For official tournaments, follow the Tournament Floor Rules using one of these play formats.
These are the recognized play formats:
- Constructed (using decks the players bring to the event). Unless otherwise restricted, all released cards are allowed except for the Ban List, with the usual minimum of 45 cards in the draw deck with no more than 3 of any specific card and exactly 10 cards in the problem deck with no more than 2 of any specific card.
- Harmony: The normal 2-player version of the game.
- Chaos is Magic: Same as Harmony but with a special rule each month.
- Utter Chaos: Same as Harmony but with special rules that change during the tournament (per game, per turn, or every few minutes, etc.)
- Block: Same as Harmony but restricted to cards released as part of a specific Block. Usually refers to play restricted to cards from the most-recent Block.
- The Premiere Block is Premiere, Canterlot Nights, The Crystal Games, and Absolute Discord. (But this was never used as an official Block format.)
- The Odyssey Block is Equestrian Odysseys, High Magic, Marks in Time, and Defenders of Equestria.
- The Beyond Block is Seaquestria & Beyond and the next few releases. This is the current Block.
- Core: Same as Harmony but restricted to cards released as part the 2 most-recent Blocks.
- Note that the mini-expansion sets Rock N Rave and Celestial Solstice and cards only found in the Generic Fixed Set are not part of any Block. If those cards are re-printed as part of a not set, any printing of those cards become valid in the Block the re-print is in; for example, the Cutie Mark Consultant line was first in Generic Fixed but was re-printed as part of Equestrian Odysseys.
- Multiplayer: Rules for playing with 3+ players. Currently in Beta, so no official tournaments use this play format.
- Limited (using decks players get as part of entry to the event). Players may choose from any cards given to them (no ban list), there is no maximum of any particular card (if you get 4+ of the same card in your pool of cards you may use as many as you wish), and players may modify their decks between games of the tournament (still only using their initial pool of cards). Players may also include outside cards from a short list to complete their deck (either actual cards if available or proxies).
- For Limited events using Block 1 cards these were: any Mane Character card from Premiere, Canterlot Nights, The Crystal Games, or Absolute Discord and the simple starting problems from Premiere (, , , , , )).
- For Limited events using Block 2 cards these were: any Uncommon Mane Character card from Equestrian Odysseys and the wild-color starting problems from that set (, , ).
- For Limited events using Block 3 cards these are: any Common Mane Character card from Seaquestria & Beyond and the wild-color starting problems from that set ( and ).
- Booster Draft: Players are each given a few sealed booster packs (usually 4-6), sit in circles of 3-6 players and pick from the packs to build a minimum 30-card draw deck and an exactly 5-card problem deck using this method:
- Open a pack each.
- Each pick a card from the pack they hold.
- Pass the rest of the pack to the next player.
- When that set of packs is fully distributed, all open their next pack and pass the other direction.
- Sealed Deck: Same as Draft with more packs per person (usually 8) and no drafting. Players open their packs and build a minimum 30-card draw deck and an exactly 5-card problem deck.
- Theme Deck + boosters: Players are given a complete theme deck and a few (usually 2-4) sealed booster packs to modify it with. Minimum 45-card draw deck and an exactly 10-card problem deck.
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