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Subject: Getting Started rss

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Bryan Zimbardi
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So, I am interested in dipping my toes in MTG again, last time I played was in the mid 90's I guess?

Anyways, I was considering buying some event decks, but I found a couple listings on Ebay for 1000 cards, obviously most will be commons, but they say it includes 100 advanced lands, no basic lands, and a mix of uncommons, a few rares and a few foils.

Am I better off to go with the Event deck type things, or would buying a big lot like that give me a better starting point for building a deck?

Oh, I forgot to add - the 1000 card lot is $19.

I'm just trying to dabble at this point, and the $20 got my attention.

I don't expect to be a national competitor with a $20 lot of commons from Ebay, but I figured it would get me going?
 
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Manny S
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This question comes up a lot, but as someone who was in your shoes about 12 months ago, I will try to summarize some options!

1. NEVER* buy the bulk lots from eBay, Craigslist, etc. These cards are nearly always worthless and not fun to play with, even for new players. There are many other ways to get cards inexpensively.
[*caveat: of course there might be a 1% exception but not worth considering for us noobs].

2. Pre-constructed decks are a good way to get started. You have a few options here:

2a. Intro Decks. Wizards releases a set of 5 intro decks for every set, and they are all roughly the same power level, so they play against each decently. They also come with 2 booster packs so you can swap cards in and out to get a feel for simple deck customization. (See below for Sidebar: What are sets?)

2b. Duel Decks. These are two decks meant to be played against each other. The power level is higher and the interactions are more complex than an intro deck, but this can be a great "boardgame" version of Magic, as the decks are ready to go out of the box with well-developed themes and strategies.

3. If you want to build a deck from scratch, here are some ideas:

3a. Deckbuilder's Toolkit. This is a beginner's product from Wizards that comes with basic lands and packs from the past year's block. The current Toolkit is M14, but with the imminent release of M15 this summer, you are probably better off waiting for the M15 Deckbuilder's Toolkit. Of course, if you just want cards to get started, any Deckbuilder's Toolkit will be fun - it will give you the lands you need plus some pre-selected "foundational" cards in addition to sealed booster packs.

3b. "4x common/uncommons lot" from eBay. This is where eBay works well, because lots of people search for valuable rares by opening literally hundreds of booster packs, they sell off the cheap commons/uncommons in lots. You can get 4 copies of each common and uncommon from a specific set for about $35 (or less) on eBay. Note that you will have the best results if you stick with a core set (M13, M14, etc) or the first set of a block (Theros, Return to Ravnica, etc)

3c. Build a cube! This is more complex, but essentially you put together a solid "pool" of cards (360 recommended minimum) that all work well together, and whenever you and your friends get together, you draft your decks out of this. I really enjoy this version but it takes a little longer to get started with, so as a new player I'd save this for a few months.

That's where I would start as a new player, hopefully it gives you some ideas! Veterans, feel free to jump in and nuance/correct/expand on any of my advice!

Sidebar: What are sets? [apologies if this redundant, this is all stuff that I wish I knew when I started!]

Sets are like "expansions" for boardgames, except you can jump in with any set (Magic is so huge that there's no "base set" any more!) The yearly release schedule starts with a "Core" set (simpler mechanics, classic cards, a lot of reprints) in the summer - this year is M15 in June. Then there is a theme "block" consisting of 3 sets - we just had the release of the final part of the "Theros" block, consisting of greek-mythology themed 1) Theros, 2) Born of the Gods, and 3) Journey into Nyx)

Sidebar 2: What is legal in my deck?

This depends on what sort of competition you are trying to enter. If you are just playing "kitchen table" casual, it's really just what you want to use.

If you are playing FNM (Friday Night Magic) at your local gamestore, you are probably going to be playing Standard. Standard decks are Constructed form (60 cards, no more than 4 copies of each card), using the cards available from the past two years of expansions (sets). Currently that means all of Return to Ravnica block (RtR, Gatecrash, Dragon's Maze) plus M14 Core, plus all of Theros block (Theros, Born of the Gods, Journey into Nyx). When M15 comes out, that will also be legal for Standard.

If you don't want to play Constructed, you can play Limited (my personal preference!) This is any format where you don't bring a deck with you - you build it when you arrive, either by drafting (8 man booster draft being most popular, opening packs and passing them around, selecting one card each time) or by Sealed pool (6 packs, you open them all up, then make the strongest deck you can from what you have). There are lots of other Limited variants as well - our BGG Magic community can help if you're interested!
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Bryan Zimbardi
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I think I will get an Intro or Duel deck and then buy the M15 toolkit when it comes out - thank you very much for the concise information.

