Alternate EDH Formats

An overview of some of the alternate EDH formats, their rules, and what you need to know about each one.

As Wizards of the Coast recently begged players to start their own formats (probably because they’re tired of taking so much heat for how they maintain them), I thought it would be a great time to make an overview of alternate play rules and variant EDH formats.

There are a lot of these so I’ll try to stick to the more widely known, higher-profile formats. I’ll start with the formats with their own ban lists and deck-building rules, and then show the alternate play-rules.


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French EDH

French is a tournament variation of EDH with the following changes:

  • This format has a different banlist, focused on balancing competitive play.
  • You start at 30 life instead of 40.
  • This is a one v one format, played as a best of three games.
  • This format uses regular Magic mulligan rules, meaning the first mulligan is not free.
  • There is no optional sideboard.
  • All other regular EDH rules are followed.
  • The Duel Commander Website

Also known as Duel Commander, or Heads-up, this format is primarily a tournament format, popular mostly in Europe. A large variety of decks are powerful and popular, with no deck towering over the others in power level. The format has a balanced and fair ban list, it warns players ahead of time of bans they are considering, and it is the best maintained format on this list. It’s also a blast to play.

I have written about the format before, and if the interest picks up, I’d love to keep writing about it.

The most popular deck in the format is currently Tasigur, the Golden Fang Control. A sample list of that deck follows.

Commander (1)
Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Creatures (8)
Coiling Oracle
Dark Confidant
Eternal Witness
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Scavenging Ooze
Snapcaster Mage
Vendilion Clique
Venser, Shaper Savant

Instants and Sorceries (46)
Abrupt Decay
Brainstorm
Careful Study
Consume the Meek
Counterspell
Countersquall
Cryptic Command
Damnation
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Edict
Dig Through Time
Dismember
Dissipate
Duress
Fact or Fiction
Forbidden Alchemy
Force Spike
Force of Will
Gitaxian Probe
Go for the Throat
Hymn to Tourach
Inquisition of Kozilek
Intuition
Life from the Loam
Maelstrom Pulse
Mana Leak
Memory Lapse
Mental Note
Miscalculation
Murderous Cut
Mystical Teachings
Negate
Painful Truths
Peek
Ponder
Preordain
Reanimate
Regrowth
Remand
Skeletal Scrying
Spell Snare
Sultai Charm
Thought Scour
Thoughtseize
Toxic Deluge
Treasure Cruise

Other (5)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Liliana of the Veil
Pernicious Deed
Sylvan Library
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Lands (40)
Barren Moor
Bayou
Bloodstained Mire
Bojuka Bog
Breeding Pool
Cavern of Souls
City of Brass
Command Tower
Creeping Tar Pit
Darkslick Shores
Drowned Catacomb
Dust Bowl
Flooded Grove
Flooded Strand
Forest
Hinterland Harbor
Island
Llanowar Wastes
Lonely Sandbar
Lumbering Falls
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
Overgrown Tomb
Polluted Delta
Riptide Laboratory
Scalding Tarn
Sunken Ruins
Swamp
Tectonic Edge
Temple of Deceit
Tropical Island
Twilight Mire
Underground Sea
Verdant Catacombs
Wasteland
Watery Grave
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Yavimaya Coast

The second most popular deck in the format is constantly in shift. However, Animar, Soul of Elements is currently surging in popularity.

Commander (1)
Animar, Soul of Elements
Lands (33)
Ancient Ziggurat
Bloodstained Mire
Breeding Pool
Cavern of Souls
City of Brass
Command Tower
Dryad Arbor
Fire-Lit Thicket
Flooded Strand
Forest
Island
Karplusan Forest
Mana Confluence
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Opal Palace
Polluted Delta
Raging Ravine
Reflecting Pool
Scalding Tarn
Shivan Reef
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Taiga
Tropical Island
Verdant Catacombs
Volcanic Island
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Yavimaya Coast

