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)
Aether Gust
Mystical Dispute
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Narset, Parter of Veils
3 Dovin’s Veto
Absorb
Shatter the Sky
Dream Trawler
Jeskai Fires – Marcio Carvalho
(on the draw)
Aether Gust
Mystical Dispute
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Glass Casket
Cerulean Drake
Narset, Parter of Veils
Absorb
The Birth of Meletis
3 Dovin’s Veto
Dream Trawler
Jeskai Fires – Gabriel Nassif
(on the draw)
Aether Gust
Mystical Dispute
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Narset, Parter of Veils
The Birth of Meletis
2 Dovin’s Veto
2 Banishing Light
Absorb
Dream Trawler
OpponentInOut
Mono Red Aggro – Seth ManfieldAether Gust
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Cerulean Drake
Glass Casket
3 Dovin’s Veto
Narset, Parter of Veils
Elspeth Conquers Death
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 NassifUnchained Berserker
Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
Runaway Steam-Kin
Bonecrusher Giant
OpponentInOut
Mono Red Aggro – Sebastian Pozzo
(on the play)
Lava Coil
Redcap Melee
Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
Experimental Frenzy
Rimrock Knight
Scorch Spitter
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Embercleave
Mono Red Aggro – Sebastian Pozzo
(on the draw)
Lava Coil
Redcap Melee
Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
Experimental Frenzy
Rimrock Knight
Runaway Steam-Kin
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Embercleave
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

Jeskai Fires – Gabriel Nassif

OpponentInOut
Azorius ControlPVDDRRobber of the Rich
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Dovin’s Veto
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 ManfieldChandra’s Pyrohelix
Scorching Dragonfire
Elspeth Conquers Death
Devout Decree
Disenchant
Brazen Borrower
Omen of the Sea
Cavalier of Flame
OpponentInOut
Temur ReclamationAutumn BurchettRobber of the Rich
Mystical Dispute
1 Dovin’s Veto
Elspeth Conquers Death
Giant Killer
Disenchant
Bonecrusher Giant
Deafening Clarion
Kenrith, the Returned King
Fires of Invention
OpponentInOut
Temur ReclamationChris KvartekRobber of the Rich
Mystical Dispute
1 Dovin’s Veto
Elspeth Conquers Death
Bonecrusher Giant
Deafening Clarion
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 – PVDDRMystical Dispute
Legion Warboss
Elspeth Conquers Death
Tithe Taker
Disenchant
Deafening Clarion
2 Cavalier of Gale
Aether Gust
Bonecrusher Giant
1 Shimmer of Possibility
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 ManfieldDevout Decree
1 Justice Strike
Aether Gust
Shatter the Sky
Deafening Clarion
Teferi, Time Raveler
Dream Trawler
1 Shimmer of Possibility
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 NassifAether Gust
Mystical Dispute
Fry
Nightpack Ambusher
Thassa’s Intervention
Brazen Borrower
Wilderness Reclamation
Scorching Dragonfire
Opt
Omen of the Sea
OpponentInOut
Temur Reclamation – Jean-Emmanuel DeprazAether Gust
Mystical Dispute
Negate
Nightpack Ambusher
Storm’s Wrath
Hydroid Krasis
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Opt
Omen of the Sea
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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Terence

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David
David
4 months ago

Regarding your comment on Seth Manfield in the monored vs monored matchup: “On the draw, you want to be more aggressive so we are keeping the one drops in” This does not make any sense. On the draw you want to be LESS aggressive, not more, because you can less afford to attack when your opponent has the tempo advantage from being on the play. Most pros, such as Andrea Mengucci, recommend boarding out Scorch Spitters in the mirror, but Seth Manfield does indeed leave them all in on the draw, as you noted. Seth’s reasoning appears to be “Runaway… Read more »