Monday Musing with White Wolf. Magic: The Gathering.

Magic: the Gathering

By White Wolf

Today we are going to take a look at the trading card game Magic: the Gathering. A few months ago I came across this game in the Xbox live market place. I knew little of it, other than when I was in the sixth grade a friend tried to teach me it. I however had little interest in it and found it vary confusing. I figured playing on the Xbox would be simpler than the actual card game and was right. As a promotion for buying the Xbox game you got a foil card that you could pick up at a Wizard of the Coast retailer. This got me into the store and spawned an interest in the card aspect of the game. So I picked up a starter set deck, which is two full deck

s and a how to play guide for around twenty dollars. After opening my set and seeing what cards I got, I began playing with a fellow in the game store and started learning a game I have yet to stop playing.  So now you know a bit about how I got involved in the game. Now let’s take a look at what Magic: the Gathering is about.

Magic: the Gathering is a trading card game played with two or more people. You and the other player/s are Planeswalkers, a powerful wizard fighting other Planeswalkers for knowledge, glory, and conquest. Your deck also called your library is your arsenal of weapons, from spells, creatures and enchantments.

Each player begins with twenty lives, usually represented by a twenty sided dices or life counter. The object of the game is to use your deck or library to deplete the other player of their health. The other way to win is to have the other player have no cards in is deck, since he/she can’t draw a card, they lose.

There are five different card colors in Magic: the Gathering. White-Red-Green-Blue-Black. Each one represents different ways to play. White relies mostly on protection and flying creatures. Red is fire and passion and is more of attacks head on play style. Green is nature and consists of giant large beast to pumble you opponents with. Blue, is mystic and illusions, favoring spells and deck depletion. Black is death, favoring life sucking creatures.

Each deck or library consists of sixty cards. Now you can have more and less but for the best results sixty is the way to go. This is normally twenty four land cards, twenty four creatures, and twelve cards mixed of spell/enchantments/artifacts/instance or

anything else. I’ve included links for how to play and what cards do, since explaining it can take some time.


The selection of cards is enormous. Every year a new core set is rereleased with updated prints or the cards. And new features and card rules are also released. The newest set being Innistrad, features dual sided cards. When playing a dual sided card you are given a card which lists the names of all the dual sided cards and you fill in the bubble next to the appropriate card. Using this card in your library, you have the duel sided card on the table, and enter it into play same as any other card.

The art work is one of the best things about Magic: the Gathering. Each card is has a small print of artwork created by one of the artist. This could be anything from the Serra Angle to Grizzled Outcast.

Each two player game takes anywhere from half an hour to an hour. Of course this is in most cases, there are times though that the game can last a lot longer or is over vary quick. This allows you to get many games in a sitting. Of course the more familiar you are with the game, the quicker it goes.


The biggest con is the expense. Although the first twenty you spend for two decks is moderate priced, the more you want to customize and expand your deck the more it cost. I have spent well over a hundred dollars in cards in a few months. If you get into tournaments there is more expense as you have to play with current cards and to get really good cards is like finding a needle in a haystack. That of course is if they even allow that card in play any longer. Again this is only if you play in tournaments, otherwise it makes no difference what cards you play with.

Addicting. Now this could be in both categorize, I put it here because I have become vary addicted to the game. Every chance I get to play I do and that is still not often enough for me. The other part is always wanting more cards and better cards. Plus some of the unneeded exseccories, like dice and play mat.

Confusing. The game isn’t bad but like I said before it is confusing when first starting out. I have been playing for a few months now and still have a few times where I have to stop and look up what to do or how something works.

Finding players. Normally this isn’t hard but finding players who know it is just a game and don’t get upset or follow the tournament rules all the time, is not always easy. However if you have a friend or loved one interested it can be lots of fun.

So as you can see it is a vary involved game to get into. I do believe that the game is well worth checking out and seeing if it is something you would want to play. There is the card version of the game, and one for the pc, Xbox 360 and PS3. The two console versions are a lot easier, where a lot of the rules and game mechanics are done for you. This is one of the ways I got better. Seeing how they worked in the game allowed me to take that and apply it to the card version of the game.

So if you have twenty dollars and want to learn a new game, I say give it a try. You could always give me the cards if you don’t like it. J I have included links to help you get a feel for the game and help you see if it is a game for you.


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