So, we play a lot of 2-Headed Giant at Magic night at my place, and we don’t always have an even number of people. Even if we do, organizing games with more than two teams gets kind of hectic, games take freaking forever, and it ends up being less than fun. So we resort to free-for-alls…which ends up with someone getting knocked out first and having to wait around for the next game to start. You guys know how that goes. You get a crappy hand, everyone gangs up on you, and you’re out before you have a chance to say,”Wrath of God.”

Enter: Overlord, the game type we came up with to solve these problems.

The goal is to become, well, the Overlord. Who do you rule over? Your minions, of course! Players become minions when they’re killed by another player. You win when every player is your minion…and then your tyrannical rule commences.

Here’s how you play:

Rules start off the same as a free-for-all, but whoever goes first does get to draw on their first turn. Split attacks are totally allowed, and encouraged! Might as well spread the hate, right?

Once someone gets killed, a few things happen. They become the minion of whoever is responsible for their death – and that can get tricky sometimes, so pay attention to the order that things resolve!

Minions set their life back to 10, shuffle their hand back into their library, and draw four cards. All of the minion’s enchantments are destroyed, and everything else gets untapped. They can’t cast spells or activate abilities until their Overlord’s next turn, but they canblock for the Overlord; their Overlord can (and should!) do the same for them.

Note: If a minion loses via milling, they go to 10 life, shuffle their graveyard into library, then draw four. If anyone in the game is using poison counters, minions go to 10 life and five poison counters, shuffle their hand in, and draw four.

The Overlord and their newly-converted minion now play as a two-headed giant. Your little army of minions is now yours to control; work together with them to quickly defeat the remaining players…but be careful. Minions have been known to get rebellious and cast spells that end up hurting their Overlord! Minions ≠ mindless. So tread carefully.

Once an Overlord has acquired a minion, it’s the Overlord’s job to keep him; another player can easily swoop in and steal a minion! Alternatively, if you manage to take out an Overlord, you get him AND his minion(s). People get passed around a lot, and it keeps things interesting!

So far, this has been an awesome format for keeping people involved, and it can really change the pace of the game. Things tend to move quicker, because people aren’t afraid of being knocked out right away; even if they die, they get to keep playing! Plus, if you wait too long to make your move, you’ll find yourself at a disadvantage pretty quick – at the mercy of a horde of minions and their master.

So that’s Overlord, just in time for you to try it out at FNM or whatever day is Magic night for you! I’d love for you to give it a shot and tell me what you think. If you have specific questions about the format, let me know!

Do you have any formats you’ve made up?

I’m always looking for ways to shake up the game. Share formats or fun house rules that you play with, and I’ll try them out and feature them in a future article!