How to play Magic: The Gathering: A beginner’s guide

Learn how to play Magic : The Gathering and find everything you ‘ll need to get started as an MTG founder, including what to buy first, an explanation of the different card types ( including the legendary planeswalkers ) and how many cards you ‘ll need to conquer your foes .

How to play Magic: The Gathering

What is Magic: The Gathering?

charming : The Gathering is a trade circuit board game – besides known as a collectible menu crippled – in the first place created by interior designer Richard Garfield and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1993. wide considered the foremost trade wag game, the game typically sees two players compete to defeat their adversary inaugural by spending mana to play creatures, spells and other items and abilities .
Players can customise their deck before each struggle, choosing cards from their library and – depending on the format – the current legal pool of sets and expansions. More than 20,000 different cards have been released for Magic : The Gathering since it first released more than 25 years ago, with over 20 billion cards printed between 2008 and 2016 alone .
Some of MTG ’ s most democratic cards much see reprints in new sets, while early cards considered besides herculean can be banned or restricted in certain formats to keep the plot ’ s competitive view fair. The sets permitted for tournament play in the Standard format sporadically change to include only the four most holocene sets released for the game, an action known as rotation. The sets allowed in other formats depend on the format itself. Of course, some of them are n’t in games because they ‘re prohibitively, laughably expensive.

Magic The Gathering Card Game documentary photo
In collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, you do epic fantasy battle with a host of creatures, gods and heroes.

Is Magic: The Gathering still popular?

Since 1993, Magic : The Gathering has spawned literally thousands of cards and countless acting methods. An calculate 20 million people play MTG around the world, making it one of the most widely-played trade card games of all time .
It ’ s besides a cultural tour de force, the first collectible calling card plot. Everything from the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh ! trade batting order games, to digital card games like Hearthstone have their roots in MTG ’ s advanced collectible promoter packs and simple-but-deep duel gameplay .
And that ’ s no wonder, because Magic : The Gathering is an excellent game. It marries social gambling, the themes and artwork of a fantastic multiverse, and the tactics and hard-line strategy of something close to chess .
even better, publisher Wizards of the Coast has ensured that it ’ second easy to play socially all across the world, with most local tabletop shops holding Friday Night Magic events weekly for newcomers and veterans alike, vitamin a well as playing on-line via its digital embodiment Magic : The Gathering Arena .
That said, the series has collected so many products over its 25 year history – including more than 15,000 different cards – that it can be near-impossible to work out precisely how to start if you ’ re a novice .
here, we ’ ll be outlining the basics of how charming : The Gathering works, what to buy to get started and where to move onto once you ’ ve grasped the basics .
therefore whether you want to play online or murder, as a pair or in a group, here is how to get playing the magic : The Gathering circuit board plot .

How to play Magic: The Gathering

Imagine you ’ re the expansive battle air force officer ( stupid voice and hat optional ), and your creatures are your frontline. Any monsters you have on the table can defend you, taking damage in your stead. adenine well as creature cards, you ‘ll besides have an array of spells, artefacts, enchantments and more. Everything is powered by country, a bleached energy, or mana, if you will .
The draw a bead on of the game is to kill the other actor ( randomness ). You each depart with 20 health points, which are typically tracked using a 20-sided dice, familiar to d20-wielding Dungeons and Dragons 5E players .

Magic: The Gathering - Theros: Beyond Death's nightmare weaver planewalker Ashiok.
Planeswalker Ashiok from latest Magic: The Gathering expansion Theros: Beyond Death.

mechanically speaking : you each have a 60 batting order deck ( although the count of cards in a deck can change depending on what Magic : The Gathering format you ‘re playing ). This deck might be made up of one type of ‘ land ’ or color root – like Red, Black, White, Green and Blue. More advanced Magic : The Gathering decks can include any combination of colours, such as Red/Blue or Black/Green .
Both of you will draw a hand of random seven cards at the start. If your starting hand looks bad ( for model, you ’ ve not drawn any ‘ land ’ cards ), you can take a ‘ Mulligan ’, which lets you discard your hand and draw a new adjust of cards, but reduced down to six .
once you ’ ve decided on your hired hand, you both then continue drawing cards with each round off of free rein .
In its simplest iteration, MTG cards are split into three types : lands, spells and creatures. just to emphasise, these are the most basic cards. More advanced decks include things like planeswalkers – mighty wizards with special abilities and their own health pool .
At the begin of every turn, you ’ ll need to lay down land cards to power anything else you need. The more potent the calling card, the more mana it ’ ll command to run. Some cards require more than one type of mana, much in specific colours .

Magic: The Gathering trading card game land cards
A selection of ‘land’ cards from Magic: The Gathering, which will power all your units and spells.

