PDC Frequently Asked Questions

Created by LulThyme.
Thanks to Evu, lathspel, Polyjak, SpikeBoyM and SypherSun.
Section 1: Introduction
1.1 What is PDC and why play it?
1.2 How do I start playing?
1.3 Where do I get more information about PDC?

Section 2: PDC formats
2.1 What are the PDC formats?
2.2 How do I tell which cards are legal in a specific PDC format?
2.3 What about Time Spiral timeshifted (purple) cards, Masters Editions cards and cards from Preconstructed decks?
2.4 Is there a banned or a restricted list in PDC?
2.5 Aren't a small number of uncommons allowed in Pauper decks?

Section 3: PDC events
3.1 What are PDC events and why play in them?
3.2 How do I find out what PDC events are there?
3.3 How do I play in a PDC event?
3.4 How do I read DCI-R output?
3.5 When\Why\How do I post my decklist?
3.6 Can I win prizes in PDC events?
3.7 What do season points mean?

Section 4: PDC cards
4.1 How do I find cheap commons?
4.2 Which cards will I need?



Section 1: Introduction


1.1 What is PDC and why play it?
Pauper Deck Challenge (PDC) is an unofficial Magic Online (MTGO) format as well as the community of players who play it. The main idea of PDC is to play Constructed on MTGO but only with commons. This is less restrictive than it may sound at first and PDC players get to test their deck-building and playing skill in a competitive and fun environment at a fraction of the regular cost.
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1.2 How do I start playing?
First, you need to be familiar with MTGO. The Magic Online FAQ should have everything you need. The official PDC chat room online can be joined by typing the command "/join pdc" on MTGO. This is where you can find other players with which to play a pickup game or discuss the latest event and deck tech. The are also PDC events which are usually open for all.
See Section 3 for details on events.
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1.3 Where do I get more information about PDC?
Besides this page, the best way to get information about PDC is to visit PDCMagic.com. There, you will find information on upcoming events, an archive of PDC strategy articles, recent updates on the metagame, and some useful links, as well as the PDCMagic.com Forums.

The next best source of information is the the Magic Online Player Run Events (PRE) subforum on the Wizards boards. This is the place to get more detailed information about recent and upcoming PDC events. Note that the information concerning events is usually more accurate and detailed on the PRE forum than on the PDCMagic.com forum so it should be used as a primary source. Also, some PDC events are more loosely affiliated with the PDC community and the PRE forum is the only way to learn about those, making it an even more important source of information.

I will end this subsection in noting that Alex Ullman (known on MTGO as SpikeBoyM) has written an introductory article on PDC which, despite being dated, is still a very good source of information and served as inspiration for this document.
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Section 2: PDC formats


2.1 What are the PDC formats?
The three most often used formats for PDC games and events are Classic, which is appreciated by veterans for its wide card pool, Standard which is usually easier for new players to get into and is kept fresh by rotations and Extended which is somewhere in between. However, PDC games and events are being played in almost every Constructed format, from Block to Prismatic Singleton including more exotic formats you may not even have heard of.
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2.2 How do I tell which cards are legal in a specific PDC format?

The PDC Legality Rule: A card is legal in a PDC format if it is a common in that format.

The only exception to this rule consists of cards on the banned or restricted list for a given format. For example, the PDC Standard card pool consists of cards that are common in a Standard set (at the moment : Tenth Edition, Lorwyn\Shadowmoor Block and Shards of Alara Block). This means that Nantuko Husk is not PDC Standard legal even though it is Standard legal (being in Tenth Edition) and is a common in Onslaught, since it only appears as an uncommon in Standard.

Applied to the Classic format, this rule implies that the Classic PDC format consists of all the cards that appear as commons online, except banned cards.

Finally, note that, as in all Magic formats, proxies are allowed in PDC. This means that if a card is legal, any version of that card is legal.
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2.3 What about Time Spiral timeshifted (purple) cards, Masters Editions cards and cards from Preconstructed decks?
Commons from Masters Editions and Preconstructed decks are legal in formats where those sets are legal. Essentially, this means Classic and format based on the Classic card pool (Prismatic, etc...)

Timeshifted (Purple rarity symbol-TSB) cards are rares for PDC purposes (since that is their equivalent rarity, from a frequency point of view) and so are not legal.

