I do many things in my spare time. I play video-games, I play the drums, I watch movies, and of course, I write articles. However, while I love those other four with a burning passion (especially the writing part) there is one hobby that has remained close to my heart for some time now. If you read the title of the article, you probably guessed that the hobby happens to be the epic game Magic: The Gathering.
What is Magic: The Gathering?
Well, I have written a post about MTG back in October. To this date, it is my least viewed article out of the previous 96 articles I have written, but second time's the charm right?
Magic: The Gathering is a competitive card game developed by Wizards of the Coast. In the game, you take the mantle of a Planeswalker, one with a mystical spark that allows you to traverse entire planes of existence. You construct a deck of 60 cards, composed of lands, creatures, and spells to prepare for battle against your fellow Planeswalkers.
There are five basic colors to MTG, each of which features a distinct playing style. Blue cards (my personal favorite) deal with cunning and intense strategy, Red deals with speed and destruction, Green features massive creatures to demolish your opponent, White centers around justice and life-gain, and Black deals with deception and self-sacrifice.
Okay, yes that sounds extremely nerdy, but so what? Nerds are cool! That may be why MTG has acquired a sudden boost in players over the past couple of years. The reason that the series is that it's fun! You get to expirement with your own strategies and play against your friends for some fantastic adventures.
So why should I play?
Wow, you're just filled with questions now aren't you? Well luckily enough, I have answers. I have racked my brain and scoured the minds of some of my other MTG pals to come up with the most basic reasons of why you should start playing this amazing card game.
It's easy to learn!
If you've ever matched someone play a game of Magic, you probably have an instant rebuttal planned. Even though witnessing the fictional skirmish play out may have boggled your brain a bit, the game is actually a lot more simple than it seems. Sure, you're going to struggle at the beginning, but hey, we all do. Just to prove it, this is the best recollection of my first memory playing MTG with my older sister.
"So can I play this spell?"
"No, not yet. You don't have enough mana for it."
"But what about this creature, what do these numbers mean?"
"That's its power and toughness, it has nothing to do with mana cost."
"What's mana again?"
"It's the energy that you get by tapping your land cards, and you can use it to play spells."
"What does tapping mean?"
I'll give you one hint as to who was the more experienced player in the above scenario (Hint: It wasn't me). I started out as a horrible player, but after playing a few rounds, I started to learn the basics. Now, after a little over a year of researching the game and honing my craft, I won 3 out of 4 games at the last tournament I went to (you know, not to brag or anything).
It makes you think faster!
Like I said, for your first few matches, things aren't going to run as smoothly as possible. You are going to need to focus on your gameplay and how you can improve it. Whenever somebody plays a card, you need to know what your cards can do in response.
After you learn the potential of your deck, you will start to learn how to react faster to your opponents decisions. You will know exactly how your deck is supposed to work, and you'll know what cards to save and what cards to throw out just as dragon fodder.
Once you adapt to the speed of a typical Magic match, you will find that you bring your quick-thinking skills outside the game to the real world. I have found that my decision making has become more abrupt and... well... decisive. Now if you really want to see some fast thinking, just watch a Pro Tour of Magic on YouTube. Now those guys are fast!
A common misconception regarding the game is that is costs a lot of money to get into the game. This is false. You only need to strap down the cash if you are really planning on taking it seriously. There are some cards out there worth 30-40 dollars.
For those just starting out, you can buy an intro deck at your local Walmart, Target, or gaming store for about 15 bucks. The box comes with a pre-made 60 card deck and two 15 card booster packs where you can get some random draws. That starter deck should really get you familiar with the game, and if you find that you end up loving the game, you can always put some more money into it more card sleeves, play-mats, deck boxes, or just more cards!
If you don't want to pay the 15, just check to see if any of your friends play the game. Most MTG fans have several decks, and I'm sure they'd be happy to lend you one to get you familiar with the game.
And of course, it's fun!
When I first started playing, I wondered how long that the hobby would last. Would I get bored after a month? A year? Nope. The game is just too darn fun, and Wizards of the Coast likes to keep things fresh. If you build a really killer deck, but you find that it's starting to grow a little stale, worry not, for a new set is bound to come out.
Every couple of months, Magic releases a new set of cards, with new art, new mechanics, and new money-cards to shoot for when you rip open those shiny booster packs. Another thing that the sets introduce is the lore. If you are a big fan of fictional fantasy, than MTG has you set. Each of their sets has a storyline that is very engaging and captivating.
When it gets down to it, Magic is a fun game to play around with your friends. Sure you can go competitively and go to weekly Friday Night Magic tournaments, but the game is meant for casual play. If you have a lazy Sunday, or you have some extra time between classes, just pull out some cards and give it a go. I hope you won't be dissapointed.