What is a Sideboard MTG? (EXPLAINED)

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Sideboards are a crucial component to playing competitive Magic: The Gathering, read on below and learn all the answers to “what is a sideboard MTG?” and other related questions!

What is a Sideboard MTG?

Sideboards contain between 1 and 15 cards that are, in essence, like a miniature deck. They are hand-picked cards that may be swapped into your deck between games to tweak or entirely switch-up your strategy. For every card you add to your deck, from your sideboard, you need to remove a card from your deck to make room for it. There are exceptions to this rule, for example, in games with no deck-size limit.

How Does MTG Sideboard Work?

Sideboards are simply set to the side while the actual game is being played. It is during the time before and after games that sideboards work their magic. Once the game is over, or before it begins, players may take cards from the decks and exchange them for cards from their sideboard. It keeps things interesting to say the least.

Can I Put Lands in My Sideboard?

You may put lands in your sideboard if you choose to, there is no rule against it, for sure. However, unless you just happen to have a deck (or certain special cards) that requires enormous amounts of mana, there is no real point in putting mana in your sideboard. Sideboards only allow 15 cards, that means each spot should be filled with as diverse and powerful a card as possible.

Can My Sideboard Have Less Than 15 Cards?

If you choose to do so, you may have a sideboard with any number of cards less than 15. In fact, you may even opt out of having a sideboard at all. There is no rule stating that all players must have sideboards. The rule is that all players may have a sideboard, of up to 15 cards. Not exactly 15, but no more than 15. If you want to have less than 15 cards in your MTG sideboard, so be it. You are free to do so.

Are Sideboards Allowed in Commander?

Sideboards are an optional feature in the popular MTG Commander format. If you do opt into using a sideboard in Commander, however, you may not have 15 cards like in standard Magic: The Gathering game modes. In Commander, you may only have 10 cards in your sideboard, and they must all fit the Commander rules (no illegals allowed!).

Do Brawl Decks Have Sideboards?

The rules are a bit fuzzy when it comes to sideboards and the Brawl format MTG. As Brawl is basically Commander, sideboards aren’t common (but they are technically allowed, up to 10 cards), though, at home, and in unsanctioned Magic games, they are in use for sure. That said, if you’re playing MTG Arena, there is currently no option to add a sideboard, 10 cards or not.

Can I Look at My Sideboard During the Game?

Sideboards should be set to the side during the game, and players may definitely not look at them. The sideboard has zero function during the game. However, in some very rare and bizarre cases, some cards do actually allow their owner’s to look at and even exchange cards from their sideboards during the game. The chances you have one of these cards, or will ever see it on the battlefield is super rare (but possible).

How Do You Add Cards to Your Sideboard MTG Arena?

Before you start your next game, if you want to add cards to your sideboard in MTG Arena, it’s rather easy. Navigate to “Decks” and click on it. Find the deck you want, click on it, select the sideboard image, and sort through the cards! Click each card you want, swamp them in and out, and make all the changes you want.