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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
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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
    
    
Confusion could be compounded by the fact many (all that I've played I believe) MtG computer games require your decks to be size 60. –  joedragons Aug 27 at 14:15

4 Answers 4

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].

There are many formats that impose additional limitations. Notably,

  • 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That sideboard rule is a little out of date; 100.4a now says sideboards can contain no more than fifteen cards.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
    
There is also a 30-card minimum for 4-booster sealed, and Mini-Masters(pack wars). –  esoterik Aug 24 at 17:52
    
I'm going to limit my answer to the rules. Advantageous Proclamation is a case of a card overriding the rules (as allowed by the first Golden Rule). As for the formats @esoterik mention, they do not appear in the official list, and it would still be illegal to create decks with fewer than 40 cards even if the format allows decks as small as 30. –  ikegami Aug 26 at 19:28

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

For the record, I have not played in a few years. If you are playing with friends than anything can go, if they are ok for it.

Tournament rules are still as follows, "Players may have a sideboard of up to a maximum of 15 cards, and exchanges of cards between games are not required to be on a one-for-one basis, so long as the player adheres to the 60 card minimum deck size"

There was a rule were you could only have 4 cards with the same name unless the card had special rules limiting it, at the time you could only have one "Wrath of God" or any non-named land for example. Having said that most people would run around 15 land and around 45 other cards... in this case do 16 land and 44 other cards leaving you only 11 different cards give or take. You would do this to increase your odds of getting your strategic cards. When drawing randomly, it's not luck it is a number game, play the odds!

Having said that, I once had a massive 120 card deck. It played awful due to the odds being against me with every draw.

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Not to be rude, but this doesn't add anything that wasn't already in the existing answers, and the information in the third paragraph is confusing/wrong. –  bwarner Aug 26 at 18:48
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This does answer the question, and the user is new to the site, so I will not downvote. I would even upvote if it answered the question, "Can I play with more than 60 cards?", more directly. I judge answers as though they stand alone, and I encourage others to do the same. El Turner, welcome to Board and Card Games! –  Rainbolt Aug 26 at 19:22
    
Now, about that third paragraph - the term for only being able to play one copy is "restricted". Wrath of God has never been on the restricted list, and I know for sure that "any non-named land" is not restricted. Also, 15 lands in a 60 card deck is suicide in basically every deck except for a handful of eternal format decks. The fastest, leanest deck in recent standard history played 18, and the entire deck is 1 and 2 drops. If you just delete that paragraph entirely, I think it would improve your answer. –  Rainbolt Aug 26 at 19:37

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
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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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