Pioneer Sideboard Guide - Boros Burn

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Pioneer Sideboard Guide - Boros Burn

On the second part of my Deck Guide, I'll provide a sideboard guide for Pioneer's Boros Burn, with an analysis from each matchup !

By Humberto, 01/25/21, translated by Humberto - Comment regular icon0 comments

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Welcome to the second part of my Deck Guide, where I will be presenting a sideboard guide for Pioneer's Boros Burn with an analysis of the deck's behavior in each game. If you have not read the first part, where I present the deck list, it's philosophy, pros and cons of playing with him on Pioneer and a letter-by-letter analysis, I recommend that you do read the first part of my Deck Guide before you proceed.

Sideboard Guide

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As a reference, I'll be using a generic list of the archetype, which contains the most used cards on it.
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Now that we know how each card in our deck works and the reasons for playing Burn, I will explain how to sideboard in each game among the main decks of the format and some decks that are commonly seen in Pioneer Royale. Before we go to matchups, I want to point out that one of the problems of 'sideing-in' too many cards with a deck like Burn is that the deck ends up doing a lot, except following your game plan which is to take your opponent's life to zero in the least amount of turns, so be careful not to overreact to your opponent's strategies and forget why this deck works.

Reclamation

Here I am covering both the Sultai and Temur versions. I consider that the Temur version is a tougher matchup because it is more directed to the plan of dealing with Aggros with maindeck removals and sweepers and the Sultai version is more focused on dealing with other fair decks that do not try to go as "under" as Burn does.

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Yes, I am taking out 9 cards and adding 10. I do this frequently. I am the 61-card deck guy. Despite not being a fan of Chained to The Rocks in a matchup that normally has only eight creatures (4 Uro + Tokens from Shark Typhoon), we need to respect the opponent's Uro, because if he stays in game and attacks at least once, youโ€™ve probably already lost the game. The nature of this matchup is always to try to play under, and although Light Up the Stage offers us gas in a matchup where the game is usually extended to mid or late-game, it contributes very little to what we are trying to do. I have my doubts whether it would be better to take Ghitu Lavarunner instead of Wild Slash since we have significantly reduced our number of Instants and Sorceries, but having a constant source of damage instead of "just" 2 of damage in a turn with potentially more coming from the Prowess Trigger seems like a safer option. Roiling Vortex is the card that "replaces" Light Up the Stage in this matchup, as it is the type of permanent that will give much more reach during the match, in addition to preventing Uro's life gain . Light of Hope enters because both Shark Typhoon and Wilderness Reclamation are cards that simply

cannot

stay on the game for more than one turn or will generate an absurd amount of value. Soul-Guide Lantern serves as yet another source of hate against Uro that also serves as Cantrip and value engine with Lurrus. The cards you need to keep in mind in this matchup are Fatal Push, Abrupt Decay, Aether Gust, Extinction Event and Shadows' Verdict in the Sultai version and Anger of the Gods, Aether Gust, Scorching Dragonfire and Nightpack Ambusher in the Temur version.

Four-Color Omnath

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This matchup is ... terrible. The deck generates a lot of value, the opponent untapping with Omnath, Locus of Creation usually means game over and he has the necessary pieces to ramp and hold the ground with mastery after the sideboard. Burn will NEVER outvalue Omnath, so its priority is, again, playing under and setting a clock.

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In this Matchup, I choose to remove Ghitu Lavarunner because we need efficient responses against Omnath and Lotus Cobra, as well as ways to serve to remove a Teferi, Time Raveler if necessary. The cards that come in aim to remove the larger creatures and prevent the opponent from gaining life to the point that it becomes impossible to return to the game. However, the opponent's deck generates a lot of value and any of his late-game bombs (Genesis Ultimatum, Part the Waterveil, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon) usually means game loss, 'sideing-in' more removal makes the matchup even worse. The opponent will likely include some number of sweepers like Radiant Flames and point removals like Aether Gust or Magma Spray against you post-sideboard.

Mono-Green Walkers

Mono-Green Walkers is a strange match. Ideally, you should remove the first dorks in order to slow down the game and avoid being blown up early with a Nissa, Who Shakes the World, but at the same time you need to be aggressive and have a good enough board position. to punish the opponent for playing a Planeswalker early. I don't consider it a favorable match.

