DEFEAT YOUR OPPONENT
Each player starts the game with 20 life. Knock your opponent down to 0 life, and you win. The most common way to do this is to summon creatures and attack with them.
Creature cards are the most important part of many Magic decks. They’re really easy to spot—just look at the lower right of a card. If you see a pair of numbers separated by a slash, you’ve got a creature card. Once it’s on the battlefield, a creature continues to attack and defend for you until your opponent can find a way to take it out.
Most games become a race to see who can deal the most damage first. Summoning the best creatures will help you win that race every time. Check out the section on casting creature spells.
Casting spells is at the heart of all Magic games. Some creatures are small and fast, while others are powerful monstrosities of epic proportions. So how does it all balance out? That’s where mana comes in.
Mana is the basic resource in Magic. Each card costs a certain amount of mana, and the more mana a card costs, the more powerful it usually is. Mana comes from land cards.
Land cards have a distinctive look to them. You’ll want a lot of them in your Magic decks since they give you the mana to summon your creatures and cast other powerful spells. You can only play one land card per turn, and that’s where the balance comes in—the more epic the creature is, the longer it will take to summon!
Creature cards may be the rock stars of most Magic decks, but there are plenty of supporting players. Since creatures attack while on the battlefield, your opponent can adjust their strategy to counter them. Other spells, like sorceries and enchantments, can affect the game in powerful ways. And instant spells have the advantage of surprise. When cast at the right time, they can really put your opponent on the defensive.
For example, say you’re attacking with a small creature, while your opponent has a large creature ready to block it. Normally, the larger creature would obliterate your smaller attacker. But you’ve got a trick up your sleeve: an instant spell called “Giant Growth.” As its name implies, it turns your little attacker into a force to be reckoned with, and now your opponent’s blocking creature is in serious trouble!
GATHER YOUR ALLIES
During a game of Magic, you take on the role of a Planeswalker, with an arsenal of powerful creatures and crushing spells at your disposal. But where would you be without allies?
Over its 20 years, Magic’s storyline has crossed dozens of planes of existence, each one an entire world with its own heroes, villains, and struggles. Players have seen a host of Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies push humanity to the brink in Innistrad, ninja and samurai waging war in Kamigawa, and even a war between rival brothers push reality to the brink of disaster in Urza’s Saga. Some of the most iconic characters, like the Planeswalkers Jace Beleren and Chandra Nalaar, have their own cards you can include in your duels. These cards are hard to find, but once you cast them, they can often turn the tide of a game. That’s what friends are for!
TOOLS OF THE TRADE: AURAS
You’ve assembled an army of creatures. Now you need an arsenal of weapons. Magic’s got you covered, from Aura and Equipment cards that buff one of your creatures, to enchantment cards that can affect the entire battlefield.
Auras are special cards that you attach to one of your creatures, and they usually give that creature a size boost or new abilities. For example, Flight gives a creature flying, while Trollhide makes a creature much bigger and much harder to kill. There are even some sneaky Auras you can attach to your opponent’s creatures to weaken them. Auras stay on a creature until it dies or something takes the Aura out.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE: EQUIPMENT
Equipment cards are very similar to Auras, but they have the benefit of staying on the battlefield if the creature carrying them dies. You can even move them from creature to creature as you see fit—a great way to keep your opponent guessing. Give one of your creatures an Accorder’s Shield and watch it charge into battle unscathed, or let it wield a Fireshrieker to devastate any creature it battles!
Enchantment cards are another way to alter the rules of the game. You don’t attach them to anything, they simply stay out on the battlefield. Into the Wilds can give you extra lands each turn, while Dismiss into Dream turns your opponent’s creatures into brittle Illusions.