I’ve been playing Magic for over 20 years (that’s still kind of surprising to read). During that time, I’ve learned so much that I didn’t know in the beginning. Tons of players seem to be picking up the game daily. If you’ve been considering learning to play Magic, I want to save y’all some trouble and share five things I wish I knew when I started playing.
1. The community is huge
It seems like every city I’ve been in has a store where you can play Magic. Most cities even have several stores. This makes finding singles, supplies, and even other people to play with extremely easy.
And if you want to learn about the game… well, I hope you have lots of free time and some coffee brewing. There are hundreds of sites across several languages that post Magic: The Gathering content daily. You can learn cool tricks, game strategy, and even get new deck ideas.
All those languages are needed because there are players across the globe. I once played Magic in an airport with someone who spoke a different language than I did. But we knew what each other’s cards did, and we enjoyed a couple of games until his flight got called. Simply amazing.
2. There are tons of ways to interact with the game
There are a surprising number of ways to play Magic. There are formats using just a few cards (Standard) and some that use nearly all the cards (Vintage). There are formats where you only need a 60-card deck and others with 100-card decks. Some even restrict you to just playing with your common cards. (Read our beginner’s guide to Magic formats here.)
Regardless of which formats you enjoy, you can engage with them in any way you want. You can play casually with friends or try to win thousands of dollars at the professional level. There’s something to match whatever level of gaming intensity suits you.
And what if you only play occasionally, but you think the art is sweet? There are large groups within the community that are solely dedicated to Magic art. You can get cards signed, buy original art pieces, and even get custom pieces or card alters done. The possibilities really are endless.
3. Events are amazing social opportunities
If you talk to anyone that’s been playing the game for more than three years or so, there’s a good chance they’ll tell you about all the friends they’ve made through playing the game. Stores usually host weekly gatherings, tournaments, and events so players can congregate. Sometimes it’s to battle; other times, it’s simply to trade or celebrate the release of cool new products.
Right now, we can’t visit our favorite stores due to COVID-19. But there are still groups online running tournaments via Magic: The Gathering Arena and Magic: The Gathering Online. Many stores are also helping players stay in touch via their own Discord channels. And if you really need to get your paper Magic fix, there are groups organizing games over webcams. Learn more about how you can play Magic during COVID-19 here.
4. MTG cards can be valuable
This may seem obvious, but it can’t be understated. Magic cards are so valuable that they’ve spawned a huge secondary market. I know someone that sold about half his collection and paid off half of his mortgage.
Most hobbies require you to spend money and you’ll never see a direct return on those expenses. But with Magic, you can always sell or trade parts of your decks for other cards. And, many times, your cards will have gone up in value by the time you part with them.
Remember to buy sleeves and deck boxes to keep your cards protected at all times if you plan to handle them a lot. And for the love of all things great, please don’t put a rubber band around your deck to keep it together.
5. With each new release, the game is constantly changing
But one of the very best things about Magic is that it simply never gets old. As new products come out, there will always be more to learn. You’ll learn to master new strategies, use new abilities, or start playing a brand-new format.
No matter what, the game always stays fresh. Even if you have a great deck, it’s likely only a matter of time before your friends figure out a counter-strategy. Then, it’s your turn to go back in the lab and come up with a new idea to take them down again.
It seems like there’s an endless stream of new deck ideas. And as more players pick up the game, those ideas pop up with even higher frequency.
Start Playing Magic
It’s amazing how multifaceted the game of Magic is. There are such large communities at nearly every corner of the game, whether you enjoy competing, playing casually, collecting the art or reading the story. After nearly 27 years, Magic is still going strong.