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Author Topic: MTG - getting started  (Read 7213 times)
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Jeff
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« on: June 20, 2009, 09:58:10 PM »

After playing the new MTG on XBLA, I thought I might like to get some of the real cards. Probably just to have as collectibles, enjoy the artwork etc. I don't even have anyone to play with face-to-face, but I think I'd still like the cards.

How does one get started? I looked on Amazon, and was overwhelmed by all the choices. So many ways to buy them, different editions, and so forth.

What's a good way for a noob to get going with MTG? Do you buy whole decks at once, or what?

tia

edit: MTG = Magic The Gathering, for those who might not know.

edit #2:

For any lurkers that may be thinking of starting into MTG (or MTGO), or fellow noobs, I thought I'd post some links that I've found very helpful in learning.


* Are you new to Magic? Wizards of the Coast Intro page

* New player FAQ (for MTG Online)

* Magic Academy - MTG 101 (awesome MTG 'classes'  thumbsup)

* MTG Online Video Guides - video step-by-step for getting started with MTGO

* MTG card sets FAQ

* The Gatherer - a card search engine and viewer

* List of MTG keywords (Wikipedia)

* List of MTG deck types (Wikipedia)

* List of pre-constructed theme decks (Wikipedia)

* MTG In-depth beginner's guide

* list of MTG competitive formats
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 04:31:21 AM by Jeff » Logged
Harkonis
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2009, 10:57:15 PM »

If you must start playing (and as a recovering addict I strongly advise against this game. slywink )  I would go with the Magic Online on the PC.  It's easier to get into imo, and easier to find people to play with. 

In either case you want to get cards of the most recent core set and avoid expansions to begin with.
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2009, 11:32:58 PM »

I agree with Harkonis, though paper has been fun when I've had friends to play with.  One fun way I used to play was to have me and my friend each open 3 boosters without looking at the contents, then shuffle in 5 of each land type and play.  I called it Blind.  We got mana hosed and screwed a few times, but it was fun.   I even created a program to do that with cards from Magic Online.  It would make decks for me randomly and others that had my program would do the same and we'd play Blind.

But the part I agree with is the addiction.  I have TOO many cards both in paper and virtual, and hardly have anyone to play with now.  crybaby

edit: I do still have an active Magic Online account, though I don't play much, so if you did get started there and wanted someone to play with, look me up.  As always, I'm Cragmyre.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 11:35:13 PM by Cragmyre » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2009, 11:49:21 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on June 20, 2009, 10:57:15 PM

If you must start playing (and as a recovering addict I strongly advise against this game. slywink )  I would go with the Magic Online on the PC.  It's easier to get into imo, and easier to find people to play with. 

I just downloaded the magic online client. I haven't played it since beta about a million years ago. Haven't checked if my old account is still there, if so I should be coopasonic.
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2009, 01:58:59 AM »

I have a few thousand cards to I'd like to get rid of.  They are all at least ten years old though.

Online game is great though I tried it in beta for the current set a few months ago and leagues were broken.  Leagues are outstanding so if they are fixed in the current version I would highly suggest you give it a shot.
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2009, 02:09:29 AM »

Someone has a post in the trading forum that they are looking for cards.
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2009, 10:07:34 AM »

Quote from: Jeff on June 20, 2009, 09:58:10 PM

After playing the new MTG on XBLA, I thought I might like to get some of the real cards. Probably just to have as collectibles, enjoy the artwork etc. I don't even have anyone to play with face-to-face, but I think I'd still like the cards.

How does one get started? I looked on Amazon, and was overwhelmed by all the choices. So many ways to buy them, different editions, and so forth.

What's a good way for a noob to get going with MTG? Do you buy whole decks at once, or what?

tia

edit: MTG = Magic The Gathering, for those who might not know.
There used to be mono colored pre-constructed decks you could buy that were good to learn the game.  I'm not sure if those are still around though.  Otherwise you could get cards from the core set, Tenth Edition.  There are also pre-constructed theme decks for the core set that are ready to play.
In any case I'd stay away from the expansion sets to start.  Those tend to use a lot of keywords for abilities and may be overwhelming or confusing for someone new.
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2009, 01:06:05 AM »

If you're looking to play and meet other players, ask the Wizards.

As a recovering player, I will also state that this is financially a bad idea.  I refuse to ever touch a game that includes purchasing extras that are based on a rarity scale. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2009, 01:36:55 AM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on June 22, 2009, 01:06:05 AM

If you're looking to play and meet other players, ask the Wizards.

