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Part 1 – Understanding Constructed Formats
by Tim Kotula
 

This should hopefully clear up all the questions new players might have regarding constructed formats. ‘Constructed’ formats are formats in which you must bring a deck that you have built beforehand to the tournament. The deck must be a minimum of 60 cards and conform to the rules of the format being used. If you are using a sideboard, it must contain exactly 15 cards. Also, keep in mind that some formats ‘rotate’ from time to time. That is, some of the older sets which you are allowed to use are disallowed, in order to make room for newer sets. So, if you plan to play in a lot of tournaments, you will need to keep up with the formats.

Block

This format rotates each year and the allowed sets always consist of the three sets from the most current block (at the time of this writing, it would be the Ravnica Block). This is probably the easiest format for new players to understand, given the limited card pool. It is rare that cards are banned in the Block format, although it has happened. Ban lists for each block can always be located at the link below.

Current Legal Sets

-Ravnica: City of Guilds
-Guildpact (Available Feb. 2006)
-Dissension (Available May 2006)

Ban List (cards on this list cannot be used in decks): here.


Standard (Type 2)

This format is always composed of the sets from the two most recent blocks and the most recent Core Set. Each fall, the older of the two sets rotates out and a newly released block rotates in. Most FNM tournaments, Regionals and Nationals are held in this format. It is also rare for cards to be banned in this format, even though it has happened. The current ban list can always be located at the link below.

Current Legal Sets

-Dissenion (May 06)
-Guildpact (Feb. 06)
-Ravnica: City of Guilds
-Saviors of Kamigawa
-Betrayers of Kamigawa
-Champions of Kamigawa
-9th Edition

Ban List: here.


Extended (Type 1.X)

Composed of the most recent six to nine blocks and the three most recent Core Sets, this format rotates every three years. Many PTQs and Pro Tours are held in this format. The current ban list can always be located at the link below.

Current Legal Sets

-Dissension (May 06)
-Guildpact (Feb. 06)
-Ravnica: City of Guilds
-Saviors of Kamigawa
-Betrayers of Kamigawa
-Champions of Kamigawa
-Fifth Dawn
-Darksteel
-Mirrodin
-Scourge
-Legions
-Onslaught
-Judgment
-Torment
-Odyssey
-Apocalypse
-Planeshift
-Invasion
-7th Edition
-8th Edition
-9th Edition

Ban List: here.


Legacy (Type 1.5)

This format was recently revamped by Wizards of the Coast and they are now heavily supporting and promoting it as a sanctioned format. Every Magic set ever printed (aside from silver-bordered Un-sets) is permitted and there is a rather extensive ban list, which can always be found at the link below.

Ban List: here.

Vintage (Type 1)

Similar to Legacy, in that every set ever printed (aside from the Un-sets) is legal. However, this format mostly restricts powerful cards, rather than banning them. If a card is restricted, you may only have one copy of in your deck, including your sideboard. The complete banned and restricted lists can always be found at the link below.

Ban List: here.

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