Horde Magic is a casual, multiplayer variant of Magic: the Gathering involving all players working cooperatively to defeat an automated deck. This format was created by Peter Knudson and introduced to a wider audience through Adam Styborski's run authoring the Serious Fun article on Magicthegathering.com.
Spirit of the format
Have fun! This is a casual and social format and as such is meant to be fun. If some portion of the game-play is unfun or not working well within the rules of Horde Magic, it is generally accepted practice to come to a consensus as to what works best for those involved. Cycling problematic cards is a common fix.
Flavor of the format
Horde Magic was originally themed around zombies and representing the Zombie Apocalypse. Since the Horde Deck uses special rules that allow it to run automatically, the Horde should have as few choices to make as possible. This fits well with the brainless nature of the depictions of most zombies in pop culture. Since its creation, many other thematic Hordes have been built and played. Cards included in Horde Decks should be thematic as well as work within the rules.
Horde Magic is divided up into two factions: The Horde (the deck that runs automatically) and The Survivors (the players).
- The Horde wins if The Survivors' group life total is reduced to zero or below.
- The Survivors win if The Horde has no cards in its library, no cards in its hand, and no creatures on the battlefield.
Rules for The Horde
- The Horde has no player, it pilots itself.
- Any choice The Horde must make should be made as randomly as possible.
- The Horde has an infinite amount of mana at all times.
- The Horde's turn starts by revealing cards from the top of its library until a non-token card is revealed. All revealed tokens are then cast. The revealed non-token is cast. Then, if applicable, The Horde casts any cards that can be cast from its graveyard as well as any cards it has in its hand.
- All creatures controlled by The Horde have Haste and "This creature must attack each turn if able."
- The Horde has no life total. Damage dealt to The Horde causes that many cards from the top of The Horde's library to be put into its graveyard.
Rules for The Survivors
- The Survivors have three turns to set their defenses before The Horde gets its first turn. Then turns alternate like normal.
- Like in Two-Headed Giant, The Survivors are a team and all take their turn simultaneously. The Survivors attack and block as a team.
- Each Survivor contributes 20 life to the group life total.
Adjusting the difficulty of The Horde
Depending upon the number of players and/or the type of decks being used by The Survivors, it may be necessary to adjust some of the aspects of the game in order to set the difficulty of the game to a preferable level. The following are ways to adjust the difficulty and power level of The Horde:
- Adjust the number of turns in which The Survivors have to prepare.
- Adjust the amount of life each of The Survivors contributes to the team.
- Exile a random portion of the Horde Deck prior to the first turn.
- Card Selection during Horde Deck deck construction and/or a sideboard.
- Replace random choices by The Horde with consensus decisions by The Survivors.
- Allow tokens to remain in the graveyard instead of ceasing to exist.
- Allow or disallow The Survivors to attack The Horde during their set-up turns.
- Adjust the token to non-token ratio.
Horde deck construction
A Horde Deck is a 100-card constructed deck. Sixty of the cards should be tokens, the remaining forty are regular Magic cards. Cards included in the deck should not cause the Horde to have to make choices. This excludes almost any card that targets individual objects. Cards and Tokens included in the deck should be thematic, flavorful, and/or fun as well.
Peter Knudson also posted a rough ban list to remove some of the "auto win" cards.
- Aether Flash
- Barbed Foilage
- Dueling Grounds
- Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- Ensnaring Bridge
- Haunting Echoes
- Island Sanctuary
- Lethal Vapors
- Leyline of Singularity
- Magus of the Moat
- Mind Funeral
- No Mercy
- Platinum Emperion
- Platinum Angel
- Silent Arbiter
- Solitary Confinement
- Stormtide Leviathan
- Surgical Extraction
- Tainted Aether
- Teferis Moat
- Time Stretch
- Trepanation Blade
- Urabrask the Hidden
- Peter Knudson (September 29, 2011). Horde Magic: A New Way to Play Magic and Survive Zombie Invasions. Quietspeculation.com
- Peter Knudson (October 26, 2011). Horde Magic: An Open Source Project. Quietspeculation.com
- Adam Styborski (October 18, 2011). "Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Shuffle". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Adam Styborski (February 21, 2012). "Then We Will Fight in the Shade!". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Adam Styborski (February 28, 2012). "Stitched in the Middle with You". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.