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Magic TCG Noob

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    So I’m interested in starting to play Magic The Gathering and I’d like some input from you guys on what would be a good deck to build/buy as a beginner. I would only being playing in a recreational sense so I’d like a deck that is simple yet effective, I won’t be playing in any sort of competitive capacity whatsoever. Please keep in mind that I’ve never played before so any jargon or slang in reference to the game will be lost on me. Feel free to PM me if you prefer. Thanks!


    I’m just going to assume that you haven’t bought anything yet because it makes things a little simpler in my head. Let’s start off simple. Do you have any particular play style in mind ie. big creatures, spamming the field with little things, denial, direct damage. Also, do you have any color preferences?


    First and foremost:
    Do you know someone who plays who can show you the ropes? That’s how I really got into it. Without having friends who already knew what they were doing to not just help me learn, but also build a deck, I’d have never gotten into it all the way.

    If there’s no one, then fortunately there’s a modern alternative. The online magic game for consoles and pcs really helps give you a perspective on what your cards are doing and how to play if there’s no one to teach you. I’ve spent a teeny amount of time with it and think it would be great for someone to start with.

    When it comes to building a deck most all of the pre-constructed decks you’ll buy suck (though I gout a solid one once… but I can’t recall what it was and I eventually broke it up). If you like the idea of a pre-con deck, pick it up and then research what you can do to beef it up. One of the most helpful things is the Gatherer, Wizard of the Coast (WTC)’s index of all cards and updated rules on how to play them: If you’ve got an idea of how to play a strategy in a deck it’s a great way to find the cards you need to do it. Then, you can pick up whatever spares you need online. The best place to go is (They’re Orlando locals!)

    Deck building is an art. An art I’m not very good at. Mike was a master and Colin is very skilled as well. It takes a lot of planning, can be a lot of fun, and is totally worth it. Mike would create word docs with card images and structure a working draft of the deck he’d then try out in some program I can’t remember the name of. This isn’t something I recommend jumping into. Make a deck, figure out what works, take the lumps of learning how to play and the finesse of deck building will come to you.

    I made my first deck when Ravinca was coming out. (Ravinca’s coming back soon – yay!)That Magic block was based all around tri-color decks and having opposing colors work together. It was an odd thing to start with a tri-color (mine was red/white/green) and what I quickly learned was that the green elements I was using would make for a better stand alone deck, which became the all-green deck I still use to this day. One of the most fun things about Magic is that each new set has different mechanics that are represented in both the story of the game and the gameplay in a harmony that’s very eloquent and dynamic. Though tri-color was a bit much to bite off as a starting mechanic, it helped me learn how cards work together. For that reason I think it’s a good idea to pick up one of the core mechanics of whatever the current set is so you can quickly learn some of the more complex aspects of gameplay. That said, it’s been a while since I’ve had time to play or checked out any new cards so I’m not current at the moment.

    Hope this helps. I know it’s a bit all over the place. If you’ve got any questions, SHOOT!


    I have experimented a bit with “Magic 2013” on my iPad where I played through using a green deck which I really enjoyed. Using the bigger creatures appeals to me more than spamming with smaller creatures. I wasn’t sure how true the iPad version was to the physical version but the tutorial mode was very helpful. The deal is a ton of folks at my local comic shop back in the US play and I tend to spend a lot of time there so I figured it’d be an interesting hobby to pick up and give me something else to do since my DnD group has dissolved while I’ve been overseas.

    @ViralDemon I haven’t purchased any cards at all yet so I will be starting entirely from scratch. Looking at purchasing cards online gave me a headache with all the options and my limited knowledge. I have been doing some reading up and it seems that blue and green seem to appeal to my desired play style. Green for the ability to rapidly gain land and using large creatures, blue for the counter spells and the attacks being hard to block e.g. flying.

    @Cap Holy crap sir you are awesome, thats going to take me a while to digest but I will absolutely be looking into those resources and doing some more research thanks for the info!


    For the most part what Cap said is above. Duels 2013 recently came out and you can get it for $10 on steam. It is also pretty much designed from the ground up as an introduction point for new players. It is probably a good idea to pick it up even if you do have a friend to show you the ropes (and hopefully you do, because that’s still pretty much the best way to learn).

    As for preconstructed decks, they are actually a lot better now a days then they were a few years ago. Wizards puts a lot of effort into making sure they are comparable to competitive decks, so while they may not be as good as a well made home-crafted deck, they are certainly good enough for a casual player, and provide a good starting point to making a better deck.

    Also speaking of that Program Mike used, there are several that do basically the same thing (my personal favourite right now is LackyCCG). Until you have a better idea you should stay away from these, as they are generally designed for higher-level players and hit you over the head with pretty much everything. That said, once you have a strong understanding of the game they are good deck building/testing tools.

    As an aside, has anyone else used lackyCCG? I got it a while ago at the behest of one of my friends but so far haven’t had a chance to actually PLAY anyone on it. It is, however, apparently really good for multiplayer formats (ADH for example) in that it actually supports more then 2 simultaneous players. I would, therefore, love the opportunity to actually play with my ADH deck on it. Anyone game?

    Guess who, it's Kaosubaloo!


    And another thing about Duels! From what I have read the game is slightly simplified compared to the actual card game. It doesn’t support one of the card types, has a slightly simplified turn sequence and has its cards hand-picked to avoid some of the more complex interactions that can come up. With that in mind, its rules are otherwise accurate to the card game and as far as I know it doesn’t even use any game-only cards.

    Guess who, it's Kaosubaloo!


    The Magic the Gathering (MTG) games that have come out for consoles are great for beginners. The decks start out very simple and can be built up from there. I have played the first version (2011) which offered almost no deck customization. What it offers is the an intro to how each color is known to work and structure for the rules.
    By the time you unlock each deck you will have a good idea of what to look for when building your own and where to go with it. There is also a “Challenge” mode that comes with the games. Similar to the chess challenges that you could find in the daily newspaper, you are given a situation with only 1 way to win the game. The bar they set isn’t too hard but if you can solve them all yourself then you are a decent player.

    Like Cap said before, building a deck is an art. Here are the guidelines I learned from the master that taught me:
    1: Balance your mana/land cards. A rule of thumb that hasn’t hurt me was 1/3 of the deck is mana
    2: Play your strengths. Find a combination or a trump card that will guarantee you to win and build your deck around making it happen.
    3: Play Test. Play and tweak the deck as much as possible. Figure out if the deck is good because of luck or just because you have good cards. If you only win because of luck then change your cards so that luck isn’t a factor anymore.

    After you have learned the basics of play, look up championship decks. They are great examples of how to make a good deck. You can buy per-constructed proxy decks based on the different championship tournies to play with and learn more.


    I think the best thing to do would be to get one of the most recent starter deck’s, in this case, the green/blue Avacyn Restored pack “Bound by Strength” as it has some pretty decent big creatures and also some essentials for the type of deck you want. Other than that, I would suggest getting packs of the most recent core set as they have all the essential cards such as counter-spells and mana-rampers. If you can find them, I would suggest getting packs from the Zendikar block for the big creatures. If you want to start talking individual cards, just ask.


    I don’t know if they still do it or not, but Wizards used to put out a starter set with two pre-built decks built from cards in the core set. It provided you with a step-by-step guide to the first 10(?) turns (this is assuming you didn’t shuffle the decks before opening the book). Within those turns you were given detailed instructions as to what you were doing, how you were doing it, and why you couldn’t do something else and also got some instruction on some mechanics like forestwalk and walls and other whatnot. That’s how my brother and I learned after our aunt gave us a quick run though at a family gathering. If this will be your first time with a TCG that wouldn’t be a bad way to start.


    Something I would recommend if you have someone else to play with is to get one of the Duel Decks starter sets, it comes with 2 decks that are usually fairly evenly matched.
    Also I use MagicAssistant ( for keeping track of my collection and building decks, it keeps up to date when new sets come out. It has a bit of a learning curve though.

    @Kaosubaloo I’ll see if I can convert my decks over and I might play you one day.

    Nobody is normal, a normal person is just someone you don't know very well.


    Magic is very fun to play with a few friends to challenge and build decks with. I have played it since I was old enough to understand the rules. I used to build a new deck from my many cards every time I played with my friends.

    I would encourage anyone who thought it looked interesting to play!


    It has also come to my attention that the new 2013 Core Set will be coming out very soon, so I would look out for that.


    A note to any noob: The reason to wait for the next core set is because with each new set the rules are updated and sometimes the mechanics change. (anyone remember the stack from 7ed, I don’t think it has been used since). It would be easiest to use the latest set of cards to learn since they would be used in more settings, tournies, draft games, etc.

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