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Subject: Friday Night Magic question rss

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David S
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It's been ages since I last played Magic, and most of that is because none of my friends play it. So, I was thinking of trying out the Friday Night Magic (FNM) event that happens at many of my FLGS's. However, I've never played Magic outside of the casual, friendly, one-on-one games.

So, how do those FNM events tend to work? Do you build your decks there from booster packs? Do you bring your own constructed decks? Since I'm mostly interested in friendly, casual play, should I not even bother with the FNM event?

As for building your deck at the event, which is something that's always interested me, how does it work? I keep thinking you're likely to end up with a deck comprised of a hodge-podge of mana colors, right? Is that just the nature of the beast, or is it possible to make color-focused decks?

Thanks!
 
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David Murray
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This all depends on the format of your FNM, which you should find out by asking:

Standard (Constructed): You need to bring your own deck of at least 60 cards that is standard legal. This means no more than 4 copies of any card except basic lands which you can have as many as you want. In addition, all cards in your deck must have been printed or reprinted in one of the following sets:
Scars of Mirrodin
Mirrodin Besieged
New Phyrexia
Magic 2012
Innistrad
Dark Ascension
Avacyn Restored
Magic 2013
For example an old rampant growth is allowed since it was reprinted in Magic 2012.
You can also have a have a sideboard, if you choose to have one it must be exactly 15 cards.

Sealed (Limited): This is a build your deck in store format. You receive 6 Magic 2013 Boosters and using those cards and any number of basic lands build a deck of at least 40 cards, which you then play with. Cards you received and choose not to put in your deck form your sideboard.

Booster Draft (Limited): This is a different build your deck in store format. The players sit round a table and have 3 boosters each. You all open your first booster, look at the cards and choose one card you want. You use that card to start a pile of cards you keep and pass the rest of the boosters cards to your left. You then receive cards from your right, pick one of those cards for your keep pile and pass the rest to your left. This continues until their are no cards left not in keep piles. The second and third boosters are drafted the same way, except for the second booster you pass right and for the third booster you pass left again. Using the cards in your keep piles and any number of basic lands you build a deck of at least 40 cards which you play with. Cards you kept and chose not to put in your deck form your sideboard.

Those 3 are the most common FNM formats and I'd be surprised if they were playing any other format at FNM.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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FNMs come in a variety of formats. I'd say the two most common are standard (where you bring a 60+ card deck and 15 card sideboard to the event and play against others who have done the same) and draft (where you and your opponents build your decks out of cards you choose at the event). Note that standard decks may only contain cards printed in recent sets (currently I believe that goes back to Scars of Mirrodin and M11 but soon it will only go back to Innistrad and M12).

You asked about draft, though, which is the most common "build your own deck" format. In it, each player will open three booster packs (one after the other), pick a card from it, and pass it to the left. In this way each player will get 42 cards, and from those cards you must make a 40+ card deck. You are allowed to add in any number of basic lands. Usually you will run 23 spells and 17 lands. In this way you have a lot of flexibility over your deck (since you picked the cards, and then you only have to run about half of the cards you picked). You should not usually be running a myriad of colors, most often you will run only two colors. Sometimes you'll run a bit of a third color, or occasionally a whole third color. Of course, the set coming up, Return to Ravnica, is a gold set, so it could easily happen that players routinely run five color decks (as was common in Shards of Alara).

Purely subjectively, for me draft is by far the best way to play Magic and is basically the only way I play. It is a good time, but it requires a lot of skills that differ significantly from constructed play. I highly recommend it, but expect that you will have a lot to learn. That said, it should be fun learning, and you get new cards!
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Cyrus the Great
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Many stores will also alternate between those formats (my FLGS does booster draft and standard every other week.) For you, I would highly recommend sealed or draft, otherwise you are going to be stomped. You are still probably going to be stomped, but you will have as good a chance as anyone.
 
