The Stack Format

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The Stack Format

Post  Foster on Sun May 15, 2011 11:08 pm

Wanted to talk a bit about another new favorite casual format I have been tinkering with: The Stack. Adam Styborski wrote about it a year or so ago on the mother site in Serious Fun

Basically the Stack allows you to play magic even if your other players do not have a deck. Here is a great rundown from the link above:
In Brief: Stack is a casual duel and multiplayer format where anywhere from a hundred or so cards up through a few thousand are individually selected (i.e. Singleton or "Highlander" restriction of one copy of any card) by the Stack owner, randomized, and played as a shared library and graveyard a chunk at a time. Stacks are generally built without any dedicated mana fixing per se, like dual lands or Mana Cylix–type cards, but virtually any card can be included in the Stack if desired.

Rules Rundown: Aside from corner issues involving sharing your library and your graveyard among each player, the main difference is that whenever a player would draw a card that player may instead choose a basic land type of his or her choice and draw that card instead (it's still a card draw). Hence the general "exclusion" of mana fixing—you really won't need any!

Effects that would allow you to search your library for a basic land instead just let you grab from outside the game as if you had searched. In general if any effect would have you search you library, you instead search within a different chunk of the Stack, leaving the current library as the great unknown.

The general rule for effects that trigger or result in more than one player simultaneously involving cards in a shared zone (cards like Exhume, Prosperity, and Whetstone) is to follow APNAP (Active Player, then Next-active Player), with decisions moving around the turn order in multiplayer games. If you've played a lot of Free-for-All multiplayer or EDH you're probably already doing this without even thinking about it.

The Stack is amazing because it never really plays the same, and you can play for hours with different experiences without anyone having even brought their own deck.

The other great thing about it is the amazing customization afforded by the Stack. You can custom design them to any specific. It can be all commons and uncommons, or all rares. Do you enjoy bashing into the red zone? You can make all creature stacks.

You can also add the Stack to things like Planechase, which can be tons of fun.

The Stack I created is a 200 card stack that features 30 cards of each color including gold cards (multicolored) and 20 colorless cards. If people are interested I can post the decklist. My stack is geared towards encouraging players to use all colors and can sometimes be very swingy. There are draws that can be hyper aggressive, or draws that can play towards the slower game. I've tried to bring my stack with me whenever I come by the shop, but have forgotten it the last few times in favor or my EDH decks.

If anyone is interested in playing a bit with The Stack, or seeing it in action I would be happy to bring it up to Tracy sometime so people can mess with it. Craig has played me a few times with it and seemed to enjoy it. You can also look up some cool set ups for your own Stack, it's another great thing like EDH to do with all your weird singleton cards that you cannot use in your constructed decks.
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