Be sure to review the rules and banned list(s) by clicking below.
Cards on the PHM Banned List are always banned, and cards on the Land Rule Banned List are banned as well when the round uses a Land Rule.
2. Game Rules
3. Hand Construction Rules
5. Perfect Hand Magic League (PHML)
7. Variant Format Rules
Perfect Hand Magic (PHM) is a competitive strategy game for two or more players. It can be played using pencil and paper; however, it's most commonly played via an online forum. To play the game, each player secretly chooses a specified number of Magic cards which form his or her hand. Once all players have chosen hands, the hands are revealed and scored.
The object of the game is to choose the hand that will score the most points. The score for each hand is determined by the result that it would achieve if it were used to play two games of Magic – one match – against each competing hand; the rules for these theoretical games are covered in Section 2 – Game Rules. During each theoretical game, the player of each hand employs the strategy that maximizes the score for his or her hand, taking into account the strategy of his or her opponent.
A hand scores 3 points for each game that it would win, 0 points for each game that it would lose, and 1 point for each game that would end in a draw. However, a hand scores only 2 points for any match that would have a symmetrical result, regardless of whether the result would be two drawn games or a win for each hand.
The composition of a hand is limited only by a short banned list and a few restrictions on the game states that it can enable; these restrictions are covered in Section 3 – Hand Construction Rules.
2. Game Rules
2.1. Except for the changes described in these rules, games follow the rules for a normal game of Magic.
i. Changes that would take effect during the prerelease for a set take effect during the first round for which cards from that set may be submitted instead.
ii. Changes that would take effect at any other time take effect during the first round for which those rules have been in effect since the start of the round instead.
2.1b. Ignore any part of an instruction that isn't covered by these rules or by the rules of Magic.
2.2. A player's opening hand contains that player's chosen cards.
2.3. Players' libraries begin the game empty.
2.3a. A player doesn't lose the game as a result of being unable to draw a card.
2.4. An effect that would produce a random result produces the result that least benefits the owner of the source of that effect instead.
2.5. Each player is the starting player for one game in each match.
2.6. Players know the identities of all face-down cards and all cards in hidden zones, and players know which decisions have been made by other players.
2.7. If a game would continue indefinitely, then the game is a draw.
2.8. If a loop containing at least one optional action would be repeated indefinitely during a turn, then any player may propose a number of times for that loop to repeat instead. If a player does, then each other player may propose a different number and the loop is repeated for the greatest number of times proposed instead. No player is required to make a choice that would end a loop that crosses multiple turns.
2.9. Cards can't be brought into the game from outside the game.
3. Hand Construction Rules
3.1. A player may not choose an opening hand that would enable him or her to achieve any of the following results before an opponent's second turn would begin, such that that opponent could make no sequence of decisions that would not result in at least one of these results:
i. Win the game.
ii. Take an infinite number of turns.
iii. Cause a card to leave an opponent's hand.
Ignore this rule in the following cases:
3.1a. That player's hand would be legal if that player's opponents' cards had no rules text.
3.1b. That player's hand would be legal if that player's opponents had no maximum hand size.
3.1c. That player could achieve one of these results only during a game that was restarted after an opponent's second turn had begun.
3.1d. All cards that would leave an opponent's hand during the resolution of an effect would be put onto the battlefield by that effect.
3.1e. All cards that would leave an opponent's hand during the resolution of an effect would be in that opponent's hand once that effect resolved.
3.2. A hand may contain any number of copies of any card legal in Vintage.
3.2a. An unreleased card is treated as though it's legal in Vintage if it will become legal in Vintage upon release and if the release notes for the set that contains that card were published prior to the start of the round (See rule 4.1).
3.3. A hand may not contain any cards on the PHM Banned List.
4.1. A player plays a round of PHM by submitting a list of his or her chosen cards to the PHM moderator.
4.2. A player may change his or her hand until the posted deadline.
4.2a. If a player submits an illegal hand, then the moderator will try to notify that player to change his or her hand prior to the deadline. If the hand is discovered to be illegal after the deadline has passed – or if the player does not submit a new hand – then the moderator may either disqualify that hand or replace it with a similar hand, in which any cards causing that hand to be illegal have been removed or replaced.
