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Magic: The Gathering is the Trading Card Game (also known as a TCG) which this wiki is about.
If you are completely new to Magic, you may want to get an overview by reading Wikipedia's article about it here (or read this page). Later you can return to this wiki for more specific information. For rules and how to play, for those who find this page confusing, see here.
In order to play the game, you'll need to buy cards or receive cards from someone else to start to play. You can buy Decks, Booster Packs or related paraphernalia. You can buy them online or you can buy it from a game store.
Once you have cards, you can trade with friends or other people. This way, you can trade the cards you can't use in your deck for something you can use. When you trade, look out for the Rarity of the card or its usefulness, or maybe its artwork. Magic is a game that has something for everyone.
A deck contains as many cards as you want, but to participate in a tournament, you need a Deck of at least 60 cards. There is no limit on how many cards you can have in your deck, but the more cards you have, the lower the chance you draw your best or favorite card. But if you have too few cards, you have a chance of running out of cards and losing the game. You can have up to 4 cards with the same name in your deck, but some are limited to 2 or even 1, and in a very rare place, you come up with a card that you can have as many as you want in your deck, like Relentless Rats. Relentless Rats says, "Relentless Rats gets +1/+1 for each other creature called Relentless Rats on your battlefield. You may have any number of creatures called Relentless Rats in your library." Basic Lands are another exception to this rule. It's wise to keep your number of cards close to 60. In game, your deck is called your library.
How to Win
There are four ways to defeat your opponent:
2) When someone Decks-Out, they lose. To deck out is to have no cards left on your library. A player loses when they have to draw a card during their Draw Phase and can not. However, some cards, like Drumhunter, say to draw a card. If you have no cards, then just don't do the ability. It only happens during the Draw Phase.
3) There are some cards which let you win after a certain condition. Some cards say things like, "After this thing has 20 charge counters on it, you win the game."
4) Another way to win is by using creatures and cards with infect. They deal damage to players in the form of poison counters instead of life. If a player has ten or more poison counters, they lose the game.
There are seven main "Card Types" that a card can be: Land, Creature, Sorcery, Instant, Planeswalker, Enchantments, and Artifact. You can see which type it is in the middle of the card on the Type Line.
Basic Land Rules
- You can play only one Land each turn, whether it's a Basic Land or Nonbasic Land .
- When you tap a land, you add one mana of that color to your Mana Pool.
- During your Untap Phase, Untap all of your lands.
The easiest way to recognize a creature is their Power and Toughness. Each creature has a small box on the bottom right of your card with two numbers in it, their Power and their Toughness. The older cards have "Summon" and the type of creature (Orc, Troll, Wurm, etc.) instead of "Creature - 'Type'".
On the example card on the right, Scoria Wurm has a power and toughness which are equal and both 7.
Many creatures have an Ability. There are lots of abilities, for example: trample, haste, first strike, double strike, flying, lifelink, etc. They all represent a different advantage (or sometimes disadvantage) for the creature.
Sorceries are spells. They are not permanents. Once you cast it, a sorcery resolves and goes to the graveyard. A sorcery can only be cast during your main phases (read more about phases later), and it cannot be cast when other spells are on the stack. That means you cannot cast it during combat or on an opponent's turn.
An instant is the same as a sorcery, except that you don't have to cast it only in your main phases. An instant can be cast any time, even on opponents turns. It can still be cast during your main phases.
Planeswalkers are powerful mages that are very useful in decks. Excluding the planeswalkers in the edition Lorwyn, all planeswalkers are mythic rares. A planeswalker is a permanent. Although they seem a bit like creatures, they cannot attack or block. They have a 'toughness' at the bottom right of the card. It shows how many loyalty counters they have when they come into play. Planeswalkers have ways to remove or add loyalty counters. For example, with Nissa Revane, you can add 1 loyalty counter to it and search your library (deck) for a card called Nissa's Chosen and put it into play. Then you shuffle your deck. Most planeswalkers have an "ultimate" ability that usually takes off a lot of counters, but the effects are usually well worth it. A creature can attack planeswalkers instead of players. If the damage is left unblocked, then the planeswalker loses loyalty counters equal to the damage dealt.
