Magic: The Gathering is a complex strategy game that is played between two players. These 2 players play the game as Planeswalkers, the wizards who compete each other for glory. If you want to know how to play Magic, its rules, and more about the game, then keep reading further.
· Magic: The Gathering Game Goal – The objective of Magic is to cast spells and attack opponents until they have 0 life left.
· Number of Players – 2 Players
· Game Materials – Each player uses their custom deck
· Game Type – Strategy
· Game Audience – 13 and above
Magic: The Gathering Basics
Mana is used to cast spells. It is the energy of magic and unites the Multiverse. The Mana has 5 colors – White, Black, Red, Blue, and Green. The players have the option to master one of these 5 colors. All Mana of different colors have different type of magic.
In order to decide which Mana a card has; you will have to see the top right corner of the card across from the name. Here you will see colored circles. These circles denote the cost of Mana. Given below are the 5 types of Mana you will find in magic game.
· Black Mana – Black Magic is the magic or power, the magic of decay and the magic of death. Black Magic is sourced from the swamps. Black Planewalkers desire ambition for power and would do any and everything to go ahead.
· White Mana – White is the color of protection, law and order and light. The white magic permeates from the Plains. This magic is all about devising of rules and enacting them. The White planewalkers uphold the law and believe that following the rules will bring honor.
· Red Mana – Red Magic is associated with war, chaos and destruction. It flows down mountains. Red Planeswalkers are full of strength. These planeswalkers use physical force and volcanoes to solve issues and defeat the enemies.
· Blue Mana – The Blue Magic is associated with intelligence and manipulation. This magic follows the law of personal gain and environment. The magic is known for using Knowledge more than any thing else. It is sourced from the islands.
· Green Mana – This magic arrives from the forests. Green Mana uses the power of the nature so as to give planeswalkers the power for life and growth. This one follows the theory of Survival of the fittest.
Planeswalkers are allies and can be called upon to fight. Planeswalkers are permanents and have loyalty counters. Abilities of the planeswalkers add or remove the loyalty counters that activate them. These loyalties can be activated only one at a time.
Other players’ creatures can attack planeswalkers but you can block these attacks. An opponent can attempt to damage the other player’s creature using spells or abilities instead of hurting you. A damaged planeswalker is sent to the graveyard since loses all of its loyalty counters.
Type of Cards
There are different types of magic cards. They are depicted on the card itself below the type line.
· Instant – Players can use the instant card whenever they wish to. They can also use this card at the opponent’s turn. This card is also used as a response to other spells. As the name says, this card has an instant effect. After using it, the card can be discarded to the graveyard, i.e., Discard pile.
· Sorcery – This card is somewhat similar to Sorcery. It is a representative of Incantation or Magical Chant. The card has an immediate effect like the instant card. These cards are to be used only in the main phases of a player’s turn. This card cannot be cast if any other spell is on the stack. Players are advised to follow the instructions on the card so as to see the results of its effect. After using Sorcery card, players have to discard it to the graveyard that is the Discard pile.
· Enchantment – These cards are of permanent nature and are resolute manifestations of magic. Players have to place the card in from of them and close to their land. The card will now be on the battlefield. The enchantments are composed of auras. The aura is sent to the graveyard of the owner if a player enchanted permanent exists the battlefield.
· Land – Land is permanent. But it is not cast through spells. Players play the land by placing it on the battlefield. When a land is played immediately, the opponents don’t have any recourse. Land can be played only during the Main phase and at the time when the Stack runs dry. In one turn, players can play only one land. Basic lands are the lands that make mana like forests, plains, islands, mountains, and swamps. All the other land is called as Non Basic land as no mana is formed out of them.
· Artifact – Artifacts are also permanent in nature. They are basically the magical relics from the other time. They are similar to Enchantments as they have their effect only on the battlefield. They comprise of equipment. Artifact cards can be added to creature cards at a cost to make them more powerful. Even if the creature leaves, the equipment stays on the battle field.
· Creatures – Creatures can block and fight and are permanents. They are not like other permanents as they can block and fight. All creatures have their own toughness and peculiar power. The power of a creature is seen by the amount of toughness and the amount of damage it can endure during a combat. The creatures come to the battlefield with summoning sickness. They cannot attack using abilities that have an arrow until they begin their turn and the battlefield is under control.
· Artifact Creatures – These are artifacts that are creatures. They are similar to artifacts in being colorless. They can attack or block other artifact creatures. Artifact Creatures cards can be affected by anything that affects creatures or artifacts.
