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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]


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.[3] 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. 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.[4][5]

Sideboard examples[edit]


  • Deathmark - Destroy a green or white creature


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




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



"The Sideboard" was the name of a paper magazine and a website that WotC created to help promote organized play. [6][7] It used to cover Magic tournament play, rules changes and banned and restricted list. [8] The magazine ran from July 1996 till November 2003 (49 issues). The website was incorporated in


  1. Reid Duke. (October 20, 2014.) "The Sideboard", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Reid Duke. (January 12, 2015.) "Sideboarding in Limited", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Jeff Cunningham. (January 13, 2007.) "Introducing Sideboards", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mike Flores. (August 29, 2013.) "Sideboarding Strategies and Tactics, Part 1", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mike Flores. (September 05, 2013.) "One, Two, Three Times the Murder: Sideboarding Strategies and Tactics, Part 2", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater. (January 02, 2012.) "Turning Ten", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Blake Rasmussen. (July 10, 2014.) "The Sideboard: Hall of Fame Edition", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Magic Arcana. (March 22, 2010.) "Banned/Restricted Icons", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit]