The War of Dominia - a league variation for Magic: the Gathering

by K. David Ladage

Have you ever noticed that two Hurloon Minotaurs cannot kill each other without magical intervention? Or that two Stone Throwing Devils will always slaughter each other without either having the chance to get the upper hand? Or that every plane of Dominia is exactly alike? Have you ever wondered why winning a duel of Magic: The Gathering has no effect on the next duel?

In this variation, these things might not be true. Things can get a little odd and the "Planes of Dominia" are as varied as the cards themselves.

These rules are written for small tournaments or leagues, but most of the rules and additions are independent enough to be used alone. So pick up some cards, build your deck and prepare yourself for war!

Not to Be Taken Lightly

This is not a single evening's entertainment!

Due to the nature of these rules, each round could take several hours to complete. In fact, the rules were originally designed for each round to take one week. This means that very large groups can be hard to accommodate. It's recommended that the league have no more than 15 players.

For example: On Saturday everyone gets together, the "challenge cards" are filled out (see below) and the challenges are announced. The players have until Friday to build their decks, schedule and complete their matches. The following Saturday everyone gets together to see the results and fill out the "challenge cards" for the next round.

The Guardian of Dominia

First step in holding a "War of Dominia" League is to select the "Guardian of Dominia" (or G.O.D.). The G.O.D. is the rules judge and arbitrator. He establishes the ground rules, sets up the league and for obvious reasons doesn't participate.

Some questions the G.O.D. will have to answer before beginning league play are:

* Is the card mix closed ("sealed") or open ("bring-your-own")?
* What cards are restricted? What cards are banned?
* What card sets and expansions are legal?
* Are sideboards legal?
* Are proxies legal?
* Are the ante rules (or any variation on the ante rules) being used?
* What rulings and special "house rules" will be used?
* Is the "Radical Planar Constants" chart (below) being used?

Rewind

Mapping the Multiverse

Before play begins, the G.O.D. will need to map out the multi-verse . . . but don't panic! This is not as difficult as it sounds. The map should be drawn on hex paper with the hexes large enough to hold several pieces of information.

Step 1: Compare the number of players with the chart below to get the size of map needed for the league. The chart is based on the fact that there must be at least seven hexes available for each player.

Players Map Size
24x4 (16 hexes)
35x5 (25 hexes)
4-56x6 (36 hexes)
6-77x7 (49 hexes)
8-98x8 (64 hexes)
10-119x9 (81 hexes)
12-1410x10 (100 hexes)
15-1711x11 (121 hexes)
18-2012x12 (144 hexes)

Step 2: Label the map so that each hex has an "address." For example: a 12x12 map could have the letters A-L along the side and the numbers 1-12 along the top. The addresses would then run A-1 through L-12.

Step 3: Each hex on the map represents one "plane" in the multi-verse of Dominia. Roll 1d6 on the chart below for each plane to determine its "terrain." Mark or color-code them with the resulting terrain codes.

Roll Terrain Code Color
[1]Forests (F)Green
[2]Islands (I)Blue
[3]Mountains (M)Red
[4]Plains (P)White
[5]Swamps (S)Black
[6]Special (X)Special

Step 4: In random order, each player chooses a plane. This is the player's "home plane" and counts as the first of his "controlled planes." These should be marked as such. No two home planes may be adjacent.

Step 5: In random order, each player chooses an additional controlled plane. This plane must be adjacent to one the player already controls. If no adjacent planes are available, then the player may choose any uncontrolled plane. Repeat this step until each player has seven controlled planes.

Step 6: Remove the terrain marking from any uncontrolled planes that remain. These planes become Voids (V) and should be marked as such. A Void may never be controlled.

The "Map of Dominia" is complete!

A couple of suggestions: Glass beads are available in many colors. If each player selects a different color, these can be used to mark controlled planes. Small personal items (such as lead miniatures) make excellent markers for home planes. Using these, the only information that needs to be marked on the map are the terrain codes.

