Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

If you’re a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) enthusiast, you’ll know that there are several different formats to choose from. From Standard to Modern, each format has its own unique set of rules and gameplay dynamics. But what exactly sets these formats apart from one another? In this article, we’ll dive into the key differences between MTG formats, exploring the unique characteristics that make each one special. So, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the world of MTG, get ready to discover the exciting world of format variations and how they can change the way you play the game.

Quick Answer:
Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has several different formats, each with its own unique rules and gameplay. The most popular formats include Standard, Modern, and Legacy. Standard is the most recent format and only includes cards that have been released in the last two years. Modern allows for a wider range of cards, including some that are several years old. Legacy is the oldest format and allows for a wide range of cards, including some that are more than 20 years old. Each format has its own unique strategy and gameplay, and players may choose to play in different formats depending on their personal preferences and the cards they have available.

Understanding Magic: The Gathering

Magic: The Gathering Basics

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) is a popular collectible card game that has been enjoyed by players worldwide for over three decades. To fully understand the differences between MTG formats, it is important to have a basic understanding of the game itself.

In MTG, players take on the role of powerful wizards known as planeswalkers, who can summon creatures, cast spells, and use artifacts to defeat their opponents. The game is played using a deck of cards, which can be customized to suit each player’s preferred playstyle.

There are two main types of cards in MTG: creatures and non-creature spells. Creatures are cards that represent characters or creatures from the game’s fantasy world, and they can attack and defend against other creatures. Non-creature spells, on the other hand, are cards that do not represent characters or creatures, but instead have a variety of effects, such as drawing cards, destroying other cards, or manipulating the game’s resources.

In MTG, players use mana to cast spells and summon creatures. Mana is a resource that is generated by the player’s land cards, and it is used to pay the cost of spells and creatures. Each spell and creature card has a mana cost, which indicates how much mana is required to play it. Players must manage their mana carefully to ensure that they have enough to cast their spells and summon their creatures.

Overall, understanding the basics of MTG is essential for players who want to participate in any of the game’s many formats. Whether it’s Standard, Modern, Legacy, or one of the many other formats, knowing the fundamentals of the game will help players to understand the rules and strategies that are unique to each format.

Game Formats

Introduction to game formats

In Magic: The Gathering, game formats refer to the different ways in which players can play the game. Each format has its own unique rules and gameplay mechanics, which can affect the strategies and decks that are used. Understanding the different game formats is crucial for any player looking to excel in the game.

Types of formats

There are several types of formats in Magic: The Gathering, including:

  1. Constructed formats: These formats involve players building their own decks using a set of predetermined cards. Examples include Standard, Modern, and Commander.
  2. Limited formats: These formats involve players building decks using a pool of randomly assigned cards. Examples include Sealed Deck and Draft.
  3. Non-Standard formats: These formats are not sanctioned by Wizards of the Coast and have their own unique rules and restrictions. Examples include Un-Set and Vintage.

The importance of format-specific strategies

Each game format has its own unique strategies and gameplay mechanics, which can affect the cards that are played and the decks that are built. For example, in a Constructed format like Standard, players will focus on building decks with powerful cards that are currently in standard rotation, while in a Limited format like Sealed Deck, players will focus on building decks using the cards they are randomly assigned.

In addition, some cards and strategies that are powerful in one format may be weaker or completely banned in another format. Therefore, it is important for players to understand the differences between the different game formats and to adapt their strategies accordingly. By understanding the specific strategies and gameplay mechanics of each format, players can make informed decisions about which cards to play and how to build their decks, which can ultimately lead to greater success in the game.

Sealed Deck Format

Key takeaway:

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) offers a variety of game formats, each with its own unique rules and strategies. Some of the main formats include Constructed, Limited, Vintage, Pioneer, and Commander. In Constructed formats, players build decks using cards from their personal collections, while in Limited formats, players build decks using a fixed number of booster packs or boxes. In Vintage and Pioneer formats, players can use any card from any set, with some restrictions. In Commander format, players use legendary creatures as their commanders and build decks with up to 100 cards. Finally, the Limited-Commander format combines the strategy of Limited formats with the power of Commander. To excel in any MTG format, players must understand the rules and strategies specific to that format.

Sealed Deck Format Overview

The Sealed Deck format is one of the most popular formats in Magic: The Gathering. In this format, players are given a pool of cards and are required to construct a deck using only those cards. This format is different from other formats, such as Standard or Modern, where players can use any card from their collection to build their deck.

One of the main differences between Sealed Deck and other formats is the element of randomness. In Sealed Deck, players do not know what cards they will receive in their pool, which adds an element of surprise and excitement to the game. This also means that players must adapt their strategies on the fly, as they may not have access to the cards they need to execute their planned strategy.

Another key difference between Sealed Deck and other formats is the emphasis on deck construction. In Sealed Deck, players must use the cards they are given to build a cohesive and effective deck. This requires players to have a strong understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each card, as well as how to combine them to create a powerful strategy.

Overall, the Sealed Deck format is a unique and exciting way to play Magic: The Gathering, with its own set of rules and strategies. Whether you are a seasoned player or a newcomer to the game, the Sealed Deck format is a great way to challenge yourself and try out new decks and strategies.

Sealed Deck Format Variations

Draft

  • Gameplay: In a draft format, players each start with a pool of unopened boosters and take turns drafting cards from the pool. The player who drafts a card gets to keep it, and the remaining cards are passed to the next player.
  • Objective: The objective of the game is to build a deck that can defeat the opponent’s deck.
  • Strategy: Draft games often involve building a deck with a specific theme or strategy in mind, such as a creature-heavy deck or a control deck.
  • Deck Size: Decks are typically 60 cards.

