Hey there guys!

 

Today I’m going to discuss some sideboarding options that I believe have remained seriously underutilized for some major decks in Standard.

 

Even with the format relatively “solved”, there a ton of great sideboarding options that can help give you an edge so that you can finish strong this Standard season at any level.

 

G/W Tokens

Lets start with the boogeyman of the format, G/W Tokens, piloted by Evan Petre at Grand Prix Pittsburgh

 

Lands (25)

  • 2 Westvale Abbey
  • 4 Fortified Village
  • 8 Forest
  • 7 Plains
  • 4 Canopy Vista

Planeswalkers (8)

  • 4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
  • 4 Gideon, Ally  of Zendikar

Creatures (17)

  • 4 Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier
  • 1 Den Protector
  • 1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer // Nissa, Sage Animist
  • 3 Lambholt Pacifist // Lambholt Butcher
  • 4 Sylvan Advocate
  • 4 Hangarback Walker

Spells (10)

  • 3 Oath of Nissa
  • 1 Evolutionary Leap
  • 4 Dromoka’s Command
  • 2 Tragic Arrogance

Sideboard (15)

  • 3 Deathmist Raptor
  • 1 Hallowed Moonlight
  • 1 Gryff’s Boon
  • 1 Sigarda, Heron’s Grace
  • 2 Surrak, the Hunt Caller
  • 2 Declaration in Stone
  • 1 Stasis Snare
  • 1 Tragic Arrogance
  • 2 Den Protector
  • 1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer // Nissa, Sage Animist

 

This deck happens to be using the tech that I want to talk about and clearly has found success with it, finishing first in the Grand Prix. The fact is that most people still are not playing this card in sideboards. This deck is playing Surrak, the Hunt Caller, which I think could be a huge key in the mirror match for this deck to break through.

 

Surrak is good against the mirror because it plays very wells with Dromoka’s Command and also can help give you some necessary speed to make sure that you don’t get bogged into a draw-dependent board state. Surrak’s formidable ability will be triggered often in any number of ways but often by Lambholt Pacifist, which makes him have Haste immediately (also allowing Lambholt Pacifist to attack) and it can also make Archangel Avacyn and Sylvan Advocate into much better draws than they normally would be. Surrak is a great cheap choice that gives you a lot of play in the mirror match to gain board position, because even if the opponent is able to protect their Planeswalkers by chump-blocking, it will give you a big advantage in terms of board position. Make sure to include Surrak in your lists for the rest of the Standard season.

 

Bant Company

Now onto the next deck, Bant Company, that Will Cruse played to a 3rd place finish at Grand Prix Pittsburgh

Lands (25)

  • 4 Canopy Vista
  • 4 Evolving Wilds
  • 3 Forest
  • 1 Island
  • 3 Lumbering Falls
  • 5 Plains
  • 1 Prairie Stream
  • 1 Wastes
  • 3 Yavimaya Coast

Creatures (27)

  • 2 Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier
  • 4 Duskwatch Recruiter // Krallenhorde Howler
  • 3 Eldrazi Displacer
  • 3 Eldrazi Skyspawner
  • 3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound
  • 1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer // Nissa, Sage Animist
  • 4 Reflector Mage
  • 4 Sylvan Advocate
  • 3 Tireless Tracker

Spells (8)

  • 4 Collected Company
  • 4 Dromoka’s Command

Sideboard (15)

  • 1 Clash of Wills
  • 2 Declaration in Stone
  • 1 Den Protector
  • 1 Gryff’s Boon
  • 2 Lambholt Pacifist // Lambholt Butcher
  • 1 Linvala, the Preserver
  • 3 Negate
  • 1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer // Nissa, Sage Animist
  • 3 Tragic Arrogance

 

In Bant Company mirror matches, the board often gets stagnant and complicated, especially after sideboarding. The game is decided by which player is able to go wide by using end step Collected Company in combination with main phase Reflector Mage and Dromoka’s Command to be able to force their attackers through for damage. With this sideboard card, your experience is going to be made a lot easier by being able to fly right over the mess on the ground and gain some life in the process. It is Linvala, the Preserver.