Confiscate

The War of Dominia

Now that the battle lines have been drawn players can get on with the war. Rounds begin with the declaration of challenges. Each player fills out a challenge card with the following information:

* Name
* The name of the player being challenged
* The address of the challenged plane

The G.O.D. gathers and shuffles the challenge cards. The G.O.D. draws them one at a time and checks to ensure that each challenge is legal. A challenge is legal if:

* The attacking player controls at least one plane adjacent to the challenged plane.
* Neither player is involved in another challenge this round.

After every card is drawn and checked, any player not involved in a challenge fills out another card. Players that cannot make a legal challenge do not have to fill out a card. The cards are gathered, shuffled and checked as before. Repeat this process until all players are paired up or no legal challenges remain.

When all legal challenges have been exhausted, "long distance challenges" are made. The players fill out challenge cards, this time only writing their name. The cards are gathered, shuffled and drawn as before. The player whose card is drawn first becomes the attacker, challenging the player whose card is drawn second and so on. The defenders of the long distance challenges choose which of their controlled planes is the challenged plane. They may not choose their home plane unless it is the only plane they control.

If a single player remains unpaired, he receives a bye for that round.

The Decks of Dominia

Deck construction rules in a "War of Dominia" League are not quite the same as the standard "Tournament Legal" specifications. The general rules of deck construction are listed below. Any rulings of the G.O.D. supersede these guidelines.

* The minimum size of a player's deck is 125 cards minus 5 for each plane the player controls. This has a lower limit of 40 cards. For example: Andy controls 9 planes so his minimum deck size is (125 - 45) 80 cards. Beth controls 18 planes and so her minimum deck size is (125 - 90) 35 cards -- this is below the lower limit so her minimum is adjusted to 40 cards. There is no maximum deck size. The more planes you control, the smaller (and more powerful, if you're doing it right) your deck!

* A player may use any color or combination of colors in his deck provided he controls at least one plane of the associated terrain adjacent to the challenged plane. Additionally, the defending player may use the color associated with the terrain of the challenged plane. For example: Andy is being challenged in the mountains and controls two adjacent planes (forests and islands). Andy's deck could be any combination of red, green or blue. Beth challenged Andy and controls three planes adjacent to Andy's mountains (forests, islands and swamps). Beth's deck could be any combination of green, blue or black. Beth could not, however, include red in her deck, because Andy still controls the mountains she is challenging.

* A player may only include artifacts and/or non-basic lands in his deck if he controls at least one plane of the terrain type Special adjacent to the challenged plane. Additionally, the defending player may include these cards if the challenged plane is of the terrain type Special.

* A player defending his home plane ignores the above restrictions. He has a minimum deck size of 40 cards and may use any card not banned by the G.O.D.

* The attacker in a long distance challenge may use any color in his deck, but may not use artifacts or non-basic lands.

Keep in mind that requirements for decks are decided by the challenges they serve. Therefore, decks cannot be constructed until challenges have been presented.

Archivist

The Duels of Dominia

A duel in a "War of Dominia" League is played much the same as a standard duel of Magic: The Gathering. The steps for completing a challenge are listed below, but these are only suggestions. Any rulings of the G.O.D. supersede these guidelines.

[1] Calculate the starting life values for each player.
[2] Generate the Planar Constant for the duel.
[3] Play the duel.
[4] Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the challenge is settled.
[5] Report the results to the G.O.D.

[1] Calculate Starting Life for Each Player

A player starts a duel with 3 life for each plane he controls. A bonus of 5 life is granted to the player who won the last duel of the current challenge. No player may start a duel with less than 10 life or more than 50.

A player defending his home plane ignores this rule and starts with 50 life.

[2] Generate the Planar Constant for the Duel

A Planar Constant is a rule that is in effect for the duration of a duel. This rule cannot be ignored, turned off, canceled or affected in any way.

To apply this rule, each player rolls 1d6. These dice are combined into a d66 with the attacker being the "tens" place and the defender being the "ones" place. The resulting two-digit number (11-66) is compared with the "Planar Constant Chart" corresponding to the terrain of the challenged plane.

[3] Play the Duel

Play the duel as normal, taking into account the variable of starting life and any Planar Constants. If sideboards are allowed, cards may be swapped out after the Planar Constant is set for that duel.