Sealed Singleton

  • Gameplay: Players start with a pool of cards from a single sealed booster and must build a deck containing exactly 60 cards, with no more than four copies of any given card.
  • Objective: The objective of the game is to defeat the opponent’s deck using a combination of spells, creatures, and lands.
  • Strategy: Sealed Singleton games often involve careful deck-building decisions, as players must balance the need for powerful cards with the need for consistency and versatility.

Sealed Mirrodin

  • Strategy: Sealed Mirrodin games often involve strategies centered around the “landscape” of the game world, such as building decks that take advantage of the various “plane” cards in the set.

Sealed Deck Format Examples

There are several examples of Sealed Deck format that showcase the unique characteristics of this game format. Here are a few notable examples:

Limited Resources Podcast

The Limited Resources podcast is a popular show that focuses on Sealed Deck and Draft formats in Magic: The Gathering. Hosted by LSV (Luis Scott-Vargas) and Eric Levine, the podcast features in-depth discussions and analysis of various limited formats, including Sealed Deck. The hosts share their strategies, card choices, and gameplay experiences, providing valuable insights for players looking to improve their Sealed Deck skills.

MTG Goldfish YouTube Channel

MTG Goldfish is a well-known YouTube channel that offers a wide range of Magic: The Gathering content, including Sealed Deck format videos. The channel’s creator, Goldfish, produces content that focuses on various limited formats, including Sealed Deck. His videos often feature gameplay highlights, deck tech, and strategic discussions, offering viewers a comprehensive understanding of the format and its intricacies.

By analyzing these examples, it becomes clear that the Sealed Deck format is a popular and engaging aspect of Magic: The Gathering. These resources demonstrate the diverse range of strategies, cards, and gameplay experiences that are possible within the format, showcasing the endless possibilities for creative deckbuilding and skillful play.

Booster Draft Format

Booster Draft Format Overview

Booster Draft is a popular format in Magic: The Gathering where players build decks by randomly selecting cards from booster packs. This format is often played in a casual setting or in organized events like Friday Night Magic at local game stores. The format’s unique drafting process and the need to adapt to unexpected card choices make it a challenging and exciting game mode.

How to play Booster Draft

Booster Draft is played with eight players, and each player starts with an empty deck. Players will open one booster pack at a time, and the player to the left of the dealer goes first. Each player will then choose one card from the pack and pass the remaining cards to the next player on their left. This process continues until each player has taken 15 cards, and then the drafting phase ends.

Players then have a limited amount of time to create a 40-card deck, including a maximum of four copies of any given card, and then they start playing the game. The objective is to reduce the opponent’s life total to zero using the spells, creatures, and lands in their deck.

Drafting process

The drafting process is a crucial aspect of Booster Draft, as it sets the foundation for each player’s deck. To ensure a fair and balanced draft, players should pay close attention to the order in which they pick cards.

In the first round, the player to the left of the dealer picks first, and then the order alternates clockwise. Each player will pick one card from the pack during each round, with the exception of the last round, where players pick two cards. The last card chosen in each round is called the “bomb,” and it’s typically a powerful card that can greatly impact the game.

Winning strategies

Booster Draft requires a different mindset compared to other formats, as the randomness of the card selection adds an element of unpredictability. Here are some winning strategies to consider:

  • Identify synergies: Look for cards that work well together and create powerful combinations. For example, a deck focused on combat can benefit from powerful creatures and enchantments that increase their strength.
  • Be flexible: Since you don’t know what cards you’ll get, it’s essential to be prepared to adapt your strategy on the fly. Be ready to incorporate unexpected cards into your deck and pivot your strategy if necessary.
  • Watch your opponent’s draft: Pay attention to what cards your opponents are choosing, as it can give you insight into their strategy. Use this information to adjust your own strategy and potentially gain an advantage.
  • Bait and switch: If you know your opponent is targeting a specific card, consider offering them a different card with similar functionality to throw them off your scent. This can help you keep your key cards and catch your opponent off guard.

Booster Draft Format Variations

Two-Player Booster Draft

Two-Player Booster Draft is a variation of the standard Booster Draft format that is played by two players only. In this format, each player constructs a deck from the cards they draft from the booster packs. The game is played with each player having a life total of 20 starting points, and the first player to reduce their opponent’s life total to zero wins the game. This format is great for casual play or for players who want to try out new decks before playing in a larger group.

Commander Draft

Commander Draft is another variation of the Booster Draft format that is designed for the popular Commander format. In this format, each player drafts a commander card from the booster packs, and then constructs a deck around that commander. The game is played with each player having a life total of 40 starting points, and the first player to reduce their opponent’s life total to zero wins the game. This format is great for players who want to experiment with different commander strategies and build decks around specific commanders.

Archenemy Draft

Archenemy Draft is a variation of the Booster Draft format that is designed for multiplayer games with a twist. In this format, one player takes on the role of the “Archenemy,” who controls a powerful deck of monsters and spells. The other players draft decks from the booster packs and try to defeat the Archenemy. The Archenemy starts the game with a life total of 20 starting points, and the other players start with 10 starting points. The first player to reduce the Archenemy’s life total to zero wins the game, but the Archenemy can also win by reducing all of the other players’ life totals to zero. This format is great for players who want to play a more interactive and social game, with one player taking on a more challenging role.

