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Magic: The Gathering» Forums » General

Subject: New Player Question About Getting Started rss

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Christopher Clark
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I am intrigued by this game and I was hoping to get some specific advice about what to purchase to further explore it. Here is where I am at: I have downloaded and played Magic Duels -- which did a great job of teaching me the basics about how to play the game. But, I have only played a little bit in the Origins section and had not played any of the Kaladesh or Aether Revolt cards.

Last Friday, I went to a local store and played in a Draft Format Tournament. I had read a bit about the drafting format before I went and it went OK. The key problem was that I was unfamiliar with most of the cards and, more importantly, with some of the key mechanics on the cards (Vehicles? Scry?). So, it was difficult for me to know which cards were good. But, I basically stuck to two colors and I was able to create an OK deck. After my first match, my opponent looked through my deck and helped me tweak it a bit, but he said I had done an OK job. The tournament was three matches (best 2 out of 3 for each match). I only won one individual game, but I was quite pleased that I did win one. This was my first time playing "Live" and everyone was very nice about showing me how to play live.

So....I would like to teach my husband how to play this so we can play together at home and occasionally play with others at the local store. It is unlikely that he will play online so I am looking for a good product to use to teach him.

What should I get? Should I get two Planeswalker decks? They seem to have some of the more advanced/recent mechanics so perhaps they are too difficult to use to teach him? But, they at least use the current sets of cards that are used in drafting, correct? Does Magic still make the Welcome Packs and are they free? Where do I get them? What about the Duel Decks?

Any suggestions/guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 
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Pete Lane
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A couple of options...

1 - Ask your local shop for the "free" starter decks you can get. WOTC provides these to shops and conventions as a super easy way to learn the game. Your shop may not have these as the newest batch was from last convention season, but they are out there and FREE. Don't pay for them, they don't have any actual "value."

2 - Planeswalker decks are the newest introduction level decks for new players. An excellent way to learn and good price point. Not for tournament play, but still very good for learning and teaching the game.

3 - Duel Decks are preconstructed decks made to battle and a new set usually comes around every few months. My biggest warning here will be that these contain a lot of older cards so the learning curve is MUCH higher than the planeswalker decks. They are usually fun and easy to learn after a few plays, but if you had some concerns about mechanics, these can sometimes cram a handful of older ones that might lead to some confusion if you're just learning with newer cards.

4 - Attend the next Prerelease. Should be a few weeks from now. It's 100% one of the best ways for new players to experience the game once you've learned a bit. You get 6 boosters of the brand new set before it hits stores and build a deck with those cards. What's nice is that EVERYONE is on the same foot (playing with new cards) and even the most skilled players can misevaluate things. Also nice because you don't have to worry about the skill of drafting, and instead work with what you're given. I think it's one of the most fun ways to play the game personally and prereleases are always VERY noob friendly.

5 - Once you feel comfortable with your game knowledge... you need to figure out what the game will be for you? Standard will only use cards from the most recent years of sets. However it can be very competitive and I know they are having issues with power level right now. Modern is a much wider range of cards and very popular, but then you start getting the issue of older cards that have been out of print for a while and might cost some money. Commander is one of the best ways for a casual player to learn and you can even pick up preconstructed decks at your local big box retailer. Those decks are very fun to play (as is the format) but you will run into the issue as with duel decks where there is a ton of older cards that might take some learning.

Have fun!! Magic is what you make of it. You don't have to be hyper competitive pro level player to enjoy yourself. Some people just play casual, some people only play Standard, some people only draft, some people only play with 20 year old cards, some people do all of the above. The beauty of the game is that all the cards work nicely with each other and the literal only limit is your imagination.
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Brian Cox
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Pete's answer above mine is the correct one. I'll just reiterate and expound on some things.

- If you ever have basic questions about things in the game like mechanics, formats, etc. do not hesitate to look up the answer online.

-- Gatherer - This is the official card database. If you look up a card, it will tell you any special rulings.

-- MTG Salvation Wiki - I like that this is just a clean site that gets to the point on things.

- I would actually hold off on attempting to Draft again until you've gotten more into the game. You really do need to know a majority (if not all) of the cards being drafted and have a strong understanding of the mechanics and interactions in the set. Prereleases have a different kind of Limited event called Sealed. This is much more newbie friendly as mentioned above.

- In my opinion, the life of a Magic player is based on a series of "level up" moments. You start off not knowing much, and many of the rules don't make sense. Then after playing a few times, you get the basics. Then after a few more times playing, you learn a little strategy. Then a little bit later, you try to build your own deck. Then you have an "Aha!" moment when you see how an intricate interaction works in a competitive deck, and on and on and on.

Each time you learn something new about the game, you grow as a player. What's cool is that this can happen at any pace. Additionally, you don't have to have competitive aspirations. All this can be done at your kitchen table, the same as it can be done at a weekly tournament at a local shop. And even if you do have ideas of playing competitively, you can always jump in and out.

I started back as a kitchen table player with three of my friends at the end of 2012. That turned into regular Prereleases , then some Friday Night Magic, and by early 2015, we were entering ourselves in Modern Pro Tour Qualifiers and went to Vegas for the huge Modern Masters 2015 Grand Prix. Ultimately, we weren't that good at the game (and we all had kids), so we scaled back and now pretty much play Commander, Pauper, and some Modern. I say all that to let you know that I started playing Kitchen Table (well actually Duels of the Planeswalkers), went all the way up to pretending I was competitive, and back down to the kitchen table.

I don't know where my Magic hobby will go next, but I've had a lot of fun so far.
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