Magic: The Gathering Tutorial – Stage 1 – from Zero to Hero

Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game where each player builds a unique deck and then battle to see who wins.  The rules can be complicated but I’m going to talk you through the basics. 



Forge has almost 10,000 different cards but let’s talk about basic types of cards.  You use land to pay for cards.  Each land generates a specific color of mana.   Excluding lands, all other cards have a mana cost.  You can play one land a turn, so a card that costs 6 can usually be played on your 6th turn.


Here is a list of the 5 types of land and the type of mana that they create.


Land Name     Mana Symbol









All creature cards have a name and a cost.  The name is simple to figure out, which is the text at the top of the card and is unique for each card.  In the upper right corner of the card is the cost.  Leonin Skyhunter’s cost is   means that you can need two Plains in order to play the cost.  Goblin Chariot cost 1  you need two Mountains and one other land.  The 1 is a generic cost and it means that you can use any color mana to satisfy this cost. 

All creature cards also have an attack and defense shown in the lower-right corner.  The first number represents the attacking power and the second number represents the card’s defense.  Both of these cards have an attack of 2 and a defense of 2. 


The two other major cards types are: instant and sorcery.  These are temporary “spells” that are cast and they are directed toward your opponent or one of his creatures.  Sorcery cards can only be played during your turn.  Instant cards can be played during your turn OR during your opponents turn.  Instants are very flexible but they always cost more than a comparable sorcery spell.

Day of Judgment is a game changing card because it destroys all creatures, yours and your opponent.  While at first this sounds like a negative, if your opponent is winning with bigger, better creatures, Day of Judgment changes everything and always surprises your opponent.  Any card that can destroy multiple creatures is super powerful.

Shock is very good and it deals 2 damage to any creature.  If a creature has a defense of 2 or 1, then Shock can kill it.  Shock can kill both Leonin Skyhunter and Goblin Chariot.

Day of Judgment’s cost is 2 , which requires a total of 4 lands and 2 Plains.  Shock only costs   and requires one Mountain.

Confession time, I was supposed to talk about Forge, which lets you play Magic against the computer but the article seemed too long and boring.  I promise I will get to Forge but I wanted to cover the basics very well.  Another confession is that this article is late but better late than never.  (Good writing takes forever to get it right.)

Next time I will talk about:

–Creature combat in my next article

–And getting started with Forge, which lets you play Magic against the computer


Written by: mtgrares (

Magic: The Gathering Blog




About TheGameGuide

We are two gamers writing about anything that has to do with video games to keep you up to date with the newest and coolest things.

Posted on January 17, 2012, in TCG Tuesday. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: