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Learn to play MTG: Part 3 April 14, 2008

Posted by Norm in Learn to Play Magic: the Gathering.
Tags: , , , ,

Part 3 focuses on card types and how to play spells. 

There is a lot of info to cover in this installment so lets get down to each card type. But first things first, how to identify a card type. 


Take a look at the images above. The first word in this area of the card designates the card type. In the case of the green spell it is a creature spell with a sub type – spider. The creature type usually is needed when a special ability or effect comes into play (we’ll get to that later), but I wanted to cover that so you know what is going on. 

So do you need more info on each card type. Here is a quick reference taken straight from the basic rulebook:

  • Land
    Although lands are permanents, they aren’t played as spells. To play a land, just put it into play. This happens immediately, so no player can play anything else in response. You can play a land only during one of your main phases while the stack is empty. You can’t play more than one land a turn. 
  • Sorcery
    You can play a sorcery only during a main phase of one of your own turns. You can’t play it when another spell is on the stack. (You’ll learn about phases and the stack in a bit.) A sorcery has its effect—in other words, you follow the instructions on the card—then you put it into your graveyard, which is the game term for your discard pile.
  • Instant
    An instant is just like a sorcery, except you can play it just about any time you want, even during your opponent’s turn or in response to another spell. Like a sorcery, an instant has its effect, then you put it into your graveyard.
  • Enchantment
    An enchantment is a permanent and you can play enchantments only at the time you could play a sorcery. Any of your cards in play is called a permanent because it sticks around permanently. Some enchantments are Auras. An Aura comes into play attached to a permanent and affects that permanent while it’s in play. If the permanent leaves play, the Aura is put into its owner’s graveyard.
  • Artifact
    Like an enchantment, an artifact is a permanent, so it’ll stay in play affecting the game. Artifacts are colorless, so you can play one no matter what kinds of lands you have. Some artifacts are Equipment. You can pay to attach an Equipment to a creature you control to make that creature more powerful. If the creature leaves play, the Equipment stays in play.
  • Creature
    They’re permanents, but unlike any other kind of permanent, creatures can attack and block. Each creature has power and toughness. Its power (the first number) is how much damage it deals in combat. Its toughness (the second number) is how much damage must be dealt to it in a single turn to destroy it. Creatures attack and block during the combat phase. Unlike other types of permanents, creatures come into play with “summoning sickness”: a creature can’t attack, or use an ability that has tap in its cost, until it has started your turn in play under your control. You can block with a creature or play its other abilities no matter how long it’s been in play. Artifact creatures are both artifacts and creatures. They’re colorless like other artifacts, and they can attack and block like other creatures. An artifact creature can be affected by anything that affects artifacts, as well as anything that affects creatures.
In the second half of this video they get into playing cards and really basic game play. Stick around for the next post: Learn to Play Magic: The Gathering (Part 4) and we’ll cover actual game play and parts of a turn.


Digging Deeper
So there are some important aspects of the card that were addressed in Part 2, but I wanted to save for now since we are more familiar with the card itself. Parts of the card are just as important as the type (these definitions become so natural to the seasoned player you won’t even think about them after a few games). Below is a screen shot of page 4 of the basic rulebook. It would be a good idea to glance through that whole rule book once or twice. Don’t worry it is nicely designed and not as intimidating as the complete comprehensive rules


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