MTG – How To Play Two-Headed Giant – An Introduction for Magic: The Gathering

Support The Professor – Patreon -

TCC Shirts! Playmats! –


Music Courtesy Of:
“Vintage Education” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

“Deliberate Thought” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

How To Start Playing Magic: The Gathering – A Beginner’s Guide To MTG :

Holiday Cube! OGW Spoilers! Magic: The Gathering Video Podcast:

Two-headed giant is an officially sanctioned multi-player format, where a team of two people win or loose together. Your team shares a life total, and tries to defeat another team of two players. Each player has their own deck, their own mana, and their own spells, but the team shares their phases and life total. One upkeep, one attack phase, one end step, for each team. If anyone in a team wins or looses, the whole team wins or looses.

You can play two-headed giant versions of most formats of magic. If you play a constructed format, like standard or modern, your two decks must be legal as a single deck. That means that between the two of you, you can only have up to four copies of any card.

If you play in a limited format, like sealed-constructed or draft, both of you share a card pool that you can use to make two 40-card decks. You are working as a team, so can talk to each other about deck construction, and strategies to make your two decks work well together.

Once you each have your decks, you can begin playing. Each team starts with 30 life, and can take up to 15 poison counters. Two-headed giant rounds have only one game (not best 2 out of 3 like other formats), so every player gets one free mulligan. If anyone needs to mulligan again, down to six cards or less, the scry rules do apply. The team that goes first does not get to draw a card, just like in most other formats of magic.

Every person in two-headed giant has their own deck, their own mana, and their own spells, but the teams share phases. You cannot use your mana to cast spells for your teammate, and cannot equip their creature with your equipment. Their is a golden rule in two-headed giant, ““You” still refers to you alone, not both you and your teammate. If something would give all tokens “you control” +1/+1, that only applies to your creatures, not your team mates. You can, however, look at your team mate’s cards, including in hidden zones, and discuss strategies with your team mate. You can’t pass notes, or manipulate your team mate’s cards.

You and your teammate attack and block together. That means, if a card needs other creatures to attack, your team mate’s creatures can count (unless it says creatures “you control”).

Any attack or block must be valid as team to be allowed. For example, if a creature has island walk, and only one of your opponents has an island, neither of your opponents can block, since that block is not valid for both players. Both players in the team are considered the “attacking player” or the “defending player”.

The damage goes, by default, to the main player (the person sitting on the right) and affects your shared life total. If, somehow, the main player can prevent the damage to their self, the damage can be changed to the other player. If you would get a trigger from dealing damage to an opponent, you can decide to spread out the damage among both players to get a trigger two times. For example, if a card had ingest (a player who gets dealt combat damage must exile the top card in their library) and double strike, you can choose to have the first strike damage hit one player, and the normal strike damage hit the other player, making both players exile their top cards.

For example: If a card says “draw an extra card each upkeep”, that would happen only one time since the team shares one upkeep. If a card says “draw and extra card each players upkeep”, you would draw two cards, since there are two players going through the single upkeep.

As you can see, this can all make for some very tricky gameplay, and lots of fun interactions.

Two-headed giant ends the same way other games of magic end. You can get to 0 life, you can get too many poison counters (15 instead of 10), or you can run out of cards. If either person on your team wins or looses, the whole team wins or looses. For example, if one of you runs out of cards, your whole team looses. There is only one game each round for two-headed giant tournaments, so when the game ends, the round is over. There is no sideboarding. In between rounds of limited events, you are allowed to use both your and your team mate’s pool to rebuild. You can even switch decks.