pvddr-azorius-control-sideboard

Sideboard Guides from Magic World Championship XXVI

Magic World Championship XXVI has now concluded, with 16 of the best players in the world bringing their finely tuned decks for a very high stakes tournament. No doubt many players will be looking to use these decks for grinding events and climbing the ladder! For reference, you can view all 16 decklists from the tournament here.

In this guide, we will present to you how some of these players sideboarded (and why) in their featured matches that we have recorded over the past three days while doing our live text coverage of the tournament. For players that prefer best-of-three matches or wanting to get into it, we hope you find this useful as we did as an opportunity to learn from the best of the best! In order to yield the best results, be sure to read until the end to help apply the knowledge into your everyday MTG Arena experience.


Azorius Control – PVDDR

We will first have a look the sideboard plan from our World Champion in the grand finals!

pvddr-azorius-control-sideboard
OpponentInOut
Jeskai Fires – Marcio Carvalho
(on the play)
3 Aether Gust
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Archon of Sun’s Grace
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
3 Dovin’s Veto
2 Absorb
2 Shatter the Sky
1 Dream Trawler
Jeskai Fires – Marcio Carvalho
(on the draw)
4 Aether Gust
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Archon of Sun’s Grace
1 Glass Casket
1 Cerulean Drake
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Absorb
3 The Birth of Meletis
3 Dovin’s Veto
1 Dream Trawler
Jeskai Fires – Gabriel Nassif
(on the draw)
4 Aether Gust
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Archon of Sun’s Grace
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
3 The Birth of Meletis
2 Dovin’s Veto
2 Banishing Light
1 Absorb
1 Dream Trawler
  • After game one, Paulo opted to go for a “tap out” control deck, by sideboarding out the Dovin’s Veto and Absorb and priortizing the Mystical Dispute to ensure Teferi is countered, and Aether Gust to slow down Fires of Invention or Cavalier of Flame as it can be used when they are in play as well.
  • Archon of Sun’s Grace is the key card to ensure he is protected against the sudden rush of damage and create a favorable lifeswing.
  • On the play, The Birth of Meletis is favored over Shatter the Sky. The boardwipe is more important when you are behind, when you can sometimes get more than one creature on board. On the play you have more time to answer these permanents one by one.
  • Glass Casket is for Carvalho’s Legion Warboss and Tithe Taker, and Cerulean Drake is an efficient blocker for Cavalier of Flame.
OpponentInOut
Mono Red Aggro – Seth Manfield4 Aether Gust
2 Archon of Sun’s Grace
2 Cerulean Drake
1 Glass Casket
3 Dovin’s Veto
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
2 Elspeth Conquers Death
2 Mystical Dispute
  • This is a straightforward matchup for Paulo where it gets even better after sideboard.