Enchantments are permanents that never have tap abilities (although they can still be tapped by another card). Enchantments can have the subtype Aura. An Aura "enchants" a certain permanent and does something to it. Normal enchantments do not enchant creatures. They affect the board state in some general way. Some have you tap mana to do something, and others do something at all times or at certain times. In the Theros expansion, there are also enchantment creatures that behave like creatures, but are affected by spells that affect enchantments.
There is also colorless and multicolored cards.
White mana comes from sprawling plains, sunlit savannahs, and windswept meadows. In Magic, white is the color of law, order, and structure. White magic heals and protects and is often a force for justice and honor. When a white mage fights, legions of troops thunder across the battlefield with their banners held high. Enemy hordes are routed outside the gates of a castle. When white unleashes its wrath, the battlefield is cleansed of all life.
Order, protection, light, law: These are white magic's values.
White mages achieve balance through strategy and organization. For white mages, society is more important than the individual. They build strong defenses, rally the troops, and protect their allies. White magic heals injured soldiers so they can answer the call of battle again and again. White mages amass enormous armies, but sometimes a single, awesome champion is necessary to teach the enemy a lesson. At their best, white mages are self-sacrificing and moral. At their worst, they are uncreative and even authoritarian.
Examples of white spells include cleansing and healing magic, blinding light, and devastating waves of purifying energy.
White-aligned creatures are orderly, defensive, and cooperative. They gather fast and strike first. White mages summon majestic angels to devastate the unworthy. Legions of soldiers and knights form effective armies under a white mage's command. The soldiers might be small individually, but together they are overwhelming.
Each of the five colors of magic has two ally colors and two enemy colors. White is allied with green and blue. White mana and green mana share values of holism, order, and community. White and blue mana share values of thoughtfulness, structure, and progress.
White mana opposes red mana through the conflicts of order vs. chaos, defense vs. offense, and strategy vs. spontaneity. White mana opposes black mana through the conflicts of light vs. darkness, purity vs. corruption, and the needs of the many vs. the needs of the individual.
Islands provide blue mana—the magic of the deep sea and the endless sky. Blue magic is about deceit, logic, and illusion. To a blue mage, information and knowledge are paramount. Blue mages want to know everything, and they'll go to any lengths to do so. When a blue mage fights, tidal waves crash against rocky cliffs, the wind whips out of stormy skies, and an enemy's spells fail as their creatures vanish into thin air.
Knowledge, manipulation, wind, and wave: These are the blue mage's tools.
Blue magic is reactive, calculated, and methodical. Its strength lies in patience and intelligence. Blue mages work behind the scenes, scheming and stealing secrets. They control their environments completely before making a move. Blue spells and abilities focus on prediction and illusion. Blue is also the color of technology and artifice. At their best, blue mages are inventive and progressive. At their worst, they are manipulative and treacherous.
Examples of blue spells include crashing waves, whirlpools of Æther, and even manipulations of time itself.
Blue-aligned creatures try to deceive their opponents or trick them into using magic in a way they didn't intend. Blue-aligned creatures often confuse, disguise themselves, or steal things from their enemies. Blue mages call wizards and weird beasts of the air and oceans to serve them. They summon crafty sphinxes, ferocious drakes, and elusive sprites. Titanic leviathans surface from the depths of the ocean to do their bidding.
Each of the five colors of magic has two ally colors and two enemy colors. Blue is allied with white and black. Blue and white mana share values of thoughtfulness, structure, and progress. Blue and black mana share values of secrecy, manipulation, and desire for omniscience.
Blue mana opposes red mana through the conflicts of water vs. fire, logic vs. emotion, and thought vs. action. Blue mana opposes green mana through the conflicts of the artificial vs. the natural, illusion vs. reality, and stultification vs. growth.
