Saturday, January 22, 2011

MTG Tips #1 Top 15 Ways to Handle Board Sweep

Tips and tricks for Magic the Gathering players.

Ever had a Wrath of God, Pyroclasm, or Infest ruin your day? Then this article is for you. Board sweep effects can really put a damper on your plans but there are many solutions out there. Below are 15 examples of how to deal with board sweep effects in no particular order.

1) Don't overextend
The concept is simple: don't attempt to play everything in your hand. If you know the opponent can decimate your field in the blink of an eye then hold cards back. If you force them to sweep early then you have the advantage.

2) Draw
Card advantage is always relevant (and a key to victory). Drawing cards to replace those you've lost or may lose is more than helpful.

3) Prevention
Cards like Gaddock Teeg and Meddling Mage prevent opponents from even playing Wrath and other cards that might spoil your dinner plans.

4) Recursion
Try playing spells that bring back creatures from the graveyard or play creatures that don't know how to quit: Bloodghast and Vengevine being prime examples.

5) Persist
Persist creatures work wonders and every color has access to them. There's also Cauldron Haze, Cauldron of Souls, and Twilight Shepherd which have the potential to save an entire army.

6) Blink
Blink effects allow your creatures to dodge any kind of removal. Ghostway and Momentary Blink are some of the best in the business at what they do.

7) Bounce
Maybe you just need to save one creature? Return spells like Unsummon or Into the Roil can do the trick.

8) Remove
Some players prefer to rip the spells out of their opponent's memory. Jester's Cap, Memoricide, and other spells will make it seem like board sweep never even existed.

9) Punish
Play cards that punish them for striking down your creatures. Many creatures have effects that trigger once they go to the graveyard such as Kokusho, the Evening Star or Mycoid Shepherd.

10) Indestructible
Indestructible creatures are immune to most forms of board sweep (except for -X/-X spells).

11) Counterspell
Maybe you prefer to simply ignore their spell all together.

12) Discard
Targeted discard effects like Duress will keep your field safe.

13) Sleepers
A sleeper is a type of card that isn't a creature unless you activate it to start dancing for you. Man-lands such as Raging Ravine and Mutavault are a great example of this.

14) Regeneration
Most board sweepers nowadays don't have the added "can't be regenerated" clause. Trolls and other regenerators can breathe a sigh of relief.

15) Reach
I'm not talking about the kind that can block flying creatures. Reach is a term given to spells or creatures that have range outside of attacking. This typically involves having a way to target the player directly. Enters the battlefield (comes into play) triggers are rather common. Take a look at Bogardan Hellkite. He did his job long before he got the chance to attack and if he dare get to swing then it's simply icing on the cake.

Is there a particular strategy your enemies are employing that you just aren't sure how to beat? Do you want additional advice on something in the world of Magic? Just leave a comment below or email me and I'll be glad to post an article to help you out.

This is Kylak signing out and sweeping up.


  1. Hmmm, really good suggestions. So far, I think both of my deck have pretty good board sweep, but I need ways for me to protect them from it.

  2. You happen to employ a rare strategy among aggro based decks where you also supply board sweep of your own. Overall I'd say things are fine and dandy as they are though.

    That does remind me though: I need to update a ton of the Decklist Ex Machinas thanks to testing.

  3. I've never had too much of a problem with board sweep when playing Magic. Mostly because I've always followed the tips you've listed. The simplest solution is the first you mentioned, if your opponents are holding back on playing then you should as well, don't play more cards than you need to to be in control.

    Drawing is also very important. I can't deny that I've also underestimated it early on in my playing. (Then again, so did Wizards when they were first making it. U, Draw 3 cards. Right.) It's one of the things I stress after the person I'm teaching has just gotten used to the rules and basics of the game.

    Just because I feel the need to mention it, I love the art for Wrath of God. It's one of my favorites. Damnation looks pretty good too.

  4. I second the above posters comments on the art from the iconic sweep cards.

    Due to the colors and style that i employ the three best strategies for me are 1) dont over extend 2) Indestructible (vie Dauntless Escort) and 3) Counter spell.

  5. @ Opee
    It's great to hear that board sweep isn't an issue for you. Drawing is truly more important than most realize and I'll most likely post an article about card advantage at some point because of it.

