Casual Formats

There are many more ways to play Magic games than the sanctioned formats detailed here. From single-pack showdowns to massive multiplayer battles, Magic is a game ready to be enjoyed in many ways by as many of your friends as possible.

Listed here are a number of casual formats that range from somewhat goofy to completely crazy. With a few exceptions, these aren't the "official rules" for these formats—because there are no "official rules" for them! Your play group can modify them however you like. Add in new rules, create your own Banned Lists, or invent whole new casual formats. It's all about getting the most fun out of your cards as possible, and no one knows how to do that better than you.

Limited | Constructed | Multiplayer | Cube | Alternative

 

Limited

Mini-Master (also known as Pack Wars)

You and your friends have just bought some booster packs. You're going to open them to get to the good stuff inside. But wait—why not play some Magic as you're opening your packs?

Setting up for Mini-Master is very simple. Each player needs a single booster pack of Magic cards. Without looking at the contents, each player opens his or her pack and adds in three of each basic land (Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest). They then shuffle up and play a game of Magic just like normal. Because players don't know what cards are in their decks, Mini-Master offers up the same surprises players get when they open a fresh new pack of Magic cards. Is the rare you're hoping to open going to help you beat your opponent? Or will you lose the game but still walk away happy with the cards you managed to crack? Mini-Master is great for letting you play with new cards while still keeping the excitement of opening a new booster!

Many Mini-Master variants exist. A different way to do it is for each player to open a booster and have that entire booster become his or her opening hand! During each player's turn, that player may choose a basic land from outside the game and put it into play. Players play without libraries; effects that say to draw a card have no effect, and there is no penalty for being unable to draw.

Solomon Draft

A unique take on the Booster Draft format, Solomon Draft allows Magic players to draft with just two people. Each player needs three booster packs, which they open without looking at the contents. You shuffle all six packs together, creating a combined pool of ninety cards. Then you're ready to draft.

Decide who will be "Player A" and who will be "Player B" through a random method, generally a die roll. Player A gets to draft first, while Player B gets to choose whether he or she wants to play first during the games. To draft, Player A flips over the top eight cards of the deck and then divides them into two piles. They can be divided evenly into two piles of four cards, or disproportionately into piles of five and three, six and two, seven and one, or even eight and zero.

Once Player A has split the cards, Player B picks one of those piles and adds it to his or her drafted cards. The other pile goes to Player A. The process is then repeated, this time with Player B separating the top eight cards from the deck into two piles and Player A selecting a pile. The process continues, alternating between Player A and Player B splitting the piles, until all the cards have been drafted. (The last batch will have ten cards rather than eight.) You then each build decks of at least 40 cards, adding as many basic lands (Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests) as you like.

Many players enjoy the Solomon Draft format because it challenges them in different ways than a traditional Booster Draft. Instead of simply choosing a single card from a single pack, players have to analyze what colors they think their opponent will play, balance powerful cards with mediocre ones in order to have good cards in their own pile, and remember the cards that have already been drafted for both decks. Solomon Draft is a great way to enjoy a draft with just a single friend.

Pick-a-Pack

Curious as to how the cards from Ravnica might have played when drafted with cards from Lorwyn and Shadowmoor? The Pick-a-Pack draft variant lets you find out by combining packs from many sets to replicate a Booster Draft!

In the Pick-a-Pack draft format, players draft just as they would during a normal Booster Draft with one change: instead of using three booster packs from the most recent Magic block, players are allowed to use packs from any Magic sets. That means the player to your left could be using a pack each of Darksteel, Ravnica, and Ice Age while the player to your right is cracking two packs of Shadowmoor and one pack of Tenth Edition!

A variant of Pick-a-Pack is Pack Draft. Each player brings three booster packs to the draft, and those packs are collected into a common pool. Before the players draft the cards out of the boosters, they draft the boosters themselves! Once all the packs are picked, the actual booster draft begins. Players can open any of their three boosters first.

You can use Pick-a-Pack in nearly any draft format, such as Solomon Draft or Winston Draft, thus combining that other format's rules with the ability to use any pack from Magic history!

Duplicate Sealed

Unlike a normal Sealed Deck event where players are each given a unique pool of cards from which they build their decks, Duplicate Sealed provides each player with the exact same pool of cards!

