Magic the Gathering is a fun collectible card game. It’s been around since 1993 and it’s pretty much here to stay. I love Magic the gather, it is exciting, versatile, and has room for players with all levels of knowledge and commitment.

One of my favorite things about Magic is its expansive formats you can play. Magic the Gathering differs from other collectible card games, in the fact you can play the game in so many different ways.

Today I want to explain and discuss the formats of drafting and Commander; two of my favorite ways to play magic.


Drafting is a format of magic that is played by a group of players. Each player will need to buy 3 packs of sealed cards to play with and the goal is to draft cards from packs passed around the table that you can then use to build yourself a deck.

The opening round of drafting starts with all players opening their first pack simultaneously. Each player takes a card from the pack and passes the remaining cards to the left. This is done till all cards from the first pack are drafted. The same is done for the second pack except it is passed to the right. The third and final pack is passed again to the left.

Once all players have finished drafting all their cards, they split off to make their decks. Then players are paired tournament style to battle their decks against each other to determine a final winner.


Commander is a Magic the Gathering format typically played with a group of players. Each player will bring their own premade deck. Certain restrictions need to be followed when building this deck. First, the deck will consist of 100 cards, and all cards that are not basic lands must be different. You cannot have two cards that are the same.

Each player must also have a commander. A commander is a legendary creature. The deck is built around this creature and must only contain the colors of the commander’s cost. When playing commander, you have your main deck and then you have your commander separate, which sits in the command zone. The commander is also special as it does not go to the graveyard when it is killed and may always be cast from the command zone. The commander when killed has the cost to cast it increased by two colorless mana. This means it can be cast as many times as you wish as long as you have the resources to do so.

Each player starts the game with 40 life and typically there is a roll-off to see who goes first. The goal is to be the last player standing.


There are many different formats for Magic the Gathering, but commander and drafting must be my favorites. I enjoy the group aspect of both formats and the casualness that goes along with both play styles. As with all games that revolve around strategy, there can be a learning curve for new players, but I feel both these formats are great ways to introduce players to a more complex system of play for Magic while also keeping the door open for assistance and casual conversation.

Amber Crook
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