A Meta Format for Magic: The Gathering
Table of Contents
- What is Fun Box
- Why is it called a Meta Format
- Automa Deck
Magic: The Gathering has released many specialty products over the years, many of which hardly see any time on the table, because they are not legal in any format, because people just don’t know about their existence, or for any number of other reasons. Fun Box is a format I developed because I just love these products and felt the need to use them for play.
In this format you will be playing a Hero, in a location, fighting along and against other heroes in the same location while a Big Bad Evil (BBE) is running wild.
A format in which Schemes, Heroes, Conspiracies, Locations and Horde type decks are combined to play alongside your existing decks. Just for the fun of it, solo play, multi play, testing out new deck ideas or whatever other reason suits you.
Because it combines specialty Magic: The Gathering products to play against with your deck from any other format, such as Commander, Pauper, Modern, Highlander and so on. This format is designed to be fun and a break from the norm. Because it is meant to be played as a fun and casual format, you can even play your Un-decks here. Just make sure every other player uses the same format and agrees on the use of Un-cards. Use the Commander’s format rule 0 as a guideline here.
To defeat the Automa and be the last player standing.
To play the Fun Box format you will need some components: An Automa, Location(s), Heroes and Schemes. For each component you have a few options available to use. Following will be a summary of the components and the available options.
The format consists of an Automa deck, which can be a deck from Horde Magic or a Challenge deck, or any other type of automated deck to play against. The Automa is the Big Bad Evil (BBE). Players can decide to work together against the BBE, or to ignore it and just have a squabble amongst themselves while the Automa runs amok.
The Automa deck will receive a set of Scheme cards to set in motion following the Arch Enemy ruleset.
An Automa does not use mana or draws cards. If any effect forces the Automa to draw cards, these cards will be instead put into play directly. If any effect forces the Automa to pay mana or tap lands, the Automa will not be able to do that. Treat the Automa as though he tapped 0 lands or can’t pay mana. For example, when you have a Rhystic Study in play, each time the Automa puts a card in play he is unable to pay 1 and you are allowed to draw card (YAY!)
The location is where you are doing battle. Types of locations available are the hex-set from Explorers of Ixalan or the Planechase location cards. Don’t combine these 2, it would be weird to be in 2 locations at the same time wouldn’t it? Just pick one of the 2 to use. A quick summary of how to use the locations:
2.2.1 Explorers of Ixalan
- Find the 6-cost map tile named Orazca, the Golden City. Set it aside
- Separate the rest of the tiles in 3 piles: 1 Cost, 3 Cost, 6 Cost and shuffle each pile face-down
- Pick at random 16 of the 1-cost, 10 of the 3 cost and 3 of the 6-cost and put them away as you will not be using these 🙂
- Shuffle Orazca into the 6-cost pile
- Arrange a map consisting of 4 6-costs in the middle, surrounder by 10 of the 3-costs surrounded by the remaining 1-costs.
You can explore a tile during your turn, by paying it’s cost and turning it over. This happens at sorcery speed. A map tile can only be explored when it’s not connected with any other tiles of lower cost. There are 3 types of tiles: Events, Quests and Sites.
Quests are put into play under the player’s control, and once you meet the requirements of the quest the effect will take place at instant speed, after which it will be discarded
Events take place immediately when turned over at instant speed, and removed from the game once resolved
Sites are put into play under the player’s control that have an ongoing effect which starts immediately at instant speed. A site can be conquered by dealing combat damage to a player. You may only conquer 1 site per combat phase.
If a player leaves the game all the sites and quests are removed from the game, their effects will immediately stop. Quests will not resolve anymore, they are removed from the stack.
Scouting ahead is possible using your Scout Marker (which can be a mini, a coin, a token) When you explore a tile on your turn you can place your Scout Marker on any 3 or 6 cost tile that comes available. (it’s only available when no lower cost tiles are connected to it). Place your Scout Marker on the tile. No other players my explore that tile for as long as your Marker is on it.
- Shuffle all Plane Cards into a face-down stack
- Only one Plane Card can be face-up at any time
- Plane Cards are placed in the Command Zone
- The can’t be put on the battlefield and can’t be destroyed
- The player whose turn it is, is the controller of the Plane Card
- The Planar Die is a special die with 1 Planeswalker Symbol, 1 Chaos Symbol and 4 blank sides.
