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Tips & Strategies (70)

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9
Miniature Painter
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
30 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Interested in getting started with Magic? See if your local games shop dumps backstock cheap.”

We have a few local comic/games shops that among other things buy and sell Magic cards. It isn’t unusual for these stores to purchase entire collections off of folks tired of the game and looking to get out. Certainly they are going to put the pricey cards in the display window to sell individually, but what about all those commons and uncommons no one is going to be on the lookout for? Many stores will fill 600-1000 cardboard card boxes with these and sell them cheap. My preferred store will often have boxes of these on the floor by the singles with $5.00 to $6.00 price tags on them, and I have certainly purchased my share.

One downside to this is you won’t be competing in the local tournaments centered around the new releases with these cards, but they will be perfectly good for use in legacy or vintage tournaments or just playing with your friends and getting the hang of the game.

If you don’t see them sold like this at your favorite store, you can always ask if they ever sell bulk backstock. Can never hurt to ask and you may find yourself with an instant collection for little cost.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
62 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“Keeping Costs Down Through Aggressive Trading”

This game is impossible to stay active in without a commitment to sinking money into it. However, utilizing an effective trade strategy can help defer costs and build your collection simultaneously.

My core principle of trading is to always gain a tiny bit of equity on every transaction. Continue to make transactions and the collection grows. I use a few methods to help ensure that my “customers” don’t mind giving me the better deal each time.

One tactic is to always have the largest options available for trade. You can ask for a premium if you are the one guy who always has what somebody needs. I also ask what cards they are specifically looking for and tell them I will find it for them. If the desired card is not currently popular, I can probably obtain it at a discount and get it to the player seeking it out. This legwork will often be incentive for them to give you a advantaged deal, and more importantly look for your service in future trades.

It also helps to learn your trade partners playing preferences. The player that loves Green/White decks will usually be more than happy to give you a deal on all those Black cards clogging their trade binder. Find out what they value more and look for trade opportunities based on their individual evaluations.

If you offer a little more than typical traders and you only look for small gains each time, you can easily become THE GUY that everybody wants to trade with!

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8
Gamer - Level 8
Expert Recruiter
Count / Countess
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
25 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Sleeves improve the life of your cards, playmats improve the life of your sleeves. ”

For a long time, my wife & I rebuffed the idea of sleeving our Magic cards. They seemed like an unnecessary expense, especially for us “kitchen table” players. Over the years, though, we have seen our cards show wear. Additionally, we have started going to Magic events: prereleases, Friday Night Magic, and various others. We have noticed that playing on card shop tables is horrific for cards. Then we started sleeving. Then we noticed that those same tables are horrific on sleeves. For the longest time, we regard sleeves and playmats as “bling”. But now it is clear that sleeves are worth the price to protect your cards, and playmats are definitely worth it to protect your sleeves.

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8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior
24 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Pick ONE theme and build a tight deck”

This is really for beginners, or players who are struggling to get better than where they are now.

There are so many options that many people get bogged down trying to mix this type of deck with that type of deck. Stop it. 🙂

Get one theme, like…Green monsters, White knights, Red Goblins, etc. Then build the tightest deck you can. The only reason you get to add cards that don’t directly match your theme is if have built your deck and you’re not at the minimum deck size yet.

Because despite what you may think…deck size is VERY important. Cut out the excess, build a tiny deck, and don’t even think about adding a card “just because you like it.”

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8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Goober Variant: Common/Uncommon Decks”

After playing MtG for a while, one usually ends up with tons of old or junk common/uncommon cards that will never get used. I always found that a little sad. A variant I play, called Goober, remedies this.

One Time Setup.
Take a bunch of cards that you never use (or have lots of duplicates) and shuffle them all together. Use whatever means you wish (random deal, drafting, etc.) so each player has 60 cards or so to start with (you can give out more if you want).

Players get as many standard land cards of as many colors as they wish. Use the remaining mixed cards as a draw pile for later.

Next build your decks using standard deckbuilding rules.

