KCI Combo

Sideboarding is by far this deck’s worst quality. I played countless Leagues with an unplayable sideboard, and even in matchups where I was supposed to bring in certain cards I wouldn’t not do it because I didn’t want to affect my deck’s composition.

Which lead me to understand that if I was going to have a nonartifact card in my deck, it had better be extremely impactful, if not game-breaking.

Defense Grid

This is a card that I sideboarded only once throughout 10 Leagues.

I understood that a deck full of counterspells like Grixis or Blue-White Control would be extremely hard to beat and I’d rather have a narrow but powerful card than a versatile but mediocre card.

Having Defense Grid in your deck also means more artifacts with converted mana cost 2. That’s useful when combo’ing since it’ll generally at least cycle with a Scrap Trawler and a 1-mana egg.

Ensnaring Bridge

I went back and forth with this card. I tried sideboarding it in many matchups to eventually settle on only bringing it in versus Bant Eldrazi.

I found that it was too much of a liability against Death’s Shadow and Abzan decks because between Abrupt Decay and Kolaghan’s Command, they would too often have an answer.

I kept it for Bant Eldrazi because my sample size of matchups revealed that it was my worst. Thought-Knot Seer, counterspells, Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, and Engineered Explosives make for way too many angles of attack—I couldn’t find specific anti-hate cards.

Ensnaring Bridge lets you buy a ton of time so that you can eventually draw Nature’s Claim for one of their enchantments. Being a 3-mana artifact, it’s also quite nice to sacrifice with Scrap Trawler as it’ll let you bring back Ichor Wellspring, one of the most important cards.

It is unfortunately not the perfect card for the matchup because you can sometimes still lose to a Noble Hierarch or a bunch of Scions. They can also blink their Thought-Knot Seer with Eldrazi Displacer to control your hand and make sure you never get Krark-Clan Ironworks.

I haven’t had the time to try Blood Moon, but I believe it may solve that matchup. The issue I can see is that you have to draw it early, whereas with Bridge you can find it with Ancient Stirrings or dig to it with your cantrips.

Nature’s Claim

Generally speaking, the Stony Silence decks will also have Rest in Peace, which makes Nature’s Claim a necessity. It’s also the perfect card against Burn since it hits Eidolon of the Great Revel and Rest in Peace, while acting as a nice gain life spell on your own artifacts.

I will add it in the dark against almost every white deck. It’s sometimes a liability, but those two white enchantments are nearly unbeatable. Remember that Chromatic Star and Terrarion don’t draw you cards if Rest in Peace is in play, but Chromatic Sphere does!

If I were to go the Abrupt Decay route and add more colored mana to my mana base, then I’d cut Nature’s Claim since they’d come in for the same matchups.

Nihil Spellbomb

Hands-down your least impactful sideboard card. Mainly because Dredge is too slow and you don’t even need to disrupt them.

The big upside is that it’s an artifact, and not just a generic one. It’s basically the same thing as a Terrarion—you can sacrifice it to Krark-Clan Ironworks, get mana, and draw a card. That makes it super easy to sideboard without affecting the contents of your deck.

It makes it a freeroll to bring in against Dredge, and Black-Green decks to reduce Tarmogoyf’s power and stop Traverse the Ulvenwald.

Battle at the Bridge

This is unbelievable against Burn. It is another answer to Eidolon of the Great Revel, but also an insane gain life spell that can buy you up to 4-5 turns sometimes. It will also come in in against Hate Bears to deal with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. This slot is still quite narrow and, if I had Abrupt Decay, I would probably cut it.

Ghirapur Aether Grid

I am still skeptical of this one.Louis Deltour mentioned it last minute before the Grand Prix as a nice way to beat Stony Silence. While true against a deck like Hate Bears, where they have a ton of small creatures, if you’re facing Tarmogoyfs and Reality Smashers, you’re unlikely to be able to race or kill those creatures.

On the plus side, I got to sideboard it in against Blue-Red Delver and kill literally everything they played—that was sweet. I’ve seen Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas do some work against Stony Silence in the past and if I were to play a more colored mana base, I’d try it out.

Padeem, Consul of Innovation

Easily the weirdest card in my sideboard.

It was proposed as a way to trump Ancient Grudge, Kolaghan’s Command, and Abrupt Decay out of black decks. In theory, it works. In reality, people started playing Path to Exile in Death’s Shadow, and they keep them in against you for Scrap Trawlers. But if they are playing Grixis or Jund, it’s still pretty nice as long as they don’t Liliana of the Veil you.

I’ve seen Wurmcoil Engine take that slot. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’m skeptical that you’d get to 6 mana before dying …

What to Sideboard Out?

These are the only cards I ever consider sideboarding out. I’ve never even touched the rest of the main deck.

Mind Stone and Everflowing Chalice belong to the same category. If I’m playing a deck with disruption I will want to keep Mind Stone, but if speed is the only factor, Everflowing Chalice is better. I usually board out 1 copy of Hangarback Walker as well when I’m facing a deck where the card itself doesn’t do anything in the early game, or when they have Path to Exile.

Always board out 1 Engineered Explosives unless you’re expecting permanents that need to be dealt with—most likely Eidolon of the Great Revel, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Chalice of the Void, and Rest in Peace.

I try to never board out more than 2 Terrarion as well. Why Terrarion over Chromatic Sphere? First, against a deck with Rest in Peace, Sphere is better, and post-sideboard, casting your colored cards is very important and I don’t want to run into a situation where I draw a tapped Terrarion.