4.2b. The moderator also will try to notify a player if that player's hand doesn't enable that player to win the game against any possible hand.
4.3. A player may name his or her hand. If he or she doesn't, then the moderator may name it. The moderator may also rename a player's hand at his or her discretion.
5. Perfect Hand Magic League (PHML)
5.1. PHM League play consists of four rounds of PHM.
5.2. Each round, a player earns League points according to the following formula:
League Points = Points Scored / Number of Opponents x 100 (rounded to the nearest integer)
5.3. The player with the most League points at the end of League play is the PHM League winner.
5.3a. If multiple players have the most League points at the end of the League, then the PHM moderator may allow those players to play additional rounds until only one of those players has the most League points or until a specified number of additional rounds has been played.
6.1. A table of match results is posted at the end of each round. Each row lists one player's result against each other player. A player's points and League points are tallied at the end of his or her row.
6.2. A player may earn bonus League points as specified by the PHM moderator.
6.3. Each player is responsible for determining the match results for his or her hand.
6.3a. Players are encouraged to determine or verify additional match results.
6.3b. An undetermined match result is counted as a loss for both players in that match.
6.3c. A player may challenge any result until the moderator announces that the result is final.
7. Variant Format Rules
7.1. Perfect Hand Magic has been played with hands typically containing between one and seven cards. Additionally, the Game Rules and Hand Construction Rules have been adapted to create hundreds of variant formats. Five commonly-played variants are described in Sections 7.3-7.7.
7.2. The rules of a variant format overwrite any other applicable rules.
7.2a. Some variant formats generate continuous effects. A continuous effect generated by a variant format is treated as having the earliest timestamp within a layer or sublayer. If continuous effects generated by multiple variant formats would apply in the same layer or sublayer, assign timestamps to those effects in the order that the variant formats are listed in the rules or name of the round.
7.2b. Some variant formats require a player to make some number of decisions in addition to or instead of submitting a hand. A player's submission must comply with the Hand Construction Rules, taking into account any decisions made at this time.
7.2c. Some variant formats require players to make decisions "before the start of each game". For these decisions, follow the "Active Player, Nonactive Player order" rule, replacing "active player" with "starting player".
7.3. Land Rule Variant.
7.3a. This is the basic land rule (LR). Any player may play a basic land of his or her choice from outside the game any time he or she could normally play a land. A hand may not contain any cards on the Land Rule Banned List.
7.3b. This is the extra land rule (ELR). Any player may play a basic land of his or her choice from outside the game any time he or she could normally play a land. Any player may play an additional land on each of his or her turns from his or her hand. A hand may not contain any cards on the Land Rule Banned List.
7.3c. This is the draw land rule (DLR). If a player would draw a card from an empty library, that player puts a basic land of his or her choice from outside the game into his or her hand instead. The starting player doesn't skip the draw step of his or her first turn. A hand may not contain any cards on the Land Rule Banned List.
7.4a. Only cards contained in sets legal in the named format may be submitted.
7.5. Life Rule (LF).
7.5a. If neither player would win otherwise, then the player who maintains the higher life total wins the game.
7.5b. Irrespective of rule 7.5a, a player must choose an opening hand that enables him or her to win both games of a match against at least one hand, such that the player of the losing hand could make no sequence of decisions that would not result in that player losing the game. The losing hand must conform with the Hand Construction Rules but need not consider this rule.
7.6a. Players exchange hands before the start of each match. Each player must choose an opening hand that enables him or her to win both games of a match against a specified hand or specified hands, such that the player of any specified hand could make no sequence of decisions that would not result in the player of that specified hand losing the game. Ignore rule 3.1.
7.7a. A player earns bonus points if his or her hand meets specified requirements.
PHM Banned List_________________Land Rule Banned List
1: 3: On the play, Chain + Anvil is sufficient.
On the draw, Venser bounces my Anvil, CalvinSchwa recasts Exploration, plays his sixth land, and upkeep bounces a land to his hand to protect Capsize from Anvil before going after my permanents on the following turns.
