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Subject: Old newbie : guide to stepping into the Magic world? rss

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So, a few days ago, this Magic bug bit me out of nowhere. Come to think of it, I can't even remember how it started! zombie

I started reading up and can I say I am very impressed by the span of this game (pro tours, kids speaking cryptic Magic terms - standard/legacy/blue/green/infect/tap what?)!

I've watched the Planeswalkers videos, read Ender's AMAZING writeups on how Magic doesn't have to be expensive to be fun.

But.

The 2012 set is coming and I am tempted. What's a newbie to do? Explore the old (2011, Intro packs, Duel decks, Commander, etc) or grab the NEW zombie?

Granted I'm not young anymore, and work & research does take a big chunk of my time. I'm likely to play casually with a couple of friends (whom I plan to learn the game together - perhaps force them to!).Or maayyyyybe I'll brave enough venture into the FLGS one day and taste crushing defeats by the young 'uns.

So..... what do the veterans here recommend? Spring for the new? Try some older ones? Or stop kidding myself trying to play/learn Magic?

Awaiting your wisdom, planeswalkers. meeple
 
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Start with 2012 and go from there. Forget about the older cards - you'll drive yourself crazy thinking "If I get this card from this set blah blah blah...".

Not like the game is going anywhere soon.

You didn't mention your level of play. With friends/family casual, or do you seek out competitive play?

Makes a difference in the end. I find Casual Magic way more fun.
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markgravitygood wrote:
You didn't mention your level of play. With friends/family casual, or do you seek out competitive play?

Makes a difference in the end. I find Casual Magic way more fun.


Thanks for your input!

I'm definitely not going for competitive play. Most likely it will just be family and friends, but even if I pluck the courage to head to the store to play, I'ld like to play casual.
 
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Angelo Nikolaou
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My personal suggestion is

1) Buy a few preconstructed decks from any set, preferably recent ones, preferably basic set. The Magic 2011 Intro decks, and the likely 2012 soon, are a great start for someone to learn the game. Perhaps one deck for each player will suffice, or you can buy one deck from each color and share with your friends.

2) Once you get the hang of the rules, try and purchase a second-hand collection cheap from someone who quit the game. These packages tend to contain enough for 3-4 friends to tinker with the game. Possibly, you could buy a common-only collection, which is dirt cheap and I'm sure it will offer you lots of fun.

Alternatively, buy a Fat Pack or Deck Builder's Kit, which are more expensive.

With the new cards you get, start removing and adding cards from your current decks. That should help you get a hand of deckbuilding without doing all the work from the start.

3) Once you feel comfortable with the rules and deckbuilding ideas, try the limited format. Gather your friends, then each player buys 6 boosters, opens them and has to create a deck with what he gets. Afterwards play a tournament to see who made the better deck. Ask here for tips on how to organize that tournament and deckbuilding tips
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Rodney "Watch It Played" Smith
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There must be something going around. I got the same bug (Is 35 old?). Here's how I learned:

1) Read the rules online (didn't stress about understanding everything).
2) Got the Planeswalker Xbox live arcade game, and played against a computer opponent (you can get the game for PS3 or PC). Played tutorial game, figured out 75% of everything.
3) Went to the store and bought the Knights and Dragons Duel decks (2 Premade decks with cool themes and lots of the different varied cards in them). Taught my daughter and son to play. Started dueling.
4) Bought Deckbuilders Toolkit (285 cards for about $25 CAN). And 5 boosters. Now have a great base to build my own decks if desired.
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Pete Lane
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Pelvidar wrote:
There must be something going around. I got the same bug (Is 35 old?). Here's how I learned:

1) Read the rules online (didn't stress about understanding everything).
2) Got the Planeswalker Xbox live arcade game, and played against a computer opponent (you can get the game for PS3 or PC). Played tutorial game, figured out 75% of everything.
3) Went to the store and bought the Knights and Dragons Duel decks (2 Premade decks with cool themes and lots of the different varied cards in them). Taught my daughter and son to play. Started dueling.
4) Bought Deckbuilders Toolkit (285 cards for about $25 CAN). And 5 boosters. Now have a great base to build my own decks if desired.


Great way to go. I'd also throw in that the Commander sets are fantastic. It's a casual format that really captures the soul of Magic.

http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/productarticle.aspx?x=mtg/t...