Booster Draft Format Examples

Booster Draft is a popular Limited format in Magic: The Gathering where players open booster packs, select one card from each pack, and pass the remaining cards to the next player. Here are some examples of Booster Draft format from popular YouTube channels:

MTGCast YouTube Channel

MTGCast is a well-known Magic: The Gathering podcast that also features content on Booster Draft format. In their “MTGCast #589 – [Standard] Modern Horizons 2 Draft” video, they explain the rules and strategies of drafting in the Modern Horizons 2 set. They also provide insightful analysis of each card and how it can be used in a Booster Draft format.

MTG Salty Nerds YouTube Channel

MTG Salty Nerds is another popular YouTube channel that features content on Booster Draft format. In their “MTG Salty Nerds #230 – MH2 Booster Draft” video, they showcase a live Booster Draft game using the Modern Horizons 2 set. They provide commentary on each pick and explain the reasoning behind their choices. They also provide tips and tricks for drafting in this format.

Constructed Format

Constructed Format Overview

Constructed Format is one of the most popular formats in Magic: The Gathering. In this format, players build their own decks using a combination of cards from their personal collections, and they compete against each other with their custom-built decks. The goal of the game is to reduce your opponent’s life total to zero, using a combination of spells, creatures, and other cards in your deck.

In Constructed Format, players are allowed to use any card that is legal in the specified set or sets. For example, in a Standard Constructed tournament, players can use any card that is legal in the current Standard format. This includes cards from the most recent set releases, as well as older cards that are still legal in the format.

One of the key aspects of Constructed Format is deck construction. Players must carefully choose which cards to include in their decks, taking into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of each card, as well as how they will interact with each other. A well-constructed deck will have a good balance of cards that can generate threats, control the board, and protect your life total.

In terms of strategies for winning, Constructed Format allows for a wide range of approaches. Some players prefer to build aggressive decks that focus on dealing damage quickly and overwhelming their opponents, while others prefer to build more control-oriented decks that focus on disrupting their opponents’ plans and setting up their own win conditions. There are also many midrange decks that fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

Overall, Constructed Format offers a high level of flexibility and variety, allowing players to experiment with different card combinations and strategies. Whether you prefer fast and aggressive gameplay or slow and methodical play, there is a Constructed Format for you.

Constructed Format Variations

Standard

  • The most widely played format of MTG.
  • Decks are built from a pool of sets released in the last two years.
  • All cards from the chosen pool are legal to play with.
  • No restrictions on how many copies of a card can be included in a deck.
  • Changes to the legal card pool every three months, based on the latest set releases.

Modern

  • Introduced in 2011, it’s a non-rotating format.
  • Legal cards come from the past ten years of MTG sets.
  • Banned list exists to restrict powerful cards that could dominate the format.
  • Cards from the Modern format can be played in Standard as well.

Pioneer

  • Introduced in 2019, it’s a rotating format that cycles through the recent sets.
  • The card pool consists of the two most recent block’s worth of sets.
  • Designed to provide a fresh experience with each new set release.
  • Popularity of Pioneer has led to its adoption in many tournaments and events.

Constructed Format Examples

StarCityGames.com

StarCityGames.com is a popular website that offers a wide range of Magic: The Gathering content, including articles, videos, and live event coverage. Their Constructed format section provides detailed analysis of various formats, such as Standard, Modern, and Pioneer. The articles cover decklists, sideboard strategies, and gameplay analysis, offering players insights into the latest trends and metagame developments.

ChannelFireball YouTube Channel

The ChannelFireball YouTube Channel is another valuable resource for Magic: The Gathering players. Their Constructed format content includes video series such as “Deck Tech” and “Modern Masters,” where experts discuss the latest decks and strategies in various formats. The channel also hosts live streams of tournaments, allowing viewers to watch top players in action and learn from their games.

These examples showcase the wealth of content available online for players looking to improve their skills in the Constructed format. By studying the strategies and tactics employed by top players, anyone can gain valuable insights and build more effective decks.

Limited Format

Limited Format Overview

In the world of Magic: The Gathering (MTG), Limited Format refers to a format of play where players build decks using a fixed number of booster packs or boxes. The goal is to win the game by depleting the opponent’s life total to zero. Here are some key aspects of Limited Format in MTG:

  • How to play Limited:
    • Each player starts with a deck consisting of 60 cards.
    • Each player draws a random hand of seven cards.
    • The player who draws the first card starts the game.
    • On each turn, players can play land cards from their hand to produce mana, cast spells, and use abilities.
    • Players can also use mana to activate abilities on their cards, including casting instant and sorcery spells.
    • The game ends when one player’s life total is reduced to zero.
  • Deck construction:
    • In Limited Format, players build decks using a fixed number of booster packs or boxes.
    • Each booster pack contains 15 cards, including rare, uncommon, and common cards.
    • Players can choose to keep some of the cards they open and put the rest into their sideboard.
    • The sideboard is a separate area where players can swap out cards during the game to adjust to their opponent’s deck.
    • Players must have at least 60 cards in their deck, including at least one land card.
  • Strategies for winning:
    • In Limited Format, the key to winning is to build a deck that has a good balance of creatures, spells, and lands.
    • Creatures are important because they can attack and defend, while also generating mana.
    • Spells are important because they can disrupt the opponent’s strategy, draw cards, and deal damage.
    • Lands are important because they provide mana, which is necessary to play spells and abilities.
    • Players should also consider the color of their cards when building their deck, as each color has its own strengths and weaknesses.
    • For example, red is good for aggressive strategies, while blue is good for control strategies.
    • Finally, players should consider the metagame when building their deck, as certain strategies may be more effective against certain types of decks.