During any given duel, no player may accumulate a life total more than twice his starting life value. A player starting with 30 life can successfully cast a 90-point monster "Stream of Life," but he will not go over his limit of 60 life.

Optional: Once a player reaches his life limit, each point of excess life will remove one poison counter he has accumulated. If the player has accumulated no poison counters, then the excess life is lost.

[4] Repeat Steps 2 and 3 Until the Challenge is Settled

The challenge is settled when a player has won two duels. A new Planar Constant is generated for each duel. Do not forget the bonus of 5 starting life for the player that won the last duel.

[5] Report the Results to the G.O.D.

The results of the challenge are written on the challenge card. Each player signs the card and returns it to the G.O.D. The winner of the challenge takes control of the challenged plane. The G.O.D. tallies the results and the next round begins.

When a player loses control of his home plane, he is out of the tournament. All other planes he controlled become Voids. The tournament ends when only one player remains.

Planar Constant Charts

[F] Forests

11-36 -- No Planar Constant.
41-42 -- All Green creatures gain +1/+1.
43-44 -- All Green creatures gain Protection from Black.
45-46 -- All Green creatures gain Protection from Blue.
51 -- All Green creatures gain Trample.
52 -- All Black creatures lose -2/-0.
53 -- All Blue creatures lose -2/-0.
54 -- All Red creatures lose -1/-0.
55 -- All White creatures lose -1/-0.
56 -- All players may place two lands into play per turn.
61 -- At the beginning of his turn, each player rolls 1d6. On a 1-3, the player gains a second untap phase just before cleanup. On a 4-6, there is no effect.
62 -- At the beginning of his turn, each player rolls 1d6. On a 1-3, the player gains a second upkeep phase just before cleanup. On a 4-6, there is no effect.
63 -- At the beginning of his turn, each player rolls 1d6. On a 1-3, the player skips his upkeep phase this turn. On a 4-6, there is no effect.
64 -- Roll on the Mountains chart.
65 -- Roll on the Plains chart.
66 -- Roll on the Special chart.

[I] Islands

11-36 -- No Planar Constant.
41-42 -- All Blue creatures gain +1/+1.
43-44 -- All Blue creatures gain Protection from Green.
45-46 -- All Blue creatures gain Protection from Red.
51 -- All Blue creatures gain Flying.
52 -- All Green creatures lose -2/-0.
53 -- All Red creatures lose -2/-0.
54 -- All Black creatures lose -1/-0.
55 -- All White creatures lose -1/-0.
56 -- A player may counter any spell by spending 1 life.
61 -- Any time a player casts an enchantment, roll 1d6. On a 1-3, the spell is countered. On a 4-6, the spell is cast normally.
62 -- Any time a player casts a sorcery spell, roll 1d6. On a 1-3, the spell is countered. On a 4-6, the spell is cast normally.
63 -- Any time a player casts a spell, roll 1d6. On a 1-3, the spell is countered. On a 4-6, the spell is cast normally.
64 -- Roll on the Plains chart.
65 -- Roll on the Swamps chart.
66 -- Roll on the Special chart.

[M] Mountains

11-36 -- No Planar Constant.
41-42 -- All Red creatures gain +1/+1.
43-44 -- All Red creatures gain Protection from Blue.
45-46 -- All Red creatures gain Protection from White.
51 -- All Red creatures gain Rampage: 1.
52 -- All Blue creatures lose -2/-0.
53 -- All White creatures lose -2/-0.
54 -- All Black creatures lose -1/-0.
55 -- All Green creatures lose -1/-0.
56 -- All lands come into play tapped.
61 -- During the untap phase, roll 1d6 separately for each land. On a 1-3, the land does not untap. On a 4-6, the land untaps as normal.
62 -- During the untap phase, roll 1d6 separately for each creature. On a 1-3, the creature does not untap. On a 4-6 the creature untaps as normal.
63 -- At the beginning of his turn, each player rolls 1d6. On a 1-3, the player skips his untap phase. On a 4-6, the turn proceeds as normal.
64 -- Roll on the Forests chart.
65 -- Roll on the Swamps chart.
66 -- Roll on the Special chart.

