Modern Sideboard: “It’s A Trap!”

The Modern card pool is huge but often times, while brewing, I catch myself thinking only of the 200-some unique cards that appear in tier 1 deck lists.  In my search for that perfect balance of sideboard answers, I’ve come across a few “diamonds in the rough” that are sure to catch your opponent off guard.  I’ll start with four of them today…

1. Nemesis Trap


What (in Modern) is big, scary, trample-y, has a nasty ETB trigger, and is WHITE?  Siege Rhino of course!  Imagine your opponent’s frustration when you not only exile his attacking Rhinoceros, but also put one into play (for a six point life swing), and block another one of his attacking creatures.  And how much might that cost you?  BB!  A good deal I’d say.  Other white targets include Kitchen Finks (gets exiled-no persist), Sun Titan, Celestial Colonnade, Baneslayer, and Stirring Wildwood.

But remember…this does not need a white creature target to be used.  The ‘hard cost’ of Nemesis Trap may be quite a bit higher than the trap cost but is still quite useful when facing down a Wurmcoil Engine, for example.  And as an added bonus, if it dies during combat, it’s nasty little wurm babies are yours to keep.

2. Rakdos Charm


You’ve gotta love charms.  Three modes!  And when they are all useful answers to different problems in the meta, it feels like you are squeezing three sideboard cards into one slot.  Let’s look at each…

  1. Exile target player’s yard:
    Obvious applications include Lingering Souls flashback, Snapcaster flashback, and graveyard reanimator strategies but with the amount of Tasigur running around these days, keeping the opponent off of those resources can be very helpful too.  Occasionally, this can be used as a combat trick shrinking an opposing Tarmogoyf before damage and after blockers are declared.
  2. Destroy target artifact:
    Plenty of choices for this one – Oblivion Stone, Vedalken Shackles, Wurmcoil, Sundering Titan, Spellskite, equipment, anything in Affinity that doesn’t have “protection from all colors”…
  3. Each creature deals 1 damage to its controller:
    Can be used for instant speed damage to the BW token player before that lethal strike that they thought they were sending in or…even better…”just curious, how many Deceiver Exarchs are attacking me?”

3. Batwing Brume


I’ll keep this one short as it functions very similarly to mode number three in Rakdos Charm.  Sometimes you don’t have access to Red and this will have to do.  Nothing wrong with a good solid answer to Splinter Twin combo or a token alpha strike if that’s what you need.  The fog effect on this card can be slotted in against a more aggressive beat down strategy when you need to buy a turn and sneak in some damage on the ‘crack back’.

4. Calcite Snapper

Calcite Snapper

This directionally confused turtle functions as a pretty solid threat in a control (or Twin) mirror where your opponent’s only answer is a mana leak or a blocker.  Play a fetch land before combat to send the snapper in as a 4/1 but wait to sacrifice until you know you know he is getting in unopposed and will not need an emergency -3/+3 procedure.

That’s it for this week.  Please share in the comments section any of your own secret sideboard tech or any experiences you’ve had with these four.

-Corey Murphy