To run a Duplicate Sealed event, five booster packs are opened and a list with the contents of the packs is provided to each of the players. They then use their own cards to recreate the exact same pool and build a sealed deck using regular Limited rules. Players are free to add as many basic lands (Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests) to their decks as they like.

Duplicate Sealed lets players see how their peers and friends would build a deck when given the exact same card pool. Will you play the same creatures as the rest of the people you play Magic with, or will they come up with a completely different concoction? Duplicate Sealed lets you find out!

 

Winston Draft

Looking for a Limited format you can play with just one other player? Winston Draft is just for you!

Just as in a Solomon Draft, the two players each supply three booster packs, which they open without looking at the contents. You shuffle all six packs together, creating a combined pool of ninety cards. Decide who will be "Player A" and who will be "Player B" through a random method, generally a die roll. Player A gets to draft first, while Player B gets to choose whether he or she wants to play first during the games.

To begin drafting, Player A sets the top three cards from the main pile in three stacks face down on the table, without looking at them. It should look like this:

Player A then looks at the card in the first small pile—without showing it to Player B—and chooses to either draft it or leave it. If Player A drafts the pile, it's replaced with the top card of the main stack (also face down). If Player A leaves the card, the top card of the main stack is put on top of it, creating a two-card pile. Player A repeats the process with the second pile and then moves on to the third pile. If Player A didn't choose any of the three piles, that player must take the top card from the main stack, no matter what it is. Once Player A drafts any pile or the top card of the main stack, it's Player B's turn to go through the whole thing again.

Remember: Each time a player takes a pile, it's replaced by the top card of the main stack to form a new one-card pile. And each time a player puts a pile back, the top card of the main stack is added to it. There's no limit to how large a pile can get!

After all the cards have been drafted, each player then builds a deck of at least 40 cards, adding as many basic lands (Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests) as they would like.

Winston Draft is a great way to enjoy Magic with packs you've just recently purchased, and lets you play Limited with just one friend! It also provides a challenge unlike any other draft format, as players must determine whether they should risk taking an unknown card, a single powerful card, or a pack of multiple medium-powered cards.

Back Draft

Tired of trying to figure out what the most powerful cards are in your local Booster Draft each week? Or are you looking for the opportunity to play cards in draft that are normally passed over? Back Draft is a Magic variant that functions like a Booster Draft in reverse!

The setup is exactly the same as a Booster Draft. Unlike a Booster Draft, however, the players don't play with the cards they draft. Instead, when players are paired with one another, they switch card pools and build from the other player's pool!

How does this affect play? It means that you actually want to draft the worst deck possible! This can lead to hilarious results as typical draft considerations like power level, color cohesion, and mana curve all go out the window. The format is also surprisingly skill-testing, since you have to wildly reevaluate cards on the fly, then face the challenge of building a playable deck out of a card pool picked to make doing so as difficult as possible. A Back Draft is a great way to spice up one's draft life.

Rotisserie Draft

Looking to draft in a way that gives you an in-depth feel for an entire set? If so, Rotisserie Draft is just for you!

A Rotisserie Draft requires one or two complete Magic: The Gathering sets (one copy of each card), and a number of players such that the number of cards divided by the number of players is somewhere around 40 or 50. Each card is placed face up on a table in collector number order (or, for older sets without collector numbers, alphabetically by color). The players then roll dice to determine who will get to pick first, second, third, and so forth. The first drafter selects a card and places it face down in front of his or her seat. Picks continue until the last player has picked a card. The draft order then reverses: the last player selects a second card, then the second-to-last player, and so on. When it gets back to the first player, that player takes two cards, and so on. For example, if there were four players (A, B, C, and D) in the draft, the pick order would be A, B, C, D, then D, C, B, A, then A, B, C, D. Drafting continues until all the cards are selected, then the players add as many basic lands (Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests) as they like, build decks of at least 40 cards, and play.

Rotisserie Draft is challenging to set up, but many who play claim it to be an exciting experience unlike any other Limited format they've ever played. Especially interesting is that all the rares in a set are represented, and they show up with the same frequency as the commons! The combination of seeing all available cards to be drafted, as well as what the opponents around them are trying to do, challenges players in new and fun ways.

Reject Rare Draft

Originally created in New York, this wacky format players a great opportunity to play with rare cards they may have never considered playing with before. Each player donates 45 rare cards from their collections. These cards are shuffled together and dealt out as 15-card booster packs. From there, it's just like any other Booster Draft. Normal Limited rules apply; players must use 40 card decks and may include any number of Plains, Island, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests to their decks.