2: 6: Anvil
3: 0: Per MC's analysis.
5: 6: Chain + Anvil.
6: 0: When I start, Superbajt discards Path, discards Scavenger, and then waits until I've discarded Chain to cast Command, destroying Anvil and recurring Scavenger. Using attacks and commands, Superbajt drops me to 77 before I cast Army. He can shoot down one zombie per turn, so it's on me to be the aggressor.
Here's how the game plays out starting on my turn 10:
No more zombies jumping on the bed means Scavenger is free to attack.
7: 6: If Mana Drain counters Anvil, then Chain on Exarch in response to Twin stops the combo. If not, then Anvil discards Mana Drain and the combo.
8: 0: Tom can perennially discard Legacy Weapon to Anvil, saving Mana Drain for flashback Army. If I don't go the Anvil route, then Tom can use Mentor to accelerate into Weapon, which also is sufficient.
Hands I considered:
aetherflux reservoir / elixir of immortality / exploration
aetherflux reservoir / mana vault / festival
annul / exploration / karn liberated
anurid scavenger / glorious end / path to exile [I'd forgotten about Scavenger-Command; even in this format, Command is decidedly the better option]
anvil of bogardan / army of the damned / chain of vapor
arcane denial / karn liberated / mana crypt
braids, cabal minion / chancellor of the forge / culling the weak
braids, cabal minion / chancellor of the tangle / dark ritual
chain of vapor / eternal witness / exploration
cryptic command / greater gargadon / restore balance
final fortune / isochron scepter / walking ballista
foil / kozilek, butcher of truth / island
iona, shield of emeria / lion's eye diamond / unburial rites
karakas / mangara of corondor / seeker of skybreak
kozilek, butcher of truth / lion's eye diamond / shelldock isle
kozilek, butcher of truth / mana crypt / shifty doppelganger
kozilek, butcher of truth / mana vault / sneak attack
time vault / voltaic key / walking ballista
Hoo boy, some complicated matchups for me this round.
3 | 3 6 X 6 6 6 3 6 | 34
1. 3-3. On my play I get everything out on my turn 2 and force you to Venser the Reservoir in response to my Elixir crack. At that point you can't deny me 4 mana, and I just recast Reservoir and win with 103 life. On the draw you can keep me off 4 mana and eventually Capsize lock me. Should've ran Exploration over Sol Ring!
2. 6-0. You Sorin on T3. On the play I go under Sorin. On the draw I cast everything by turn 2, then in response to Sorin's -3 I pay 50 life to kill the Sorin, then I start gaining life with elixir and eventually kill you.
3. X. I was a dumb dumb and thought you could force T2 draws with Reservoir, so I was super excited about this deck and thought it'd be half the meta. I was considering running ancient grudge over the elixir for the mirror/pithing needle, dodged that self-inflicted bullet!
4. 6-0. I play out Sol Ring + Elixir T1, you play Anvil T2. I discard Reservoir and crack Elixir (replayed off Sol Ring if bounced by Chain), putting Res+Elixir into my library. Each turn I draw both cards because of anvil (It's not actually "Discard a card each turn"!), then discard Reservoir and crack elixir, putting both cards back in the library. I repeat this process until I can cast Res with lands, at which point I discard Elixir instead and kill you. Also wow Exploration is straight better than Sol Ring when you don't need 2 mana on T1, I'll need to keep it in mind.
5. 6-0. Kozilek comes down turn 2. On the play I ignore it and kill you. On the draw, I shoot it down with a t2 reservoir activation, but it returns to your hand. On my T3, I crack elixir upkeep for 5 life, then draw and recrack the Elixir. I gain 11 life on T3 and 6 life each turn after, so on T10 I've gained 11 + 6*7 = 53 life and kill you before you attack with Kozi on T11.
6. 6-0. On the play I go under the KCommand. On the draw I play Elixir T1 and wait for your T3. If you play frog I crack
elixir, then go Sol Ring into Reservoir and kill you. If you play KKcommand I crack Elixir and discard Sol Ring. KCommand goes back to your hand on T5 (frog returns it to library, not hand!), but I kill you on my T4 with Reservoir.
