbrand[/card] in play, you might want to draw some cards now in the chance that you hit a [card]Lotus Petal[/card] and a [card]Spell Pierce[/card]. You’ll have to discard, but that rarely matters.

Round 4 – UW

This matchup seemed relatively easy, because the UW deck has almost no pressure—there isn’t anything very threatening they can do to you other than [card]Counterbalance[/card] with 3s and 4s (if they get those three and a [card sensei’s divining top]Top[/card], then you can’t win).

Normally in this matchup you would rather just wait for [card]Sneak Attack[/card] or [card]Griselbrand[/card], since they have [card jace, the mind sculptor]Jace[/card] and [card]Terminus[/card], but I had multiple counterspells in hand, with two [card]Show and Tell[/card]s and two [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakuls[/card], so I decided to just go for it—but my attempts were countered by [card]Detention Sphere[/card] and [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]. Eventually I landed a [card]Sneak Attack[/card] and that won the game. Game two he mulliganed and didn’t do much.


Round 5

My opponent thought long and hard before keeping his hand. He led with [card]Taiga[/card] and passed, and I played [card]City of Traitors[/card] and Top, finding a [card]Volcanic Island[/card] to go with my [card]Show and Tell[/card] and [card]Griselbrand[/card]. On turn two, he just passed without a play, which sent a couple of warnings. At that point, I saw three possibilities:

1) He is playing Belcher.
2) He is playing Hypergenesis.
3) He is playing some sort of Zoo/Goblins and kept an unplayable hand.

I figured 1) and 2) were way more likely, and in both cases playing [card]Show and Tell[/card] could be disastrous. If he is playing Belcher, he probably has Belcher in hand, or he would not have kept the hand.

My two options are either to go for it (I have a [card]Force of Will[/card]) or to set up [card]Sneak Attack[/card], which would take an incredible amount of time since my City of Traitors is going to be destroyed whenever I play another land. In that time, he could possibly kill me even through my Force of Will, depending on what he is playing.

I decided to go for it, and sure enough he does play a [card]Goblin Charbelcher[/card]. I draw 14 cards and pass with three counterspells—which could potentially not be enough, since two [card simian spirit guide]Spirit Guides[/card] just kill me, and I definitely have to counter [card lotus petal]Lotus[/card] and [card lion’s eye diamond]LED[/card]. He played a [card]Tinder Wall[/card] which I countered, and then he had no play and I killed him the following turn. Game two I just [card]Sneak Attack[/card]ed him.


Round 6 – RUG

My round 6 match was a feature match against Tomoharu Saito. Game one I mulliganed into a land-heavy hand. Not necessarily the worst against RUG, since having more mana is the equivalent of countering their counterspells most of the time. When I had 5 mana, I decided to go for [card]Show and Tell[/card], but he had [card]Spell Pierce[/card] and [card]Daze[/card] to counter it.

In retrospect, I should probably have waited a turn. I assumed he had no Pierces because I had seen [card]Spell Snare[/card], so I didn’t want him to have more time to draw [card]Force of Will[/card], but it turned out he had both and Snares just as a 2-of. I eventually drew a second [card]Show and Tell[/card], but he had FOW for that and I lost.

Game two he had an early [card delver of secrets]Delver[/card] and a [card]Ponder[/card], which I [card]Spell Pierce[/card]d. Some people questioned that decision, but I think it was correct. In this matchup, having lands is almost the equivalent of having [card]Spell Pierce[/card]s anyway. I mean, what am I going to do, [card]Spell Pierce[/card] a [card]Daze[/card]?

