An Introductary Overview by Bowsting Music
Magic the Gathering is a card game. Not as in a pack of cards, but unique cards. There are an infinite number or possible cards MTG will use, so you have a lot of choice when building your Library of Cards.
Rather like Warhammer, you put together your “army” any way you want. Sadly, though, you don’t build the cards. This means that there is no element of Magic that ends in you accidently painting the ceiling. (Don’t laugh, this is not an exaggeration. My life is interesting). Rather, you buy cards, marvel at how pretty they are, put them into piles, and then say to a friend “Fight me.” It’s quite therapeutic actually.
So a bit about the game. Lands are dull cards that sit around providing mana. Mana is what is used to cast spells. However, you can only play one land a turn, so your spells grow in power as the game progresses. Rather the opposite of Warhammer, if you think about it.
Cards come in 5 colours. Red cards are generally extremely aggressive, and there tends to be a lot of blowing up your enemies. That’s fun. Red spells will need at least one red mana, even if the rest of the cost can be payed in “colourless” mana (any colour). Mountains are lands that provide red mana.
Green cards tend to have spells and enchantments that boost your mana. This is useful for when you then play your big creatures. Literally, some green decks can whip out a hydra turn 4. That’s like taking your enemy’s queen in Chess after 3 turns. Forests provide green mana.
White cards often heal you, restoring health. A powerful life-gain deck can end up at 100 life. You start at 20 life. I once played a game where I ended up on 1462 life. Using my deck, of course. White also enjoys swarming soldiers, spirits and angels to fight en masse. I wonder how that many pacifists are persuaded to go to war. Plains provide white mana.
Blue cards are very tricky. Perhaps thinking of blue cards as the Norse trickster god Loki might give you an idea. Card draw, card return and most annoyingly, counter, are well represented by blue.
Counter decks will run spells that are played in the enemy’s turn. They work something like this:
Bill is saving up for a dragon king. Bill plays a land, plays an elf, declares an attack and waits for his opponent to die. Bill’s opponent pays 3 mana, and returns Bill’s 42 attacking dragons to his hand. Hand limit size is seven cards. Oh dear.
Bill’s opponent plays a land, messes up Bill’s elf with an enchantment, draws some cards, and passes the turn.
Bill’s elf is neglected, and dies as Bill draws a land, meaning he can play his dragon king. Bill pays 12 mana, leaving himself with no mana free.
Bill’s opponent pays 2 mana to kill the dragon before it even existed.
“I knew this would happen”, Bill says.
Bill reaches into his pocket and pulls out a gun.
If you’re looking to play annoying decks blue comes in handy. And when it comes to playing incredibly frustrating, annoying, and infuriating decks in MTG you should trust me.
Black isn’t actually used that much. It’s a fairly well- rounded colour, with good creatures and nice sorceries. It tends to lean slightly towards destruction and necromancy, so using black decks it is possible to destroy your opponent’s creatures, then use them to fight for you. Needless to say, this is annoying.
Anyway, before I’ll finish I’ll just mention the different types of card you can get:
Land: Provides mana.
Creature: “Permanent” (remains on the battlefield until it dies) which runs around attacking or blocking for you. When it dies it goes in your graveyard. Power and toughness represent it’s fighting skill. If a goblin had power 2 and toughness 1, 2/1 would be written in the bottom right corner. Yes, it’s that simple.
Sorcery: Powerful spell that’s played during your turn. It goes in your graveyard as soon as it’s played, so it can only be used once. It can do practically anything, from gaining you life to drawing you cards to killing creatures. Oh yes, and there’s one sorcery in existence which says “you win the game”. Sometimes different cards in MTG aren’t quite balanced.
Instant: Like a sorcery, but can be played at any time. This means it’s usually used for tricking your enemy.
Artifact: Bit of a weird thing. Most artifacts will let you pay mana to do something good. Sometimes they come as artifact creatures. Artifacts hang around until they’re destroyed, at which point they enter the graveyard. Artifacts are always colourless.
Enchantment: Comes in two types, which I don’t think are named. Your basic enchantment will sit in front of you like an artifact, doing something. Sometimes it will need a casting cost. The vast multitude of different cards in existence force me to be this vague. Sorry about that. Enchantments can also enchant other things. If the enchantment says “enchant creature” then the enchantment card goes under the creature card, and affects the creature. You can get enchant creature, enchant land, even enchant enchantment. There is probably a card somewhere in existence that enchants artifacts.
So that’s Magic the Gathering in a tiny nutshell. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I recommend you learn to play it or one of the other great games we have at Warborne Gamers Club.