What’s fun about it?
– Play for ante. Losing player chooses 1 card from the draw pile.
– Ante is fun — a lot of fun, especially if you don’t lose really expensive cards.
– Keep your game going. I played for months and after many wins/losses was able to have a really fun deck to play — as much fun as my tournament decks.
– You’ll end up finding cool combos and uses for cards that would never work in a “real” deck.
– It gives you something to do with all the extra cards you rarely use or cards from old expansions that aren’t legal in tournaments.

Options.
There are lots of other things you can do to spice things up like award an old unopened booster pack to a player after 10 wins to add to his card stash or let losers draw 3 cards instead of 1 and discard 2 of them. Whatever seems the most fun.

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4
Book Lover
7 of 7 gamers found this helpful
“Do not ignore other formats!”

One of the main reasons why I am playing this game since 1998 is that there are many different formats. I love Legacy and Modern (and play them most of the time), but there are also some other things that you can try:
– Pauper (plauing only with commons and a few uncommons) – you would be surprised when you see what can be done only with commons
– Highlander (only 1 copy of each card – except basic land- is allowed)
– Commander & Tiny Leaders
– Playing with Planechase cards
– Creating some cool or crazy themes for your deck (people on horses, cards from the same illustrator, etc.)

You can play only the most competitive decks, but this game can offer much more – all you need is a group of friends that have some cards and are willing to try something different.

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5
Intermediate Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
Sophomore
21 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“Conspiracy + Cube”

After my earlier post about the Conspiracy group draft format, a friend pointed out to me that the leftover cards can be repurposed for use with nearly any other draft format, creating a special “hybrid” sort of environment.

Gather up 30-40 of the Conspiracy (Capital C) cards created specifically for drafted games – the conspiracies (lowercase c) and the draft mechanic artifacts. The more variety you can mix together, the better this will work. Shuffle them into a single stack and keep them in their own case, to bring to any casual draft you might be playing in or running.

Once players are seated for the draft, deal three of the Conspiracy cards, face down, to each player. As players open their packs for the draft process, have them add one of their Conspiracy cards at random to that pack. This allows you and your friends to reuse many of the cards that make Conspiracy drafts such a unique experience. At the end of your tournament, gather up the “seeded” cards and shuffle them back into your case for the next draft.

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9
Miniature Painter
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
27 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Drowning in commons? Have a little kid? Repurpose those cards!”

I have a 3 year old who watches my wife and I play Magic and watches me sort them, and of course she wants to play. Of course, there isn’t any way for me to teach her to play Magic since she cannot yet read, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play with the cards…

Pick out about 20 or so cards that you have 2 extra for that you will never need and now your child can play memory!

Take the same cards and add one really ugly one, and now you can play Old Maid!

If they can remember the names of them, or they are obvious (fairies?)now you can play Go Fish! “Got any Erg Raiders daddy?”

There are so many possibilities. You can check out the net for various card games and as long as the number doesn’t matter, your garbage cards can be put to use. The colors can even replace suits! Use your imagination and bring new life to useless cards. Your kids will thank you.

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7
Paladin
Herald
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
26 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“The Ring (a 4-player variant)”

* Players form two pairs. They sit around the table as in Bridge – each player vis-a-vis their ally with opponents left and right.

* Players take turns in a clockwise order. Only the first player in the first team to play does not draw a card during the first turn of the game.

* Players can select legal targets for spells as they want, taking into account that a teammate is considered to be “a player” but not “an opponent” according to the game rules.

* Players can attack with their creatures only the opponent to the left. (And they are attacked by the opponent to the right.)

* Each player has their own deck and their own poison pool. Eliminating any player by the end of deck or by poisoning eliminates the whole team.

* Teams has common damage pools staring at 40. Damage dealt to each team member subtract from this pool. For the effects that look at the player health value each player is assumed to have a half of the pool current health, rounded down if necessary (for “Lich” effect both player are assumed to become liches). Reducing the total health to 0 eliminates the team.