It’s better to stop him from ever getting those cards, as well as potentially flipping Delver. He followed it up with a ‘Goyf and had a reasonable amount of pressure. When he had 3 cards in hand, I decided to go for it, knowing that I would lose to a combination of FOW + blue card + [card]Spell Pierce[/card]/[card]Pyroblast[/card]/[card]Stifle[/card]. Here is the scenario:

He has 4 lands, two [card tarmogoyf]’Goyfs[/card], and a [card delver of secrets]Delver[/card]—and those three cards. I am at 7 life and I have six mana (but only two red) and a [card sensei’s divining top]Top[/card] in play; and [card]Brainstorm[/card], [card]Force of Will[/card], [card]Sneak Attack[/card], [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] in hand. Top cards are a land, a [card]Griselbrand[/card], and an unknown, and I’ve already drawn for my turn and played a land.

I start by playing [card]Sneak Attack[/card], which he Forces and I Force back. It resolves, and now I have UR up. At this point, I have two options: I play Emrakul and annihilate him to one permanent (a 4/5 ‘Goyf), losing to [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] (which might not be in his deck anymore, almost certainly not as a 4-of anyway), or I pass the turn and play [card]Griselbrand[/card] to block.

Playing Griselbrand would kill one of his ‘Goyfs but gain me no net life (since I’m taking 7). At this point, he gets another turn to draw a [card]Stifle[/card], and if he plays any permanent, we repeat the exact same situation (since he will have 7 again), except I don’t have the [card]Griselbrand[/card] anymore to guarantee that I kill him the following turn. This play is, therefore, much worse.

Once I settled for [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card], I tried to see how I could potentially beat [card]Stifle[/card].

There are two ways: I can either bait him into using Stifle on something that is not the [card]Sneak Attack[/card] or the annihilator, or I can have him [card]Stifle[/card] the [card]Sneak Attack[/card] and then Top into [card]Lotus Petal[/card].

My idea, then, is to [card sensei’s divining top]Top[/card] and spin it, trying to bait the [card]Stifle[/card]. After all, he doesn’t know that I have a creature in hand already—my last card could be a [card]Lotus Petal[/card] and he might be afraid of me finding a creature. Since I’m going to Top, I might as well look first, in case the top card is indeed [card]Lotus Petal[/card].

I use Top (and he makes a remark that makes me think he really thinks I’m digging for a creature here) and see [card]Daze[/card]. I put that on top, because it’s possible that his last card is a land and his draw is [card]Lightning Bolt[/card]. In any other scenario, it is irrelevant which card I pick, since I’ll just get [card]Griselbrand[/card] next turn anyway, so having the Daze in my hand is strictly better.

I activate [card]Sneak Attack[/card], he does not [card]Stifle[/card] it, and I play the [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card]. I attack, he sacrifices everything but a ‘Goyf, and at this point I realize I’ve made a horrible mistake, because Emrakul is going to die at the end of the turn and I’m going to have to shuffle the [card]Griselbrand[/card] away. I can still hit next turn, but my next draw is a Mountain and I end up losing a game that was incredibly in my favor.

That game was very disappointing, I’m not going to lie. Doubly so because I was on camera. Still, I don’t feel that bad for doing it—assuming all the premises I’m working with are correct (i.e. forgetting [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] shuffles), then I think my play was actually very good—possibly the best play in that situation. Obviously, once you realize that I’ll have to shuffle, then it becomes horrendous, but I’d honestly rather make a misplay like this, which is easy to fix in the future, than one like I made in game one (where I ran into [card]Spell Pierce[/card] + [card]Daze[/card]). There, I had all the correct information, I just decided on the wrong play.


Round 7

I was on the play, and my opponent mulliganed. On his first turn, he drew a card and simply said “go”. Maybe he is playing Dredge. I set up a [card]Show and Tell[/card] for turn three, and on his turn two he plays [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card]. I have a [card]Force of Will[/card], but decide not to use it, which is good because he plays [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card]s numbers two, three and four the very next turn.

I have the option to [card]Show and Tell[/card] [card]Griselbrand[/card] now, but I immediately die to [card]Goblin Charbelcher[/card] and, unlike the previous Belcher match, I think I have more time here to try to find a [card]Sneak Attack[/card], as well as more ways to stop him from doing something If he is actually playing Dredge or Ad Nauseum.

