In Limited events without decklists, you can change your deck between matches.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Slight changes to this article have been made in light of the new Magic 2014 rules update. See below.

Limited can be a blast, especially at Regular REL (the Rules Enforcement Level that Friday Night Magic, prereleases, and other more ‘casual’ events are held at). At Regular REL, the rules are a little more lax, because the focus is on fun, learning and community, rather than on heavy competition. One large way that Regular events tend to differ from Competitive is the lack of a decklist, and that has an interesting effect on sideboarding in Limited.

Unlike Constructed, you can sideboard in crazy ways for Limited; so long as your deck is still at least 40 cards when you finish, you can sideboard in/out as much as you want. You could sideboard in 20 cards without pulling any out, or put in 3 and take out 1, or put in 2 and take out 5, so long as you have 40 cards minimum at the end of that.

(Slight update from M14: in Constructed events, you are no longer required to sideboard on a 1:1 basis. You can side in 10 cards, and only take out 5 from your maindeck, giving you a 65 card deck. You can side in your whole board, having a 75 card deck and a 0 card sideboard. So long as your sideboard + your main deck adds up to the same number of cards it did in round 1, your deck is at least 60 cards, and your sideboard has no more than 15 cards, you’re fine.) -Editor

But the other thing is, in events without a decklist, you can change your deck between MATCHES. Unlike events with a decklist, where you have to revert your deck to the ‘standard’ configuration before each match, in list-free events (unless the Head Judge announces otherwise!), you can change it as you like. This is extremely common at prereleases, where people will often completely change their deck after losing a round (often with advice from their opponent on why they should be running blue instead of green, for example).

Notice that this isn’t true for constructed FNM events, even without decklists. The deck you started with is the one you should begin every round with, so make sure to take out any sideboard cards before game one of each match.

Today’s Tournament Tip written by
Trevor Nuñez, Level 1 judge from Roswell, NM

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