October 1, 2010

Magic101 : Rules and Tips for Sideboarding Your Deck


Even among the Magic the Gathering elite, few players truly understand the appropriate use and actual rules of sideboarding. Luckily, the concept and the rules behind it are quite simple. Here is a brief explanation of all of the above.

What is a sideboard?

A sideboard is a collection of fifteen cards that won't normally be in your deck. You can substitute cards in your regular deck for these sideboard cards in order to accomplish any one of various purposes.

Why use a sideboard?

A sideboard does for your deck what auto insurance does for your car: it protects you when the worst happens. By swapping out cards from your deck to reach into your sideboard, you can help prevent deadly enemy plays, counteract certain tactics and otherwise increase your likelihood of success.

What are the rules for sideboarding?

Your sideboard must be exactly fifteen cards, although you don't have to use any specified number of these cards when you do a card swap. You can only swap your cards between matches, and you can't use your sideboard during your first match in a three-game structure. You must swap a sideboard card with a card from your deck; it cannot be added directly. When preparing to face a new opponent after sideboarding, your deck must be reset to its original cards and structure for the first game. All other standard deck rules also apply.

What cards should be in your sideboard?

The exact cards that belong in your sideboard will vary depending on the aims of your deck and the common problems you face. The most advisable course is to create a sideboard over time as you recognize potential flaws or weaknesses in your own tactics. You can also create sideboards based around shutting down specific sorts of techniques, such as those commonly found in sligh, enchantment or artifact decks.

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