Mono Red Aggro – Seth Manfield

OpponentInOut
Jeskai Fires – Gabriel Nassif4 Unchained Berserker
2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
1 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
4 Runaway Steam-Kin
3 Bonecrusher Giant
  • Unchained Berserker dodges Deafening Clarion and Teferi, Time Raveler making it one of the key cards of this matchup.
  • Chandra, Acolyte of Flame is very hard to interact with for the Jeskai Fires player, and you can set it up with Torbran, Thane of Red Fell for some devastating attacks.
  • Tibalt prevents lifegain from Kenrith and sometimes Deafening Clarion and can generate some blockers to slow the game down.
  • Runaway Steam-Kin is taken out as it is deemed too easy to disrupt and setup after sideboarding. Bonecrusher Giant is also a bit too slow since its Stomp ability usually has no relevant targets.
OpponentInOut
Mono Red Aggro – Sebastian Pozzo
(on the play)
4 Lava Coil
3 Redcap Melee
1 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
1 Experimental Frenzy
4 Rimrock Knight
3 Scorch Spitter
1 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
1 Embercleave
Mono Red Aggro – Sebastian Pozzo
(on the draw)
4 Lava Coil
3 Redcap Melee
1 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
1 Experimental Frenzy
4 Rimrock Knight
2 Runaway Steam-Kin
1 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
1 Embercleave
1 Castle Embereth
  • In the mirror match, it’s all about exchanging removal spells for creatures. Tibalt generates two creatures and Experimental Frenzy can be a good clutch card when you’re both running out of cards.
  • On the play, we are taking out the slower cards like Torbran and the creatures with least impact. Pump spell from Rimrock Knight and Embercleave becomes less good especially if the opponent is also looking to remove your creatures.
  • On the draw, you want to be more aggressive so we are keeping the one drops in, but a land is taken out to account for the additional draw step. Runaway Steam-Kin is less good when you’re on the draw, since it requires a bit of set up.
OpponentInOut
Temur Reclamation – Chris KvartekNoneNone
  • Seth Manfield opted not to sideboard any cards against Chris Kvartek’s Temur Reclamation, given his sideboard cards mostly look to interact with the opponent’s creatures. You could make a case for Experimental Frenzy or Chandra, Acolyte of Flame as the opposing deck will look to bring in Scorching Dragonfire or Aether Gust but they may be deemed too slow for this matchup.
OpponentInOut
Temur Reclamation – Matias Leveratto1 Claim the Firstborn
1 Phoenix of Ash
2 Grim Initiate
  • Likewise, Sebastian Pozzo also made very minimal changes to his deck against Matias Leveratto’s Temur Reclamation. Claim the Firstborn will be mainly used for the opposing Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.

Jeskai Fires – Gabriel Nassif

OpponentInOut
Azorius ControlPVDDR4 Robber of the Rich
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Dovin’s Veto
4 Deafening Clarion
2 Omen of the Sea
2 Kenrith, the Returned King
  • One of the key cards out of 4th place Gabriel Nassif’s sideboard from this tournament was Robber of the Rich, which he credited to JdoubleR2 who used the same deck archetype to reach number 1 on the Mythic ladder during the January ranked season. It is especially good on the play and against slower control decks, when you are more likely to have less cards in your hand than your opponent’s.
  • The counterspells are crucial for resolving your key spells, namely a Teferi, Time Raveler or Fires of Invention.
  • Deafening Clarion has no role in this matchup, though it may come in handy on the first game to clear Pegasus Tokens generated by Archon of Sun’s Grace.
  • Kenrith is best against aggro decks and is considered to be the least impactful creature in the lineup as the lifegain is less relevant and the card draw may be a bit too slow.
OpponentInOut
Mono Red AggroSeth Manfield2 Chandra’s Pyrohelix
1 Scorching Dragonfire
1 Elspeth Conquers Death
1 Devout Decree
1 Disenchant
3 Brazen Borrower
2 Omen of the Sea
1 Cavalier of Flame
  • The cheap interactive spells are a must in the matchup, with the exile clause being relevant especially for Anax, Hardened in the Forge.
  • Elspeth Conquers Death is a clutch card for removing Anax, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and sometimes an Embercleave.
OpponentInOut
Temur ReclamationAutumn Burchett4 Robber of the Rich
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Dovin’s Veto
1 Elspeth Conquers Death
1 Giant Killer
1 Disenchant
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Deafening Clarion
2 Kenrith, the Returned King
1 Fires of Invention
  • Similar plan to the Azorius Control matchup.
  • Elspeth Conquers Death and Disenchant give ways to interact with Wilderness Reclamation.
  • Giant Killer is for the opposing Nightpack Ambusher, that Nassif knew Autumn Burchett had in their sideboard.
OpponentInOut
Temur ReclamationChris Kvartek4 Robber of the Rich
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Dovin’s Veto
1 Elspeth Conquers Death
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Deafening Clarion
1 Kenrith, the Returned King
  • Same as above, except Kvartek’s gameplan was slightly different with the inclusion of Nissa, Who Shakes the World, and Nassif needed to apply pressure a little bit faster.

