Type 4 aka The Stack bka Infinity Magic is Magic’s Most Sensational Format™!
To see a formal explanation of the rules of Type 4, see the Rules page.
Introduction: The Five Commandments
Type 4 is a fairly old casual format with roots in the late 90s. Magic being the indecipherable jumble of symbols and words they are, at some point a genius named Paul “The Natural” Mastriano decided “all this is too complicated, and these land cards bore me. There must be a simpler way…”
Thus was born the first Commandment: “Thou Shall Have Fun.”
In pursuit of this noble goal, it was decided to skip all the boring stuff and stick to hurling Force of Natures at each others domepieces all day every day by allowing players to have all the mana they want. This absolved players of the bondage of mana, the shackles of lands, and the oppression of building a stable mana base.
Thus, the Second Commandment: “Thou Shall Have Infinite Mana.”
Of course, these philosopher kings weren’t MAD kings (Ohio still didn’t have fluoride in the water yet), and even in the late 90s they had Spiderman. They knew with great power comes great something something, so it was scrawled upon the ancient tomes of Infinity Magic and carried down from on high in Ohio.
Thus, the Third Commandment: “Thou Shall Cast One Spell Per Turn.”
And for a time things were good as the ancients, nay, GODS whose footprints we follow today engaged each other in a cacophony of Demonic Hordes and Aladdin’s Rings. Their duels shook left many a game store in desolation as nerds, high on power and wilding out from too much RC Cola, clashed with none of the practiced restraint Magic typically imposed on the participants. The chaos led the philosopher kings to some new conundrums. They reconvened to resolve these issues the fledgling format had.
Firstly, the issue of infinite mana had complications beyond the Second Commandment’s grasp. For example, “What happens when Masticore tries to kill Arcades Sabboth?”
At the time, the players simply sat at the table in an unspoken test of endurance and mental fortitude. The first player to leave the game or starve to death lost the encounter as they could no longer put abilities on the stack. There were tales of grown men wearing diapers to games, physicians warning parents about the new demonic craze of “Infinity Magic”, and it was even rumored that a boy in Japan turned INTO a Magic card by sheer force of will during such an event. The exact truth is lost to the mist of myth, but the conundrm remained.
Thus, the Fourth Commandment: “Thou Shall Recognize Defensive Abilities As Victors In Infinite Loops.”
Now, the Arcades Sabboths and Morphlings were simply recognized as the victors in these disputes.
These quarreling ancients had further disputes over what could and could not be played. With each Type 4 player bringing a private pile of their own cards to play, differences of opinion naturally surfaced. “Should Fireball be legal?” became the question of the day in the amphitheaters where this format was forged, a placeholder questions that framed the larger debate: how can we decide what cards are playable?
After a lengthy congress that included filibusters, several crates of Monster Energy Drinks and endless covert sexting, a compromise was reached that most parties, save the die-hard Ayn Rand fans, could agree on.
Thus, the Fifth Commandment: “Thou Shall Play From A Shared Card Pool.”
By simply having all players play from a single set of cards, the problem on what cards would and would not be allowed was instantly resolved. The collections of cards people found fun to play would survive: the piles populated by lame cards would be culled, outcast, and die with their sleeves barely scuffed. Survival of the fittest.
But there is a secret, subtle brilliance embedded in this Commandment. It allows a ‘shared pool’ to be interpreted a wide variety of ways, giving rise to different ways to play Type 4 that are all legitimate without breaking the Commandment. Whether you choose to play from a single collective stack, draft a multitude of ways, or something else you dreamed up in a meth-induced hyperintellectual haze, as long as it follows some interpretation of the Commandments it’s all good. It allows a breadth of format diversity and experience.
As with any mythology, the story frays and deviates depending on who you ask. The Five Commandments are those essential to Type 4. Beyond that, there are other rules considerations that are important to your game experience, but are open to continued interpretation among the Infinity Magic scholars at the academy. But the core of the experience remains the same, and can always be summed up with the Five Commandments.
I: “Thou Shall Have Fun”
II: “Thou Shall Have Infinite Mana”
III: “Thou Shall Cast One Spell Per Turn”
IV: “Defensive Abilities Win In Infinite Loops”
V: “Thou Shall Play From A Shared Card Pool”
With these Commandments, the modern vision of Type 4 came into the world and began gaining it’s reputation as Magic’s Most Sensational Format™. Today that legend continues and the Academy of the Infinite would like you to be part of it.