Creatures (53)
Ancestral Statue
Arbor Elf
Beastcaller Savant
Birds of Paradise
Bloom Tender
Caustic Caterpillar
Cloud of Faeries
Coiling Oracle
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Elvish Mystic
Elvish Visionary
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
Eternal Witness
Fauna Shaman
Fierce Empath
Fyndhorn Elves
Gatecreeper Vine
Gilded Drake
Glen Elendra Archmage
Inferno Titan
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Llanowar Elves
Lotus Cobra
Man-o’-War
Mistcutter Hydra
Mulldrifter
Painter’s Servant
Pestermite
Phantasmal Image
Phyrexian Metamorph
Phyrexian Revoker
Rattleclaw Mystic
Raven Familiar
Reclamation Sage
Scavenging Ooze
Shrieking Drake
Spellskite
Spiketail Hatchling
Stratus Dancer
Surrak Dragonclaw
Sylvan Ranger
Sylvok Replica
Tinder Wall
Venser, Shaper Savant
Wall of Blossoms
Wall of Roots
Whisperwood Elemental
Wild Cantor
Willbender
Wizard Replica
Wood Elves
Woodland Bellower
Zealous Conscripts

Instants and Sorceries (7)
Brainstorm
Chord of Calling
Daze
Gitaxian Probe
Glimpse of Nature
Green Sun’s Zenith
Spell Pierce

Other (6)
Aluren
Birthing Pod
Skullclamp
Survival of the Fittest
Sylvan Library
Utopia Sprawl

Yisan is another popular deck in French, and is currently situated as one of the best decks. I have written about a multiplayer Yisan deck, which functions similarly to the French deck. Yisan is one of the few commanders to get major upgrades with the French ban list, letting you play Primeval Titan, Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, Sylvan Primordial and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Commander (1)
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Creatures (40)
Acidic Slime
Arbor Elf
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Birds of Paradise
Boreal Druid
Caller of the Claw
Craterhoof Behemoth
Duplicant
Elvish Mystic
Elvish Visionary
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Eternal Witness
Fauna Shaman
Fierce Empath
Fyndhorn Elves
Llanowar Elves
Oracle of Mul Daya
Painter’s Servant
Phyrexian Revoker
Priest of Titania
Primeval Titan
Quirion Ranger
Reclamation Sage
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe Scout
Scavenging Ooze
Scryb Ranger
Seedborn Muse
Sylvan Primordial
Sylvan Safekeeper
Temur Sabertooth
Thought-Knot Seer
Titania, Protector of Argoth
Voyaging Satyr
Wall of Roots
Whisperwood Elemental
Wirewood Symbiote
Wood Elves
Woodland Bellower

Instants and Sorceries (4)
Beast Within
Chord of Calling
Green Sun’s Zenith
Warping Wail

Other (16)
Aluren
Birthing Pod
Cloudstone Curio
Crucible of Worlds
Earthcraft
Exploration
Garruk Wildspeaker
Lifeforce
Pithing Needle
Skullclamp
Survival of the Fittest
Sylvan Library
Tangle Wire
Utopia Sprawl
Wild Growth
Winter Orb
Lands (39)
Cavern of Souls
Deserted Temple
Dryad Arbor
Dust Bowl
14 Forest
Gaea’s Cradle
Homeward Path
Misty Rainforest
Mouth of Ronom
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Rishadan Port
Snow-Covered Forest
Tectonic Edge
Verdant Catacombs
Wasteland
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Yavimaya Hollow


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Tiny Leaders

Tiny leaders is another one v one format with the following rule changes:

  • All cards must have a CMC under 3, including the commander.
  • Decks contain exactly 50 cards, including the commander.
  • This format has it’s own banlist.
  • Tiny leaders is a one v one format, played as a best of three games.
  • The Starting life total is 25 for each player.
  • This format has dummy commanders available for sultai (3/3 for [m]u[/m][m]b[/m][m]g[/m]) and colorless (3/3 for [m]3[/m]), and has declared Ana Battlemage to be legendary, since no commanders with a CMC of 3 or less exist in those colors.
  • Ten card sideboards are allowed for after game one.
  • This format uses regular Magic mulligan rules, meaning the first mulligan is not free.
  • All other regular EDH rules are followed.
  • The Tiny Leaders Website

A lot of the hype for this format seems to have died down already, but lots of people still play it. The games play out like a singleton legacy, and the small decks make them far more consistent than they would otherwise be.

One of the big complaints about this format is that it’s solved. Ezuri, Renegade Leader, Merieke Ri Berit, and Alesha, who Smiles at Death seem to be the best tiny leader commanders, with Ezuri in the lead by a solid margin.

