Magic: The Gathering

magic-the-gathering-rules.jpg

OBJECTIVE OF MAGIC THE GATHERING: Cast spells and attack opponents until they have 0 life.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 Players

MATERIALS: Each player uses their custom deck

TYPE OF GAME: Strategy 

AUDIENCE: 13+


INTRODUCTION TO MAGIC: THE GATHERING

Magic: The Gathering is a strategic and complex game. In the game, players play as planeswalkers, these are wizards who compete against one another for glory using their deck of cards like an arsenal. Cards may be traded amongst friends and fellow players to form unique decks of cards that are both useful and collectible. Players can also purchase booster packs for extra cards beyond what is enclosed in the starter pack. Sit tight, this game has many ins and outs which will be explored below in full detail!

THE BASICS

Mana

Mana is the energy of magic and it unites the Multiverse. There are five colors of Mana and it is used to cast spells. Players may choose to master one color or all five of them. Different color mana ignites a different form of magic. To determine which mana a card possesses, check the top right corner, across from the name, to find colored circles. These depict the mana cost. For example, a card with a red and green mana require 1 kind of green and 1 kind of red mana to perform the spell.

White Mana

White magic originates from the plains. It is the color of law and order, protection, and light. This specie of magic is about devising and enacting rules. Following the rules brings honor, and white planeswalkers strive to uphold the law out of fear of anarchy.

Blue Mana

Blue magic is sourced from the Islands and is centered on intelligence and manipulation. This type of magic prods at order, the environment, and the law for personal gain. Blue Planeswalkers value knowledge above all else.

Black Mana

Black magic permeates from the swamps. It is the magic of power, the magic of death, and the magic of decay. Black Planeswalkers are fueled by ambition for power at any cost and will use anyone or anything to get ahead.

Red Mana

Red magic flows down the mountains. These Planeswalkers are full of strength. Rather than think, they use sheer physical force and volcanic activity to solve problems and destroy enemies. Red magic is tied to chaos, war, and destruction.

Green Mana

Green magic flowers from the forests. It harnesses the power of nature in order to give planeswalkers the power of life and growth. They abide by survival of the fittest, either you are a predator or you are prey.

Types of Cards

Magic cards have several types. This can be found on the type line below the photo on the card.

Sorcery

Sorcery is representative of a magical chant or incantation. These may only be used during the main phase of your turn. If another spell is on stack, you may not cast this card. Follow the instructions on the card to see the outcomes of it effect. Once used, discard it to your graveyard (discard pile).

Instant

This card is similar to sorcery, however, you may use it whenever you want. It may be used during your opponents turn or as a response to some other spell. This card also has an instant effect like sorcery, and after it is used it goes to the graveyard.

Enchantment

Enchantments are resolute manifestations of magic and is permanent. Permanency means a couple things, you may only cast one when you could cast a sorcery or after you cast a sorcery. Place the card in front of you and close to your land, this card now resides on the battlefield. Enchantments include auras. These attach to permanents and go into effect while they are on the battlefield. If a players enchanted permanent exits the battlefield, the aura is sent to the graveyard of the player that own’s it.

Artifact

Artifacts are magical relics from another time. These are also permanent and act similarly to enchantments by only having an effect while on the battlefield. Artifacts include equipment. These cards may be added to creature cards, for a cost, to make them more powerful. Equipment remains on the battlefield even if the creature leaves.

Creature

Creatures are permanents that can block and fight unlike any other permanent. Each creature has unique power and its own toughness. It demonstrates power by how much damage it can dish during combat and its toughness by the amount of power it needs to be destroyed in one turn. These cards are used during the combat phase.

Creatures come to the battlefield with summoning sickness– they cannot attack use use abilties which have an arrrow (found near the mana) until you begin your turn and the battlefield is under your control. Creatures can be blocks and may have their other abilties used despite how long it may have been on the battlefield.

Artifact creatures are artifacts and they are creatures. Tytpically, they are colorless like artifacts, and may attack or block other artifact creatures. These cards can be affected by anything that affects artifacts OR creatures.

Planeswalker

Planeswalkers are you allies and may be called upon to fight with you. They are also permanents and have loyaalty counters in the lower right hand corner. Their abilties add or remove loyalty counters that activate them. A +1 symbol means you must put a single loyalty counter on that planeswalker. Abilities may only be activated one at a time.

Planswalkers may be attacked by other player’s creatures, however you may block these attacks. Your opponent may attempt to damage your creature with their spells and/or abilties rather than hurting you. Any damage inflicted to a planeswalker sends it to the graveyard, as it has lost all its loyalty counters in the process.

This is a basic summary of planeswalkers, otherwise complex members of the game.

