This page is about the format. For the card type, see Vanguard
The Vanguard format allows players to play with a special extra "card" called a Vanguard that modifies the rules of the game just for them. You enter a Vanguard game with a normal constructed deck in the format of your choice, plus a pre-selected Vanguard card. Players must agree on which format (Standard, Modern, Legacy or Vintage) they will use to build their decks.
- Each player has one Vanguard card in effect for the duration of each duel.
- Each event will have its own specific rules for the method and frequency of selecting the card(s) to be used.
- Each player's Vanguard card is in effect throughout the duel; Vanguard cards may not be targeted, removed from play, or otherwise affected during play.
- Unless specifically stated otherwise, the Vanguard card's effect extend only to the controller of the card (and his or her permanents, if applicable).
- The Vanguard card being used by each player must be visible at all times to all players.
Since May 2005, Vanguard Avatars were also used as in casual games for Magic Online. You added one of them to your deck before play, and at the start of the game, the avatar card from your deck started in play for you and applied the modifications listed on it. Starting with Zendikar, rules text and hand size/life total modifications for vanguard avatars were discontinued. Nowadays, you may continue to play the vanguard format with previously avatars. Both old and new avatars can still be used to represent you in-game.
From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Commander 2018 (August 10, 2018))
- 1. A casual variant in which each player plays the role of a famous character. See rule 902, “Vanguard.”
- 2. A card type seen only on nontraditional Magic cards in the Vanguard casual variant. A vanguard card is not a permanent. See rule 311, “Vanguards.”