That was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

In terms of the Duel deck - to go play at FNM, will the duel deck stand a better chance than the intro deck?

Also, in two years, will FNM no longer include the sets you mentioned, or does standard just START two years ago and continue ad nauseum?

Again, thank you so much!
 
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Cyrus the Great
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bzinfinity wrote:
I think I will get an Intro or Duel deck and then buy the M15 toolkit when it comes out - thank you very much for the concise information.

That was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

In terms of the Duel deck - to go play at FNM, will the duel deck stand a better chance than the intro deck?

Also, in two years, will FNM no longer include the sets you mentioned, or does standard just START two years ago and continue ad nauseum?

Again, thank you so much!

Unfortunately, the Duel Deck won't be legal at FNM, but the intro deck will be. However, if you have another player (spouse, child, friend) who is also looking to get into Magic, a Duel Deck is an excellent option for you to play casually against each other.

Standard rotates once a year, so when the October 2015 set comes out, Theros, Born of the Gods, Journey into Nyx, and Magic 2015 will no longer be legal in Standard.
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Bryan Zimbardi
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Ok, now I am thoroughly confused.

My LGS does not list a format for FNM - I'm assuming FNM is usually the "Standard" format from your previous post?

They also offer a Modern Monday, which Wiki says includes 8th Edition and newer, does that mean I could continue to use (for the sake of example) Journey into Nyx cards indefinitely on Monday nights, but would have to buy a new Toolkit and Intro Deck / Boosters each year to keep playing on FNM?

I realize I am getting WAY out in front of myself talent and skill-wise with this question, but here goes -

Do most of the people who play standard buy a new toolkit each year and just add to it with boosters, or do a lot of the cards carry over?

I don't mind the rotating cards bit to be able to play at the LGS, I just don't want to needlessly waste money to do it.

If I got in the habit of buying a Toolkit and a couple Intro decks each year, would I be in good shape to add singles going forward?

Sorry for the waterfall of questions, I appreciate you guys taking the time.

 
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Simon Tan
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bzinfinity wrote:
Ok, now I am thoroughly confused.

My LGS does not list a format for FNM - I'm assuming FNM is usually the "Standard" format from your previous post?

They also offer a Modern Monday, which Wiki says includes 8th Edition and newer, does that mean I could continue to use (for the sake of example) Journey into Nyx cards indefinitely on Monday nights, but would have to buy a new Toolkit and Intro Deck / Boosters each year to keep playing on FNM?

I realize I am getting WAY out in front of myself talent and skill-wise with this question, but here goes -

Do most of the people who play standard buy a new toolkit each year and just add to it with boosters, or do a lot of the cards carry over?

I don't mind the rotating cards bit to be able to play at the LGS, I just don't want to needlessly waste money to do it.

If I got in the habit of buying a Toolkit and a couple Intro decks each year, would I be in good shape to add singles going forward?

Sorry for the waterfall of questions, I appreciate you guys taking the time.



Buying this year's toolkit (would be labeled as the 2015 Deckbuilder's Toolkit) should be about 75% good until the next year's core set and new block.

FNM's will offer either Standard, Modern, or Limited... best to ask the store for their schedule, if it isn't already posted somewhere in the store. (Standard is the default.)

Players who play any constructed format (Standard, Modern, Legacy) to win in high-level competitions will eventually know what they want/need and just buy single cards from the secondary market. Boosters and products like the Deckbuilder's Toolkit are there to encourage new players to enjoy the new cards and practice deckbuilding for themselves.

If you are planning to compete at just your LGS, you could get to know and ask what the "locals" are playing first to have an idea how competitive it is. Some groups are very casual, but others can be quite competitive as they are using the FNMs for practice for upcoming bigger tournaments.
 
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MGS
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If you are hoping to play FNM (standard), intro decks, duel decks and builders toolkit are not likely to get you there. Intro decks are weak for that, duel decks are not legal and it is unlikely that you (or anybody) would put a competitive deck together with those cards - from scratch. The event deck will give you the cheapest and quickest solid foundation. Play it straight and eventually change it to your liking. Some people buy 2 of the same and make one deck out of them. Intro decks are great to start but just to play casually on the kitchen table. Duel decks are a step up in power and complexity but they are not standard legal.

