Modern is a format full of options, choices, and decisions. It’s not easy to narrow down what to play given the wide variety that is available. Constructing a fifteen-card sideboard can be tricky too, as you aim to hit a high percentage of the decks within your local metagame, and perhaps the metagame outside of that.

Since Pro Tour 25, B/R Vengevine has become the breakout deck thanks to the recently printed Stitcher’s Supplier. It gives graveyard-based decks fantastic acceleration by throwing six cards into your graveyard with ease, allowing the potential to dig out cards such as Vengevine and Bridge from Below. In reaction to this, Modern decks are looking to adjust their sideboards to hose the hottest Modern deck around; and fortunately there’s an abundance available right now. With this, I feel white is the best color for sideboards at present, and in this article I go into detail as to why and what cards you can use to hose these decks. Adding to this, I’ll touch on some cards that might slip under the radar and could be useful in particular match-ups.

White has traditionally been a staple color for sideboards, with credit going to cards such as Rest in Peace and Stony Silence; these cards will still be relevant for as long as artifact and graveyard strategies exist in the Modern format. In recent times, Leyline of the Void has been competing with Rest in Peace for the premier graveyard hate in Modern. However, this does not make Rest in Peace terrible; it’s merely down to the R/B Vengevine and R/B Hollow One mirrors and the rise in popularity of these archetypes. Rest in Peace is still relevant today with R/B Vengevine, R/B Hollow One, and Ironworks Combo all becoming powerful top tiered decks. Stony Silence is still relevant as Affinity (and to some extension, Hardened Affinity) and Tron are established decks in the format.

Going on from the apparent cards, the removal suite in white is also robust, and the emphasis on exiling permanents is very relevant at present. Cards such as Celestial Purge are fantastic right now given how the graveyard decks run an abundance of red and black permanents. And don’t forget Path to Exile, the staple removal of the format, which is also well-positioned currently.

Not only is white-based removal in a favorable position, but sweepers are also following suit such as Wrath of God. Terminus is becoming the premier sweeper of the format given how resilient a lot of the top decks are and killing creatures isn’t necessarily enough. U/W Control has adopted this thanks to the recent unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and using cards such as Opt to manipulate their top card to get the best value from a Terminus, becoming more Miracles than Control perhaps. Nevertheless, with disruption coming from cards such as Meddling Mage, it’s encouraging to run a “suite” of sweepers so you can always cast something to deal with the Meddling Mage (and the other humans) on the field. Wrath of God does the job, and in some cases, it’s enough. There are plenty of sweepers to choose from. Settle the Wreckage is another card to be considered given how aggressive the top decks are at this point in time.

Furthermore, there are plenty of white creatures you can adopt into your sideboard if you prefer. Auriok Champion has found a home in the sideboards of Five-Color Humans acting as a fantastic blocker against R/B Hollow One Vengevine decks. Being able to continuously block 2/2 zombie tokens, while receiving life gain from creatures being deployed on either side of the field is resilient. Another is a recently printed card in the form of Remorseful Cleric, which is what Chord of Calling and Collected Company decks have been wanting for quite a while. Being able to tutor or dig for a particular card for a specific situation is always handy, especially being able to dig for a hoser against graveyard archetypes is especially desirable.

Another spirit in the form of Kataki, War’s Wage is always convenient. Kataki has been providing grief to Affinity and Tron players for the longest time by offering up a taxing effect. Kataki takes away the advantage that Affinity has not of running a high land count so that you can control their board state; also, it can slow down Tron if you play Kataki early enough. With this in mind, it can also attack Ironworks Combo by limiting the number of artifacts on the field which can buy you some time.

Leyline of Sanctity is another sideboard card which has dropped off the radar a little given how Jund and Burn aren’t as prevalent in the Modern metagame right now. Leyline of Sanctity is still a compelling card if the circumstances are right, and is commonly in G/W Hexproof decks. Leyline acts as a lifeline for the build as cards such as Thoughtseize and Liliana of the Veil are so crippling to their game plan. However, Leyline of Sanctity is still a powerful card and shouldn’t be discouraged as it has potential to hose some of the top decks. Ironworks Combo has a tough time dealing with a Leyline of Sanctity in play as they can’t go with the Pyrite Spellbomb kill route, it also warrants some protection against Collective Brutality which B/R Hollow One commonly runs.

Finally, a card which I feel is very underrated currently is Timely Reinforcements. This card is fantastic at stemming the damage from these quick, aggressive decks, allowing you to buy a lifeline or two by gaining six life and making three 1/1 soldier tokens. Many of the creatures that are in these aggressive shells don’t have trample, and they’re just high in power meaning you can block these with ease. Besides, these decks develop the board and deal damage so quickly you’re always going to hit the quota that Timely Reinforcements requires.

Given how vast and broad the card pool for Modern is, there’s still an option to think outside the box to blow out certain decks as an alternative. For example, if Humans and R/B Vengevine continue to the shape the metagame as they intend to, rogue cards like Ghostly Prison could potentially shine as enchantment removal in black and red are tough to come by. Ghostly Prison is excellent at slowing down damage when the board is full of creatures. These kinds of decks usually run a lower land count as well, so there is a potential advantage there too. If you are a creature-heavy deck, Worship may be a better choice for you over Ghostly Prison given how much time Worship can buy you. Otherwise, if you want to give Ironworks Combo, Tron or perhaps Humans a hard time, how about Blind Obedience? These kind-of tax and tap effects could be potent by buying you time to control the board from a horde of zombies or a swarm of humans. In concept, Blind Obedience seems fantastic against Ironworks Combo by making Mox Opal enter the battlefield tapped which is enormous given the deck wants to abuse Mox Opal for fixing to combo off, even the Extort ability may be relevant in some cases as well.

Cards such as Blind Obedience can be a lot more difficult for the opponent to deal with, as obtaining information on the top decks is so easy these days that they won’t expect cards outside that spectrum, which in turn could give you an advantage. There is also an argument for Thalia, Heretic Cathar too if you want to be more creature-focused, similar to Blind Obedience in ability but becomes a lot more open to removal which many decks run naturally.

If you want to be more reactive with your sideboard tech, how about the long-forgotten Hallowed Moonlight? Hallowed Moonlight was the mirror-breaker against Bant Company decks in Standard from a few years ago with the boon of replacing itself by drawing a card. Again, in concept, it doesn’t seem far-fetched at all when you consider what is popular in Modern at present. R/B Vengevine abuses creatures coming into play as opposed to being cast in most cases, and Hallowed Moonlight can deal with Vengevine and the zombie tokens too. Going on from this, this might be a little too narrow in Humans, although it can remove a creature entering the battlefield from an Aether Vial and restrict some plays for a turn or two, I feel it might be too cute. However, I wouldn’t entirely dismiss Hallowed Moonlight and could be worth at least testing.  A bonus Hallowed Moonlight has is that it can exile any Bloodghasts and Flamewake Phoenixes that come from the graveyard, which in concept seems fine against B/R Hollow One.

Overall, there is an abundance of sideboard cards in white which you can run to combat a lot of the decks in the format. The most robust feature of white is that these cards hit so many decks in the format while keeping the top decks in check. Cards such as Stony Silence and Rest in Peace will keep being relevant for as long as artifact and graveyard strategies exist, Modern has such a deep pool of cards to choose from as well, so there will always be answers available, the only downside is, having enough room in your sideboard to compensate for these options.

Emma resides in Suffolk, England and started playing Magic back in 2014 when Khans of Tarkir first hit the shelves. She dabbled in Standard for a while then shifted into Modern, in particular playing Eldrazi Tron and Commander where she has found her home. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

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