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One card I particularly miss for this matchup is Abrade, but that is another story. Eidolon of the Great Revel does is not effective on this matchup, serving only to punish explosive hands with Burning-Tree Emissary, since Chained to The Rocks is the best removal we have for deal with the giant creatures that the deck usually does, it comes in.

Auras

Auras is a matchup where both decks try to race, but where the opponent has a small advantage due to the Alseid of Life's Bounty and Hateful Eidolon's lifelink, which if combined with [[All That Glitters] ] can easily mean game over. The game is many times defined by who is in the play and which are the drop 1 presented by both players. It is important to use removals to "bait" cards like Karametra's Blessing depending on what is on the board. The ideal is to bet on a beatdown plan, using burn spells as removal for the main threats or wait until the moment when your opponent has a quantity of life where you can win the game with direct damage. Expect cards like Fatal Push and Light of Hope from your opponent. Sometimes, Hushbringer can also be used because of its lifelink ability.

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As usual in most Aggro matchups, you will be exchanging your burn spells as resources against your opponent's creatures, trying to create as many favorable exchanges as possible while developing the board with creatures. Both Boros Charm and Light Up the Stage are cards that do not contribute to a more interactive game. Searing Blood is a card that is much more relevant on the play as it serves to commonly punish an opponent's turn 1 play if it is not a removal and helps to put the clock in your favor. In the draw, Burn usually takes a more "control" posture at the beginning of the game, being the removals deck and playing the game for the mid-game, where Auras can resort to Lurrus of the Dream-Den that , if not answered immediately it can generate too much value The decision between Soul-Guide Lantern and Roiling Vortex depends on how much you want to respect your opponent's Lurrus or his ability to gain a lot of life very quickly. I usually respect the life gain, but I recognize that Lurrus is a big problem to deal with in other stages of the game.

Burn

Here I will cover both Mono-Red and Boros because the strategy is essentially the same. Game 1 is always defined by whoever has the best topdeck and resources. Like Auras, you must dedicate your damage spells as removals to your opponent's creatures and try to win based on beatdown and reach. The most dangerous card to play in this matchup is Eidolon of the Great Revel, which needs to be played when there is already a significant difference between your life and the opponent's, or should be used to establish the initial pressure if the opponent does not have a permanent on the game in the first turns. The Mono-Red version has a great triumph against Boros called Bonecrusher Giant, which is a difficult threat to remove with a good part of our magic while establishing a clock that we need to respect in a significant way because it hits much stronger than any of our creatures.

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Although this match is often defined by resolving a Lurrus of the Dream-Den, I don't like to put Soul-Guide Lantern because it has a very specific utility for a matchup that is all about racing. The sideboard plan is simple: Fewer cards that do not interact with the table or are harmful in this matchup for more removal. On the draw, I remove Zurgo Bellstriker because it is a card that blocks very badly while is blocked very well, so it is replaced by another Light of Hope that allows us to catch our breath if the opponent comes with too much aggression.

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Mono-Red usually uses Chandra, Torch of Defiance post-sideboard and my advice to deal with it in this matchup is: Unless you can kill it with an attack or a single Burn spell, it is better to dedicate your resources to continue to set a clock against your opponent since, unless you draw very badly, Chandra will not deal any more damage than you can deal to your opponent. It's a risky move, since Planeswalker generates a lot of value, but it's one that usually works for me.

Mono-Black Aggro

This matchup is relatively favorable: Mono-Black's creatures tend to block badly or not block at all, their game plan includes Suicide Black traces and our clock is usually faster than his. However, Mono-Black's highest curve has its most dangerous cards against us in this Matchup: Murderous Rider, Rankle, Master of Pranks and Spawn of Mayhem, which most of the time will be extremely disruptive to our game plan or significantly speed up the opponent's clock, killing Mutavaults if the opponent chooses to attack with them may be an option to delay the use of these cards.

