Magic The Gathering
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How To Play Magic The Gathering
Magic The Gathering is a card game which combines strategy with the fun of collecting and building a unique deck of cards. Magic the Gathering (MTG) is one of the most popular collectible card games in the world, surpassed only by Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh in gross sales.
History of Magic The Gathering
Designed by Richard Garfield, Magic The Gathering was the result of a conversation between Garfield and Wizards of the Coast CEO, Peter Adkison. Garfield was trying to interest Adkison in a board game he had designed called RoboRally. Adkison liked his ideas, but board games are expensive to make and hard to market. Adkison told him that what he really needed was a portable game which people could play during brief periods of downtime (like what might be experienced at a gaming convention).
Garfield later returned with the prototype of a game which he had been working on for several years. The game was originally called Mana Clash. Adkison saw the potential of this portable card game and agreed to produce it. While the game was originally popular with role-playing gamers, it soon spread to strategy gamers and then more casual players. Adkison and Garfield soon had a phenomenon on their hands.
The popularity of Magic the Gathering prompted a wave of other collectible card games. Many of these games were poorly done and existed only to cash in on the success of MTG. Most were commercial and critical failures. Magic the Gathering continued to thrive though.
Magic the Gathering Tournaments
In 1996, Wizards of the Coast started a pro tour for Magic the Gathering. Players competed for a top prize of $40,000 during a weekend-long tournament. The tournaments feature player rankings, media coverage, and all the other elements of a legitimate competitive event.
Magic tournaments are played all across the world in gaming stores, pubs, bars, schools, and universities. Numerous websites are devoted to both the game and the tournaments, with superior players being regarded as stars of the MTG world. Professional MTG events are arranged by The Duelists Convocation International (or DCI), which is owned and operated by Wizards of the Coast.
Magic the Gathering Online
In 2002, the online version of the game was released. Magic the Gathering online has been popular with consumers, and a new version was recently released.
Magic the Gathering Rules
In Magic the Gathering, two or more players engage each other in a duel. Each player begins the game with 7 cards and 20 life points. The game continues until a player either runs out of cards in their deck or has their life points reduced to zero. Life points are most commonly reduced by attacks from summoned creatures, which are represented by cards in the opponent's deck. Some special cards specify additional ways to win or lose the game.
Magic the Gathering Cards
Magic the Gathering cards are 2.5 by 3.5 inches, with illustrated faces which display each card's name and effects. Over 8000 unique cards have been produced for the game, and 600 new cards are manufactured each year. Original MTG cards were only printed in English, but cards are now available in multiple languages, includin Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese.
Players use land cards (which represent various magical lands and locations) to supply mana, or magical energy, with which to cast their spells. Spells can be used to summon creatures to attack, or they may have a one-time effect. The more powerful a spell, the more mana it costs to cast.
Some spells even demand the life points of the caster or other cards held by the player. Other spells allow the player to work outside the normal rules of the game. If the card's text conflicts with the rules, the card takes priority. A detailed rulebook exists for resolving conflicting spell effects.
Magic the Gathering Card Rarity
Cards are classified into three categories of rarities. These are: rare, uncommon, and common. A 15-card booster pack usually includes 1 rare, 3 uncommons, and 11 commons.
A tournament deck usually consists of 3 rares, 10 uncommons, 32 commons, and 30 basic land cards. 3 booster packs are somewhat equivalent to one tournament deck.
Magic the Gathering Starter Decks
Beginning players usually have a starter deck which is pre-built and ready for immediate play. Two players almost always have slightly different decks, and this adds to the strategy involved in the game. Experienced players customize their deck according to playing style, technique, or an opponent's playing style.
Magic the Gathering decks usually include a minimum of 60 cards, and players may not use more than 4 of any named card (with the exception of the basic land cards). Some more powerful cards may be restricted or banned depending on where you are playing. A rule of thumb is that slightly more than one-third of the cards in your deck should be land cards.
Magic the Gathering Spell Colors
5 colors of spells are available, but most players limit themselves to 3 or fewer colors in order to increase the chances of drawing a correct mixture of lands and spells. The decision on what colors to use plays an important role in the game, as each color has its own strengths and weaknesses. You can tell a spell'/s color by looking at the color on the back of the card.
To play a spell of a certain color, you must first play a land card of the same color. The land cards produce mana, and this is what powers the spells. Land cards are represented by plains, islands, swamps, mountains, and forests.
The various spell colors work like this:
The color of law and justice.
Typical white creatures include clerics, knights, soldiers, nomads, angels, and knights.
Strengths include: healing damage, protecting and enhancing, imposing restrictions, and equalizing the playing field.
Weaknesses include: inability to change game plans, more powerful spells affect all players, and difficulty in removing opponent's creatures permanently.
The color of reason and knowledge.
Typical blue creatures include dragons, fairies, merfolk, and elementals.
Strengths include: allowing a player to draw additional cards, countering spells as they are being played, and stealing control of opposing powers.
Weaknesses include: fairly weak set of creatures, and lack of ways to increase mana production.
The color of death and darkness.
Black creatures include vampires, demons, undead, mercenaries, and necromancers.
Strengths include: killing opposing creatures, forcing opponents to discard cards, and raising creatures from the dead.
Weakness include: will hurt itself in order to gain an advantage, inability to destroy artifacts and enchantments, and has trouble removing other black creatures from the field of play.
The color of war and chaos.
Red creatures include dragons, barbarians, goblins, dwarves, minotaurs, and spiritual beings.
Strengths include: destroying opposing creatures, reducing opponent's life points, and trading long-tern resources for short-term power.
Weaknesses include: inability to destroy enchantments, many spells are random and self-destructive, and generally weak play late in the game.
The color of life and nature.
Green cards include the centaurs, elves, druids, and beasts.
Strengths include: strongest base stats, good at destroying artifacts, increase life total, and increase mana-producing ability.
Weaknesses include: removing opposing creatures from play, not a lot of damaging spells, and nearly all strategies are creature-based.
Magic the Gathering Playing Styles
In Magic the Gathering, there are 3 popular styles of play. While they will vary from player to player, these 3 form the foundation for many tournament competitors.
Stands for aggressive and means that the player is using a "fast deck". In this style of play, you try to play lots of creatures and simply overwhelm your opponent.
2. Destruction and Corruption
Player primarily seeks to corrupt and destroy the lands of the opposition. Players without lands are without resources, and they could easily be finished off with a single creature.
Cards are used to steal the cards of the opposition or prevent them from introducing cards into play. Blue cards are the best way to play this style.
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