The MTG Community - Dr. Magiclove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Game [Jon Waldrop - Task Mage, Level 11] January 18, 2016 00:00

If you're a new player to Magic, the first thing you think is, "Every card is awesome. I know I can make a deck with this card." At least I did. The second thought I had was, "How in the world do you play this game and what are upkeep, untap, first main phase, combat, second main phase, and end step?"

Learning to play Magic is fun and exciting yet cruel and frustrating all at the same time. You have no idea what some words on cards mean such as bolster, renown, morph, lifelink, and first strike. This is the world you jump into when getting into Magic. How does one learn to play this exciting game? I can tell you what I did, but it might not be the best way for you to learn since every person is different.

The first thing I did was read the level 1 series of articles on the official Magic: The Gathering site. These were instrumental in laying the foundation to playing the game by the correct rules as well as learning how a game is supposed to flow. Then I went out and bought a deck builder's toolkit and some booster packs. It was a lot of fun busting packs. And the toolkit gave me a nice mana base, but I wouldn't do this if I was to start over. My brother-in-law and I tried to build decks using these cards, but it was hard to get a feel for the game when we were playing with a bunch of one-ofs. During this time, I read everything I could about the game. I read articles and looked at decklists that were way over my head, but I absorbed as much knowledge as possible.

I also started watching as many pro matches on Youtube as I could. While a lot of people say this isn't a good way to learn, I felt it helped tremendously. I was able to see what a good game looked like and how a competitive event is usually played. I also watched the Spellslingers series by Geek and Sundry on Youtube. This may have had the biggest impact because they actually explain things as they do them. Doing all of this research was really tough without actually playing, so I decided to buy some event decks from Amazon. This was the best tool for learning to play. I got 3 competitive decks for about $50 total. Using these decks was instrumental in learning the game because it put me in situations where I had to look up rules. The first time I played Skinrender, I had no idea I could use its ability to kill another creature. I'll never forget the first time I felt like a real Magic player. I casted 2 Ghoulraisers, returning 2 Skinrenders to my hand and won the game within the next 2 turns. I took a game my opponent thought he had won and completely flipped it. BEST! FEELING! EVER!

My advice for new players is to buy some event decks and start playing. Read and watch as much Magic as you can; totally immerse yourself in the game. If you have any questions, look up the rules. And if you still can't find an answer, ask a judge. Magic is a great game and can be quite addictive. Feed the addiction in the right way, learn about the game and never stop trying to become a better player.

How did you learn to play Magic? Any funny stories? I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for reading,
Jon

Additional Reading

1. The MTG Community - Establishing the Baseline for Theory Discussion [Ty Thomason - Archmage, Level 46]

2. The MTG Community - Friday Night Jitters [Jon Waldrop - Apprentice, Level 7]

3. The MTG Community - Keys to Succeed in Magic and Life [Edward Eng - Battlemage, Level 41]

A Little Bit about Jon

Jon is a high school football, basketball, and track coach. He's also a government and economics teacher. He loves how he can apply his competitive nature and sports strategies to the game of Magic. He's excited about using his experiences to help other new players along their journeys just as he enjoys coaching rising sports stars.

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