Posts Tagged ‘side board’

This week in Magic: Grixis Delver side board options for Modern

blood moon

It’s time for another edition of “This week in Magic.” Last week I talked about Grixis Delver and my thoughts on the deck. This week we’re going to continue the discussion and cover the side board. The side board of any deck is always a sensitive subject. There are many of you who will agree with me and there are plenty of you who will disagree. That’s okay. Side boards are a complicated thing and there is no such thing as a perfect board. Your guess is only as good as mine.


Enough of me wasting your time with an intro, here is a quick reminder of what my Grixis Delver decks looks like right now.


Grixis Delver
Main board:


4x Serum Visions
4x Thoughtscour
4x Lightning Bolt
3x Gitaxian Probe
2x Mana Leak
2x Remand
2x Vapor Snag
2x Spell Snare
2x Kolghan’s Command
2x Murderous Cut
1x Electrolyze


4x Delver of Secrets
3x Young Pyromancer
3x Snapcaster Mage
2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1x Gurmag Angler


4x. Polluted Delta
1x Swamp
4x Bloodstained Mire
2x Steam Vents
1x Watery Grave
4x Island
1x Mountain
1x Blood Crypt
1x Flooded Strand


Side board


3x Dragon’s Claw
2x Vandalblast
2x Spellskite
2x Dispel
1x Rending Volley
2x Blood Moon
1x Izzet Staticaster
2x Self-Inflicted Wound


vs. Mono Red Burn

+3 Dragon’s Claw, +2 Spellskite, +2 Dispel;
-3 Gitaxian Probe, -2 Remand, -2 Vapor Snag


Let’s start right from the top. Dragon’s Claw is pretty self explanatory. In the past couple of years, Mono Red Burn has become quite a popular deck to run. It (was) cheap to build and is a very efficient deck to run. As long as you can count to 20, you can play Mono Red Burn. Still, the deck is good enough to earn it’s own side board slot.


We want to mitigate the amount of damage we do to ourselves, so Gitaxian Probes are a great candidate to come out. Remands are counters that do us no good in this match especially since many of the spells can be re-cast the same turn you counter them. Finally, Vapor Snags are less efficient as compared to some of the other cards we can bring in like Spellskites and Dispels.


Dispels are a great replacement for Remand considering a majority of their deck is made up of instants, and we get the added bonus that Dispel only costs us one mana. Spellskites are the most annoying cards we can bring them in to redirect most of the burn spells to the artifact. Any way to buy time is totally worth it against a burn player. Many of my games have come down to one or two life.


As a burn player, I’ve been affected by Blood Moon before. It’s not a definite answer, but it’s annoying enough to stop us from playing some of our best spells.


vs. UR Twin or Grixis Twin

+2 Spellskite, +1 Rending Volley, +2 Dispel;
-3 Young Pyromancer, -1 Electrolyze, -1 Gurmag Angler


This is an interesting side board situation. In my experience versus Twin decks, the tend to side out the combo against decks like ours. Twin decks will then take a more control approach to the match. So here, I’ve decided to bring in Spellskites, a Volley, and two Dispels.


Spellskites are great against the combo and the changes that most Twin deck make post side board. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been burnt out by a Twin player in games two and/or three. This is the same reason we bring in Dispels. We really can’t go wrong with more hard counters especially since they cost us only one to cast! Our one Rending Volley is great and helps us if they’ve kept in part of the combo. That’s what makes these Twin decks great is how versatile they can be. Even if the combo has been taken out, they’re great at removing Exarchs that are still hanging out and Cliques which may make a sudden cameo.


So why did we take out what we took out?. Pyromancers are actually some of our weakest creatures I think in this match up. Twin decks have plenty of ways to deal with them and any tokens they may make along the way. When it comes to Electrolyze, I feel like there are better cards for this match up in our side. The same can be said for the Angler. Being that there is only one copy, we can do away with it post side boarding.


vs. Affinity

+2 Vandalblast, +2 Blood Moon;
-2 Remand, -2 Mana Leak


I think one of the best ways to deal with Affinity, is to just let things happen. They will have some silly openings and you’ll find yourself sitting there, staring at your cards wondering what to do next. If you try to control them, you’re going to lose. Let their artifacts hit the board and let your destructive spells deal with them. Thanks to Dragons of Tarkir, Grixis Delver now has one of the best spells against Affinity in Kolghan’s Command, and these are in our main board.


By taking out our counters, we’re now relying on our removal spells. Between the Bolts, Commands, Cuts, and even the Snags, it should be more than enough to deal with those pesky little robots. If that’s not enough, we’ve brought in Vandalblasts that can deal with one or multiple artifacts. Also, we’ve got Blood Moons on our side. While it may not seem like a obvious choice, let me remind you of the many times I’ve been killed by an activated Nexus with an equipped Plating.


I remember dropping a turn three Blood Moon against my opponent during a pPTQ and, while it wasn’t the answer I needed, it bought me enough time to establish a board pressence and beat my opponent.


In closing

Well we’re almost out of time, but let me leave you with something small. With the recent events and GR Tron being a big winner this weekend, I’m sure many of you are wondering what to bring in versus that match up. Obviously Blood Moon is the best card you have against Tron. Shut those lands down and you’ll find your path to victory. However another card you may not have thought of is Vandalblast. Tron relies a lot on on those artifacts. Not only do they cantrip, but they help with their mana issues. Be aware though, it’s not the end all answer, but enough to slow them down to where you can take advantage of things.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!



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