Land

Land is permanent, however, it is not cast in the form of spells. Play land by placing it on the battlefield. Playing land happens immediately and opponents do not have any recourse. A land may only be played during a main phas when the stack is dry. Players are permitted to only play a single land per turn.

Basic land each have a mana ability correlating to color, this is because land makes mana. Any land besides the plains, islands, swamps, moutains, or forests is nonbasic land. 

Game Zones

Hands

Cards that are drawn go into your hand. Only you may look at your cards. At the start of the game players have seven cards in hand, this is also the maximum hand size.

Battlefield

The game begins with an empty battlefield, however, this is where the game’s actions takes place. On each turn, you may play a land from the cards in your hand. Other types of cards may also enter the battlefield. Cards that are permanents, and do not leave the battlefield, may be arranged in any fashion that suits you. However, the offical rules recommend keeping the land cards near you, but not too far your opponents cannot see if it is tapped. This area is shared by player.

Graveyard

The graveyard is the discard pile, each player has their own. Instant cards and sorcery cards go to the graveyard once they have resolved. Other cards may head to the graveyard if something occurs which destorys them, sacrafices them, or they are countered. For example, planeswalkers go to the graveyard if they have lost all of their loyalty counters. Creatures are placed in the graveyard if their toughness is reduced to at least 0. Cards that sit in the gravyard must remain face-up.

The Stack

Within the stack is spells and abilties. They sit there in order to resolve until both players decide they do not wish to cast new spells or activate abilties. After the resolution, players can activate new abilties or cast new spells. This is a shared zone between the players.

Exile

Spells and abilties have the potential to exile a card from the game, putting it apart from everything else. The card is in exile for the remainder of the game and are put face-up. This is also a shared zone.

Library

Each player’s personal deck of cards become their library or draw pile. These cards are kept face-down near the graveyard.

ACTIONS

Making Mana

Mana is needed to do any other action in the game. Think of mana as a magic currency- it is used in the game to pay costs. Mana may be one of the five basic colors or it can be colorless. If a specific mana is required, there is a colored symbol in the top right corner. However, if it is a gray circle with a number (i.e 2), any mana will do as long as it is the right number of mana.

Almost every land in the game can produce mana. Basic lands have the corresponding mana symbol in their text boxes below the picture on the card. You may tap them and add a single mana to your mana pool, this is the storage place for unused mana. Other types of cards can also make mana. Mana is perishable, at the end of a step or phase, the mana stored in your pool disappears.

Tapping

In order to tap a card you simply move it so that it is horizontal as opposed to vertical. Tapping occurs when you use land to create mana, attack with a creature card, or wish to activate an abiltity with the arrow symbol in the top right corner. If a permanent is tapped it is considered to have been used for that turn. You may not re-tap it until it has been untapped, or reverted back to vertical.

At the start of each turn, untap your cards so that they are re-uasble.

Spells

All cards, except for land cards, have the ability to cast spells. You can cast any type of card but only during a main phases and if the stack has nothing else on it. However, instants may be cast whenever.

Casting Spells

If you wish to cast a spell, show the card you wish to cast from your hand to your opponent. Place the card on the stack. When the spell is a sorcery or an instant, it will immediately make you “choose one-,” and you must pick an option. You may also be required to pick the targer. Aura’s also have targets they enchant. When the spell costs “X,” you decide what X represents.

If you are unable to meet targeting requirments you are not able to cast the spell or activatte the ability. After you choose a target you may not change your mind. If the target is not legal, the spell or ability will not affect the target.

Responding to Spells

When the spell does not resolve, or enduce an effect, immediately, it waits in the stack. Both players, inlcuding whoever cast the spell, has the opportunity to cast an instant spell or activate an ability as a response. If this happens, that card is placed on top of the spell. If the players do not do anything, the spell or ability resolves.

Resolving Spells

Spells resolves in one of two ways. It it is an instant or a sorcery, it will have an effect. After, the card is moved to the graveyard. If it is any other type, place the card in front of you. This card is on the battlefield. Cards on the battlefield are called permanent since they remain there unless something attacks it. These cards have abilities outlined in their textboxes which affect the nature of the game.

Once a spell resolves, or an ability, both players can play something that’s new. If this does not happen, the next card that is waiting in the stack automatically resolves, unless the stack is empty, in which the game proceeds to the next phase. If something enw is played the process is repeated.

Abilities

Static

Static abilities, the text that remains true while the card is in the battlefield. The card automatically does what is printed.

Triggered

Triggered abilities, these are in the text box and occur when something specific happens during gameplay. For example, the card may order you to draw a card when a particular other kind of card enters the battlefield. These abilties typically begin with the words “when,” “at,” and “whenever.” These, like static abilties, do not need to be activated. These go on the stack, as a spell would, and resolve in the same manner. These may not be ignored or delayed, unless there is no legal target the ability requires.