Also, some stores run booster draft on FNM or alternate draft and standard every other week.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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It should be noted that cards that have the same name as cards that are standard legal are also standard legal. Which is to say if you have an old edition copy of a card that gets reprinted in a standard legal set, your old card is standard legal too. You don't need to seek out editions printed in the new set, you can use the old one. If it has had wording changed via errata you play it by its present oracle wording (which can be found at gatherer.wizards.com; it is usually the same as its new printing)
 
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Manny S
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Ronaldo wrote:
The event deck will give you the cheapest and quickest solid foundation. Play it straight and eventually change it to your liking. Some people buy 2 of the same and make one deck out of them.


Ahh my apologies for missing this one - nice work Ronaldo!

Yes, the Event Deck is another good option to start with. The Event Decks are meant to be "moderately competitive" for FNM Standard, meaning you won't win a lot but will at least not get blown out constantly. Almost every set has a corresponding Event Deck, which will remain legal in standard until the blocks rotate out (so 2 years from the printing date) be Standard legal at least until the next set comes out.

edited per important correction, apologies for misinformation! blush
 
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Mark McEvoy
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psytrooper wrote:
Almost every set has a corresponding Event Deck, which will remain legal in standard until the blocks rotate out (so 2 years from the printing date).


Uh, that's not accurate at all. The JOU event deck, that was just released on May 23, 2014, contains several RtR block cards (Mizzium Mortars, Aetherling, Turn//Burn, Guttersnipe) that will be cycling out of Standard on September 26, 2014. That event deck will be standard legal for barely 4 months from its release date.



Standard only rotates in the Fall (specifically, the date the new fall expansion comes out; this year that's Khans of Tarkir launch, which is Sept 26). So all of the Theros-block event decks are only 100% standard legal until then. For the aforementioned JOU event deck, 30 of the 75 cards stand to rotate out in the fall (though several of them could see reprint in Magic 2015 Core or even in Khans of Tarkir, which would give the another year of standard legality). So at least 45 of the 75 cards are guaranteed to be tournament legal past Sept, and if you like the deck it would be a good deck-tuning exercise to figure out how to best replace the cards that are cycling out with new candidates from M15 and Khans of Tarkir (or with more cards from THS block).
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Manny S
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bzinfinity wrote:
If I got in the habit of buying a Toolkit and a couple Intro decks each year, would I be in good shape to add singles going forward?


Quick response here - generally you only need to buy Toolkits when you first start out, to get a chunk of cards and lands. By the time the next core set arrives next summer, you will very likely have enough lands (you can just keep re-using the same lands you got in the toolkit, moving them from deck to deck).

If you are playing Standard, it's almost always better to build your decklist based on what is doing well in tournaments, and then buy those cards as singles. (As the man says,
Goodshepherd wrote:
Boosters and products like the Deckbuilder's Toolkit are there to encourage new players to enjoy the new cards and practice deckbuilding for themselves.


Boosters are a lot like gambling - exciting and fun (especially if you use them for drafting!), but don't expect to get much monetary value.
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Michael Becker
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Ok.. Now I am confused with the Standard card legality. Here was my understanding:

When Magic 2015 becomes legal any cards in M2014 which haven't been carried into the 2015 set would rotate out.

When the new Khans set launches in the fall Return to Ravnica block would rotate out. Theros block stays not?

I thought the most two recent blocks are standard legal?

Michael
 
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Pete Lane
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Standard only rotates once a year, and yes, M14 and M15 will share a couple of months in STandard together.

http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=judge/r...
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Cyrus the Great
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Standard only rotates when the fall set comes out, so when M15 arrives, the legal sets will be Return to Ravnica block, M14, Theros block, and M15. Then when Khans of Tarkir hits, it will be standard legal and RTR and M14 will rotate out.
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Mark McEvoy
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Michael Becker wrote:
When the new Khans set launches in the fall Return to Ravnica block would rotate out. Theros block stays not?


That much is correct.

I think what you're missing is that the THS expansion paired EVENT decks are not comprised entirely of THS-block cards. The THS-expansion-paired INTRO decks are comprised entirely of THS-block cards, but the THS-expansion-paired EVENT decks are simply designed to be standard-legal when they hit the market. Since standard legal right now is RTR block, THS block, and M14, that's the combination of sets they drew on to make the THS-expansion-paired event decks.


But when KTK hits this fall, Standard will be THS block, KTK block, and M15. And thus the RTR and M14 cards that were in the THS expansion paired event decks will no longer be Standard legal (unless they were reprinted in M15 or KTK).
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Matt Vollick
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There really should be a link that you can just post or refer people to to explain the rotation in Standard.

