Ok so alot of people have been refusing to duel me because their excuse is that they don’t play magic the gathering. Well here’s a tutorial I’m gonna write to give people the basics of playing.
Magic: the Gathering
Magic is a card game invented by Richard Garfield and marketed by Wizards of the Coast. It’s the oldest and most prestigious trading card game, having been started in 1993.
The basic rules of Magic is as follows:
1): Each player has a 60-card minimum deck.
2): Each player starts out with 20 life.
3): Each player draws a 7 card hand at the beginning, with the player going second drawing an extra card. Any player may reshuffle his/her hand back into the deck and drawing a new hand at with one less card each time. This is called a Mulligan.
4): There are seven basic card types in Magic: Land, Creature, Enchantment, Artifact, Sorcery, Instant, Planeswalker. I’ll go through all of these later.
5): Each turn, a player does the following in order: untaps all permanents, goes through an upkeep step, draws a card, plays any spells/lands, attacks with any creatures, plays any other spells/lands, discards a card if his/her hand is more than 7 and ends the turn.
6): A player wins if his/her opponent has 0 or less life and/or cannot draw any more cards from their library.
I’ll explain some terms now:
Permanent: A permanent is anything that stays on the battlefield, this means any lands, artifacts, creatures, enchantments and planeswalkers.
Hand: Your hand is where you will keep your cards. Each player has a maximum 7 card hand. If you have more than that, you will have to discard at end of turn.
Graveyard: This is where permanents (creatures, lands, etc) go if they die/are destroyed. It’s also where you discard your cards. Once a card is in the graveyard, you can’t use it anymore unless you have a card that interacts with the graveyard.
Library: Your library is your deck. Many cards interact with the library and may ask you to draw cards from it, search or shuffle it.
Upkeep: An upkeep is a phase of the turn right after the untap phase. Some cards have abilities that occur at upkeep. Other than that, there’s not much to say about it.
Land: A land is a card type that is required for producing mana. Every turn, each player can play one land. You then tap the land to add mana to your mana pool. When you tap a card, you turn it sideways to show it’s being used. The five basic lands are: Mountain (red), Island (blue), Forest (green), Swamp (black) and Plains (white). You tap one of these lands to produce the associated color of mana. You need mana to cast spells, so lands are very important and generally constitute 1/3rd of a player’s deck. Non-basic lands are any lands that are not those five I just listed.
Spell: A spell is anything that isn’t a land. The other six card types are all spells. Casting a spell means playing it from your hand by paying its mana cost.
Mana Cost: The mana cost of a card is shown in the upper right hand corner. It will show the mana color of it and probably a colorless cost. If a mana cost has 5RR for example, it means it requires 5 colorless mana AND two red mana. You need to pay the mana cost of a card to play it and the mana is taken away from your mana pool. It’s important to note that any colored mana can pay for a colorless mana cost but some lands can only add colorless mana and those can’t pay for colored mana costs.
Mana Pool: Your mana pool is how much total mana you have added during your turn (colored + colorless). When you cast spells or use activated abilities, it takes mana away from the mana pool. Your mana pool empties at the end of phases and turns.
Artifact: Artifacts are colorless cards which means they can be played by any color. They stay on the battlefield, they may also be creatures or a special type called Equipment. Equipment is an artifact that can be used on creatures by paying the equip cost and then it attaches to the creature and gives that creature its benefits. If the creature dies, the equipment stays on the battlefield.
Enchantment: Enchantments are cards that stay on the battlefield. They may be of a type called Aura, Aura’s are enchantments that can attach to permanents and give them it’s benefits. If the permanent dies or gets destroyed however, it dies along with the permanent and goes to the graveyard. This is how Auras differ from Equipment (other than being colored).
Multi-colored: A multi-colored card is the same as any other card, they just require two or more different mana colors to play.
Creature: A creature is the most complex magic card type. If you play a creature, it can’t attack or use any abilities until your next turn (unless it has an ability called haste). Each creature has a two numbers in the bottom right corner of the card, in the form x/y. x is the power, or how much damage it deals. y is the toughness or how much health it has. Creatures can attack or block. When it attacks, it taps (turns sideways) and the opponent can choose to block it with another creature or take the damage to his/her life. Blocking with another creature means the attacking and blocking creature deals damage to each other. When creatures deal damage, subtract the each creature’s power from the other creature’s toughness and if it is 0 or less, that creature dies and goes to the graveyard. After a creature is tapped, it doesn’t untap until your untap phase and it can’t block while tapped. Also, two or more creatures can block one creature, they just combine their power and toughness and the attacking creature can choose to split damage between them in any way.
Planeswalker: Planeswalkers are also complicated. They are permanents that can be used only once per turn, on your turn only. They come with the number of counters specified in the lower right and that represents its hit points. They have three or more abilities, denoted by +X or -X counters. When you use those abilities you add or subtract X amount of counters from that planeswalker. If a planeswalker has 0 counters, it dies. Your opponent can also choose to attack the planeswalker instead of you, and in that case its creature would deal damage to your planeswalker instead. Direct damage spells can also be directed to the planeswalker instead of you.
Sorcery: Now for the non-permanents. Sorceries are spells that are played once, and then discarded. You do whatever effect is listed on the card and then it goes to the graveyard. Sorceries can only be used on your turn.
Instant: An instant is just like a sorcery except for one key difference and that is that they can be used on your opponent’s turn as well as your turn. This makes them much more versatile than sorceries, though the effect is usually less powerful.
That’s it for now, I hope to continue to explain in another article later and post some videos to help new players understand magic the gathering.