7. 3-3. On the play I go under Mana Drain, on the draw I don't and can't get the reservoir back quickly enough.
8. 6-0. On the play I go under the Mana Drain. On the draw, note that you have to play two Islands on Turn 1 and Turn 2 to cast mana drain on my T2 Reservoir. So you can't cast mentor until turn 3, and while you can cast Legacy Weapon on turn 3 you can't assemble the rainbow activate it until turn 6. Meanwhile I crack Elixir at the start of turn 3 and shuffle elixir+reservoir back into the deck, redraw Elixir T3, then draw reservoir T4 and kill you with it.
Did anyone consider Glorious End, it's literal 3 mana Time Stop if you can only lose the game with 0 or less life!
2) Magus of the Aesthetic :: This Hand Brought to You by Mogg
Lake of the Dead / Sorin Markov / Sorin's Vengeance
6-0. And brought down by KCom.
3) ManyCookies :: Slow Rolling is BM
Aetherflux Reservoir / Elixir of Immortality / Sol Ring
0-6. How dare you, using your high life total as a resource.
Anvil of Bogardan / Army of the Damned / Chain of Vapor
6-0. Not going to argue with Mogg on this.
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth / Lion's Eye Diamond / Shelldock Isle
6-0. Here's why you pack Path.
Deceiver Exarch / Mana Drain / Splinter Twin
6-0. You need 4 mana to combo, I need 1 to remove it. You need 6 mana to combo with Drain, I need 4 to remove it through Drain. You can't win. Also, whatever you Drain, I can get back, so I win.
Llanowar Mentor / Legacy Weapon / Mana Drain
2-2. If you T1 Mentor, I can Path it. If you T3 Mentor with Drain, I can just cast Scavenger. If you Drain it, I can get it back with KCom while killing Mentor, then Path on Elf. If you don't Drain it, I can Path Mentor and KCom Elf next turn, whatever you do. If you don't cast Mentor nor Drain anything earlier (and I don't think you should), you meet KCom in draw step/upkeep each turn. What's more, there is one turn when I KCom twice, so you have to get rid of a card. To not lose, with 12 mana, you have to get rid of another card and cast Weapon. Then, you exile Scavenger. Protection from black doesn't help on this activated ability We tie with you exiling all my permanents to infinity.
Not bad, not bad... I'd call this score a success and a proof this hand can work in normal weeks
I decided to treat this week as a nearly vanilla format, I just decided that I want to dominate the game quite fast, and I assumed T3 wins from opponents are not very probable. I wasn't that far off.
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth / Lion's Eye Diamond / Shelldock Isle
1) 0-6 CalvinSchwa On the play, Kozilek threatens, either the unkicked capsise puts it back in hand, and then it comes back many turns later, or you just lose (EDIT: or you venser it, and win). On the draw, the isle gets bounced before Kozilek can appear, or I get landlocked.
2) 6-0 Magus of the Aesthetic :: This Hand Brought to You by Mogg Waiting until turn 3, I get do anihilate your lands.
3) 0-6 ManyCookies :: Slow Rolling is BM On the play, you get to kill me, ignoring kozilek. On the draw, you have to shoot down kozilek, but he comes back. You then gain 6 life a turn, starting on turn 3, with an extra 5 thrown in some time. You get to 48+5 life on turn 10, just in time to kill me with kozilek back on the board.
4) 0-6 Mogg You are best served not playing anvil. You can hold up chain to prevent me from isling. You play out 26 power on turn 8, and another 26 power on turn 10. This beats down sooner than Kozilek can eat up the delicious zombies.
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth / Lion's Eye Diamond / Shelldock Isle
6) 0-6 Superbajt :: Let's Do It Again! Path eats Kozilek whenever.
7) 3-3 Tatterhood On the play, I get Kozilek down before you have drain up, on the draw you get to hold me back until you can combo on turn 7 or so.
8) 3-3 tomsloger On the play, I get Kozilek down before you have drain up. On the draw, you get to edict lands before I can recast Kozilek.