Activated

Activated abilities may be activated whenever you choose, as long as they are paid for. Each has a cost followed by a color (“:”), then its effect. Activating an ability is much like an instant spell, however no card goes on the stack. If the permanent card the ability orginated from leaves the battlefield the ability resolves. Some abilties must be activated by tapping the card, this is indicated by an arrow in a gray circle pointing to the right. Review tapping above to refresh your memory on how to tap cards. If the permanent is tapped already you may not activate an ability.

Attacks & Blocks

The number one way to win the game is using your creatures to attack. As long as the creature isn’t blocked, they cause serious damage to your opponent, equal to their power. It takes a surprisingly few amount of hits to drop your opponents life to 0.

Combat

Each turn consists of a combat phase in the middle. During this phase, youe may choose what creatures you want to perform attacks. They can attack your opponent directly or their planeswalkers, however their creatures cannot be attacked. Tap creatures you wish to perform attacks, Attacks happen all at once, despite having many different targets. Only untapped creatures may attack that were already on the battlefield.

Blocking

The opponent must decide which of their creatures will block the attacks. Tapped creatures can also not be blockers, the same way they cannot attack. A creature is capable of blocking a single attacker. The attacker orders blockers to show their order, who will receive the damage. Creatures are not required to block.

Once bloackers are chose, the damage is given to them. Attacking and blocking creatures deal out damage that is equivalent to their power. 

  • Unblocked creatures that are attacking serve damage to the player or the planeswalker they are attacking.
  • Blocked creatures deal damage to the blocking creature. If an attacking creature has multiple creatures blocking it, the damage is divided between them. The first creature must be destroyed, and so on.
  • The blocking creature damages the attacking creature.

Your opponent loses life equal to the damage they receive. Their planeswalkers lose the equal amount of loyalty counters.

Creatures are destroyed if they receive damage equal or greater than their toughness in a single turn. A destroyed creature is put to rest in the graveyard. If they take some damage, but not enough to be considered lethal, they can remain on the battlefield. At the end of the turn, the damage wears off.

THE GOLDEN RULE

If a Magic card happens to contradict something in the rulebook, or something outlined above, the card wins. The game has many single cards that allow players to break almost every single rule.

GAMEPLAY

The Deck

Get your own Magic deck. A good magic deck, of 60 cards, is about 24 land cards, 20-30 creatures, and other cards as fillers.

Starting the Game

Grab an opponent. Each player begins the game with 20 life. The game is won by reducing your opponent’s life to 0. You can win if your opponent runs out of cards to draw (when they must draw), or if you’re fortunate that an ability or spell declares you the winner. The loser of the last game starts, if this is your first game, anyone may begin. players shuffle their own decks and draw their 7 card hand. If your cards displease you, you may mulligan. Shuffle your hand back into the rest of your deck and draw six cards. This can repeat, drawing one less card in your hand each time, until you are satisfied with your hand.

The Parts of the Turn

Each turn follows the sequence below. During a new phase, abilties that are triggered are moved to the stack. The active player, or the player whose turn it is, has the chance to cast spells and activate various abilties. Then turns switch.

Beginnging Phase

  • Untap your permanent cards that are tapped.
  • Upkeep is mentioned on several cards. Follow the directions on the cards for what event is supposed to occur during this time.
  • Draw a single card from your library. Players may cast their instants and/or activate abilties.

Main Phase #1

  • Cast sorceries, instants, etc. Activate various abilties. Play a land and create mana, but you may only play one land per turn. Your opponent can also cast instants and/or activate abilities.

Combat Phase

  • Start by casting instants and activating abilties
  • Declare Attacks by deciding which untapped creature will attack what, then they attack. Tap creatures to initiate attack. Players may cast their instants and/or activate abilties. 
  • Declare Blocks, this is done by the opponent. They can choose any of their untapped creatures to block attacks.
  • Combat Damage is assigned following the guidelines listed under “Attacks & Blocks.”
  • End Comabt, players can by casting instants and activating abilties.

Main Phase #2

  • Exactly the same as the first main phase. If you did not play a land in the first main phase, you may use one now.

End Phase

  • End Step, abilties triggered at the start of the end step are put on the stack. Players may cast their instants and/or activate abilties.
  • Cleanup your hand if you have 7+ card by discarding the excess. Damage on living creatres is removed. No one may cast instants or activate abilities, only triggered abilities are permitted.

Next Turn

After you finish you turn, your opponent repeats the same sequence. Turns alternate until a player has 0 life, at the point the game ends and a winner is declared.

 

REFERENCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering_rules

https://www.wizards.com/magic/rules/EN_MTGM11_Rulebook_LR_Web.pdf

 

 


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