Reject Rare drafting is a great opportunity to try out cards that have never or rarely seen play in most Constructed formats. It also puts a crazy spin on Limited, which is generally dominated by the likes of commons and uncommons. In the world of Reject Rares, almost anything goes and players rarely know what's going to happen next!

When the draft is over, each player will end up with 45 oddball rare cards, which is exactly what he or she put in. The specific cards will be different, but the fact that the format acts like a rare card swap meet is part of its appeal! (Of course, if the players in your group would prefer to track which cards they donated so they can get the same ones back at the end, you can certainly do so.)

Continuous Draft

This format is true to its name, giving players the opportunity to be involved with a draft that doesn't necessarily have a specific endpoint. It also accommodates any number of players and allows participants to draft with any type of Magic: The Gathering booster packs.

Each player starts by opening three booster packs and choosing one card to keep out of future drafts. In order to draft, you need to find another player with a 44-card pool. After randomly determining who will pick first, the players shuffle all 88 cards together. Player A reveals the top four cards and then selects one card of those cards. Player B then selects two cards, and Player A gets the last card. The process continues, alternating between Player A and Player B choosing first, until all the cards have been drafted. At that point, players add as many basic lands (Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests) as they'd like, build decks of at least 40 cards, and play.

Players compete in best two-out-of-three matches. When you finish a match, you take out the extra lands you added (getting back down to 44 cards) and repeat the drafting, building, and playing process with another player in the Continuous Draft. Your card pool constantly changes, and there are always new draft decks to play with.

Because you get to pull out one card from the original three boosters you open, that means you have a choice: Do you remove a really powerful card (meaning you won't risk losing it if someone else drafts it, but you won't get to play with it either), or do you remove a low-powered card you'll never miss? That's just the first interesting choice in a format that's chock full of them!

 

Cube Draft

Cube Draft encompasses many of the most enjoyable aspects of Magic: The Gathering, combining elements of both Constructed and Limited play, trading, and playing the game with friends. To prepare for this format, a player (or, if you prefer, your entire play group) prepares a "cube"—a specifically selected set of at least 360 different Magic cards. Many cubes contain upwards of 720 cards to provide more variety among drafts.

Once the cube has been built, you can use it for any draft format. The most popular option is to build makeshift "booster packs" out of 15 randomly selected cards from the cube and then run a regular Booster Draft. But you can also use your cube for Winston Draft, Solomon Draft, or any other kind of draft format.

Building a cube is a great way to get some extra play value out of your favorite cards, or even out of cards that haven't found a home in your Constructed decks. The best aspect of it is how personalized it is. Every cube is different, and you can build the pool of cards you'll draft with however you choose. Ever wondered what drafting with only artifacts would be like? Build your cube out of just artifacts! Ever wanted to draft only red cards, or use only cards that weren't legal in Standard tournaments? The cube allows you to set up just such an experience and share it with friends. Some players even create intricate lists of the most powerful Magic cards ever created and try to include each one in their cube. What will your cube look like? That's up to you to decide!

For more information on the Cube Draft format and suggestions of possible cube formations, visit these sites:

  • Tom LaPille's Cube page
  • Evan Erwin's Cube page
  •  

    Constructed

    Tribal Wars

    Do you have strong inclinations toward Elves? Do you find yourself constantly building decks that feature only Goblins? Tribal Wars is a format that emphasizes creature combat and tribal themes: one-third of every deck must be of a single creature type.

    Because Tribal Wars is a Constructed format, each deck must contain at least 60 cards, and players may build decks using Standard, Extended, Legacy, or Vintage deckbuilding rules. The format provides players the opportunity to do battle with their favorite Magic creatures to see which tribe is the game's most powerful!

    For more information and discussions about the Magic Online Tribal Wars format, please visit the Magic Online Tribal Wars discussion forum (English-only).

    Star (also known as Pentagram or Five-Point)

    Ever wonder what would happen if the five colors of Magic sat down to do battle with one another? The Star format is your chance to find out! In Star, five players each represent one of the five colors of Magic (white, blue, black, red, and green) by playing a deck featuring only cards of that color. Decks may not include any cards that reference a different color or a basic land that produces a different color of mana.

    Players sit in a star pattern identical to the one on the back of every Magic: The Gathering card. The player with the white deck takes the first turn and then play continues clockwise around the table.

