Introduction: How to Play: Magic the Gathering
'In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.'-Wizards of the Coast
Welcome to the wonderful world of Magic the Gathering! Magic the Gathering (also know as M:tG) is a card game that combines strategy, fantasy, and fun to create one of the most popular card games ever known. So sit back and relax because you are about to take a journey into Magic the Gathering!
In this instructable I'll teach you the basics of M:tG, including: how to build a deck, using mana, card types and more.
Step 1: The Cards
Magic is just as much a trading card collection as it is a strategy game. Cards are classed in rarity,from least rare to most rare cards come in; common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare, you can also get a foil version of every card that makes the card slightly more valuable. You can't play magic without having the cards so obviously the first step into magic, is to buy some cards. You can obtain cards in a number of different ways. Cards come in Booster packs, Intro packs, Clash packs, Fat packs, and Booster boxes. A booster pack contains 10 commons, 3 uncommon, and 1 rare or mythic rare card. An intro pack contains a 60 card deck (i'll explain why 60 later on) 2 booster packs, and an instructions manual (which you won't need after this instructable). A clash pack contains two 60 card decksso you can play with your friends if they don't have a deck,there is also a guide on how to combine the two decks to make a single more powerful deck. A fat pack contains; nine booster packs, 80 basic lands, and 2 deck boxes, along with a couple of other trinkets. Finally, a booster box is pretty much when you buy the entire box of booster packs from a store, it contains 36 booster packs. If you are just getting started with Magic, i suggest buying an intro pack. An intro pack is exactly what it sounds like, its a deck made for beginners like you and it comes at a fairly cheap price. You can pick these up at your local comic or card store, or even at a department store. I've found though that it is cheaper to buy cards at a comic store.
Step 2: Constructed Deck
There are a few different ways to play Magic the Gathering, but for this Instructable we will be focusing on Standard constructed play. Constructed means that you have made a deck before hand and brought it to wherever your playing. The deck must have a minimum of 60 cards and there is no upper limit although most players prefer to stick to 60 cards. Standard is a bit confusing at first, especially because Magic is undergoing a change. In Magic, cards are released in blocks, each block has a story behind it and the cards usually fit that story. Blocks rotate in and out of standard play, meaning that once a block has been out for a certain amount of time, you can no longer play with the cards from that block in standard. This may seem like a waste of money, but it keeps the game fresh and you can still use those old cards in different styles of the game. The block rotation fight now( the old way) is that 3 sets come out in a year, all three combined are referred to as the block, and one core set comes out in the summer. The core set is just a one off thing that has nothing to do with the blocks. The rotation goes like this, 3 sets come out to make block-A, then core-A set comes out. Next, Block-B comes out, and core-B set comes out. Now 2 Blocks and 2 Core sets are standard legal. Once the first set of block-C comes out, Block-A and Core-A get rotated out and it cycles like that. Now, if that wasn't confusing enough, The rotation and blocks are being changed. Beginning in 2016, Blocks will be only 2 sets, one big one, and one little one. Also, there will be three Blocks that are standard legal at a time. so rotation will be; Set-A1, Set-A2, Set-B1, Set-B2, SetC1, SetC2. when SetD1 comes out, SetA1 and A2 will rotate out. Also there will no longer be core sets. The Gif/video above explains this rotation pretty well, everything before the block block is the old rotation.
Step 3: Mana
There are 5 different colours of mana in Magic, Red, Black, Blue, White, and Green. Mana is used to cast spells, enchantments and creatures that will fight for you and defend you against your opponent. Each of these cards requires a certain number of mana to cast. How do you get mana you ask? Mana is obtained by casting cards called lands. There are 5 types of lands, one for each mana colour, Mountain(red), Swamp(black), Island(blue), Forest(green), and Plains(white).During the game, you will be able put one land onto the board every time its your turn and each of these land can yield one mana a turn, so you will need alot of lands. It is up to you which colours you like, and which ones you want to make a deck with. you can combine as many colors as you want, but personally i stick with two or three. Some colors go better with some than others, often it depends on the block that your playing with. To keep it simple in the beginning, you might choose to have only one colour in your deck, although most intro packs start you off with 2. If you notice the picture of 'blood-fire colossus' you can see whats circled. There's a 6, and 2 red mana symbols, this is the casting cost of that creature. This means it will cost you 2 red mana, and 6 mana of any colour to cast.
Step 4: Card Types
There are a few different types of cards in Magic,
Land- As you learned in the Mana section, land are what gives you mana to cast spells and creatures. Land cards do not cost any mana to cast. Lands are permanent meaning they stay on the battlefield unless removed or destroyed and can only be used on your turn. One land card can be placed down every turn. To use a land card and get mana, you need to Tap the card. This means you turn the card sideways, it remains sideways until your next turn where you Untap all of your cards if they where tapped last turn. Tapping a land gives you one mana.
Creature-Next card type are the foundations of your deck. Creatures are what you will primarily use to attack your opponent and defend yourself. Each creature has a certain mana cost that you must use land cards to pay for, creatures are also permanent. Upon casting a creature onto the battlefield you must tap them for that turn, this is called summoning sickness. Some creatures have abilities that override summoning sickness, but most do not. On the bottom right of a creature card, there are two numbers divided by a slash. the number before the slash is the power of the creature, it tells how much damage a creature deals, the number after the slash is it's toughness, that tells you how much damage must be dealt to it to destroy it. on your turn, you can use untapped creatures to attack your opponent, or you can leave it untapped so they can defend you against your opponents creatures. When you block an attack with your creature on your opponents turn, you do not tap that creature. For you life points to go down, your opponent must attack you directly, and if you block his/her creatures with your own creatures then it is harder for him/her to deal damage to you, here is a tip though, look at your life points as a resource to be used to win the battle.
