Sneak and Showdown

If you see this across the table, take the advice of the flavor text. Run and hide.

For the uninitiated, Sneak and Show is a legacy and vintage strategy that’s used to cheat big creatures into play quickly in order to overwhelm their opponent. Oathbreaker has one advantage for Sneak and Show, which is that we can use the namesake spell Show and Tell [] in our command zone.

However, there’s a number of problems when trying to play the deck in this format. The most obvious is that it’s multiplayer, and the plan to go all in on cheating one or two big bodies into play is usually not going to kill three people at once. The other concern is that the two focal creatures Sneak and Show uses – Griselbrand [] and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn [], are both banned. We can’t even play one copy each, which means that to build the deck, there needs to be a substantial amount of other creatures we can play.

Or at the very least, Herald of Rocks.

The way I see building this deck, there’s two routes to take. The first is to try to play legacy Sneak and Show as closely as possible, using replacement big fatsos like Blightsteel Colossus [] and filling the rest of the deck with Izzet instants and control spells. I feel like this is the best route for 1v1 Oathbreaker, but I wanted to build a deck that was more versatile than that. There are few Eldrazi that are as scary as Emrakul or can pressure an entire table on their own, so while I like Show and Tell [] to get the party started, I also want to know that I can cast my own creatures, too. This is how I wound up playing Eldrazi tribal in Izzet colors.

The overall gameplan of the deck is decided entirely around if you can cast a turn three Show and Tell [] or not. To do so, you need three things:

What doesn’t kill you makes you kill yourself.
  • A zero cmc mana rock in order to cast your Oathbreaker on turn two. There are a couple cards which can accomplish this, notably Chrome Mox [] and Mox Diamond [].
  • Saheeli must stay alive until turn three. This is easy to do in ‘friendlier’ games, but if you know an opponent can kill or counter Saheeli when you try to go off, you might be better off waiting the extra turn to let other players present threats, or as we like to call them, distractions. Remember, a Mox can be a turn one or two rock, but it can also be a turn three servo token.
  • A permanent worth cheating out. The ideal card is Omniscience [], but a creature like Emrakul, the Promised End [] or Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre [] works to get the job done. If you have to pick one, annihilator is usually the best bet, but pay attention to players with disruptive Signature Spells and pick threats based on what has the highest odds of living until you can turn it sideways. Make sure you remember the trigger to create a servo when casting your Signature Spell, as it protects your Eldrazi from Lilianas Triumph [] and friends.

If you can’t cast early, the game is going to feel very different. Your goal will be to play some rocks after Saheeli to make servos while beating face with midrange threats like Reality Smasher [], cloned by your Oathbreaker for increased pressure. Eventually, you’ll draw a body with annihilator to cheat in and finish off your opponents. Thanks to lands like Eldrazi Temple [] and Saheeli’s ability to double a Gilded Lotus [], you may also reach the point where you can hardcast the big boys much sooner than expected.

Saheeli, Sublime Artificer []‘s role in the deck is simple: the tokens she generates off mana rocks stay back and block while your larger creatures are busy going for the dome. As mentioned earlier, the token she makes when casting Show and Tell [] can protect your Eldrazi from commonly played black cards with sacrifice effects. Her singular loyalty ability can be used to clone a rock to cast big creatures, or copy what’s already in play to double the damage. You don’t cast that many non-creature spells to make an army from Saheeli’s passive alone, but she still serves her purpose well.



To play this version of Sneak and Show, you need to think proactively. Despite what you might be used to when playing singleton, and especially Izzet singleton, the list is quite aggressive. Your primary strategy is to cheat out Omniscience [] or an early Eldrazi via Show and Tell []. Outside of that, Sneak Attack [] serves as a secondary cheating mechanism if no one lets you cast Saheeli. Deadeye Navigator [] and Mimic Vat [] are both ways to keep your sneaked creatures and cheat the sacrifice requirement. Mimic Vat [] is an alternate win when paired with Gilded Drake [], as you can use the drake tokens to permanently steal whatever creatures you like during that player’s post-combat main, forcing them to lose the token immediately after. Peregrine Drake [] generates surplus mana with Sneak Attack [], infinite mana with Deadeye Navigator [], and infinite tokens with Deadeye Navigator [] and Drowner of Hope []. Of course, if all else fails, you can always beat the opponent’s face into submission with a constant stream of large bodies.

As the end of this article approaches, you should know everything you need to in order to show off with Saheeli Sneak and Show the next time you sleeve up! If you decide to try the deck, be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments below and on Twitter @MistahBoweh. I want to take a moment to thank everyone for reading the article, and encourage folks to help spread awareness of the charity behind it. I know I’ll continue to do so, and I hope you’ll stick along for the ride. Until then, good luck making Magic.