As a recovering player, I will also state that this is financially a bad idea.  I refuse to ever touch a game that includes purchasing extras that are based on a rarity scale. 

You know it is possible to play a CCG without spending thousands of dollars, right?  Your post is one of several around here warning against the financial implications of playing.  I've played a few CCGs with friends and with my kids and managed to control myself.  It is possible!! smile
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2009, 04:41:21 AM »

Possible, but not probable.
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2009, 07:23:39 AM »

I play once in a while with me kids, with my old cards from back when it started. No trouble for me to no buy more cards... Guess it depends on whether you have an addictive personality or not

And besides being an MMO Whore, I dont ;-)
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2009, 01:15:21 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on June 22, 2009, 04:41:21 AM

Possible, but not probable.

It's all a matter of self-control. If you don't have any, don't come near this. If you do, great.

I found the best way to play for me, especially getting started, was to play sealed matches/tournaments. I don't know if that is the right name, but everyone involved gets X booster packs 3 or 4 typically, opens them and builds a deck with what ever was in there. It builds up your card collection without the expense of going straight into constructed. If you have someone you can play with regularly, you can do this on a regular basis and buy no outside cards and you will be playing on the same basis for constructed play as well, you both have the same number of boosters.

I started a new MTGO account last night, got some freebie commons off the trading area to get started and will probably start doing the swiss sealed tournaments to start building cards. I have to be careful as I am one of those with more money than self control.
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2009, 10:38:02 PM »

I keep thinking I should get back into MTGO.  I really liked that you could join a sealed deck league that went for four weeks.  Those meant that you bought $20 worth of cards (that you got to keep), and you were guaranteed a fairly large pool of players to play against in a limited environment, which is where I think Magic is the most fun anyway.

However, if you think about it, that's basically a $20/month subscription fee.  I suppose you could always take your cards and play in the open rooms, but then you get steamrolled by people who own more/better cards and spend more time building their decks.  Or maybe I just get steamrolled by them.
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2009, 10:53:02 PM »

Unfortunately, at this time, the Leagues are broken frown
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Jeff
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2009, 01:56:49 AM »

Thanks for all the suggestions, and ... uh.. warnings smile Trust me, there's zero chance of me getting caught up in MTG spending spree. First of all, I strongly doubt I'll even play anyone. I don't know anyone who plays, and I have no intention of going to a hobby shop or wherever games are held.

I really just wanted a nice set as collectible. I like the artwork.

One thing I did see was 1000 cards with 25 rares for $30 shipped?! Can this be legit?

amazon link

And what about this 10th Edition Core Set?
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« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2009, 02:57:43 PM »

Quote from: Jeff on June 23, 2009, 01:56:49 AM

One thing I did see was 1000 cards with 25 rares for $30 shipped?! Can this be legit?

amazon link

And what about this 10th Edition Core Set?

Yeah. That deal's legit. A lot of chaff cards exist and dealers typically buy 1,000 random cards for $3, and rares for $0.15 each. Your 25 rares may be limited decent, but will not be tournament playable.

And the Tenth Edition Core Set fat pack... that's a bad deal IMO. They're charging MSRP there.

Here's what you get:
http://sales.starcitygames.com/carddisplay.php?product=45572

six 10th Edition Core Set booster packs
a 40-card land pack
two collectible card boxes
six plastic dividers
a "spindown" life-counter
a player's guide
a pro player card

The players guide is like an instruction booklet, I guess. Most shops sell these for $30; I didn't know their MSRP was $40. Ick. That's just expensive. (a full box of 36 packs typically ranges from $80-$100 from dealers)

Also, keep in mind, if you're buying the core set for whatever reason, a new core set is being released in a month.
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Jeff
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2009, 03:17:26 PM »

Thanks DF, I guess I'll wait a month and see what the new core set looks like.
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2009, 03:21:13 PM »

Quote from: Jeff on June 23, 2009, 03:17:26 PM

Thanks DF, I guess I'll wait a month and see what the new core set looks like.

Wizard's preview.

Prerelease date: July 11-12, 2009
Release date: July 17, 2009
Set size: 249 cards
           (101 C, 60 U, 53 R, 15 M, 20 L) - Common, Uncommon, Rare, Mythic Rare and ???: Isg.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 03:24:23 PM by Isgrimnur » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2009, 03:23:29 AM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on June 23, 2009, 03:21:13 PM

Quote from: Jeff on June 23, 2009, 03:17:26 PM

Thanks DF, I guess I'll wait a month and see what the new core set looks like.

Wizard's preview.

