Other Formats

This entire book has so far focused on one type of duel, which you now know is called Constructed Magic. There are many other ways to play, however, all have distinct differences in play styles and offer different experiences for the player.
One very popular game type is known as Limited. In Limited, play players begin with unopened booster packs instead of pre-built decks. There are primarily two different ways to start playing Limited Magic.
The first format is called Sealed Deck. In Sealed play, all players receive six booster packs and access to as many basic lands as are available. You can play Sealed with as few as two players and up to as many as you can find. The boosters can be from any set printed, though there is usually a specific format, such as six packs of the current Core Set or six packs from the most recent set of printed cards.
Each player opens their six packs and tries to assemble the best deck possible from the cards they randomly open. In order to do this, you will need to have a large amount of basic lands on hand to fill out your decks mana needs. All the spells will be provided from the boosters.
While this requires good card evaluation skills and decision-making, the next limited format takes those skills to an even higher level. Booster Draft is another form of Limited play that is very popular with Magic players. Draft play is intended for four to eight players.
In a Magic Draft, each player receives three booster packs. Each player opens one pack and chooses a card from it then passes that pack to the player to the left. This proceeds until all cards are taken from that pack then each player opens their second pack. Continue this until all cards are gone and assemble your deck from the cards that you chose during the draft.
Draft Magic is an excellent test of a mage’s ability to adapt, to properly evaluate the power of the cards not only in the abstract, but also in the context of building a winning deck, and in properly building the deck to maximize its potential. While hard for newcomers, it is a less expensive way to get started into Magic and doesn’t require a ton of people to offer fresh experiences.
In limited Magic, the deck size is reduced to a minimum of 4o cards and, again you will want to stay as close to that as possible. Your sideboard is comprised of all the cards not in your main deck which gives you lots of options depending on what you open.
In addition to these well-defined competitive modes of play, there are also more casual, friendly Magic variants. You can find lots of information about these online once you are ready to branch out and try new ways of play. I recommend researching Two Headed Giant or Commander if you want to learn about popular casual formats. Another option would be to search Magic: The Gathering variants and you will find a variety of games people have come up with, some involving as little as one pack per player!