Limited Format Variations

  • Draft
    • Players draft cards from a pool of available cards to create a deck of 40 cards.
    • Each player has a limited amount of time to make their picks.
    • Players then use their drafted cards to play against each other.
  • Sealed
    • Players open a number of booster packs and choose cards from those packs to create a deck of 40 cards.
    • Players do not know what cards they will receive in the packs.
    • Players then use their sealed decks to play against each other.
  • Two-Player
    • Two-player games are played between two players, rather than the standard four players in other formats.
    • The format is typically used for games that are focused on individual matches, rather than a larger tournament.
    • Players can use any cards from their collection, and do not need to follow the restrictions of a specific format.

Limited Format Examples

  • Limited Resources Podcast
    • Hosted by Marshall Sutcliffe and Josh Lee Kelley
    • Discusses various Limited Magic formats
    • Focuses on deckbuilding, strategy, and analysis
    • Regular guests include professional Magic players and content creators
  • MTG Goldfish YouTube Channel
    • Created and hosted by Seth Manfield
    • Offers video content on Limited Magic formats
    • Includes deck tech, live drafts, and analysis
    • Has a strong focus on Modern and Draft formats
    • Collaborates with other Magic content creators for special series

Vintage Format

Vintage Format Overview

The Vintage format is one of the oldest and most prestigious formats in Magic: The Gathering. It is a free-for-all format that allows players to use any card from any set, with a few restrictions.

How to play Vintage

To play Vintage, players must first construct a deck of 60 cards, which can include up to four copies of any given card. The deck must also include a minimum of 20 land cards. Players then draw a hand of seven cards and use mana to play cards from their hand onto the battlefield.

The game is played with the objective of reducing the opponent’s life total to zero. Players can use spells, creatures, and other cards to attack their opponent’s life total directly, or they can use cards to disrupt their opponent’s game plan.

Deck construction

Deck construction in Vintage is highly varied, as players have access to a wide range of cards from throughout Magic’s history. Some popular strategies include aggro decks that use creatures and direct damage spells to quickly take down the opponent, control decks that use counterspells and removal to disrupt the opponent’s game plan, and combo decks that use a combination of cards to generate a powerful effect.

Players must also consider the color of their cards when constructing their deck, as Vintage is a color-based format. Each player can use any combination of colors, but certain color combinations are more powerful than others.

Strategies for winning

There are many different strategies that players can use to win in Vintage. Some popular strategies include combo decks that use a combination of cards to generate a powerful effect, control decks that use counterspells and removal to disrupt the opponent’s game plan, and aggro decks that use creatures and direct damage spells to quickly take down the opponent.

In addition to these strategies, players must also pay close attention to the format’s unique cards, such as the Moxen and Black Lotus, which can have a significant impact on the game.

Overall, Vintage is a highly diverse and complex format that requires players to have a deep understanding of Magic’s history and a wide range of strategies in order to be successful.

Vintage Format Variations

Eternal

  • Eternal Format is a variation of the Vintage format that includes a limited number of cards from the most recent sets.
  • The goal of this format is to create a more accessible version of Vintage while still maintaining the strategic depth and complexity of the format.
  • Eternal is played with a 60-card deck, and features a starting life total of 40, with the option to play with an additional 15-card sideboard.
  • Some of the most popular cards in Eternal include Mox Opal, Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, and Time Walk.

Legacy

  • Legacy Format is another variation of the Vintage format that is played with a wider range of cards, including some that are banned in the standard Vintage format.
  • The format is characterized by its high level of complexity and the variety of strategies that are viable.
  • Legacy is played with a 100-card deck, and features a starting life total of 40, with the option to play with an additional 15-card sideboard.
  • Some of the most popular cards in Legacy include Mox Pearl, Mox Sapphire, Mox Jet, Bazaar of Baghdad, and Ancestral Recall.

Commander

  • Commander Format is a casual variant of the Vintage format that is played with a 100-card deck and a randomly selected commander card.
  • The goal of this format is to create a more social and accessible version of Vintage, with a focus on fun and creativity.
  • Commander is played with a starting life total of 40, and allows players to use any card that is legal in the Vintage format, with some exceptions for cards that are too powerful or disruptive.
  • Some of the most popular commanders in the format include Karn, the Great Creator, Griselbrand, Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, and Azami, Lady of Scrolls.

Vintage Format Examples

Brainstorm Brewery YouTube Channel

The Brainstorm Brewery YouTube channel is a popular platform for Magic: The Gathering content, including Vintage format discussions. The channel features a variety of hosts who are knowledgeable and experienced in the Vintage format, providing insightful analysis and strategy discussions. They also cover tournaments, deck tech, and card reviews, making it a valuable resource for players looking to improve their gameplay in the Vintage format.

Vintage Cube Cards

Vintage Cube cards are a specific type of card used in the Vintage format. These cards are randomly selected from a pool of powerful and iconic cards, creating a unique and challenging experience for players. The cards used in a Vintage Cube are typically expensive and highly sought after, making it a format that requires a significant investment in terms of both time and money. The Vintage Cube format is popular among experienced players who are looking for a new and exciting challenge.

Commander Format

Commander Format Overview

The Commander format is a popular multiplayer format in Magic: The Gathering, where players can play with a 100-card deck and choose a legendary creature to serve as their commander. The chosen commander is shuffled into the deck and treated as a regular card, with a color identity and deck-building restrictions that are based on the commander’s color and abilities.

