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Mastering Standard: 10 Sideboard Cards to Beat the Metagame

Lucas Giggs
08/03/2024 · 7 min read

Sideboarding & Beating the Metagame

Standard continues at full steam, with some decks already well defined as tiers of the format and others on the outskirts. With this in mind, we can plan more efficiently which decks we want to attack and plan the best possible sideboard according to the deck we are playing. Today I will mention 10 cards that, regardless of the decks we play, would be good to include in the sideboards to attack the metagame.

Destroy Evil

Good against: Esper Midrange, Golgari Midrange, Domain Ramp, UW Djinn, Rakdos Reanimator

In my opinion, it is one of the best and most versatile cards in the format. At other times, it was very present even in maindecks, but it ended up losing some space with the arrival of Get Lost.

However, it still has many relevant targets in the format, including enchantments like Up the Beanstalk, Leyline Binding, Wedding Announcement, Virtue of Loyalty, The Cruelty of Gix or even Warleader’s Call. And it also targets key creatures like Raffine, Scheming Seer, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Preacher of the Schism or Haughty Djinn. If your deck is white, you should probably run Destroy Evil among the 75 cards of the main/side.

You can get a list of all the relevant enchantments in Standard in the staples section.


Good against: Domain Ramp, UW Control, Esper Control, UW Djinn, Rakdos Reanimator

For decks such as Golgari Midrange and Rakdos Midrange, Duress is an essential card to keep them competitive.

Discard spells have historically been very effective against decks that try to play a more control-oriented game or that involve key pieces. Information is very useful in the game and Duress not only gives us information to know what to play around, but also allows us to take out cards that make the game more advantageous for the opponent, such as sweepers ([Sunfall]], Brotherhood's End, Farewell, Gix’s Command), cards that generate card advantage in the short and long term (Memory Deluge, Up the Beanstalk, Big Score), or even to take out a counter to be able to resolve something that gives us an advantage in the match (No More Lies, Make Disappear, Negate, Disdainful Stroke). I repeat: information is extremely valuable in the game, know how to take advantage of it.

Tranquil Frillback

Good against: Monored Aggro, Boros Convoke, Bant Toxic, UW Djinn, Rakdos Reanimator

Frillback, as well as Destroy Evil, is a quite versatile card that can be used in both more aggressive matches and midrange strategies. Lifegain and the ability to destroy artifacts and enchantments are very useful against Monored, as those decks have opted to use cards like Urabrask’s Forge, which depending on the strategy can be a very tricky card to deal with, and it has a snowball effect that can get out of control easily.

Being able to destroy Case of the Gateway Express, Skrelv’s Hive, and Wedding Announcement also makes it useful in the aforementioned matches. Graveyard removal is an underused ability, but against decks like UW Djinn and Rakdos Reanimator, it can also be of great help. When I think about sideboard cards, I generally prefer the most versatile ones possible, that's why Tranquil Frillback is on my list when I play with decks of that color.

Path of Peril

Good against: Monored Aggro, Boros Convoke, Bant Toxic, Gruul Aggro, UW Soldiers

Speaking now in favor of slower decks or those without a very aggressive game plan, Path of Peril is very well-positioned in the meta, being very useful for decks like Golgari Midrange and Rakdos Midrange that need to hold back the aggressive momentum of the aforementioned decks.

This card is very good because it kills basically what it needs to kill and leaves your 3+ drops alive. The card also has a secret mode, destroying everything on the board if necessary by paying its cleave cost.

Chrome Host Seedshark

Good against: Domain Ramp, UW Control, Esper Control

When I played Domain Ramp, I loved using Chrome Host Seedshark, and I've even used it in MD as well. The card is fantastic in a world of Cut Downs, even though it's vulnerable to other removals like Destroy Evil and Go for the Throat, the idea is precisely to escalate to: either attract the removals that would be used on other creatures, such as Atraxa and Archangel of Wrath in Domain, or also for control decks, which don't use many creatures, so opponents end up siding out some of the removals so they don't have many dead cards post side, leaving the path more open to be able to change the game plan, taking advantage of the fact that your opponent probably changed theirs as well.

