Post-SCGWOR Sideboard Developments

Since StarCityGames: Worcester I’ve been evaluating each card in the sideboard meticulously trying to find the most value out of the fifteen slots that we have. Earlier today I posted a theoretical sideboard on social media, I’m here to give some more in depth reasonings to my card choices.

Abrupt Decay – There really isn’t much else to say about this card, it over performed all weekend to the point where I was asking ANT players in Worcester if they were playing four and if they liked it. I was almost convinced to add in the final copy, the real downside is that it’s very narrow as it’s really only useful in a few matchups.

Xantid Swarm – I shaved off a copy of Xantid Swarm. The reason being is that with OmniShow on the rise instead of Sneak & Show or Reanimator, we no longer get a turn to put Xantid Swarm into play off of Show and Tell before killing them – we simply just lose the game. Making Swarm a little less appealing, however, it’s still great at playing around cards like Spell Pierce, Flusterstorm and Sensei’s Divining Top which is why I kept two copies.

Carpet of Flowers – With blue decks more popular than ever due to Dig Through Time, it’s not shocking to find this card in our sideboard. Its great against all of the blue tempo decks and even against Miracles! People often look at this card to fix matchups all on it’s own, where I look at this card and see a Legacy legal Sol Ring. It’s simply there to create additional mana in tempo based matchups to help resolve cards against Daze and Spell Pierce or against control decks to be a non-card disadvantage source of mana. With an upside of being a recurring Dark Ritual.

Pyroblast – Added back in due to the rise of OmniShow along with Miracles, an answer to Show and Tell, Counterbalance, Meddling Mage or even cards hidden on top of the opponent’s deck due to Dig Through Time, Brainstorm or Sensei’s Divining Top.

Chain of Vapor, Void Snare – I’ve bounced back and forth over the last week and even asked openly in the Facebook group what people prefer: two copies of Chain of Vapor or one Chain of Vapor and one Void Snare. The main benefit to keeping Void Snare is that it’s a catch-all answer, we don’t have to side in Chain of Vapor to maybe hit a Leyline of Sanctity. Void Snare is also a Burning Wish target to answer Gaddock Teeg, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed and Iona, Shield of Emeria as Massacre can’t answer everything. Occasionally I’ll use Burning Wish to find Void Snare to clear blockers for my Empty the Warrens tokens. The downside of Void Snare is that it’s not incredibly helpful against taxing effects as we would have to have enough mana to cast Snare bouncing Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Thorn of Amethyst and then have the mana to win in the same turn. Where Chain of Vapor can easily answer the problem and then provide more mana on the combo turn. Another upside is that Chain of Vapor can be used as a storm engine by sacrificing lands to recast your artifact mana.

For the time being I’m going to play a 1/1 split on the two cards and take notes on how useful each one is before making any decision. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on the situation in the comments.

Massacre – I’ve been on the brink of cutting Massacre for some time, I just don’t use the card enough. Since TES went back to three copies of Chrome Mox and the full set of Infernal Tutor the deck doesn’t need Massacre as often as it used to. It’s typically a full turn ahead of Death & Taxes variants, that or has Cabal Therapy to hit their Thalia, Guardian of Thrabens. That said, the slot in the sideboard that Massacre is competing with is Thoughtseize. I believe that Massacre is a higher impact card with roughly the same amount of usage, making it slightly more valuable.

Tendrils of Agony, Empty the Warrens, Past in Flames – These cards are uncuttable in my opinion, they’re vital Burning Wish targets.

Close Cuts

Thoughtseize – With TES cutting a discard spell from the main deck, I thought the sideboard discard spell would carry more weight. I’ve typically been a proponent of punishing the control player by getting Empty the Warrens or Past in Flames, but with Show and Tell decks on the rise that’s not an option. Which has kept me playing the discard spell longer, I can’t fault anyone for still playing it. But having two cards that aren’t used frequently (Thoughtseize and Massacre) isn’t justifiable to me.

Grapeshot – Same problem as Massacre and Thoughtseize to me, however, it carries personal weight as it’s one of my favorite cards. A tough cut.

Reverent Silence – Not originally in the sideboard, but something I was considering this go around. Like Void Snare it can answer Leyline of Sanctity, but could also answer Counterbalance. The downside is that it’s way less versatile compared to Void Snare, seeing as it can’t be used in the Thalia or non-blue based matchups.


Sideboarding Strategies

I’m not going to run down each matchup as most of them are the same as the home page, however, a few are changing:

Control Decks:

(Applies to: Miracles, Stoneblade, UR Landstill, Shardless BUG/BUG Control, etc.)

-3 Chrome Mox
-4 Ponder
-1 Infernal Tutor
-1 Empty the Warrens
+3 Abrupt Decay
+2 Xantid Swarm
+2 Carpet of Flowers
+2 Pyroblast

Tempo Decks:

(Applies to: Team America, RUG Tempo/Canadian Threshold, UWr Delver, UR Delver, Merfolk, etc.)

-1 Chrome Mox
-1 Ponder
-1 Chrome Mox (Only against decks with Meddling Mage)
-1 Infernal Tutor (Only against decks with Meddling Mage)
+2 Carpet of Flowers
+2 Pyroblast (Only against decks with Meddling Mage)

When I’m more certain about these changes I’ll update the Matchup Analysis section of the main page.