In Commander, players can build decks around a specific theme or strategy, using cards from any set that has been released for Magic: The Gathering. This allows for a wide range of creative deck-building options, as players can include powerful cards that might not be allowed in other formats.

Some of the key differences between Commander and other formats include:

  • The presence of a commander: As mentioned, players choose a legendary creature to serve as their commander, which affects the color identity and deck-building restrictions of their deck.
  • No sideboard: In Commander, players do not have access to a sideboard, which means that they must build their deck to be versatile and adaptable to any situation.
  • More lenient rules: The rules of Commander are generally more lenient than other formats, such as allowing players to play with fewer lands and having a lower starting life total.
  • No game loss: In Commander, players do not lose the game if they run out of cards in their deck, but instead draw a new hand of cards.
  • Focus on social interaction: Commander is often played in a more social setting, with players focusing on having fun and interacting with each other, rather than solely focusing on winning the game.

Overall, the Commander format provides a unique and fun multiplayer experience for Magic: The Gathering players, with a focus on creative deck-building and social interaction.

Commander Format Variations

Commander vs. Commander

One of the most popular variations of the Commander format is the head-to-head matchup known as “Commander vs. Commander.” In this variation, two players bring their own decks and face off against each other, with the objective of defeating their opponent’s commander. The game is played using the standard Commander rules, with each player starting with a starting life total of 40 and drawing a deck of seven cards. The game continues until one player’s life total reaches zero or both players agree to a draw.

Another variation of the Commander format is the “Commander Draft,” which involves drafting decks from a pool of pre-constructed decks. Each player is given a set of cards and must use them to build a deck that includes a commander. The game is played using the standard Commander rules, with each player starting with a starting life total of 40 and drawing a deck of seven cards. The game continues until one player’s life total reaches zero or both players agree to a draw.

Atla

Atla is a variation of the Commander format that is played with a pre-constructed deck that includes a specific commander. In this variation, players compete to be the first to reach a certain number of victory points, which are earned by defeating opponents or completing objectives. The game is played using the standard Commander rules, with each player starting with a starting life total of 40 and drawing a deck of seven cards. The game continues until one player reaches the required number of victory points or both players agree to a draw.

Commander Format Examples

MTG Commander YouTube Channel

  • MTG Commander is a popular YouTube channel that focuses on the Commander format of Magic: The Gathering.
  • The channel features videos on deck tech, gameplay, and strategy for playing in Commander games.
  • Viewers can also find videos on the latest card releases and how they can be used in Commander decks.

MTG Commander on Twitch

  • MTG Commander is also a popular category on Twitch, where many streamers focus on playing and discussing the Commander format.
  • Streamers often host games with friends or other streamers, providing viewers with a chance to see how the game is played and learn new strategies.
  • Viewers can also participate in chat and ask questions, making it a great way to learn about the format and connect with other Magic players.

Commander Duel Format

Commander Duel Format Overview

The Commander Duel format is a popular and exciting format that pits two players against each other, each playing with a deck of 100 cards. In this format, the objective is to reduce your opponent’s starting life total to zero, using creatures, spells, and other cards in your deck.

Here are some key aspects of the Commander Duel format:

  • Deck Construction: In Commander Duel, players build their decks around a specific commander card, which acts as the centerpiece of their strategy. The commander card is put into the command zone and can be cast for its commander cost whenever the player has enough mana. The deck can consist of up to four copies of any card, except for basic lands. Players can also include up to one copy of any card with the same name as their commander, but at a different time in their deck’s history.
  • Starting Hand: Each player starts the game with a hand of seven cards.
  • Turn Structure: Each turn consists of two main phases: the main phase and the combat phase. During the main phase, players can cast spells, use abilities, and play land cards. The combat phase is where players declare any attacks and blockers.
  • Mana: Players have access to one, two, and three color mana symbols. The colors are represented by the mana symbols in the top left corner of the card.
  • Card Types: There are several types of cards in Commander Duel, including creatures, artifacts, enchantments, instants, sorceries, and planeswalkers.
  • Winning the Game: The objective of the game is to reduce your opponent’s starting life total to zero. Players can achieve this by dealing direct damage to their opponent’s life total, using creatures and other cards to damage their opponent, or by using cards that cause their opponent to lose life directly.

In conclusion, the Commander Duel format is a fast-paced and exciting format that requires strategic thinking and deck-building skills. Players must carefully construct their decks around their chosen commander and use their resources effectively to defeat their opponent.

Commander Duel Format Variations

Best of 1

In the Best of 1 variation of the Commander Duel format, players face off against each other in a single game to determine the winner. This format is often used in casual settings or as a fun way to test out different decks and strategies. Since the game is only one game, it is important for players to have a well-rounded deck that can adapt to any situation.

Best of 3

The Best of 3 variation of the Commander Duel format is a little more formal than the Best of 1 variation. In this format, players play a best of three games series, with the first player to win two games being declared the winner. This format allows for more strategic play and deck building, as players can focus on building decks that can win in multiple ways.

Swiss

The Swiss variation of the Commander Duel format is a little different from the other variations. In this format, players are divided into pools based on their win-loss record, and then play against other players in their pool. This format is often used in more competitive settings, as it allows for a more even playing field and ensures that all players have a fair chance to win.

Overall, the variations of the Commander Duel format offer different levels of competition and strategy, allowing players to choose the format that best suits their playstyle and preferences. Whether you prefer the fast-paced action of the Best of 1 variation or the more strategic play of the Swiss variation, there is a Commander Duel format variation for everyone.

