"There can be only one." Players build 100-card decks that contain no more than one copy of any given cards, basic lands aside.Commander:
Formerly EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander): Same as Highlander, but you pick a legendary creature to play as your commander, and your deck can only use cards of your commander's colors. For instance, my Uril
deck can only use green, white, and red cards, or my Sakashima
deck can only use blue cards. You begin the game with twice as much life usual and with your commander set aside. Any time you want, you can play your commander as if he or she were in your hand. Anytime your commander dies, you remove it from the game again. You may replay it again for it's printed cost plus an additional two mana for each time it's been killed. Players win by reducing their opponent to 0 life or by doing at least 21 points of damage with their commander.Pauper:
Allows for any cards that were every printed with as the "common" rarity.Prismatic:
Players build 250-card decks that contain at least twenty cards of each of the five colors.And an untold number of others exist...
An antiquated format that probably inspired the Commander format. Before play, tlayers select an oversized Vanguard card depicting a character from Magic's story line. Vanguard cards alter your starting hand size and starting life total, as well as providing you with a special ability that will effect you through the game. For example: Barrin, Starke, Hanna, OrimPlanechase:
Each player has a set of ten unique planes set aside. Planes are cards that represent different realms within the Magic multiverse. For instance, Otaria
. Also used in this format is the planer die
, a d6 with four blank faces, one chaos symbol, and one planeswalking symbol. Each turn, the current player may roll the die once for free, then may roll the die additional times, paying 1 mana for each time he's already rolled (free, 1 mana for second, 2 mana for third, etc.). If the planeswalking symbol is rolled, that player reveals the top card of their planar deck and the becomes the current plane. If the chaos symbol is rolled, that player activates the special ability of the plane they are currently on.Two-Headed Giant:
A two-on-two format. Each team has a combined 30 life. Each pair of players takes their turns simultaneously.Archenemy:
A one-vs-everyone format. One player has twice as much life as everyone else, always goes first, and has access to a special scheme deck that they prepare in advance. At the beginning of their turn, they flip the top card of their scheme deck and get to play the card for free. Examples: Behold the Power of Destruction
, Ignite the Cloneforge!
All other players take their turns simultaneously, trying to kill this archenemy of theirs.Emperor:
A six-player, three-on-three variant. Three players sit on each side of the table, the players in the center of each side representing the emperors and the players on each side of them representing the generals:
While the obvious goal is to kill the opposing emperor, this format has a lot of variation within itself, but these are the most commonly agreed upon rules: Players play in clockwise order, but any given player has a limited range of influence of two spaces. That is, G1's spells effect everyone except G4 (who is three seats away). Similarly, players may only attack the players directly adjacent to them. This means that at the start of the game, G1 and G3 can attack each other, and G2 and G4 can attack each other, but the emperors are not able to attack anyone. Instead, when they play creatures, they can "march" them into allies' play areas to attack from that position on later turns. Generals may also march their creatures back and forth among allies - if G1 is taking a beating from G3, G2 can send creatures over to help him out. When a player kills another player, he occupies both places on the "map." For instance, if G1 kills G3, G1 is now considered to occupy both G1 and G3's positions, meaning he is adjacent to both emperors (and may now attack the enemy emperor directly) and may cast spells that target any other player.Penta:
A five-player format. If you look at the back of a Magic card, you'll see that the colors are arranged white-blue-black-red-green and back to white. This is because white, while having ideals in common with blue and green, are enemies of red and black. Blue, while having ideals in common with black and white, are enemies of red and green. And so on. In Penta, each player, from where they sit, are allies with the two players adjacent to them and enemies with the two players opposite them. The first person to have both of their enemies defeated wins. It is possible for two players to win simultaneously.Invaders:
Split an even number of players into two teams. One team represent the natives, who pick out a single Planechase plane to represent their home world. The other team represent the invaders, who get to pick out ten different Archenemy schemes to represent their assault on the native world. Each team takes their turns simultaneously. Once per turn, the natives may have a player pay four mana to use the chaos ability of their plane. Once per turn, the invaders may have a player pay four mana to flip over the top card of their scheme deck.And an untold number of others exist...