What I learned in my first Magic: The Gathering experience

About a month before we moved from the apartment to the house, Shane developed a bit of an obsession with Magic: The Gathering. It was something he used to be really into back before we met, to the point he used to go around and win tournaments in the States.

I think it was the recent Zendikar release that got him back into it, because at the time, a work friend had been asking about the game, and Shane is always one to involve those close to him in his geeky habits.

After seeing several packs of cards come home and get sorted out all over our coffee table, my curiosity was piqued. What was so interesting about these cards? How did one build a deck? And what happened when you had it built?

That started me down the path of learning Magic too, and before I knew it, I was hooked.

The first thing I did was build a deck.

I’ll be honest—this isn’t something I necessarily recommend to someone just starting because of how it was for me. Don’t get me wrong, building the deck was incredibly fun, and turned into a puzzle as I figured out what the cards did and how they’d work together.

But the thing is, I went in with absolutely no idea what I was doing, and it led to a long process of getting distracted by multiple tactics that I still haven’t successfully narrowed down.

I think if I’d tried playing with some of the default decks first, I would have been able to get a sense of what I liked playing and what worked well before I got into the rather involved process of making my own deck!

That said, my deck (which I arbitrarily built out of cats and angels, just because) did turn out to be rather nasty, and tends to challenge opponents in most games!

Then, it was time to learn to play.

MTG comes with a lot of rules. I’m still learning most of them!

Once you have enough of them down, though, play becomes pretty straightforward, especially when you’re playing with people who play the same way as you.

The biggest learning curve for me was reconciling the fact that there is a standard process for how your turn goes (you know, draw a card, then lay a land, use land for creature, etc.), with the equally important fact that it absolutely matters when you lay what cards.

For example, some cards that you could play using land have special effects when you lay a land, so planning to time those before you put down a land means you get the special effect right away. You know, things like that.

All in all, I picked up the rules pretty quickly, although I still get a little lost in what’s what sometimes!

And through playing, I learned what people love about those cards.

For the most part, I am not a PVP person. There are a few games where I’ll play against other people for the challenge of it, but for the most part, I prefer the challenge a game itself will throw at me.

I would say Magic has changed that for me.

There’s something to be said for the intensity that goes hand in hand with the challenge of going up against someone else, the chance that it won’t go the way you want, and the hope that it will so you can triumph. It’s especially intense for me when I play against Shane, because we think on such a similar level that I swear we can both read each other’s minds!

And just to add to that, so many of the cards are just absolutely beautiful. That in itself makes it worthwhile to collect them—and I totally understand now why we have so many around.

Have you ever tried playing Magic: The Gathering?

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