Mark L. Gottlieb

Magic: The Gathering Comprehensive Rules

These rules are current as of October 1, 2006.


This booklet is designed for people who’ve moved beyond the basics of the Magic: The Gathering ® game. If you’re a beginning Magic ™ player, you’ll probably find these rules intimidating. They’re intended to be the ultimate authority for the game, and you won’t usually need to refer to them except in specific cases or during competitive games.

For casual play and most ordinary situations, you’ll find what you need in the general rulebook included in the Magic: The Gathering core game. You can download a copy of that rulebook from the Wizards of the Coast™ Magic rules website at . If you’re sure this is where you want to be, keep reading.

This document includes a series of numbered rules followed by a glossary. Many of the numbered rules are divided into subrules, and each separate rule and subrule of the game has its own number. The glossary defines many of the words and phrases used in these rules, along with a few concepts that don’t really fit anywhere among the numbered rules. So if you can’t find what you’re looking for, check the glossary.

We at Wizards of the Coast recognize that no matter how detailed the rules, situations will arise in which the interaction of specific cards requires a precise answer. If you have questions, you can get the answers from us at . Additional contact information is on the last page of these rules.

In response to play issues and to keep these rules as current as possible, changes may have been made to this document since its publication. See the Wizards of the Coast website for the current version of the official rules. x=magic/rules

1. The Game

100. General

100.1. These Magic rules apply to any Magic game with two or more players, including two-player games and multiplayer games.

100.1a A two-player game is a game that begins with only two players.

100.1b A multiplayer game is a game that begins with more than two players. See section 6, “Multiplayer Rules.”

100.2. In constructed play, each player needs his or her own deck of at least sixty cards, small items to represent any tokens and counters, and some way to clearly track life totals. A constructed deck can have any number of basic land cards and no more than four of any card with a particular English name other than basic land cards.

100.3. For sealed deck or draft play, only forty cards are required in a deck, and a player may use as many duplicates of a card as he or she has. Each player still needs small items to represent any tokens and counters, and some way to clearly track life totals.

100.4. There is no maximum deck size.

100.5. Most Magic tournaments have special rules (not included here) and may limit the use of some cards, including barring all cards from some older sets. See the most current Magic: The Gathering DCI® Floor Rules for more information. They can be found at

101. Starting the Game

101.1. At the start of a game, each player shuffles his or her deck so that the cards are in a random order. Each player may then shuffle his or her opponents’ decks. The players’ decks become their libraries.

101.2. After the decks have been shuffled, the players determine who chooses which player goes first using any mutually agreeable method (flipping a coin, rolling dice, etc.). In a match of several games, the loser of the previous game decides who will take the first turn. If the previous game was a draw, the person who determined who would take the first turn in the previous game decides.

101.3. Once the starting player has been determined, each player sets his or her life total to 20 and draws a hand of seven cards.

101.4. A player who is dissatisfied with his or her initial hand may mulligan. First, the starting player takes any mulligans. To take a mulligan, that player shuffles his or her hand back into the deck and then draws a new hand of six cards. He or she may repeat this process as many times as desired, drawing one fewer card each time, until the hand size reaches zero cards. Once the starting player has decided to keep a hand, those cards become his or her opening hand. Then each other player (in turn order) may take any number of mulligans. A player can’t take any mulligans once he or she has decided to keep an opening hand.

101.4a The Two-Headed Giant variant uses the standard mulligan rule, with some modifications. First, the starting team takes any mulligans. For a team to take a mulligan, each player on that team decides whether or not to take a mulligan, then all players who chose to do so take their mulligans at the same time. The first time a player takes a mulligan, he or she draws a new hand of seven cards. After each player on that team who took a mulligan looks at his or her new hand, the team repeats the process. (Subsequent hands decrease by one card as normal.) Once a player has decided to keep a hand, those cards become his or her opening hand.

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