Thoughts on Changes to the Tin Fins Sideboard Post-Top Ban

How does the Tin Fins sideboard change in the couple of months post-Miracles banning? My thoughts

Thoughts on Changes to the Tin Fins Sideboard Post-Top Ban

How does the Tin Fins sideboard change in the couple of months post-Miracles banning? My thoughts:

What are the changes everyone else is making?

  1. No Miracles (duh)*
  2. Significantly increased Deathrite Shamans
  3. More combo, especially in the first weeks while everyone is settling on what they want to play.
  4. More *blade decks. These may also be Deathrite decks.

*In my original, this is labeled bullet point zero. Unfortunately, my blog engine is not smart enough to handle that.

Question 1: Is the Mentor transformative sideboard still the plan?

No Miracles

Well I didn’t play TinFins when that plan came about but I always understood that it was specifically designed to beat miracles.

  1. Cavern means they can’t counter it.
  2. Any Miracles player who hasn’t seen the plan (and many who have) side out their Termini, making them effectively unable to answer it.
  3. Once the Mentor is out, we don’t care if they counter every spell we cast; we’re still getting value.

More Deathrites

An increase in Deathrites doesn't change how good the Mentor plan is. However, an increase in Deathrites does mean an increase in the number of decks possibly playing Abrupt Decay. Does this matter? Maybe not.

One of the best things about Abrupt Decay used to be that it could get rid of counterbalance. In a now-topless format, that use case no longer exists. Therefore, we may see a reduction in the number of Abrupt Decays.

As with the Miracles matchup, once a Mentor is active, it's quite likely that spot removal is inadequate. You may already have several monks or you may create some in response to the Decay.

More Combo

It's quite likely that in a more combo-heavy tournament, the Mentor plan suffers from simply not being fast enough. However, Tin Fins aims to be one of the fastest decks in the format. I'm probably boarding only a couple of cards and then attempting to kill my opponent on turn one or two.

More *Blade Decks

The reasons that that the Mentor plan is good against *Blade decks is the same reason that it is good against *Blade decks. However, the Mentor plan has one massive drawback. Rather than the four-or-so pieces of spot removal that Miracles might have, *Blade decks have an essentially unlimited number of spot removal options in Umezawa's Jitte.

As with the Miracles player who keeps their Termini in the deck post-board, a well-prepared *Blade player will fetch for Umezawa's Jitte with their Stoneforge Mystic and build up counters, waiting to wipe your board of Monks.

The Surprise Factor

A little boy holding a book with a surprised expression on his face
Photo by Ben White / Unsplash

Switching from a Griselbrand deck that attempts to draw as many cards as possible and then kill you into a Mentor deck will certainly take many opponents by surprise. However, Legacy is increasingly a format of small communities. If you bring a transformative sideboard to your weekly legacy event, it will not remain surprising for long. If you plan on keeping the Mentor plan, it may be worth removing for local events simply due to losing the surprise factor.

Question 2: What changes do I definitely make?

More Deathrites

Massacre was a frequent sideboard choice. It remains good against many but not all Deathrite decks. The card I'm more interested in is Collective Brutality.

Many Tin Fins pilots had already replaced their Tendrils of Agony with a Collective Brutality; sometimes in multiples. I think that Brutality's Deathrite-killing second mode means that, between the main and sideboard, we may run three or even the full four.

Beyond Brutality, which is an excellent start to a sentence, there's some other spot-removal options. Deathmark has seen some play and will almost certainly make a comeback. More generic bounce spells that can target problematic enchantments may also return, such as Chain of Vapor, or even more powerful, and rightly expensive, spells like Echoing Truth.


  • The Mentor plan is a maybe for me right now.
  • If you haven't already done so, switch your Tendrils to a Collective Brutality.
  • While you're at it, probably go to 3-4 in your 75.
  • Bring back spot removal for problematic cards.