Magic: The Gathering (MTG, Magic) is a legendary card trading and battling game, based around fantasy and magic. This game is increasingly popular, with more than 20 billion cards being produced between 2008 and 2016, and an estimated 35 million active players. But, what’s it all about? Why is it so popular?
MTG is easy to play, easy to learn, and exciting at the same time. You can play with friends in person or online, or you could simply collect the beautiful cards and create your ultimate deck. If you do want to learn to play Magic, it’s never been easier. Let’s take a look at the basics of MTG, how to get started, and how to learn the game properly.
History of MTG
MTG was designed by a student named Richard Garfield in the early 1990s after he found a passion for other games such as Dungeons and Dragons. In 1993, the first deck was published and in 1994, Mr. Garfield joined the team full time to become chief game designer, bringing with him an idea for tournament play that had never been seen in consumer card games before.
The game quickly took off in popularity, finding success amongst students and young adults alike, while tournament play became common. Expansion packs were designed and sold quickly, as the game spread to other countries. It is thought there are currently 35 million players, making it one of the most popular tabletop games to this day.
It’s Easy To Learn
While there are multiple card types and uses, learning the basics of Magic is super easy. There are player guides on MTG all over the internet, with experts sharing their tips on everything from picking your first hand to making your first moves in battle. Many seasoned games share their methods for collecting the best decks and building your ultimate collection. In effect, it’s very easy to get started. Though it may take you a long time to completely master your gameplay and tactics.
One of the joys of these sorts of games – of which Magic was the first – is the ability to constantly collect and trade cards. Cards are sold in decks, expansion packs, and booster packs, meaning you can keep upgrading, rotating, or trading cards with whoever you wish. The appeal lies in the strategic building of the ultimate collection. Everyone has a different favorite type of card, meaning you can regularly trade with others to build your dream collection.
Many gamers choose to store and display their cards in collection books or display units. Some view collecting as the ultimate hobby, while others view the gameplay as far more important. As you collect, you will find your style.
Reading the Cards
Once you start collecting MTG cards, you need to be able to understand what they mean. Each card has a selection of information on it relating to how the game is played. The simple stats include the card’s name, power, and abilities. On top of this, there is some more detailed information regarding the gameplay.
Firstly, the type line. Each card has a specific type, namely lands, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, sorceries, and instants. These types define what the card is and what it can do. For example, lands are used to generate Mana, the game’s primary power resource, while creatures are your “fighters” and sorceries are spells you can cast on your opponent.
The game starts by drawing a hand of seven cards from your deck. If your hand is not to your liking, you can take a mulligan, drawing again to try and start with a better hand. Do this more than once and you start having to discard cards – one per draw. This helps you get started with a mixed hand of cards you deem suitable to start your battle.
At this point, you start to lay cards on the battlefield – the area between you and your opponent. These cards are called permanents and will remain on display to both you and your opponent. When you “tap” a card, you turn it sideways, showing that it is in use. This goes for land cards, creatures, spells, and other cards. However, instants are the only cards never placed on the battlefield.
To understand gameplay and “tapping” cards, you need to understand mana. Each card displays its mana cost in the top right-hand corner. Mana is generated by the lands and other permanent cards that you have displayed on the battlefield. There are five colors of mana – which is important to note – red, green, blue, black, and white.
Different cards or actions require different mana to use. For example, a spell may require 3 lands and 2 white mana to complete its action. So, to make that attack, you must tap 3 land cards and a card with the value of 2 white mana. If this spell is an instant or sorcery, it is then discarded into your graveyard pile. If the spell cast is a creature or an artifact, that creature is now placed on your battlefield.
What do you Need to Play?
To play a proper game against an opponent, you each need a deck of 60 cards. This deck should be built with around 40% land cards to give you the best chance of generating enough mana for your moves. In a simpler, but sometimes trickier version of the game, players draw 40 cards each at random from a deck.
MTG has, like many games, gone digital. The main focus of the game for many users is the physical collection of cards and the building of a deck. However, most of this can now be done online. If you want to give the game a try without purchasing decks or cards, this could be a great way to learn the basics and have some fun with MTG.
These basics should help you start your first games in the world of Magic. As mentioned, there are some truly expert guides out there to help you master this wonderful game. Once you start, you’ll always love playing MTG!
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