“So what’s Logan into these days ?” I asked my sister, fishing for information as to what to purchase for my nephew for both his birthday and Christmas….” oh he really likes Magic the Gathering” was the reply. “Perfect,” I said…”I know people that play that, I’ll talk to them about it and get him some stuff” and being insanely busy at work and with Christmas fast approaching, I totally did not do that…..I instead went to my local games shop, Jolt Games, and asked about what my options were, I settled on 4 booster packs, a deck box and a 20 sided die, which was a “life counter”….not really having any idea what a “life counter” actually did, or even if any of it would be of any use to Logan, I completed the transaction successfully.
I then made an off the cuff remark to the salesperson that I should really learn more about this game so that when Groot (7) and Pinkie Pie (10) expressed an interested I would be prepared. At this point, a finger shot into the air and a broad smile came across his face and he disappeared below the countered and reappeared moments later with 2 packs of cards of different colors and with different artwork on them. “Training Decks,” he said with a smile….”Errrr okay”, I replied “How much are these ?” planning to refuse as I had other things to spend my cash on. “no no”.. he insisted, handing them to me…”their free..they will help you learn to play”. Never one to turn down something for nothing and really quite taken with the artwork, I accepted. Transaction complete, cargo in hand, I headed home, not understanding the gravity of my situation.
I then explained to my in-house gaming personal trainers (PT’s for short.) what had transpired, and handed over the training decks. With more glee than I expected, both sets of decks…4 in total were unwrapped and a detailed review and murmured analysis of the cards started in earnest. Before I really understood what was happening I was sitting across from one of them with a 30 card mono-green deck. (and apparently retaining more of the terminology than I thought.) having the rules of play, types of decks, types of cards and how they’re used explained to me. My 2 initial thoughts were….1. I don’t know have I time to add something else into my schedule….and 2. This is a really complicated game…. there is a lot to take in…I’m going to have dump parts of my long-term memory to make room…(Farewell Mr. Douglas’s third-grade class I never liked you anyway !)
Cut to Christmas when I and the PT’s have been gifted a started a set for “Guilds of Ravnica.” each, from Ryndate, (a close friend and sometimes contributor to this site…*COUGH, COUGH….BATTLEFIELD 5 Review…COUGH, COUGH*) the days following, consisted of learning to construct decks and play them against various strength and types of deck that Ryndate and his son, both avid players been constructing over some time, and discovered there is a whole other level of complicated to this game. ( Farewell Mr. McGovern’s fourth-grade class…I quite liked you.)
My initial thoughts are that this game is a challenge and very enjoyable at the same time, good for both kids and adults alike. There is for me at least a bit of steep learning curve. However, with enough practice, you get the basic structure of a game and gaining exposure to a variety of decks quickly help understand how they are used and how to counter them effectively. Most game shops will have a regular match, usually on a Friday night (FNM or Friday Night Magic.) where you can compete against other players, which from my brief exposure is a good way to get some social interaction happening for people that maybe aren’t that big on social interaction with people they don’t know.
Now I’m going to finish up this article at this point, even though there is much much more, that I could talk about. my general lack of experience would do us both a disservice, so I have enlisted the help of someone whose knowledge of the mechanics of various factions and decks and the lore is much much greater than my own, to explore these elements in more detail. If you are, like me and are new to the game, and wondering where to start, can provide some practical advice on getting to the point where you can build your own deck, understand what its effective against or not, and hopefully play without feeling like the 9-year-old sitting across from you on a Friday night hasn’t complete kicked your arse and forcing you to rethink a lot of your recent life choices.