- 902.1 In the Vanguard variant, a vanguard card allows each player to play the role of a famous character. Each player will have one face-up vanguard card whose abilities and other characteristics affect the game. The Vanguard variant uses all the normal rules for a Magic game, with the following additions.
- 902.2 A Vanguard game may be a two-player game or a multiplayer game.
- 902.3 In addition to the normal game materials, each player needs a vanguard card. Each vanguard card is placed face up next to its owner’s library before the game begins. All vanguard cards remain in the command zone throughout the game.
- 902.4 Each player’s starting life total is 20 plus or minus the life modifier of their vanguard card.
Example: The life modifier of a player’s vanguard card is -3. That player’s starting life total is 17.
- 902.5 Each player’s starting hand size is seven cards, as modified by the hand modifier of their vanguard card.
- 902.5a If a player takes a mulligan in a Vanguard game, just like in a normal game, that player shuffles their hand back into their library, then draws a new hand equal to their starting hand size. (In a multiplayer game, a player’s first mulligan is for the same number of cards as they had before.) See rule 103.4.
Example: The hand modifier of a player’s vanguard card is +2. That player starts the game with a hand of 9 cards. If the player takes a mulligan three times before keeping, they draw a new hand of nine cards and put three of those on the bottom of their library.
- 902.5b A player’s maximum hand size is seven, as modified by the hand modifier of their vanguard card.
Example: The hand modifier of a player’s vanguard card is -1. That player’s maximum hand size is six. If that player has more than six cards in their hand as their cleanup step begins, they will discard all but six of them.
- 902.6 The owner of a vanguard card is the player who started the game with it in the command zone. The controller of a face-up vanguard card is its owner.
- 902.7 Any abilities of a face-up vanguard card in the command zone function from that zone. The card’s static abilities affect the game, its triggered abilities may trigger, and its activated abilities may be activated.