Commander Duel Format Examples

MTG Arena Commander

  • MTG Arena Commander is a popular format played on the Magic: The Gathering Arena platform.
  • Players in this format build a deck around a specific commander, which is a legendary creature that starts the game in the command zone and can be cast from the command zone for its commander tax.
  • The commander can also be cast from the graveyard for its commander tax, which can lead to interesting strategies and interactions.
  • Decks in MTG Arena Commander typically have a minimum of 90 cards, including a commander, and can have any number of basic land cards.
  • Some of the most popular commanders in MTG Arena Commander include Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisera, and General Tazri.

MTG Arena Commander Events

  • MTG Arena Commander events are special tournaments held on the Magic: The Gathering Arena platform that feature the Commander Duel format.
  • These events can range from small casual events to large-scale competitive tournaments with significant prizes.
  • MTG Arena Commander events often have their own unique rules and formats, such as bo1, bo3, or swiss rounds, and may also feature special themes or formats, such as the “Commander Challenge” or “Commander Showdown” events.
  • Players can participate in MTG Arena Commander events by signing up through the in-game client and playing against other players in the format.
  • MTG Arena Commander events can be a great way for players to test their skills and strategies in the format, and can also provide a fun and social environment for players to play the game.

Commander Gameplay

Commander Gameplay Overview

How to play Commander

Commander, also known as EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander), is a popular Magic: The Gathering format played by casual and competitive players alike. It is a free-for-all format, where each player creates a 100-card deck and the goal is to reduce the opponents’ life total to zero. The game starts with each player starting at 40 life, and each player starts with a 20-point life total.

In Commander, players are allowed to use any card from the game’s vast history, including rare and powerful cards that are usually banned in other formats. The format is characterized by its focus on fun, social interaction, and creative deck-building.

Deck construction

The deck construction in Commander is one of the most important aspects of the game. Each player is allowed to choose a legendary creature as their Commander, which becomes the centerpiece of their deck. The Commander is always in play, and it has its own color identity, which determines the colors of cards that can be played.

Players are allowed to have up to four copies of any given card in their deck, and there is no maximum deck size. This allows for a wide range of creative deck-building options, as players can choose to build their decks around a specific strategy or theme.

Strategies for winning

In Commander, the focus is on fun and social interaction, rather than just winning at all costs. Players are encouraged to build decks that are unique and creative, and to play the game in a way that is enjoyable for everyone at the table.

That being said, there are still strategies that can be employed to increase the chances of winning. Some popular strategies include combo decks that can quickly end the game, control decks that can slow down the opponents and manage the board, and aggro decks that can quickly overwhelm the opponents with small creatures.

Ultimately, the key to winning in Commander is to have fun and enjoy the game, while also employing effective strategies and making smart decisions.

Commander Gameplay Variations

Multiplayer

In multiplayer games, players team up with each other to take down their opponents. Each player brings their own commander deck to the table, and the game is played with a minimum of two players and a maximum of four players. The objective of the game is to reduce the opponents’ life totals to zero while protecting one’s own life total. Multiplayer games are often more strategic than single player games, as players must work together and coordinate their attacks to defeat their opponents.

Single Player

In single player games, the player takes on the role of the commander and faces off against an artificial intelligence (AI) opponent. The objective of the game is to reduce the AI’s life total to zero while protecting one’s own life total. Single player games are often faster and more straightforward than multiplayer games, as there is no need to coordinate with other players.

In commander vs. commander games, two players face off against each other with their own commander decks. The objective of the game is to reduce the opponent’s life total to zero while protecting one’s own life total. These games are often more intense and strategic than single player games, as players must anticipate and counter their opponent’s moves.

Commander Gameplay Examples

The MTG Goldfish YouTube channel is a popular resource for Commander players, offering a variety of gameplay examples and strategies. One of their most popular series is “Goldfish Bowl,” where they pit two Commander decks against each other in a best-of-three match. This series provides insight into the different strategies and synergies that can be used in Commander, as well as the interactions between various cards and rules.

The MTG Commander YouTube channel is another valuable resource for Commander players, offering a wide range of gameplay examples and tutorials. One of their most popular series is “The Command Zone,” where they review and discuss various Commander decks and strategies. This series provides in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different Commander decks, as well as tips and tricks for building and playing them. Additionally, they also have a series called “One vs One” where they play matches with two players, showcasing how different commanders and strategies interact with each other.

Team Constructed Format

Team Constructed Format Overview

Team Constructed Format is a popular Magic: The Gathering format that is played with teams of players working together to defeat their opponents. The format is designed to encourage teamwork, communication, and strategy, and it is a great way for players to enjoy the game with friends or fellow enthusiasts.

How to play Team Constructed

Team Constructed Format is played with teams of two or three players, each playing their own deck. Each player must construct their deck according to the rules of the format, which may include restrictions on card types, deck size, and other factors. Players work together to build a strategy and coordinate their attacks against their opponents.

In Team Constructed Format, each player constructs their own deck, but there are often restrictions on the types of cards that can be included. For example, a format may restrict the number of land cards that can be included in a deck, or it may limit the number of copies of a particular card that can be played. Players must carefully consider their options and build decks that are well-rounded and versatile, with a mix of offensive and defensive cards.

Winning in Team Constructed Format requires a strong strategy and good communication between teammates. Players must work together to identify their opponents’ weaknesses and exploit them, while also protecting their own cards and resources. Some popular strategies in Team Constructed Format include aggressive early-game plays, card draw spells to gain more resources, and powerful spells or abilities that can turn the tide of a game.

Overall, Team Constructed Format is a challenging and rewarding format that requires players to work together and think strategically. Whether you’re playing with friends or competing in a tournament, this format is a great way to enjoy the game of Magic: The Gathering.

