Rules: Activation Caps

Check these bros out.

Once they hit play, they aren’t giving a FUCK about other creatures for the most part. Every dude on the board is tapped at whim, and none of that silly ‘damage’ can even touch your man (presumably he just holds up his shield HARDER each time you activate the ability). With limitless mana they just go ham on everything in sight. While this can seem kind of unfair initially, that’s the nature of the beast. When you open the all-you-can-eat mana buffet, expect to attract the occasional landwhale.

While the mana-saturated environment makes CF–as we call them on the street–pretty whopper, it also turns a lot of creatures into frowny-face factories.

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Rules: Mulligans

I have already discussed mulligans peripherally in a few articles. That they come up so frequently even aren’t the actual topic of conversation says that I’m terrible at staying on track, they’re tremendously important, or possibly both. When it comes to a game that has such a huge element of chance, the ability to mitigate that chance with a do-over of your opening hand is going to have a huge impact. It’s also something ingrained into Magic culture as every format (including the best format of all, the Shahrazad sub-game) offers mulligans of some sort, so players who aren’t familiar with Infinity Magic are expecting them.

For those expecting some kind of hilarious non-Magic photo here, I tried Google Image search for ‘mulligan’ and all I got were images of this worried-looking presumably-famous woman, which bored me so badly I actually fell unconscious for about a half-hour. On with the article. Continue reading

Rules: Custom Cards

There are over 13000 different Magic cards printed in the history of the game. A small percentage of them see actual play with the vast majority discarded like a boxer must discard roll after roll of sweaty, useless disgusting flab before he can win the title. As designed has streamlined with the nWo’s full force bearing down on R&D, most of the ‘good’ cards are now universally good across formats; today’s Standard staple is also likely to get plenty of use in Commander, Cube, 60×4 casuals and Highlander decks. While it’s all well and good to see so many high quality cards, it also means that anybody who buys cards in quantity for any reason essentially owns a lot of garbage–unusual piles of crap like Pillarfield Ox, which never would have been playable, but also stuff like Lavaborn Muse which might have seen use in some cornercase application somewhere, but has just been muscled out. The same goes for once-iconic cards like Force of Nature, which is pretty much chillin’ in a Magic card nursing home these days shitting it’s pants and wondering when the tooth fairy is coming by next.

Alternative formats are, ideally, the Special Olympics of Magic in that they provide opportunity to cards that don’t get to shine elsewhere. There’s so many unloved cards out there that ideally, a new format offers more than just rules, but a beer-goggles lens that changes the way we perceive these disadvantaged abominations. And there’s plenty to go around.

So, in Type 4–which is one of the oldest and best formats that still gives cards nobody likes a time to shine–I can’t understand why people are compelled to design ‘custom cards’ to play with.

You may or may not have figured out the thrust of what I’m going to way with that line, in which case you might as well not click on the link to expand the article unless you really enjoy my searing wit and twenty-year-old pop-culture references. Continue reading

Rules: Singleton Stack

SWEET CHRISTMAS this already existed!

Usually discussions of Type 4 involve the default assumption that the shared card pool is singleton in nature. We push a multicultural agenda with VICIOUS intensity, checking the privilege of staple cards and enabling the oppressed cardboard of MtG’s unwashed masses to take their chance at stardom (I’m looking at you Crowd Favourites). However, in our mission to bring light to various marginalized cards, don’t we effectively end up OPPRESSING the ones that are already good, just because we’re trying to force diversity into our Stacks? Can replicating our standout cards like Return to Dust and Annihilate instead of clogging up the Stack with similar-but-inferior cards make for a better, more streamlined experience, even at the cost of JUSTICE for lesser-used cards?

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Rules: Starting Hand Size

Ahh, the first Commandment. “Thou Shall Have Fun”. Here at the Academy, we take that extremely seriously.

This is a philosophy for paying Type 4, but it also provides a convenient catch-all for the fundamental rules of the game and categorizing modifications to them. Today we’ll peep game at the starting hand size and the impact it can have on games, and close out recommending a few hand sizes. Spoiler alert: five or seven.

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Rules: Phantom Lands

The limitless torrent of mana in Type 4 makes the most basic function of lands obsolete. Without needing to go begging to lands for the right to play your cards like some kind of filthy peasant, you can leave the smug ass Islands and Plains on the sidelines and enjoy a considerably streamlined game. It’s amazing how much less cluttered the board is in Type 4 most often, and that’s because you don’t have all these lands clogging up the space in front of your other permanents (lands in front like a real OG).

lol

One of the ramifications of the absence of mana-producing lands in Infinity Magic is that it instantly kills a bunch of cards’ potential, though. A card like Mutilate goes from being pretty awesome (actually, maybe it isn’t anymore because Toxic Deluge, nWo, etc.) to entirely worthless, and a typically-dope card like Gush becomes the decidedly-less inspiring Inspiration. Some of these cards would do quite well in the average Stack, so it hurts to exclude them.

To work around this, some players play with ‘Phantom Lands’ (PLs from here on because my time is just that valuable). I guess if you were using new design terms, it would be like every player having an emblem that says “all players control an infinite number of basic lands at all times”. ┬áThis turns cards reliant on having lands in play very worthwhile, and in a way matches up nicely with the feel of Type 4 anyway. If you have infinite mana, why not also have infinite lands? Continue reading

Rules: Alternative Casting Costs

This is a critical mutator for Commandment III: “Thou Shall Cast One Spell Per Turn”.

The “Rule of Law” being the only dam holding back a tsunami of insanity triggered by infinite mana, anything that alters the Commandment III needs to be carefully considered. But this rule has been exhaustively poured over by Infinity Magic scholars and students alike here at the Academy for years and nobody has died yet, so it’s doing something right. If you want to play with any secondary rules, I consider this the most important one beyond just the Five Commandments.

Knock your games up a notch!

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