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Latest Member: Wqrq263 Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Entertainment  |  Games  |  Magic the Gathering: The Very Basics « previous next »
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Author Topic: Magic the Gathering: The Very Basics  (Read 7177 times)
B-Movie Kraken

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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« on: February 12, 2018, 10:05:36 PM »

For my boss James, who says he doesn't play games.

MTG: The Very Basics

MTG, aka Magic the Gathering can be maddeningly fun, or just plain maddening, but for some people itís apparently an addiction.

Donít become addicted!

Everything you need to know in five minutes. (Ten if youíre from _____ <-- insert favorite whipping state here. Iíll go with, ummm, Idaho, since according to Garfield no one really lives there.)

A MTG card game is called a duel. A duel is fought between two or more players, known in MTG terminology as Planeswalkers.

Each Planeswalker approaches the duel with a deck of cards that simulates a spell book. Sixty cards is the usual quantity but this can vary, with some liking a lean, mean forty card deck, others bringing in Goliaths of two-hundred cards.

Only the deck brought into the duel can be used, and the duel continues (usually 10-60 minutes depending on agreed life totals, 20 life being standard) until one Planeswalker kills the other by reducing her life total to zero, by the forfeit of one Planeswalker, or when one Planeswalker runs out of spells (ahem cards) to cast.

Each spell is based on a specific type of manaÖ.except those spells that are colorless. (Donít get confused.) There are five colors of mana: black, white, red, blue, and green. A Planeswalker may use strictly one color, or all at once if she wishes.

Black mana represents dark magic drawn from swamps and marshes. It deals with death and undead things, revenge, poison, pain infliction, curses, return from death, and in general is nasty stuff. Typical black creatures are demons, devils, zombies, vampires, ghouls, nuns, and twisted abominations straight out of a nightmare. Black magic is strong but it tends to sometimes require an additional sacrifice from its user. (Because itís evil!) How severe this sacrifice is varies. Goths play black a lot. So do arseholes.

White mana, on the other hand, is about unity, justice, order, lawfulness, good. It draws its strength from plains. White creatures are beings such as angels, soldiers, paladins, knights, in general the sorts youíd want to live next door to you. Yoda, in other words, would be white. White is about life-gaining and healing and coming together to become stronger in unison. Done right white magic is mighty stuff, though it sometimes takes more deftness than the other colors, but then again you havenít lived til youíve kicked someoneís butt using a mourning dove. Play white if you like to build an army or donít like gross creatures.

Red mana is powered by mountains and fire. It is fast, hard-hitting magic, all about rage and damage and attacking over defending. Red creatures are dragons (though not all dragons are red), berserkers, hot-tempered warriors (Conan would SO have been red) and the like. You can cast red spells to burn whole battlefields to ash, and control the skies, Targaryen style. Play red if you are aggressive and like to hurt other peopleís feelings.

Blue mana is deceptively placid, but in many ways it is the most arrogant, secretive, cocky, and downright cruel magic. While black magic might torture you and white send its armies to politely run a lance through you, and red may grit its teeth and toast you, blue sneaks up while youíre not looking and puts your soul in a jar. It is given power from skies and seas. Blue is about flight, about things dwelling in waters, it is about manipulations like stealing foeís spells and creatures and turning them around on their user. Blue is big on countering spells, reversing card orders, negating life totals. Play blue if you want to feel sneaky, smart, and make people mad at you. Everybody in House Ravenclaw probably plays blue mana spells.

Green mana is given energy by forests, jungles, wild places. Green is magic at its most nature-fueled, its most chaotic, savage, brutally unrestricted. Green has few internal rules and tends to have the most variety of creatures, and it gives a frequent ability to make those creatures grow big and strong. Green is about druids and spiders and snakes and hermits and Amazon warrior types who shun civilization and its laws. Itís about insane evolutionary leaps in size and ability. It deals with elves bearing bows, frogs the size of houses, giants of all types, walking aggressive trees with poison flowers, and various forest fauna gone crazy. Green can build slowly, but it is always strong. One minute green is losing, the next it sudden rolls over top of you with major damage. Green appeals to non-conformists who make their own rules. Green kills you with raw beastliness, and leaves you to rot in the undergrowth.

Amid all this are artifacts, enchantments, sorceries, and instant spells, all of which add more twists and turns to the game than a falling Plinko chip. Rarely does a duel turn out the way you think it will, and that unpredictability is part of why Magic is so fun. I never would have thought Iíd have ever gotten into MTG, and I wouldnít have expected to still be playing it twenty years after someone pleaded with me to try it just once, but these days there's a new generation playing it with me, and it's better than ever.

If you havenít played, it might surprise you too.

« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 10:09:49 PM by ER » Logged

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
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