    A color, and the player representing it, wins when its two enemy colors have been eliminated regardless of who eliminated them. This means a player may be able to win even after being eliminated from play! Each player can attack any other player (even their allies), and each player can target any player, permanent, spell, or anything else in the game. Decks are usually built following Standard deck-construction rules, but players can determine for themselves if they'd rather use Extended, Legacy, Vintage, or any other format.

    Star is the perfect variant for any group of players who has ever argued over which color in Magic is the best. Get your friends together and battle to find out. Then when the game is over, reset and find out if the winner can hold up a second time!

    Singleton

    In the Singleton format, no two cards in a player's deck can share a name unless they're basic lands (Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests). Players can use Standard, Extended, Legacy, or Vintage deckbuilding rules. Building a deck that works consistently yet contains no duplicates can be a creative challenge, or it can be the perfect format to take advantage of a small card collection that might not have multiple copies of rare cards. Singleton decks lead to games that are more varied, more interesting (as you see cards you may not normally see), and—maybe—more fun!

    Prismatic

    Prismatic is the format for fans of big, fun, five-color decks

    Each Prismatic deck must contain at least 250 cards, including at least 20 cards of each color. If a card is multicolored, you choose which of its colors to count it as for this purpose. For example, a red-green card can count as one of your 20 red cards or one of your 20 green cards, but not both.

    Prismatic games use the "big deck mulligan" rule. If the first player's initial hand of cards has 0, 1, 6, or 7 lands in it, that player can mulligan and draw a new hand of 7 cards (rather than the usual 6). If the player does, each other player has the option to do the same, regardless of how many lands are in his or her hand. After that round of mulligans is over, the next player has the option to take a big deck mulligan. If that player does, it would again allow everyone else to take one too, and so on. Once all the big deck mulligans are over, each player may mulligan as normal (drawing one fewer card each time).

    For more information and discussions about the Magic Online Prismatic format, please visit the Magic Online Prismatic discussion forum (English only).

    Vanguard

    The Vanguard format allows players to play with a special extra "card" that modifies the rules of the game just for them. You enter a Vanguard game with a normal Constructed deck in the format of your choice, plus a preselected Vanguard card. Players must agree on which format (Standard, Extended, Legacy, or Vintage) they will use to build their decks.

    A Vanguard card modifies your starting (and maximum) hand size, as well as your starting life total. It also contains one or more abilities. Sometimes they're abilities that you can play; sometimes they're abilities that just change aspects of the game. Any abilities printed on a Vanguard card work exactly like those of an in-play Magic card. Note, however, that Vanguard cards are colorless, aren't permanents, aren't in play, and aren't even really cards—so they can't be affected by spells or abilities.

    A number of Vanguard cards were printed around the time the Tempest set was released. For a list of the Vanguard cards that were released in physical form, click here (English only). In Magic Online, each avatar can double as a Vanguard card. You can find more information about them here.

    Build Your Own Standard

    Have you ever wondered what Standard would have been like had Fifth Edition been the core set while the Mirrodin block was legal? Or how Ravnica block would have combined with Lorwyn block? Build Your Own Standard lets players experience exactly that!

    Each player chooses a core set (Tenth Edition, Ninth Edition, etc.) and two blocks (Time Spiral block, Ice Age block, etc.) to create their own Standard world. Build Your Own Standard is the perfect opportunity to create your own world for exploring what could have been.

    Build Your Own Block

    Similar to Build Your Own Standard, Build Your Own Block lets you create your very own Block Constructed environment and find out how sets from different blocks might have played with one another. Each player selects the first set from any block (such as Zendikar or Return to Ravnica), the second set from any block (such as Planar Chaos or Mirrodin Besieged), and the third set from any block (such as Scourge or Avacyn Restored). That player then builds a Constructed deck using only cards from those three sets. He or she will then play against opponents using the same deckbuilding constraints, but not necessarily the same sets!

    Build Your Own Block is a fun way to find out how the tribes of Lorwyn would have fared when combined with the tribes of Legions and Scourge, or how an artifact set like Mirrodin might have interacted with Urza's Legacy. It's up to you to come up with innovative new decks using all the flavor of the game's many expansions.

