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My friends and I have a regular MTG-drafting group. It's pretty informal, and after we draft sometimes a group of 4 people will play Two-Headed-Giant just for fun since it's not really a tournament and more just a way to get together and play. However, several of them want to play the entire 'tournament' as all THG matches the next time we play. I have no problem with this at all and understand how THG works, but I'm curious as to the best way to do this in a draft.

Assuming we pick teams before the drafting, do we allow players to collaborate in choosing their cards? It seems like this would take way too long and require far too much effort to make the decks work well together. Granted, the effort would make for better decks for each team, but I don't think the extra time is worth it. I suggested that we not allow anyone to help their partner make decisions during the draft so they are still building a deck that can stand on its own, and not having one player run 23 counterspells and removals while the other runs 23 creatures. However, my friends say this could easily result in decks that do not play well together at all.

After we've picked the cards I figure everyone would be allowed to collaborate with their teammate to build their decks, but doing so during the draft just seems like too much. Currently I think players should not be allowed to give the cards they picked to their partner for their deck.

What limits should we impose on collaboration during the draft to allow the teams to build decks that synergize well, without drastically increasing the time requirement of the draft? Perhaps a 3-minute interval between each booster? How can we find a good balance of collaboration and increased time requirements?

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I find that 2-headed giant limited works much better with a sealed pool of 8 packs. Two people can easily build decks from that, and the time is just taken with deckbuilding instead of the draft. –  Hyppy Jun 13 '12 at 23:21
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I recommend just straight-up reading the MTG Tournament Rules. You certainly don't need to do all of this stuff for a "casual" draft, but it'll give you some good ideas about how to run things.

As Two-Headed Giant draft is actually an officially supported format, the MTR includes specific guidelines on how to run it. DCI recommends drafting as a team, then building decks from one shared pool:

9.6 Two-Headed Giant Limited Rules

All the rules for Limited Tournaments (Section 7) apply, except as described below. The DCI recommends that each team receive eight boosters per team for Two-Headed Giant Sealed Deck tournaments and six boosters per team for Two-Headed Giant Booster Draft tournaments. For the recommended product mix for the current block, refer to Appendix E. Cards not used in a team’s starting decks are considered a shared sideboard by the two players that both players can access.

9.7 Two-Headed Giant Booster Draft Tournaments

Teams (not players) assemble into random drafting circles (called pods) of roughly equal size at the direction of the Head Judge. Teammates sit next to each other. Tournament officials then distribute identical booster packs to each team in the pod. After opening and counting the cards in their first pack, the team chooses two cards from the booster pack then passes the remaining cards face down to the team on its left. Selected cards may be placed into one or two piles. The cards chosen are not assigned to a particular player; they become part of a pool out of which both players will build their decks. The open packs are passed around the drafting pod—with each team taking two cards from each before passing—until all cards are drafted. For the second pack, the direction of drafting is reversed as usual. Thus, the overall draft direction is left–right– left–right–left–right.

Generally, there are no prohibitions on communication between teammates; tournaments instead use time limits to discourage analysis paralysis:

4.4 Team/Two-Headed Giant Communication

Members of the same team may, at all times, communicate between one another verbally. This includes during play, during drafting, and during deck construction of Limited tournaments. However, team members that have an opportunity to acquire hidden information (e.g. by speaking to spectators following their own match while a teammate is still playing), are restricted from communicating with teammates for the duration of that match. Prohibitions against written notes of any kind during drafts apply to team drafts as well.

If you're playing without judges, I encourage working out some kind of procedure for handling slow play within your group.

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for slow playing, I know players that use the same clocks that are used by the "proper" chess players, and they say it works... between friends we prefer pure and simple peer pressure... –  Yaztromo Mar 7 '12 at 21:59
    
@Yaztromo That's basically how MTGO works (clocks, I mean, not peer pressure). –  Alex P Mar 7 '12 at 22:28
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Option 1: allow collaboration during the decks construction, but set a time (quite strict) to pick the decks. (In this case I wouldn't allow side decks, if I were you...)

Option 2: no collaboraion, but allow side decks - after the first match the players will be able to access the side decks and fix the issues highlighted by last match (as normal).

Enjoy!

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