Commander (1)
Ezuri, Renegade Leader

Creatures (28)
Dryad Arbor
Arbor Elf
Birchlore Rangers
Boreal Druid
Elvish Mystic
Fyndhorn Elves
Heritage Druid
Joraga Treespeaker
Joraga Warcaller
Llanowar Elves
Quirion Ranger
Skyshroud Ranger
Wirewood Symbiote
Devoted Druid
Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
Elvish Visionary
Fauna Shaman
Leaf Gilder
Priest of Titania
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Sylvan Ranger
Wirewood Elf
Elvish Archdruid
Elvish Champion
Elvish Harbinger
Imperious Perfect
Reclamation Sage
Viridian Joiner

Instants and Sorceries (5)
Crop Rotation
Expedition Map
Green Sun’s Zenith
Sylvan Scrying
Chord of Calling
Lands (16)
Cavern of Souls
10 Forest
Gaea’s Cradle
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Pendelhaven
Wirewood Lodge
Yavimaya Hollow

Sideboard (10)
Homeward Path
Maze of Ith
Lignify
Seal of Primordium
Unravel the Aether
Beast Within
Caller of the Claw
Krosan Grip
Song of the Dryads
Viridian Shaman

Here is a Merieke deck, but this version has a combo finish with Thopter Sword, and Time Sieve, which isn’t the most popular version of the deck, but probably the better one.

Commander (1)
Merieke Ri Berit

Instants and Sorceries (32)
Azorius Charm
Banishing Light
Black Sun's Zenith
Crucible of Worlds
Counterspell
Daze
Despise
Detention Sphere
Dimir Charm
Drown in Sorrow
Duress
Elixir of Immortality
Enlightened Tutor
Forced March
Gitaxian Probe
Hymn to Tourach
Inquisition of Kozilek
Mana Leak
Mental Misstep
Mystical Tutor
Oblivion Ring
Path to Exile
Phyrexian Arena
Remand
Sensei's Divining Top
Sphinx's Revelation
Sword of the Meek
Swords to Plowshares
Thopter Foundry
Thoughtseize
Time Sieve
Toxic Deluge

Planeswalkers (2)
Jace Beleren
Liliana of the Veil
Lands (16)
Celestial Colonnade
Command Tower
Creeping Tar Pit
Drowned Catacomb
Glacial Fortress
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Marsh Flats
Plains
Polluted Delta
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Wasteland
Watery Grave


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Pauper EDH

Pauper seems to have two rules that are always followed, with every other rule being the same as normal.

  • Your commander can be any uncommon creature.
  • Every card in your deck must be common.

Occasionally, you’ll see the following rules too:

  • The starting life total is 30 for each player.
  • Whenever a player is dealt 16 damage by any single commander, they lose.

For the most part, those rules are a good change. 40 is too much in fully-powered commander, in an underpowered format like Pauper EDH, it’s far too much. The commander damage change might seem low, but in an format where infect voltron is one of the stronger decks, it helps other commanders compete.

Pauper EDH is a relatively unexplored format. The top commanders are far from obvious, and there is a lot of room to brew. Combat damage ends most games, and combo is almost non-existant. Infect and flying are some of the most important keywords, and almost every deck ends up falling into the midrange or voltron.

I can’t even find deck lists for commanders who I feel would be great: Treasonous Ogre, Baleful Strix, Mulldrifter, Wirewood Symbiote and a few other cards.

Two of the more powerful commanders who are known to be good in the format are below. There are a few very questionable choices in these specific lists, but it’s still interesting to explore the relative power level of the decks, and cards that are somehow playable.

