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I just had a thought on how to pull of N:tG online as well.
Basically, every week (or so) new rules changes and cards are proposed. Then, after the changes take place, players can build a deck from the available cards and play games over a given period (say, a few days). Give points for wins, ties, and losses, somewhat similiar to tournament rankings, and keep a running total of the points. Play the game to a certain number of points (set forth in the initial rules, so it could be changed, or even entirely reworked into a new overall win condition).
Now, the major issue that I see with this method is that people would have to find times to get on together, and be able to play a full game. So it would still work best over multiple real-life sessions, but so long as all the players are able to find somewhat reasonable times to get together (for instance, force the playing period to coincide with weekends so that everyone would have a better chance to meet online), it could work.
The proposal/voting period could even be set to overlap with the playing period, so that I'd have the last half or so of the week to implement changes, and players would only need to really log on for the play period.
This is just off the top of my head, so I haven't really given it much thought, but I wanted to throw it out there for people to think about.