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CardShark Content - Alex Lee (6/3/2006)

I assume most gaming groups have tried out at least one alternate format in their history. If yours hasn’t then you should try one, as they usually add a lot of depth to the game. Our playgroup made up one that was pretty similar to a MTGO league, and I thought I’d share it.

The basic premise of the format is that players play using sealed decks to win cards and improve their deck. But, there are many twists involved. Mainly, the system from which you build your deck is completely different. Each player gets three booster packs of their choosing, then opens them and takes 2 cards out from each one. Then, take out the remaining rares and build a face-down pile with them. This is called the prize pile, and will be explained in a second. The rest of the unused cards are put into another pile, called the sealed pile.

From the sealed pile, players randomly take 24 cards, giving you a total of 30 cards including the 6 you already picked out. Take any amount of basic lands you want, and build a deck using your cards. Unlike limited or constructed, the minimum deck size is 30 cards, as the quality of your deck will be greatly reduced.

After building a deck, each player finds an opponent and plays them in a 2-out-of-3 match. If you win a game, then you may take one random card from the sealed pile (the one with all the unused commons and uncommons) and add it to your deck. You may also take cards out during this time. At the end of the match, whoever won also gets a random card from the prize pile (the one with all the unused rares).

Continue playing with everyone in the room, but make sure the matches are arranged and at the same time so that players cannot cheat and play additional games while others are still playing their first match. Eventually, the prize pile will run out. When it does, use cards from the sealed pile as rewards for winning the match. When that runs out as well, a new twist is introduced.

Each player gets any booster pack of his/her choice. Just like before, open the booster, take two cards of your choosing, and put the rest into the prize pile and sealed pile. Play continues in the manner, and you can keep inserting more boosters, until eventually your decks will become fairly constructed-worthy.

When the group decides to stop adding additional packs (which can be done at any time), the person who has the most cards in their pile wins the round. They win a predetermined prize, chosen by the players. It could be all the rares from the other decks, or a Mana Drain
Mana Drain
Mana DrainSet: Legends
Mark Tedin
Counters target spell. At the beginning of your next main phase, add X to your mana pool, where X is the casting cost of target spell.
, or whatever.

This format is really good if you just want to crack open some packs for fun, or when you have a few hours to spend. It takes around three to four hours to play a few matches in addition to building a deck, so be prepared for that. This format is ridiculously fun with some friends and drinks, so try it out.

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