So here we are again. I’m writing this as Eternal Weekend is closing in on us. Since we’re talking about how to build a sideboard I figured I’d start by listing a few “rules” before sharing my own list for the weekend with you along with the thought process that went into it. For reference, here are the previous articles Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
1) Build a deck consisting of 75 cards, not 60+15
Your sideboard has to “blend into” your main deck. While we all find it obvious that you should not add colours that aren’t in your deck in your sideboard, it is sometimes less obvious that we shouldn’t add cards that don’t interact well with our own strategy. While Null Rod is a powerful hoser against Aether Vial decks, as well as equipments and other artifact-based decks, it also shuts down our own Sensei’s Divining Top. The same could be said for Rest in Peace against graveyard decks and our Snapcaster Mages.
2) Learn when to give up
You could spend all 15 sideboard slots trying to solve the 12-post match-up. This has 2 problems. The first one is that it might not even work since our main deck is so far away from having a good set-up versus 12-post that you might turn a 10% match-up into a 40% match-up. Was it worth it?
The second problem brings us to
3) Don’t board for someone not in the room
Even if you find a way to vastly improve the 12-post match-up you have to get paired against 12-post to utilize your masterplan. Getting paired against 12-post is a very rare experience, and you can play several high level events without having that particular displeasure. The more you expect to see a match-up the more you should prepare for it. Perhaps you won’t need any cards in your SB (that is almost never correct) for it, but you should still test it. For example for Eternal weekend I haven’t put much thought into the match-up versus goblins since I’m so unlikely to play it. I have on the other hand put a lot of thought (and Main Deck as well as Side Board slots) into the Mirror, Czech pile and BUG Leovold.
4) Make sure your cards are flexible
Make sure your cards can come in in different match-ups. Legacy is an incredible diverse format and it is rare you’ll play the same match-up more than 2 times over a weekend. A card like Containment Priest can come in against Show and Tell decks, Vial decks, Graveyard decks as well as Elves. Whereas a card like Pyroblast will come in versus any blue deck. Have some overlaps here and there where it’s important.
5) Take into account that your opponent is side boarding as well and board against their side boarded deck rather than their main deck
Not as much as a building rule, but more of a side boarding rule.
A popular and fun mind game is playing Miracles against B/G/x decks and blanking their Abrupt Decays by boarding out your Counterbalances and then win while they have useless Decays in hand. Then you can switch it up for game 3 if that happens – or you can choose not to 😉
Types of sideboard cards
Your sideboard cards will usually come in 3 categories:
Sir! Sir! Do you have an example?
Why, yes, yes I do!
I will now share my Eternal Weekend list with you and tell you the considerations that went into building my sideboard
Anders' Miracles List
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Force of Will
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Volcanic Island
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Arid Mesa
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Vendillion Clique
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Containment Priest
Normally the mandatory slots are: 3 Red Blast effects, 2 Flusterstorm, 2 Surgical Extraction and 2 Wear//Tear. These should not be tampered with unless you have good reason to do so. This list is very reliant on Predict and as such we don’t want too many expensive cards in the list as much of your mana is tied up in durdeling. This also shows in the sideboard.
I’ve chosen an extra Red Blast, since it’s silly good in the mirror as well as the best answer to a Leovold, Emissary of Trest or True-Name Nemesis. I will often board in 3+ Red Elemental Blast effects against Delver decks and as such I’ll need access to an unwasteable source of red mana, so I’ll accept a 14 card side board in return for a better mana base – the Mountain in the board.
Containment Priest is an extra piece of graveyard hate that also comes in against Sneak and Show, I don’t expect much of either, but I might run into some of it in the early rounds.
Engineered Explosives and Wear//Tear all kill Chalice of the Void while Wear//Tear can answer other problematic artifacts and/or enchantments. Explosives can sweep a board of elves or similar small and annoying creatures.
Vendilion Clique is a concession to the list being a wee bit soft to Combo-decks. Versus combo decks Clique is disruption plus a clock. That is all you want in the match-up. Coming in in the mirror is also not bad.
Flusterstorm is good against opposing Flusterstorms as well as any other stack-based interaction.
Surgical Extraction is our preferred graveyard hate since it also can come in against A+B style combo decks not to mention how well it works with our lovable Snappy.
When you’re reading this you should be home after a fantastic Eternal Weekend. If you didn’t go, I hope to see you the next time around.
Until next time, may you always draw your hoser when you need it!
Ed. Anders is currently writing his report after coming second at Eternal Weekend. Great job! If you want to read it then go to his twitter or stream and encourage/shout at him until he writes it….. 😉 Links in his biography.