Team Constructed Format Variations

Two-Headed Giant

Two-Headed Giant (2HG) is a Team Constructed format that is played with two players on each team. Each player plays with their own deck and shares life total with their teammate. The team wins when one player on the team wins and the other player loses.

In 2HG, players can trade cards with their teammate during the game, allowing for more strategic decision making and cooperation between teammates. Additionally, players can use their teammate’s resources to enhance their own deck, such as sharing creatures or using a teammate’s spell to gain an advantage.

Team Standard

Team Standard is a Team Constructed format that uses the Standard card pool. Each player on the team builds their own deck within the Standard format and plays with their own life total. The team wins when both players on the team win their respective games.

In Team Standard, players must build their decks within the constraints of the Standard format, which can limit the number of powerful cards that can be included in the deck. This can lead to more balanced games and less powerful decks.

Team Limited

Team Limited is a Team Constructed format that uses the Limited card pool. Each player on the team builds their own deck within the Limited format and plays with their own life total. The team wins when both players on the team win their respective games.

In Team Limited, players must build their decks within the constraints of the Limited format, which can limit the number of powerful cards that can be included in the deck. This can lead to more balanced games and less powerful decks. Additionally, players must work together to build their decks and share resources, leading to more cooperative gameplay.

Team Constructed Format Examples

StarCityGames.com is a popular website that hosts team constructed format events for Magic: The Gathering players. Their events typically feature a team format where players work together to build a deck and compete against other teams. The site offers a variety of team formats, including Two-Headed Giant (2HG), Commander, and more.

ChannelFireball is a popular YouTube channel that covers all aspects of Magic: The Gathering, including team constructed format events. They host a variety of team events, including 2HG, Commander, and more. The channel also features coverage of major team constructed format events, such as the Team Constructed Open, where players from around the world come together to compete in a team format.

Overall, these examples demonstrate the popularity and variety of team constructed format events in Magic: The Gathering. Whether you prefer the more casual and social format of Two-Headed Giant or the strategic and tactical challenges of Commander, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in team constructed format events and enjoy the unique aspects of team play in Magic: The Gathering.

Commander Challenge Format

Commander Challenge Format Overview

How to play Commander Challenge

In Commander Challenge, players face off against each other with a custom deck that they have built using a single “Commander” card as the centerpiece of their strategy. The Commander is a legendary creature or planeswalker that remains on the battlefield and can be cast again and again from the player’s deck. The goal of the game is to reduce the opponent’s life total to zero while protecting one’s own life total.

Each player starts with a starting hand of 20 cards and draws one card each turn. Players can cast spells, summon creatures, and use other abilities from their deck to gain an advantage over their opponent. The game ends when one player’s life total reaches zero.

Deck construction in Commander Challenge is more liberal than in other formats, with players allowed to include any card that is legal in Vintage or Legacy format. This means that players can include powerful cards such as Moxen, Black Lotus, and Ancestral Recall in their decks.

Players must also include a Commander card in their deck, which is placed on the battlefield at the beginning of the game and remains there throughout the match. The Commander card can be any legendary creature or planeswalker, and its abilities can play a significant role in the game.

In Commander Challenge, players must develop a strategy that revolves around their Commander card and the cards in their deck. Some popular strategies include using the Commander’s abilities to generate card advantage, building a powerful board state with creatures and artifacts, and using combos to create lethal combinations of effects.

Players must also consider the cards in their opponent’s deck and adjust their strategy accordingly. For example, if an opponent has a lot of removal spells, a player may want to include more ways to protect their Commander or creatures from being destroyed.

Overall, Commander Challenge requires players to think critically about their deck-building and gameplay strategies, and the variety of cards and strategies available makes each game unique and exciting.

Commander Challenge Format Variations

Two-Player Commander Challenge

The Two-Player Commander Challenge is a format specifically designed for one-on-one matches. Each player constructs a 99-card deck using a chosen commander as the general, and then engages in battle against their opponent. This format is particularly popular among players who enjoy a more strategic, tactical gameplay experience.

Four-Player Commander Challenge

In the Four-Player Commander Challenge, four players gather around a table to participate in a multiplayer game. Each player chooses a commander and constructs a 99-card deck, and then the game begins with a random order of play. This format offers a more social and interactive experience, as players can collaborate, negotiate, and interact with one another throughout the game.

Multi-Table Commander Challenge

The Multi-Table Commander Challenge is a large-scale event that involves multiple tables of players, each playing their own games simultaneously. In this format, players are divided into teams, with each team consisting of several players who all share a common commander. The teams compete against each other, with the winning team being determined by a combination of individual game wins and overall team performance. This format offers a highly competitive and dynamic experience, as players must work together with their teammates while also trying to outperform other teams.

Commander Challenge Format Examples

MTG Arena Commander Challenges

MTG Arena Commander Challenges are special game modes in the Magic: The Gathering Arena online platform that focus on the Commander format. These challenges typically involve players building decks using the Commander rules and facing off against other players in a series of matches.

Some examples of MTG Arena Commander Challenges include:

  • Sealed Commander: In this challenge, players are given a pre-constructed deck box containing a random selection of cards from the current set, and they must build a deck using only the cards in that box. Players then face off against each other in a series of matches, with the goal of winning as many games as possible.
  • Commander Showdown: This challenge pits two powerful Commander decks against each other, with players taking turns playing as both commanders. The objective is to reduce the opponent’s life total to zero, while also managing the board state and countering the opponent’s strategies.
  • Commander Gauntlet: In this challenge, players must win a series of matches using the same Commander deck. Each match is played against a different opponent, with the difficulty increasing as the player progresses through the gauntlet.