+1 also on Duals of the Planeswalkers. As a long time MTG player, I've been enjoying it greatly.
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I would say go with the 2012 Core Set.

It's got cards from several set's.
So it's a good place to start.
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Thanks for the great suggestions.

I think the bug just got upped. zombiezombie

I was planning to get the latest Planeswalker game. And now I think I will. I was eyeing the Knights and Dragons. And now they look more tempting. And the Fat Pack. Oooh. The Fat Pack. robot

Okay, being the reasonable adult that I am (hah!) laugh, I'll get the Planeswalker game tonight and see how it goes......

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If you are only going to play casual in a closed environment you could also buy an old collection (doesn't have to include expensive cards). That will give you a huge pool of cards for nearly no money.

As several others have pointed out, a couple of precontructed decks might be a goods place to start, as that will give you some decks that should be fairly evenly matched.
 
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Welcome (again) to Magic: the Gathering...

I would recommend checking the videos section here to see how most of the basic mechanics work. Though most keywords are easy to understand from the italicized rules text in (), the videos are helpful in demonstrating how they work. You can also find more on the rules (both basic and comprehensive) here...

If you have time, the pre-release for Magic 2012 is coming this Saturday and/or Sunday. It's a one-day, approximately six-hour or so event, and a good place to get some recent card stock and play. If you aren't used to building decks, feel free to ask around for help in deck construction. You can also check this link for more help.

As for purchasing cards, while it's easier to buy older cards (excepting certain cards from the earliest days of Magic), it is probably easier to play with more recent cards. In case you may want to delve into competition in the future, I would recommend sticking to cards that are from Eight Edition and Mirrodin-Darksteel-Fifth Dawn as the oldest, then go newer from there.
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stagger lee wrote:
I'd also throw in that the Commander sets are fantastic. It's a casual format that really captures the soul of Magic.

http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/productarticle.aspx?x=mtg/t...


How different is Commander from the regular Magic? I've read someone saying its not really for beginners as the format of play is different. I'm not sure how true it is, but looks like it plays 100 cards instead of 60?
 
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lightforx wrote:
stagger lee wrote:
I'd also throw in that the Commander sets are fantastic. It's a casual format that really captures the soul of Magic.

http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/productarticle.aspx?x=mtg/t...


How different is Commander from the regular Magic? I've read someone saying its not really for beginners as the format of play is different. I'm not sure how true it is, but looks like it plays 100 cards instead of 60?


It's a totally different format, but it's still 100% Magic and played the same way with only some tweaks in the deckbuilding aspect. While it may not be great for beginers at first, it's wonderful for a group who "just wants to stay casual and have fun, crazy, creative games." Other formats are perfectly fine, but the highlander aspect of Commander really makes it shine as being more fun for casual groups. It's less about a race to get your win condition, and more about "OMG I can't believe that just happened."

here's what i wrote in another thread:

Here are the basic rules for Commander:

1 - Each player choses a Legendary Creature as their "Commander." This card is the basis of the deck and the colors in that General's mana cost are the focus of the deck building. If I am playing a Blue/White General, I cannot play any Black, Red, or Green cards. Any lands in my deck that would produce mana of those "off" colors would produce colorless instead. Hybrid and Multicolor cards are only allowed in the deck if they share colors with the Commander. In my U/W example, I could not play Mortify, which is a B/W card.
2 - This is a Highlander format, so no card other than basic lands may have more than one copy in the deck. 100 cards is the minimum size of the deck, including the Commander.
3 - The Commander starts the game in "the command zone." The rest of the 99 cards of the deck are shuffled together and played like a normal Magic deck.
4 - If a player has been dealt 21 points of combat damage by a particular Commander during the game, that player loses a game
5 - While a Commander is in the command zone, it may be cast. As an additional cost to cast a Commander from the command zone, its owner must pay 2 additional mana of any color for each time it was previously cast from the command zone.
6 - If a Commander would be put into a graveyard or exile from anywhere, its owner may choose to move it to the command zone instead.
7 - Players begin the game with 40 life.