As such, games normally start with humble units like goblins or fire kitties and gradually progress onto players laying down gigantic dragons and fabulous horrors .
The down cards are split into five different magic trick : The Gathering mana colours : Red, Green, Blue, White and Black. Think of it as your juice ; every unit of measurement in the game needs it .
Any giant or spell you want to ‘ muster ’, will ‘ tap ’ your mana. When a card is ‘ tapped ’ it is turn 90 degrees to the side, to make it clear that it ’ sulfur in consumption. All cards can only be ‘ tapped ’ once per round. Creatures and spells besides get ‘ tapped ’ in this fashion, but for different purposes. For example, a creature gets ‘ tapped ’ when it attacks, meaning it can ’ thyroxine blockage on the future round .
Beginner decks are built around one type of mana, but as you progress you can combine different mana to summon more alone units. Over time, players frequently opt learn how to build a charming : The Gathering deck of their own – meaning a custom-make arsenal of units .

Imagine you’re the grand battle commander (stupid voice and hat optional), and your creatures are your frontline.

The animal cards are square adequate to read, displaying their defense and attack stats, what ’ second required to summon them and any special abilities they might have .
It ’ randomness like with spell cards, except some of them are ‘instants ’, meaning they can be used anytime – such as in response to another player ’ south motivate. This is where the bluff element of Magic : The Gathering comes to the fore, as you can use some spells to boost your battlefield restraint while you ‘re being attacked .
In effect, you draw random cards from your deck, lay down mana and decide how to use that mana .
It ’ s a real number blend of strategy with a dash of fortune, although obviously the better built your deck the luckier you ’ re going to be .

Is Magic: The Gathering easy to learn?

absolutely, anyone can get to grips with the basic rules after a few matches – not precisely strategy gamers ! MTG has a roll of newcomer sets both on-line and off that usher you through the game – starting with bare creatures and spells, before moving onto planeswalkers and more building complex cards. It ‘s identical easy to learn how to play Magic : The Gathering, as you can start with dim-witted pre-made tease sets before advancing onto making your own deck. In summation, you can find places to play Magic : The Gathering via the official Wizards of the Coast locator, which tells you what shops are running events. Every week, Friday Night Magic is run in stores and other locations across the world.

These social events are a great way to enjoy the game socially, and besides eke out the rules with more experience players. staff at the locations are often felicitous to help you out, possibly even playing a few hands with you to get you orientated .

Magic The Gathering Serpent Of Lochmere
The Lochmere Serpent, a very powerful blue-black creature card from MTG set Throne of Eldraine.

What do you need to play Magic: The Gathering?

First off, there ‘s batch of ways to get started with MTG completely free. For years, numerous shops have been offering Magic ‘ Welcome Packs ’ which give you a sample distribution 60-card deck – one deck for each of the five magic trick elements. Head out to your local anesthetic memory to see if you can nab one of these. Or you can head to Magic : The Gathering Arena, which will bestow you free cards as you play matches .
however, to learn how to play Magic : The Gathering on the tabletop, you ‘ll need a newcomer deck, such as the duel decks outlined below, which will have everything you need to get started. Accessories wise, this will include a pair of d20 die, which serve as a room to track life sentence – when it ‘s wiped, you lose. As the crippled gets more advance, you ‘ll need tokens – some of these come in sets, however d6 dice can besides serve as ticket tokens besides .

Magic: The Gathering Arena app on PC
Play online for free with Magic: The Gathering Arena.

How many cards do you need to play Magic: The Gathering?

The standard dominion of finger is 60 cards, with a limit of four of any one particular card – which covers all types of card. In events and in Magic : The Gathering Arena, you ‘ll need a minimal of 60, plus an optional buffet of 15 cards which you can switch out and in between matches. however, if you are playing a limited event, such as a booster draft, you ‘ll lone need 40 cards. last, the Magic : The Gathering Commander sets – slightly more advanced decks based around one big tease – have 100 cards .

What should I buy first in Magic: The Gathering?

Magic the Gathering Jump Start Unicorn art
The Mesa Unicorn, a creature card from the Magic: The Gathering Game Night expansion box.

If you know person who ’ s up for learning to play with you, you can ’ triiodothyronine go wrong with the Magic : The Gathering Core Set 2020 Spellslinger Starter Kit. This has absolutely everything you need to get a plot going, and comes in at under a tenner. With this set, you can start playing directly away with minimal remark .
This includes two 60-card mono-coloured decks, one for each of you. In this edition one deck is Red-themed, meaning tons of dragons, goblins and goodly firepower ; while the other is White and allows you to command beautiful yet ever so deadly angels .
The White cards make for a far tricksier pack of cards then the Red, and a good punt for players that prefer plotting over angry end. You ’ ll besides get a code that ’ ll activate the decks on Magic : The Gathering Arena – providing a useful way to build up both your physical and digital collections .