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9
My First Heart
My First Wish!
My First Favorite!
Gave My First Grade
30 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Don't Be a Completist”

This game can be one of the largest money sinks on the planet when a player gets really hooked on getting a complete set or even on something as simple as the rush of “what did I get?” when they open a new pack.

If you’re looking to play casually, pre-made decks are the much better intro and can be modified with a few simple purchases whereas buying straight random cards will give you more options, but always feel like you need a few more to really get the combos you want.

If you want to play in tournaments, draft tourneys are the much more economical yet still fun way to play. Since everyone is buying their stuff at the tournament itself, everyone is on equal footing. Card research, so you know what to do with what you get, can be done without buying a single pack.

M:tG is a really well made game, but it can be as addictive and costly as gambling. Stay wary.

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8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior
23 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Basic beginner tips”

These are just for beginners learning how to play: (1-2 games tops)
1. Play with cards face up, or at least openly discussing moves.
2. Play one color, with opponents playing an opposite color.
3. After the first game, modify decks together, talking about why to add or remove certain cards.
4. Play a game with too many cards, to see why it’s good and bad.
5. Play a tight deck with minimum cards as well, for the same reasons.
6. Finally, play a Booster Draft game.

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2
Gamer - Level 2
33 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Get into Magic with Event Decks”

Getting started with Magic can be daunting with 20 years of cards out there. However pre-made Event Decks are competitive out of the box and can beat decks with lots of rare and expensive cards. If you want to get into Magic, the Event Decks are a good start. WOTC is going to bring out two Event Decks for each new set so check them out.

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7
Paladin
Herald
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
30 of 35 gamers found this helpful
“On shuffling”

Remember that you are allowed to shuffle your opponent’s deck after they shuffle it. While it’s not so vital during casual play it is very important during “serious” games – in tournaments or just when some prizes are involved. If your current opponent plays honestly, they neither gain nor lose anything. But if you happen to be paired against a cheater (with a deck with crucial cards distributed evenly) cutting the deck is not enough to nullify that effect.

Note also that you can choose the method to shuffle the opponent’s deck. From time to time you may play against a “preparer”, a person who places land cards as every third card in their deck and then only pretends to shuffle their deck properly. In such a case don’t hesitate to reshuffle their deck by distributing it to three piles and then putting them together: the effect would be devastating to the cheater.

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2
Went to GenCon 2011
20 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“Struggling to ever win? Here's some great teachers!”

I’ve played for a few years now and with all the changing rules and new card sets I’ve struggled feeling like I could enjoy the game when I cannot even figure out what my opponent is doing that is killing me off so fast.

First suggestion: Play on hand games with those you’d consider masters of the game. First hand knowledge and advice can help you match the cards and the bonuses together if you just do see the connections on your own.

Second suggestion: Duel of the Planewalkers really helped me see how things work together, even if I didn’t know about connections the game did, so when I played certain ways or focused on a strategy I found I was better at winning and was able to learn those techniques.

Third suggestion: Some people think in certain patterns, find out if your way of thinking or strategizing follows a certain kind of deck. This will help you master your game and you’ll be better enabled to win even when your opponent seems the stronger deck type.

Forth suggestion: Know if you have the weaker deck, don’t get upset if you loose. Many people think that their desks are best and that they know everything good and bad about them. There are tricks and catches to every desk made. To understand your own if first key, but to learn your opponents will take time. If they take you out quickly they simply knew your desk better than you knew their’s, you’re not a bad player simply because you lost. Cheer up and ask for a rematch with their deck sometime and see if you can learn it faster the next time around.

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6
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Crane Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Smash Up Fan
20 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“When a block rotates, don't just store the old, make a cube!”

Over the last 8 years or so blocks have become very cohesive and there is a lot of tournament support for block constructed and almost every draft your going to sit down for is going to be block. Many players will just shelve an older block when the newest hits the stores so they can remain focused on Standard. Those cards aren’t suddenly rotten, so why leave them to collect dust. Repurpose them into a CUBE!!

