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Subject: Help with Relearning Magic rss

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Chris
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I haven't played M:tG seriously since Weatherlight. I gave it up when we had our first child. I picked up a few preconstructed decks here and there over the years to see what was new in terms of mechanics, but haven't been following along (and the last deck I bought was from the Invasion cycle anyway).

Well that child is now 11 years old and loves Eye of Judgment - particularly the deck building aspect. I can't help but think that she would probably enjoy Magic as well (and it would be a heck of a lot easier than having to set up the PS3 Eye all the time). So here are my questions:

1) What set should I use to teach the game to my kid? I have plenty of decks I made from Ice Age through Weatherlight, including 4th edition. I know them well and many of them are fairly simple to play (stompy, direct damage, etc.). I could start there, but I remember the timing of some of the cards being kind of fiddly. I gather from reading posts here that WOTC has streamlined the rules somewhat over the years. Should I use my decks anyway or would I be better off with some 10th edition theme decks (or some other set) and then move on to booster draft? Are the later editions really more balanced or is it pretty much the same as years ago (in which case I would rather just use my old cards and save the money).

2) What is the best way for me to come up to speed on the rules for the game? I'm guessing it hasn't changed a ton, but there's bound to be some differences. Do I just download the rulebook and start reading or is there a summary somewhere of what has changed since 4th edition?

I appreciate your advice!
 
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Chris C.
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Dude! You have no idea how fidgity the rules are now! Before timing was always "FILO" (First In Last Out). Now timing depends on "The Stack" Don't get me wrong: I love to play this game and do it well, but the current rules are very, very long and detailed.

Your current decks are good starting points. Once she has played with those you should probably check out MagicTheGathering.com and see if there is a rules download to read and go from there.
 
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Adam Ruprecht
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This is probably the best place to start:
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=973044

The huge change you really need to know about is the stack. It's a much nicer system than the old batch/interrupt system, but it does throw some old players for a loop (and it does hose Interdict).
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Mircea Pauca
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There are now these pre-made, carefully balanced Duel Decks sold in pairs: Jace vs Chandra, Elves vs Goblins ...
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Jacob Fulwiler
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I'm just getting back into it as well. I played back when Revised was out and quit shortly after Homelands came out. Picked it up again a few years ago during the Ravnica block but didn't play it very long. Just started again and am really enjoying the Alara block. It's got some great cards and some new abilities (well, new to me) make it a lot of fun.
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Laurence Parsons
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If all you want to do is play with your daughter, then use the cards and rules that you already have, and play with the cards "as printed".
The rules changes, errata and all the other minutae will only serve to confuse the issue.

On the other hand, if you want to take it up seriously, and play with others, then you'll effectively need to start again. I think your old Basic Lands will still be OK, but don't count on anything else. This will be expensive (but you probably realised that).

If it was me, I'd stick with plan A.
 
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Sharon Khan
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1) I'd start with your existing decks, the basic ones at first, at least until you find out if your daughter is interested - the game itself really isn't that different. It might help to find out the new rules, if you think you are going to be buying new cards, so that your daughter doesn't have to change rulesets if/when she gets keen and wants to buy some new cards, or play with friends who only have new cards (it was bad enough switching rules as an adult - even now, years on, there are times when I revert to the old ruleset by accident!).

2) There are definitely summaries available on the differences, so you shouldn't need to read the whole rulebook - the rule changes came in at 6th edition, and at the time there were lots of summaries produced - no idea how easy they are to find now, but I'd have thought it wouldn't be too hard.

 
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John Peterson
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When Portal came out, it had just creatures and sorceries (no "instants" or "interrupts"). You could start off with lands, creatures (with a limited set of special abilities), and sorceries and let her get used to the overall flow of play. After she's comfortable with it, you can add Artifacts, Enchantments, Special Lands, Instants, etc.
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Jason Mackay
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Actually, the rules are MUCH simpler now than they used to be. Simply for the fact that they are actually written down and make sense. First IN Last Out is still the basis of timing, but now with the "stack" cards can be targeted while on it, and abilities and interactions are clearly defined while spells are in this limbo state.

The eleventh core set is to be released soon. (Called M10, because it's being released in 09'... marketing guys...) That's your best bet to learn and teach the game.
 
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Dave
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A nice place to understand the stack, which includes a visual aid using plates, is http://www.essentialmagic.com/Articles/TheStack.asp.

Once the basics are covered with your own decks, I would recommend going anywhere there are boxes of uncommon and commons and find cards that appeals to your kid This is my dad’s favorite way of finding cards, which is usually based on the art or certain creatures and the cards can be had for about a dime each.

When I started playing again after a long break, I was caught off guard with the "Play or Draw" rule. Basically, if you were to be the starting player, you choose whether to start the game playing with only the seven cards in your hand (not taking a draw step) or passing play to your opponent so that you would be the first to have a draw step in the game.

