"CountDown" house rules for multiplayer EDH

The monday "CountDown" magic player community changed magic the gathering rules because we often play 2HG and 3HG. The goal is making this game and some unbalanced mechanics fairer.

1. Disadvantage "each opponent" effects

1.1. Spells and abilities

Spells, activated or triggered abilities that:

AND at least one of the following conditions are met:

  • affect only multiple opponents (e.g. Agent of Masks, Wheel and Deal)
  • can only target multiple permanents or abilities (e.g. Decoy Gambit) that are controlled by opponents
  • allow to target multiple players, but only opponents are targeted (e.g. Priest of Forgotten Gods)
  • are seperating the players or permanents into multiple categories, like friend and foe (e.g. Pir's Whim)

will only effect one opponent.

The controller chooses to pay {1} additional generic mana while announcin the spell or ability for any other opponent after the first one to effect all of them. The controller decides which one is the initially effected opponent, if not paying the additional cost.

1.1.1. Example:

In a 3HG game, a player plays Windgrace's Judgment. Then he can decide to destroy one permanent of an opponent or to pay two additional generic mana to destroy 3 nonland permanents.

1.1.2. Example:

Triggered abilities like Florian, Voldaren Scion, that calculates an effect based on a state for each opponent, are also included in this rule.

1.2. State-Based effects

When a state-based actions that only affect opponents (e.g. Thalia, Heretic Cathar, Archetype of Imagination) begins to take effect, the source controller chooses state-based one opponent that will be effected. When the source of the state-based action changes the controller, the new controller chooses one of his opponents as state-based action (see Example 1.2.2.). The decision who will be affected is not a copyable property of the card (see Example 1.2.3.,1.2.4.).

1.2.1. Example:

The effect of Grand Arbiter Augustin IV "Spells your opponents cast cost {1} more to cast." will only effect one choosen opponent.

1.2.2. Example:

A Grand Arbiter Augustin IV is on the battlefield controlled by Player A. As opponent is Player B choosen. Now Player B plays a Sower of Temptation and takes control of Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. Than Player B chooses a new Player affected by Grand Arbiter Augustin IV static ability.

1.2.3. Example:

A Clone is played and copies a Anafenza, the Foremost. The controller of the Clone chooses a new opponent for the state-based affect of Anafenza, the Foremost.

1.2.4. Example:

A Nanogene Conversion is played targeting a Anafenza, the Foremost. Than for each creature on the battlefield that becomes a copy of Anafenza, the Foremost the controller chooses an opponent for the state-based ability.

1.2.5. Example:

Static abilities like Ward {x} on creatures (e.g. Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm) are included in the state-based effects rule. When a creature enters the battlefield the controller has to choose one opponent for which the ward ability is applicable. This opponent has to pay the ward cost.

1.2.6. Example:

Static abilities like Hexproof are included in the state-based effects rule. When equipping Swiftfoot Boots to a creature choose one opponent who can't target this creature. When attaching the equipment to another creature the affected opponent can be changed.

1.3. Opponent individually triggered abilities

All triggered abilities that trigger separately whenever an opponent or a permanent that opponent controls fullfills a condition the rule State-based effects applies.

1.3.1. Example:

The trigger of Smothering Tithe will only trigger for the chosen opponent.

1.3.2. Example:

When cards like Punishing Fire or Dogged Detective are put into a graveyard from anywhere, the owner of the card chooses an opponent who has to gain life to trigger its graveyard effect.

2. Phase and turn manipulation

All effects that manipulate phases or turns of only one team, such as extra turns, apply only to the player controlling the effect or to the target of the effect, not to the entire team.

2.1. Example:

Activating the card Mindslaver will only control the turn of one player. The player will be chosen by the ability controller.

2.2. Example:

Playing the card Time Stop will still end the turn for all players of the active team.

3. Determine life points of a player

Life points of a player from a team are equal to the current life points of the team divided by the number of players in the team, rounded up.

3.1. Example:

In a 2HG game, a player of a team that has 17 life points becomes the target of a Beacon of Immortality that reads, among other things, "Double target player's life total." This player gains 9 life points, so that the team ends up with 26 life points.

3.2. Example:

In a 2HG game, one player controls Test of Endurance, an enchantment that reads "At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 50 or more life, you win the game." If his team's health is 100 or more, his team wins the game.

3.3. Example:

In a 2HG game, a player of a team that has 25 life points becomes the target of an ability that reads: "The life score of target player becomes 10." That player's life score is considered to be 13, so that the player loses 3 life points. The team ends up with 22 life points.

4. Multiplayer poison rule

The amount of poison counters a team requires to lose the game is defined by the formula 5 + 5 * x. Where x is the number of players in one team.

4.1. Example:

In a 3HG match one team needs 20 poison counters to lose the game.


Expaining some wordings for clarification.


Two-Headed Giant playmode or 2 vs. 2


Three-Headed Giant playmode or 3 vs. 3

Command Zone

defined in Play rule 6 in the official Commander rules.

Generic Mana

A generic mana cost is a mana cost that can be paid with mana of any type; meaning mana of any color, as well as colorless mana.

Symbol: {X}

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (September 1, 2023—Wilds of Eldraine)

Generic Mana

Mana in a cost represented by numerical symbols (such as {1}) or variable symbols (such as {X}) that can be paid with mana of any type. See rule 107.4.

State-Based Actions

Game actions that happen automatically whenever certain conditions are met. See rule 704, “State-Based Actions.”

Last Updated:
Contributors: Jan Falkenberg