Or perhaps it's just another one of Magic's time honoured traditions that has to be accepted.
 
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Vollick1979 wrote:
There really should be a link that you can just post or refer people to to explain the rotation in Standard.

Or perhaps it's just another one of Magic's time honoured traditions that has to be accepted.


http://whatsinstandard.com/
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Christopher Duran
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I've been going down the MTG rabbit hole this past couple of weeks. And have debated making a post on here since I'm sure a new "How do I get into MTG" post crops up every couple of days. My only experience playing it has been the iPad apps and I enjoy it enough but refuse to sink money into the if I can just sink that money into the actual cards.

I've been researching the various formats and what not and I feel I'm coming down on the side of not really being interested in Standard at all but Cube and Commander formats are really peaking my interest.

My question is how do I go about getting into these formats? This is someone who has no MTG merchindise. I assume building a cube right off the bat would be pretty expensive but making MTG a LCG seems like a lot of fun. I want to do this eventually. Which means I'll probably start with trying to get into commander. Any advise or help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Cube is a hard format to get into if you're just starting out, since it requires a large body of cards and good knowledge of the game to build. However, people have had luck buying playsets of commons and uncommons off of eBay and building a cube from there. It takes some tinkering, but that's part of the fun.

You'll also need people to draft with reliably, otherwise a cube will do you no good.

For Commander, you should still be able to find the 2013 Commander preconstructed decks (just checked - CSI has a set of all 5 for $110). They're great intros, they play well against each other, and they give you a great collection to start customizing with.

After that, for both formats, just buy singles that you like.
 
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A cheap way to make a Cube:

- Choose a (recent, cheap) set and get 4x each common, 2x each uncommon and 1x each (cheap) rare.

That's it, no more work has to be done. Whenever you feel the need to draft from your Cube just construct boosters from it by randomly taking 10 commons, 3 uncommons and 1 rare.

It's cheap, it works (sets are designed to be drafted in a similar way to this) and it's easy to construct. There you have it, your own LCG.

I recommend the set M15, which comes out in a week.

Edit: make sure you have enough lands as well.
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Are you planning to play standard at a store?

If so, the quickest way is to buy an Event Deck (or, a Clash Pack). Some people suggest buying two of the same and using multiple of the best cards. This will give you a chance to play the game without being destroyed every time. Otherwise, you can look the at tcgplayer what standard decks are doing well and buy the cards to build one of them. Red Deck Wins and many aggrodecks are often cheaper.

To play at home, if you buy a current set, you are playing Standard.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Ronaldo wrote:
To play at home, if you buy a current set, you are playing Standard.


Define 'current'. Conspiracy - the most recently released expansion - just came out less than two months ago and it isn't Standard (and wasn't even Standard the day it came out - it was never Standard-legal). A year earlier Modern Masters came out, and it similarly wasn't Standard.
 
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You defined for me.
 
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To answer well the question "How do I start playing Magic?", one must first answer a few things:

-Where/with who do you plan to play? FNM is different from entering a casual playgroup or starting together with a few friends. FNM also varies a lot from store to store, some being very competitive.

-How much money do you have to spend on the game? The entry point is 10-20$ (the price of a preconstructed deck). Commander starts at 30$. Decks where you won't get stomped at FNM start at about 50$. Good decks start at 100$. Most competitive decks cost over 200$. That's for Standard, where decks have an expiration date. Good modern decks cost between 200 and 1000$. Magic is an expensive hobby. Expect to spend 100$ every few months on new sets if you play often.


"I want to test the grounds" - If you are not sure if you like the game yet and want to start casually (not FNM), either buy 2 decks (Duel Decks or 2 Starters) and play with a friend or buy a Commander 2013 deck to play at the store.

"I want to get competitive" - You know the rules and want a chance at the FNM tournament? Get an Event Deck and discuss with experienced players what cheap single cards would improve it.

"I want to try lots of deck" - Deckbuilder toolkit. Understand that these decks probably wont get you far in FNM for a while. Drafts event(these usually happen once a month at least) are also nice at developping your deck building skills. Buying complete sets of 4x Common/Uncommon is also a very good idea to extend your toolkit.

"I want to build a collection that will allow me to play forever" - Look up the Cube format. You can start with a few sets of Co/Unco. I recently constructed a Cube with the very best Common/Unco of all time for about 200$. Invest in good Modern cards, these will last you longer then Standard.
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