This is the standard game setup I use to play Type 4. I think it creates the best experience by allowing a lots flexibility, without creating the need for a lot of ‘extra’ rules or things for players to remember. It also allows for a lot of cards to see use without requiring any errata or other extra crap.
- Starting Hand Size: 7
- Life Total: 20
- No Mulligans
- Alternative costs circumvent single spell per turn restriction
- 30 card decks are drafted using Rochester draft
- Singleton Stack
This is the rule set I use when evaluating all cards in the card reviews on the site. It’s also the way to play Type 4 I have the most experience with by far. I encourage others to try this above other ways of playing Infinity Magic for a whole bunch of reasons, but I also recognize it’s shortcomings. I’ll analyze both below.
Why Choose Those Rules?
The shortest way to explain it is I find they reach the balance between allowing for player skill, keeping a game feeling dynamic and exciting and avoiding eating up too much time with the setup.
The starting hand size could probably be changed to 5, but I feel that if players draft a deck well they should be given access to those cards pronto. I don’t allow mulligans for the same reasons–you drafted the deck. You can live with what comes up. When you’re drawing off a combined stack and the outcome is totally random I feel mulligans aren’t necessarily some plague on the game because the opening hand in Type 4 can make or break a player. With the draft before play, this gives a player some agency instead of losing because he draw five Twiddle equivalents against his hateful cousin who had a handful of burn.
Furthermore, it helps apply some pressure as when the player takes their first turn, they’re down to 22 cards. With some milling and drawing, that can quickly become an overriding factor. At the worst, the defined deck size provides a definitive ‘doomsday clock’ for all the games that will be played. Giving players set deck sizes also increases the variety of cards and strategies available. I have a friend who commonly plays a ‘hurry-up offense’ type of deck when he can that centers around decking other players. In some modes of Type 4, mill cards are entirely worthless. Using predetermined deck sizes let you include more cards and challenge your players’ valuations skills during the draft. Something like Psychic Spiral goes from being utterly unplayable to potentially backbreaking, which might be the first time anybody’s ever written that.
I always advocate drafting decks when possible. Rochester draft is probably the slowest way to do it, but I also feel it’s the most skill-intensive. It also accentuates a dimension of Type 4 that you want to emphasize: the shock and awe. When the ten cards flipped up from a pack are something like the photo to the right, you know there’s going to be a lot of talk at the table. Seeing how other players value cards also lets the newer Type 4 disciple peep behind the curtain and gleam some insights on what works and what doesn’t. It also helps to know there’s a Khamal, Pit Fighter in somebody else’s hands when a Crab Umbra pops up for the drafting.
Finally, I prefer the Singleton stack just because it feels right. I don’t dispute that using some duplicates of cards like Ray of Distortion might make the experience smoother, but I don’t play Type 4 for a finely-tuned gaming challenge. I play it to talk shit and beat people to death with a turn two Silvos.