Magic Online Vanguard

Note: Starting with Zendikar, rules text and hand size/life total modifications for vanguard avatars was discontinued. You may continue to play the vanguard format with previously avatars. Both old and new avatars can still be used to represent you in-game.

What is Vanguard?

Vanguard for Magic Online is a new play format that grants abilities to the Magic Online avatars for use in gameplay. In a Vanguard game, each avatar will affect a player's hand size and starting life total, in addition to having its own in-game ability.

How does Vanguard work?

Vanguard is a constructed format that will be available in both casual and sanctioned play. It requires a minimum 61-card deck that includes exactly one Vanguard card. (All avatars are now displayed in your collection as Vanguard cards.) You can use the deck editor to build a Vanguard deck just like any other deck, just make sure you include exactly one Vanguard card in addition to the rest of your deck. Just like with other cards, you can only play with Vanguard cards if you own them.

When you start a Vanguard game, each person's Vanguard card is pulled out and put in a special zone (the "Vanguard Zone") and their avatar is changed to match it. This zone functions similarly to the Removed From Game zone. Both players' Vanguard zones will be visible on the screen when the game starts, but they can be minimized, the size can be adjusted, and they can be moved around. Activated abilities of Vanguard cards can be played by clicking on the Vanguard card.

Will Avatar Abilities Ever Change?

The abilities of the avatars will never change, but over time, as it becomes obvious which avatars are the strongest and which are the weakest, R&D will be tweaking the starting hand sizes and life totals for some avatars.

How will the 5 default avatars be distributed?

You will receive a booster with the 5 default avatars and some additional land in a booster pack. Moving forward, all new accounts will get the "Avatar" booster pack.