 

 

The obvious first thought is going to be that six mana is quite a lot, which it is, but the fact of the matter is that Linvala is worth the wait. If Linvala only did one of it’s two abilities then I would never play it. But, Linvala’s two abilities together are going to be able to turn the tide against your opponent in the mirror match, as it is going to easily be able fly over the common ground creatures like Duskwatch Recruiter, Reflector Mage, and Lambholt Pacifist. Even if it gets bounced by Reflector Mage, it isn’t such a bad thing, because you will likely be able to get an angel token even if you don’t gain any life. I suspect that most people are turned off by the mana cost, but the fact is that the mirror often devolves to the point where both players are able to cast Linvala, if they included in their sideboard. I wouldn’t be playing more than two copies, due to the potential to clog up your hand in the early game, but I suspect two copies would be excellent in the metagame right now, as it can also be a good card of assistance to help the G/W tokens matchup.

 

White Weenie/Red-White Humans

First of all, if you want any more information on this deck and some great matchup tips and tricks go check out Jonah Gaynor’s tournament report on this deck, also on Spellsnare.com, found here: https://spellsnare.com/2016/06/29/pptq-tournament-report-wr-humans-1st/ Ok the card I have here is an underplayed trick in sideboards to bring in in the mirrormatch. It gains life and will often act as a removal spell. The card can also help finish off an opponent who may have accidentally let through a couple too many attackers. Here is the list that Jonah played at the PPTQ, found in the link above:

Lands (18)

  • 4 Battlefield Forge
  • 18 Plains

Creatures (31)

  • 4 Thraben Inspector
  • 4 Town Gossipmonger // Incited Rabble
  • 4 Dragon Hunter
  • 4 Expedition Envoy
  • 3 Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged
  • 2 Anointer of Champions
  • 4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
  • 2 Hanweir Militia Captain // Westvale Cult Leader
  • 4 Knight of the White Orchid

Spells (11)

  • 3 Gryff’s Boon
  • 4 Declaration in Stone
  • 4 Always Watching

Sideboard (15)

  • 1 Gryff’s Boon
  • 2 Tandem Tactics
  • 1 Silkwrap
  • 1 Hanweir Militia Captain // Westvale Cult Leader
  • 2 Stasis Snare
  • 4 Reckless Bushwhacker
  • 4 Needle Spires

 

This Battle for Zendikar common can pack a big punch on offense or defense and really mess up your opponent’s math in the mirror match. Often the mirror match comes to very intense standoffs with lots of open mana and a lot of opponents will play into this trick when they think they have lethal, which will often allow you to crack back for your own lethal damage. The card is an instant speed game-changer which is something that the White Weenie deck naturally lacks. If I were heading out to a tournament to play White Weenie, I would make sure to be packing 2-3 Tandem Tactics to help me fight this mirror match.

 

Now the last major mirror breaker I’m going to cover is B/W Control, and this time I’ll get right to the card I’m going to talk about, Anguished Unmaking.

 

This card is seeing a lot of play in maindecks but not a lot of play in sideboard. The reason for this being that people are ok with playing a copy or two in most matchups game one and then board them out in favor of sideboard cards. I would advocate for an additional two Anguished Unmaking’s to help deal with tough threats that the B/W deck packs against each other. Cards like Ob Nixilis Reignited, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Sorin, Grim Nemesis, Linvala, the Preserver, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, and Ormendal, Profane Prince are all pretty well dealt with by Anguished Unmkaing and it is going to be far better than your maindeck copies of Grasp of Darkness or Ultimate Price. These additional copies are also going to have some splash damage and help you deal with some other archetypes. But, mainly they really help deal with the hard-to-answer threats of the mirror match, where B/W normally doesn’t really have a lot of play in terms of removal. In post board games normally defined by discard, anguished unmaking can help attack on another level against the troublesome permanents of the mirror.

 

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed make sure to comment.

-Charlie Rinehart-Jones

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