Commander (1)
Mistmeadow Witch

Creatures (28)
Wu Scout
Cloud of Faeries
Whirlpool Rider
Vedalken Aethermage
Dream Thief
Fog Elemental
Drift of Phantasms
Merchant of Secrets
Man-o’-War
Sea Gate Oracle
Pestermite
Rishadan Cutpurse
Trinket Mage
Mist Raven
Aven Riftwatcher
Mesmeric Sliver
Crookclaw Transmuter
Gulf Squid
Stonehorn Dignitary
Kor Cartographer
Gryff Vanguard
Illusionary Wall
Mnemonic Wall
Mulldrifter
Totem-Guide Hartebeest
Voice of the Provinces
Vedalken Dismisser
Thalakos Seer

Other (34)
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Library of Leng
Expedition Map
Negate
Diplomatic Immunity
Faerie Trickery
Cancel
Journey to Nowhere
Momentary Blink
Disenchant
Azorius Signet
Ghostly Flicker
Exclude
Rewind
Oblivion Ring
Solemn Offering
Radiant’s Judgment
Foresee
Lost in the Mist
Path of sace
Rush of Knowledge
Iona’s Judgment
Second Thoughts
Preordain
Ponder
Shared Discovery
Brainstorm
Muddle the Mixture
Counterspell
Cloudshift
Dispeller’s Capsule
Condescend
Broken Ambitions
Logic Knot
Lands (37)
Urza’s Tower
Urza’s Power Plant
Drifting Meadow
Urza’s Mine
Remote Isle
Secluded Steppe
Command Tower
Halimar Depths
Quicksand
Lonely Sandbar
Terramorphic Expanse
12 Plains
12 Island
Evolving Wilds
Azorius Chancery

Commander (1)
Bloodbraid Elf

Creatures (28)
Academy Raider
Ambush Viper
Anarchist
Arbor Elf
Blightwidow
Chartooth Cougar
Elvish Mystic
Farhaven Elf
Fierce Empath
Flamewave Invoker
Fyndhorn Elves
Kozilek’s Predator
Krosan Tusker
Llanowar Elves
Maul Splicer
Mold Shambler
Nessian Asp
Oran-Rief Recluse
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sporemound
Ulamog’s Crusher
Valley Rannet
Viashino Racketeer
Wickerbough Elder
Wildheart Invoker
Wirewood Guardian
Wood Elves
Zhur-Taa Swine

Instants (13)
Ancient Grudge
Burst Lightning
Colossal Might
Electrickery
Incinerate
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Strike
Reclaim
Repopulate
Searing Blaze
Searing Spear
Staggershock
Wild Hunger

Sorcery (16)
Arc Lightning
Chain Lightning
Cultivate
Faithless Looting
Farseek
Fireball
Firebolt
Hull Breach
Kodama’s Reach
Prey Upon
Pyrotechnics
Rampant Growth
Rift Bolt
Rolling Thunder
Swirling Sandstorm
Wild Guess

Artifacts (6)
Adventuring Gear
Bonesplitter
Explorer’s Scope
Fleetfeather Sandals
Gruul Signet
Serrated Arrows

Enchantments (2)
Night Soil
Rancor

Land (34)
12 Forest
Mountain
Command Tower
Desert
Evolving Wilds
Forgotten Cave
Gruul Guildgate
Haunted Fengraf
Jund Panorama
Rupture Spire
Shimmering Grotto
Slippery Karst
Smoldering Crater
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Thicket
Transguild Promenade
Unknown Shores


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Peasant EDH

Peasant EDH is the same as Pauper EDH above, with two differences:

  • Up to 8 additional uncommons are permitted in your deck in addition to your commander.
  • The follwoing cards are banned: Sensei’s Divining Top, Skullclamp, Sol Ring, Sword of the Meek.
  • Generally, peasant EDH takes a backseat to pauper. Pauper is the more more popular format, but sometimes you need your fixing of uncommons. I happen to think Peasant is more fun: uncommons brings a ton of power to your deck without taking the focus away from creatures. Since it’s less popular, brewing becomes even more important, and finding your allocation of uncommons can be a lot of fun. EDH is a brewer’s format, but peasant is the true wild west.

    It seems likely that given 8 uncommons, combo decks will become a lot more inevitable. However, I couldn’t tell you what those combos are.

    Ambassador

    Ambassador has just one new rule.

    • Any creature can be used as your commander

    Ambassador is a format with a name, and it gets talked about quite a bit, but besides the general consensus that the format is probably badly broken, not a lot of community exists around it. It almost seems like more of a thought experiment, where people are more interested in discussing the possible generals instead of playing it.

