- 2-4 players, known as "Survivors" play sealed-deck against the "Horde", which has no pilot.
- Each player is dealt out a number of cards at random from the Survivors' Cube. The Survivors must each construct a deck of at least 40 cards using nothing but those cards and any number of basic land. The number of cards each Survivor is dealt depends on the number of Survivors playing as detailed below:
- 2 Survivors: 90 cards (six booster packs worth)
- 3 Survivors: 75 cards (five booster packs worth)
- 4 Survivors 60 cards (four booster packs worth)
- The Survivors' Cube Contains 400 cards. This allows up to four players to play each time with cards left out each game.
- 75 Black cards
- 75 White cards
- 75 Red cards
- 75 Blue cards
- 75 Green cards
- 25 Other cards
- 200 Basic land in the same color sleeves. These are are not dealt out as part of the pool of cards each player gets.
Players, Victory and Loss
- The Survivors share a pool of 40 life between them, regardless of the number of Survivors on the team.
- The Survivors lose when they are reduced to 0 life or any Survivor gets milled out.
- The Survivors win during their upkeep if the Horde deck is empty. This is simpler than the original, but still means the Survivors need to be able to survive a back-swing.
- The Survivors take their turns simultaneously, just like in Two Headed Giant.
- The Survivors are considered separate players. Cards that say "you" in their text refer only to the player controlling that effect, not the whole team of Survivors. If an effect causes each opponent to lose life, the team loses that much times the number of players. Again, just like Two Headed Giant.
Beginning the Game
- The Survivors begin the game by drawing seven cards. They do not draw an extra card at the end of the first turn (as is common in some other multiplayer formats).
- There are no "friendly mulligans" against the Horde, each mulligan costs you a card. Planeswalkers who stumble get their brains eaten.
- The Survivors take the first three turns, then the Horde begins taking its turns, alternating with the Survivors. I.e. SSSHSHSHS...
Horde Deck Contents:
- The Horde deck contains
- 55 2/2 zombie tokens
- 5 5/5 zombie giant tokens (from Zendikar)
- 40 non-token spells
- Each Horde deck is different. Don't feel obligated to used exactly the same one we do.
Piloting the Horde:
- The Horde has no pilot (no player making decisions for it). The Horde is "mindless", its actions are pre-determined and play automatically.
- Nominate one player to physically move the Horde's cards and announce its actions. This player should also announce the beginning and end of player turns, to keep everyone in sync.
- If the Horde must make a decision, such as choosing targets, a creature to sacrifice, or the order to assign damage to multiple blockers, it makes that decision as randomly as possible.
- When a creature the Horde controls becomes blocked, place it sideways on top of the blocking creature(s). This will make combat resolution easier, as there will be many attackers and many blockers each combat. When combat is over, move all creatures the Horde controls back to its central play area.
- If the Horde uses an effect (such as Grave Titan) that creates additional Zombie tokens, those token cards are taken from the Horde's graveyard pile. If there are not enough already used Zombie tokens to fulfill the effect when it resolves, the Horde simply places as many token cards as it has available. This is done for play speed and simplicity.
- When the Horde randomly chooses creatures in its own graveyard to reanimate (such as with a Ghoulraiser), it "randomly" chooses whatever creature is highest up in the graveyard. This is done for play speed and simplicity. If reanimating a creature in a Survivor's graveyard, roll a die.
- The Horde cannot use activated abilities (anything with a cost followed by a colon). This is done for ease of automatic piloting.
- If a card is returned to the Horde's hand, place it face-up sideways on top of the Horde deck. It will cast all these cards next turn, along with whatever else would have come out. The Horde's hand is revealed at all times. This keeps you from forgetting about the Horde's cards in hand.
Additional Horde Rules:
- All creatures the Horde controls have haste, attack each turn if able, can't block, and are black zombies in addition to their other colors and types.
- The Horde can pay any mana cost at any time. Spells such as Mana Leak do nothing.
- The Horde has no life total. If an effect causes the Horde to lose life or take damage, the Horde puts that many cards from the top of the Horde deck into its graveyard. If an effect causes the Horde to gain life, nothing happens, but the card still resolves.
- Zombie token cards are only considered "cards" when they are in the Horde's library. If they get bounced, drawn, exiled, die, etc, they simply leave the game as per normal token rules. When this happens, the physical card is put in the graveyard pile for play convenience, but they do not count as cards there. Cards such as Zombie Apocalypse or Unbreathing Horde do not count the tokens as creatures in the graveyard.
- If any Survivor controls a Planeswalker permanent, all creatures the Horde controls attack it rather than the Survivors. All Survivors may block for the Planeswalker, regardless of which Survivor controls it. If there is more than one Planeswalker, the Horde chooses randomly which to attack. We choose this rule for simplicity.
Horde Turn Sequence:
- <no draw step>
- Main Phase 1
- During the main phase when it has priority, the Horde reveals cards from the top of its deck until it reveals a non-token card. All tokens revealed this way and the non-token card are put on the stack, with the token-generating effect on the top of the Stack and the spell on bottom of the Stack.
- These tokens are not considered spells and cannot be countered. The non-token card may be countered.
- The tokens enter the battlefield first, then the non-token card is cast.
- If the Horde has any spells in its hand, it casts them in a random order after the revealed non-token card.
- All creatures the Horde controls must attack each turn if able, and have haste. Players block and take damage as a team, just like in Two Headed Giant. If multiple creatures the Survivors control block the same creature the Horde controls, the Horde orders blockers randomly.
- Main Phase 2
- The Horde doesn't take any action.
- End Step
Other Rules for Things Not In Our Cube/Deck
- Creatures the Horde controls with the Defender keyword can block, and must block each combat, choosing what creature to block randomly. If the Defender creature can block multiple creatures, it blocks as many as possible, choosing which attackers to block randomly.
- If the Horde has any spells that can be cast from its Graveyard (such as Gravecrawler, Moan of the Unhallowed, etc) it casts them along with cards from its hand, after the revealed non-token card.
- If the Horde casts a spell with Entwine, it always pays the entwine cost and uses both effects.
- If the Horde casts a modal spell, it chooses which mode to use randomly.
- If the Horde casts a "Choose one or more" spell, it chooses as many as possible that can resolve.
- If a creature with Unleash enters the battlefield under the Horde's control, the Horde always unleashes it.