Sideboard Guide: 5C Humans (3/19)

It is a new month and that means an updated guide to Modern Humans. As we saw in the GP Los Angeles results, Human decks are once again well-positioned in the Modern format. This guide will tell you how to sideboard and what to name with Meddling Mage for thirty Modern archetypes. The full length PDF is available here. A special thank you to Drake Sasser for his assistance with the Burn and Storm plans.

Lands (19)
4 Ancient Ziggurat
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Horizon Canopy
1 Island
1 Plains
1 Seachrome Coast
4 Unclaimed Territory
Creatures (37)
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Kitesail Freebooter
4 Mantis Rider
4 Meddling Mage
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Phantasmal Image
4 Reflector Mage
1 Tajic, Legion’s Edge
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Spells (4)
4 Aether Vial
Sideboard (15)
2 Dismember
2 Deputy of Detention
2 Sin Collector
2 Knight of Autumn
3 Auriok Champion
2 Damping Sphere
2 Militia Bugler
75 Cards Total

The Build
The list is not tremendously different from what I presented in last month’s guide. Rather than running two Bugler in my flex slots I have added an additional Thalia and a copy of Tajic. Thalia is a direct response to Izzet Phoenix. She is currently so good that she often dies on the spot so we do not mind having a second copy. Tajic I am less sure about but he has been performing well. According to our recent metagame snapshot the top decks are Phoenix, Burn, and Dredge. Protecting our creatures from Gut Shot, Lightning Bolt, and Conflagrate is a good place to be right now. I am concerned that I am not boarding him out as often as I should though. The remaining updates are in the sideboard. Izzet Staticaster has become Deputy of Detention and Whirler Rogue has become Militia Bugler. These are relatively small changes but I will go over them. The popularity of Phoenix and therefore Gut Shot has reduced the popularity of one toughness creatures in the format. As a result, Staticaster has become less effective. So as I mentioned in the previous guide I have switched to Deputy Doug; who fills a similar role. I am admittedly concerned about the castability of it in the stock manabase and trimming a Horizon Canopy is not the grave offense that many players believe it to be. The blue mana can be an issue because drawing a single Ziggurat or Seachrome only covers the blue or the white, not both. So adding another Seachrome is a fine idea to improve your mana and the currently popular aggressive matchups. For simplicity’s sake, I have listed the stock manabase but do not hesitate to experiment. Either way, Doug is a solid inclusion that answers any non-land permanent; particularly Planeswalkers which have been difficult for us to remove. I am not entirely sure that Whirler Rogue should be Militia Bugler but it feels correct. The creature-heavy board stall matchups that Rogue excelled in are less common right now and Bugler is typically just a better card. I end up boarding it in any time that there is room to do so. It is a three-toughness Vigilance blocker against aggro and a source of card advantage against control. I do not love it against combo but even in those matchups it can dig for hate cards. I would not fault anyone with sticking to Rogue but I recommend Bugler.

Top 8 Matchups
-3 Meddling Mage, -4 Reflector Mage
+3 Auriok Champion, +2 Knight of Autumn, +2 Sin Collector
Meddling Mage names: Searing Blaze, Lightning Bolt

-4 Phantasmal Image,  -1 Kitesail Freebooter
+3 Auriok Champion, +2 Deputy of Detention
Meddling Mage names: Conflagrate, Cathartic Reunion

GBx Variants
-2 Thalia’s Lieutenant, -4 Meddling Mage
+2 Deputy of Detention, +2 Dismember, +2 Militia Bugler
Meddling Mage names: Fatal Push, -Varies based on build-

Grixis Shadow
-4 Meddling Mage, -4 Thalia’s Lieutenant, -3 Phantasmal Image
+3 Auriok Champion, +2 Deputy of Detention, +2 Dismember, +2 Militia Bugler, +2 Sin Collector
Meddling Mage names: Fatal Push, Lightning Bolt

Hardened Scales
-2 Kitesail Freebooter, -4 Thalia Guardian of Thraben
+2 Deputy of Detention, +2 Dismember, +2 Knight of Autumn
Meddling Mage names: Walking Ballista, Arcbound Ravager

Izzet Phoenix
-4 Meddling Mage, -4 Phantasmal Image
+2 Deputy of Detention, +2 Dismember, +2 Militia Bugler, +2 Sin Collector
Meddling Mage names: Thing in the Ice, Lightning Bolt

Tron Gx
Play: -4 Reflector Mage, -2 Thalia Guardian of Thraben
Draw: -2 Reflector Mage, -4 Thalia Guardian of Thraben
+2  Damping Sphere, +2 Deputy of Detention, +2 Knight of Autumn
Meddling Mage names: Oblivion Stone, Ugin the Spirit Dragon

UW Miracles
-4 Reflector Mage, -4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
+2 Deputy of Detention, +2 Dismember, +2 Militia Bugler, +2 Sin Collector
Meddling Mage names: Path to Exile, Terminus

Going Forward
The card I will be watching closely is Chalice of the Void. Those of you who have followed my writings know how much I enjoyed this tech a year ago. The uninitiated may be confused by the suggestion as it can cause harm to our own gameplan. In actual play though, it barely comes up. Your Chalice will be placed on one the vast majority of the time and this will counter your Champions, Nobles, and Vials. However, a Chalice on one costs two mana so you will not be casting it until Turn 2, after you have cast your one drop. I do understand that sometimes we have multiple one drops though. Luckily, unless they both are Champions you should be fine. If played on Turn 1, Noble will provide you enough mana to cast your other one drop before casting the Chalice on Turn 2. Vial will allow you to put the other one drop into play without casting it so Chalice has no effect in that case either. Regardless of either factor, our one drops lose the vast majority of their effectiveness when played after Turn 2; so we do not mind being stuck with late drawn copies. On top of all of this, Chalice of the Void counters spells. Cavern of Souls makes it that our Human spells cannot be countered. There actually is very little recoil from running a couple copies in the board and the decks you board it in against get decimated by it. Chalice will often cut off most of their spells and Meddling Mage can pick off the stragglers. So why am I not running it right now? The format just is not quite there. It really is an all-star against Phoenix and Shadow decks. However, beyond those two decks it is just fine. If there was one other deck, like Jeskai or Infect, that it was great against in Tier 1, I would be all over it. I will be keeping a close watch on how the metagame develops and it will not take much convincing for me to register two copies of Chalice. I am not certain what I would cut though; most likely Militia Bugler.

I hope that this guide will be of use to you throughout March. The format has returned to a spot at which Humans is significantly better positioned than Spirits. If you have any questions or just need a place to share ideas, please come join our Facebook group. We will be back tomorrow with a Mono-Red Phoenix tournament report. Until then my friends.

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