The Card Basics To Playing Magic: The Gathering

For all the gamers out there there are few things that can really make your day a blast.

Sure, getting through an online dungeon raid is great and all but the thrill of meeting someone face to face, who has the same passion for the hobby and is ready to put it to the test is probably greater!

Well – trading card games are all about that and Magic, being definitely the most popular, attracts the most people and has a very welcoming atmosphere for new players.

The Card Basics To Playing Magic The Gathering

Protecting Cards

For starters, there are some things to consider about your card collection that don’t involve their playability.

It happens way too often that due to wear and tear cards get so scruffy that they are of no use anymore, any player worth his salt would not use them. 

To combat that kind of damage there are several things you can try.

For starters be careful with them while shuffling as that is the most common movement that damages edges.

Card sleeves are a bit expensive yet a fantastic way to keep your cards safe from harm while transporting or storing them. You can check them out and see what design suits you.

Considering Magic cards come in a standard format it’s easy to choose the size – you just need to get creative with the covering!

Mats for playing are a good addition also as they will save your cards from spilled drinks on the table and will make them easier to pick up.

Highly polished tables as well as some plastic surfaces tend to make the cards stick to them, so many end up bent while being picked up.

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Rules and Cards

The basic rules for the game have been devised by Richard Garfield himself back in the 1990s. More or less the same, they have only been expanded to envelop the growing number of cards and tournaments that have appeared in the meantime and can be found on their website.

Every card needs to be read completely to be understood. The six basic elements of a card, going from top to bottom, are:

  • Name: Pretty straightforward, it gives the name of the creature or ability the card represents and will always refer only to that. No two different cards can have the same name.
  • Mana cost: Every spell casting in Magic requires mana. This number gives you how much and of what kind of mana you will need for that specific spell.
  • Type: Every card in the game has a type, while some also have a sub or supertype that better define them.
  • Expansion symbol: This shows from which game expansion the card comes from.
  • Textual description: The large description box offers more information on what the spell does (i.e. special effects) and sometimes the lore surrounding the ability, creature, terrain, or other.
  • Power/Toughness: For battle purposes, the most important aspect of the card, tells how much damage a creature can deal in an attack and how much damage it can withstand in a single round before being destroyed.

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Know Your Collection

The biggest part of winning in Magic: The Gathering comes not from having a grand selection of cards but from knowing how to strategically use them. Considering the thousands of different cards that have been published so far it can be extremely challenging to know what deck to build for a battle. 

Deckbuilding is a skill in itself where a thought out battle plan is always needed.

What cards go with other cards, what can you expect from your opponent, what kind of terrain will you encounter and the list goes on and on.

One way to counter this is concentrating on one color for an entire deck, as it increases your chances of encountering terrain that allows you to throw ready spells even though it comes at a cost of a smaller number of tactics you can employ. 

The Magic company has issued special decks for novice players to help them get into deck-building strategies.

As it is easy to fall into the habit of collecting cards for collecting’s sake you should be warned that, although it can also a great way to get into this hobby and have fun exchanging cards, you should mostly collect those you need for battle. 

Collectible card games are a great pastime that can also be fun to play and connect people. Knowing the rules and managing your way around them is only one part of the game, but enjoying yourself and building on a dear and valuable collection should be the greater part of the game.

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