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See also: Sideboard (magazine).

A sideboard is a collection of at most 15 cards (as the rule of Magic 2014) that a player may bring to a game (often tournament) of Magic: The Gathering. [1] [2] [3]

Description[edit | edit source]

In conventional games, each player is allowed to bring at most 15 cards (in addition to a player's main deck) to the game. These cards are referred to as the sideboard.[4] After the first and second game of a match, each player is allowed to swap/add/remove cards in their deck for cards in their sideboard (aka "sideboarding"), as long as the sideboard consists of no more than 15 cards and the main deck has at least 60 cards. The player's deck must still be legal after sideboarding (for example, if a player already has four Llanowar Elves in his or her deck, he or she can't sideboard in two more). A sideboard counts as part of the player's deck, therefore the four per deck limit includes the sideboard. This also means that restricted cards are limited to one including the sideboard. (For example, the card Black Lotus is restricted in DCI-sanctioned Vintage Magic tournaments. This means that only one Black Lotus is allowed per deck, including sideboard, in the Vintage format.) Players are not required to have a sideboard, and if a library consists of more than 60 cards initially, a sideboarding is still possible even if his or her sideboard consists of no cards.

In limited games, all unused cards are treated as a sideboard.

Prior to the amendment of regulations in Magic 2014, the sideboard restrictions were more strict than the current one, as below:

  1. If a player used a sideboard, the sideboard had to consist of exactly 15 cards. No more, no less.
  2. Sideboarding had to be a 1-for-1 swap, i.e. the sideboard had to contain 15 cards, and the number of cards in main deck must be the same.

If one of the two cases above was violated in tournaments, it resulted a game loss.

Sideboarding helps a player address the weaknesses of his or her deck against a certain opponent. [5] For example, if a player consistently loses games against anyone who is playing red "burn" spells like Ghitu Fire and Urza's Rage, then the player may want to put four Chill (so as to "hose" red by increasing the spells' playing cost) or maybe four Ivory Mask (to prevent the targeting of a player) in his or her sideboard.[6][7]

Sideboard examples[edit | edit source]

Black[edit | edit source]

  • Deathmark - Destroy a green or white creature

Blue[edit | edit source]

  • Annul - Counter answer to decks that rely on artifacts and/or enchantments
  • Chill - Hoses red decks
  • Flashfreeze - Cheap red/green counter

Green[edit | edit source]

Red[edit | edit source]

White[edit | edit source]

  • Disenchant - Destroy an artifact or enchantment
  • Honorable Passage - Prevent damage from a source, if its red then reverse that damage

Land[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mike Flores. (October 12, 2006.) "The Craft of Sideboarding", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Reid Duke. (October 20, 2014.) "The Sideboard",, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Reid Duke. (January 12, 2015.) "Sideboarding in Limited",, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Jeff Cunningham. (January 13, 2007.) "Introducing Sideboards", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Reid Duke. (March 9, 2015.) "Sideboard Plans",, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mike Flores. (August 29, 2013.) "Sideboarding Strategies and Tactics, Part 1", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mike Flores. (September 05, 2013.) "One, Two, Three Times the Murder: Sideboarding Strategies and Tactics, Part 2", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.