He removes two [card simian spirit guide]Guides[/card] to play [card]Desperate Ritual[/card], but I [card]Spell Pierce[/card] that and he has to start over. We play draw-go for many turns, with me having two [card]Force of Will[/card]s the entire time, and we get to a point where I have access to 13 mana, so I could actually just cast [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] in the near future. Unfortunately we never get to that, since I draw [card]Sneak Attack[/card] before drawing my last [card]Ancient Tomb[/card]. Though, it would have been a pretty cool story if I hard-casted [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] in my 18-land deck.

Game two I landed an [card]Arcane Lab[/card] early on, followed by [card]Sneak Attack[/card], and he didn’t do much.


Round 8 – Mirror

My opponent led with Volcanic Island and some cantrips, which could be RUG or another combo deck. When she played a turn three [card]Show and Tell[/card], I actually let it resolve, since I have a [card]Sneak Attack[/card] and two [card]Griselbrand[/card]s, as well as two counterspells, so the only way I realistically lose is to [card]Omniscience[/card] plus [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card]. She puts [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] into play, and I draw 14 cards, find my own [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card], and kill her.

Game two was incredibly similar. She played [card]Show and Tell[/card] and we both put [card]Sneak Attack[/card]s into play. She used her last mana to activate [card]Sneak Attack[/card], but I respond by getting [card]Griselbrand[/card] into play and drawing 14, ready with an [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] and mana to put it into play if that is her creature, but it’s just [card]Griselbrand[/card] and they legend-rule each other, so next turn I kill her.

I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to take out Show and Tell in this matchup, since the person who casts it first almost always loses. The best they’re hoping for is a draw—the opponent will win both fights (Emrakul will just attack and kill them regardless of how many cards they have, and Griselbrand will draw 14 cards and you will likely find your own Emrakul to kill theirs before it can attack).


The GP was only 8 rounds, which resulted in 150 people making Day Two. Clearly an oversight, as I don’t think almost a fourth of the tournament making Day Two is intended. This meant that, even though the tournament was quite small, some x-3s would not even make Top 16.

Round 9 – Ad Nauseum

Game one was very weird. I knew my opponent was playing Ad Nauseum, and I managed to resolve a fairly early [card]Sneak Attack[/card] for [card]Griselbrand[/card]. I decided to draw 7, in the hopes of hitting [card]Lotus Petal[/card] + [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card].

I hit Emrakul but no Petal, and I only have one [card]Force of Will[/card]. I decide to draw 7 more. It somewhat exposes me to [card tendrils of agony]Tendrils[/card], but if I find Petal I win on the spot, and I know I’ll end up drawing 7 more in search of another FOW anyway. I don’t find the Petal, but find a [card]Daze[/card].

After the attack, I’m at 12 life. I can either pass or draw 7 more—I chose to draw 7. I still need more Force of Wills, and if I finally hit a Petal I have Spell Pierce as well. I do hit a second FOW, but still no Petal, and I pass at 5 life.

On his turn, he starts with [card]Dark Ritual[/card]. If I let it resolve, I very likely lose to a Tendrils, so I counter it. Even though there is only one Tendrils in the deck, it seemed like I could afford to play around it.

He plays a [card]Cabal Ritual[/card], which leaves him with four cards in hand and a [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card] in play. I decide to counter the Ritual as well. Finally, he plays a [card]Lotus Petal[/card], which I [card]Daze[/card] and he doesn’t pay. Now he has just [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card] in play, and three cards—which turn out to be LED #2, [card]Past in Flames[/card], and [card]Ad Nauseum[/card]. He uses [card]Past in Flames[/card] to flashback some rituals and [card]Ad Nauseum[/card], but he is at 7 life, so he can very easily die before he finds Tendrils or a Tutor that he can cast empty-handed. The very first card he reveals ends up being Tendrils, though, so he kills me.