Vanguard Abilities

Avatar Hand Life Ability
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Chuck's Virtual Party, October 2003
+1 +7 When a creature comes into play under your control, it gains two of the following abilities at random: flying, first strike, trample, haste, protection from black, protection from red, or vigilance.
Arcanis the Omnipotent
Tenth Edition Release Events (Participation), August 2007
+1 -3 X, Return a creature you control with converted mana cost X to its owner's hand: Draw a number of cards chosen at random between 0 and X. X can't be 0.
Arcbound Overseer
Welcome Back Premier Events (Winner), June 2004
0 +3 At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control.
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a charge counter on target permanent you control.
Ashling the Extinguisher
Eventide Release Events (Winner), August 2008
+1 -3 5 Mana : Destroy all nonland permanents. Play this ability only once and only during your turn.
Ashling the Pilgrim
Lorwyn Release Event (Participation), November 2007
-1 +6 2: Avatar - Ashling the Pilgrim deals 1 damage to each creature and each player.
Birds of Paradise
Vanguard Release Event (Participation), May 2005
0 -3 Lands you control have 'Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
Bosh, Iron Golem
Mirrodin Release Event (Participation), November 2003
0 -2 X, sacrifice an artifact of converted mana cost X: Deal X damage to target creature or player.
Braids, Conjurer Adept
Planar Chaos Release Event (Participation), March 2007
0 +3 2 Mana: Each player may put a land from his or her hand into play tapped.
3 Mana: Each player may put a noncreature artifact from his or her hand into play.
5 Mana: Each player may put a creature card from his/her hand into play. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
Chronatog
Visions Release Events (Winner), April 2006
-1 +1 You have no maximum hand size.
0 Mana: Draw three cards. You skip your next turn. Play this ability only once each turn.
Dakkon Blackblade
Master's Edition Release Events (Participation), September 2007
+1 0 You may play any colored card from your hand as a copy of a basic land card chosen at random that can produce mana of one of the card's colors.
Dauntless Escort
Alara Reborn Release Events (Participation), May 2009
+1 +1 Creatures you control have Exalted.
Diamond Faerie
Coldsnap Release Events (Participation), August 2006
0 +5 Snow: Target creature you control gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
Champions of Kamigawa Release Events (Winner), October 2004
+2 -3 1: Target permanent you control gains protection from a random color it doesn't already have protection from until end of turn.
Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
Tempest Release Events (Participation), December 2008
-1 +2 At the beginning of each player's precombat main phase, that player adds Green ManaGreen Mana to his or her mana pool.
Elvish Champion
8th Edition Online Release (Participation)
0 -5 You start the game with a 1/1 green Elf token that has 'Tap: Add G to your mana pool.'
Enigma Sphinx
Alara Reborn Release (Winner), May 2009
-1 0 Whenever you cast a colored artifact spell for the first time in a turn, search your library for a colored artifact card chosen at random whose converted mana cost is less than the spell's converted mana cost. You may cast that card without paying its mana cost. If you don't, put that card on the bottom of your library.
Erhnam Djinn
Comes with the MTGO Client
0 +3 Whenever you play a creature spell, put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play.
Etched Oracle
Fifth Dawn Release Events (Winner), July 2004
+1 -4 You may pay WUBRG rather than pay the mana cost for spells that you play.
Fallen Angel
2004 Holiday Events (Participation), November-December 2004
0 -5 Whenever a creature you control goes to a graveyard from play, target opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
Figure of Destiny
Eventide Release Events (Participation), August 2008
+1 +3 X Mana : Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature with fewer than X +1/+1 counters on it.
Flametongue Kavu
Magic Online's 2nd birthday party, June 2004
0 -6 When a non-token creature comes into play under your control, it deals a random amount of damage between 0 and 4 to target creature.
Frenetic Efreet
Mirage Events (Winner), December 2005
-1 -3 Permanents you control have phasing.
At the end of your turn, flip a coin. If you win the flip, take an extra turn after this one.
Goblin Warchief
Comes with the MTGO Client
+1 +2 Attacking creatures you control get +1/+0.
Grinning Demon
Comes with the MTGO Client
-1 -2 Whenever a nontoken creature you control goes to a graveyard from play, target opponent discards a card.
Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
Coldsnap Release Events (Winner), August 2006
0 -3 Pay 1 life: You may play target creature card in your graveyard this turn.
Whenever a creature comes into play, if you played it from your graveyard, it becomes a black Zombie Knight.
Whenever a Zombie Knight would be put into your graveyard from play, remove it from the game instead.
Heartwood Storyteller
Future Sight Release Events (Winner), May 2007
-1 +4 The first creature spell you play each turn costs 1 less to play. The first noncreature spell each opponent plays each turn costs 1 more to play.
Hell's Caretaker
9th Edition Release Events (Participation), September 2005
-1 -4 3, Sacrifice a creature: Return target creature from your graveyard to play.
Hermit Druid
Stronghold Release Events (Winner), April 2009
-2 -2 At the beginning of your upkeep, put a land card from your library chosen at random onto the battlefield.
