Show and Tell
5, Mar, 24

Turn Two Combo Kill Crushes MTG Timeless Tournament!

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Article at a Glance

In the world of MTG, there are a multitude of different archetype styles players can specialize in. Some players enjoy aggressive, proactive decks while others like to take their time playing control decks. Luckily, most MTG formats feature a good mix of decks that offer different play patterns that can appeal to a wide range of players.

That being said, some formats in particular definitely lend themselves to specific playstyles more than others. For instance, if you’re a fan of playing a variety of combo decks on MTG Arena, there’s likely no better place to do so than Timeless. From Natural Order to Underworld Breach shells, the recently implemented Timeless format is dominated by various combo strategies.

In a recent Timeless tournament on Arena, one underexplored combo deck emerged victorious. Highlighting the power of a Special Guests card from Murders at Karlov Manor, this deck is capable of winning the game as early as turn two! With a surprisingly consistent gameplan, this archetype definitely looks like the real deal.

An Omni-Tell Gameplan

Show and Tell

The main goal when playing this deck is to find and cast a copy of Show and Tell and put in a game-breaking bomb. The two big cards you will typically cheat into play are Omniscience and Atraxa, Grand Unifier. In some matchups, putting Atraxa into play may be good enough to win the game. However, because Show and Tell also lets your opponent cheat something huge into play, this isnt always the most reliable plan.

This is where Omniscience comes into play. It is quite common to win the game the same turn that you cast Show and Tell putting Omniscience onto the battlefield. Even if you don’t have Atraxa in hand to follow up Omniscience, this deck plays a high volume of cantrips to help you dig. Additionally, this deck makes great use of Assemble the Team. While this card isn’t quite Demonic Tutor, it digs deep for your requisite combo cards.

With Omniscience in play, once you are able to find a copy of Fae of Wishes, winning the game becomes trivial by executing the following steps:

  • Use the Adventure portion of Fae of Wishes to tutor for Shared Summons
  • Cast Shared Summons, tutoring for both Atraxa and a second copy of Fae of Wishes
  • Cast the Adventure portion of Fae of Wishes once again, this time searching for Approach of the Second Sun
  • Cast Approach of the Second Sun, putting it back into your library seventh from the top
  • Cast Atraxa, and make sure to select Approach as your Sorcery of choice
  • Cast Approach a second time, winning you the game

This line of play is not difficult to achieve once you have access to Show and Tell and Omniscience. Dark Ritual even helps you execute your combo a full turn early. The key is finding your combo cards and making sure they resolve.

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Digging and Interacting

Thoughtseize

Almost every other card in the deck either digs for your combo cards or protects your combo once you’ve assembled the pieces. For those who have played Legacy, you know just how powerful Brainstorm is in conjunction with Fetchlands. Unlike most other cantrips that offer card selection, Brainstorm gives you the opportunity to shuffle away two cards from your hand that aren’t useful in a given matchup or situation.

As such, the presence of Brainstorm allows you to put somewhat narrow cards in your deck, since you can often ship them away if they’re weak. For instance, this deck plays two copies of Veil of Summer in the maindeck. This isn’t unreasonable given how prevalent Thoughtseize decks are in the format, and Brainstorm can help lessen the potential downside of drawing the card against decks where the card does nothing.

Speaking of Thoughtseize, this deck makes great use of the elite Sorcery. Not only does Thoughtseize help against opposing combo decks, but it also helps take counter magic or other forms of interaction away from your opponent. Thoughtseize is a double-edged sword, and one of the best cards in the format period.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

As things currently stand, this Show and Tell deck doesn’t actually have a ton of weaknesses. As a combo deck that doesn’t play out of the graveyard, this deck isn’t vulnerable to cards like Leyline of the Void out of mono-black. Many other combo decks in the format, including Natural Order shells, are a bit slower on average then this deck.

Obviously, Thoughtseize and counter magic can be a bit of a pain for a deck that is heavily reliant on Show and Tell to win. That being said, playing your own copies of Thoughtseize along with Veil of Summer and Leyline of Sanctity out of the sideboard helps a lot in this regard. The reality is, if you’re not prepared, this archetype can be pretty problematic for you.

Fortunately, there are some tools available at your disposal. As a one-dimensional combo deck, dedicated hate cards can be very effective. This archetype is certainly weak to Necromentia effects, as winning without Show and Tell is extremely difficult. Roiling Vortex out of aggressive red decks can be problematic as well, making Omniscience unreliable. Even Ashiok, Dream Render can be a pain, rendering all of your tutor effects moot.

It’ll be interesting to see how players adjust in the coming weeks. This is yet another deck in the long line of combo strategies that dominate the Timeless format. Don’t be fooled by the fact that Timeless is an Arena-only format, there are tons of incredibly strong decks to play.

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