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MTG Deck Size: How Many Cards?

We’ll explain everything you need to know about MTG deck size. How many cards are in a Magic the Gathering deck? Should you play more than 60 cards? All this and more follows.

Different Format, Different Deck Size

How many cards you can play in Magic deck depends on the format. There are many different Magic formats, but mostly the rule is 40 for Limited (Draft and Sealed) and 60 for Constructed. You can find the rules for specific formats in the table bellow.

FormatMinimum Deck SizeMaximum Deck Size
Draft40no limit
Sealed40no limit
Standard60no limit
Pioneer60no limit
Modern60no limit
Legacy60no limit
Vintage60no limit
Pauper60no limit
Brawl59+159+1
Commander99+199+1

Let’s quickly mention Two-Headed Giant, a format where 2 players play against other two players. The deck size is the same as in their respective format. So in Two-Headed Giant Sealed, you’ll both have at least 40 cards in your deck.

Should You Play More Than 60* Cards in Your Deck?

*or 100 in Commander, 40 in Limited

In short – NO. A bit longer explanation is – no, unless you’re playing Battle of Wits in your deck.

How many cards in a Magic MTG deck Battle of Wits

Okay, let’s get to the real explanation. It’s is quite simple, really. Some cards in your deck are just better than others. Let’s say that the best card in your deck is a powerful planeswalker like Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis. You play four copies of her and you really want to play her on turn 4.

By the fourth turn you usually draw 10-11 cards. For our calculation, we’ll propose you drew 10 of them, but the same principle applies for any other number. If you’re playing 60 cards, you have 52,8% of drawing Elspeth on turn 4.

Elspeth Sun's Nemesis

Now if you have only one extra card and you’re playing 61-card deck, your chances fall down to 52,1%. Yeah, it’s only 0,7%, but it is worse. You shouldn’t make your deck worse, just because you don’t know which card to remove. Take a look at how your chances of drawing your best card go down when you add more cards to your deck:

Cards in deckProbability of Elspeth on turn 4
6052,8%
6152,1%
6251,5%
6350,8%
6450,2%
6549,6%
7046,8%
8042,0%
10034,8%

Now if the question is – can I play more than 60 cards – the answer would be: Yes, but you shouldn’t do it if you really want to win. If you just want to have fun and don’t care about losing, feel free to play as many as you like. Just not in Commander and Brawl, since those formats require an exact number of cards.

Learn More, Win More

If you’re looking for more information about Magic, so you’ll get better and win more, we have some good reads for you:

That’s all about MTG deck size. Until next time, have fun and don’t play too many cards in your decks.

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