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David Murray
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Sorry for the double post, just reread the OP and would like to adress some other points. In Sealed and Draft you tend to end up playing 2 colors and maybe "splash" a third color (which means playing only a few powerful cards of that color and a few lands that provide that color). In sealed there tends to be some colors stronger than others in the cards you have and it's basically up to you to choose two colours and build a deck using those (maybe splashing a third color). In draft you should start by taking the best card but after a few picks try and decide which colors you are playing and draft cards of those colors, again trying to end up with a two color deck maybe splashing a third color.
 
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David S
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Thanks, all! I may buy some boosters and give it some practice.

What about the gaming atmosphere? I suspect I'll be one of the only "newbies" (even though I've played the game before), but how is the casualness of it? I mean, if I'm just there to get a few games in and have a good time, will I be giving easy tournament points to my competitor(s), lol? Do they even record those types of things? I don't mind losing; I mainly just want to play and have some fun.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Zythal wrote:
Thanks, all! I may buy some boosters and give it some practice.

What about the gaming atmosphere? I suspect I'll be one of the only "newbies" (even though I've played the game before), but how is the casualness of it? I mean, if I'm just there to get a few games in and have a good time, will I be giving easy tournament points to my competitor(s), lol? Do they even record those types of things? I don't mind losing; I mainly just want to play and have some fun.


This will really depend entirely on where you go. Different stores have different types of players.

As far as recording wins and losses, they certainly will, as that affects who wins the prizes at the end.
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Eric Jome
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I would not call any form of FNM casual. These are competitive tournaments you pay to play in, requiring registration and having prizes. As such people will not play friendly, casual decks. It will be serious tournament play; players will be welcoming but competitive and play hard.
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Matt Vollick
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Here's the thing about FNM: If it's the only tournament in town it's likely to be quite competitive but if there are lots of weekend tournaments in your area it will likely be more casual. There will be weird fun decks there and the seriousness of your competition will depend on how well you're doing. If you're 4-0 you're likely to be playing against a good player with a good deck and since there are prizes on the line it will be more tense. If you're 1-3 the mood will be a lot lighter because nothing is on the line.

Honestly FNM is a great time and lots of fun. If you hate it well it was only one night of your life.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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If you're in Seattle, there's probably several choices, as you're right up the bay from WotC. When MtG first came out there was a lot of MtG gaming going on in that area, hopefully it's still there for you.
 
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David S
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Oh yeah, FNM events are always going on everywhere, lol. So, attending one is really easy. There are a few places where I suspect the players and competition are a bit more relaxed, so I think I'll try one of them.

I'm not concerned about having a bad night of it. I don't mind losing; I just want to play and have fun. But, being a little rusty on some of the rules (easily fixable, of course), I guess I'm more concerned about slowing things down.

I was listening to a gaming podcast recently, and the comment was made that there's pretty much always going to be at least one cheater at a Magic tournament, lol. I think I'd be an easy target for them, which is a shame. But, what can you do?

Well, I believe I'll give it a shot tomorrow if my other gaming plans fall through.
 
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Steve Wagner
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A lot of competitive players will give away cards, especially if you do a draft.

Also, the sets for standard will be rotating at the beginning of October when Return to Ravnica comes out. That set, Magic 2013 and the Innistrad block will only be legal at that time.
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Pete Lane
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Vollick1979 wrote:
Here's the thing about FNM: If it's the only tournament in town it's likely to be quite competitive but if there are lots of weekend tournaments in your area it will likely be more casual.


I would agree with this. Here in the Twin Cities, there are shops you know are the more competitive ones and draw the top players who are going to test tournament level decks against other players who are wanting to do the same. Then there are shops that are more relaxed and casual... but you still need to be aware of the "top tier" since you'll always have someone who just builds what's popular and takes it to any event regardless of how skilled they are. There is more room for creatiity at these kinds of shops, and it comes down to the better players doing well based on skill and experience, only with more interesting deck choices.

Prereleases are usually the place to go for a newer casual player, as those events tend to bring out a far more relaxed crowd.
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