Sideboard Guide: Naya Titanshift (Part 2)

Yesterday we presented the first half of Xavier’s sideboard guide for his signature Naya Titanshift deck. The addition of white has provided him with the massively underrated Nahiri, the Harbinger and the best sideboard hate the format has to offer. This sideboard guide will tell you exactly how to sideboard with accompanying notes for every matchup. Today we come to the final fifteen.

Decklist
Lands (27)
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
4 Wooded Foothills
3 Windswept Heath
4 Stomping Ground
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Cinder Glade
5 Mountain
2 Forest
1 Plains
Creatures (12)
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Primeval Titan
4 Bloodbraid Elf
Spells (21)
3 Nahiri, the Harbinger
4 Farseek
4 Search for Tomorrow
4 Scapeshift
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Lightning Helix
2 Slagstorm
Sideboard (15)
2 Tireless Tracker
3 Knight of Autumn
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Damping Sphere
2 Stony Silence
2 Rest in Peace
2 Anger of the Gods
75 Cards Total

Matchups

Hardened Scales

-3 Nahiri, the Harbinger

-1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

-3 Farseek

-1 Primeval Titan

+3 Knight of Autumn

+2 Stony Silence

+2 Anger of the Gods

+1 Rest in Peace

Same plan with against Affinity. Stony Silence has slightly more impact here because of the higher dependency on activated abilities of their artifacts; Ravager and Ballista. Rest in Peace shuts off the Modular ability.

Hollow One

-2 Lightning Helix

-2 Slagstorm

-1 Farseek

-1 Nahiri, The Harbinger

-1 Scapeshift

+3 Knight of Autumn

+2 Rest in Peace
+2 Anger of the Gods

Helix and Slagstorm are taken out because their threats are either too large or recursive. However, Lightning Bolt is kept in for the occasional Flameblade Adept. Anger of the Gods is brought to replace Slagstorm to exile their Phoenixes and Bloodghasts. Rest in Peace is great against their graveyard-related cards and Knight of Autumn can kill Hollow One and the occasional Blood Moon. An interesting dilemma that can arise is if whether or not your opponent knows you are on NayaShift and if you are playing Obstinate Baloth. This can affect their decision to sideboard their playset of Burning Inquiry. If both are true or that they know you are not playing Baloths, consider siding out two Scapeshift and one Nahiri to mitigate their Burning Inquiry in addition to their disruption spells. If not, then side out one each of Scapeshift, Nahiri, and Farseek.

Humans

-1 Nahiri, the Harbinger

-1 Farseek

+2 Anger of the Gods

The disruptive trio of Meddling Mage, Freebooter, and Thalia makes it difficult for you to ignore your opponent and just ramp into win-cons. Sometimes it can be correct to take a hit from Mantis Rider or Thalia so that you can hold up removal for a follow-up Meddling Mage or Kitesail Freebooter. But overall, do not be greedy with your removal. Fire off your sweepers when they are reasonable before you allow them the opportunity to enlarge their creatures with Thalia’s Lieutenant.

Infect

-1 Primeval Titan

-1 Farseek

+2 Fulminator Mage

Another awful matchup for Valakut decks. With all the pump spells in their arsenal, damage-based spells often fall short. Because of this, the best opportunities to kill the infect creatures is either when they are tapped out, after the Combat Phase, or simply during your turn. You do not want to attempt killing the infect creature before the Damage Step on their turn because their spells help the creature outsize the removal, and also results in more poison counters. Even though they plan to kill players with poison counters, do be mindful of your life total because their Noble Hierarchs and Dryad Arbor can deal damage if needed be. Do not carelessly fetch and shock just because.

Izzet Phoenix

-2 Lightning Bolt

-2 Lightning Helix

-2 Slagstorm

-1 Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle

+2 Knight of Autumn

+2 Damping Sphere

+2 Anger of the Gods

+1 Rest in Peace

It is the current iteration of the Izzet spells-matter archetype, and this time, Ravnica provides some spicy new cards. Their creatures either outsize your 3-damage spells or are a recursive threatYour sideboard cards are good against Arclight Phoenix, but do not do much against the other creatures. Knights will take care of Blood Moon and the occasional Pyromancer Ascension and can provide more value if bounced back to your hand by Thing in the Ice. Hopefully, you get to surprise them with Nahiri.

Living End

-2 Lightning Bolt

-2 Slagstorm

-2 Lightning Helix

+2 Rest in Peace

+2 Knight of Autumn

+2 Fulminator Mage

The deck aims to cheat out beefy creatures with cycling using its titular card, which is casted by abusing the Cascade mechanic. Hope to get your creatures in your graveyard when Living End is cast to obtain extra value. Be mindful of opposing Fulminator Mages and Beast Within when you try win with Scapeshift, so it is best to have at least eight lands in play before going off. The cards to sideboard out are quite irrelevant in the matchup. Knight of Autumn simply acts as a life buffer and blocker. Rest in Peace completely shuts off their primary plan and forces them to cast their expensive cycling creatures. And if they are going to destroy our lands, we might as well do the same with our Fulminators.

Mono-Red Phoenix

-1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

-1 Nahiri, the Harbinger

-1 Primeval Titan

-2 Farseek

+3 Knight of Autumn

+2 Anger of the Gods

This version of Phoenix is built as a hybrid of the Izzet version and Burn. Instead of Thing in the Ice,  the heavy hitters fall to the prowess creatures. Unfortunately, I do not have much experience in this match-up, so these are only suggestions to offer. This version has been overshadowed by the popularity of Izzet Phoenix, so it is safe to say we will rarely see Mono-Red in action. Also, you guessed it, Blood Moon.

