Naya Depths: Sideboard Guide & Matchup Strategy

SBGuide for Naya

This coming weekend is the Legacy Pit Open, and although I cannot make it myself, I wanted to put together a matchup resource for those attending and piloting Naya Depths. If you’re picking the deck up for the first time or an experienced player, hopefully you’ll gain some useful insights from this guide.


Sideboarding is pretty subjective and can differ player to player with how one approaches a matchup. I really enjoying analysing other sideboard guides from players who’ve had great results online, as they don’t typically line up 100% to each other. This to me is the best part of the game, as it can lead to some pretty enlightening discussions around how players not only navigate specific matchups, but which cards they value over others (on both sides of the board). I’m going to include reasoning for all my choices and hopefully the theory makes sense / backs up my claims.

I don’t think there’s a lot to be gained from a lone A4 sheet with some boxes showing – card / + card. Understanding why a card is coming in or out for a matchup is much more important to understand as it gives you a greater insight into your role in each matchup. Once you have that knowledge however, an A4 sheet can be great to take to a tournament and reference during sideboarding to give you a quick reminder on how to board.

I’m also not going to include a quick download for a take-to-event sheet (sorry not sorry). I know that making you writing it down yourself is a great way to understand the why.

Honestly I think I have some areas of sideboarding to work on, like when want to trim on Moxen I should also trim on some number of land to reduce flooding. I know I can also improve on play / draw differences, but there’s not too many stand out situations for most decks I play.

Let’s quickly highlight why you’d be taking Naya Depths to the a competitive tournament.

The biggest advantage the deck has is that is has a plan. That might sound basic, but it’s something I’m envious of as a Maverick player.

In Maverick you need to be proactive with disruptive creatures. Against Elves, you need to search for Gaddock Teeg before your opponent can cast Green Sun’s Zenith or Natural Order. Against Painter or 8-Cast, you need to find Ouphe before they ‘go-off’. You need to be a step and literal turn ahead of your opponent so many times that the smallest mistake or trip up can snowball into a loss. Outside of disruption, you’re just a beatdown deck on Maverick, and that can be a little too fair at the best of times.

In Depths though, you have a plan to hit your opponent hard with a 20/20, then if needed you can pivot on the fly. That’s the deck’s biggest strength, in that you can work towards your Marit but when needed, take out a graveyard at instant speed or removal a legendary creature from play. The deck has many ways to protect Marit once in play too, so it often can live through multiple pieces of removal.

Generally you’re going to be on the combo plan when you need to be quicker than your opponent, and you’re going to rely on the solid midrange plan to grind out other midrange decks. Thankfully the deck can pivot quite quickly to creating a 20/20, so even in the Wasteland & Swords to Plowshares matchups you might find moments where it’s correct to just go for it.

You also have a lot of solid matchups including the current format all-star UR Delver. Like any GWx deck you are going to pretty weak to fast combo, but the deck does have the tools to buy time and disrupt these strategies just enough to get through them.

Lastly, a huge thank you to my Patreon supporters – it means a lot to have a following on the platform and really pushes me to dive into content like this (maybe not 8,000+ words next time).

Alright. here’s the decklist that I’d take to the Legacy Pit Open

Naya Depths

Naya Depths
Click the image above to get the decklist via Moxfield

Let’s get the first thing out of the way…

61 cards

For a deck such as Naya Depths, I am more than happy to play 61 cards due to the amount of tutorability (Green Sun’s Zenith, Crop Rotation, Elvish Reclaimer & Knight of the Reliquary) and card selection through Sylvan Library. I was playing Maze of Ith as my 61st card online, but for an open Legacy tournament like the one this weekend, I opted for a more consistent mana base in a 2nd Taiga.

This is respect to three key things:

  1. Wasteland decks where you’re wanting to have access to red mana (Blasts vs UR Delver, Minsc vs Death & Taxes, Lands, Mirror etc)
  2. Matchups where I am shaving on Mox Diamond but bringing in some number of red spells like blast effects
  3. Opening hands with good mana – a really underrated part of learning the deck (I’ve made 1 too many mistakes where I’ve told myself ‘surely I’ll draw into a G source)

My general reasoning is the purpose behind the 61st card is it’s going to win you more games than the small % points you lose by having an additional card in your maindeck.

The flex spots I’ve gone with include 2nd Taiga, 1st Wooded Foothills, 2nd Endurance, 2 Prismatic Endings. In the board, the flex spots have been filled with Outland Liberator, Surgical, Dead // Gone and Celestial Purge. I would say at this point, the rest of the deck is very typically to what you’ll see across the board.

2 copies of Dark Depths

This is purely to be able to fit in a 5th fetchland to 1) have a solid mana base to cast my spells when needed and 2) with Minsc now in the deck as another win condition, I don’t feel the need to have a 3rd copy of Depths. With sideboard mapping, taking out 1 copy of Depths against Death & Taxes, Lands and the mirror (matchups where I’ll be playing the midrange plan) works well. A fair amount of players have been playing only 2 copies for awhile, generally because you have so many ways to find a copy, and Ramunap Excavator to get one back if needed.

Why drop Maze of Ith?

Maze is an incredible card in this deck and has served me really well. You can use it on opposing threats such as Murktide Regent or a Kaldra-equipped Germ, or even use it on your own creatures to pressure then hold them (Reclaimer and Knight) up to use on your 2nd main phase or during your opponents turn (your creatures are still considered an attacking creature at the end of combat after damage has been dealt).

