24, Mar, 24

Unique MTG Deck Forces Opponents to Copy Game-Losing Spells in Eternal Format!

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Article at a Glance

In formats where players have vast and powerful card pools at their disposal, combo archetypes are often heavily represented. In Legacy, for instance, there are a multitude of archetypes where the main goal is to get an enormous haymaker into play early on in the game. Reanimator decks try to utilize ways to recur monsters like Atraxa, Grand Unifier from the graveyard to play. Meanwhile, Dark Depths combo decks use the combination of Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage to generate a 20/20 Flying and Indestructible force for cheap.

There are simply tons of different synergies available for players to build around when they have access to so many cards. In some cases, combo pieces will even overlap across multiple different strategies. Take Show and Tell, for example. Show and Tell has most famously been utilized in Legacy alongside Omniscience and Sneak Attack to cheat large fatties into play.

More recently, though, some other Show and Tell shells, such as those using Coveted Jewel and Paradox Engine to generate absurd amounts of mana, have started popping up. Today, we are going to focus on perhaps an even more intriguing Show and Tell variant that seems to be flying under the radar. This unique combo deck went undefeated in a recent Magic Online Legacy League, and we think it deserves some attention.

Unique Show and Tell Package

Show and Tell

In this Show and Tell shell, the main engine that you are looking to cheat into play is none other than Hive Mind. Much like Omniscience, Hive Mind opens the door for you to win the game the same turn you cast Show and Tell. Part of the downside of Show and Tell is that it is symmetrical. Even putting in something powerful like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn that doesn’t end the game on the spot may end up backfiring if your opponent puts in something busted too.

Luckily, winning the game with Hive Mind in play is generally quite simple. With Pact of the Titan or Summoner’s Pact, you can simply cast one and Hive Mind will trigger, forcing the opponent to copy the Pact. By copying the spell, they will be required to pay the upkeep cost associated with the Pact, just like you. The difference, though, is that, assuming you cast Pact on your turn, the opponent will need to pay first on their upkeep. Chances are, they can’t pay and will lose the game as a result.

This kill condition is nice because, even if you don’t draw Show and Tell, casting Hive Mind is quite realistic. Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors come a long way in making this a reality. Further, this deck plays a couple copies of Grim Monolith to enable fast Hive Mind kills with Show and Tell out of the picture.

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A Backup Win Condition

Sudden Substitution

Interestingly, this deck is not “all in” on Hive Mind and Show and Tell as the only ways to close the game. Instead, this deck utilizes another way to abuse various Pacts, though this avenue takes a bit more setup. If you have four mana at the ready along with Pact in hand, and the opponent has a Creature in play you can target, Sudden Substitution become a strong path to victory.

In this case, you start by casting a Pact yourself. From there, you cast Sudden Substitution, exchanging control of your Pact and your opponent’s Creature. Now, when Pact resolves, it’s your opponent who will be forced to pay the requisite upkeep cost, not you. Sudden Substitution even has Split Second, making it more difficult to break up.

The obvious issue with Sudden Substitution is that if the opponent doesn’t control a Creature, Sudden Substitution could just rot in your hand. Luckily, this deck has some tricks up its sleeve. Thanks to Forbidden Orchard, you can often gift your opponent a small Creature to help set up your Sudden Substitution turns. This is a very similar strategy that some Oath of Druids decks in Vintage make use of, as well.

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Digging For Combo Pieces

The One Ring

Much like the traditional Show and Tell decks of old, it’s imperative to maximize cantrips to help you find all the necessary pieces to your various combos. Brainstorm and Ponder are the cream of the crop in this regard, helping you smooth your draws in the early game.

Unsurprisingly, this deck also plays a playset of The One Ring. In some games, using Ancient Tomb to power out The One Ring can be incredibly backbreaking for the opponent. Obviously, the card advantage that The One Ring provides can get you closer to executing your combos. However, you even get to dig for disruptive elements like Force of Will and Veil of Summer to push your combo through opposing pieces of interaction.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Grief

All in all, this deck’s ability to win the game immediately after getting Hive Mind in play or resolving Sudden Substitution is quite strong in a number of matchups. Non-blue decks like Goblins or Selesnya Depths can struggle to race your combos. Additionally, traditional hate pieces for combo shells in Legacy, such as Chalice of the Void, aren’t as good as you might think.

Sure, your opponent can cast Chalice for X=0, but this won’t actually stop a Hive Mind kill. If you put Hive Mind into play and cast a Pact, you still force your opponent to make a copy. Your Pact will get countered via Chalice, but because your opponent’s is simply a copy that was never directly cast into Chalice, their copy will still resolve.

It’s also nice having two distinct ways to win with your Pacts. This helps add some redundancy to your deck that needs to execute a combo to win. This does have some downsides, though, is this deck is a little less streamlined. In matchups such as Dimir Reanimator, Grief can cause some major problems. When paired with Reanimate, your opponent can take multiple cards from your hand and strand you with dead combo pieces. Your Pacts do little to nothing when not paired with Sudden Substitution or Hive Mind, and rebuilding can be tough if you don’t find a cantrip or The One Ring.

In this sense, this deck definitely has some polarizing matchups. Playing a combo deck that doesn’t play out of the graveyard or get hosed by Chalice has its upsides. Even if it isn’t necessarily the strongest thing to be doing in Legacy, this deck is rather unique and can still compete with the best. Hive Mind has been largely nonexistent since the days of Summer Bloom in Modern, so seeing it make some noise in Legacy is cool to see.

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