This assumes that most players will have enough cards to build one, but from my experience it should not be difficult for most to assemble. Here’s my suggestion: Since a lot of foundation cards for the block are going to be at the common slot and in the large set, include 2-3 of each common from the large set. then include one each of every remaining common and uncommon from the block. This lets you keep your rares and mythics in the trade binder if you want and create a diverse set of cards to work with. Draft at will and enjoy over and over.

The decks you create will not be nearly as powered as you expect from a cube, or even from a draft for that matter, but it’s a great way to get more mileage out of cards that you may not ever even look at again. ENJOY!

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7
Paladin
Herald
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
29 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Look for bargains; exploit trends”

In M:tG you cannot just get any card you wish unless you are filthy rich. So, in order to have good decks you should trade cards with other players. If you use a good trading strategy you can build quite a good card collection pretty fast.

Many players think: “I have not to much money – so I’ll restrict myself to one or two decks.” They check then what decks are “trendy” or “on the top” at that given moment and they try to build them. The result is high demand for the cards needed for those decks. But the trends come and go. If any deck becomes too popular, other players construct other decks that are designed to beat the old ones (of course the new ones have to be good overall to count in). As the result the one/two-deck players have ultimately to switch to newly discovered sets of cards, selling some of their old ones. Their deck-building method drains their wallet continuously.

Don’t follow them. Exploit them. If you are fortunate enough that you have a “trendy” card offer it for trade – but for a price. For a good price! Key cards in trendy decks can easily be traded for 2-3 “overall useful” cards of the same rarity and additionally 2-3 “junk” cards of the same rarity. If you find a trader who is desperately looking for a single card you can even get more of these useful cards. How about getting two Birds of Paradise, Wrath of God, Armageddon, City of Brass and four Lightning Bolts for Recurring Nightmare (the best trade I had)?…

While getting cards that are just useful is obvious you should not overlook the “junk” ones. Don’t trade specifically for them, just demand them as a bonus to your trade. You never know which of them is going to be trendy in a month of two!

This is a long-term strategy. Your cost is not having top decks for several months. But after that, let us say after a year, you will find yourself a card-wealthy player who is able to build almost anything at a reasonably small cost. And when you get to selling your collection there’s quite a good chance you will get more money than you have invested!

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7
Check Out My Favorites
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed
19 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“Play the Minimum”

As a seasoned veteran of Magic this is a simple concept that many new players tend to overlook. Players new to the game sometimes think that the more stuff you put into a deck the cooler it’s going to be. The huge downside to this is that your deck becomes way to unwieldy and you end up never seeing those awesome one ofs that your deck needs to play in order to win. The 60 card minimum for most decks and 40 card minimum in drafts and sealed should be seen the number of cards your deck should always have (not counting sideboards of course). The logic behind these numbers centers around odds. The odds of your good cards being drawn are much higher if you have less total cards in your deck. Plus if you deck has more than the minimum it means you probably have some sub-par cards that you should remove from your deck to make it work better anyway. No matter what hard decisions you have to make regarding color, card, and deck choices just make sure your deck is at the minimum amount allowed for the format to optimize the chance of you great cards showing up and giving you the best chance at victory.

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8
Gamer - Level 8
Expert Recruiter
Count / Countess
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
19 of 22 gamers found this helpful
“For constructed, use the same land card design!”

I have been playing Standard format Magic for a while now. I’m not great, but I’m learning. Every now and then I get a great tip. Currently, some of the top-tier decks (and ones I encounter most!) are using Thoughtseize, and/or other effects that allow you to look at a player’s hand, or a card from it. Though it seems obvious now, I found that players will note the art of the land cards so that the next time you play a land, that will tell them if you have another to drop if it does not match what they saw. It’s a subtle thing, but I have noticed the serious players try to minimize any and all info about what they have in their hand. Using all the same card art for each basic land type will keep some of your secrets safe!