    Block Party

    Block Party falls somewhere between Block Constructed and Build Your Own Block. Each player chooses his or her favorite block and builds a Block Constructed deck. The twist is that each player's favorite block may be different! That means the best decks from Scars of Mirrodin block could do battle against decks from the original Mirrodin block. Or you can see how the dual lands of the Return to Ravnica block would fare against the beleaguered denizens of the Innistrad block. Players build decks according to the Block Constructed rules from each of their blocks (including their Banned Lists, if any) and play following the normal Block Constructed rules.

     

    Multiplayer

    Free-for-All/Circle

    In Free-for-All multiplayer games, a group of players compete as individuals against each other. Players are seated randomly in a circle, and turns progress one player at a time clockwise around the table.

    Before the game starts, make sure that everyone agrees on how attacking is going to work. Players can "attack left," in which the only legal player to attack is the one sitting directly to that player's left, "attack right," or "attack multiple players." If the "attack multiple players" option is chosen, players may attack different players within the same attack. The same option applies to everyone in the game.

    Regardless of which attack rule is chosen, any player may target any player, permanent, spell, or anything else in the game.

    A player wins a Free-for-All game when all of his or opponents have lost, or when a spell or ability specifically says that player wins the game.

    Chaos

    Chaos Magic is a variant of Free-for-All that adds something called a "Chaos Deck" to the game to create new and exciting challenges for players. The Chaos deck consists of 20–30 cards selected by some of the players involved. The player who goes first is designated the Chaos player; before that player untaps at the beginning of his or her turn, that player flips a card from the Chaos Deck face up on the table. That card is considered "in effect" until the Chaos player flips a different card after a full series of turns. The active Chaos card isn't in play and can't be affected by spells or abilities. Any player may use any abilities granted by the card, or, if it has a specific effect, each player immediately resolves the effect.

    If the Chaos player is eliminated from the game, the next time that player's turn would have started, the mantle of Chaos player is passed to the first player to the left that's still in the game.

    Examples of cards that could be used for a Chaos decks include Armageddon (which destroys all lands when it's flipped over), Kumano, Master Yamabushi (which allows each player to repeatedly spend 1 ManaRed Mana to deal 1 damage to a creature or player), and Howling Mine (which has each player to draw an additional card during his or her draw step). What cards will be in your Chaos Deck? That's up to you!

    Grand Melee

    Ever wondered whether you could play a game of Magic with ten or more players at the same time? Grand Melee is a variant of Free-for-All that lets you do exactly that! The Grand Melee format is normally used only in games begun with ten or more players. It has a slightly more complex set of rules than a normal Free-for-All game.

    Players sit around the table exactly as they would for a Free-for-All game, choosing their seats randomly. Unlike that variant, however, each player has a "range of influence" of 1. This means their spells and abilities can affect only themselves and players within one seat of their own: the player directly to the left and the player directly to the right. For the most part, everyone else in the game is treated as though they didn't exist. For example, if you play Wrath of God, it'll destroy only the creatures controlled by you and your two neighbors, and if you play Coalition Victory, it'll cause only your two neighbors to lose the game. Furthermore, players are allowed to attack only the player immediately to their left.

    The most innovative twist in Grand Melee is that the variant allows multiple players to take turns at the same time! Rotating "turn markers" keep track of which players are currently taking turns. Each turn marker, which can be represented by a button or coin or anything else you have handy, represents an active player's turn. There is one turn marker for each full four players in the game, meaning a Grand Melee game with 16 players has four turn markers, while a game with 15 players has three turn markers.

    The player who starts the game gets the first turn marker. The player four seats to that player's left (the fifth player) takes the second turn marker, and so on until all the turn markers have been handed out. Each turn marker is assigned a number in this way. Then all players with turn markers start their turns at the same time. When a player ends his or her turn, that player passes the turn marker to the player on his or her left. A player can't receive a turn marker if the player the three seats to his or her left already has one. If this is the case, the turn marker waits until the player four seats to his or her left takes the other turn marker. If an effect gives a player an extra turn and that player currently has a turn marker, he or she holds on to the marker and takes that turn. If it's not that player's turn, however, that player instead takes the extra turn immediately before his or her next turn.

    If a player leaves the game and that player's leaving would reduce the number of turn markers in the game, a turn marker is removed. This doesn't happen immediately; turn markers are removed only between turns. The turn marker that's removed is the one closest to the departed player's right. If more than one player has left the game and there are multiple turn markers that could be removed, remove the marker with the lower number.

    The last player to survive wins!