The theory was there, but UR Delver and Death & Taxes both play Wasteland, so relying on Maze to hold back their key threats is only going to work for so long. I also began to want a 3rd copy of Yavimaya with the additional non-mana-producing land but didn’t know where to fit it (without going up to 31 lands – something I did not want to do). So, with Maze out my plan it isn’t so much keeping these creatures at bay, but using my stable mana base to either remove them (Prismatic Ending / Swords to Plowshares respectively) or build out my own game-plan and get to a point where they are irrelevant.

No way to remove artifacts or enchantments via Green’s Sun’s Zenith in G1?

This is due to the decklist being tilted towards fighting Delver. If you do run into any troublesome A&Es (artifacts & enchantments), you do have 2 Prismatic Endings to deal with them. I feel the general matchup with UR Delver is around 55/45, but with this build, I feel closer to 60/40 if not higher. The 2 Prismatic Endings complement the 4 Swords to Plowshares to keep threats off the board, and the 2nd copy of Endurance is fantastic to keep their graveyard at a minimum. Prismatic is great as it also covers you for fringe cards you might see post-board in Delver like Grafdigger’s Cage or Unlicensed Hearse. Delver is also the big reason for not including 2 Minsc in the maindeck and instead opting for a 1:1 split in the 75.

I also thought about the real A&Es I cared about in G1. Ensnaring Bridge comes to mind, but we also have Minsc to fling over it. Pithing Needle is annoying, especially when paired with Bridge, but that’s what the Endings are for. It’s a small risk, but I don’t feel right now the deck needs a maindeck A&E hate piece (especially with Prismatic Ending) but it will be interesting to get feedback on this hypothesis from players after the tournament.

No Glacial Chasm?

I feel Depths has a strong matchup against the decks where I want Chasm. We’re typically a turn / a turn and a half faster than Burn and creature-based decks like Madness and Elves. Elves hasn’t been a problem for me when I’m respecting and playing around Boseiju. Boseiju is of course also a great way to deal with Chasm too, and for the times I’ve played with it and had the chance to grab it, I often just went for the missing combo piece and presented lethal instead.

I don’t think I’ll miss it, and the 2 additional removal spells in Dead // Gone for early Elves makes me even more confident in this matchup post-board.

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Alright, to the sideboard spice.

Dead / Gone

dead gone

Path to Exile has been showing up in boards for a long time, but I wanted to find a decent T1/2 removal spell for Death & Taxes, Delver and Mono-R Prison. Giving your Yorion D&T or Moon-Stompy opponent an extra land on T1/2 can be a huge setback. I wanted to find a clean answer to Mother of Runes, Stoneforge Mystic, Magus of the Moon and the Goblins from Mono-R Stompy that was still decent in an open field. Dead is great as it deals with early threats, then can bounce the bigger ones if needed later in the game. It works through Blood Moon, and is another way to cheese a win against Magus (Play Dark Depths under a Magus which comes in with no counters – use that Dark Depths to cast Dead, killing the Magus and triggering your Depths).

This obviously isn’t great vs the bigger creatures that Path can remove (Reanimator targets, Knight of the Reliquary, Murktide, 3/3 DRC or 3/4 Reclaimers) but I feel it’s still very strong with the Gone side also being relevant vs large threats. You still have Swords to Plowshares for these creatures mentioned, and blasts are fantastic at dealing with Murktide.

I will note that Dead can kill any size Reclaimer or Knight by dealing 2 damage first, then using their Bojuka Bog or Endurance to remove the lands from their graveyard.

Celestial Purge

celestial purge

Minsc, Fable of the Mirror Breaker and Blood Moon are some of the cards that come to mind when I wanted to find a clean and easy to cast answer. Council’s Judgement was just too slow of an option and WW vs Mono-R isn’t realistic. Purge can also come in vs Reanimator, UB Shadow, Painter or any of the 4/5C control decks playing with Minsc. I think it’s worth testing, but is a little awkward vs the mirror where Minsc is literally the only target (as most of the time Marit won’t be on the table).

Pro tip: The best time to cast Celestial Purge to deal with a Minsc is once Minsc has entered the battlefield, exile it with the trigger on the stack for Boo to come into play. By casting it here, your opponent won’t get priority to activate Minsc and will be left with just the 1/1 Hamster token.

Surgical Extraction

Surgical Extraction

I wanted another T0 piece of interaction vs graveyard combo decks and Surgical just does that best. I could have opted for another Endurance, but Surgical not relying on anything else is why I’ve gone with it. It can also be better in some cases where you might want to exile something from your opponent forever (Loam, Punishing Fire, Uro, Dread Return target etc.) instead of putting it back into their deck.

This is where I found some real flex in the deck, but I wanted to make sure for those playing vs Reanimator or another graveyard deck they had a little more power (especially when on the draw).

Sideboarding Strategy & Matchup Analysis

First let’s go through some of the top decks right now and those you’re most likely to face. I’d really push you to look at the list above, and write down how you’d board before looking at my recommendations. This is a great way to get thinking about each matchup, what you value, what your plan is and how you can counter any strategy  your opponent has.

I’ve covered the decks I think will most likely be at the Pit this weekend, but will aim to update this piece not only with other matchups, but update sideboarding as my thoughts change with certain matchups. This is going to be a living piece of content going forward.

If your sideboarding lines up differently, leave me a comment either at the bottom of this article or on the social platform you found this guide! I’d really enjoy hearing from you.

UR Delver / UR Murktide

Decklist example: Cwoj | Legacy Challenge 1st Place | UR Delver


Out: 2 Sylvan Library | 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Sylvan Safekeeper | 1 Crop Rotation
In: 2 Dead // Gone | 2 Red Elemental Blast | 1 Pryoblast

What’s the matchup like?