During your turn, any time you could cast a sorcery, you may roll the planar die. You can do this multiple times in the same turn. To roll the die, you must pay an amount of mana equal to the number of times you’ve already rolled the die this turn. So the first roll is free, the second roll costs , the third roll costs , and so on. Rolling the die happens immediately (no one can respond to it), but any ability that triggers as a result goes on the stack, and can be responded to like other triggered abilities.
Rolling the die has one of three results:
- A blank face: nothing happens.
- Chaos symbol: The Plane card’s chaos ability Players may cast instants and activate abilities before it resolves.
- Planeswalker symbol: the face-up plane card’s unwritten planeswalking ability Players may cast instants and activate abilities before it resolves. When the planeswalking ability resolves, the controller of the face-up plane card puts it on the bottom of the planar deck, then turns the top card of the planar deck face up.
Some plane cards have abilities that trigger when you planeswalk to them or planeswalk away from them. These abilities trigger when the game shifts from one face-up plane card to another (but they don’t trigger when the first plane of the game is turned face up).
Each player, and the Automa, receives a random Hero card. Just shuffle your stack of Hero cards and give each player one. Regardless of which type of Hero card you choose, it’s card type will be Hero in addition to any other card types the card has.
Types of Hero cards: Vanguard, Hero’s Path or oversized Commander cards. Whichever you choose, they are bound by the rules associated by that type, which will be summarized here:
- Each player has one Vanguard card in play for the duration of each game
- The Vanguard card is your Hero
- Each player’s Vanguard card is in effect throughout the duel; Vanguard cards may not be targeted, removed from play, or otherwise affected during play.
- Unless specifically stated otherwise, the Vanguard card’s effect extend only to the controller of the card (and their permanents, if applicable).
- The Vanguard card being used by each player must be visible at all times to all players.
2.3.2 Hero’s Path
- Each player will receive one Hero card and one Hero Equipment at random
- The equipment starts the game un-equiped
- Each player starts with the Hero+Equipment in play
- The Hero does not have a power/toughness, but does act as a creature in-game and as such can be exiled/destroyed/etc
- When your Hero is destroyed it will go to the graveyard
- When your equipment is destroyed it will go to the graveyard
- For certain effect purposes the Hero’s Power/Toughness will be defined as 0/0
2.3.3 Oversized Commander cards
- Each player will receive one Oversized commander card at random
- The card starts in play
- This is not your Commander, it is your Hero!
- Your Hero can be cast from the command zone
- When this Hero dies it will go to the Command zone (it’s just too large to put in the graveyard, sorry)
Conspiracy cards are shuffled in a face-down pile during set-up. Each player (not the Automa) receives a random Conspiracy card to use. Consider this part the drafting-phase. So, if a Conspiracy instructs you to do something while drafting, this is the time!
Scheme cards were released for the Arch Enemy format, which consisted of several boxed sets printed by Wizards of the Coast.
Shuffle a pile of Scheme cards and place theme besides the Automa deck. Each turn the Automa will first reveal a scheme to set in motion. Schemes exist in the Command zone.
Scheme cards have abilities that trigger “When you set this scheme in motion.” As with other triggered abilities, the Automa and each player have the chance to respond to these abilities by casting spells or activating abilities.
Some schemes say ongoing on their type line. These remain in play until its condition are met, after which it is discarded. Other schemes have a direct effect that takes place after which it is discarded.
If a scheme’s triggered ability has one or more targets, choose them at random when you put the triggered ability on the stack. When a scheme mentions “Pay X”, X will be 0. When a scheme orders the Automa to draw X cards, it will be translated as put the top X cards of the Automa deck into play. See also the Automa rules for this in section 2.1
3.1 Set Up
Each players shuffles their decks, starting life totals are as dictated by the chosen format. Although I suggest to Rule 0 this and always use 40 lives regardless of format. Starting player to be determined as normal (rolling a dice for example). Turn order is from left to right.
3.2 Special Automa rules
The Automa does not have a hand, a life total and does not use mana. The Automa loses the game when he is out of cards. When an effect causes the Automa to get damage or lose life, discard cards from the top of the deck by the amount of life loss.
3.3 Winning the Game
Last man standing wins! This includes the Automa. When all players are eliminated and only the Automa remains, it means all players lost the game. The Automa needs to be defeated in order to win.