MTG Arena Commander Challenge Events

MTG Arena also hosts special events focused on the Commander format, such as:

  • Commander Showdown Events: These events feature high-level players battling it out with their favorite Commander decks, often with a specific theme or format.
  • Commander Cup Tournaments: These tournaments are open to all players and involve multiple rounds of Swiss-style matchups, with the top performers advancing to a single-elimination bracket to determine the winner.
  • Commander Festivals: These are large-scale events that celebrate the Commander format, featuring special guests, themed events, and opportunities for players to showcase their skills and knowledge of the format.

Limited-Commander Format

Limited-Commander Format Overview

The Limited-Commander format is a unique way to play Magic: The Gathering that combines the strategy of Limited formats with the power of Commander. In this format, players use a 99-card deck that includes a Commander card, which acts as a general on the battlefield.

To play Limited-Commander, each player starts with a deck of 99 cards, including a Commander card. The game is played using the Standard rules, with some modifications. Each player starts with 40 life points, and the game ends when one player’s life total reaches zero.

Deck construction in Limited-Commander is different from other formats. Players are allowed to include any card that is legal in the Standard format, with some exceptions. Additionally, players can include up to two cards with the same name in their deck, as long as they are different card types.

Winning in Limited-Commander requires a combination of strategic decision-making and careful resource management. Players must decide whether to focus on building a strong board presence or on disrupting their opponents’ plans. The use of the Commander card can be a game-changer, allowing players to rally their forces or unleash powerful spells.

In conclusion, the Limited-Commander format offers a unique and exciting way to play Magic: The Gathering. With its combination of Limited and Commander gameplay, it provides a new level of strategy and depth to the game.

Limited-Commander Format Variations

Draft Commander

  • Gameplay: In Draft Commander, players start with a limited pool of cards and then draft a 40-card deck, with the remaining cards going into a shared sideboard.
  • Objective: The objective of the game is to reduce the opponent’s life total to zero by attacking with creatures or using spells.
  • Deckbuilding: Deckbuilding in Draft Commander requires players to choose cards that work well together and complement each other’s strategies.
  • Special Rules: In Draft Commander, the “command zone” consists of a fixed set of cards, which are chosen at random and kept secret from players. Each player must use a commander card from this zone to start the game.

Sealed Commander

  • Gameplay: In Sealed Commander, players open a pre-constructed deck of cards and then build a 40-card deck, with the remaining cards going into a sideboard.
  • Deckbuilding: Deckbuilding in Sealed Commander requires players to evaluate the cards they have been dealt and choose cards that work well together and complement each other’s strategies.
  • Special Rules: In Sealed Commander, players can choose any card from their pre-constructed deck to use as their commander, but only one copy of each card can be used.

  • Gameplay: In Commander Draft, players start with a pool of uncommons and commons, and then draft a 40-card deck, with the remaining cards going into a shared sideboard.

  • Deckbuilding: Deckbuilding in Commander Draft requires players to choose cards that work well together and complement each other’s strategies, while also taking into account the limited pool of uncommons and commons.
  • Special Rules: In Commander Draft, players can choose any card from their drafted deck to use as their commander, but only one copy of each card can be used. Additionally, the game features a “prodigal mechanic,” which allows players to return commander cards from the graveyard to their hand.

Limited-Commander Format Examples

MTG Arena Commander is a format played on the MTG Arena platform that follows the same rules as the tabletop Limited-Commander format. Players are given a random deck of cards and must build a 99-card deck within a specific time limit. The game is played using a Commander from the selected deck. The game can be played against other players online, with the option to customize the deck to some extent.

MTG Arena Limited-Commander Events

MTG Arena Limited-Commander Events are tournaments that take place on the MTG Arena platform that are focused on the Limited-Commander format. These events often have specific rules and restrictions, such as a maximum deck size or specific card bans. Players can participate in these events for a chance to win prizes and earn in-game rewards. The events are often run in a Swiss format, with a cut to a single-elimination top 8.

FAQs

1. What are the different formats of MTG?

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has several different formats, each with its own unique rules and playstyle. The most popular formats include Standard, Modern, Legacy, Pauper, Commander, and Limited.

2. What is the difference between Standard and Modern?

Standard and Modern are two of the most popular formats in MTG. Standard uses the most recent set of cards, while Modern allows a wider range of cards, including some that are considered to be “banned” in Standard. Standard also has a shorter ban list and a more limited card pool compared to Modern.

3. What is the difference between Legacy and Vintage?

Legacy and Vintage are two other popular formats in MTG. Legacy is a format that allows older cards to be played, while Vintage is a format that focuses on using powerful, expensive cards from the early days of MTG. Legacy has a smaller card pool than Vintage, and both formats have different rules regarding the use of sideboards.

4. What is the difference between Pauper and Commander?

Pauper and Commander are two formats that are designed to be more accessible and affordable than other formats. Pauper only allows cards that cost one mana or less, while Commander allows players to use powerful, legendary creatures as their commander. Pauper also has a smaller card pool than Commander.

5. What is the difference between Limited and Constructed?

Limited and Constructed are two formats that differ in how players build their decks. Limited involves building a deck using a fixed number of booster packs, while Constructed involves building a deck using a combination of pre-constructed decks and individual cards. Limited is often played in a sealed or draft format, while Constructed is played using existing decks.

MTG: All Formats Explained

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *