How to Get Started Playing Magic: The Gathering

Magic: The Gathering is a card game that puts you in control of a deck of cards you draw from and play against another player.

Your deck typically consists of 60 cards, but this can vary depending on which version of the game you are playing. These cards are grouped into colors, including red, black, white, green, and blue. These are further divided into land, spell, and creature types. This does not include planeswalker cards, which work slightly differently.

Each of these cards has a set of stats or abilities that influence other cards or the state of play. 

You will want to build your deck to help balance your style of play. Once you’ve decided on your hand, you both then continue drawing cards with each round of play.

With these basic overview out of the way, here is how to start playing and having fun.

Choose Paper or Digital

Since 1993, Magic: The Gathering has regularly released cards as part of different series and updates. There are around 15,000 unique cards in circulation. 

Many have been discontinued or are incredibly rare and have sold for huge sums.

If you go with the standard paper edition, you will need to buy and keep cards to play in person, trade, display, or sell. 

A digital version of the game is available via the MTG Arena. Like in real life, you will buy digital versions of the cards that you can play. But if you aren’t a big fan of buying things digitally and not having a physical version, this path may not be best for you.

Learn the Rules

Magic: The Gathering isn’t something you can necessarily study to understand. 

You will need to practice a lot because of the number of cards in a deck, how they are drawn randomly, and the many combinations of cards that can be used to modify the playing field.

The best way to learn the rule, other than reading the ruleset, is the start with a basic deck and play as many games as possible.

Find a Mentor

Finding someone with a few years or decades of experience can catapult your play by helping you to choose cards for your deck and show you strategies and combinations of cards you may have overlooked.

Along with this, they can play against you, walking you through their thought processes and pointing out mistakes in your play.

Grow Your Starter Collection

Once you are ready to move beyond starter sets, you will need to acquire more cards. This can be done by buying packs. The cards in these packs are random, so you may find yourself shelling out a lot of money and not getting too many standout cards.

If you are looking for specific cards, make sure to check online for anyone selling the card you want. You may be able to get that card and many others at a deep discount.

Digitally, it is pretty much the same. You will be purchasing digital packs to grow your card collection. However, as you play the game digitally, you will be rewarded with currency you can spend to buy packs, so with some patience, you may be able to amass a collection of cards for very little money.

Decide how much you want to invest. If you are new to Magic: the Gathering, don’t go overboard thinking that having rare cards will suddenly make you a great player.

Grow your collection over time as you outgrow your current deck and when you see opportunities to improve your play.

Focus Your Colors

As mentioned, cards are available in five colors: red, black, white, green, and blue.

You will want to build your deck around one color to start.

Some players combine colors, but this typically happens more in higher level play.

Start At The Beginner Level

Don’t over extend yourself. Trying to go up against high level players will leave you feeling discouraged.

If you are playing the paper version, you may find local in person events where you can match with new players. When playing the digital version of the game, you will be matched with people at your skill level.

Have Fun

Magic: The Gathering can be a fun card game that sees you collecting cards and exploring the lore around the Magic: The Gathering world.

Not only is it fun, but it is a chance to socialize, share ideas, and keep your mind active as you build strategies and grow your collection.