Tishana Tidebinder

Good matchups against: Domain Ramp, UW Control, Esper ControlRakdos Reanimator, Dimir Reanimator

It has lost some of its strength due to the decline of Domain Ramp, but it remains a very useful card in many matches, including some not mentioned above. It's a perfectly usable card in the main deck, but it's interesting coming from the sideboard, attacking specific strategies, ending the ETB power of Domain Ramp's creatures, canceling The Wandering Emperor from control decks, and also breaking the reanimation strategies of Etali and Atraxa from reanimator decks. It's a fragile card, but its "stifle" effect, delaying any plan for at least a turn, justifies its inclusion in many sideboards.

Liliana of the Veil

Good against:Domain Ramp, UW Control, Esper ControlUW Djinn

When it was revealed in the spoilers, Liliana was a card that surprised many people, with theories suggesting she would be banned soon due to the strength a low-cost, non-restrictive planeswalker has nowadays. Despite being a very good card in some matches, and even serving as a lightning rod in others (diverting the focus from potential strategies), some cards like Wedding Announcement, or matchups like Boros Convoke, which empty the hand and create many creatures, make her not as strong. But in slower matches, even in midrange mirrors, it's a fantastic card, where whoever resolves it first gets a significant advantage in controlling the game, whether by depleting resources or preventing the opponent from safely resolving a powerhouse card.

Invasion of Gobakhan

Good against: Domain Ramp, UW Control, Esper Control, Golgari Midrange, Rakdos Midrange

Despite having different applications in some matches, Gobakhan is a great card to have on the side of aggressive white decks, like Boros Convoke and UW Soldiers. Being easily flippable in these types of decks, it manages to strengthen the board with each attack and also protects against sweepers like Path of Peril, Brotherhood’s End, and Depopulate. It's not as good against exile removal like Sunfall and Farewell, but it plays an important role in delaying the opponent while we attack their life points, as well as giving us information on what to play around.

Lithomantic Barrage

Good against: UW Soldiers, Boros Convoke, Esper Midrange, UW Djinn

Barrage is already a card that is widely used in the format, having almost the same power level/importance as Rending Volley in Pioneer. It has many relevant targets in different types of matches, being one of the main red cards to have in the sideboard, especially if you are like me, who likes to have useful cards against multiple decks.

Temporary Lockdown

Good against: UW Soldiers, Boros Convoke, Dimir Midrange, Gruul Aggro, Monored Aggro

Lockdown is one of the best sweepers against more aggressive decks, exiling not only small creatures, but also possible blood, treasure, and clue tokens, as well as low-cost enchantments and artifacts, like Subterranean Schooner and Case of the Gateway Express. So good that some decks like Domain Ramp, which struggle a bit with the aggressive start of some decks, use this card already in the main deck.

Final words

Standard has a diverse metagame, with different decks making results every week, but the answers are also quite varied, catering to all tastes and colors. Knowing which strategies we want to attack, it becomes easier to know which cards we should use in our sideboards.

Until next time!

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones 7 New Standard Decks Featuring The Lost Caverns of Ixalan by Mogged, 8 New/Refurbished Pioneer Decks with Smuggler’s Copter by Mogged, 10 Most Impactful Constructed Cards from Murders at Karlov Manor

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Lucas Giggs
MTG Streamer
Hi, my name is Lucas de Almeida Hervás. I'm 31 years old, married, and I live in Indaiatuba/SP, Brazil. I've been playing Magic the Gathering since 2009, but I've been making a living off of it since 2019 through leagues and tournaments on Magic Online. For those who don't know me, I'm 2.17 meters tall, hence the nickname "the tallest Magic player in Brazil."


Published: 2024-03-08 00:00:00