Hello guys and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success! This week I'd like to talk about the importance of sideboard cards and how they've changed with the addition of Born of the Gods. First off, what are sideboard cards when it comes to Sealed Deck? Your sideboard is the rest of your pool that you don't play in your maindeck. This includes all the cards you open, not just the ones in your colors. This gives you freedom to sideboard into a different deck if you choose to, or just bring in individual cards to help with your matchups.
So, what are the sideboard cards you should look for? There are the fairly obvious ones in Glare of Heresy, Dark Betrayal, Gainsay, etc, but there are also some subtle ones like Eye Gouge and Scouring Sands. You want you bring in cards that can improve your matchup by giving your threats protection, or ways to neutralize your opponent's threats. Eye Gouge is a decent sideboard card against Heroic decks since their early creatures will sometimes have 1 toughness (think Phalanx Leader and Akroan Skyguard). Shredding Winds can provide a clean answer to a huge Wingsteed Rider and Fade into Antiquity/Revoke Existence and help if your opponent is playing with a God.
I want to compare how Born of the Gods compares to Theros in terms of sideboard cards so I'm going to present my top 10 6x THS sideboard cards and then my top 10 BNG/THS sideboard cards.
- Shredding Winds Shredding Winds
- Artisan's Sorrow Artisan's Sorrow
- Ray of Dissolution Revoke Existence
- Last Breath Unravel the AEther
- Hunt the Hunter Ray of Dissolution
- Glare of Heresy Last Breath
- Hunt the Hunter Glare of Heresy
- Fade into Antiquity Hunt the Hunter
- Dark Betrayal Fade into Antiquity
- Gainsay Dark Betrayal
I should clarify that these standings aren't set in stone, you can argue some cards should be rated higher than others, but these are my personal top 10. When I'm looking at sideboard cards, I'm either looking for an answer to Wingsteed Rider, or I'm looking for enchantment hate to break up a voltron. Outside of that, I'm looking for more situational cards for a specific problem, bringing in Viper's Kiss for Sedge Scorpion would be an example of that. When we add Born of the Gods to the mix, not much changes in terms of ranking. I still highly prefer to bring in cards from Theros and find most of the BNG sideboard cards to be fairly underwhelming. The problem is by having BNG cards take up half your pool you're getting less access to the awesome THS cards.
For example, I've had pools where I get 1 Skyreaping and 0 Shredding Winds whereas before I would get 1-2 Shredding Winds and be happy with that. Both cards perform similar functions, both can kill fliers but one kills 1 flier dead and the other can hit multiple targets but needs devotion to work. 1 card is splashable, the other is unplayable in non-green decks. 1 deal with the problem you have, the other doesn't. The problem is Wingsteed Rider, and now Akroan Skyguard. Heroic + evasion has been proven to win games, so it's important that your kill spell for both be as unconditional as it gets. 7 damage is a lot of damage and it would take multiple spells to grow both creatures outside that range. It's also better late game off the top than Skyreaping is because one can come down on an empty board and kill a flier whereas the other can't. I played a match where my opponent plays a Stormbreath Dragon and passes back after hitting me with it. I use the Skyreaping thinking it's a Shredding Winds and his Dragon is still alive. I only had 2 devotion which thankfully was from Bow of Nylea so I could activate Bow and take it down, but it just showed me how bad Skyreaping was. I think the biggest loss by adding Born of the Gods is the decline of Last Breath. The 4 life isn't relevant when you just want a cheap removal spell for the early Heroic guys in white and it didn't get a replacement at all in BNG. It's a bit offset by the fact that the good early Theros cards will show up less, but it still sucks that your chances of having it in your pool now are reduced greatly.
Now then, let's open some packs!
I think I should have stuck to my guns and drawn first throughout the entire Sealed portion instead of opting to play first for some of it. The deck doesn't do well in the late game, but it doesn't do well in the early game either so it's just better to draw that extra card and smooth out the draws. It also doesn't have great mana and you can be color screwed on turns 2 and 5, so being on the draw helps with that. I think I overrated Hero of Iroas. He doesn't have evasion and the mana reducing ability isn't relevant most of the time. He's worse than Fabled Hero, and probably worse than Wingsteed Rider and Akroan Skyguard. He's also slightly worse than Phalanx Leader, but not by much. Game 1 of Round 2 I think I threw away but I didn't realize it at the time. When my opponent taps out for Nessian Demolok, I should not have paid tribute and let him eat one of my lands. I thought it was like Acidic Slime and would eat my Nyxborn Wolf, but it's non-creature permanent so I don't believe it could eat the wolf. Even if that was the case, giving him a 6/6 just lets him race faster if he finds a way to deal with my Skyguard, so I shouldn't have done that. As for Game 2, I could have held back with my 3/3 token, but all the cards that beat me also make me lose my token and put us in a topdeck situation where he has a 2/3 and I have nothing. He would have had to have drawn a relevant spell that turn because last turn I was dead to Titan's Strength no matter what so he could have gone for it then. As far as draft is concerned, blue was definitely open in pack 1, but the packs were so weak that there really wasn't another color worth going into. This really left me in a bad spot for packs 2 and 3 no matter what color I chose to go into for my secondary color and the alternative of staying mono-blue isn't that great. It was definitely a weird draft for sure. What do you guys think? Did I miss something during pack 1 or did the draft just shake out the way I thought it did?
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns you can leave them in the comments section below. Next week I'll be back with a PTQQ and possibly the PTQ itself! I think there's a Sealed PTQ in my city in the end of the month so I'm gonna try and go to that. If you like, you can follow my Tumblr where I'll post random musings about Magic and various pools/drafts that I do. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and watch my videos a day or two before my article comes out.
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