· Hands – The drawn cards go into hand. No other player can look at your cards, i.e., your hand. At the beginning of the game, players are given 7 cards each. The maximum hand size is 7.
· Battlefield – The game begins in the battlefield. On a player’s turn, they have to play a land from their hand. Other card types can also be played in the game and enter the battlefield. The permanent cards that don’t leave the battlefield can be arranged in any way that suits the players. But if we are to follow the rules of the game, then land cards are kept near the player and not too far.
· The Stack – The Stack comprises of Abilities and Spells. Both of these are in order to resolve till both the players want to cast new spells or activate abilities. Once resolved, players can cast new spells or activate new abilities. This zone is shared between the players.
· Graveyard – Graveyard is nothing but the discard pile. All players have their own graveyard. After resolution, the sorcery and instant cards are discarded in the graveyard. Other cards too go to the graveyard if they are destroyed, sacrificed or countered. An example of this can be the planeswalkers that go to the graveyard if they lose their loyalty counters. The cards in graveyard are to be put faced up.
· Library – The personal deck of cards of a player is their library or stock pile or draw pile. Cards in the stock pile are placed near the graveyard in a faced down manner.
· Exile – Spells and abilities can exile a card from the game. Such cards remain in exile for the entire game and are placed faced up. The Exile zone is common between the players.
Mana is a kind of magic currency that can be used during the game play to pay costs. It required to do any other action in the game. A mana can either be colored with any one of the basic 5 colors or it can be colorless.
You can find the color of a mana at the top right corner of the card. But in case there is a gray circle on it along with a number, then any mana can be used provided that it is the right number.
Most of the lands in the game have the potential to produce a mana. The lands that can produce a mana are called as Basic Cards. These land cards have the mana symbols in the text box below the picture on card.
Players can tap them and add a mana to your pool. Other cards are also capable of making mana. At the end of a phase or a step, mana in the single pool disappears as it is perishable.
For a tapping a card, players need to just move it such that it is horizontal rather than vertical. Tapping happens when players use a land to create mana or attack with a creature card or want to activate an ability having the arrow symbol in right corner at the top.
In case a permanent is tapped, it is used for that turn. No player can re-tap a permanent until it is untapped or reverted to vertical position. At the beginning of every turn, players will untap their cards so that they can be used again.
Except for the land card, all other cards have the ability to cast spells. Players can cast any type of card but only in the Main phase of the game or if the stack is dry. But instant cards can be cast at any point during the game.
If a player wants to cast a spell, they will have to show a card from their hand they wish to cast to their opponent. Then put the card on the stack. If the spell is an instant or a sorcery, it will take effect immediately and ask you to choose one and you have to pick an option.
Players might also have to pick the target. Aura’s too have targets they enchant. If the spell casts ‘X’, player decides what X will represent. In case a player fails to meet the target requirements, they cannot cast spell or activate the ability. Once the target is chosen, no player can change it. And if the target is illegal, the ability or spell does not affect the target.
Responding to Spells
If the spell does not resolve or show an effect right away, it waits in the stack. Both the players get the chance to cast an instant spell or activate an ability as response. In such a case, the card is put on the top of the spell and if the players don’t do anything, then the spell or the ability resolves.
There are two ways in which a spell resolves. If the card is an instant or a sorcery, it will have an immediate effect. Then the card is moved to the graveyard, i.e. the discard pile.
But if it is some other type of card, then put the card in front of you. This card will be on the battlefield. Such cards that are on the battlefield are called as permanent as they are useless until something attacks them. Such cards have their abilities written on the textboxes that affect the game.
After a spell or an ability resolves, both the players can play something that is new. In case that does not happen, the next card that is waiting in stack will resolve automatically unless the stack is empty. Then the game continues to the next phase. If something new is played the entire method is repeated.
These are the abilities that are printed on the card and remain true when the card is in the battlefield. The card does what is holds.
Activated abilities can be activated when a player wants provided that they are paid for. All the abilities come with a certain cost along with a color and the effect it makes. Activation of an ability is similar to an instant spell with just one difference that no card will go on the stack.
If the permanent card from which the ability originated, leaves the battlefield, then the ability resolves. A few abilities have to be tapped in order to activate them. This is shown on the card by an arrow in a grey circle that points to the right. A permanent that is already tapped cannot be tapped again to activate an ability.
Triggered abilities are in the text box. They take place when something in particular happens in the game. For instance, the card might order the player to draw a card when a specific other kind of card enter the battlefield.
