Glimpse the Unthinkable

Tag: MTG Decks

What’s your Color?

by on Dec.16, 2010, under Magic: The Gathering

How does one choose a color or colors in Magic?

When you first start playing MTG, you’re like an infant. You’re a blank slate. You have no preference for color, strategy or meta-game. However, you are shaped by the people and experiences around you as you start. Do you remember being killed off in three turns with a pure Red Deck? Do you recall feeling helpless against Blue’s counterspells? What about feeling helpless against an overwhelming stampede of Green beasts? How about feeling all-powerful with White’s mass destruction spells? And what about the smelling your opponent’s fear of your Black zombies? Oh, and don’t forget the quasi-confused feeling of facing a colorless artifact deck.

Think back to your first games. The games where you just borrowed someone else’s deck and have someone look over your shoulder and asking him/her, “Am I doing this right? Should I attack now or should I cast Giant Growth first?” “If my 2/2 Black Knight blocks a 2/2 Grizzly Bear, will it survive?” Really now, no one begins to play Magic by reading the rule book. You get curious first. Someone entices you to watch, let’s you play with his/her deck. He/She helps you. You win your first game with help. Then you win your first game without any help, but still using someone else’s deck. It’s a combination of all these experiences that shape your style and color preference for Magic. This is what sets you up for making your first deck.

Then you start experimenting with the gameplays and themes offered by the other colors of Magic and you empathize with colors and their styles and you learn to adopt them. You also learn to adapt to their nuances, their weaknesses and quips. You learn to love beting down your opponents to the ground with larger-than-life creatures. You get to savor the frustration you see on your foe’s face when their spell just goes to nothing. You feel omnipotent when you kill off all the creatures on the battlefield.

Your choice of color reflects how you strategize. In fact, I’d even venture a guess that the very nature of your choice of color/s reflect how you deal with life in general.

Think long and hard and tell me I’m wrong.

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The Basics: Part 2

by on May.30, 2010, under MTG Basics

Welcome to the next part of Card Types. Now, we will be discussing Artifacts.

Typically, Artifacts are cards that only use generic mana to cast them. It means that it doesn’t matter whether you’re using White, Black, Blue, Red or Green. Any color of mana will do as long as you have enough to cast it. There have been colored artifacts, like the one from the Alara Block, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. (We’ll discuss the expansions another time.)

Here are a few Artifact cards:

Artifacts can be broken down into three sub-types.

The Alpha Myr, seen above is an Artifact Creature. It has all the properties of a creature, like Grizzly Bears (from the previous post), except that it does not require colored mana to play.

The Angel’s Feather is plainly called an Artifact. Note that it does NOT have any power/toughness but it generates an effect. Effects from plain artifacts vary from something like gaining life, drawing cards, killing creatures, destroying lands, etc. depending on what artifact you cast.

The Bone Splitter is another type of Artifact, an Equipment. You may think of an equipment as tools, weapons or armors that you place on your creature. In this case, you pay 1 mana of any color to cast the Bone Splitter to put it in play, then you pay 1 more mana to attach this to, let’s say, the Alpha Myr. The Alpha Myr has a power/toughness of 2/1. If you attach the Bone Splitter, giving it +2/+0, the Alpha Myr now becomes a feisty 4/1, meaning it can deal 4 points of damage to players or creatures, while still keeping the rather low toughness.

The beauty of artifacts is that it can be used on practically any deck since it does not require any specific color of mana to play or use. You can have a pure black deck and still use “Angel’s Feather” so that if your opponent plays a white spell, you still gain life. Or use Bone Splitter to augment any creature on any deck.

I’ll be discussing Enchantments and their similarities to Artifacts on my next installment. Til then, have fun!

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The Basics

by on May.27, 2010, under MTG Basics

My friend that helped me set up this site asked me if I could show her how MTG is played. I would have referred her to the rulebook from the official site, but I thought maybe I can show her the basics myself and teach her a thing or two.

So… where to begin? To say that Magic: the Gathering is complicated is an understatement. It has more rules than… I don’t know… a city has ordinances. Let’s break down the game into four sections: the cards, the board, the phases and the game dynamics. The cards and the board are easy enough to discuss and I should be able to cover them within two posts. I will have to ask for some help in discussing the phases as this is what makes Magic complicated.

THE CARDS:

There are 5 colors of Mana in MTG, namely White, Green, Red, Black and Blue, each driven by different values. Click here for more details on the colors.  Mana is the magical energy that powers spells. Mana comes from the land. Correspondingly, there are five basic land types, each producing a different color of Mana.

  • White — Plains
  • Blue — Islands
  • Black — Swamps
  • Red — Mountains
  • Green — Forests

I will discuss the values driving each color in the game dynamics section. For now, let’s just leave it at that and move on to the card types.

There are 7 basic card types in MTG. These are: Artifacts, Creatures, Lands, Enchantments, Sorceries, Instants and Planeswalkers. Everything else are variations of these basics. I’ve already started discussing about lands, so let’s begin with it.

Lands can be broken down into two different types, basic and non-basic. Basic lands are exactly that: basic. They have no other purpose than to provide colored mana to cast spells. Think of them as power sources.

White mana is produced by Plains.

Plains

Blue mana is produced by Islands.

Island

Black mana comes from Swamps.

Swamp

Red mana is from the mountain.

Mountain

And finally, Green mana comes from forest.

Forest

Now, you know what lands are and have an idea what mana is. This is the perfect time to jump to discussing the other card types. Let’s now deal with creatures, and what better example for a creature than… GRIZZLY BEARS!

Above is an example of a creature card. Note the following features:

Card Name – This is the name of the card. Well, duh!

Card Type – This shows what type, among the 7 basic card types , it is. In this case, this is a creature and it’s creature type is a “Bear”. Why is the term “Bear” important? It’s because certain spells affect only certain creature types.

Casting Cost – Ah, yes! As you can see here, it shows a numerical 1 and an icon that looks like a tree. If you would see the Forest card above, it shows the exact same symbol. It means that to play or put this creature from your hand to the board, it requires one green mana (symbolized by the tree) and one generic mana (meaning any color will do).

Power and Toughness – The numerator indicates the points of damage that it can deal to an opposing creature or player, while the denominator indicates the points of damage it can take before dying.

I think this post has gone quite long enough. I’ll continue discussing the other types on my next post.

By the way, as a disclaimer, all card images seen here are properties of the Wizards of the Coast. I express no rights or ownership over their intellectual properties, though I wish I worked for them. haha!

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