[P] Plains

11-36 -- No Planar Constant
41-42 -- All White creatures gain +1/+1.
43-44 -- All White creatures gain Protection from Black.
45-46 -- All White creatures gain Protection from Red.
51 -- All White creatures gain Banding.
52 -- All Black creatures lose -2/-0.
53 -- All Red creatures lose -2/-0.
54 -- All Blue creatures lose -1/-0.
55 -- All Green creatures lose -1/-0.
56 -- Players may redirect damage done to creatures they control to themselves.
61 -- Players roll 1d6 during their upkeep. On a 1-3, the player gains 1 life. On a 4-6, there is no effect.
62 -- Players roll 1d6 during each player's upkeep. On a 1-3, the player gains 1 life. On a 4-6, there is no effect.
63 -- Players gain 1 life during each player's upkeep.
64 -- Roll on the Forests chart.
65 -- Roll on the Islands chart.
66 -- Roll on the Special chart.

[S] Swamps

11-36 -- No Planar Constant.
41-42 -- All Black creatures gain +1/+1.
43-44 -- All Black creatures gain Protection from Green.
45-46 -- All Black creatures gain Protection from White.
51 -- All Black creatures gain First Strike.
52 -- All Green creatures lose -2/-0.
53 -- All White creatures lose -2/-0.
54 -- All Blue creatures lose -1/-0.
55 -- All Red creatures lose -1/-0.
56 -- All players may redirect damage done to themselves to creatures that they control. No creature may be dealt more damage that it has toughness in this way.
61 -- Players roll 1d6 during their upkeep. On a 1-3, the player loses 1 life. On a 4-6, there is no effect.
62 -- Players roll 1d6 during each player's upkeep. On a 1-3, the player loses 1 life. On a 4-6, there is no effect.
63 -- Players lose 1 life during each player's upkeep.
64 -- Roll on the Islands chart.
65 -- Roll on the Mountains chart.
66 -- Roll on the Special chart.

[X] Special

11-12 -- Change the order of the phases to discard, main, draw, upkeep, untap, cleanup.
13-14 -- Replace the discard phase with a second draw phase.
15 -- During the discard phase players must discard 1 card or lose 1 life.
16 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. Players may skip their turn to gain this much life for the remainder of the duel.
21 -- Players may spend 1 life to regenerate any creature they control.
22 -- Reverse the definitions of First Strike and Trample.
23 -- Reverse the definitions of Rampage and Flanking.
24 -- Reverse the definitions of Flying and Banding.
25 -- Reverse the definitions of Landwalk and Landhome.
26 -- Reverse the definitions of Power and Toughness.
31-33 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 2d6. Players must discard all cards in excess of this amount during the discard phase.
34-36 -- Remove from the game all cards discarded from a players hand.
41 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. On a 1-3, add 3 generic mana to the cost of all artifacts. On a 4-6, subtract 3 generic mana from the cost of all artifacts. No artifact may cost less than 0 mana.
42 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. On a 1-3, add 1 life to the cost of all artifacts. On a 4-6, add 2 life to the cost of all artifacts.
43 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. Players may sacrifice an artifact for this many generic mana for the remainder of the duel.
44 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. Players may sacrifice an artifact for this many life for the remainder of the duel.
45 -- Artifacts take on the color of all mana used to cast them.
46 -- All creatures in play lose their color and become artifact creatures.
51-52 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. Players may sacrifice a land for this many life for the remainder of the duel.
53-54 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. Players may sacrifice a land for this many generic mana for the remainder of the duel.
55 -- Players must pay 1 life to put a land into play.
56 -- During cleanup, all lands become tapped.
61 -- Whenever damage is dealt (combat, spells, fast effects, etc.) Roll Xd6 where "X" is the number of damage points that would normally result. Calculate the actual damage from the dice as follows. 1: 0 damage, 2-3: 1 damage, 4-6: 2 damage.
62-64 -- Whenever damage is dealt (combat, spells, fast effects, etc.) Roll Xd6 where "X" is the number of damage points that would normally result. Calculate the actual damage from the dice as follows. 1-2: 0 damage, 3-4: 1 damage, 5-6: 2 damage.
65 -- Whenever damage is dealt (combat, spells, fast effects, etc.) Roll Xd6 where "X" is the number of damage points that would normally result. Calculate the actual damage from the dice as follows. 1-3: 0 damage, 4-5: 1 damage, 6: 2 damage.
66 -- Roll on the Radical chart.