Prerelease date: July 11-12, 2009
Release date: July 17, 2009
Set size: 249 cards
           (101 C, 60 U, 53 R, 15 M, 20 L) - Common, Uncommon, Rare, Mythic Rare and ???: Isg.


Thanks for the link. That looks very cool. I think that might be what I'll get then.

Question though, what is this?

It say 2010 Core Set "TCG"

That's surely not the core set for $3.99 is it? In the product description area, it says something about containing 249 cards.
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2009, 11:17:35 AM »

It is probably a booster pack, right?  MSRP of those is 3.99.  I can't see what else it would be.
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« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2009, 02:55:29 PM »

It's a booster pack. (And man, that's expensive) Most players I know generally discourage the act of buying booster packs for the soul purpose of just opening them.

If you do plan to buy booster packs, I highly recommend you try instead to get into a booster draft. There is almost certainly a place near you that has booster drafts on Fridays, and they're typically a really good deal. $12 - $15 is the average price range. For that, you get three packs, and three rounds of play.

What is a booster draft:

  • Each player gets three packs (of whatever's being drafted)
  • Open your first pack. Pick one card out of it. Pass the remaining fourteen to the person on your left.
  • The person on your right will pass you their pack of fourteen, with one card taken out of it. Pick the card you want for your deck, and pass the remaining thirteen to your left
  • Repeat until all cards are done for this pack.
  • Open pack 2. Repeat the process, this time passing to the right
  • Open pack 3, Repeat the process a third time, this time passing to the left.

At the end of it, you will have a 45 card pile, with all the cards you've chosen to build a deck from. Construct a 40 card deck, with the following characteristics: (Recommend for beginners, can tweak as needed)
  • 15-17 creatures
  • 5-7 spells
  • 17-18 lands

Play three rounds with your creation. It's a great way to play, and my preferred way to play magic.

Prize pool typically pays out to half the players, and usually the store puts in one to two packs per player for the price you pay. Check with your local hobby shop to see if they have booster drafts, what format they use, and how they pay out. As a beginner, I recommend you avoid single elimination drafts (like they have on Magic Online) - which is one loss and you're out. I never support a store that doesn't actively have tournaments. Chances are good you're not going to win your first booster draft ever, but you can always rare draft. It's not uncommon to make out with 8 rares at an 8 man table when rare drafting.
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« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2009, 03:06:18 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on June 24, 2009, 02:55:29 PM

Most players I know generally discourage the act of buying booster packs for the soul purpose of just opening them.

What does that mean?  Some people buy and open booster packs just for kicks and then throw them away?
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« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2009, 04:06:39 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on June 24, 2009, 03:06:18 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on June 24, 2009, 02:55:29 PM

Most players I know generally discourage the act of buying booster packs for the soul purpose of just opening them.

What does that mean?  Some people buy and open booster packs just for kicks and then throw them away?

You play games like the previously mentioned blind (also known as minimaster) with the packs. Or you get some buddies together and do a draft. Anything to get a little bit more value out of the pack.

Anyways - that was really just me being snobbish and I should not have said it smile
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« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2009, 04:17:25 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on June 24, 2009, 04:06:39 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on June 24, 2009, 03:06:18 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on June 24, 2009, 02:55:29 PM

Most players I know generally discourage the act of buying booster packs for the soul purpose of just opening them.

What does that mean?  Some people buy and open booster packs just for kicks and then throw them away?

You play games like the previously mentioned blind (also known as minimaster) with the packs. Or you get some buddies together and do a draft. Anything to get a little bit more value out of the pack.

Why would most players discourage getting more value out of the pack?   retard
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« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2009, 07:13:08 PM »

that's not what he is saying pug.  he's saying that if you are going to buy packs, dont' just open them.  Play a draft, or some other form of sealed gameplay type that involves using the packs as you open them so that you get a bit more fun out of the experience.  There are plenty of cards that aren't very good at all in actual normal deck construction, but are specifically made to be good when using the limited card pool involved in a draft or sealed game.

Most players discourage NOT getting more value out of the pack is what he was saying.  Just sitting down an opening packs and then walking away is denying the fun you can have that requires sealed packs to begin with.  Either way you end up with the same number of cards at the end, but you get more fun out of the process of discovering what those cards are (and in the case of a draft you also get to choose somewhat what cards you get, and possibly win additional cards if playing with people who use rewards)
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« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2009, 08:50:41 PM »

Ah, gotcha.  I think I prefer Hark's use of the English language to DragonFyre's. slywink
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« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2009, 02:12:38 AM »

I suppose I could see myself playing at a real table - but I cringe at the thought of going to a hobby shop or whatever and sitting down with a bunch of teenagers. I'd feel like a fish out of water.