Note, again, that proxies are allowed, so, for example, a TSB Disenchant cannot be played in a Standard PDC deck, since since Disenchant is not a common in a Standard set, but it can used as a proxy in PDC Classic, since Disenchant is a common in Classic sets (Seventh Edition, Ice Age and Mirage).
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2.4 Is there a banned or a restricted list in PDC?
Yes. Cranial Plating is banned in all formats and Artifact Lands (Ancient Den, Great Furnace, Seat of the Synod, Tree of Tales, Vault of Whispers, Darksteel Citadel) are restricted to one of each in Extended. This is to weaken Affinity decks, which might be metagame-warping otherwise, while allowing one of each Artifact Land to be used by decks in Extended that can find a use of them. These are the only PDC-specific bannings\restrictions but we also follow any general restriction in our formats. For example, Disciple of the Vault is banned in Extended and cards with the Transmute mechanic are banned in Prismatic.

Note that Artifact Lands used to be restricted in PDC Classic, but this restriction was lifted around September 2008.
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2.5 Aren't a small number of uncommons allowed in Pauper decks?
No. There is sometimes confusion with Peasant Magic, which usually allows for five uncommons.
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Section 3: PDC events


3.1 What are PDC events and why play in them?
PDC event are player-run events, usually hosted on a weekly schedule. Like most MTG events, they usually consist of Swiss system tournament (usually 3-5 rounds) followed by a single elimination for the leaders (usually Top 4 or Top 8). The events are free but donations for prizes are welcome. Apart from end of season championship events, they are usually open to everyone. Just like regular tournaments, they allow player to have fun while testing their skills in a more structured and competitive environment than casual games. There is also the chance of winning prizes and earning points towards participation in end of season championships.
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3.2 How do I find out what PDC events are there ?
See the Directory of Events for general information. There are also newer events being established and sporadic events being run. Each such event has a thread in the PRE subforum on the Wizards boards and should be consulted before participating in an event to learn about the rules for the event or any last minute changes.

Note that some weeks, some events may use alternate formats, be rescheduled, etc... This will be announced and explained in the event thread so be sure to read it.
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3.3 How do I play in a PDC event?
These are usually the necessary steps:
A.Read the event thread on the PRE forum and make sure you understand the rules.
B.Have a deck ready that satisfies the deck-building constraints for the event.
C.Near the starting time, join the MTGO chat room for this event, which is listed in the thread. For example, to play in TPDC, you must type "/join tpdc".
D.At some point, the host will ask players who intend in participating to say so, by saying "register".
E.The host will explain the rules. You will be asked to join a separate chat room for match result posting, "/join tpdc_results" for example.
F.Each round, the host will announce pairing in the event chat room. Matches are played in the Anything Goes room and must be timed, watchable and labeled.
G.At the end of each match, players must post their result in the result chat room, "WIN 2-1" for example.

IMPORTANT: A player who wishes to drop from the tournament must notify the host. Posting "Drop" in the results room is the most common way.

If you have questions or problems, contact the host, who will help you. Remember that hosts run these events voluntarily so respect them and try not to make their job harder unnecessarily. Also, proper behavior is expected from all participants in PDC events. PDC players pride themselves on having a great community and players who abuse it will not be tolerated. Hosts have final say on any process as without them, there is no event.
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3.4 How do I read DCI-R output?
(Coming Soon)
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3.5 When\Why\How do I post my decklist?
Most PDC events require players that participate in the elimination rounds to make their decklists publicly available. This serves a variety of goals, among which is the prevention of cheating and to help develop the metagame.

The easiest and safest way to post a decklist is to access it in the MTGO Deck Editor, export it as a text file and then copy-paste it. Depending on the event, you may be required to post it in the event thread in the PRE subforum of the Wizards boards or in Gatherling.
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3.6 Can I win prizes in PDC events?
Some events will award prizes to top finishers. This is usually announced in the event thread and the host is in charge of this. Prizes are donated by players to the host. Everyone is encouraged to donate, just contact any event host if you are interested.
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3.7 What do season points mean?
Regular PDC events are divided into seasons. Players accumulate season points for a particular event series (TPDC, for example) by participating and performing in events of that series throughout the season. At the end of the season, the players with the most season points for that event are invited to a championship for that event series.

Note that event series calculate season points separately. For example, participating in a TPDC event earns you season points for the TPDC championship, but not for the Classic PDC championship.
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We hope to see you at a PDC event soon!