Jeskai Fires – Marcio Carvalho

OpponentInOut
Azorius Control – PVDDR4 Mystical Dispute
3 Legion Warboss
1 Elspeth Conquers Death
1 Tithe Taker
1 Disenchant
3 Deafening Clarion
2 Cavalier of Gale
2 Aether Gust
1 Bonecrusher Giant
1 Shimmer of Possibility
1 Sphinx of Foresight
  • Legion Warboss acts similarly to Nassif’s Robber of the Rich, it is a cheap, must-answer threat which can apply pressure on its own and can snowball quickly.
  • Tithe Taker causes problems in the gameplan making counterspells cost more and apply pressure as early as turn 2.
OpponentInOut
Mono Red Aggro – Seth Manfield1 Devout Decree
1 Justice Strike
1 Aether Gust
1 Shatter the Sky
1 Deafening Clarion
2 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Dream Trawler
1 Shimmer of Possibility
1 Cavalier of Gales
  • The slower cards are taken out for the appropriate removal spells.
  • The single copies of the cards may seem strange, but they can be found relatively well with the help of Sphinx of Foresight and the Temples.
  • Nassif opted to board in Elspeth Conquers Death in this matchup, but it looks like Carvalho deemed it a little bit too slow.

Jund Sacrifice – Piotr Glogowski

OpponentInOut
Temur Reclamation – Chris Kvartek2 Duress
2 Noxious Grasp
2 Massacre Girl
1 God-Eternal Bontu
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
  • As the underdog in this matchup, Jund Sacrifice is looking to disrupt the game plan with additional hand disruption to remove the key cards that otherwise it cannot deal with.
  • Slower cards that don’t do much in the matchup are removed, and Noxious Grasp are added mainly for Nissa (which the other Temur Reclamation decks don’t have).

Temur Reclamation – Autumn Burchett

OpponentInOut
Jeskai Fires – Gabriel Nassif3 Aether Gust
3 Mystical Dispute
2 Fry
2 Nightpack Ambusher
4 Thassa’s Intervention
2 Brazen Borrower
1 Wilderness Reclamation
1 Scorching Dragonfire
1 Opt
1 Omen of the Sea
  • In this matchup, Aether Gust and Mystical Dispute are versatile counterspells to ensure Fires of Invention does not come down on the battlefield.
  • Nightpack Ambusher is a great card out of the sideboard to pressure opponents and give an angle other than the Explosion combo to win the game.
  • Fry is mainly for Teferi, Time Raveler, the deck’s main weakness.
OpponentInOut
Temur Reclamation – Jean-Emmanuel Depraz3 Aether Gust
3 Mystical Dispute
2 Negate
2 Nightpack Ambusher
3 Storm’s Wrath
2 Hydroid Krasis
2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
1 Opt
1 Omen of the Sea
1 Scorching Dragonfire
  • In the mirror match, we cut the removal spells as these are largely creatureless spell-heavy decks.
  • The advantage of Hydroid Krasis and Uro is less good, as one Expansion // Explosion combo is enough to finish the game.
  • We want to have plenty of counterspells as a backup to our combo or to prevent theirs.
  • As before, Nightpack Ambusher is just a cheap creature that can run away with the game on its own, and we can expect less resistance from the opponent to remove it, other than an Explosion for 4. Combined with Growth Spiral it can even come down a turn earlier!

Conclusion

We hope this round up gave you a bit of insight in regards to how the players assessed the sideboard cards and when it deemed appropriate to board in. Rather than take all this information as face value, it is always best to adjust your main deck and sideboard according to your playstyle and metagame.

The Magic World Championship was only a small tournament and players could expect what they would play against relatively well, whereas in the larger environment such as the MTG Arena ladder queue or MagicFests, you will face a larger variety of decks and different builds.

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