Favourable for Naya Depths. Patience is the key. By that I mean respect Daze with your removal (you only have so much and each piece is vital) and try to play out Reclaimer as a 3/4 & Knight as a 4/4 to take them out of Bolt range. It’s a different story if your opponent is playing an Unholy Heat, but I still like taking my time to deploy a Reclaimer safely. Both of these tips can lead to some seriously virtual card advantage. Do be mindful of this strategy when your opponent has multiple pieces of flying pressure as the Bolts that could have taken out your creatures may now be heading to your face. This is also much easier to say on paper as sometimes you just need to jam threats until one sticks – that’s something you’re only going to grow more confident with as you get reps with the deck.

Another point on Reclaimer is knowing when you don’t actually need to fetch for Steppe to save it from a burn spell. Sometimes you have the line of just putting two lands into the graveyard to make it a 3/4 which can be done by using Crop Rotation for a fetchland instead of using one of your Steppe. There’s also a corner case where with a Flagstones and another land in play, you can sacrifice the other land and get the 2nd copy of Flagstones which then puts one of them into the yard. The same can be done with Yavimaya, and is the only way to get 2 lands into the graveyard from Reclaimer (as they come in tapped).

As I said above, your removal is tight. If you have an opening hand with a singles Swords to Plowshares, I’m hardly ever going to be running it into a Daze unless I have a clear plan of tapping out every turn after for back-to-back threats that will survive common removal. You do have Sylvan Library in G1 to dig for additional removal spells, but be aware of how quickly UR can attack your life total and finish you off with Bolts.

The biggest level-up in this matchup is how and when to use Endurance. I’m going to say 80-90% of the time it’s just correct to play Endurance on your turn, and ‘getting’ your opponent in combat tends to backfire, especially if you miss the opportunity to take them off Murktide. Take the small gains when you get them – just because it has flash doesn’t mean you have to cast it at instant speed. Also I know it’s written on the card but be mindful of Endurancing your opponent when a Murktide is already in play is likely going to make it even bigger.

Safekeeper does protect a fair amount of your board from removal and bounce effects, but this isn’t the matchup where I want to be trading resources in my lands (especially early on). Sylvan Library cannot be harnessed to its full ability either, and Minsc is just tough to land / dies to Bolt without any real value. Crop Rotation can be great for instant speed Bog / Wasteland and ‘stifling’ an opponents Wasteland, but it can also be small blowout when countered. 3 copies is more than enough post board.

Karakas has no role in this matchup, but I don’t like trimming on mana as making your land drop every turn is crucial to getting in front of Delver.

Role to play?

Generally the midrange plan with a combo backup. I’ll often build a board of non-boltable threats then if I feel my opponent taking to the skies and pulling away, I will move towards Marit to close out the match. Do note that DRCs have to attack, so sometimes it’s correct to let them attack, then before blocks Bog or Endurance them back to 1/1 non-flyers and block accordingly.

Cards to look out for?

Wasteland, Brazen Borrower and Submerge to interact with the combo. Do be mindful of Price of Progress which has been showing up in good numbers and Unlicensed Hearse which can rip apart your plans to take creatures out of burn range. If you’re also going wide early with x/2 Reclaimers, keep in mind your opponent is most likely running a sweeper like Rough/Tumble in the 75

Final tip is how to use blasts:

  • Removing Murktide is probably the best trade you’re going to get. Second would be hitting an Expressive Iteration in the mid-late game where both players are light on resources
  • Protecting your threats on the stack that are otherwise out of removal range. Remember that blasting a Petty Theft means it goes to the graveyard and Borrower can no longer be cast
  • Only in clear cases where my opponent is missing land drops etc. will I go after a cantrip. Don’t just throw blasts away because there’s a target on the stack – think about why you’re countering that spell

Yorion Death & Taxes

Decklist example: yoshiwata | 10th Place Legacy Challenge | Death & Taxes


In: 2 Dead // Gone | 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Force of Vigor | 1 Outland Liberator | 1 Collector Ouphe | 1 Tower of the Magistrate
Out: 2 Endurance | 2 Crop Rotation | 1 Mox Diamond | 1 Dark Depths | 1 Bojuka Bog

What’s the matchup like?

Really interesting. You want to make land drops and generally play for the mid-game (before they take over the late-game with Yorion). Sylvan Safekeeper is by far your best card and with enough lands out, allows Marit to survive through the multiple copies of Swords to Plowshares, Karakas, Solitude and Flickerwisp (note Skyclave cannot hit token creatures). Their best and surprisingly consistent starting line is Mother of Runes into Stoneforge Mystic for Kaldra, as it puts you on a very quick clock. You’re wanting to get to that mid-game so an early Kaldra can be a really tough situation without multiple pieces of interaction in Swords and Prismatic Endings.

Swords is just a huge resource and should be used carefully. Unless there’s a clear read of Kaldra in hand, I’m most likely not going to go after a Stoneforge that’s just tutored up a Jitte. Swords is mostly for flicker targets or Mother of Runes. Thankfully you can play the game without really caring about an online Mother via Sejiri Steppe to get through their white flyers.

Role to play?

This is a midrange match. Even with a ‘combo’ opening hand, I’d most likely take a more patient approach to have at least a Crop Rotation or Reclaimer open for Marit if I am going for the combo. Safekeeper here is clutch as he also gives protection from Karakas, something Steppe cannot achieve.

Cards to look out for?