Magic: The Gathering trading card game Spellslinger Starter Kit 2020
Magic: The Gathering Spellslinger Starter Kit, which includes two 60-card decks, two 20-sided life counters, plus two quick start guides and rulebooks.

even better, both packs come with their very own holographic poster – meaning a boastful Bad Boss-style beast for the both of you to deploy .
The crank determined besides includes ‘ life sentence counters ’, namely two chunky 20-sided cube that track your health throughout the game .
There is besides a rulebook, and a quick-start guide – which will take you both through the first few rounds of a battle in a pleasingly houseclean and fleet way. It ’ s a pretty clear draft, and uses actual cards in the pack of cards to clarify its points .
last, these two novice decks are perfectly adequate to of being built up into larger ones right from the off, for if you finally get round to learning how to build a magic trick : The Gathering deck .

How do you use a planeswalker?

Magic: The Gathering planeswalker Oko
Oko, the Trickster – a legendary planeswalker card so powerful it was banned from tournament play.

once you ’ ve mastered the basic rules and decided which element you ’ ll be wanting to play, it ’ second time to wield more power in the 60-card planeswalker decks. A planeswalker basically is a cross-dimensional magic-user with a alone set of abilities that can do all sorts of fantastic things on the battle field. These main characters play a large separate in Magic : The Gathering ’ s ongoing lore. In terms of gameplay, it ’ randomness kind of like having another actor sit beside you .
To be average you could start immediately with one of these but, honestly, progressing from a basic deck to a planeswalker is an easier learn swerve .
Planeswalkers come in sets of one and two, depending on which ones you get. Like MTG ‘s newcomer packs, they tend to correspond to one element – meaning all the other cards in the deck operate off of the lapp mana .

Magic: The Gathering trading card game planeswalker decks
A selection of Magic: The Gathering planeswalkers decks modelled around one colour.

They not only have a raft of especial abilities, but get their own strike counters and are treated as discriminate to both yourself and the argumentation of defense .
You ’ ll recognise some cards here from the starter packs, but they besides feature plenty of new ones that are more knock-down .
overall, these decks give you a moment more versatility and mechanical crunch, but are still identical simpleton to pick up. Plus, adding planeswalkers onto the field very ups the ante when it comes to strategy .

How do you play a booster draft MTG?

Magic The Gathering booster packs
Magic: The Gathering booster packs can be used to expand your deck.

now, you ‘re fix to learn how build a magic trick : the Gathering deck You can use wag booster packs to try out the latest magic : The Gathering sets, and expand a starter set at minimal price. alternatively, you can pool together with other players and set up a sealed draft event – a very competitive direction to play. For that, you ‘ll need three booster packs per person and ideally eight players, but you can basically draft with a few as two. You open the packs, shuffle them in concert, and pass the cards to each other until you each have a 40-card deck. You can besides add any number of lands to this deck as you go .
booster packs typically contain 15 randomly selected cards and are based in one of the many Magic : The Gathering expansion themes. typically, they are split into four types : one rare, ten commons, three uncommons, and one basic land .
current popular magic trick : the Gathering themes include the greek mythology inspired Theros : Beyond Death, the Grimm fairy-tale themed Throne of Eldraine and cards from the 2020 Core Set. In accession, expansion Guilds of Ravnica draws from a global that has besides been adapted into a sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5E .
Some promoter packs provide mix mana, thus bear in mind that not every wag will match your choose schema. Others are split up by ‘ theme ’, meaning they ’ re all guaranteed to be a sealed mana color .
If you want to spend all the money ( or get together for a gulp ), thematic decks often come in beefy 10-pack sets. If not, treat yourself to a match of boosters in your favored composition and enjoy that sweet foil opening good .

What is Magic: The Gathering Game Night?

Magic The Gathering game night box
Magic: The Gathering Magic Game Night, which lets up to five players start playing immediately.

angstrom well as its Commander decks with accomadate up to four players alternatively of the usual two-player, the Magic : The Gathering Game Night lets up to five people play. And unlike the Commander sets, it ‘s designed to be used out-of-the-box by accomplished beginners.

equally well as being surprisingly portable, it includes five 60-card decks, five biography trackers, counters ( which can be used to office up creatures ) and one rulebook .
immediately that you ’ re up to speed with the basics of how to get started with Magic : The Gathering, check out our lead on how to build a magic trick : The Gathering deck for beginners .

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