    But those things wouldn’t really matter if you have a playgroup who are willing to brew around their favorite cards. The exciting part is, no one knows what it would look like! Perhaps Sage of Hours as a commander is an amazing combo deck. Perhaps you haven’t got your fix of Siege Rhino from standard and modern. Or you realized how broken an enabler Shardless Agent would be for a combo deck, and you want to dupe your friends into thinking you’re getting into more casual EDH variants, only to crush them on turn three! At least that’s what I would want to do.

    If you have any ideas for an Ambassador deck, send them my way in the comments, I’m writing a think-piece on the format.


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    Planchase

    Planechase is a product made by Wizards of the Coast.

    • The planar deck is shuffled, and a random plane is chosen. That plane will have an effect that adds a new rule to the game. (For example, Llanowar says ‘All creatures gain “[m]tap[/m]: Add [m]g[/m][m]g[/m] to your mana pool.”’)
    • Any time during a player’s turn, that player may chose to roll the planar die (At sorcery speed). If the Planar symbol is rolled, a new plane is flipped up. If the choas symbol is rolled, the chaos effect of the current plane happens (Llanowar says, “Whenever you roll the chaos symbol, untap all creatures you control.”) Otherwise, nothing happens.
    • A player may roll the planar die again by paying mana, [m]1[/m] for the first reroll, [m]2[/m] for the second, [m]4[/m] for the third, etc.

    While Planechase isn’t still being made, you can get a planechase deck (10 planechase cards, along with a 60 card deck headed by a Legendary creature) from Amazon: Savage Auras [m]g[/m][m]w[/m] (The cheapest one), Night of the Ninja [m]u[/m][m]b[/m], and Chaos Reigns [m]r[/m][m]u[/m][m]g[/m] (Maelstrom Wanderer comes in this one, but you won’t believe how expensive it is).

    Planechase is a lot of fun. The randomness of it all can be a little frusterating, but the entire idea is to embrace the chaos and enjoy what the deck deals you. They sometimes let you do really powerful things, and sometimes they ruin your plans.

    Generally, while playing planechase, you’ll want to be playing a deck with creatures. Some of the planes enable combo decks like crazy, so avoiding those is a good idea too. Midrange decks tend to do the best, but if you’re playing planechase to win, then you might be playing the wrong variant.

    It’s unfortunate that a new planechase product hasn’t been made in years, and that the older products are getting increasingly difficult to get ahold of, but I think it’s still worth mentioning.


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    Lieutenants

    This variant format is a strict power upgrade to typical EDH, and is entirely unexplored in a competitive manner.

    • In addition to your commander, you may have a lieutenant as well. The lieutenant is a legendary creature with fewer colors (or the same if mono-colored), and an equal or lower CMC than your main commander.

    In addition to that rule, you’ll occasionally see the following rule as well, but like many of the other alternate rules, they’re inconsistent.

    • You cannot control both your lieutenant and your commander at the same time. If one would enter the battlefield while you control the other, one must be sacrificed as a state-based action.

    This lets decks play with fun synergies. Here are some examples of powerful lieutenant and commander pairings.

    Once again, I think lieutenant would not stand as a competitive format, but the options are good, and the added consistency would be fun for a few games at least. This format isn’t popular though, and if you want to play it, you’ll probably need to convince your playgroup to build some lieutenant decks.

    Frankly, I think the lieutenant choices would be pretty predictable. Blue decks will use Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Stax decks will use the best hatebear in their meta, and combo/reanimator decks will use Sidisi, Undead Vizier. All sorts of new combo decks are great in this format too: 5-color Splinter Twin will become a real deck if it can play Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker as a lieutenant. But probably the most exciting thing is how the lieutenant slot allows decks to meta against each other in a powerful new way. Cards like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, a potential commander who will never see serious play, will hose graveyard combos without limiting the scope and power of your deck as the lieutenant.

    It will also push everyone out of mono-color decks; they have no real strategic benefit because you can use the mono-color commanders as the lieutenant of a deck with more colors. Any deck that doesn’t have great lieutenant options would probably not be played, unless they are substantially better as a 5 color deck with the commander as the lieutenant instead.

    Despite all the downsides, it’s fun to play powerful decks, and this is one of the most flavorful and fun ways to increase the power-level of an EDH deck, even in casual settings. But mostly, the flavor is just great.