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Like Burn, Zurgo Bellstriker and Eidolon of the Great Revel are cards that interact poorly in the race proposed in that match, so we swap them for more removal. Soul-Guide Lantern is the best answer we have for cards like Dread Wanderer and Scrapheap Scrounger that can be permanently problematic to deal with and offers a considerable board advantage for them. Keep in mind that the opponent tends to side-in cards like Kalitas, Traitor of Geth and Aethersphere Harvester to gain life. It is almost mandatory for you to be able to respond to Kalitas as soon as he enters the game as it is the card that usually dominates the board, but instead of start spending resources on Aethersphere Harvester, I usually prefer to deal with other creatures and increase the clock instead, removing it would require virtually the same amount of life it can earn on its own.

Lotus Combo

I didn't play much of this match to have a definitive opinion. In theory, you set the clock as quickly as possible so that your opponent doesn't have time to close the combo. The deck plays with a lot of cards that we are unable to interact with.

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Geting the card advantage to increase the clock is your best bet. Roiling Vortex adds more clock to the deck while punishes the opponent for using the combo route with Omniscience (which, honestly, he is unlikely to do without responding to the enchantment first, usually he will choose to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon). Soul-Guide Lantern comes in as a way of trying to delay Dig Through Time, but honestly I don't know how far it really is worth using it in this matchup.

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Niv to Light

In my view, this is Burn's worst Matchup because Niv to Light is a pile of the best cards of the format that, by the way, interact very well with Burn. Your only plan is to try to get around the things that your opponent does while setting the clock. If you have the option to remove a creature or damage your opponent, 90% of the time it is better to hit the opponent because the longer the game extends, the more value it will accrue.

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Eidolon of the Great Revel has very little impact on this matchup while Zurgo Bellstriker and Ghitu Lavarunner are cards whose opponent's blockers easily deal with Removals come in for the bigger creatures (which the deck has a lot) and Roiling Vortex which, in addition to giving the deck more range and preventing life gain, also serves to "counter" the Bring to Light of the opponent. I don't like the idea of including Soul-Guide Lantern for having little interaction with the rest of the deck other than Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, but it may be feasible to include it in the draw by removing 2 Ghitu Lavarunner since the opponent will normally have a blocker or removal in turn 2. You can expect more removal from your opponent and I've seen some include Voice of Resurgence as a card that forces unfavorable exchanges.

Esper Control

Each Control (UW, Jeskai, Dimir, Esper) has its strengths and weaknesses against Burn. I would say Esper Control is the most problematic because it includes a card base that is naturally complicated for Burn to deal with: Fatal Push, Oath of Kaya, Yorion, the Sky Nomad in addition to several creatures that are great removals, blockers and ways to gain extra life like Skyclave Apparition, Charming Pince and Elite Guardmage and it is particularly the version I have faced least so far, but I can easily say which is a horrible matchup in which I never won a game.

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Don't really expect to win this matchup unless you get lucky. It is horrendous and gets even worse post-sideboard. Your best option is to interact with the creatures and try to win the race.

UWx Control & Jeskai Fires

Here I am covering both UW, Jeskai (Jeskai Fires) and the non-creature versions of Esper as they operate in a similar way. The matchup against UW and Jeskai often depends on the opponent resolving a Gideon of the Trials and keeping him alive because, the more the opponent allows Gideon to grow, the more difficult Burn's life becomes. The most important cards for you in this match are Eidolon of the Great Revel and Boros Charm. Eidolon, unlike most games, should be played as soon as possible against Control decks as it significantly punishes the opponent for failing to respond and Control will hardly be able to establish a clock faster than yours (If he did , the game was probably lost before). [[Boros Charm] protects your creatures from sweepers and serves as a significant amount of damage that can be done at Instant-Speed.

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Usually, it is not a good matchup unless the opponent fumbles and does not find the right cards or you are able to close the game before the opponent is able to estabilish his game. Playing your spells with the best possible timing is your best option, prioritize playing burn spells always on the opponent's end step or upkeep to force him to take damage or spend resources on his turn. Like Chandra, Torch of Defiance against Mono Red, it is preferable to spend few resources to deal with the opponent's Teferi, Time Raveler. Gideon of the Trials should be answered immediately as it will make it impossible for you to win the game if you stay at the table for a long time.

