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Magic: The Gathering


There are a lot of Magic: The Gathering formats. Like, a lot. There are, in fact, around 20 MTG formats spanning across the tabletop card game, the online versions and those specific to the physical TCG's digital counterpart Magic: The Gathering Arena. Magic: The Gathering formats are various ways in which the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game can be played. Each format provides rules for deck construction and gameplay, with many confining the pool of permitted cards to those released in a specified group of Magic card sets. The Wizards Play Network (WPN), the governing body that oversees official Magic competitive play, categorizes its tournament formats into Constructed and Limited. Additionally, there are many casual formats with the Commander format being one of the most popular formats of the game.


Standard games are one-on-one with a 60 card minimum for the main deck (up to 15 card sideboard). Winner is determined either by best of one, or best of three games. These games should last standard length for a game (about 20 minutes on average). Standard is a dynamic format where you build decks and play using cards in your collection from recently released Magic sets. Evolving gameplay and fresh strategies make it one of the most fun and popular ways to play Magic.

  • Easily accessible cards

  • Great for deck building

  • Competitive


This format is for multi-player and deck sizes are 99 cards + 1 commander card. The game duration for this format should be about 20 minutes per player.

Commander is all about picking your legendary hero creature to serve as your commander and build the rest of your deck around their color identity and unique abilities. Players are only allowed one of each card in their deck, with the exception of basic lands, but all cards from throughout Magic's history are valid. Your goal is to crush every other player, using strategy, skill, and the cards at your disposal. The last player left standing in each game wins!

  • Multi-player games

  • Great to play with friends

  • Cards don't rotate


Booster Draft

A format for up to 8 players to open card packs, then play one-on-one games on the spot! Each deck should have at least 40 cards.

First, players sit around a table in a circle. Each opens a booster pack and picks a single card without showing the other players.. Your task is to pick the best possible cards to form a deck. Players then pass the remaining cards to the left and pick from the new cards they get from the player on their right. This continues until all of the cards in those packs have been distributed (drafted). You then do the same with the second pack but pass right, then pass left again with the final pack.  It’s fun not just because of the gameplay, but because you can actively try to figure out which cards your friends are picking and then try and cut them off from that color. It’s mean, but it’s fun. At the end, each player will have about 45 cards (along with any number of basic lands provided extra) which can use to build a 40 card deck.

  • Deckbuilding on the spot

  • Different every time

  • Level playing field


Unlike constructed games—where you arrive with a strategically created deck — Sealed games have you build a new deck from six unopened booster packs. Which can make this format a lot more luck-intensive than any other. You may add as many basic lands as you’d like, usually provided. These games are 1v1 and can be played as best of one or best of three.

  • A minimum deck size of 40 cards

  • Sideboard for your deck is any of the cards you opened

  • Format featured at prerelease events

  • A great way to boost your collection if you are new



This nonrotating format features sets from Return to Ravnica, forward. It aims to be more powerful than Standard but less powerful than Modern or Legacy. Cards do not rotate as new Standard sets are released. Constructed decks can have up to four of any card in their combined deck and sideboard. Basic lands are not included in this restriction.

  • Minimum deck size of 60 cards

  • Up to 15 cards in your sideboard (if used)


These are one-on-one games with 60 card minimums for the main deck (up to 15 card sideboard). Modern games should last average length for a game (about 20 minutes).

With the exception of basic lands (Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, Forest, and Wastes), your combined deck and sideboard may not contain more than four of any individual card, counted by its English card title equivalent. This format includes powerful cards and strategies from the last two decades of Magic.

  • Format doesn't rotate

  • Variety of metagame

  • Master your favorite deck over time


As a constructed format, Legacy does not rotate and allows cards to be played from the entire history of Magic (with the exception of those from the banned card list). Your deck and sideboard is not allowed to hold more than four of any individual card in this format, except for basic lands.

  • Minimum deck size of 60 cards

  • Up to 15 cards in your sideboard (if used)

  • Decks can include cards from all Magic sets!

  • Play with a more powerful card pool than other formats.

  • Cards do not rotate as new Standard sets are released.

  • Something for everyone!


Build decks with a far unique twist. All cards must have been released at common rarity in a  Magic set or product. Common promo cards are only legal if the card meets that qualification.

If a common version of a particular card was ever released in Magic, any version of that card is legal in this format. You might think that this would hamper the power level of the decks in the format, but you’d be wrong. Despite how cheap decks in this format can be, it’s still possible to lose to an obnoxious combo long before you’ve cast your first creature.

  • Minimum of 60 cards in the main deck
    (There is no maximum size for main decks)

  • Up to 15 cards in your sideboard, if used

  • No more than four of any individual card in the main deck and sideboard combined (with the exception of basic lands)

  • Build decks using your favorite commons from throughout the history of Magic.

  • Powerful card combinations that pack a punch!


An exciting deck-brewing challenge, Brawl is a bit of a mixture of Standard + Commander. In this format, you'll use cards legal in Standard to build a Commander-style deck around a legendary creature or Planeswalker.

  • 1 commander card (any Standard legendary creature or Planeswalker)

  • 59 other Standard legal cards (same color as commander card)

  • Only one copy of any card except for basic lands

  • Play one-on-one or multi-player.

  • Great for new players to learn to brew their own deck.

  • It’s a great way to use your Standard-legal cards in a different way.

Two-Headed Giant

Two-Headed Giant is a fun multiplayer format where two-player teams battle against one another. Each team takes actions as a team rather than individually. There are some rules for Two-Headed Giant that differ from other multiplayer formats:

  • Each team has a shared life total that starts at 30 life.

  • Each team takes their turn together, meaning they draw as a team, attack as a team, block as a team, and go through all phases of the turn as a team.

  • The team that goes first skips their first draw step.

  • Teams do NOT share any resources other than life--meaning players can't share cards in hand or mana.

  • Each player can block any creatures that are attacking them, their teammate, or any planeswalker their team controls.

  • Teams may share information and strategize together.

  • The first mulligan is to seven cards, then each mulligan afterward results in one fewer card (six, five, four etc.).

A teams loses when their life total is 0 or less, when they accumulate fifteen or more poison counters, or when either team member is unable to draw a card from their deck. Damage and loss of life happens to individual players, and the effects are applied to the team's shared life total. The same is true of gaining life. For example, if one player gains life, the team’s life total goes up, but only one player’s “whenever you gain life” effect triggers.

Effects that read "each opponent" or "each player" affect each team member separately. For example, when Rabid Bloodsucker enters the battlefield, each player loses 2 life, meaning 4 total life.


In Constructed, Two-Headed Giant has unified Constructed rules. This means that across the two decks, only four copies of any non-basic land card are allowed to be shared between them. In Limited (ie: draft and sealed) Two-Headed Giant games share a card pool. Players pool the cards they open and build decks together.

Vintage Blessed Wine.png


This format allows for cards to be played from all Magic card sets and includes cards from expansions and special sets (with the exception of cards on the banned list)! This format holds a restricted list which limits the use of a card to a single copy allowed either in the sideboard or in the main deck. Vintage is a constructed format does not allow your combined deck and sideboard to contain more than four of any individual card.

  • Minimum deck size of 60 cards

  • Up to 15 cards in your sideboard (if used)

  • Vast card selection available from all Magic sets!

  • Cards do not rotate as new Standard sets are released.

  • Format with the biggest card pool and highest power levels.

  • Extensive card combo possibilities!

For more formats, go to MTG Formats and find one that interests you.

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