Solitude when your opponent is tapped out – not many tap out without a piece of interaction. Tower of the Magistrate is a huge bonus to this matchup post-board as it’s a great way to slow down their Kaldra plan. Honestly on paper you might be a little worried about this matchup but the best advice is keep those land drops coming, have a really good think about why you’re using removal on specific creatures (to make use of my mana is not an answer) and make sure you’re not running out Safekeeper when you’re not ready to protect it.

I will note I’ve had a few players bring in Peacekeeper, and that can be a little tough when they have backed up protection with Mother of Runes. Containment Priest is another card to be weary of as turning off Green Sun’s Zenith can be a real blow to your ability to keep churning out creatures.


Mono-Red Prison

Decklist example: XJCloud | Legacy Showcase 5th place | Mono-R Prison

Mono-R Prison

Out: 1 Bojuka Bog | 1 Sylvan Safekeeper | 2 Endurance | 2 Sylvan Library
In: 2 Dead // Gone | 2 Force of Vigor | 1 Celestial Purge | 1 Outland Liberator | 1 Minsc & Boo

What’s the matchup like?

I’ve found Fable to have really turned this matchup into a more 50/50 experience. Fable gives them an early threat, but also the mana to continue to drop hate pieces and further pressure. Wastelanding an early sol land used to buy you a fair amount of time, but Fable allows them to recovery very quickly from this line. Chalice on 1 into a threat is very troublesome as you need to find removal for the Chalice first, then have another for their threat that’s most likely already added value to the board.

Bonecrusher Giant and sometimes maindeck Dead // Gone are the removal pieces to look out for when putting creatures down. I very quickly go for basics unless I get a Reclaimer online (you don’t want to have your basics already in play then find it awkward to sacrifice them to Reclaimer. You’re looking to combo as fast as possible but the Blood Moons & Magus make that harder.

Note: When a Blood Moon or Magus is in play, your Dark Depths comes into play with no counters. This means when the moon effect is removed, the Depths will instantly trigger. This can be how you cheese out a win and is most likely my main way of getting wins against Stompy. Also remember that Blood Moon removes all abilities of non-basic lands, and Flagstones searching for a Plains is a triggered ability.

Role to play?

Combo most of the time but big midrange threats aren’t easy for Stompy to deal with (do look out for Unlicensed Hearse
post-board as a way to remove your graveyard and shrink your creatures).

Cards to look out for?

Chalice for 1 / Blood Moon / Magus of the Moon. I tend to not worry about Trinisphere too much unless my hand is filled with 1 drops.

Post-board my plan is to have Force of Vigor for Chalice / Blood Moon and Dead / Swords for Magus. I’m going to want to get a Depths into play under a Moon effect, then remove the moon effect for the win.

Minsc is a great threat in this matchup as you only need the basic Forest to cast it through a Blood Moon (Mox Diamond also helps here). I tend to favour basic forest over plains, but they do different things. Have a removal-heavy hand? Plains is the go to. Have creatures to cast? Go for G as it also opens up GSZ for a hate piece like Outland Liberator.


Decklist example: Griselpuff | Legacy Showcase 8th Place | 8-Cast


Out: 3 Mox Diamond | 2 Sejirri Steppe | 2 Endurance | 2 Sylvan Library | 1 Ramunap Excavator
In: 2 Force of Vigor | 1 Collector Ouphe | 1 Outland Liberator | 2 Red Elemental Blast | 2 Deafening Silence | 1 Tower of the Mag. | 1 Minsc

What’s the matchup like?

Sai, Master Thopterist is enemy #1 (especially in G1). Thopters can be very hard to get through when you don’t have access to Tower of the Magistrate. As you have multiple ways to find Karakas, I tend to aggressively find it for Emry before she comes online and keep Swords to Plowshares for Sai or large constructs. Chalice for 1 buys them a heap of time just like Moon Stompy, but you do have Prismatic Endings to get them off the board.

Do not underestimate how quickly 2 Saga constructs can take over the game, especially if they go aggressively towards Shadowspear. Wasteland is your best option here, typically if they aren’t missing land drops I’ll keep Wasteland around for Saga instead of picking off any land that comes around. This again is very contextual, as hitting an artifact land in response to a Mox Opal could potentially buy you a full turn.

In the maindeck, look out for Otawara, Soaring City or Aether Spellbomb as ways to deal with Marit Lage. Thankfully Safekeeper can give protection against both of these (and tower can give pro-artifacts to save any creature from Spellbomb in post-board games).

Postboard you have a heap of interaction (and to be fair, I could be overboarding here). Endurance isn’t needed as although they have Emry, you do have access to Karakas to make sure they never get her going (on top of removal and blasts). Force of Vigor is a great way to deal with Saga and annoying permanents like Pithing Needle, Bridge, Saga’s.

I don’t play Seeds of Innocence for a few reasons. Most of the time the wide board is just baubles they can cycle in response or thopters that will come back as Seeds doesn’t deal with Sai. Force doesn’t hit everything, but it hits the crucial parts you need to keep on track.

Role to play?

For the reason above, I play a really quick turbo game. I’m looking to make a 20/20 asap, then use targeted removal to make sure it’s getting through alongside Tower of the Magistrate. If you give them too much time, the 8 ‘cast effects of the deck and Sai just get out of control, especially when they are coupled with x/x constructs facing you down.

Cards to look out for?

Remove Sai at your earliest convenience. Look out for the maindeck bounce mentioned above along with Pithing Needle (Prismatic Ending shines in this matchup). Kappa is a real threat, but in the matchups I’ve found it’s just not quick enough for a Depths player who’s really leaning towards the flying 20/20 plan.