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« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2009, 11:39:32 AM »

Quote from: Jeff on June 25, 2009, 02:12:38 AM

I suppose I could see myself playing at a real table - but I cringe at the thought of going to a hobby shop or whatever and sitting down with a bunch of teenagers. I'd feel like a fish out of water.

I'm with you there.  I am going to pick up a few decks to play with one of my buddies.  But I don't see us running off to play at the hobby shop.  smile
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« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2009, 02:12:51 PM »

Quote from: Mithridates on June 25, 2009, 11:39:32 AM

Quote from: Jeff on June 25, 2009, 02:12:38 AM

I suppose I could see myself playing at a real table - but I cringe at the thought of going to a hobby shop or whatever and sitting down with a bunch of teenagers. I'd feel like a fish out of water.

I'm with you there.  I am going to pick up a few decks to play with one of my buddies.  But I don't see us running off to play at the hobby shop.  smile

Stop by your hobby shop on a friday night to see the FNM crowd, and get a feel for the age of the players in your region.

Most magic players I've met are over the age of 18, and I know people who play who are in the 40-60 age bracket. It's a very accepting group of people.
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« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2009, 03:41:00 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on June 25, 2009, 02:12:51 PM

Stop by your hobby shop on a friday night to see the FNM crowd, and get a feel for the age of the players in your region.

Most magic players I've met are over the age of 18, and I know people who play who are in the 40-60 age bracket. It's a very accepting group of people.

On local.google I found a shop called 'Decks and Duels', which I'm gonna bet might have something to do with this type of thing smile  They keep strange hours though, like only open 5:30 to 9:30, closed Mondays & Tues, and open all day (9-9) on Sat. Maybe someone is running this shop as a spare time/2nd job kind of thing. I'll give them a call when they're open and see what's up.
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« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2009, 09:50:46 PM »

Quote from: Jeff on June 25, 2009, 02:12:38 AM

I suppose I could see myself playing at a real table - but I cringe at the thought of going to a hobby shop or whatever and sitting down with a bunch of teenagers. I'd feel like a fish out of water.



some shops are fine, some are pretty awful.  It's a complete toss up whether you can find a good one in your area.  the majority fit right in with the stereotypical non-showering smelly, immature, socially clueless crowd that will have a few 'normal' people in it.  The trick is that even if that is the only type of shop you can find, go there a few game nights, find the normal people and you can play with them outside of the shop nights for some good gaming times.

Gencon is also a good place to find people to play with.  I only say that since it happens where I live so access is easy for me smile
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« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2009, 01:41:54 AM »

A couple of the shops I called are now closed down. Victims of the crap economy I guess. I'll keep looking. As for getting started with new cards and all. Let's just say DragonFyre is about to solve that problem in a major way. I'm excited to get started. I've been looking at sites on deck building. It's amazing how varied and complex it can be.
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« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2009, 01:37:24 PM »

Quote from: Cragmyre on June 22, 2009, 10:53:02 PM

Unfortunately, at this time, the Leagues are broken frown

I was disappointed to see leagues were gone, but the next best thing are the 8 player sealed/draft queues. For draft at least, tournaments kick off every few minutes, sealed are a bit slower. You get to play 3 matches in a draft format and go home with some new virtual cards. smile Fun stuff!
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« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2009, 06:47:09 PM »

I found something very interesting. I wanted something to help me inventory my collection (on the way from DragonFyre), and I found this:

http://www.magicworkstation.com/

This is a really cool application. On the dev's site there's also a link to the entire MTG card database, which you can import into the app. (you'll have find the artwork 'elsewhere' if you want that).

The app has tons of features and supports other TCG's as well. The coolest part is that you can build your decks and then play head to head online in gameplay mode. They are planning to add a lot of other features, including tournament play, in-game voice, etc. (edit: no further development is planned)

The license is $26.95, but you can get a pair of licenses for $39.90.

Edit: major caveat! I have since found out this application has long since been out of development, and no future development is actually planned. So what you see is what you get.
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« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2009, 04:15:40 PM »

This month in Magic:

1. This weekend is the 'prerelease' for the new core set of Magic: The Gathering (M10). Core set pre-releases are great for new players, in that they allow you to get a lot of experience in the most forgiving environment possible.

Prerelease Information (What to bring, what to expect, etc): http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/46

Find a pre-release here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/events/prereleases

Prereleases are my favorite type of events. They typically have great prize support, and for some reason core set prereleases/release events tend to be even bigger than 'expansion' prereleases.

