Alpha-Only includes several formats related in that players construct their decks using only cards from Alpha edition and play using the rules as written in the Alpha rule book. These formats strive to recreate the experience players had when Magic was first published in 1993. There are two main variants, the more popular being Alpha 40, which itself has two main sub-variants: "unrestricted" and "league rules."


Unrestricted Alpha 40 is the original version of the format. It has no deck construction rules at all save for the minimum deck size of 40 cards found in the Alpha rulebook. In this version, although deck building and play decisions can be relevant among competitors who have similarly limited access to alpha cards, a player with unlimited access to cards could build a deck that would win on that player's first turn almost every game. You can see an example of this in the deck photo above and read more about it in this entertaining article by Stephen Menendian on Eternal Central.


League Rules Alpha 40 is the more popular version of the format. It was designed to strike a better balance between the importance of access to alpha cards and deck building and play decisions. Players still have the challenge of tracking down and acquiring the alpha cards they want to play with. However, because deck building restrictions set a ceiling on possible deck strength, a player with a more moderate alpha card collection can apply deck building and game play skills and be competitive or even advantaged over a player with unlimited card access but more moderate skill.

There is a monthly Alpha 40 League in which 50 or more participants are divided into pods of 5-8 players and play round robin matches over the course of several weeks. Games are played using webcams at dates and times arranged at the convenience of the participants. At the end of the month, the winner(s) of each pod advances to a single elimination finals competition. To find out more about the Alpha 40 League and view several deck archetypes, visit our Alpha 40 League page.


    In this Alpha-Only format, players construct 60-card decks with no duplicates other than basic lands. Additionally, the most powerful cards are assigned point values and a deck must be constructed with no more than a total of 7 points worth of cards. There is a  league for Alpha 60 7-Point Singleton every few weeks. You can find out more and join the league at the Alpha 60 7-Point Singleton FaceBook Group.


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