Well, here we are! Back together again for yet another overview of our card zone upgrades! As I said when we first began this series, each week, we’ll be posting a new in-depth overview that covers the basics of our zone upgrades and how they can be used during gameplay. Our previous post gave readers a closer look at our Pokemon Zone upgrades. We have a total of six Playzone upgrades available for our playmats and MTG is number three. Yes, in this post we’ll be going over the numerous zones that make up our MTG game mat.
An MTG playmat can consist of 7½ Zones, which includes:
Note: Only the Library, Graveyard and Exile Zones are physically printed on our mats.
Some of you are probably familiar with these Zones by now, but let’s just run through each for those who may need a quick refresher. We’ll also take a quick look at the Ante Zone and why we consider it to be a ½ zone in the grand scheme of things.
So, let’s jump right into it!
We’ll start with the Library. The Library Zone is where you draw cards from for your opening hand, beginning of the game, or during a draw phase. You can also draw cards from the library due to an effect or spell ability, which we’ll get into shortly. All cards in this zone are placed face down and can be added to your hand after being sufficiently randomized. Now, there are a few effects and spells that have the power to place cards at the top or bottom of your library. There are other effects, informally known as tutors, that give you the ability to search your library for a specific card as well.
Next, is the Hand Zone. This is where you can hold cards that have been drawn. The Hand Zone is concealed from play, but each player has the ability to look at and rearrange their hand according to their liking or strategy. Players can only have seven cards in their hand at one time. Since the number of cards in this Zone is considered Free Information, you can count the number of cards in another player’s hand as well.
Then, there’s the Battlefield Zone! Also referred to as the ‘in-play zone,’ this is the Zone where all the action goes down, as both players share the Battlefield during play. This is where all permanents go after they’ve resolved or put in play. All permanents remain active on the Battlefield unless the specific format, effects or rules of the game say otherwise.
The Graveyard Zone acts as your discard pile. Any object/card that is either spent, countered discarded or destroyed is immediately sent to the Graveyard Zone. The cards in your Graveyard Zone are placed face-up, which makes them public knowledge to opposing players. Now, only certain cards like Distentomb or Rise From the Grave, for example, give you the ability to resurrect cards that have been sent to the Graveyard.
Next, we have the Exile Zone. This Zone can be found outside the field of active play and is where any exiled cards are placed. That means cards that are exiled during gameplay are sent from their current Zones and placed here. Whether they are placed face-up or face-down depends on what a specific card indicates. If a card doesn’t indicate what position they should be placed in after exile, they can automatically be placed face-up by default.
The Stack Zone is shared by both players and is specifically reserved for cards that have been previously cast and not resolved. Specifically, this Zone is for any spells or abilities that have been played during the game. These cards shall remain in this Zone until they resolve.
The Command Zone is simply designated to hold and keep specialized objects, like Commanders, Companions and Emblems, that can have a lasting or significant effect on the game. These cards/special objects are not permanents, which means they can’t be interacted with by using normal effects. This particular rule depends on the specific format of the MTG game that you’re playing, so certain games allow you to use the objects in the Command Zone more frequently during the game.
Last is the Ante Zone. To be honest, I almost left this Zone off the list. But then I figured, why not let it tag along, you know? Ante refers to a Zone that exists in earlier versions of Magic. It’s now considered an optional zone by most players, as it can only be featured in certain games where it’s not forbidden according to the laws and other rules of the game.
Players who agree on playing for Ante at the beginning of the game, are required to place a random card from their library in this zone. Whoever wins the game is automatically entitled to own the cards left in the Ante Zone. So, you can think of Ante as a friendly way of playing for keeps, which is why it can only exist if both players agree to it first. Just as a reminder, the Ante Zone is not printed on our playmats.
That pretty much covers the basics of the MTG Zones that are featured on our playmats. If you have any questions or want some more detail on a particular Zone, just leave a comment for us below. We shall return with a new Zone upgrade post, so keep a close eye on our blog page. At least now you have something to look forward to, right?
Until we meet again,
Vince the Prince