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Do you have to have exactly 60 cards in a Magic the Gathering deck? Some people I've talked to at FNM say yes, others say no.

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It's probably worth pointing out that, in most Constructed decks, it's overwhelmingly better if you can keep your deck size as close to 60 cards as possible. The larger the deck the greater the unpredictability of your draws, and from most angles that's a significant disadvantage. –  thesunneversets Jan 19 '13 at 23:52
To add to @thesunneversets 's comment, you're also limited to a maximum of 4 of any specific card (besides basic land) so a larger deck will also contain a wider variety of cards that may or may not work well together. The best smaller decks tend to be focused around a fairly specific play style - cards that will symbiotize. This is much more difficult with a large deck. –  GalacticCowboy Jan 20 '13 at 13:43

3 Answers 3

No, not at all. You probably should keep it near the minimum since a deck of minimum size will provide more consistent results than a larger deck, but you are not obligated to do so.

  • For constructed events, your deck must have at least 60 cards[CR 100.2a] (plus an optional sideboard of no more than 15 cards[CR 100.4a]).
  • For limited (draft and sealed) events, your deck must have at least 40 cards[CR 100.2b].
  • For Commander games, your deck must have exactly 100 cards (including your Commander)[CR 903.5a].

I could quote you the rules, but Battle of Wits is much more convincing :)

Note: When this answer was originally written the side board was limited to exactly 15 cards. This has changed. I have updated this information to match current rules since it doesn't affect the answer.

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That sideboard rule is a little out of date; 100.4a now says sideboards can contain no more than fifteen cards. –  JakeP Jun 17 '14 at 18:43
@JakeP, Updated. –  ikegami Jun 17 '14 at 19:13
In a Conspiracy Limited tournament, Advantageous Proclamation could also reduce your deck size below 40. The card is only legal in Conspiracy Limited, though. –  Brian S Jun 18 '14 at 14:53

You certainly don't, not in any normal MtG format. 60 card decks are the minimum in most Constructed formats, but there is no upper bound. Commander decks are all the same size... but they are 100 cards big, not 60. In typical Limited environments (Draft/Sealed) the minimum size is 40, with an upper limit determined only by the size of your cardpool (and even then you can add a LOT of basic lands on top).

If you want to prove to someone that a Magic deck doesn't have to have exactly 60 cards in it, the quickest way is probably to refer them to Battle of Wits - a famous card that doesn't even make sense in a world of uniform 60-card decks.

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Battle of wits does prove otherwise, I agree. But usually it is played in decks that are practically composed of nothing but counters and cards that help you find it. It works, but it is not that strong a strategy. When it comes to instant wins, I would much rather play with mazes end. –  user7848 Jun 17 '14 at 15:42

It is good to have a large deck because if someone had a decking deck you would lose instantly! It is also good to have a deck of 60 cards because you have a better chance to get your good card! This is my opinion!

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Welcome to the site! Please note that this space is for answers to the question only, not for discussions and opinions. As such, a mod will likely delete this, but I hope you stick around to ask and answer questions! –  GendoIkari Jun 29 '14 at 17:56
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. –  Tynam Jun 30 '14 at 12:58
I disagree that this does not answer the question. I don't believe it's a good answer, but it is an answer. Q: Do you have to have exactly 60 cards? A: It's good to have a large deck, and it's good to have a small deck. The implication is that no, exactly 60 is not required. –  Brian S Jun 30 '14 at 13:51

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