I don’t know if I played correctly or not. Assuming I let him resolve both rituals, he has access to 9 mana—enough for [card]Ad Nauseum[/card] plus [card]Past in Flames[/card], and then the two [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card]s to flashback the [card]Past in Flames[/card] with enough mana to play a Ritual, but, since I have [card]Daze[/card], I can actually stop him from winning in that spot. It’s possible that I should have just “given up” and lost to Tendrils—it’s only a one-of after all—but the scenario I sculpted ended up losing only to second LED + Past in Flames + a business spell (or some other combination of cards), so it didn’t seem that bad.

Game two is very interesting. I have [card]Arcane Lab[/card] going but not much else. He [card cabal therapy]Therapies[/card] two [card]Show and Tell[/card]s away, leaving me with just [card]Spell Pierce[/card], and I draw [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card]. He therapies [card]Spell Pierce[/card], I draw a second [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card], and he Therapies Emrakul.

He then plays [card]Burning Wish[/card] for [card]Grim Tutor[/card] and tutors for what I assume is a bounce spell, but since he can only play one spell a turn, I have some time to draw [card]Force of Will[/card], which I do. He plays [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card] and sees my [card]Force of Will[/card], but can’t do anything about it, so we just play draw-go until I eventually find a way to kill him.

Game three I have a very good opening hand, and my choice on turn two is a) [card]Griselbrand[/card] b) [card]Arcane Lab[/card] c) Pass with two [card]Spell Pierce[/card]s. I choose to go with [card]Arcane Lab[/card], which might not have been the best choice. All he has to do is deal with that (and, well, kill me), but since he is playing a [card]Burning Wish[/card] version I assume he doesn’t have a lot of ways to deal with it in his main deck. He ends up doing nothing on turn three and I just kill him.


Round 10 – BUG with Shardless Agent

This was my first match against a BUG deck, though it was not the most popular BUG list. He starts with a [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card], and I start with [card]Ancient Tomb[/card], [card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/card]. He [card]Force of Will[/card]s it.

My hand is [card]Show and Tell[/card], [card]Force of Will[/card], [card]Griselbrand[/card], [card]Griselbrand[/card], and what I believe is [card]Sneak Attack[/card]. If I Force back, I have a Top, but I lose the [card]Show and Tell[/card] and need to find two lands for the Sneak Attack. If I let it resolve, then I need to draw a blue land to win.

I think at this point we have to ask ourselves, why did he Force it? That’s certainly not “normal,” and I think it implies that he has at least one discard spell, possibly more, or his play is kind of suicidal. Assuming he has a [card]Thoughtseize[/card], would I rather have a Top but lose both [card]Sneak Attack[/card] and [card]Show and Tell[/card], or would I rather lose the [card]Show and Tell[/card] and have to draw two lands before he discards my Sneak Attack?

What if he has [card]Hymn to Tourach[/card]? Then keeping the [card]Force of Will[/card] is actually valuable, because it’s another non-[card]Sneak Attack[/card] card for him to discard. What if he has [card liliana of the veil]Liliana[/card]? In that case, I really won’t have a ton of time—it will probably be hard to set up Sneak Attack unless I get very lucky, but if he plays Liliana and I draw Island I probably win.

In the end, I settled for letting it resolve, which I think is the better play against Liliana but not against Thoughtseize, which I think was wrong. By FOW’ing the Top, I think it’s more likely that he has Thoughtseize so I just want the Top in play. It turned out he did have Thoughtseize and took out my Show and Tell. Eventually I found another and a blue land, but he had a [card]Maelstrom Pulse[/card] for the [card]Griselbrand[/card], and I was one life short of being able to draw 7 to search for a [card]Force of Will[/card] and not die to his [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card].

Game two was not very interesting. He had [card]Hymn to Tourach[/card] to discard my [card]Sneak Attack[/card], and then a [card]Force of Will[/card] when I tried to go off.


Round 11 – Esperblade

This round was relatively quick. My opponent had disruption but no clock, so I just rebuilt and killed him.