Higure, the Still Wind
Betrayers of Kamigawa Release Events (Participation), March 2005
-1 +3 Whenever a nontoken creature you control deals combat damage to an opponent, take a random creature from your library, reveal it, and put it into your hand.
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Betrayers of Kamigawa Release Events (Winner), March 2005
0 -3 At the beginning of the game, look at target opponent's hand and choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
X Mana, pay X life: Put target creature card with converted mana cost X in an opponent's graveyard into play under your control.
Jaya Ballard
Time Spiral Release Events (Winner), November 2006
0 +1 X: Jaya Ballard deals an amount of damage chosen at random from 0 to X to target creature or player. Play this ability only once each turn.
Jhoira of the Ghitu
Future Sight Release Events (Participation), May 2007
+1 0 3, Discard a card: Copy three instant cards chosen at random. You may play one of the copies without paying its mana cost.
3 Mana, Discard a card: Copy three sorcery cards chosen at random. You may play one of the copies without paying its mana cost. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
Karona, False God
Scourge Release Events (Participation), June 2003
-1 +8 At the beginning of your upkeep, exchange control of a random permanent you control and a random permanent target opponent controls.
Kresh the Bloodbraided
Shards of Alara Release Events (Winner), October 2008
+0 +6 Whenever a creature you control is devoured, put an X/X green Ooze creature token into play, where X is the devoured creature's power.
Loxodon Hierarch
Ravnica Release Events (Participation), November 2005
0 +12 Sacrifice a permanent: Regenerate target creature you control
Lyzolda, the Blood Witch
Dissension Release Events (Winner), June 2006
-1 -1 Hellbent — As long as you have no cards in hand, if a source you control would deal damage to a creature or player, it deals double that damage to that creature or player instead.
Hellbent — At the end of your turn, if you have no cards in hand, each of your opponents discards a card.
Maelstrom Archangel
Conflux Release Events (Winner), February 2009
0 +5 At the end of combat, for each creature you controlled at the time it dealt combat damage to a player this turn, copy a random card with the same mana cost as that creature. You may pay 3 mana. If you do, choose one of those copies. If a copy of a permanent card is chosen, you may put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of that card. If a copy of an instant or a sorcery card is chosen, you may cast the copy without paying its mana cost.
Malfegor
Conflux Release Events (Participation), February 2009
+2 -2 Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if it was unearthed, it gets +3/+0.
Whenever a creature you control is exiled, if it was unearthed, shuffle that card into its onwer's library.
Maralen of the Mornsong
Morningtide Release Events (Winner), March 2008
-2 +7 You can't draw cards.
At the beginning of your draw step, search your library for a card, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost. You can't search for a card with the same name as a card you've searched for with Maralen this game.
Maro
9th Edition Release Events (Winner), September 2005
+2 -7 Tap an untapped creature you control, Discard a card: Target creature you control gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your hand.
Master of the Wild Hunt
Magic 2010 Release Events (Participation), August 2009
+1 +3 2Green Mana: Put a green token onto the battlefield that's a 2/2 Wolf, a 2/3 Antelope w/forestwalk, a 3/2 Cat w/shroud, or a 4/4 green Rhino w/trample, chosen at random.
Mayael the Anima
Shards of Alara Release Events (Participation), October 2008
+1 +5 At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library. If it's a creature card with power 5 or greater, put it into your hand. Otherwise, you may put it on the bottom of your library.
Mirri the Cursed
Planar Chaos Release Events (Winner), March 2007
-2 -3 Creatures you control have "TAP: Another target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Put a +1/+1 counter on this creature."
Mirror Entity
Lorwyn Release Event (Winner), November 2007
+1 -2 X: Choose a creature type. Creatures of that type you control become X/X and gain all creature types until end of turn.
Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
Dissension Release Events (Participation), June 2006
0 +4 X, Discard a card: Put a token into play as a copy of a random creature card with converted mana cost X. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery and only once each turn.
Morinfen
Weatherlight Release Events (Winner), December 2007
0 +30 At the beginning of your upkeep, you lose 1 life for each permanent you control.
Murderous Redcap
Shadowmoor Release Events (Participation), June 2008
0 -2 Whenever a creature comes into play under your control with a counter on it, you may have it deal damage equal to its power to target creature or player.
Necropotence
Masters Edition 2 Release Events (Winner), September 2008
+0 +4 Skip your draw step.
At the end of your turn, if it’s not the first turn of the game, put a death counter on Avatar - Necropotence. You draw X cards and you lose X life, where X is the number of death counters on Avatar - Necropotence.
Nekrataal
Visions Release Events (Participation), April 2006
0 -4 Creature spells you play cost B less to play. This effect reduces only the amount of colored mana you pay.
Oni of Wild Places
Saviors of Kamigawa Release Events (Participation), June-July 2005