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Light of Hope has many valid targets in this matchup, depending on the deck build: Chained to the Rocks, Fires of Invention, Seal Away, Cast Out , Detention Sphere, Shark Typhoon and still collaborates with the Prowess trigger in Instant Speed. Depending on the list, you can choose Chained to the Rocks instead of Light of Hope to deal with cards like Lyra Dawnbringer or Yorion, Sky Nomad. There are many situations that can significantly alter the sideboard plan to include other cards like Soul-Guide Lantern and it depends a lot on what you see your opponent play during the matchup, which makes it very important

not to concede and do plays that force the opponent to take time interacting to get to know his deck better

.

Dimir Control

The same logic as UWx applies to Dimir Control, but the matchup is manageable due to the absence of Gideon of the Trials or more efficient ways to gain life. The most important cards for you in this match are Eidolon of the Great Revel and Boros Charm. Eidolon, unlike most games, should be played as soon as possible against Control decks as it significantly punishes the opponent for failing to respond and will hardly be able to establish a clock faster than yours (If he did , the game was probably lost before). [[Boros Charm] protects your creatures from sweepers and serves as a significant amount of damage that can be done at Instant-Speed. The card of most concern here is Ashiok, Nightmare Muse or Torrential Gearhulk and, in particular, I always prefer not to spend my resources dealing with Dimir Control threats and focus entirely on causing the most amount of damage in the least amount of turns.

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As the deck has plenty of removals And Ashiok's Nightmare tokens block these cards very well, I choose to remove Ghitu Lavarunner and Zurgo Bellstriker and include Roiling Vortex, which gives a significant range to the deck, in addition to Soul-Guide Lantern to delay the opponent's Dig Through Time, or "counter" the Torrential Gearhulk ability. The couple of cards I recommend spending the burn spells on are Kalitas, Traitor of Geth and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

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All Spells

In my view, there is not much to do here: If the opponent closes the combo, he wins. Your best option is to try to play as fast as possible and try to win in the race.

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Both Ghitu Lavarunner and Zurgo Bellstriker are easily blocked by dorks or become too slow for how this matchup develops. Roiling Vortex serves to prevent the opponent from gaining absurd amount of life with Creeping Chill, thereby "countering" their Silversmote Ghoul and giving you a chance to stay alive in the match, while Soul- Guide Lantern is your best bet to keep the combo in check and win a few Time Walks.

Spirits

This matchup is balanced and depends a lot on who is in the play. As Spirits plays a lot in Instant Speed, it is good to always try to conserve your burn spells, which here serve as removals to be used in the most opportune moments and, often, as a combat trick alongside the creatures with Prowess. Mausoleum Wanderer and Spell Queller are his worst enemies because, in addition to delaying your game plan, they set a significant clock. Game 1 is usually quite unfavorable, with game 2 and 3 becoming much easier to play against:

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Post-side, you take the position of a "control deck", responding to threats from the deck while dealing some damage with your creatures. Don't be afraid to spend a spell to keep your creature alive or to kill creatures that collaborates to take the pressure off the board by the opponent. Eidolon of the Great Revel is a great card to play as it is easier for you to set your clock and use your removals more efficiently than your opponent can place threats, so playing an Eidolon after removing the opponent's first creatures can be a good way out. But on the draw, Eidolon of the Great Revel becomes a terrible topdeck if you are behind. Therefore, I choose to remove it on that occasion and focus on having more damage and combat tricks with Boros Charm.

Soulflayer

I particularly hate Soulflayer decks because they can turn practically won matches in a defeat very easily in a single turn. Your best option against this deck in Game 1 is to try to run to take your opponent's life to zero and hope he doesn't make a Soulflayer with Lifelink.

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As we apply a lot of pressure and this deck interacts very badly outside blockers, it is very common for the opponent not to expect to throw a Nullhide Ferox to the graveyard before making a Soulflayer, causing [[Chained to the Rocks] ] to be our best way out against the creature.

