Are you interested in getting into Magic: the Gathering, getting back into it after some time away, or want to get more of your friends into it so you have a good play group? Here are some great ways for newbies to become Magic players.
Magic is enjoying excellent sales numbers of late, and a huge part of the reason is that the avenue for new players to discover and stay with the game are clearer and far easier to access.
Your first Magic purchase should be a preconstructed theme deck, which they now call an Intro Pack. It comes with a 60 card deck ready to play, with a nice explanation of the rules (though you’ll might want to head online for a little more rules guidance once you’ve got the basics down). Intro packs also come with a booster pack, so you can get a little taste of deck customization. I love that the preconstructed decks went back to 60 cards, but I wish they still came with little deck boxes.
If you just want to hang out with your friends, build fun decks and maybe do some drafts, then you’re pretty much all set. Buy boosters as your budget allows and have fun!
If you’re interested in building slightly more serious decks, there’s a great and often overlooked product available: the Deckbuilder’s Toolkit. You get a nice box and a bunch of solid, useful cards that are likely to find their way into Standard-legal decks.
Now there’s an even easier way to start building a competitive Standard deck — Event Decks. For $25 you score a 60-card deck plus 15-card sideboard that’s legal for Standard tournaments (for the next year or so, anyway). There’s a decent deck box with a divider to keep your deck and sideboard separate and a 20-sided spin-down die to track your life. It even has a set symbol in place of the 20.
This is a great, great product for new players. At $25, they’re more expensive than a regular preconstructed deck, but it includes higher quality cards. The review sample Wizards sent me is the Infect & Defile deck, and it has seven rares plus a lot of solid uncommons. The insert has a guide for how to play the deck successfully, plus some helpful tips on finding, attending and being prepared for tournaments. There are even some tips on upgrading the deck.
While I don’t 100% agree with the deck construction (4 x Corrupted Conscience seems really bad, and there are other ways to make this better without adding rares), it’s a good low-budget deck. It’s not going to win a ton of matches, even at Friday Night Magic, but it gives the player a good idea of what a tuned deck looks like. The fact that it is easily upgradable (let’s trade some copies of Foresee for Sign in Blood) also gives new players a simple to understand look at how to build and tweak a deck.
Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken Wizards this long to put out a product like this. They’re planning two decks like this per expansion. I hope they do well, because it’s such a great idea, and they executed the idea so well. It’s a very nice package with the die and box/divider.
Finally, if you play Magic and would like some advice on how to introduce your friends to the game, Tom LaPille wrote a great DailyMTG column on that very subject last week.