1) CalvinSchwa - 0 - Capsize lock goes live before Sorin.
2) I knew I was going to have a bad week this week when the "fastest" hand I found killed on turn seven. Dunno why I didn't run back any of my past 3CH LR hands.
3) ManyCookies :: Slow Rolling is BM - 0 - Agreed. Also thanks for telling me I can cast Sorin on turn 3, I honestly thought it was a turn slower.
4) Mogg - 0 - Anvil of Bogardan + Chain of Vapor forces me to discard Sorin.
5) nerdyjoe - 0 - If you play Kozilek on turn 1 you still get to annihilate my lands.
6) Superbajt :: Let's Do It Again! - 0 - Frog + K Command kill Sorin.
7) Tatterhood - 0 - I can't play Sorin into counter magic.
8) tomsloger - 0 - I can't play Sorin into counter magic.
2) Magus of the Aesthetic 6-0 Venser Sorin, Capsize lock.
3) ManyCookies 3-3 Agreed
4) Mogg 3-3 If I'm plotting it out correctly, I get within 1 turn of killing you before a horde of zombies breaks down the door. Oh well.
5) nerdyjoe 6-0 I... may be missing something here? You say I'm threatened by Kozilek, but it seems to me that even OTD, it's T1 Shelldock (tapped) T1 land Exploration land, T2 LED cast Kozilek T2 land land bounce Kozi with Venser, and from there I can Capsize lock.
6) Superbajt 4-1 OTP I T3 Capsize your lands, then eventually have the mana to keep Capsizing plus play Venser plus keep Capsize open to fizzle Path. OTD you can play Command, I discard Venser, then next turn bounce one of your lands with Capsize. From here, you can play a land and then Scavenger, but I'll bounce it. In 3 turns, you'll be able to replay it after bouncing, but by then I'll have the mana to bounce it twice; this continues, as every time you get 3 more mana to recast it once more in the turn, I get 6 more mana to Capsize it.
7) Tatterhood 6-0 ??? OTP you never reach 2 mana. OTD makes me understand better why Leyline of Anticipation was banned. I'm pretty sure I can pull ahead like so: T1 land | land Exploration land; T2 land | landx2; T3 I Venser to bounce a land during your upkeep, if you drain then on my turn I can Capsize, and from there I'll have the mana to keep capsizing if you play Exarch or whatever, and by T5 I can protect Capsize from Drain by fizzling it through bouncing my own spell with Venser. So, T3 Venser on your upkeep, you don't drain and I bounce a land, you play a land | play land x2, T4 land (you're up to 3) | land x2, T5 land. You can Exarch on my turn but I just Capsize it back to you. You could try to rush Twin T6, but it doesn't matter without haste, and if you did you couldn't Drain at all. Once it reaches T6, I can Capsize with Venser backup without being affected by Exarch. Pretty sure I can win from there. Please double-check me on this, I'm definitely not sure I worked this out right.
8) tomsloger 6-0 ? OTP, Capsize lock pretty easily. OTD, you're pretty limited by mana constraints. If you play T1 Mentor, you can't stop Vensor from coming down and bouncing an island, from which point I can Capsize lock. If open T1,2 island, T3 Forest, you need to wait until at least T6 to have the right colors for Weapon, even if Mentor allows you to play it earlier. T5 is when I can start Capsizing with Venser backup to bounce my own Capsize and fizzle Drain if I need to. I haven't plotted it out, but I'm guessing that, in a 100 life format, I can Capsize colorscrew you and get to the point where I'm casting it twice in a turn fast enough to outrace the Mentor tokens -- even if you get one use and manage to exile Exploration. Again, I'm not totally certain about this and expect to be proven wrong somewhere.
Disagreements Superbajt and nerdyjoe, honestly can't tell on Tatterhood and tomsloger. Expect these scores to change!
| X 6 3 3 6 4 6 6 | 32-
Private Mod Note
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
"It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes... Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
--Buck v Bell, 1927. This case, regarding the compulsory sterilization of inmates at mental institutions, has -- somehow -- never been overturned. Just a wee PSA for ya.