Do note that Thought Monitor is blue so Steppe does work here for G1, but I tend to board them out as Safekeeper is the best protection spell in this matchup (along with Tower). Another piece of interaction you might come up against is Brazen Borrower, bounce just being the best way for 8-Cast to deal with Marit.

Naya Depths (Mirror)

Decklist example: MMapson125 | Legacy Showcase 2nd Place | Naya Depths


Out: 2 Mox Diamond | 1 Dark Depths | 1 Yavimaya
In: 2 Dead // Gone | 1 Outland Liberator | 1 Minsc & Boo

What’s the matchup like?

Very back and forth. T1 Sylvan Library can be a huge win as you’re then able to aggressively dig for removal and control the board. You’re typically not going for the combo in this matchup due to the amount of interaction, so your creatures are your ways to a victory. HOWEVER, Sylvan Safekeeper can be very hard to deal with in the mid-late game and is a great way to push through with a 20/20 for the win. When attacking with Reclaimers and Knights, be mindful of opposing Endurance or your opponent favouring blocks with instant speed ways to access Bojuka Bog.

Make sure you respect Steppe in response to your removal. You can also Wasteland your own Bog or Steppe to replay it with Ramunap and get extra value from these lands. Post-board I’m looking to drop on Moxen as they aren’t the top deck I’m looking for in a game that goes long. I’ve been testing Ouphe and dropping all Moxen to really punish opponents who keep the 3 in but that’s still a theory being tested.

Role to play?

Midrange, but as I said above, Safekeeper can be very tough to get off the board once you’ve got a decent manabase together.

Cards to look out for?

Minsc can be pretty brutal on an open board – I think this card is really going to change how the mirror is played out and could be an old case of ‘whoever lands Jace first wins‘. If both players are throwing removal at each others creatures in the early game, then Minsc is going to be hard to deal with outside of Prismatic Ending for 4 / having Karakas for Boo. Celestial Purge is a little awkward here, but the upside of being able to cleanly deal with Minsc might be the worth the downside of otherwise being a dead card.


Decklist example: Alli | Legacy Showcase 13th Place | GR Lands


Out: 2 Swords to Plowshares | 1 Mox Diamond | 1 Dark Depths | 1 Sejirri Steppe
In: 2 Force of Vigor | 1 Outland Liberator | 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Surgical Extraction

What’s the matchup like?

Being the Knight of the Reliquary deck, this match is favoured for Naya Depths. The beatdown plan is pretty strong, but an Exploration / Loam start with Maze of Ith can buy the time Lands needs to just go too wide to control. Exploration by itself isn’t too scary, but when paired with a Loam you need to find an answer to the engine (Loam) asap.

One situation that comes up a lot is when you have an Endurance and your opponent casts a Loam targeting some key lands. Do you Endurance away the targeted lands or allow your opponent to have those, then get rid of the Loam?

It’s a very situational moment and I tend to have turns where I go for either, but I’d say the majority of the time is going for the lands, then applying more pressure with Endurance to try and end the game asap / before Loam really takes over the match.

Role to play?

You’re wanting to control the board and how much your Lands opponent can do during their turn. Thankfully although being a deck of Lands, their manabase is not very stable. This means you can have openings where aggressively going after their G source can set them back a huge amount. I try to not have Yavimaya in play due to this, as it tends to be more of an upside for your opponent than for yourself. If I do need the green, then I’ll grab Yavimaya and get right of it at the earliest convenience via a Crop effect.

Cards to look out for?

Punishing Fire on your Knight or Reclaimer into Bog means your creature will die no matter its previous size. Some Lands players have been picking up Bolt so also be ready for this, especially if you’re being aggressive with Sylvan Library. I take out some number of Swords, but if the build is a Reclaimer build then I’ll bring some back into the maindeck.

Force of Vigor is so good in this matchup – being able to hit a T1 Mox and Saga or Exploration and Library can be backbreaking. You also get to stages where you have the 4 mana to hardcast it fairly often, but it’s obviously great to pitch in the early turns when your opponent is most likely looking to have an explosive opening. Note you can Force of Vigor a Saga before it can be tapped for mana.

Be aware of Blast Zone as a way to deal with Reclaimers, and in good time Knight of the Reliquary. Pithing Needle can also be a small issue, but Prismatic Ending and Force of Vigor line up well to remove it.

Quick tip: Always stop and think after an Urza’s Saga gets to its 3rd chapter. Make sure you’re playing around Pithing Needle to the best of your ability as it’s brutal to allow the ability to resolve then get Needled out of nowhere.


Decklist Example: Aegisaziz | Legacy Showcase 21st Place Reanimator


Out: 2 Prismatic Ending | 1 Knight of the Reliquary | 1 Ramunap Excavator | 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Sejirri Steppe | 1 Sylvan Safekeeper
In: 2 Deafening Silence | 1 Celestial Purge | 1 Surgical Extraction | 1 Outland liberator | 2 Dead // Gone

What’s the matchup like?

Very play dependant. There is a huge difference between a T1 Reclaimer or holding up Crop Rotation compared to Reanimator being on the play. Endurance does help a fair amount, but most Reanimator players are keeping hands that not only have a T1 reanimation plan, but also some form of hand disruption. Archon is by far the toughest on-going threat to deal with, but a T1 Grisel into draw 14 is also most likely lights out. Serra’s Emissary on creature can also be brutal if you cannot find Swords to Plowshares.

Role to play?

