Latest Big Change: New Combat Rules

Starting with the Dominaria prerelease there are new rules for who counts as being attacked and who counts as being the defending player! Blocking still works the same.

Starting the game

  • Each team starts with 30 life.
  • Neither player on the team going first draws a card on the first turn.
  • Each player receives one free mulligan. You don’t put any cards back on the first mulligan, and you put only 1 card back on the second mulligan, etc.
  • Mulligan decisions alternate between teams as normal with each player on a team deciding whether to mulligan simultaneously. This means players can’t see what their teammate draws from a mulligan before choosing whether to mulligan themselves.


  • Attackers are declared as a team and are attacking a specific player or planeswalker. If a player does not specify who a creature is attacking, the default is that their creatures are attacking the opponent directly in front of them.
  • If an effect prevents a creature from attacking a player, it does not prevent creatures from attacking their teammate.
  • If an effect (such as Bane of Bala Ged) asks for “the defending player” it refers to the player that creature is attacking.
  • Blockers are declared as a team, creatures either defending player controls can block any attacker.
  • Combat damage is dealt to the player that creature is attacking. If an effect prevents combat damage dealt to a player, it does not prevent damage being dealt to their teammate.

 Life Totals and Damage

  • In 2HG the players share a single life total and teams receive poison counters instead of individual players. If an effect asks for a players life total use the team’s life total instead.
    • E.g. Felidar Sovereign says “At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 40 or more life, you win the game”, if your team has 40 or more life you’ll win.
    • E.g. one of Sorin Markov’s abilities is “Target opponent’s life total becomes 10”, this will set the opposing team’s life total to 10.
  • If an effect would cause a player to gain or lose life calculate the amount that would be gained or lost and apply that change to the teams life total. The teammate doesn’t gain or lose life when the team’s life total changes. Triggers that trigger when a player gains or loses life only apply for the player who actually loses or gains the life.

 Team and Individual Effects

  • “You” means just that, you, not including your teammate. If an effect says “creatures you control get +1/+1” it only applies to your creatures, not your teammate’s.
  • If an effect refers to “each opponent” it applies to each player on the opposing team. For example if an effect causes each opponent to lose 1 life each player on that team loses 1 life and that team’s life total is reduced by 2, doubly good!
  • If a player would skip or get an extra step, phase, or turn, that player’s team skips or gets one instead.
  • If a trigger says “at the beginning of phase/step on your turn” (such as God-Pharaoh’s Gift) there is only one of that step each turn so it will trigger once.
  • If a trigger says “each player’s phase/step” (such as Howling Mine) or “each opponent’s phase/step” (such as Luminarch Ascension it will trigger once for each player in that step, so twice in 2HG.
  • Players on a team win or lose together. If an effect says a player loses the game that player’s team loses the game, the other head can’t continue playing on their own. A team on 0 or less life or that has 15 or more poison counters loses the game.

Tournament Organisation and Structure

  • 2HG events have a minimum of 4 teams (8 players) and 2 rounds.
  • 2HG has 60 minutes recommended deck construction time with 8 boosters for sealed and 40 minutes recommended deck construction time with 6 boosters for draft. (Recommended for Battlebond is 6 for sealed and 4 for draft.)
  • At a 2HG prerelease each team gets two prerelease boxes for a total of 12 boosters and 2 promos per team.
  • The players build two 40 card minimum decks from the combined card pool and basic lands. During a match cards not in either players deck can only be accessed by effects that refer to cards outside the game.
  • 2HG can be run as a draft format. The 4 teams are seated around a table, teammates may communicate with each other while drafting. Each team opens a booster and picks 2 cards before passing it, these cards form a shared card pool for decks to be built from as in sealed.
  • In limited events players may play more than 4 of a card if they have them in their pool.
  • Teams can rebuild their decks from their entire card pool between rounds, even swapping entire decks between teammates.
  • 2HG rounds are 50 minutes as normal.
  • In 2HG there are only 3 extra turns for the end-of-match procedure.
  • 2HG matches are first to 1 game win, if the first game is a draw before the round is over continue playing another game. If it’s limited you are allowed to sideboard.
  • Players may communicate freely with each other. Each player can see all information their teammate has, such as cards in hand and facedown cards. Strategy discussions should be done in a brief, timely manner.

Written by Fabian Peck & Toby Hazes

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