Mono-Red Prison

-2 Slagstorm

-1 Farseek

-1 Primeval Titan

-1 Scapeshift

+3 Knight of Autumn

+2 Tireless Tracker

This deck aims to land highly disruptive permanents on the battle as soon as possible, namely Blood Moon , Chalice of the Void, and Ensnaring Bridge. They win off of their goblin token generators and planeswalkers. Oh, and watch out for Hazoret, the Fervent. Save your Bolts and Helixes for their small creatures or planeswalkers. While Slagstorm can wipe the board after a bunch of tokens have been created, three mana is too slow when they can ramp them out earlier. Also, a dud when you are staring down an opposing planeswalker. Knight and Nahiri will pick off their disruptive permanents, and Tracker will generate card advantage to eventually crack open the board.

Ponza

-2 Slagstorm

-1 Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle

-2 Scapeshift

+3 Knight of Autumn

+2 Tireless Tracker

Ponza aims to aggressively ramp into large creatures and mana denial spells. Remember to Bolt the Bird, or in this case, an Arbor Elf. A Turn 1 Arbor Elf into Turn 2 Utopia Sprawl gives them four mana to work with.

Spirits

-1 Scapeshift

-1 Nahiri, the Harbinger

+2 Anger of the Gods

You can usually pay for the Wanderer tax and you can bait Queller with Nahiri before Scapeshift. Titan is your best card. Spirits become exponentially strong together, so do you best to keep the lowest amount on the board at all time. Slagstorm and Anger for one or two Spirits is still good.

Storm

-2 Slagstorm

-1 Primeval Titan

-1 Farseek

+2 Damping Sphere

+2 Rest in Peace

The classic combo deck. The cost-reducing creatures help the deck tick, so kill them as soon as possible. Damping Sphere helps slow things down, and Rest in Peace prevents Past in Flames from being effective. Storm decks lately have been including large spell-related creatures in their sideboard to complement their Plan B with Empty the Warrens and/or Thing in the Ice. This introduces some interesting decisions on what cards to sideboard out. If you expect just Empty as a secondary threat, you may want to keep in the second Slagstorm and cut another Farseek or Nahiri. If you think your opponent is sideboarding in the mentioned creatures, consider cutting the 2nd Slagstorm and keep in a Nahiri. Some Storm decks might include fetchlands. This means they are more likely running Blood Moon, so consider keeping in the third Nahiri and sideboard out a second Slagstorm instead.

Tron

-2 Lightning Bolt

-2 Slagstorm

-2 Lightning Helix

+2 Fulminator Mage

+2 Damping Sphere

+2 Stony Silence

It is a race to see who sets up their combination of lands first. Unfortunately, Tron only needs three unique lands to start casting haymakers and their deck is optimized to assemble it. Hopefully the Tron player does not land a Karn Liberated on Turn 3 and your sideboard cards delay them enough turns to cast your finishers. Some Tron players might play Warping Wail, which can counter your Scapeshift.

UWx Control

-2 Lightning Bolt

-2 Slagstorm

-2 Lightning Helix

+3 Knight of Autumn

+2 Tireless Tracker

+1 Rest in Peace

Just like against any blue control deck, we shift into a midrange deck and try to overwhelm our opponent with threats. Be cognizant of your basics left in your library because of Field of Ruin, and try to overwhelm their mana by double-spelling.

Valakut

-2 Slagstorm

-2 Nahiri, the Harbinger

-1 Lightning Bolt

+2 Fulminator Mage

+3 Knight of Autumn

While Nayashift loses a little bit of speed and consistency, BBE can help mitigate the issue, provided she cascades into a ramp spell. Be mindful of staying above 18 life until you are past Turn 4. I believe the options in our sideboard provides us an extra edge in post-sideboard games. While Knight of Autumn performs as an imitation of Obstinate Baloth most of the time, it can also target the occasional KHE or Prismatic Omen. Fulminator Mage disrupts their ramping speed and interrupts potential lethal Scapeshifts.

Whir Prison

-2 Lightning Bolt

-2 Slagstorm

-2 Lightning Helix

-2 Farseek

+3 Knight of Autumn

+2 Tireless Tracker

+2 Stony Silence

+1 Rest in Peace

Game 1 will be very difficult once they have their lock pieces, Ensnaring Bridge and Witchbane Orb, on the battlefield. Unfortunately, Nahiri can only exile tapped artifacts, and they can have Sorcerous Spyglass name Nahiri. The deck’s primary way to win is by milling you out with Ipnu Rivulet + Crucible of Worlds. The goal of NayaShift here is to try and destroy their lock pieces. Knight of Autumn will be one of your best cards, Tracker helps you dig deeper into your deck, and Stony Silence will shut off key artifacts; namely the regeneration from Welding Jar. Rest in Peace can disrupt their Ipnu loop. It is a corner case scenario but if your opponent has a Welding Jar out, you can use Knight to attempt to destroy an artifact, which will regenerate tapped. Then, use Nahiri to exile that artifact.

Wrap-Up
Coming in at over 3,000 words, this two-parter should provide you with everything you will need to sideboard Naya Titanshift with confidence. However, if you need the basics of Titanshift and an explanation of the initial idea, Xavier has written those as well. With the London mulligan coming down the pipeline and rewarding aggressive mulligans, white sideboard cards may be more valuable than ever before. Will you be experimenting with a splash in these uncertain times or will you cling to what you know? We would love to see your updates, for any deck, in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow to close out your week with one more article. Until then my friends.

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