Alternate Rules: Combat Magic

Sometimes you want to play a quick game of Magic

It's a sad thing, but sometimes you just don't have time for a game of Commander. I've been working on an alternative set of rules for just such an occasion. You'll notice that they are similar in some ways to Yu-Gi-Oh! rules. Don't get me wrong: the standard Magic rules are great. But sometimes it's fun to mix it up.

Magic Combat Rules (Revision 2)

This is a variant of MTG with a combat focus. There is no mana. If regular Magic is about planeswalkers dueling to the death, this variant is about a friendly competition between two planeswalkers.

Deck Construction
A legal deck consists of 40 cards exactly, with no more than one copy of any card (singleton). Land cards and planeswalkers are not allowed. Generally, you will want a deck with a mix of creatures, instants, sorceries, and auras with increasing converted casting costs.

At the start of the game, each player draws 7 cards. Each player may then play up to 5 creatures with a converted casting cost of 3 or less, face down in the combat zone. The placement of those creatures is important. Once they are set, they cannot be changed. Now, both players simultaneously reveal all creatures. There are 5 slots for creatures on each side that correspond to the 5 opposing creature slots.

Casting Spells
No non-creature spell may be cast with a converted casting cost that is higher than the round number.

You may play one enchantment that is not an aura. This card remains in play until another enchantment is played, then is discarded. No more than one enchantment that is not an aura may be in play at the same time.

Each player may play up to one equipment card. If the converted casting cost of the equipment card plus the cost to equip is equal to or less than the round number, the card may be equipped that turn; otherwise, the equip cost may be paid on a subsequent turn.
Summoning Creatures

Creatures may be summoned during the first main phase. If the creature's converted casting cost is 3 or less, place the creature in one of your open creature slots. For creatures with a higher converted casting cost, you must first sacrifice at least one creature you control to complete the summon. If the creature's converted casting cost is 4-7, sacrifice one creature. If the converted casting cost is 8 or greater, sacrifice two creatures.

Untap: This phase is skipped.
Upkeep: As normal.
Draw: Each player draws three cards.
Main: Creatures may be summoned.
Combat: See detail below.
Main: Skipped.
End-of-turn: As normal.
Clean: As normal.

The first step of the combat phase is that each player places up to three non-creature cards face down in 5 empty spell slots behind the row of creatures they control.

Next, each player may use one activated ability from among the creatures they control. The converted casting cost of the ability may not exceed the round number.

The active player selects the first creature that will fight. That creature uses the "fight" keyword to battle the creature across from it. Before each fight, the active player may reveal any number of spell cards. These can be instants, sorceries, or enchantments, or equipment. The defending player may also reveal any number of spell cards; however, these may only be instants. Resolve these spells in last-in-first-out order (reverse order).

Continue until the active player has no more creatures to fight with or passes.

Creatures do not tap. All "tap" effects are replaced with a null effect. Tapping just doesn't happen.


The game is played for 10 rounds. Each player takes one turn in each round.

At the end of combat, any unblocked creature scores one point. The player with the most points at the end of 10 rounds wins the match.

Players have 20 life to start but do not lose for having 0 life. Players do not take combat damage; however, players may lose life, pay life, and take all other damage as normal.

When a player cannot draw a card, both players shuffle all their used cards together with the draw pile.

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