Getting Started with Magic: The Gathering

December 8, 2017

Interested in what all the hype is about? Or maybe you have a young tabletop gamer wanting to explore the world of Magic The Gathering?

Either way, you can learn all about Magic The Gathering and experience a community of players right here in Little Rock at Game Goblins, located on Bowman Road.

Building Your Magic The Gathering Deck.

Magic: The Gathering is a collectible card game, but you don’t need to spend all your gaming budget on collectible cards to be able to play. Players usually start with a Welcome Deck. A Welcome Deck has two 30-card decks. One for you, and one for another Planeswalker.

A typical Planeswalker Deck is also 60 cards. These cards are built around a Magic The Gathering character that the player creates.

Each card inside your deck is a spell that you can summon in a battle. Whoever has the more powerful summoning on a turn, wins. The goal is to reduce your appointments Life Total to 0.  Cards can be sorceries, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, equipment, and much more. As new cards are published, new rules and game elements are introduced. For example, to play a sorcery card you must abide by a special set of rules.

Most cards are all about casting spells. To cast a spell you need various colors of mana provided by Land cards. Your Lands are cards that sit outside your deck. To show that you are spending mana from a certain land you must “tap” the card, and/or turn it sideways, for the turn. At the end of each turn the Land cards are “untapped” to be used again the next turn.

The cards inside your deck define the kind of Planeswalker each player plays. It’s important to get familiar with the cards in your deck so you know the best way to play them during a battle. This is why a Welcome Deck is a great place for beginners to start.

The creators of Magic: The Gathering are always developing new cards. This means the battlefields for Planeswalkers are constantly changing. As your collection grows, your battle skills will improve.

Can you use any card every time you play Magic The Gathering? It depends on the setting and the format of the game.  If you are engaging in a Magic: The Gathering battle tournament style, it depends on the predetermined format of the game. Playing among friends or in a relaxed group setting, the rules are very adjustable.

Find a Place to Play

There are plenty of Magic: The Gathering resources online. You can read about cards, formats, and more. The best way for beginners to learn, and seasoned players to improve their game is with other players in person.  

Playing in a league is also one of the best ways to learn about the vast world of spells. It takes practice to get used to a deck. The art of being a good Planeswalker is knowing how to play your deck so that each card is used correctly. If you have a powerful sorcery card, but don’t know how—or when—to use it, it’s not going to help you win the battle.

Find a Magic: The Gathering league right here in West Little Rock.

The Magic The Gathering league at Game Goblins is one of the most active leagues in Little Rock. We play in Modern, Legacy, and Standard formats. Prizes are awarded at the end of each event.

See a current schedule of our events here:

Why play Magic: The Gathering at Game Goblins? At Game Goblins you’ll improve your battle skills by playing among a league of seasoned players. We also have a well-lit gaming area right here in our store. It’s 6,000 square feet of space dedicated to tabletop gaming. This area is designed to host gaming events and classes for all kinds of tabletop games. This comfortable, friendly, clean playspace is perfect for new players ready to learn.

What are the Rules of the Battlefield?

At a tournament or league of Magic: The Gathering, players always play in a defined format. This ensures that every player is playing by the same rules and has access to an even playing field.

The most common formats are Standard, Sealed, and Draft. There are more formats—like Modern and Legacy—that have to do with the types of cards each player has access to. The Magic: The Gathering league at Game Goblins often plays in Constructed formats. In a Constructed format each player has the opportunity to construct their deck ahead of time.

A turn of Magic The Gathering can be divided into four phases.

  • During the Beginning Phase of the turn players retrieve their Land cards from the previous turn and draw a new card.
  • The Main Phase is the players’ strategic phase. They must look at the card they have drawn for the turn and decide how they will play with the mana they have.
  • Once the Combat Phase of the turn cominces, players reveal their attack.
  • Another Main Phase ensues after combat as a chance for the players to play additional spells that are available—if they have enough mana to cast them.
  • The Ending Phase ends the players’ turn and signals the opponent to start their turn.  

Players engage in turn against turn until one player’s Life Total is 0. The remaining player is the winner.

For more information, visit the official Magic the Gathering website here.