Type 4 | The Rules

Last updated: February 2018

“Type 4” is a variant of Magic: The Gathering. Think of it like EDH/Commander meets cube draft meets really stupid fun.

Type 4 is played as a limited format using a pre-assembled stack (similar to a cube). You can draft from the stack, hand out random chunks like sealed, or simply have everyone play off a shared deck.

Play it just like a normal, multiplayer free-for-all game. Only with two additional rules:

  1. You have unlimited mana of all colors at all times
  2. You can only play one spell per turn

There is a great wiki article on Gamepedia with more details and history

Wizards has also ran articles on the format back in 2004 and 2009, both with fun play-by-plays. Highly recommended!

Described here are my house rules for playing Type 4.


  • Divide the entire stack into X equal-sized piles, where X is the number of players. Each player takes a pile. That is now their deck

  • Cards that were in your deck at the beginning of the game are owned by you for the rest of the game

    • Cards retrieved from outside the game (eg Booster Tutor) are owned by you for the rest of the game, and then removed
  • Each player starts the game with 5 cards in hand. First player draws on their turn. No mulligans

  • Each player starts with 20 life

The Rules

  • You have unlimited mana of all colors at all times

    • You may activate a card like Legacy Weapon as long as there are still targets
  • You may only cast one spell each turn (think Arcane Laboratory)

  • If the spell is “free”, meaning it didn’t cost you any mana to cast, it doesn’t count towards your one-spell limit. This can happen with:

    • alternate costs like Force of Will
    • another card made it free, like Cascade or Djinn of Wishes
    • it cost 0 mana to cast, like the conditional timings of Summoning Trap or Not of This World
    • Note: paying an additional cost like Kicker is both legal and encouraged, the spell is still considered “free”


  • Suspend is an activated ability. When the card comes out of suspend and gets cast, it’s free. Therefore, a suspended card will never count towards your 1 spell per turn

    • eg: Deep-Sea Kraken
  • If you cycle a card that has a triggered ability, you get the draw from the cycle after resolving the ability (cycling goes on the stack first, trigger goes on top)

  • In the case of “ability wars”, the defensive/reactive activation wins out

    • eg: Smokespew Invoker vs Thornling increasing it’s toughness: Thornling lives
  • Monstrosity always gets a chance to resolve while the creature is still on the battlefield and under it’s current controller’s control

    • eg: Stormbreath Dragon vs Legacy Weapon: Stormbreath is guaranteed the triggered ability

Does this count as a spell?

  • The following DOES count as casting a spell:
    • Flashback
  • The following DOES NOT count as casting a spell:
    • Cycling
    • Channel
    • Bloodrush
    • Unearth

When I cast something for free…

  • The following DOES WORK when casting free spells:
    • Kicker
    • Buyback
  • The following DOES NOT WORK when casting free spells:
    • Morph
    • Cycling
    • Channel
    • Bloodrush

Card Specific

  • Both the cards Spelljack and Kheru Spellsnatcher give you the spell to cast for the rest of the game (even after Kheru dies). You must still obey the timing restriction of that card (Sorcery vs Instant speed)

  • If you cast Corpse Dance during the end step, the creature sticks around until the end of the next turn


  • Most cards with Cycling are better off being cycled for the draw plus triggered ability

    • eg: Resounding Thunder and Decree of Silence
  • The card Benalish Commander is meant to be suspended for X=∞, providing a steady stream of chump blockers for the rest of game without tying up a spell cast


I try not have any errate on cards in Type4, to ensure it’s easy to pickup and play

There is the one exception, both because it’s so rare AND game breaking:

  • You cannot use Azorius Guildmage’s second ability to counter the same ability from another Azorius Guildmage
Written on July 10, 2014