Black mana comes from dank swamps, where things fester and rot. Shadowy wastelands, haunted catacombs, and fetid bogs are all prime sources of black mana. Black is the color of death, fear, and amorality—these are the twisted values of the darkness. Black magic is powerful and easy to wield, but it comes with a high price. Black mages are self-centered and self-serving. They will do anything to get power—no matter what the cost.
Death, ambition, and darkness are the stock and trade of black mages.
Black mana offers a host of gruesome spells. Black magic can unearth the dead from their graves and make them walk again. It can spread a pestilence across the landscape and drain the life from all who live there. Black spells can curse victims in horrible and enduring ways. They can warp the mind, poison the land, and kill creatures instantly. But the price is high and the risks are many. At their best, black mages are ambitious and unashamed. At their worst, they are enslaving and devouring.
Examples of black spells are tendrils of corrupting shadow, command over the undead, and projection of crippling nightmares into the minds of enemies.
Undead skeletons and ghouls, unspeakable horrors, and diabolical demons are native to places of black mana, and they're as self-serving and treacherous as the mages who control them. Black magic isn't limited to these abominations, though—death-cultists and secret societies of assassins carry out black mages' nefarious plans under cover of darkness. Black mages control the most horrifying of creatures, but always at a price.
Each of the five colors of magic has two ally colors and two enemy colors. Black is allied with red and blue. Black and blue mana share the values of secrecy, manipulation, and desire for omniscience. Black and red mana share the values of individualism, instant gratification, and self-interest.
Black mana opposes white mana through the conflicts of darkness vs. light, corruption vs. purity, and the needs of the individual vs. the needs of the many. Black mana opposes green mana through the conflicts of death vs. life, decay vs. growth, and greed vs. abundance.
Red mana flows from rugged mountain ranges, rocky crags, and the fiery heart of volcanoes. Red magic is about fury and passion. When a red mage fights, lightning arcs across the blood-red sky, lava erupts from the earth, and flash fires consume the land. Red mages can channel their wild emotions to raze a city or to harness flames into deadly weapons.
Freedom, fire, and impulse are the lifeblood of every red mage.
Red mages have no patience for talk or subtlety. They act quickly and recklessly. With red mana, a mage controls the power of fire and earth. Red mages scorch their enemies with fireballs or call down electricity from the sky. They can rattle the foundations of civilizations and destroy the land itself. At their best, red mages are dynamic, passionate, and unbound. At their worst, they are shortsighted, temperamental, and destructive.
Examples of red spells include rains of meteors, searing bolts of lightning, and huge gouts of flame.
Red-aligned creatures are warlike, frenzied, and dangerous. Red mages summon mighty dragons to dominate the skies. They send hordes of bloodthirsty barbarians or rampaging goblins to lay waste to their enemies. They also channel mystical energy and summon fire elementals of merciless power and destruction. Red creatures rage across the landscape cutting down anything that stands in their way.
Each of the five colors of magic has two ally colors and two enemy colors. Red is allied with black and green. Red mana and black mana share the values of individualism, instant gratification, and self-interest. Red and green mana share the values of action, base urges, and connection to the earth.
Red mana opposes white mana through the conflicts of chaos vs. order, offense vs. defense, and opportunity vs. strategy. Red mana opposes blue mana through the conflicts of fire vs. water, emotion vs. logic, and action vs. thought.
The teeming forests overflow with green mana, the pulse of nature. Green magic is about growth, life, and brute force. When a green mage fights, massive creatures crash through the undergrowth, animals enlarge to gargantuan size, and wounds close before blood spills onto the ground.
Strength, ferocity, and life: These are the values that sustain the green mage.
Green mages understand that the world obeys the law of the jungle—everything is either predator or prey. Green mages do what they can to accelerate and protect nature: jungles expand, artifacts crumble, and creatures regenerate themselves. For green mages, even the plants become lethal weapons. At their best, green mages are instinctual and adaptive. At their worst, they are savage, unthinking, and predatory.