Basically it's the deckbuilding aspect that makes the format fun for more experienced players. It's a challange to build a deck that will not only use your Commander's abilities, but keep it in color. It's also a format where otherwise "BAD" cards become REALLY fun and good. It's a creative format, and mostly a casual format. It's about fun and some people take it to such an extreme where they will only put in cards that "make sense" with the Commander's theme.
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Without a doubt, Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 is the best way to introduce yourself to Magic as a game. I taught my son by plating at the table, but he really learned it (and got excited about it) from playing the DotP game.
It is a LIMITED format, yet you get to play in this sandbox with many different cards and abilities, some of which are quite powerful (Baneslayer Angel, Stoneforge Mystic, etc).

It's only $10, most of which you can even recoup by selling the promo Titan you'd get.

It's really a no-brainer purchase, IMO, when compared to buying overpriced product which you will either:

* constrained to just those few cards in that product
or
* have to buy lots of the 2012 packs to get anything resembling a few decks worth of cards.

I'd actually recommend against buying any packs to get into the game - WAY too random to end up with useable cards from to make decks out of.

Find a local store that sells commons and uncommons cheap, and buy cheap cards to make decks out of. There's quite a lot of casual decks that can be made with cheap cards (e.g. here's one - Blighted Agent, Glistener Elf, other Infect creatures, Distortion Strike, Mutagenic Growth, Vines of Vastwood, Groundswell, etc), but you'd have to get them from a store.
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lightforx wrote:
stagger lee wrote:
I'd also throw in that the Commander sets are fantastic. It's a casual format that really captures the soul of Magic.

http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/productarticle.aspx?x=mtg/t...


How different is Commander from the regular Magic? I've read someone saying its not really for beginners as the format of play is different. I'm not sure how true it is, but looks like it plays 100 cards instead of 60?


I often play Magic causally with the kids I work with and I have found that playing EDH/Commander format is definitely more fun for me. I totally agree that the newly-dubbed Commander format is more soulful. Frankly speaking, I find the more typical 60-card format boring since I started playing EDH/Commander about a year ago. I would not say that either format is more difficult to learn than the other for a beginner - the barrier and learning curve is understanding the keywords and synergies more than anything else, which you have to deal with in either format.
 
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Thanks!

I think I'll go with Commander (and do some learning on DOTP), because the latest Inside The Deck video (New Standard) felt like watching a foreign language film.

With Commander, I hope I will do fine with the prebuilt decks, and won't bother myself with 2012 + deckbuilding headaches.

I hope to see game nights with Commander using prebuilds for casual play if I decide to venture out of my house for Magic, otherwise, I think it can turn quite intimidating.
 
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lightforx wrote:
Thanks!

I think I'll go with Commander (and do some learning on DOTP), because the latest Inside The Deck video (New Standard) felt like watching a foreign language film.

With Commander, I hope I will do fine with the prebuilt decks, and won't bother myself with 2012 + deckbuilding headaches.

I hope to see game nights with Commander using prebuilds for casual play if I decide to venture out of my house for Magic, otherwise, I think it can turn quite intimidating.


I personally think that the Commander decks are very complicated for a first contact with the game. I'd suggest going for Intro packs at first, then moving to the Commander decks once you get a hold of the simpler cards.

That is because the Intro cards have reminder text of what each ability does and have less text and rules in them.

Compare the cards from Commander:



And from Intro



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I haven't played Commander, but as a old newbie myself, I'd say that if you grab some duel decks, you'll find the rules and handy glossary of terms that come with them more than enough to get you on your way, and if you get the online game as well - well, you'll be more than fine.

I've taught my six year old to play off the duel decks alone, if that's any consolation.

Happy gaming!
 
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Yeah I agree... START with your first purchase of some intro packs or duel decks. Then when you and your kids (or group) have a grasp on the game, go Commander without a second thought.
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Moonleaf wrote:
I personally think that the Commander decks are very complicated for a first contact with the game. I'd suggest going for Intro packs at first, then moving to the Commander decks once you get a hold of the simpler cards.

That is because the Intro cards have reminder text of what each ability does and have less text and rules in them.


Now that you mentioned it, that's really important! I played a couple of rounds of DOTP 2012 and appreciated the on-screen elaboration of the rules and indeed they are not too wordy. I then went to read the Commander texts and yep, it caused a bit of problem for me.

I'm enjoying the digital experience so far.
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