Sunday, September 23, 2012

An in-depth tutorial for the cards

I am not sure if it should be called a tutorial or my online play homework. It will only be as useful as others deem it to be.

I will use this post to link to all the posts that I am planning to include as part of this tutorial. The blue (or grayed if you have already used the link) text is a link to that specific tutorial. The list below is really a list of links to tutorials under that title.

1: The Cards

Magic is a trading card game (TCG). Therefore, it is played with cards. Magic cards come in many  flavors, and, unlike playing cards (hearts, spades, etc), Magic cards come in more than four "suits" and operate using a rule set considerably more complex than the rules of the various playing cards games (hearts, spades, etc). [ Follow this link for more ]

2: Land Cards (Basic and Dual)

There are basic lands for each of the five colors: White is Plain, Blue is Island, Black is Swamp, and Green is Forest.  [ Follow this link for more ]

3: Creatures

Although naively creatures can be thought of as the mainstay or must-have cards for every Magic deck, this is not the case. There are decks that can be built without creatures. That being said, a good grasp of what the playable creatures are is important to most Magic decks, especially those that are White, Black, and Green. There are Blue strategies of control that do not require creatures, and there are Red strategies of direct damage to the opponent using non-creature spells that also do not require creatures. [ Follow this link for more ]

4: Legendary Creatures

There are several types of legendaries. I am only showing legendary creatures here but there are legendary lands and artifacts as well. The Champions of Kamigawa block definitely wins the "how many legendaries does a block have?" contest. Before there were planeswalkers, there were legendary creatures. The rule for constructed (60 card deck and a 15 card sideboard) is that only one legendary creature by name can be in play and if a second one by the same name comes into play then both cards go to their respective owner's graveyard. This rule also applied to planeswalkers and I did not know about it. I have actually played online and made the mistake of playing my second copy of a planeswalker while I had the first copy out, or playing a planeswalker by the same name as that in play by my opponent. (I know... the silly moves of a beginner!!). [ Follow this link for more ]

5: Planeswalkers

Planeswalkers are non-creature permanents. Any card that remains permanently in play is a permanent. Instants are not permanent since they enter play, resolve on the stack, and immediately go to the graveyard. Cards in the exile zone are also, trivially, not permanents during play because they have been removed from the game. It took me a while to pull a planeswalker and then I pulled two Nicol Bolas in back-to-back packs. Planeswalkers have a single value called the loyalty points, and if you attack them with creatures, the power you hit them with reduces their loyalty points. Planeswalkers usually have three actions. The top one usually increases the planewalker's strength by adding loyalty points. The second one is often neutral or a small negative number (say, -1 or -2). The third action always reads to you as the opponent as "ok, I am going to lose this game" when it is implemented. Look at Nicol Bolas' third ability.[ Follow this link for more ]

6: Artifacts

Artifacts are very useful when played skillfully and game-slowing duds when played the way a beginner like me often plays them. The Mirrodin and Scars of Mirrodin blocks and the first sets of each block by the same name are loaded with artifacts. It is even possible to build an artifacts-only deck-60 for Standard with 15 in the sideboard, and 100 for Commander. Artifacts, like enchantments, come into play and affect play  of all cards you have. Here are a few examples.[ Follow this link for more ]

7: Artifact Creatures

Most blocks do not have enough artifact creatures to make a creature-heavy artifact creature-only deck, yet some of these cards have become tournament staples. My two favorites are shown below. These work as any other creature, are fueled by any type of land, and are either very vulnerable if the effect played against you affects artifacts, or good-to-have if the effect played against you reads something like "destroy non-artifact permanent." [ Follow this link for more ]

8: Artifact Equipment

Just like Enchantments and Artifacts affect all cards in play (permanents), Enchantment Auras and Artifact Equipment cards affect a specific card they are attached to. Enchantment Auras can be applied to your opponent's card as a paralyzing effect. Artifact Equipment are usually attached to your cards via an equip cost. These two cards are great examples. Runchanter's Pike costs 2 mana to play and 2 more to equip and depends on the instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard. [ Please click on this link for the rest of this content ]

9: Instants

Instants can be played throughout the play cycle. My gripe as a beginner is that Magic's play cycle is very difficult to understand....maybe I am destined to suck at Magic. During the RTR prerelease I was at such a loss!! Yes, I know: untap, draw, upkeep. That is what my kind opponent kept patiently saying. Anyways, if you leave some wiggle room in your mana pool you can play as many instants as your mana pool can bear at any time during play. The especially succesful instants force the player to play even more mana to undo the effect of the instant. Yes, Mana Leak, I am specifically referring to you!  [ Please click on this link for the rest of this content ]

10: Sorceries

Untap, Draw, Upkeep: It is only during the beginning of your turn, during Upkeep, that you can play a sorcery. My favorite sorceries are black. Sever the Bloodline cleans out those pesky artifacts that can be dropped by the dozen as long as they are all the same artifact. [ Please follow this link for more content ]

11: Enchantments

When you play an enchantment it is a permanent spell and therefore stays on the battlefield. White has great enchantments. Oblivion Ring, for example, is a powerful enchantment because it can take one of your key cards out of play and if you do not have any way to kill this enchantment that card is gone for good. A non-land permanent can be one of your precious planeswalkers.  [ Please click on this link for the rest of this content ]

12: Enchantment Auras

Enchantment Auras affect specific cards and are therefore great to neutralize one of your opponent's more powerful creatures. Here are two examples from Return to Ravnica. I used Underworld Connections to enchant one of my lands and draw a card. You lose the ability of playing that land, but drawing a card can make a big difference for a black deck.  [ Please click on this link for the rest of this content ]

13: Enchantment Aura Curses

This type of card is specific to the ISD block. While all of the other cards of this type in that block worked OK in ISD Block Constructed, they have been completely absent in Standard tournament practice online with one notable exception: Curse of Death's Hold.

14: Tokens and Emblems

Tokens are generated by specific cards. There are types of decks that win by generating large numbers of tokens. A popular example from M13 is a Goblin deck. Here is one of the tokens generated by Wurmcoil Engine.  [ Please click on this link for the rest of this content ]

15: Double-sided Cards (Innistrad and Dark Ascension)

The two most popular ones have turned out to be Huntmaster of the Falls and Delver of Secrets. I love and hate these cards because you have to do something special with them when playing them.  [ Please click on this link for the rest of this content ]