    While all of this might seem confusing, it's much more important to shuffle up and play than it is to understand all the tricky nuances. If you're looking for a fantastic way to spend a weekend afternoon, you can't go wrong with a raucous game of Grand Melee with your friends!

     

    Emperor

    The Emperor variant involves two teams of three players each. Each team sits together on one side of the table, with team members deciding the order in which they're seated. Each team has one "emperor," which is the player seated in the middle of the team. The remaining players on the team are "generals" whose job is to protect their emperor while attempting to take down the opposing emperor. Players randomly determine which emperor will go first, generally using the high roll on dice, and turn order then progresses to the left.

    Emperors have a "range of influence" of 2, which means that their spells and abilities affect only themselves and players within two seats of their own. In other words, at the start of the game, they can affect everyone except the opposing emperor. Generals have a range of influence of 1. At the start of the game, they can't affect the opposing emperor either. The only way to get an opposing emperor within your range of influence is to defeat an opposing general!

    Players may attack only opponents seated immediately next to them. This means that at the beginning of the game, emperors can't attack anyone because no opponent is sitting next to them.

    Each player plays as an individual. Players can collaborate by looking at each other's hands and discussing strategy, but each player keeps a separate life total (starting at 20), hand, library, battlefield, and so on. The one difference is the "deploy creatures" option. Each of the emperor's creature has the ability "{T}: Target teammate gains control of this creature. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery." Keep in mind that when a player is eliminated from the game, all cards he or she owns (including creatures controlled by other players) are removed from the game. If that player controlled permanents that are owned by other players, they'll stay in the game and go back to whichever player should be controlling them now.

    Winning and losing an Emperor game works differently than normal. A team wins the game when the opposing emperor has been eliminated. It doesn't matter whether the losing team has any generals remaining or not. This also means that a general that's been eliminated from the game can still win if his or her team eliminates the opposing emperor later on!

    The Emperor format can be played with more than two teams; in that case, the appropriate Free-for-All rules are applied. The format can also be played with more than three members on each team, as long as each team has the same number. Each extra player on a team is an additional general. That means that some generals won't be sitting next to an opponent (they'll be between two teammates), so they can't attack anyone at the beginning of the game. Be sure to increase the range of influences accordingly.

    Commander

    Commander starts with the rules for multiplayer Free-for-All games, in which any number of players compete against each other as individuals. It's played with the Singleton format (in other words, except for basic lands, each card in your deck must have a different name), and each player starts with a life total of 40 rather than the usual 20. Most importantly, the centerpiece of each deck is a legendary creature that serves as that deck's commander.

    To build a deck, you first choose a legendary creature, called a "commander" or "general," then construct a Singleton deck around it containing exactly 99 other cards. Only cards of the commander's color(s) and colorless cards may be included in the deck. (Note that split cards and hybrid cards count as all of their colors.) In fact, if a card contains a mana symbol anywhere on it that's not one of your commander's colors, you can't include it in that deck! Within the game, if you would add mana to your mana pool that's a color not shared by your commander, you get colorless mana instead.

    Appropriately enough for a format named after the legendary creature that's leading your team, your commander works differently from other cards in the game. Before the game begins, each player removes his or her commander from the game. You may play your commander from the command zone for its normal costs plus an additional {2} for each previous time it has been played this way. If your commander would go to the graveyard from anywhere, you may remove it from the game instead. In addition to the normal Magic loss conditions, if a player is dealt 21 points of combat damage from a single commander over the course of the game, that player loses the game!

    It somehow makes sense that such a larger-than-life format was invented up in the wilds of Alaska. Its originators used commanders only from the Legends set, including (and especially!) the Elder Dragons such as Chromium and Nicol Bolas. Over time, the format spread. It became popular among judges, who would play it into the wee hours of the night following a hard day's officiating at a Pro Tour or Grand Prix event. (You can read more about their rules here.) It soon reached the mainstream and has become a favorite format in casual playgroups everywhere, from the kitchen table down the street to Magic Online to the Wizards of the Coast headquarters!

    For more information and discussions about the Magic Online 100 Card Singleton–Commander format, please visit the Magic Online 100 Card Singleton–Commander discussion forum (English only).

     

    Alternative

    Fat Stack

    If you're looking for a format you can play with friends who don't have Magic cards of their own, Fat Stack is ideal. To prepare, create two stacks of cards that are used as communal libraries. The first stack features cards that can't produce mana, and the second stack features only lands and other cards that can produce mana (such as Dark Ritual, Birds of Paradise, or Fellwar Stone).