Radical

11 -- Whenever a creature enters play, place 1d6-1 -0/-1 counters on it.
12 -- Whenever a creature enters play, place 1d6-1 -1/-0 counters on it.
13 -- Whenever a creature enters play, place 1d6-1 -1/-1 counters on it.
14 -- Whenever a creature enters play, place 1d6-1 +0/+1 counters on it.
15 -- Whenever a creature enters play, place 1d6-1 +1/+0 counters on it.
16 -- Whenever a creature enters play, place 1d6-1 +1/+1 counters on it.
21 -- During their upkeep, players gain one Node token. Players may sacrifice a Node token to add one generic mana to their mana pool.
22 -- During their upkeep, players gain one Node token. Players may sacrifice two Node tokens to add one mana of any color to their mana pool.
23 -- During their upkeep, players gain one Node token. Players may sacrifice a Node token to add one generic mana to their mana pool or two Node tokens to add one mana of any color to their mana pool.
24 -- During their upkeep, players gain one Heart token. Players may sacrifice a Heart token to prevent one damage to any creature.
25 -- During their upkeep, players gain one Heart token. Players may sacrifice two Heart tokens to prevent one damage to any player.
26 -- During their upkeep, players gain one Heart token. A player may sacrifice a Heart token to prevent one damage to any creature or two Heart tokens to prevent 1 damage to any player.
31 -- The value of X in any X-spell (such as "Fireball") is 0. No mana needs to be spent towards the value of X. No mana can be spent to alter the value of X.
32 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 1d6. The value of X in any X-spell (such as "Fireball") cannot be greater than this amount.
33 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 2d6. The value of X in any X-spell (such as "Fireball") cannot be greater than this amount.
34 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 2d6. The value of X in any X-spell (such as "Fireball") cannot be less than this amount.
35 -- At the beginning of the duel, roll 3d6. The value of X in any X-spell (such as "Fireball") cannot be less than this amount.
36 -- The value of X in any X-spell (such as "Fireball") is 6. No mana needs to be spent towards the value of X. No mana can be spent to alter the value of X.
41 -- Players may cast Sorceries any time they may normally use fast effects.
42 -- Players may cast Enchantments any time they may normally use fast effects.
43 -- Players may cast Summons any time they may normally use fast effects.
44 -- Double the casting cost of all Instants.
45 -- Double the casting cost of all Interrupts.
46 -- Double the casting cost of all Artifacts.
51 -- In addition to being a basic land, all Forests are treated as 2/2 Green creatures that cannot attack. These creatures are not walls and thus cannot be the target of spells or effects that only target walls.
52 -- In addition to being a basic land, all Islands are treated as 2/2 Blue creatures that cannot attack. These creatures are not walls and thus cannot be the target of spells or effects that only target walls.
53 -- In addition to being a basic land, all Mountains are treated as 2/2 Red creatures that cannot attack. These creatures are not walls and thus cannot be the target of spells or effects that only target walls.
54 -- In addition to being a basic land, all Plains are treated as 2/2 White creatures that cannot attack. These creatures are not walls and thus cannot be the target of spells or effects that only target walls.
55 -- In addition to being a basic land, all Swamps are treated as 2/2 Black creatures that cannot attack. These creatures are not walls and thus cannot be the target of spells or effects that only target walls.
56 -- In addition to being a basic land, all basic lands are treated as 2/2 Artifact creatures that cannot attack. These creatures are not walls and thus cannot be the target of spells or effects that only target walls.
61 -- Roll twice on the Forests chart.
62 -- Roll twice on the Islands chart.
63 -- Roll twice on the Mountains chart.
64 -- Roll twice on the Plains chart.
65 -- Roll twice on the Swamps chart.
66 -- Roll twice on the Special chart.

Art copyright Wizards of the Coast, Inc. All rights reserved.



Article publication date: April 2, 1999


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