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Limited Magic: The Gathering formats are so-called because they require players to build their decks from a more limited pool of cards than Constructed formats.

Description[ | ]

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.

History[ | ]

Sealed deck was originally played with a 75-card tournament pack, containing 45 cards and 30 basic lands, and two booster packs. Since Alara Reborn, Limited event were solely played with booster packs.

Since Throne of Eldraine, Limited events involving Standard sets were specifically played with Draft Boosters. With Murders at Karlov Manor, Draft Boosters were replaced by Play Boosters.[1][2]

Rules[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

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.

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 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.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

Card Pool
In a Limited format, the cards a player may use, in addition to basic land cards, to build their deck.

Rulings[ | ]

  • 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 are named Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain or Forest in their deck and sideboard (usually with organizers supplying a stock of basic lands).
    • Snow-covered basic land and Wastes is not supplied to players - players can only use them if those land are included in their packs.
  • 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.
    • Prior of the release of Zendikar, every card appearing in the pack was considered to be part of the set. It was modified to "cards appearing in basic land slot are removed unless card(s) belong to that set appear in that slot". It was further modified to the current rule in Throne of Eldraine.
  • 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.

Formats[ | ]

The two most common Limited formats are sealed deck and booster draft.

Sealed deck[ | ]

In sealed deck tournaments, each player receives six booster packs (each containing 15 cards) from which to build their deck.

Booster draft[ | ]

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).

Trivia[ | ]

External links[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2023). "What are Play Boosters?". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (October 20, 2023). "Play Booster Discord Q&A". Wizards of the Coast.