Good Luck!
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Chris
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dmcallahan wrote:
A nice place to understand the stack, which includes a visual aid using plates, is http://www.essentialmagic.com/Articles/TheStack.asp.

Thanks! I got a chuckle out of reading about my mom cleaning my dirty dishes (I wish!). MtG players must still skew young like they did back when I was playing.

I don't have any issue understanding the stack or priority (or interrupts, for that matter, when they existed). It's all software terminology and concepts that I know well. As someone else said, it really isn't any different than 4E. Spells have always been LIFO, it's just now they codified the system and got rid of the "faster than instant" concept so that all spells & abilities resolve at the same speed. I like it!

Quote:
When I started playing again after a long break, I was caught off guard with the "Play or Draw" rule.

I remember playing that way, so maybe it was a variant at the time. I also remember a new mulligan rule where you can mulligan as many times as you like but you draw one less card each time you do. Both were good changes to the game.

I spent some time this morning looking through card lists for the newer sets. Wow. The need to get people to continue to buy cards has really driven some wild concepts into the game:

- "Out of play" is now an area of the table where cards can come back from! The whole reason "out of play" existed previously was to have a way to remove cards permanently from play since there was so much graveyard manipulation. They just couldn't resist dipping into that area, could they? At least I didn't come across any cards with phasing. I hated that mechanic, and it was yet another different area cards could "be" in.
- Cards that address mana screw/flood by having alternate uses (i.e., high mana cost card that can be cycled to find a land). Great idea!
- Clash?? As if luck of the draw wasn't already enough of a factor in the game. I guess big green decks needed another element to keep them viable at some point?
- Exalted?? I guess it is the same as the soldiers I'm familiar with that could give a boost to another creature but those guys had to tap to do it (and often had an associated mana cost).
- Planeswalkers? Non-creature creatures? Seriously?
- Equipment, flip cards, suspend, tribal... Wild!

It's been interesting to see how the game has evolved:

- Abilities I am familiar with now have names associated with them (vigilant, reach, lifelink, etc.).
- Counterspells evidently became too powerful at some point because the new ones I found either cost more mana to cast or were limited in some way (e.g., only work on creature cards, can be neutralized by your opponents paying mana, etc.) - certainly no Force of Will equivalents (which is a good thing, really).
- Lots of multicolored spells
- Fewer ways to drain your opponent's mana
- Direct damage spells cost more mana

Sorry, I'm getting caught up in details nobody cares about. I like the changes though! Looks like WotC tried to rein the game in a little and drive it more towards Garfield's original vision of creatures charging across a field at each other. Glad to see they learned from cards like Stasis - nobody wants to play a game where one of the better winning options is to lock down your opponent and just wait them out (or I should say nobody wants to play a game where that happens to them!).

Thanks everyone for the advice. I think I will indeed just go ahead and use my existing cards to make some simple decks and see if she enjoys the game. If she does then I'll let her use my cards to build some decks (and remove cards like Stasis, Necropotence, and Black Vise/The Rack that I rather not deal with). Deck building was always a big part of the fun of the game.
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Chris
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rupes wrote:
This is probably the best place to start:
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=973044


Thanks! I will definitely check this out. Glad to see somebody was thinking about us fallen away faithful.
 
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Adam Ruprecht
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cbrua wrote:

- Cards that address mana screw/flood by having alternate uses (i.e., high mana cost card that can be cycled to find a land). Great idea!
- Clash?? As if luck of the draw wasn't already enough of a factor in the game. I guess big green decks needed another element to keep them viable at some point?


Clash can actually be another way to deal with mana screw or flood - you may be able to send away one spell if you need land badly or one land if you have enough.

cbrua wrote:

- Counterspells evidently became too powerful at some point because the new ones I found either cost more mana to cast or were limited in some way (e.g., only work on creature cards, can be neutralized by your opponents paying mana, etc.) - certainly no Force of Will equivalents (which is a good thing, really).


They did eventually decide that Counterspell was undercosted - nowadays, the standard is three mana for a hard counter (Cancel), two mana for a conditional counter (Negate/Remove Soul).
 
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Tom Chappelear
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Yep, a few years ago they did a bunch of polling, and realized that players tended to prefer creatures and combat, and hate control. So they nerfed control, particularly counterspells. It's made for a better casual game, in my experience--more fun decisionmaking.

And I used to be a blue mage control freak, too...
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Chris
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Went to the store yesterday figuring I would pick up a couple of the latest theme decks just to see what the game is like today. Wow, MtG has always been gamer's crack, but WotC is actually packaging it like that now!

"You just want to buy a complete deck to play with? Well, they don't make theme decks anymore, but I have these little 40-card intro decks here. Yeah the decks are a little thin, but they come with a booster! Go ahead...take a hit...er, open the booster! It won't hurt a bit! When you decide to grow that deck to the legal size, you come back and see me OK?"

 
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