    Two-Headed Giant

    • Every player gets placed into teams of two.
    • You share life points and your turn with a teammate. You draw, attack, block, and go through game phases as a team.
    • The team that goes first does not draw a card on their first turn, unless there are three or more teams.
    • Resources and card zones aren’t shared. Mana, cards in hand, commander, battlefield, etc, are not shared.

    This is one of my favorite variations. Working together with another deck is a strange thing sometimes, especially if you pair unlike decks together. Politics-wise, it doesn’t add as much as some of the other variations, but in 6 player games, Two-Headed Giant is the only way I’ll play, since it alleviates a lot of the problems that come with really big games, primarily the very long turn cycle.

    It even gives you someone to argue with to pass the time! Although, typically, from my experience, I don’t find players arguing much in this format. If your playgroup never pairs off for two-headed giant, out of all the options on the list, this is one that I recommend the most if you don’t experiment much with variations.

    I’ve never built a deck specifically for two-headed giant, but that’s not uncommon for constructed two-headed giant. Making a deck to synergize and support your teammates deck sounds like a lot of fun, but two Nekusar, the Mindrazer decks working together does not sound like fun, and that combination sounds a little unbeatable. A rule about unique commanders might be a good addition, but I would still be wary of the team that jams every wheel with Waste Nots and a Nekusar.

    Other combinations I’d be weary of would be two storm decks, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard with a Stax deck, or a glass cannon deck like Sidisi, Undead Vizer with a counter spell deck to protect the combo.


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    Monarch

    If you are a fan of the card game Bang!, this is the EDH version of that. If you aren’t, I highly recommend checking it out because it’s a blast.

    • This variant is for 5-6 players, who each get assigned a role. Each role a different win-condition.
    • The roles are as follows: one King, one knight, two bandits and one traitor in a five player game. The Usurper is added for the six player game.
    • The King player reveals their role, while the other players keep their roles secret.
    • The King starts at 50 life, and goes first. The King wins when he is the last man standing.
    • The Knight wants to protect the King. The Knight wins along with the King if he and the king are the last men standing.
    • The Bandits wants to kill the King. The Bandits wins when the King dies as long as they’re still in the game.
    • The Traitor wants to kill a bandit. Once a bandit is out of the game, they win when the King dies. If the King dies with both bandits alive, they do not win.
    • The Usurper wins if they deal the killing blow to the King. Then the Usurper and the King switch roles, the new king’s life goes to 40, and the old King’s life goes to 5.

    Of all the variants, this one has the most variation. The roles always have some variation along with their win conditions, some include the usurper, and others don’t, etc. I have included the version I believe is best balanced and most interesting.

    This version of the game is known as Usurper, Kingdoms, or Monarch, and can be played using whatever kind of props you want. I’ve seen basic lands handed out randomly, and there are print-offs you can find online and throw in sleeves over some commons. Using the cards from Bang! is another option.

    All in all, I don’t think this variation is a balanced game. Even if you are playing a deck capable of doing your role (and many won’t be), some roles make it harder to win than others, but they all foster interesting new strategies and deductions. For example, the Traitor and the Knight will often both protect the King in the early game, but only one of them has the King’s best interest at heart. But it’s rarely in the Bandit’s best interest to be found out too early, so four players may be pretending to protect the King while three of them build up forces to eventually destroy him.

    It’s somewhat terrifying to be the King. And the politics of role deduction are just about my favorite thing to do in any game. Even if you get stomped, guessing your opponent’s roles correctly still feels like winning.

    Star

    Star is a slight political variation on a normal EDH game.

    • This is a 5 player variant, where, if you arranged all the players to be points of a star, you can only attack the two players directly across from you in the star.
    • You win if you defeat two the players across from you.

    In this format, the two players sitting next to you are somewhat allies: you have a vested interest in protecting them and you share common enemies. But it’s not quite that simple. A creature deck still is still interested in the board-wipe deck leaving the game, but once that happens, you might have to beat your enemies in a certain order, or help kill an “ally” so they won’t accidentally win first. It gets politically complicated, and the typical political tendencies of a group are usually cast aside entirely. I recommend this format for any groups with players who hold grudges too often.

    Conclusion

    These are a few of the many EDH variants. Hopefully, some of them were new to you, and you get to try them out with your playgroup. Have a favorite variant? Share the rules for it in the comments!