Artifacts-Artifacts permanent cards that act as magical items and equipment. Artifacts require that you pay to cast them onto the battlefield, than you must pay to use one of their abilities, you can use their abilities as many times as you want. A type of artifact called equipment has an ability that lets you attach it to a creature, usually giving that creature a boost of some kind.
Enchantment-Enchantments are much like artifacts except that they don't have a cost to use their abilities, but you can usually use the ability only once. Auras are a kind of enchantment that you attach to a creature, so pretty much like an equipment.
Planeswalker-Planeswalkers are powerful cards that really give you a boost in the game. Planeswalkers are different from creatures and all other cards, they run on loyalty points. A planeswalker starts with a certain amount of points, and 3-4 abilities, each ability either adds or subtracts loyalty points. The abilities that add point are usually weak but decent attacks or actions, while the abilities that subtract points are powerful and can completely obliterate your opponent.
Sorcery-Sorcery cards are like magic spells cast by you against the opponent or the opponents creatures. Sorcerys can only be cast on your turn, and after you have finished what the card tell you to do, you put it into your graveyard.
Instants-Instants, like sorcerys , are cards that once cast are put into your graveyard. Unlike sorcery cards, instants can be used at anytime during the game, even on your opponents turn! this makes instants very critical cards for your deck, and your stratagy.
These are all the card types in Magic. One important rule to note in magic is that you can only have 4 of one card in your deck. For example, i can have 4 lightning strike cards but not 5. This rule is for all cards except for basic land cards. you may have as many basic lands as you want.
Step 5: Playing the Game
Once you have compiled your deck and have someone to play with, you can start your first game of Magic the Gathering. If you are confused about the areas of the field there is a picture above that outlines the areas. Face your opponent, shuffle your deck thoroughly then set it on the table and have your opponent cut your deck, you will also do the same to his deck. Decide who will go first in anyway you want. As in the pic above, set your deck to your right, out of your way and pick the top 7 cards from it, this is your hand. From now on, every turn you have you draw one card from the top of your library at the beginning of that turn and add it to your hand, 7 cards is the maximum amount of cards you're allowed to have at the end of your turn(i'll explain later). Whenever you use a card, discard a card, or a creature dies, put it into your graveyard face up. Your graveyard it a pile below your deck and cannot be drawn from.
At the beginning of a game, each player has 20 life points which can go up or down depending on what happens, if your life points reach 0 then your opponent wins. you can deal damage to your opponent using creatures or spells.
If you are going first, look in your hand for any land card, if you have some place one down in your play zone(closer to you as to leave space for your creature cards). Next, if you have anything in your hand that you are able to play that cost only on mana you can now put that down. Just remember if its a creature, turn it sideways for the first turn as summoning sickness takes effect. Not much usually happens on the first turn for you and your opponent, but having a good hand when you start the game is instrumental to winning in the long run.
From now on, you must start paying attention to the phases in each turn Starting with your second turn in the game. When you opponent finishes his/her turn You go into your Beginning phase. This is where you do 3 things 1.Untap all of your cards if they were tapped, 2.This is the step were if your cards have any abilities that trigger every turn, they trigger now, 3. The draw step, draw one card from your library and add it to your hand, you have to draw in this step even if you already have 7 cards in your hand. Next is the First Main Phase. In this phase, first you want to put down one mana card from your hand if you have one. Next, look at your deck and see if there are any cards you can put down which you can afford with the mana on the table, most likely you will place combat cards down in this step, but anything goes. Combat Phase is a 5 step phase where you battle it out with your opponent. Step.1- Beginning, this is where you have a last chance to place cards that you might want to use in battle. Step.2- Attack step, this is where you say what creatures you want to attack your opponent with, you cannot choose where to attack with your cards, all of your attacks are focused on your opponent unless blocked. Step.3-Blocking step. This step is where your opponent, can choose whether or not to block your creature attacks with his/her own creatures, or to let the attacks hit him/her. Your opponent can choose which creature blocks which of your attackers, but blockers must be untapped. Step.4- combat damage step. this step is where the damage hits either you or you creatures. you can play instants before the damage hits if you choose. Step.5- End step. You and your opponent can use spells and abilities in this step if you want. After the end phase comes the Second main phase. This is the same as the first main phase, but it is more strategically wise to play creatures and other permanents in this step. End phase. In this phase, at the beginning, all your cards with an ability that triggers at 'the end your turn' will be triggered now. After that you must look through your hand again, if you have more than 7 cards, disscard a card until you have 7.
Those are all the phases to play magic. Just keep going through these steps until one person is at 0 life.
Step 6: That's It!
Well, that wraps up this Instructable. Thanks for sticking around until the end i hope you enjoyed it. Magic is ultimately a game, try not to get mad if you loose or gloat if you win, magic is all about respect to your fellow player. Thank you to people and websites that taught me to play this game. Also, just a disclaimer, I d not own the rights to any of these pictures, they were all found on the internet. Now, Go get yourself some cards, and get out there! Don't be afraid to go to your local comic book shop and play Friday night magic with the regulars, they were all new at some point. Have fun!
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