MTG: What it is and why you should play it
I move this piece to the right, your turn. I move this forward and attack, your piece is dead. What does this sound like to you? Just a simple game of chess? If you thought that you would be wrong, though the principle is the same.
Magic the Gathering (MTG) was first released in 1993 by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast. The premise of the game is simple, each player has 20 life and their goal is to get the other players life total to 0. The game was almost an overnight hit for Wizards and it was impossible to meet the printing demands for the cards.
The game has received many awards for its gameplay and the sets they produce. The first time they got an award was a year after its release getting the Mensa Select award, and the latest being in 2015 as Origins “Best Card Game of the Year.”
In 2004 USA Today ran an article about MTG saying that the game might help develop mental and social skills. Parents that were interviewed said it was much like a sport and helps teach their children how to win and lose gracefully. However, MTG is highly addictive, with some players going as far to call it “Cardboard Crack.”
While the premise of the game is rather simple the actuality of it is rather complex. You have different types of cards you can play whether they be spells, creatures, or land that allows you to cast more of the cards that you have. Each deck is made with these cards. Average decks of cards are around 60 cards, But they often range from 40-100 depending on what format you are playing.
Deck construction is critical in this game. Players can’t just grab 60 cards, shuffle them together, and then expect for you to win the match. Certain cards work well with other cards and the best ones have effects that help each other. A way of seeing these types of cards is by looking at their color. There are 5 different basic colors in the game. Black, Blue, Red, White, and Green. Cards that help each other are often in the same color.
When players get around to playing a match the luck factor is visible almost immediately. They start by drawing 7 cards and hoping that they get a good spread of lands, spells, and creatures. Not drawing enough lands means that you can’t cast spells, not enough creatures and your opponent can overpower you, and not enough spells and you won’t have any defense or offense.
The game ends with one of the players running out of life, running out of cards after which they can simply shuffle the cards back in and play again. But why should you play this game?
In simple, it’s fun. It’s a lot like chess that requires a fair bit of strategy to win, and players that have played chess extensively have a better chance of winning an even match. Second is that the cards you buy will always be usable. While cards do rotate out of the standard format, you can use them in a variety of other ways. Finally, a reason that you should play this game is that the cards have value. Collections of cards go for up to thousands of dollars and the most expensive card in all of Magic, the Black Lotus, goes for 100,000 dollars on a good day. While most players don’t have that much, many of them still have quite pricey collections.