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5
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Professional Grader
Gamer - Level 4
27 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Getting Started: Try Duel Decks”

A great way to get started with Magic is to pick up a recent Duel Deck set at your favorite local game store (or even at big retailers like Wal-Mart or Target). The Duel Decks cost about $20 dollars and offer two complete fun decks that are very well balanced and have a good selection of cards that work well together.

Many of the Duel Decks are planeswalker vs. planeswalker sets which offer players a chance to experience this exciting type of card (many of which are very expensive as singles and extremely rare in booster packs). Each player has a specific planeswalker and a deck that is built to suit that planes walker’s unqiue style and full of flavor. The other Duel Decks that have been released in the recent past are faction vs. Faction, which offers a fun look into the various types of cards out there and a good introduction into the lore ofnthe Magic multiverse.

My husband and I have picked up several Duel Deck sets and thoroughly enjoyed each one. They all offer solid decks, help you learn the strategies and combos that make the game so fun to play, and are very well balanced against each other. In repeated plays we have not yet found one side or the other to be overpowered in any of the match ups.

Lilianna Vs. Garuk gives Pits the forces of darkness (Lilianna’s black deck) against the vast power of nature (Garuk’s Green deck) with two very different styles of play.

Phyrexia Vs the Coalition revists a famous battle in the history of the Magic multiverse, with a zombie ridden black Phyrexian deck against a 4 color (everything but black) deck full of interesting legendary creatures and dragons.

Elspeth Vs. Tezzeret pit a white soldier deck against a blue artifact deck with powerful and interesting planes walkers on each side.

Knights Vs. Dragons presents the classic battle between the chivalrous knights (white and green) against the fire breathing terrors of the sky (red deck).

With these sets we have had many hours of fun enjoying the flavorful themed decks, learned a number of new strategies and combinations, played with cool cards that would be too expensive to buy as singles, and experienced a series of evenly matched duels which often seem to end with the winner barely hanging in there. We enjoy games where it is close and tense all the way through, and these are one of the most balanced options I’ve found fro casual magic play.

Upcoming Duel Decks thatnhave been announced are Ajani Vs. Nicol Bolos and Vesner Vs. Koth, and hopefully they will continue to be amazing and a great value!.

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2
Supporter
27 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Decks w/ More than Three Colors”

*Note* This tip is aimed at players not using tournament or block card restrictions.

I love multicolored decks, especially of opposed colors (e.g., blue/red, which is my favorite, followed closely by black/white). In general, two color decks can be managed easily just by splitting the ratio of mana producers proportionally between the number of spells of each color in the deck. (Later sets, like Shadowmoor, with costs that can be paid in either of two colors make this even easier.) This strategy can work with three color decks as well, although it is more prone to error. You have to think not only of the *number* of spells of a certain color in the deck, but *how much* colored many they require to cast. (For instance, a 3B spell is “cheaper” than a 1BBB spell.)

However, once you try 4 and 5 color decks, simply land ratio fixing will no longer suffice. The 5 color deck I have experience with is (of course) a sliver deck. However, I think that my method can be generally helpful. The key, I think, is to base the deck on green. That is, the largest portion of lands should be forests. Green facilitates basic land searching better than other colors, and also has good capability to produce large amounts of mana. In the sliver deck, I found the card ‘Harrow’ to be useful: it costs 2G and has the additional cost of sacrificing land. (I can’t remember off the top of my head if the limit is sacrificing 1 land or 2–the older version of the card was not specific and I remember people sacrificing as many as they pleased.) For the land you sacrifice, you will get *2* lands in return of whatever basic type you want *untapped*. (Additional tip: try to sacrifice a tapped land, if it is strategically feasible.)

Green also has search options which don’t require land sacrifice. For instance, ‘Search for Tomorrow’ which you can suspend (that is, temporarily remove from the game) for G, which will play itself two upkeeps later.

Also, there are numerous artifacts which let you translate mana on a 1-1 basis, or let you pay in 1 and get two of a combination of colors, etc.

Even using these tips, getting a 4 or 5 color deck into fighting shape takes some work. But I think these tips make it at least possible.

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