    Kev Walker is the best. :D

    @ Teyve
    I'm glad everyone approves of the art posted.

    Bant colors rock for that very reason: being ready for any situation.

    @ Everyone
    What tip or advice would you like me to expand upon next? Is there something in particular giving any of you trouble?

  6. Kev Walker is indeed the best. Most cards I look at and say, "Woah, that looks amazing," I end up looking down and seeing his name. Christopher Moeller is pretty good too from what I've seen. And of course, who doesn't like Rebecca Guay?(Rebecca "Don't Mess With Me" Guay)

    I don't remember if you did a blog for deck making tips but there's never too many artifacts explaining mana curve! Card Advantage of course. Hmm... I can't think of anything else that might help at the moment.

  7. Some other spiffy artists off the top of my head: Wayne Reynolds, Igor, Chippy, and Rob Alexander.

    Mana curve! I shall definitely get on that. That would make a great article. Card advantage for sure. It's a must! If you think of any other ideas or come across something that would help you or your playgroup out, let me know. I appreciate it. ^^

  8. I'll let you know. Just for the record, I meant to say, "... articles explaining mana curve!" not, "... artifacts explaining mana curve!" It appears magic has tainted my word pool.

  9. Haha. I had deduced that to be such. It happens when you have MTG on the brain.

  10. Good to hear that my decks are running fine.

    As for what tips you should write about next:
    - Like Opee mentioned, mana curve and card advantage goodness.
    - Maybe situational strategies in multiplayer? Like, how to incorporate politics into matches.
    - Ways to deal with discard/mill.
    - How to play discard/mill.
    - How to take advantage of the poison counters.
    - How to become a better player aka sportsmanship.

    Sorry, I pretty much wrote whatever came to mind. Hope it helps somehow!

  11. Actually those are great suggestions. There's no need to be sorry. Now I've got a massive list of things to write about while you all cook up more ideas. :D

  12. I know im alittle late on this but another amazing artist is John Avon and hiw bitchin lands.

    Now back on topic, all of those sounds like articles i would read, if i can think of anything else ill let you know.

  13. Oh yes, discard/mill. I believe an article on alternate win conditions would be nice. Something like, "I'm tired of winning by knocking my opponent on the head with a rock until his life goes from 20 to 0, what other ways are there to make them suffer?"

  14. Koth never gets tired of beating down his opponents with rocks to the face!

  15. Glad the suggestions helped :D.

    Oh, and here are some more:
    - How to maximize play/take care of Planeswalkers.
    - Tips on how to make decks: should vary from beginner to maybe advanced.
    - Explain what over-the-curve/under-the-curve/such means.
    - Color pie combination: basically, what colors mean what and the combination and whatnot of colors mean whatwhat.
    - Different formats of Magic and what it is and suchwhatnotthingsetc.
    - How to start building up the encyclopedia of MTG cards in your head.
    - Is going to forums to get information beforehand better than going to MTG's actual website?: Opinion piece.
    - How to teach someone how to play Magic: what to do and what not to do.
    - Oh, and on the sportsmanship thing again: maybe list stress-relieving ideas such as when you are about to rage quit 'splode, you should remember how Magic is just a game. 'Splain why being an angry person makes everyone feel.
    - Are joining forums for Magic a good idea?

    Hope this helps!

  16. @ Asuka
    Wow! Thank you bunchez. This saves me hours upon hours of work that would be dedicated toward brainstorming article ideas. All of these are great ideas.


    I shall get to work on these but of course spread out the article types as I always do. For example, I haven't written a D&D piece in some time. That needs to be done soon.

  17. XD He certainly doesn't, and now that I have slagstorm, I certainly don't either.

  18. Rock On Opee!

  19. Damn. That made me nostalgia hard. Thanks for that. XD

  20. #16, Fresh Meat.

    I won't lie, that card makes me giggle uncontrolably.

  21. @ Opee
    Not a problem. :D

    @ Ruby
    Yeah, Fresh Meat is literally Caller of the Claw 2.0. I'm glad they finally printed something similar. It falls under category #9 (well at least my original intention for #9 though I realize now after rereading that it doesn't seem like it) unless you guys think I should add a #16 Replacement...



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