You’re looking to close out the game as soon as possible while also having some amount of interaction with their yard. It’s not easy to say if T1 Reclaimer or hold up Crop is better, but typically I’d play on the safer side to untap, play Reclaimer and keep holding up Crop. If your opponent has hand disruption / reanimate on the same turn then it’s hard for either to actually have an effect on the game.

Cards to look out for?

I’ve seen Silenced a lot recently, which is brutal when relying on Crop Rotation or Endurance. Deafening Silence out of the board is much better on the play, as it stops Dark Ritual and turns off spots where your opponent can Looting and Reanimate on the same turn. Do be weary of EOT Entomb into reanimate spell and have a plan on top of Deafening Silence.

Magus of the Moon out of the board does turn off Karakas, but can put you in a winning situation if you have a way to put Dark Depths into play under the Magus then remove it.

If you have access to the combo and your opponent is attacking with an Archon, if it’s not lethal I am not blocking. This is because I don’t want my opponent to then reanimate the Archon in the 2nd main phase and make me lose my Marit. 1 Steppe left in the deck means you can also get through one that’s wanting to block. Nothing worse than attacking, getting blocked by Archon then your opponent reanimating it the following turn to take out Marit Lage.


Decklist Example:


Out: 3 Mox Diamond | 1 Karakas | 1 Sejirri Steppe | 1 Sylvan Safekeeper | 1 Ramunap Excavator | Sylvan Library
In: 2 Dead // Gone | 1 Outland Liberator | 1 Collector Ouphe | 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Celestial Purge

What’s the matchup like?

Actually one of my favourite matchups in terms of play. I would say we are favoured in game 1 as they don’t typically have great ways to deal with the combo. Swords to Plowshares and Prismatic Ending lines up really well against Painter, and Endurance targeting ourselves can buy us time after they try to combo us. The goblins can make removal less impactful, so dealing with those first sometimes has to be done which can lead to some awkward situations where you then don’t have the removal to break up the combo.

The one rough spot outside of the combo is Breya’s Apprentice with a Goblin, getting a 1/1 Thopter every turn can really add up and stall the board in their favour.

Role to play?

The early game is where I tend to make sure I’m not going to lose by holding up removal (Force of Vigor MVP in this matchup) while also moving towards the combo. Like 8-Cast, this is another matchup where Constructs can just win the game for Painter, especially off a Saga into Tomb start with multiple artifacts coming down during these turns.

Soul-Guide Lantern is their typical interaction with the graveyard, so do look out for a mix of SGL and damage based removal (Bolt, Abrade, Twinshot Sniper, Fiery Confluence) to finish off your Reclaimers and Knights.

Cards to look out for?

I’ve seen Dead // Gone pop up in lists but Magus of the Moon is typically how Painter tries to cut you off the combo (and your mana while they’re at it). Also be aware of all your permanents being subject to blast effects with Painter in play (yes that also includes your Dark Depths).

Fury can also be a blowout and a great way for Painter to get rid of a Collector Ouphe. This is a matchup where I want to trim the Moxen to up my live draws, however I have played around with keeping 1 in the deck, even as a Saga target for Stage’s that copy it. Yes it’s not great with Ouphe, but if I have a Ouphe in play it’s doing much better things for me than the downside of turning off Mox.

This content is brought to you by caffeine! If you’d like to see more, I’d love nothing more than a brew.


Decklist Example: Maxtortion | Legacy Showcase 1st Place | Doomsday


Out: 2 Prismatic Ending | 2 Swords to Plowshares | 1 Sejirri Steppe | 1 Bojuka Bog
In: 2 Deafening Silence | 2 Red Elemental Blast | 1 Pyroblast | 1 Collector Ouphe

What’s the matchup like?

It’s a yikes from me dawg. This is typically a bye for Doomsday but you just need to accept that playing a non-blue deck. Sometimes you can get lucky where either Endurance gives you a win or you’re able to Wasteland your opponent who’s kept a mana-light pile, but as soon as they see you’re on a Windswept Heath / Savannah deck most half-decent Doomsday players are going to play around those 2 cards.

Role to play?

Combo asap. If you get the chance to Wasteland, Wasteland. This is a really tough matchup that isn’t worth boarding for – we’re just going to be siding into general combo hate that has more text than other cards in the deck. Doomsday can typically mulligan aggressively towards a Dark Ritual -> Doomsday T1 so you need to really have a solid combo hand with at least 1 piece of interaction.

Cards to look out for?

As far as interaction goes with our combo, it’s most likely Brazen Borrower or Chain of Vapor. You need to keep some removal in because of Opposition Agent becoming quite popular and if Relic is part of their plan, then you need to rely on Blasts getting you over the line post-board.

If Doomsday is part of your local meta, Torpor Orb can be interesting as it’s got some nice overlap vs Death & Taxes and other creature-based value decks.

TheEpicStorm (TES)

Decklist Example: DARKr3ck0n1ng | Legacy Challenge 29th Place | TES


Out: 4 Swords to Plowshares | 2 Prismatic Ending | 1 Endurance | 1 Ramunap Excavator | 1 Sylvan Library | 1 Minsc & Boo
In: 1 Surgical Extraction | 1 Collector Ouphe | 2 Force of Vigor | 2 Deafening Silence | 3 blast effects

What’s the matchup like?

Really tough G1. You don’t have much interaction other than Wasteland so you’re wanting to combo off as fast as possible. Yavimaya, GSZ for Dryad Arbor then untap, play a combo piece and hold up Crop Rotation (sacrificing Dryad) for the other is your fastest road to victory (T3 kill) and it really needed in this matchup.