0 -2 Creatures you control have haste. At the beginning of your upkeep, return a creature you control to its owner's hand.
Orcish Squatters
Masters Edition 2 Release Events (Participation), September 2008
-1 -1 At the beginning of your precombat main phase, add X Mana to your mana pool, where X is the number of lands target opponent controls.
Peacekeeper
Weatherlight Release Events (Participation), December 2007
0 +9 3: For each opponent who controls a creature, put a token into play as a copy of a card named Arrest and attach it to a creature that player controls chosen at random.
Phage the Untouchable
Legions Release Event (Participation), March 2003
0 -5 Pay 1 life: Until end of turn, whenever a creature deals combat damage to you, destroy that creature.
Pay 1 life: Until end of turn, whenever target creature deals combat damage to a creature, destroy that creature.
Platinum Angel
Mirrodin Release Event (Winner), November 2003
-1 -2 If you control an artifact, a creature, an enchantment, and a land, you can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game.
Prodigal Sorcerer
Comes with the MTGO Client
0 +5 At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard.
Raksha Golden Cub
Fifth Dawn Release Events (Participation), July 2004
+1 +9 Creatures you control get +0/+1. Equipped creatures you control get +1/+0 and have first strike.
Reaper King
Shadowmoor Release Events (Winner), June 2008
-2 -5 Each creature you control gets +1/+1 for each of its colors.
Rith, the Awakener
Available in From the Vault: Dragons
+0 +6 Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, you may pay 5 Mana. If you do, put a 5/5 red Dragon creature token with flying into play.
Royal Assassin
8th Edition Crossover Event (Participation), August 2003
-2 0 At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.
Rumbling Slum
Guildpact Release Events (Winner), March 2006
+1 +1 At the beginning of your upkeep, Rumbling Slum deals 1 to each opponent.
Sakashima the Impostor
Saviors of Kamigawa Release Events (Winner), June-July 2005
0 +1 2: Choose a creature you control. It becomes a copy of target creature except for its name.
Serra Angel
Comes with the MTGO Client
0 -1 Whenever you play a spell, you gain 2 life.
Serra Angel (alternate art)
Magic Online Live Series (Participation), 2009
0 -1 Whenever you play a spell, you gain 2 life.
Seshiro the Anointed
Champions of Kamigawa Release Events (Participation), October 2004
0 -1 At the beginning of the game, choose a creature type. Creatures you control, creature spells you control on the stack, and creature cards you own that aren't in play or on the stack have the chosen type in addition to their other types.
Sisters of Stone Death
Ravnica Release Events (Winner), November 2005
+1 -5 Each creature you control must be blocked if able.
4 Mana: Remove from the game target creature blocking a creature you control.
Sliver Queen
Stronghold Release Events (Participation), April 2009
0 +7 Whenever you cats a non-Sliver creature spell, exile that spell. If you do, put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of a random non-Shapeshifter Sliver creature card w/ the same converted mana cost as that spell.
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Tenth Edition Release Events (Winner), August 2007
+3 -4 1: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature you control this turn.
Stalking Tiger
Mirage Release Events (Participation), December 2005
0 +2 Whenever you play a creature spell, you may pay 1. If you do, draw a card.
Stangg
Master's Edition 3 Release Events (Winner), September 2009
0 0 note: This card only appears as an Avatar, not as a Vanguard card.
Stonehewer Giant
Morningtide Release Events (Participation), March 2008
+1 -5 Whenever a creature comes into play under your control, put a copy of random Equipment card with converted mana cost less than or equal to that creature's converted mana cost into play. Attach that Equipment to that creature.
Stuffy Doll
Time Spiral Release Events (Participation), November 2006
0 -6 0: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you by a source of your choice this turn. Stuffy Doll deals damage equal to half the damage prevented this way, rounded up, to you and target opponent. Play this ability only once per turn.
Teysa, Orzhov Scion
Guildpact Release Events (Participation), March 2006
0 -2 Whenever a non-token creature is put into a graveyard from play, put a 1/1 white, Spirit creature token with flying into play.
Tradewind Rider
Tempest Release Events (Winner), December 2008
+1 +4 3 Mana : Each player returns a permanent he or she controls to its owner's hand unless he or she pays 2 life.
Two-Headed Giant of Foriys
Magic Online's 1st birthday party, June 2003
+1 -4 Each creature you control may block 2 creatures each combat. Each creature you control can't be blocked except by 2 or more creatures.
Vampire Nocturnus
Magic 2010 Release Events (Winner), August 2009
-1 -2 Play w/ the top card of your libabry revealed.
As long as the top card of your library is black, black creatures you control get +2/+1.
Viridian Zealot
Darksteel Release Events (Participation), March 2004
Welcome Back Premier Events (Participation), June 2004

0 +2 2, Sacrifice a creature: Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Search your library for a card with the same name as the creature you sacrificed, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Zodiac Dragon
Master's Edition 3 Release Events (Participation), September 2009
0 0 note: This card only appears as an Avatar, not as a Vanguard card.
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