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Since we are removing spells and I particularly find Ghitu Lavarunner slow and easily blockable for this matchup, I include Roiling Vortex to deal with Murderous Rider or Soulflayer Lifelink while setting another clock that the opponent will normally have little response to deal with. Soul-Guide Lantern is our classic hate, nothing more can be said about it. It is not an easy match, in fact it is quite annoying especially if the opponent drops any combination between Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, Samut, Voice of Dissent, Murderous Rider and [[Nullhide Ferox] ] in the first turns, but your best option is to count on his inconsistency and try to take your opponentโ€™s life to zero as soon as possible.

Pioneer Royale's Finals Decklist

At last I would like to comment a little on the list I used to win the finals of the Pioneer Royale, since I made some decisions in the elaboration of it that I consider relevant to debate about.
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61 cards, 4 Roiling Vortex by maindeck, minus Eidolons, Rest in Peace and Abrade on the sideboard. The reason? That list was a huge meta call. The good thing about independent tournaments like Pioneer Royale is that they reflect the tournament environment that we usually see in stores, with the same friendly and community atmosphere that we usually have when playing in any local Magic tournament, at least here in Brazil. After knowing that, even without playing for three weeks (I decided to take a break from Magic during the end of the year), I was in the Top 8 of the Season and knew who were the other participants, I prepared this decklist the morning before the tournament considering what each player usually plays at Pioneer Royale events: Bandit Keith usually plays

Spirits

and was recently playing

Burn

, as I was not sure what he was going to play, I adopted a posture that would suit both decks. (2 Abrade, 2 Searing Blood and 3 Light of Hope on the sideboard, -2 Eidolon on Maindeck) Mutrol always plays

Soulflayer

(3 Rest in Peace on the sideboard) Danielpena has played all recent tournaments with

Orzhov Auras

(3 Light of Hope, 2 Abrade on the sideboard) Gnarr usually plays

Dimir Control

or

Temur Marvel

, I bet on him playing Marvel, but he was on Dimir Control (4 Roiling Vortex Main, 2 Abrade on the sideboard) luanbraga usually plays

Mono-Green Walkers

or

Sultai Reclamation

, I preferred to try to respect both decks. He was on Sultai. (4 Roiling Vortex Main, 2 Abrade sideboard, -2 Eidolon of the Great Revel) walter_neto almost always plays

Mono-Red

(-2 Eidolon maindeck, 3 Light of Hope and 2 Abrade sideboard) Finally, kaosbr is always on

UW Control

(4 Roiling Vortex maindeck). When I finished making the list, I was sure I wanted Rest in Peace on the sideboard and Roiling Vortex on the maindeck. As Zurgo Bellstriker is a flex slot, he was the first card to come out and I am a player who commonly uses 61 cards, getting 2 Roiling Vortex to the maindeck. Since there was a considerable probability that I would face decks that were naturally aggressive or a red-deck mirror and as I was already adding constant loss of life with Vortex, I chose to remove two Eidolon of the Great Revel to make room for the other Vortex , which honestly may not have been the wisest option and I should have kept a 3-3 split.

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Also, if it weren't for the likelihood of facing a Soulflayer deck and my constant respect for the "free-win" aspect of the archetype, I would have reduced the number of Rest in Peace to two and added more Abrade, since it is a card that collaborates a lot for matchups against Aggro, especially against Spirits, and is a good sideboard to have against decks like Mono-Green Walkers and occasional decks that appear on Pioneer Royale as Ensoul and Marvel. My decision to include Rest in Peace instead of Soul-Guide Lantern comes only from the fact that the spell is more efficient at handling the things I wanted to deal with without giving my opponent room to do any play that could significantly hinder me since we cannot respond directly to Delve or Escape. I don't know if I would use exactly that list in a more open tournament where the probability of you catching Burn or other aggro decks is higher, but I definitely found the reach provided in games by Roiling Vortex very interesting and I intend to change this build a little more later, but first I prefer to wait and see what Kaldheim has to offer us and how the new set will affect Pioneer.

Conclusion

That was my Deck Guide for Pioneer's Boros Burn, which I hope will be useful as a way to introduce the deck and its general strategy to anyone who plays or intends to play with the deck at some point. If you have any questions about a specific matchup, feel free to leave it in the comments! Thanks for reading!
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Humberto

Writer and translator for Cards Realm and journalism student. Plays virtually every Magic: The Gathering competitive format.

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