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Ante refers to both an optional variation of Magic and the ante zone used only in such ante games. It also refers to the act of adding a card to the ante zone, but it is not currently defined as a keyword action. Ante was designed by Richard Garfield and introduced in Alpha.
Description[edit | edit source]
If players agree to play for ante, at the beginning of the game, before drawing starting hands, each player puts a random card from their library into the ante zone. The winner of the game receives permanent ownership of all the cards in that zone. Several cards interact with the ante mechanic or card ownership, and all of those cards have the added text "Remove [this card] from your deck before playing if you're not playing for ante."
Ante was intended to introduce an element of gambling to Magic, but it proved unpopular as many players did not like risking the loss of their cards, and rarely played for ante. There were also concerns within Wizards of the Coast that playing for ante might result in official tournaments being legally recognized as gambling. Were that to occur, tournament venues might require gambling licenses, or be forced to meet other requirements that would vary with jurisdiction. As a result, playing for ante is now classed as an unofficial variant format, cards referring to it are no longer made, and all older cards referencing ante have been banned in every sanctioned format. The last card to mention ante was Timmerian Fiends, printed in the 1995 Homelands expansion.
Ante is strictly forbidden in DCI-sanctioned play, and is only allowed in unsanctioned games where not forbidden by law. The only official event that has used this rule after the banning was Invitationals 2001 (as previous floor rule didn't enforce in non-DCI-sanctioned formats). The Rochester draft side events held during some 2017-18 season Grand Prixes as well as Pro Tour 25th Anniversary explicitly excluded ante cards from gameplay (they could still be picked in the drafting process, however).
Rules[edit | edit source]
Examples of cards referencing ante[edit | edit source]
List of ante cards[edit | edit source]
- Amulet of Quoz (Ice Age)
- Bronze Tablet (Antiquities, Fourth Edition)
- Contract from Below (Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised)
- Darkpact (Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised)
- Demonic Attorney (Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised)
- Jeweled Bird (Arabian Nights, Chronicles)
- Rebirth (Legends, Fourth Edition)
- Tempest Efreet (Legends, Fourth Edition)
- Timmerian Fiends (Homelands)
References[edit | edit source]