2. The release events are the weekend after the pre-release, so if you're busy this weekend, you have something to do the weekend after.

3. US Nationals events are held July 24-26th in Kansas City. Since that's a three hour drive from Saint Louis, I'm thinking about going to check it out. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/TCG/Events.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/nationals/unitedstates

4. If you're at all curious about what's in M10, you can see the full spoiler here: http://mtgsalvation.com/magic-2010-m10-core-set-spoiler.html

Quote
I wanted something to help me inventory my collection (on the way from DragonFyre)

Good. Luck. Ever inventorying that box of cards I sent you. There's a few thousand cards in there (mostly from time spiral / lorwyn / ravnica blocks). Probably a few too many duplicates as the box was frickin bigger than expected and I was trying to get it as full as possible. You should enjoy it though smile And it's pretty much unsorted. There's some rares in the box that I sent (so that they'd be easy to find) and more mixed in with the commons/uncommons (because I put in more than I originally planned. Figured I'd double it up.)

I know a lot of players who use workstation to test magic for tournaments. I've never tried it, but the stories I read is that it's full of dicks. If I recall correctly, it also doesn't have a lot of rules built into it so it does require some knowledge on how to play. It does have updates up to the latest set (and I'm sure M10 is already in there)
« Last Edit: July 06, 2009, 05:36:03 PM by DragonFyre » Logged
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« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2009, 11:46:45 PM »

I have the magic workstation, when I was still playing it was very helpful.
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« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2009, 04:33:27 AM »

Quote
I wanted something to help me inventory my collection (on the way from DragonFyre)

Quote
Good. Luck. Ever inventorying that box of cards I sent you. There's a few thousand cards in there (mostly from time spiral / lorwyn / ravnica blocks). Probably a few too many duplicates as the box was frickin bigger than expected and I was trying to get it as full as possible. You should enjoy it though smile


 icon_eek

I ... uhh ...  icon_eek

Wow, I was not expecting that! That is amazingly generous of you! thanks a million  nod

I registered MWS before I realized that it was out of development. I should have read their forum first. That said, once I got the MTG full database and card pictures installed, it looks like it could be very useful.



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Jeff
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« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2009, 02:02:18 PM »

I've received my huge card collection from DragonFyre, and I'm having a great time sorting through it and learning more about the game. I've found there's a whole lot more to MTG than can be seen in the XBLA version.

Some questions that have popped up.

This is about general play: in face-to-face games, how do people generally keep tabs on all the various math changes going on? There's a lot of variables and point totals that can change in a given turn.

So let's say someone plays Giant Growth, how would he denote his creature's new +3/+3 point total?

What about life totals for both sides, how (physically) are those totals kept? pen & paper, some other physical counter, or what?

How are other buffs and/or negative effects recorded, as there can be several things going on at once.

In the XBLA version, the Howl of the Wolfpack card tells me to put x number of 2/2 wolf "tokens" into play. The XBLA version just puts basic looking wolf cards on the table, but what would someone do in a FTF game when he'd need say, nine, different 2/2 tokens?



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Graham
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« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2009, 03:22:41 AM »

Quote from: Jeff on July 11, 2009, 02:02:18 PM

I've received my huge card collection from DragonFyre, and I'm having a great time sorting through it and learning more about the game. I've found there's a whole lot more to MTG than can be seen in the XBLA version.

Some questions that have popped up.

This is about general play: in face-to-face games, how do people generally keep tabs on all the various math changes going on? There's a lot of variables and point totals that can change in a given turn.

So let's say someone plays Giant Growth, how would he denote his creature's new +3/+3 point total?

What about life totals for both sides, how (physically) are those totals kept? pen & paper, some other physical counter, or what?

How are other buffs and/or negative effects recorded, as there can be several things going on at once.

In the XBLA version, the Howl of the Wolfpack card tells me to put x number of 2/2 wolf "tokens" into play. The XBLA version just puts basic looking wolf cards on the table, but what would someone do in a FTF game when he'd need say, nine, different 2/2 tokens?
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Generally, for keeping track of life totals, I've used a 20-sided die, but some people have a life count disc that keep track of the life totals.

As far as the Giant Growth, the Giant Growth is laid under the card.  For some cards, you add a glass counter on it or use a die.  Some of it is personal preference.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2009, 03:42:05 AM »

Some people just took lands, wrote "wolf" on them, and put those into play.  Makes it easier to keep track of tapping, etc., than counters would be.
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