Round 12 – RUG

This round was disappointing. Game one he plays two [card delver of secrets]Delvers[/card], which he immediately flips, and then the rest of his hand is all counterspells, so he is able to stop me from playing [card]Show and Tell[/card] even though I have three counters of my own as a backup.

Then, game two, I have a very good hand with Top, but my only lands are two Volcanic Islands. I play two [card]Brainstorm[/card]s, a [card]Preordain[/card], and the [card sensei’s divining top]Top[/card] itself, but can’t find a third land before he [card]Wasteland[/card]s them both, so I lose. I think that, in both games, if things had gone slightly differently, then I likely could have won.


Round 13 – Esperblade

This went pretty much the same as round 11. I think the only way you lose this match is when they have an early threat, but both games my opponents’ first creatures were [card]Lingering Souls[/card], and that just gave me too much time to recover from the disruption. He even had [card]Karakas[/card] game two, but [card]Sneak Attack[/card] just beats that.


Round 14 – ID

We figured we would not Top 16 even with a win, but would Top 32 with a draw, so we just drew. He ended up finishing 30th and I finished 31st. 31st is by no means a bad result, but it is not great either. I actually have very few Pro points this season, so I need to do a little better than that in future tournaments, a bunch of t32s and t64s are not going to cut it.

As for the deck, it performed rather well, though it worries me that I lost every single game versus RUG and BUG. I thought the matchup wasn’t bad, pretty close to even and sometimes even favorable, depending on their build, but my matches in the tournament showed otherwise, so I would need to play more to see if they were flukes or the expected result.

If they were flukes, then I think the [card]Sneak Attack[/card] deck is pretty good. It has a good matchup against almost every deck game 1, including all the other combo decks, Esper and Jund, and game 2 gets a bit worse versus almost everybody, but many of the matches (including all the combos) should still be favorable.

If BUG and RUG are, in fact, bad matchups, then I don’t think the deck is good. Those are probably the two most popular decks, after all. If you do want to play it, I would try working on the sideboard—there are many unnecessary cards, but I don’t really know what you would possibly want. I liked the main deck a lot and would not change it.

I think the format is heading to a point where [card]Punishing Fire[/card] is very good. It kills almost every creature in Jund, and it beats [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card]. Even if they [card]Wasteland[/card] your [card]Grove of the Burnwillows[/card], you still get something out of it. Elves will probably also rise in popularity and, though the combo is very slow against them, two damage for a removal spell is not a bad deal, and it will help you if you get to the long game—you’ll never lose to Elves beatdown if you have Punishing Fire going. There are not many decks that can afford Grove, but it’s a possibility in both Jund and the 4-color cascade deck I talked about last week. Of course, if [card]Punishing Fire[/card] becomes good, then combo becomes better, and so on.

If Sneak Attack becomes more popular than it currently is, there are a couple of ways to beat it. The best single card against the deck is, I think, [card]Ensnaring Bridge[/card]. The list I was playing has no way to beat the card once it’s in play, but thankfully there aren’t many decks that can play it.

Once you get to more realistic things, [card]Faith’s Fetters[/card] is probably the most troublesome card. I saw it first in Andrej Prost’s sideboard and he said it was good versus [card liliana of the veil]Liliana[/card], but it’s actually much better against Show and Tell since it counters anything you can do, doubly so if it hits a legendary permanent.

Since the card is actually pretty good against Liliana, while not terrible against [card jace, the mind sculptor]Jace[/card] and [card]Tarmogoyf[/card], I think it’s possible it starts seeing some play in white sideboards. [card]Pithing Needle[/card] is the next card. It doesn’t flat out beat you unless you needed [card]Sneak Attack[/card] to win, but it does counter all [card]Sneak Attack[/card]s or [card]Griselbrand[/card] activations (though a 7/7 lifelink flier is still decent). Lastly, there is [card]Karakas[/card]—it will beat [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] and some Griselbrand draws, but will probably lose to Sneak Attack.

Well that’s all I got! I hope you’ve enjoyed it, see you next week!



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