Examples of green spells include wild, lush growth, sudden predatory hunger, and the might of an entire stampede.
Green mages summon a huge variety of creatures, from forest-dwelling animals to territorial elves and awe-inspiring behemoths. Some green creatures are living wellsprings of mana; others overrun their foes in a mighty rush of ferocious power. From towering nature elementals to carnivorous wurms, green creatures are the biggest and mightiest around.
Each of the five colors of magic has two ally colors and two enemy colors. Green is allied with white and red mana. Green mana and white mana share the values of holism, order, and community. Green and red mana share values of action, base urges, and connection to the earth.
Green mana opposes blue mana through the conflicts of the natural vs. the artificial, reality vs. illusion, and growth vs. stultification. Green mana opposes black mana through the conflicts of life vs. death, growth vs. decay, and greed vs. abundance.
Mana And Mana Cost
Each non-land card has a casting cost. If you look at the top right corner of the card, or occasionally left of the picture, you will see one or more symbols and commonly a number. These represent the casting cost or the mana cost. The number is always on the far left, followed by the mana symbols. When you cast something like Celestial Mantle, which had a casting cost of three white mana and a number of 3, the "3" means that it can be any type of mana. So now, you cast Celestial Mantle. To cast it, you need to fufill its mana cost. There is one basic thing used only for that: land. "Tap" three plains. That means turn it in a way so you know it is tapped. The land has the ability to add to your mana pool. The Celestial Mantle "uses" this mana to cast itself. It requires three specific land and three nonspecific. If you have the land to do this, you can successfully cast Celestial Mantle. This is just what Mana and Mana Cost are all about.
Phases of a Turn
Each turn starts with the Untapping Stage. This is where you untap all of the permanents that were tapped in your last turn or sometimes on the opponents turn. This includes untapping Land, Creatures, and Artifacts.
The next step is your Upkeep. Some cards require an upkeep. Say, Soul Bleed. It says, "Enchant creature. At the beginning of the enchanted creature's upkeep, that player loses 1 life." Upkeep is basically an "optional" step that is used to fit in between the other steps.
The next step is the Draw. Here, you draw a card from the top of your library. That's easy. Then, you go into the in-between steps.
The very next step is the Main Phase. As shown in the last section, casting spells is not too complicated once you know how to do it. Remember that casting spells is optional; you don't NEED to cast anything. Most creatures have a rule that during the first turn they are cast, they cannot attack or tap; this is often referred to as summoning sickness. Some have an ability called haste. Haste means that they can tap and attack the moment the are cast.
The next step is the Attacking Phase. Here you attack with creatures alone. This is also optional. When you attack, you tap a number of creatures, (unless you just cast them, which means that they have summoning sickness, the opposite of haste.) These creatures are attacking. (Note that creatures with Vigilance don't need to tap to attack, but they of course can still be tapped.) (Note also that you don't have to tap anything to block.) The opponent can choose their blockers. One "unfair" thing is that you can block a creature with any number of your creatures. The one creature can choose which creature(s) it wants to kill, but if the blocking cards add to a too high number, than the attacking card must die. But anyway, the blocking opponent can choose also if it wants any damage to "go through" to their life or to their planeswalkers defense. After this, any destroyed creatures go to their controller's graveyards and the phase ends.
The next phase or step is a second Main Phase. This is also optional and is useful in some very good ways. Sometimes it is better to cast things in the second Main Phase than the first.
Some cards say, "At the end of your turn," and have an action that occurs at this point. For example, Sunseed Nurturer says, "At the end of your turn, if you control a creature with power 5 or greater, you may gain 2 life.
Lastly, there is the cleanup step. This is where the active player discards cards if he or she has more than seven cards in his or her hand. This step can usually be skipped, as players do not usually need to discard.