Triggered abilities can be identified easily as they begin with words like – At, Whenever, When, etc. They do not need to be activated but they do need a condition to be activated. They are similar to a spell as they go on the stack and resolve in the same way too. They cannot be delayed or ignored unless there is no legal target it requires.
Attacks and Blocks
The best way to win Magic is to use the creatures to attack. Creatures posses severe damage to the opponent if they are not blocked. They can easily damage the opponent to bring down their life to 0.
All turns in the game have a combat in the middle. In this phase, players can choose which creatures they want to make the attacks. They can attack the opponent directly or attack the planeswalker of the opponent. But you cannot attack their creatures.
Players can tap the creatures they want to perform the attack. These attacks take place all at one time even if they have various targets. The creatures that are untapped can only attack those that are already on the battlefield.
The opponent has to decide which of their creatures will block the attacks. Just as tapped creatures cannot attack, they can also not be the blockers. One creature can block only one attacker. The attacker will order the blockers to show their order of receiving damage. Creatures do not have to be blocked.
When the blockers are chosen, damage is given to them. Both the attacking and the blocking creatures deal out the damage which is equivalent to their power.
· The unblocked creatures that are attacking pose damage to the player or the planeswalker they are attacking.
· The blocked creatures deal damage to the blocking creature. In case an attacking creature is blocked by more than one creature, the damage gets divided among them. The first creature will be destroyed, etc.
· The creature that blocks damages the creature that is attacking.
The opponent loses their life equal to the damage caused. The planeswalker too lose the same amount of loyalty counters. Creatures can be destroyed with damage more than or equal to their toughness in one turn.
The creature that is destroyed will be put in the graveyard. In case of less damage which cannot be fatal, they can stay on the battlefield. In the end of the turn, the damage will go away.
The Golden Rule
When a magic card depicts something that is in contradiction with the rulebook, or something that is outlined above, then in such a situation, the card wins. The game includes many single cards that allow players to break any rule.
How to Play Magic
Get your magic deck that includes 60 cards of which 24 are land cards and 20-30 creatures. The other cards are fillers.
The game is played between 2 players both of whom have 20 lives each. In order to win Magic card game, players have to reduce the life of their opponent to 0. A player can also win if their opponent runs out of cards to draw or if you have got an ability or spell that announces you the winner.
Players can choose randomly who begins the game. The player who lost in the last game will start the new game. Players then shuffle their own deck of cards and draw 7 cards to their hand. In case a player does not like their card, they can mulligan.
Players will then shuffle their hand with the deck and again draw 6 cards. Players can keep on doing this but each time they mulligan, they lose one card.
All turns follow the sequence given below. In a new phase, the triggered abilities are moved to the stack. The player whose turn is will get the chance to cast spells and activate different abilities. Then the turn of the next player begins.
1. Starting Phase
· Untap permanent cards that are tapped.
· Upkeep is depicted on various cards. Players have to follow the instructions on such cards to know which event will take place now.
· Draw one card from the library. Players can caste their instant or activate abilities.
2. Main Phase 1
· Cast instants, sorceries, etc.
· Activate abilities.
· Play a land and create a mana. Note that only one land can be created in one turn.
· Opponents can cast instants or activate abilities.
3. Combat Phase
· Start with casting instants and activating abilities.
· Declare Attacks by deciding which untapped creature will attack what and then attack. Tap creatures to start an attack. Players can cast their instants or activate the abilities.
· Blocking by the opponents. Opponents can choose any of the untapped creatures to block attacks.
· Combat Damage by following the guidelines given in the Attacks and Block section above.
· End Combat by casting instants and/or activating abilities.
4. Main Phase 2
Same as the Main Phase 1. If a player did not use land in the first main phase, they can use it now in this phase.
5. End Phase
This phase can end in 2 ways –
· End Step – Triggered Abilities at the beginning of the end step are put on stack. Players can cast their instants or activate the abilities.
· Cleanup – Players can clean up their hand if they have more than 7 cards. This can be done by discarding the additional cards. The damage on living creatures is removed. No player can cast instants or activate abilities. Only abilities that are triggered are allowed.
Once a player finishes their turn, the turn of the opponent begins and they follow the same method of playing. Turns continue to alternate till a player is left with 0 lives. At such a point, the game finishes and a winner is announced.
That was it all about Magic: The gathering game. I hope you all now know how to play magic. In case of any doubts, feel free to let us know in the comments below. We will get back to your rescue right away!