Limited formats are so-called because they require players to build their decks from a more limited pool of cards than Constructed formats. Limited formats require players to open a specified number of Magic products. They then must work exclusively with the cards that came from that product. Due to the nature of Limited formats, players cannot build their decks in advance of the tournament and must build their deck within the tournament itself.
Two formats are most common for official limited play. In a Booster Draft, players in a circle each look at the cards from one booster pack, "draft" one of them to keep, then pass the remaining cards to an adjacent player; this repeats until the total allotment of packs (usually three) is exhausted. In a Sealed Deck event, each player receives and opens all packs at once (usually six boosters) independently from other players. In both cases the finalized decks are constructed out of the cards obtained this way, and unused cards form the sideboard.
- A way of playing in which each player gets a quantity of unopened Magic product and creates their own deck on the spot. See rule 100.2.
- 100.2b In limited play (a way of playing in which each player gets the same quantity of unopened Magic product such as booster packs and creates their own deck using only this product and basic land cards), each deck has a minimum deck size of 40 cards. A limited deck may contain as many duplicates of a card as are included with the product.
- Card Pool
- In a Limited format, the cards a player may use, in addition to basic land cards, to build their deck.
- Limited decks must contain a minimum of 40 cards. There is no maximum deck size, however, the player must be able to shuffle their deck unassisted.
- Players are not restricted to four of any one card in Limited tournament play.
- There are no banned or restricted card lists. However, cards that are banned in sanctioned play (such as cards playing with ante) are still banned in Limited.
- Limited events involving sets using conspiracy card and/or Silver-bordered cards can be only played as non-rated casual events with the consent of everybody involved.
- Any drafted or opened cards not used in a player's limited deck function as their sideboard.
- Players may add any number of basic land cards that named Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain or Forest in their deck and sideboard (usually with organizers supplying a stock of basic lands).
- There are no restrictions on the number of cards a player may exchange this way as long as the main deck contains at least forty cards. Cards do not need to be exchanged on a one-for-one basis.
- Unless stated otherwise, for regular REL events that decklist is not utilized, player are not required to return the original configuration of deck before each match starts. Players may sideboard even between matches.
- Cards that do not belong to the set (other than Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain or Forest) are not allowed to be included in the player's deck(they are usually kept by players who opened the pack or drafted it). However, cards appear in land slot are not excluded during draft regardless of being a part of the set or not.
- The following exceptions applied to certain cards that can be used in limited events that their booster packs contained them, but not included as a part of the set.
- If the card is a non-basic land in Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash, for limited events using Dragon's Maze cards. (i.e. shock lands)
- If the card is a non-basic land in Khans of Tarkir, for Limited events using Fate Reforged cards. (i.e. fetch lands)
- Cards from the Masterpiece Series, for limited events using the respective set. (For example, Zendikar Expeditions cards for limited events using Battle for Zendikar or Oath of the Gatewatch cards.)
- Prerelease cards included in players' respective prerelease kit, for prerelease events starting from Return to Ravnica, unless stated otherwise prior the event.
In a booster draft, players each receive three booster packs of 15 cards. After being seated around a table, each player simultaneously opens one booster pack, selects a single card, and then passes the rest to the next player over. After all players have drafted fifteen cards, they each open their second pack, and drafting continues (sometimes in reverse order during the second pack).
- Sealed deck was formerly played with a 75-card tournament pack, containing 45 cards and 30 basic lands, and two booster packs.
- It is Play Design's job to balance a set, and to make it playable in Limited.
- Limited was featured as rules card 6 of 9 in the Magic 2011 set.
- Sam Stoddard (July 26, 2013). "Playtesting Limited". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Marshall Sutcliffe (May 07, 2014). "Top 5 Mistakes New Limited Players Make". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Marshall Sutcliffe (June 17, 2015). "Tools of the Trade". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Sam Stoddard (August 28, 2015). "Making Limited Feel Different". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brian David-Marshall (May 9, 2016). "An Oral History of Limited". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.