Role to play?

Combo asap or die trying. You might get very lucky and be able to Prismatic Ending a Wishclaw or Lotus Petal if your opponent puts you on a Thalia deck and plays it out the turn before they go off, but otherwise you don’t really stand much of a chance in G1. This is the way. Surgical is not great in this matchup, but it can be more relevant than the cards you’re siding out (however I can see you keeping in the Endurance instead as just a way to perhaps catch them off with a 2nd Rite of Flame).

Cards to look out for?

Deafening Silence is your best hate piece, so make sure you’re keeping blast effects for any bounce spells like Echoing Truth or Chain of Vapor. Ouphe is your best GSZ target and the combo is still your best way of getting there. Sadly Abrupt Decay is tough, but at least it can only deal with a single copy of Deafening Silence (unlike E-Truth). This is a matchup where another GSZ target like Ouphe would be great


Decklist Example: Thepowernine | Legacy Showcase 16th Place | ANT


Out: 4 Swords to Plowshares | 2 Prismatic Ending | 1 Karakas | 1 Ramunap Excavator | 1 Sylvan Library | 1 Minsc & Boo
In: 1 Surgical Extraction | 1 Collector Ouphe | 2 Force of Vigor | 2 Deafening Silence | 3 blast effects

What’s the matchup like?

A little better than TES as you actually have some outs through interacting with Past in Flame lines.

Role to play?

Very similar to the above (TES) plan. Very similar gameplan other than ANT being a little more reliant on the graveyard

Cards to look out for?

See above (TES). Still bounce effects and Abrupt Decay.

UWx Control

Out: 2 Mox Diamond | 2 Swords to Plowshares | 1 Bojuka Bog | 1 Crop Rotation
In: 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Celestial Purge | 1 Outland Liberator | 3 Blast effects

Note: Above I have Purge. Don’t bring Purge in vs UWR (Blood Moon at worst is answered by Outland and Prismatic)

What’s the matchup like?

You have to perform a little ballet in this matchup to dodge their white removal. Teferi is always a tough time as it means Prismatic Ending is now an instant speed removal spell. Safekeeper is a very strong card in this matchup, and your creatures demand instant removal or else the value / route to Steppe for protection can get out of hand for your opponent. Uro isn’t a big threat, but allowing them to go above 20+ life can cause some awkward attacks / defence on their turn from more sorcery speed removal.

Role to play?

Midrange to combo. Unlike all-in decks like GB Turbo or Rainbow we don’t have the luxury of Not of this World to go for a quick win with protection. The midrange plan is nice, and I can only imagine Minsc has really increased those %s.

Cards to look out for?

Back to Basics and Ruination are cards I tend to keep an eye on (a basic-heavy manabase in game 1 is most likely a sign of B2B in the 75). I’ve had players even bring in Surgical against me to fight over Dark Depths but honestly, the midrange plan (now with Minsc) is just so good I don’t really mind it. Dress Down is another card that turns off Safekeeper (and of course your own creatures that can find protection through Steppe) so be aware you’re not always going to be safe.

4C Control / Yorion Builds

Decklist Example: Nammersquats | Legacy Showcase 6th Place | 4C Control

4&5C Control

Out: 1 Mox Diamond | 2 Swords to Plowshares | 2 Crop Rotation
In: 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Celestial Purge | 3 Blast effects

What’s the matchup like?

Tough. There’s a heap of interaction so you really need to make sure you can make your opponent trade resources on your threats then get in with a Marit protected by Safekeeper. Their manabase is pretty greedy so Ramunap Excavator actually does a good amount of work in this matchup when paired with Wasteland.

Role to play?

You need to be the aggressor I’ve found and make them have the removal each turn. As soon as you land a threat and get some control of the board, you can start controlling what spells they can cast via Wasteland. Endurance is a pretty big card in this matchup for both sides, as a flash threat that isn’t powered down by graveyard interaction (unlike Reclaimer and Knight)

Cards to look out for?

Ha a fair amount. The classic playsets of removal in Swords and Prismatic Ending, but Dress Down Endurance also cause headaches. This matchup can be tough as you want to have more than 1 threat to play around targeted removal but you don’t want to play into a boardwipe. That is only going to come with time and knowing how to balance your threats in this matchup.



Out: 1 Bojuka Bog | 2 Endurance
In: 2 Dead // Gone | 1 Minsc & Boo

What’s the matchup like?

I find Depths typically is a turn faster than Elves. Swords to Plowshares and Prismatic Ending keep the board under some control but Elves can still get the better of you with their good draws. Boseiju is really the only card you need to play around in G1, then look out for Reclaimer getting Karakas (if they are playing it in the 75) in post-board games.

Role to play?

Control the board early while slowly moving towards the combo. You can play around Boseiju by having 2 Stage’s and mana to activate both, but if the game is going that long you’re probably in a decent position.

Cards to look out for?

Assassin’s Trophy has also seen play before as a way to interrupt the combo, but most of the time 2 open mana means Boseiju. Opposition Agent is another big threat due to us having so many ways to tutor through the deck. I’ve been coming up against this card more (especially out of Doomsday) and it’s a tough one without Swords on the spot.


Decklist example: Caedryn | Legacy Challenge 7th Place | Goblins


Out: 1 Bojuka Bog | 2 Endurance | 2 Sylvan Library | 1 Sylvan Safekeeper
In: 2 Dead // Gone | 1 Minsc & Boo. | 1 Collector Ouphe | 1 Outland Liberator | 1 Celestial Purge

What’s the matchup like?