    Whenever each player draws a card, he or she may do so from either stack. (All players know which stack is which.) This includes the seven cards in each player's opening hand. Choosing which stack of cards you'll draw from each turn is a fascinating challenge: Do you want to draw ways to produce mana that will help you play the cards in your hand, or do you want to draw cards that allow you to use the mana you can already produce? Players share both stacks of cards as a library and also use a communal graveyard. You can play Fat Stack as a two-player game, or as a multiplayer Free-for-All.

    Many players enjoy Fat Stack because the game setup is very quick once someone has put together the stacks of cards to be used in a game, and it allows players to participate despite not having a large collection of Magic cards.

    Mental Magic

    Sitting around waiting for the next round of your Magic tournament to start? A game of Mental Magic is just what you need to get you through the time. All you need is an opponent and a stack of nonland cards to form both of your decks. Players start with seven-card hands, just like in a regular game of Magic, but all players draw from the same library of cards.

    Cards may be played in one of two ways:

    1. Any card may be played face down as a basic land that's capable of producing any color of mana. Although these lands are basic, they have no subtypes (they're not Swamps, for example). Note that players may still play only one land on each of their turns.

    2. A card may be played as any card in Magic with the same mana cost as that card—except for the card it actually is! For example, Fugitive Wizard (which has a mana cost of Blue Mana) could be played as Cursecatcher, Unsummon, or Ancestral Recall, but couldn't be played as Fugitive Wizard. In order to "mentally" play a card, a player must be able to accurately describe its card text with no outside help.

    Once a card has been named, that card can't be named again for the rest of the game. In fact, if a card is returned to your hand and you want to play it again, you can't name the card you named before. You have to choose a different card with that mana cost.

    There are some additional Mental Magic rules that you can play with or not as your group sees fit. Cards in your hand, graveyard, or anywhere else other than in play have no names—but they do have types and subtypes. If you play Raise Dead or Duress, for example, read what's actually printed on the card. Also, library-searching effects don't work. If you play a spell or ability that tells you to search your library, that part of the effect doesn't do anything. For a more in-depth discussion, see Mike Flores's Mental Magic feature article.

    Mental Magic challenges players' knowledge of Magic and allows for a quick, fun way to pass the time between matches. It also challenges players to figure out whether the 3 ManaBlue Mana card in their hand is better played as Ray of Command, Phantasmal Forces, or simply as a rainbow land!

    Reverse Mental Magic

    The rules in Reverse Mental Magic are the same as Mental Magic with a single twist: your opponent gets to name the card you're playing! Players still draw from the same communal deck of nonland cards, they can still play cards in their hand face down as lands that produce any color of mana, and cards still can't be played as themselves.

    The difference is that you don't know what spell you're playing when you play it. For example, if you've got a 2 ManaBlack Mana card in your hand, you'll tap three lands, show the card to your opponent, and then your opponent tries to think of the least scary card with that mana cost and name it. Players can't help but enjoy themselves as they watch their opponents struggle to name weak cards, only to eventually run out of options and provide their enemy with something to do them in. Reverse Mental Magic is a great alternative for those players already well versed in regular Mental Magic play.

    DC10/Type 4

    DC10, sometimes referred to as Type 4, is a Magic: The Gathering multiplayer variant that leads to some wild situations. To play, shuffle up a stack of cards and place it in the center of the table. Any number of players each draw a hand of seven cards, then roll dice to determine who will play first. Play then moves clockwise around the table from the first player. That may seem like a pretty typical game of Magic, but things from there get a bit crazy.

    First, there are no lands in DC10. Instead, all players have access to an unlimited amount of mana in any color or combination of colors they choose. But that doesn't mean everyone can simply play each card in their hand—the game restricts players to playing only one spell per turn. DC10 games are defined by big plays being trumped by even bigger plays, generally around a table of Magic enthusiasts loudly cajoling one another and enjoying a format that can truly be described as whimsical.

    For additional variations to the game, some players choose to pre-design the stack of cards they'll play with (similar to building a cube for Cube Draft) or restrict participants to being able to perform actions only a certain number of times each turn (meaning a player casting the card Fireball might be able to spend only 10 mana, or a player activating a Masticore's ability could do so only 10 times).

    • Planeswalker Points
    • Facebook Twitter
    • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
    • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
    • Magic Locator