Ovalchase Dragster
26, Mar, 23

Awesome Fan Made Format turns MTG into a Racing Game

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Article at a Glance


Magic: the Gathering fans on Reddit are excitedly discussing a creative MTG format called “Wacky Races” that turns Magic into a racing game.

Inspired by the Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the same name from the 1960s, Wacky Races was created in 2016 by the user Perodequeso in a thread on the MTG Salvation forums. The format has come back into the spotlight recently as, on the 25th of March 2023, the user SpiceTrader56 made a thread on Reddit to discuss it.

Described by SpiceTrader56 as “Mario Kart with cardboard”, Wacky Races provides a truly unique way of experiencing Magic: the Gathering.

The Rules

Team Pennant
  1. An object called “The Finish Line” exists on the battlefield, players can attack it.
  2. When an unblocked attack is made against the finish line, the attacking players gain a lap point.
  3. Attacks from sources with double strike provide two lap points.
  4. The first player to reach 10 lap points wins the game.
  5. Players can only attack and block using vehicles.
  6. Any player may block attacks made against the finish line.
  7. Players cannot attack other players, but may attack Planeswalkers they control.
  8. The game can only be won or lost by gaining 10 lap points. Alternative win and loss cards do not end the game. Players do not lose the game for having 0 life or for attempting to draw from an empty library.
  9. Decks contain 60 cards with up to 4 copies of each card permitted. A deck may contain any number of basic lands.
  10. This a multiplayer format, for three or more players.

Ban List

A small pool of cards are banned in the format. These are listed in the original MTG Salvation post.

  • Karn, the Great Creator is banned, assumingly due to its static ability preventing opponents from crewing their vehicle.
  • Vandalblast is banned due to its ability to destroy all of the vehicles owned by other players.
  • Consulate Crackdown is also banned due to its potential to destroy vehicles en masse.
  • Darksteel Forge is banned, because it makes all of its controller’s vehicles indestructible, removing the risk of attacking.

Racing Tips

If you’re interested in trying Wacky Races, here are a few tips to accelerate your game plans.

  • In the post advertising Wacky Races on Reddit, SpiceTrader56 recommends constructing a deck around the template of “16 vehicles, 16 crew, 8 other, and 20 land”.
  • Artifact destruction is at a premium in this format. While Vandalblast may be banned By Force, Nature’s Claim and Return to Dust are still available to wreck your opponents’ vehicles.
  • Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty provided a host of amazing vehicles and cards that synergize with them. Hotshot Mechanic. Reckoner Bankbuster and Shorikai, Genesis Engine all seem like they would make great additions to Wacky Races decklists.
  • Vehicles with Flying like Smuggler’s Copter and Mobilizer Mech will have an easier time breaking through to the finish line than landbound vehicles.
  • Depala, Pilot Exemplar is very, very good in this format due to her ability to search through your deck and grab your vehicles.
  • While not strictly a gameplay tip, to truly capture the Wacky Races vibe it’s recommended to build your deck like it’s a themed racing team. SpiceTrader56 runs a Knight tribal deck called “Race Knights”, that brings a bit of chivalric flair to the racing circuit. Players could also theme their decks around Vikings steering their longboats across the track, or Phyrexians hoping into mech suits. Players in love with Magic’s lore could make a deck featuring the crew of the Weatherlight riding the iconic ship and a range of other vehicles.

Driving Too Close To The Sun

Davriel, Soul Broker

Dastardly racers looking to win by any means necessary have numerous tricks they can try in this format.

As life loss is not an issue, cards that cost life have functionally no downside. It is possible to use cards like Necropotence, Asmodeus the Archfiend, and Griselbrand to draw huge numbers of cards. If your deck contains a Reliquary Tower or a Spellbook you won’t even have to discard these cards at the end of the turn.

Similarly, due to rule eight, Alternative Loss condition cards can now be used with impunity. The pact cycle becomes incredibly good in Wacky Races, with Pact of Negation acting as a 0 mana counterspell and Slaughter Pact acting as a 0 mana removal spell.

The pacts are not the only incredibly powerful Alternative Loss cards that Wacky Races empowers. Warrior’s Oath and Final Fortune become functionally colorshifted Time Walks. Chance for Glory is marginally more expensive, but makes all of your creatures indestructible in perpetuity, alongside granting you an extra turn. Glorious End can be used to immediately shut down another player’s turn before they even have a chance to draw.

All of this does, however, defy the spirit of the format completely. Wacky Races is designed as a casual good time where you race themed racing teams against your friends. Building a super-optimized deck loaded with Necropotences and Pacts of Negationwould cost a significant amount of money, and would likely be significantly less fun than playing the format the way it is intended to be played.

If Wacky Racers ever does take off as a format, it will likely require a few revisions to its rules to prevent exploitation alongside a more substantial ban list.


One of the things which is spectacular about Magic: the Gathering is how it is so many different games in one. Wacky Races offers a chance for players to use their Vehicles in new and creative ways. This format is a wonderful experiment, and definitely worth trying out.

Read more: MTG New Nostalgic Commander Sub-Format Gains Popularity

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