Favoured. They can go wide on the ground but without Wasteland you’re going to be faster than them. I have seen Stingscourger pop up in the maindeck so be cautious of going off without protection.

T1 Lackey is by far the biggest threat so make sure you keep a hand with removal. Reclaimer doesn’t do it often due to Munitions Expert and Rundvelt Hordemaster so you’re going to need a Mox / Crop Rotation start to most likely keep that Reclaimer around.

Role to play?

You want to control the early game and then build quickly towards the combo. Just like Delver, I like to try and play out my creatures as at least 3/4s and 4/4s but it’s not always that easy with cards like Unlicensed Hearse being played (sometimes maindeck) by Goblins.

Cards to look out for?

As I mentioned above Stingscourger to bounce Marit. I’ve also come across versions playing Sudden Edict in the board. Magus of the Moon and Fury also tricky to navigate through so a heap of damage to either not allow you to cast spells or kill your creatures in play that you haven’t set up to be big enough to survive. Opposition Agent is the last card I’d highlight – a real blow out when you don’t expect it.

Death’s Shadow

Decklist Example: iKhada | Legacy Showcase 32nd Place | Death’s Shadow


Out: 2 Sylvan Library | 1 Karakas | 1 Minsc & Boo | 1 Crop Rotation | 1 Sylvan Safekeeper
In: 2 Red Elemental Blast | 1 Pyroblast | 2 Dead // Gone | 1 Celestial Purge

What’s the matchup like?

Just like Delver, but you don’t have to worry about Lightning Bolt. Some versions may play a Sudden Edict the maindeck but you can for the most part play around it quite well. Due to the lack of reach I’m a little happier to be aggressive with Sylvan Library, especially to keep the removal spells or threats coming.

Minsc is harder to deal with in this MU, but I like to play with a curve that maxes out at 3, especially when Shadow can Wasteland you out while applying pressure through Delver / Shadow.

Be aware of Borrower game 1 as a way to bounce Marit, and Snuff Outs as great answers to your Knights and Reclaimers.

Role to play?

Death’s Shadow is thankfully answered extremely well by Swords to Plowshares and Prismatic Ending isn’t too far behind in terms of value. Do be mindful of being Murtide’ed out of the game after you’ve used a few Swords on Death’s Shadows.

Cards to look out for?

Sudden Edict is a real card alongside Brazen Borrower. These are a little harder to play around but can both be beat by building out your board with multiple, game winning threats.

General tips & tricks

Comboing through Wasteland

If you’re facing down an opposing Wasteland, always know you can initiate proceedings by targeting it with your own Wasteland and then comboing off in response to theirs which most likely targeting one of your combo pieces.

Endurance Yourself

Endurancing yourself can do a few things;

  • Put removal back into your deck to draw
  • Allow you to search up creatures again with GSZ
  • Tutor back lands like Karakas or Steppe

You can even Crop rotate for a land currently in play thanks to Endurance.

Example: Bojuka Bog in play.
Crop Rotation sacrificing Bog
Hold Priority and Endurance yourself (including the Bojuka Bog)
Now search for the Bog with Crop Rotation


Naya Depths is currently really well positioned in the metagame. UR Delver continues to be on top of the format but thankfully I can confidently say it’s a very decent matchup for Depths. Fast combo will always be an issue without clear T0 interaction, but right now there isn’t too many combo decks in the format.

Get your reps in, as Naya Depths is always going to reward those players who stick with the deck. For those playing in this weekends Legacy Pit Open, play well, play clean, play fair.


Further resources:

Naya Depths Primer (Does need an update due to Minsc but the general information is still very relevant)

Naya Depths YouTube Content

Naya Depths Discord

Jono Yanik (Dreadnaught33)’s boarding guide

Jason Murray’s boarding guide 

About Douges

Hey! Douges here - Founder of the GreenSunsZenith. I've been playing Magic since 2013 and Legacy since 2014. I'm a Death & Taxes pilot turned Maverick aficionado who created the GreenSunsZenith as a resource for both beginners & experts of the Legacy Maverick archetype. I've been fortunate enough to be a guest on several Eternal & Legacy podcasts including Everyday Eternal, Deep Analysis with Brian Coval & Phil Gallagher, The Canadian Threshold, Archetype Influencers and the Dark Depths Podcast You can reach out to me through my social links below. I stream via Twitch on Thursday nights (7:30pm AEST) & Sunday mornings (10:30am AEST). Please let me know if you don't find anything on the site that you'd like to see. If you'd like to support the GreenSunsZenith, I have a Patreon account you can support the platform through :)

4 thoughts on “Naya Depths: Sideboard Guide & Matchup Strategy

  1. Dear Lord, I had to become a Patreon the very first time in my life for all the effort you put in your articles. This is fantastic and I need to show my thankfulness through a Patreon membership.

    I really thank you because you helped me understanding my new depths version as a legacy newbie now even better.

    Greetings from Germany and keep up the awesome work.

    1. Hey happy to help Martin – I really appreciate your support through Patreon! If there’s anything you’d like me to cover in future, let me know and I’ll see what I can do 🙂

  2. Hi Douges! Thanks for the great write-up and content. I’m just noting that for Death’s Shadow you mention how Sylvan Safekeeper is good against the 2 “Cards to Look Out For”: Brazen Borrower & Sudden Edict. But you also say to board out Safekeeper against this deck. I don’t know if it’s worth taking a 2nd Crop out to keep the ‘Keeper, however I thought I’d call this out. Thanks again!

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