Hey everyone!  Welcome to another Modern Musings, and today we are going to look at something a little different.  With the release of Dominaria, Modern gets access to Damping Sphere, which will no doubt be one of the most powerful sideboard cards around.  So in honor of that, I wanted to talk about sideboards in Modern, but more specifically I wanted to talk about color combinations in relation to sideboards.

Often times in Magic, when you construct a deck, you look at the deck first and then choose your sideboard cards to shore up any weaknesses your deck might have.  In this way Modern can sometimes be a little different.  There are many times in Modern where drawing and playing a single sideboard card in many cases is enough to win the game on its own.  This isn’t quite true in many other formats mostly because of Modern’s diversity, many decks are more all-in than similar incarnations in other formats.  The idea behind this is that because there are only 15 slots available for sideboards, that you can’t possibly cover all the matchups in Modern.  This is actually why prison decks are so cool to me, because they attempt to cover all the different strategies while simultaneously having a way to win the game.  Prison decks aside though, lets look at what I think are the best sideboard cards for each color.


White is often cited as the best sideboard color for Modern, and with good reason too.  White has an answer for just about every strategy, and because of this is a tempting color to include whenever considering a new deck to play.

  1. Leyline of Sanctity
  2. Stony Silence
  3. Rest in Peace
  4. Kor Firewalker
  5. Eidolon of Rhetoric / Rule of Law
  6. Negate


While blue is not quite as good as white, it has access to countermagic, which allows it to fight through otherwise difficult-to-answer cards.  The recent printing of Ceremonious Rejection has added a ton of value to blue sideboards and given them a bit more footing to stand on.

  1. Negate
  2. Dispel
  3. Ceremonious Rejection
  4. Hurkyl’s Recall
  5. Echoing Truth
  6. Threads of Disloyalty


Ironically most cards that are run in the sideboard that are black are actually more played as colorless cards thanks to phyrexian mana, and will be included in the colorless section.  Despite this, black still has some solid sideboard options in graveyard hate and hand disruption.

  1. Collective Brutality
  2. Thoughtseize
  3. Damnation
  4. Leyline of the Void
  5. Nihil Spellbomb


Red is an all around great sideboard color, and definitely the best color against creature swarm decks, while still having access to some of the most efficient artifact removal.  In addition to all that, you gain access to one of the most powerful cards in all of Modern: Blood Moon.  I think that because of those reasons that it is probably the second best sideboard color for Modern.

  1. Anger of the Gods
  2. Blood Moon
  3. Shattering Spree
  4. Crumble to Dust
  5. Vandalblast


Green is a fine color if you want to remove enchantments/artifacts or resilient creatures that are difficult to get rid of. Like white, they also have some access to life gain for the burn/aggro matchups

  1. Nature’s Claim
  2. Reclamation Sage
  3. Thrun, the Last Troll
  4. Chameleon Colossus
  5. Thragtusk
  6. Obstinate Baloth


Colorless sideboard options have really expanded over the years and as such has quite a wide array of answers as decks like colorless eldrazi and eldrazi tron have showed us.

  1. Chalice of the Void
  2. Engineered Explosives
  3. Relic of Progenitus
  4. Grafdigger’s Cage
  5. Surgical Extraction
  6. Dismember
  7. Pithing Needle
  8. Ratchet Bomb
  9. Spellskite
  10. Warping Wail


Because Modern decks are often up to 3 colors, it’s quite common to see multicolored cards pop up in sideboards as well.

  1. Ancient Grudge
  2. Wear // Tear
  3. Fulminator Mage
  4. Fracturing Gust
  5. Izzet Staticaster
  6. Supreme Verdict
  7. Destructive Revelry

Now that I’ve highlighted what I think are all the best sideboard cards in each color, lets talk a little bit about what color combination I think gives you the best coverage.  There are 10 different two color combinations, and then if you add in three color combinations you get an additional 10, for a total of 20.  For reasons of space, time, and sanity I won’t get into all of them in this article, but I do plan on at least going over the strengths and weaknesses of prominent ones in the future.

My Top Pick

My pick for the best 2 color sideboard combination is red and white.  Shocker, I know that I picked what I think are the first and second best sideboard colors for the best combo.  But in actuality this is somewhat of a coincidence; while they are both powerful colors, they also don’t have too much overlap in what they do.  White needs cheap sweepers and a way to deal with nonbasic lands, while red needs ways to deal with enchantments and gain life.  While white can stop activated abilities of artifacts, it doesn’t have too many ways of efficiently destroying them, which red compliments perfectly.  With all the coverage these two colors have, it’s no wonder that R/W Prison is a deck.


That’s all for this week. Let me know if you want me to delve deeper into Modern sideboards in the future, either theory or practice.

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